April 20, 2014

A Little of This and a Little of That

Lots of randomness on the brain lately, so just dumping it all here at once:

--We are almost done with our regular school work.  Yahooo!  This is good because my brain was ready to be done with school about 3 weeks ago.  We're going to continue doing small things, at least in the mornings, throughout the summer.  Hopefully this will keep them from forgetting all they've learned this year.  It will also keep us moving and help pass these upcoming summer mornings.  I am so looking forward to lazy days, family walks, afternoons at the pool, and reading outside on blankets.

--Lent is over.  I survived drinking only water for Lent.  Some days, it was easy, some days, super hard.  But, everyday, it reminded me how blessed I am to be able to run to the faucet for a glass of clean water to drink, to be able to brush my teeth with clean water, to bathe in clean water, to be able to choose whether I want my water to be hot or cold.  So many in this world don't have any of those choices.  I feel blessed to be able to donate my small amount of money to help those with little to no access to clean water be able to get it.  I won't lie, it was a looooooong 40 days.  Life here in the McSmith house had lots of ups and downs in that time and I learned just how much I rely on food and soda to "make me feel better" when things aren't going my way.  It was no coincidence that God led me to this challenging Lent sacrifice when He was also going to be refining my faith and putting our family through some difficult times.  I didn't have soda to run to (which is what I always do when I'm tired, stressed, or frustrated....drink lots of soda!) God is so good!  He met me right where I needed Him, provided all the comfort I needed.  I can rest in Him.  I don't need soda or food for true rest and comfort.  I need Christ alone.

--I really enjoyed church this morning.  Celebrating Christ's resurrection is just exciting. It's even more exciting to celebrate with your children right next to you.  The Lord reminded me today that I need to come before Him like a child, full of excitement, and with genuine love and honesty.  It was so sweet today, as the first chords of My Redeemer Lives Ethan just began grinning really big and jumping.  I'll admit, it's a fun and exciting song.  His enthusiasm was so contagious.  It was all I could do not to just jump up and down with the joy of Christ's resurrection.  He's alive!  He's conquered sin, death, shame, illness.  He makes all things new.  How can we stand still?  We should be like the little child, joyfully running to you with their exciting news.  I was also reminded that this should be our attitude every week.  We celebrate His life, death, and resurrection every Sunday, even if that's not explicitly the sermon topic, and I should come excited and ready to shout forth my praise to Him each week, as if it were Easter Sunday every week. This is my challenge every week from now on.

--If you read my post from earlier this week, you know I had a dilemma about what to wear for Easter Sunday morning.  I tried to go middle of the road with a jean skirt, leggings,and a simple shirt and sweater.  Sadly, none of our Afterschool families came to church today, but we had lots of visitors.  And I am so proud that my church all were very loving and welcoming of all who came in the door. But, as I was pondering this week what I would wear, God really got to my heart with the thought that I should be wanting all visitors to feel welcome every week, not just on Easter Sunday.  Why was I so worried about this one Sunday, but not any other Sunday?  So, I've decided to stop fretting about what to wear each week.  Nothing I have is anything over the top, but I will probably stick to simple skirts, nicer jeans, and simple shirts.  (And hey, compared to the sweat pants I literally wear around the house everyday, this is dressing up!)  I remember being little and being expected to get all dressed up on Sunday mornings and thinking, "He sees me every other day of the week in my jeans and shorts, why does He need to see me in something nice on Sunday?"  Not sure if I still feel that way or not, but I certainly do feel that, at times, I have dressed nicer to put on a mask or to look or feel better than I really was.  It was a show.  Now, I am not saying that everyone who dresses nicely on Sundays is putting on a show, but for me, many times, that's really all it has been.  Not anymore.  I want my clothing to reflect my heart as much as possible. (Though I promise not to wear the sweatpants...though I have been tempted to do so on more than one occasion.) Yes, we are to present our best to God, but using clothes as a mask is not our best!  This may seem silly to some of you, but it's a big thing to my heart.  I am praying that God will use this area in my heart to continue to draw me to Him.

--I am saddened that none of our Afterschool families joined us for church this morning, but I am not dissuaded. God is up to something in the lives of those children and I know that can't help but overflow into the lives of the parents, grandparents, or whatever adults are in their lives.  God is teaching me that this is a slow, painful, messy, joy-filled, frustrating process.  I must rely on and trust in Him alone.  He has placed great leadership over us in this ministry and He's going to do some amazing things in these little lives, even if we never see what that is.

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