First, the “deeper” thoughts—-A few days ago I picked up the latest magazine out of a stack and casually skimmed through it. It was the middle of a very ordinary day for me. I read that on May 10, 2010, just a few weeks ago in Nigeria, a Christian village in the south was attacked by a group of Muslims armed with machete’s. Three hundred people were cut down. One mother had twin babies on her back and the babies were killed, but the mother lived. A small girl had her arm severed at the elbow.
I tried to remember what I was doing on May 10th. I imagined my friends from ccf who recently had twins and wondered if any American has faith that could survive an attack like that?
Yesterday, I read a one-paragraph article in WORLD magazine called, “hunger season” about how a famine season has arrived in Niger. The World Food Programme is doing their best to help small children from dying before the harvest in two months.
I felt guilty for fretting over what to make for supper.
I don’t know how to live as a very wealthy person (ultra-rich by almost any standard), when the news has made it so easy for me to see people suffering while I am thriving. I don’t know how to give responsibly. I don’t know how to overcome Jesus’ prophetic words, “It is very difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” How can I enter in?
Next, a mother’s thoughts on an ordinary day—And while these sorts of thoughts run under the surface, life goes on. Ordinary life. Is the bathroom clean enough that I won’t be embarrassed for a guest to use it? Who left the toothbrush on the floor….again? Can one of the driving teenagers run to the store to get sour cream (the only ingredient missing for supper)? How many “extras” will be eating with us? Should I joyfully be glad to have others around my table tonight? Or should I be setting stricter boundaries since I’m so tired and pregnant? Guilt. Where’s Corrie? Is the patio door locked? Oh, right, she’s taking a nap. Is that a child crying or laughing in the other room? If they are laughing, is there going to be a big mess in that room later? What’s Mariah doing? Shouldn’t she be helping me more now that she’s almost 18? Maybe I should give her more freedom since she’s going to be leaving in a couple of months. I’ll wash those dishes. Why are there two ipods blasting while someone is playing the piano? How long has Esther been watching TV, and how many little bags of chips has she eaten? I pause from washing the dishes and yell, “Everybody tidy up for 5 minutes and then GO OUTSIDE!” Half the kids listen. Maggie threatens to spank Esther if she doesn’t go outside. Corrie wakes up because she heard me yelling my announcement. “Pooh, pooh,” she says as I get her out of her crib. Wow, I feel really tired right now, I think I’ll just rock-a-bye Corrie for a little while…….but who will finish the dishes…..who will get supper started before Joe gets home? Why are there still so many people in the house when I said to go outside? “It’s hot,” moans Noel (who happens to be wearing sweat pants for some reason.) I step out the front door and it feels like the hottest part of the summer by Missouri standards. “Ok, go swim until dad gets home. Judah, wear your life jacket.” “Pooh, pooh,” Corrie says again as she touches her nose. “Maggie, can you help me?” I sit down while Maggie changes Corrie and pick up the WORLD magazine sitting on the table. I read, “Hunger Season”…..I see an emaciated child Corrie’s age who can’t even walk. Guilt.
Making sense of it all—I remember that Jesus didn’t do everything He wanted to on any given day. He did what the Father told Him to do. I must listen closely and walk with the Lord today. I CRY OUT for wisdom each day. The Bible says if I cry out for wisdom more loudly than I call out for my credit card bill to be paid (my paraphrase), then God will give it to me. I die to my desires to do “great things” for the kingdom of God….and I submit to doing ordinary things with a cheerful spirit. Things that don’t seem to matter in the grand scheme of things. I tell Maggie thank you. I put my hand on Mariah’s shoulder and tell her I don’t know how I’ll live without her this fall. I finish the dishes. I decide to read the article about the attacks in Nigeria to the girls in school tomorrow and pray for the people there. I sit in air conditioning and choose not to complain for the next 15 minutes even though I just can’t get comfortable in my super-pregnant condition.
And a very, very quiet voice whispers to me, “The kingdom of God is within you.” And despite the noise and chaos around me, I hear it.