Monday, May 14, 2012

The Hole in the Pancake

"And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living."  Genesis 3:20

My boys and I like to make blueberry pancakes on Saturday mornings.  My four year old likes me to make his pancakes in the shape of a doggie, using cereal for the eyes and strawberries for the mouth or nose.  My seven year old usually likes me to make big numbers.  Last time he wanted me to make a 1,000,000 pancake.  We compromised with a 1,000 shaped pancake instead.

Regardless of what shape my pancakes are, one thing is always the same.  I always have to poke a hole in the middle of it after I flip it over.  Why?  Because that's what my mom always did.  Why?  Because that's what her mom always did.  There may be a real, scientific reason why the pancakes seem to turn out better with a hole poked in them, but the honest reason why we do it?  That's what we learned from mom.

With Mother's Day having just passed, I wondered about Eve.  How did she know how to be a mother when she didn't have a mother to teach and model for her?  The Bible doesn't go into details about her mothering abilities, but as the mother of all living, I imagine she knew the distinct sound of each of her baby's cries.  She may have kissed their boo boos to make them better.  Maybe she worried about them as they went off on their own.

So how did Eve know how to be a mother without a mother to show her what to do?  Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he him."  When we look at the qualities of God the Son, we see Him tenderly calling the little children unto Himself in Matthew 19 and we also see Him fiercely driving out the money changers from the temple in John 2.  Christ personifies characteristics of both male and female, both mother and father, both gentle and compassionate, along with strong and mighty.  Donald Joy states in his book, Bonding: Relationships in the Image of God [1985] that "All this adds up to a magnificently rich portrait of God."

On the other side of the spectrum as a single mom, I often wonder how my boys will grow into manhood without a strong father in their lives who can take them there.  As a woman, I cannot take them there.  However, I do serve a Heavenly Father who promises to be "a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows," (Ps 68:5).  My mission is to remain in Him and lead my children in the way they should go because the Lord embodies all of the qualities I do not possess.  John 15:4 says, "Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me."

Eve may not have had an earthly mother, but she knew how to be a mother because she was created in the image of God who is a perfect model to both mother and father.  This is evidenced when the same God who said unto her after the fall, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow in conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children," also made "coats of skins, and clothed" her. (Gen 3:16, 21).  Even though Eve did not have an earthly mother, she did not lack for anything because she was a child of God and He is both Savior and King.

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me."  As a mother, I may not always do things right or say things right.  However, I hope to pass on a Godly legacy to my children because of all of the traits that my Heavenly Father does possess as both the Lion and the Lamb.

Thank you, Lord for your fullness of mercy, grace, and love and that you are everything that I need.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Finding Rest

"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done."  Genesis 2:2

It seems a little ironic that I am writing about finding rest at 9:30 at night, when really I should probably be doing that instead of sitting here at my computer.  Ahem, anyway...

Rest seems to be something that is not valued very highly these days.  From sunrise to sunset, life charges at us at lightning pace and there is always something to be done.  We busy ourselves with overactive activites, bouncing from one place to another.  I've heard people remark that there needs to be another 10 hours in the day.  However, if there really was an extra 10 hours in the day, I doubt we'd use that extra time to rest.  We'd probably just find more things to do to fill that time.

My day starts around 5:45am when my alarm goes off.  Or, if I'm more honest, I'd say it really starts around 6:10am after I've hit the snooze at least 5 times!  From there it's rush rush rush to get ready, get the kids ready, and out the door.  After that, I drop them off at school, spend the next eight hours working, pick up the kids, drive home, fix dinner, eat dinner, get the kids dressed for tee ball or karate, rush back out the door for whichever activity is happening that night, drive home, draw baths for the kids, play or read books with the kids, get dressed, brush teeth, say prayers, sing songs, lights out, lights on, kids have to go potty for the third time of the night, lights off again, clean up the kitchen from dinner, throw in a load of laundry, check email, wind down, go to bed.  What was the title of this post again?

Being a single parent can be exhausting, but I would dare to guess that many of my married friends' days don't look much different than my own.  Days like these are why I really enjoy my times of rest.  I have to intentionally carve out time for them from my busy schedule.  There is always something I could be doing.  But rest is a very important part of life.  The Lord set an example for us when he rested after the creation of the world.

I used to feel guilty about resting.  Especially if it came in the form of vegging out on the couch and watching television while the living room was a mess or the laundry was piled high.  If it's not the mess or the laundry, though, it would be something else.  There really aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done.  Maybe that just means that everything doesn't need to be done in a day and that resting is good for not only our bodies, but also our mind and spirit.

Choosing to rest also means learning to say no.  I've been learning that I need to say no sometimes to invitations or added activities if it will infringe on my necessary time to rest and unwind.  There are also days when I purposely avoid making any plans and just stay home and enjoy time with my kids or sit back with a good book.

Another way I intentionally set aside time to rest is through what has been declared in my house as "No Clean up Friday."  In fact, if I forget the rule and tell the boys to clean up before bed, they reply with, "We can't clean up, mommy.  It's No Clean up Friday!!"  On Friday nights we stay in and just play and relax.  It has actually become one of my favorite nights of the week and I find that I really enjoy my time with the kids a lot more when I am relaxed and recharged.

Sundays are our ultimate day of rest as we observe the Sabbath.  I wear a pedometer type tracker on my shoe to count my steps during the day.  Typically I try to get in at least 10,000 steps per day, which is not very difficult with my schedule.  On Sundays, however, I'm lucky if I reach 3,000.

The bottom line is that if even God rested, then what are we saying if we think we don't need it, too?  It is one thing to take resting too far where it becomes laziness, but there is no need to feel guilty for finding time to rest each day or week.  Take some time from your day to kick up your feet and relax, if even just for a few minutes.  I often take a short break during the day just to step outside and go for a 5-10 minute walk in the fresh air.  Even just that little bit of time during the day helps me to clear my mind and helps me to finish out my day and it makes me more productive for all the other work that needs to be done during the day.

Speaking of finding rest, I think I'll do that now... goodnight!!