When life hands you the too-big fork…

by Kari on July 16, 2014

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{It is my joy to introduce you to my lifelong best friend and the girl who daily models for me what the sacred mundane looks like. There are no words for how much I love this girl, or how beautifully she endures difficulty with a smile on her face. Please read and take to heart these life-giving words from Janae…}

~

When I was new to dirty diapers, sleepless nights & wailing cries the mundane felt lonely & the sacred empty.

The tasks filled my days, but not my heart.  The days were slow & lonely.

At the end of those long & exhausting days, I would collapse in bed & stare at my Bible.  My big fat, heavy red Bible.  The cover was held together with duct tape.  The pages were highlighted, underlined, scribbled on.

But as I stared at the words, they felt dull & distant.  I was just too tired.

Frustrated, I’d close my Bible, close my eyes & drift into sweet slumber.

Days slipped by, more babies came.

Almost 7 years later, as a mommy of 4, my mundane is sacred & my sacred life-giving simply because of God’s grace.

All those times when I felt too tired, God was not tired.  Those scriptures that seemed to be slipping through my weary mind, had been penetrating my heart & changing my spirit so slowly I didn’t even realize it.  As I have learned to submit to endless & mundane tasks, my heart has transformed; softened–grown in compassion, patience & humility.

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He took me by the hand & taught me how to serve with joy.  How to pray while sorting laundry or doing the dishes (I had no idea my 4-year-old was taking photos of me, above, praying while I put dishes away).  How to hear his voice in the midst of all the ruckus.  How to read His word in small spaces of time & let it sink in deep.

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On a daily basis my sacred mundane sometimes looks like a big crazy disaster.  There are moments when voices swirl around me.  Simple requests to play legos, read a book, wipe a bottom, feed a tummy, pick up toys, tie a shoe, zip a zipper, play a game, build a puzzle fill the air.  The voices can seem in opposition to each other & I often feel pulled in too many directions.  That is when I retreat to my closet which is lined with scripture.  I read a quick verse, lift up a prayer & return to my day with a fresh perspective.

Growth has come by pausing to say, “This is hard, God.  I cannot do this.  I need you.  Show me how to love…serve…honor…trust...forgive.”

And it often feels like I need to die to myself to really get anywhere.

It is harder than hard, and there are times I struggle to breathe.  Times when I say, “Lord, letting go of what I want really stinks.  Help.”  And do you know what He often says?  “Obey me, trust me, and see what I can do.”

Whenever I need a really good pep-talk, I reach for Jen Hatmaker’s Interrupted.  She makes loving, serving & being stretched seem like one big fabulous party.  She writes,

“The path of descent becomes our own liberation.  We are freed from the exhausting stance of defense.  We are no longer compelled to be right & are thus relieved from the burden of maintaining some reputation.  We are released from the idols of greed, control & status.”

So basically she is saying is,

“Lighten up, Janae–who cares if your sweats are the only thing that fit or you comb your hair so rarely that you have humongous knots that need cut out?  And big deal if your hubby goes grocery shopping & comes home with 50 boxes of nitrate filled sausages because they were $.27 a box.  Surrender & live in freedom.”

Recently my daughter set the table for dinner.  She put a lot of consideration into arranging the dishes & utensils.  When I sat down, I realized she had given me a huge dinner fork.  I prefer the little salad forks.  The big ones feel clumsy, heavy, awkward in my hand (I guess I am a fork wimp). I could have very easily stood up, taken a few steps & exchanged the big fork for a little one.  But instead I chose to honor her, the choices she made & the effort she put forth.  I ate my dinner with that big fork.  After a little while, I got used to the weight & it no longer felt out of place in my hand.

I had forgotten it wasn’t what I wanted.

So the question has become, What will I do when given a fork I do not want?  When it feels too heavy? When the messes are too big or the attitudes aren’t right or he is working late (again) or the house plans aren’t quite what I wanted or the car isn’t what I would like to be driving or the house projects aren’t ever going to get done or that bikini barista coffee shop irritates me or I find somebody digging through our garbage bin–what am I going to do?

big big mess

Bend low, dig deep, surrender, build legos, sort the laundry, do the dishes, sweep the floors, survive the sleepless nights, read a book, take a deep breath when the toddler empties the fridge (above!), say “okay & thank you” when he calls to say he is working late, take flowers to the bikini barista, feed the person digging through my garbage.

And let it all transform me while living in the joy that comes in serving & knowing Jesus.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord.  I say it again–rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.  Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts & minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:4-7

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{Kari–thank you so much for your passion for the Sacred Mundane & all the time & energy you put into encouraging growth & pointing us to Jesus.  You are a gift.  Jeff–thank you for loving my friend, your kids & the church well.}

 

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