focus. focus. focus.

This is my mantra for the day. Whew. I’m just feeling all manner of overwhelmed. Not sure I can even sort it out in blog-friendly fashion. Will do my best.

First of all, my friend Barb. Thank you for praying for her! Her surgery is tomorrow morning. The plan, as I understand it, is to remove 1/8 of her brain where the seizures are stemming from. There’s a 50% chance it will be effective. I have her address at the Cleveland Clinic if you’d like to send her a card. Just message me. I’d so love to bombard her with a shower of cards saying we’re praying for her. She’s such a dear soul, always serving others without a care for herself. If you can’t send a card, please keep praying!

I went to a meeting at church this morning for Bible study facilitators. This is a big chunk of my overwhelm-ment. We got hand-outs galore, a counselor dude and another gal spoke to us, we got all sorts of information for leading effectively and helping women in need/crisis. Wow. The counseling part really intrigues me, and I’d love to learn more (and there is so much opportunity at our church. we have our own counseling center even.) but I feel like my life is already full. Man.

Then there’s Cubbies. My first night back (last night) after 6 weeks off. Yowzers. I missed last week, because we still weren’t feeling up to par. Found out last night that one of the mom helpers won’t be returning or sending her son, because it was just mass chaos last week. Eek. They kind of look to me to take charge, and I really wish they wouldn’t, because I just signed up to be a “helper.” Last night wasn’t too bad. Tiring, yes, but there were only 12 kids instead of 18. The boys just bounce off the walls like nobody’s business, but all (except one) of them obeyed when I laid down the law.

I’m still struggling with how much to get involved, how much to volunteer. Our church is so big, and sometimes I just long for a cozy little church where I actually know everyone and there aren’t a million Cubbies and a million jobs that need to be done by someone, anyone. I really do love our church, but for the easily overwhelmed (me!) it just wreaks havoc in my heart and mind sometimes.

Livi came home from school yesterday wondering why she can read better than everybody in her class. Oh boy. She talked about how kids were making comments about her being the smartest and stuff. Thankfully, they didn’t seem to be mean comments (like, “we don’t like you because you’re smart.”). We had yet another talk about how God gives us all different gifts, and when He gives you an extra lot of a certain one, it’s your responsibility to help other people in that area so they can be good at it too. We have nothing in this life that God didn’t give us. She’s at such a sweet, tender age. There wasn’t any pridefulness in her voice, and I pray it stays that way.

I do worry about her younger sister though. She’s not Livi, and I hope she doesn’t get compared to her all her life, following so closely behind her in school. Her kindergarten teacher is SO great about not expecting her to be like big sis. I’m so thankful. And like I’ve mentioned before, Ava has gifts Livi doesn’t. My prayer is that all three of them will grow up being so thankful for who they are and never wanting what another sister has.

I love Galatians 5:25-26 (especially in the MSG), and someone mentioned it this morning at our meeting. “Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means that we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.

I have so many interesting things to do with my life I hardly know what to do. And it’s not because I’m some amazingly interesting person. I think all of us, if we sat down and thought about it, could make a list a mile long of all the wonderful things we could be doing to make the world a better place–and bring more people to Christ.

I’ve long had a passion for helping people recognize what they love to do–and are great at–and find ways to do it as a ministry or even a career of sorts. But that’s a blog for another day.

Before I forget, thank you all so much for leaving comments about how God used my words yesterday to touch your heart and bring some sort of transformation to your life. I used to think that God “blessing” me meant He was going to give me money and stuff. 🙂 Now, I know what blessing really is. Asking Him to use you, letting Him do it, and then having wonderful, caring people share how they’ve been impacted or inspired.

I just want to be a vessel.

And my darling little 2-year-old (TWO YEARS OLD!) needs a nap. Gabe’s at a lunch meeting, and I will be virtually alone with my thoughts (and pen, paper, computer) until he gets back. I do so love this kind of afternoon. (which will probably last 20 minutes–oh well)

I’ve still got a bunch to say, but you all have things you need to be doing. Like cleaning clutter or seizing the day or reading a board book to your toddler or stopping for 5 minutes to have yourself some black raspberry chip ice cream.

Love and hugs for your Thursday!

19 thoughts on “focus. focus. focus.

  1. Anonymous

    What a great idea to help people find their passion and discover what they are good at! I think there are a lot of people who don’t really know… including myself.

  2. YoGrandmaYo

    Livi reminds me of another little girl I once knew.:)  I pray, too, that she stays humble.:)  About your getting involved in things – Here’s the verse I prayed for you yesterday:  I Pet. 4:10 – “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  God has blessed you with MANY gifts, honey, and I’m praying that God will make it very clear to you what all HE wants you to be involved in.  I know He will!  Love you!:)

  3. jbnygaard

    Long blog. I can tell that Marla is back to ‘normal’ now. I haven’t had a chance to read this blog yet, but I will when I get my list of chores done! 🙂

    To answer your question…I don’t know. Let me ask, and I’ll get back to you. Oh…and the reason I didn’t respond so quickly last night was because I wasn’t allowing myself to get on the computer last night—once I’m on, I have a hard time getting off!

  4. filledeparis

    Ah, the ongoing struggle of what ministries to commit to, and which ones to leave. I don’t have much different words of wisdom to speak to you regarding this topic, so I’m asking God to speak them to you, friend. Prayed for you just now.

  5. rocknnell

    I know I am the MIL..old, past raising kids…etc.  I pray this is from GOD…but the other day, it dawned, again, pray it is from GOD…that – we talk openly to our kids as they grow up…about other things…getting them to think, to understand the personality of GOD, the personality of others in their class, etc.  I believe this outloud….” if we would talk, communicate and discuss and work it in our being as a family unit…the differences of each other…truly talk about…”what do you like about Joey’s ability ?  what do you like about in return the others ?  When the A + is brought home over and over…etc. what are  you feeling….and involve the kids through , through growing up…  between each other, not “from the parents” each other,  to where it is a NORM…when they hit the rough teen years…that it is developed into love of each others gifts…and concern for each others weakness….then when they are older…the desire to have, the desire not to like themselves….satan would not have gotten his foot in that door of humiliation, mental self abuse, defeat…but God would have HIS ARMS in acceptance, rejoice with those, and kids would absorb what the other one is…and not…turn to himself of what he is not.   ? ?  ( this came to me, out of the blue) I pray GOD will someday use it…to unfold what was so imbedded in me….to save other children from lack of liking themselves. sorry so long ! 

  6. Nixter77

    We found the same at our old church, so much to do and it’s usually the same people who end up doing that stuff that needs to be done too.

    You DON’T have to do it all. God has given you many gifts my friend. MANY.

    I think pray and ask God where he wants you serving and don’t feel like you have to do it all. God does provide and he WILL provide people to get his work done! You will be more useful and less stressed if you zone in on just one or a couple of things where you can use your energies on those things and not just spread yourself thinnly across several areas. I am saying this to myself too.

    I will pray for you lovely. It was so good to chat yesterday, I love our chats and I love you!

  7. ClutzyButtercup

    The filthy rich might have had some kind of dishwasher…Everyone else had a wife/mother!  I get an extra special laugh from all of this because my husband comes home from work at about 2am.

  8. mtaviano

    ^You are all just amazingly brilliant. (seriously) And encouraging. I was actually just fishing for people to tell me I didn’t have to do all this stuff. (just kidding)

  9. kkakwright

    ^Ooohhh yes.  because, remember, if you take on everything then you are robbing other people of the joy of serving and not allowing God to do one of the things that He does best which is enabling people to do His work.  It will get done if you don’t do it.  God will make sure of that.

  10. gsowell

    I may be projecting myself into what you wrote, but I think you tend to be burdened by so many ministry opportunities because you have been blessed with talent to do a lot of different things well (at least passably well). Thus, whenever they say, “We have a need for this work to be done,” a part of you says, “Oooh, that’s important and I could do it!” Remember, I may just be talking about myself, because this is EXACTLY how it goes in my head. What I continually have to remind myself is that I need to focus on the tasks God has laid in front of me and do those well. And I need to pray for other leaders to pick up the slack on the other ministries and for God to BLESS them by using them richly to minister to His people. And that’s from a small, cozy church perspective, which truly has the same problems as a large church (we had 8 Cubbies last night with the teacher and one helper. One kid screamed and cried and kicked begging for his mother for a LONG time).

    All this to say, if you need to focus your energies and scale back your volunteer commitments, that might be part of the sacrifice you are called to make to be a more useful servant in other areas. I’ve had to stop doing some of the ministries I am passionate about in order to be where He wants me to be right now. I could squeeze them in, but I don’t think it’s His will.

    And I just got preachy, which means I need to shut up. You knew all this anyway. I just had to share. It’s more clear in my head when I write it down.

  11. ladymiss3739

    I’ll have some (black raspberry chip ice cream, that is)! 

    I understand the “overwhelmed” feeling you got from the meeting, although I find that sometimes (just sometimes), the meetings end up being bigger than the actual task turns out to be. 

    It does sound like you have lots of “big” things going on…praying for you that God would give you clear thoughts and a peaceful heart as you figure out your role and place in all of this! 

  12. kkakwright

    msg me barb’s address please and thank you.
    i was just reading in the “strong willed child” (which after reading i have determined that k3rry isn’t at all strong willed – just a boy) about sibling rivalry and comparing your children.  dr. dobson had a lot of good things to say as always.  i do hope i don’t fall into the trap of playing the comparison game.  it is ever so hard though as you know what your oldest one did at a certain age and expect the same of the next one. 
    i think twinges of them wanting to have something their sister has is probably inevitable but i also think mommy and daddy can do many many things to help this not become their focus.  i always wanted to be/do/have everything my (older) sister was/did/had.  for me, it never changed even as adults, everything she had seemed so “cool”.  but God did wonders for me concerning contentment (imagine that?).  i always looked up to her, never quit but God allowed me the discernment to see past the material and into her heart.  and in the end, she wanted what i had, she wanted to do what i was doing and this was huge to me.  cause it helped me to see the uniqueness of me and the blessings given to me. and now, i still have some of her hand-me-down clothes that i adore and wear all the time but i wouldn’t trade my me-ness for anything.  and not just because she is gone, but because i know i am just as “cool” but in a lot of different ways. 🙂  she traveled the world, she was a marine, she made a ton of money but she would have traded it all to live in a simple house (like mine) and stay home with her babies.  God has been so good to me!  Yay!
    sorry for rambling./  

  13. faithchick

    wow.  talk about swirling thoughts!!  you’re doing great.  i often ponder the volunteer thing, too.  it’s a tough choice.  not even the volunteer thing, but the having my kids in stuff thing even when it’s past their bedtime and they come home and wail for 2 hours straight because they are so tired (awana).  but it’s church.  and we should be there when the doors are open, right??  and i love my church family, and my church family loves my kids.  and it’s for their own good even if they aren’t sleeping well, right?  questions, questions, questions.

    funny that you mention your passion for helping people do what they’re good at.  You’ve never put it into words like that before–but it’s so clear b/c every. sing. time. i mention cakes vs. teaching you always say cakes!

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