Sunday, January 28, 2007

Look Out Below!

Now that was fun! Totally, completely, seriously fun!
My toes froze, my nose ran like a faucet, and my fingers are still numb enough that I keep making errors by hitting the wrong keys. (OK, maybe that's just a reflection of poor typing skills!) But we went sledding again this afternoon, and I'm telling you, I had a blast!
Last time we went sledding I told you it was cold and icy. No way! Today was cold and icy. In fact, almost the entire hill was covered with ice. Only one corner (Do hills have corners? This one does.) was walkable. Everything else was ice covered and you simply couldn't walk up it. But let me tell you, you sure could slide down it. And fast!

This morning before we left for church, Joshua asked me, "Mom, can we go sledding today?" "I don't know," was my non-committal, looking for space, on the edge of being selfish answer. Inside I was saying, "No. I don't want to!" and "Yes. I should probably say 'Yes.'" But I had bought myself time with my non-committal answer.
Once at church, I took the kids to their classes and went to my post as a second grade teacher. We are finishing up a series on servanthood and had a great lesson about doing things for other people. What was God bringing to my mind as I was asking the girls, "What can you do this week to serve the people around you?" Sledding, of course!
Our activity to apply the lesson was to make a "Servanthood Coupon" upon which we wrote something specific we would do for an individual. Then we were to present the coupon and do that thing. As I was explaining the coupon to the girls, I told them about Joshua's request this morning and told them I was going to make a sledding coupon for him.

After church I picked the kids up and Elizabeth gave me a coupon she'd made for me. I opened up my Bible and said, "Somewhere in here I have a coupon for someone, too!" I found it and gave it to Joshua, and I wish you could have seen the look in his eyes. He let out a little squeal, I assured Elizabeth and Matthew that they could come sledding, too, and then we all made our way toward the exit. On the way, Joshua saw one of his friends and said, "Look what my mom gave me!" He was so excited. His reaction to the coupon was more "reward" than I had ever hoped to receive.
So we got home, changed our clothes, ate lunch, bundled up, and went to the sledding hill. And, I'm telling you, we all had a great time. The kids went down on their bellies - without sleds, cause it was so icy you didn't need them. Sometimes we went down in a train/blob. My husband and I rode together. I even tried the side with the jump. Once.

And I 'm reminded again, there is joy in saying "No" to myself. It doesn't always happen this way. Sometimes I do what the kids want and I simply grin and bear it as I plod through the activity, smiling politely when they ask, "Are you having fun, Mom?" And I breathe a heavy sigh of relief when we're finished, thinking, "OK. I made it through that one." But sometimes, like today, I really have fun. And I'm thankful for my kids and that God is working through them to rid me of selfishness.
Sometimes the refining fire is hot and, yes, painful. In spite of the pain, I am thankful God knows perfectly what is needed in my life for Him to make me into the woman He wants me to be. And I'm grateful for the times like today when the fire doesn't even hurt, when I actually have fun by not being selfish.
Really, I've been home for over an hour now and my toes are still cold. But I haven't had that much fun in a very long time!


Anonymous said...

I hope my kids never ever read your blog...because for now, they don't know that they could probably make the request and I'd probably say yes, convicted by your stories. Their ignorance is my warmth. My toes are very cozy at the moment.

I know I'm missing out on all that joy, though. So the next big snow, we'll see....

Karen Hossink said...

Oh, Ann, I thought of you and Julie when I was writing this entry, and the dislike you both have for the cold, but I coldn't help myself. I had to write it!

I hope I'm not "guilting" you into anything.

Just have the hot chocolate ready to go when you get home. You'll be OK, I promise!

Anonymous said...

We just got about an inch of snow. Maybe, just maybe, when the kids get home from school today.....

momteacherfriend said...

One of the best parts of being a parent is having a reason to play. Enjoying the simple things through the eyes of a child.