Friday, December 15, 2006


It's ten days before Christmas, but the way the family caledars work out, my family and I are in Gaylord this weekend to celebrate Christmas with my parents. That means after school today the kids had to clean their rooms, pack their things, and pile into the van for the trip up north. We've all been looking forward to this weekend with Grandma and Grandpa Sheaffer but, honestly, I was not looking forward to the drive. As our time for departure drew nearer, my disdain for the drive grew stronger.
To begin, last week the kids were told they would be in snow up to their belly buttons when they arrived in Gaylord, and that made them very excited. Today I had to break the news that all the snow had melted (this is Michigan!!!) and their disappointment was evident.
When we were packing, Joshua was in one of his "moods," which colored his world very dark. He couldn't find his boots and stomped around the house, angry that they were missing. He didn't like that I told him to get his coat and accused me of being too bossy. Matthew had left his gloves at school and was insisting that we had to go back and get them. He was sure his mittens simply wouldn't suffice. And he was mad at me for not letting him bring his comforter -his bed cover, not the Spirit!- along for the ride. So I had an angry boy and a grumpy one, and I was not wanting to road trip with either one of them. However, since leaving them behind was not an option (I'm sure it wouldn't turn out as charming as Home Alone), we piled into the van and began the trek up north.
I entered the adventure with fear and trembling and was surprised at what happened. There was the usual barrage of, "Are we there yet?" "How much longer?" "Would you cut that out?!" "Mom, make him stop touching me!" And it was peeking with Joshua's stomach ache and his inability to get comfortable in the front seat. (Riding "shot gun" had originally been a good thing. Now the seat was "stupid.") We still had nearly an hour to go and I was wondering if I was going to be able to make it through while maintaining any sense of peace or self-control.
Joshua and Elizabeth were trying to figure out how they could rework seating arrangements so Joshua could lay flat, which is when I had my good idea. (Or was it God's good idea?) We pulled over, Elizabeth took over shotgun, and Joshua came back with me so he could lay his head down on my lap.

As Joshua lay there, I rubbed his head and scratched his back. (He loves this kind of touch). I sang some of my favorite praise songs. I prayed for Joshua. I thought about how God is using my children to shape me and make me who He wants me to be.
Several times today as I was going through little battles with the kids I had the thought, "If I didn't have kids, things would be so much easier." For a moment I had a twinge of jealousy toward those who don't have children, or whose children are already grown. (I realize this confession doesn't make me sound very loving...) But in this moment of quiet, when I turned my eyes toward Jesus and thought about what is True, I remembered how precious my family is to me, and how very much I do treasure them - each one of them. I considered with joy the ways God has been refining my character as I go through trials with my kids. I have sooooo much growing to do, so much more refining that needs to happen, but He has been working in me. I really believe I am a more patient and kind person now than I was just a year ago.
In these moments of peace and reflection, God gives me hope.

How about you? How have you seen God working in your life?

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