Monday, April 5, 2010

My life as a have-not

My entire Clan of In-Laws (minus a boyfriend who had to work) went bowling on Easter Saturday. All 23 of us, plus my own little sister, piled into the little 6-lane alley in Smalltown America and bowled til our thumbs were sore and our shoulders begged for mercy. For a few of us, that takes two full games. For others, it was about three frames. I am somewhere in the middle, although I persevered until the end of game two. It was not pretty. Thank God there were 15 kids there to take the pressure off, and I was not the worst bowler in the room.

I have not the gift for bowling. Or any organized sport, for that matter.

Following the escapades of the bowling alley, we pressed through an evening of dyeing Easter eggs, showers, and baths, and fell exhausted into bed in anticipation of what the morning would bring. Easter Sunday came early and began with those familiar words known oh-so-well to every parent: "Dad! Mom! Get up! The Easter bunny came!!" How wonderful! Amidst the trails of candy wrappers and Easter grass on the floor, our salvation was found once more. Christ is alive!! He is risen! Eat a chocolate bunny in celebration!

I have not a clean floor or a small waistband.

After a truly lovely church service, I attempted the impossible. At least it is impossible in my world. I attempted to get one good--just one good--photo of my children in their Easter best. I am intelligent. Dan is intelligent. Our children are intelligent. So can anyone tell me why it is that getting one--just one--good photo can be such an impossible nightmare? Sometimes this process can be enough to make me want to scream out "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY CAN'T YOU JUST SMILE?!" (In Christian love, of course.) Thankfully, this year I did not scream. I laughed. But nevertheless, despite the odds, despite the past evidence to the contrary, I attempted these oft-sought-after photos again. Hope springs eternal, especially on Easter. Here, for your pleasure, are my failed attempts...

I have not children who can sustain attention toward a camera. I have not a beautifully landscaped yard with a gorgeous spring backdrop. I have not the patience for this process.

What made Easter truly lovely for me this Easter was not the baskets, candy, or ham dinner. It was not the music at church or watching the black drape come off the cross while I wrestled with a two-year-old who was overtired and wired on sugar (not a good combination). What was lovely for me was the laughter of children running circles with their cousins. It was the squeals of "go faster!" while they got to ride in the back of Daddy's pickup on our gravel road on our gorgeous spring day. It was the "aroma pleasing to the Lord" in my backyard. It was the sticky faces covered in roasted marshmallow goo. It was watching my brother-in-law make the perfect S'more.

God did such an amazing thing on the cross over 2000 years ago. The most amazing thing. Ever. And yet, who did He do it for? Us. A bunch of overstuffed, busy, simple earthlings covered in Easter grass and marshmallow goo. A bunch of have-nots.

I have not fame or riches. I have not the perfect body. I have not well-behaved kids who make life peaceful and calm. I have not the perfect church. I have not the prettiest yard. I have not the nicest house. I have not. I have not. I have not. As I reflected on the failed photo attempts of my children, I wondered, how often does God want to scream "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY CAN'T YOU JUST SMILE?!" How often does He give me a good and perfect gift, and watch me complain about something else?

Yes, Lord, the sun is lovely, but the wind is too strong today.

Yes, Lord, the kids are happy, but do they have to be so loud?

Yes, Lord, Dan can still work, but does he have to work so much?

Yes, Lord, the kids are healthy, but they still can't clean up after themselves.

Yes, Lord, I asked to be used by You, but not in this way.

Complain, whine. Whine, complain. Worry about this. Fret about that. Have not. Try too hard to have it all. Anyone relate??

But, I do have it all! I have Christ, His salvation, my family, and a backyard campfire. My life as a have-not can be pretty good sometimes, if only I would keep my heart focused on Him. He just gave His life for me, and I am basking in that glow today.


David said...

Shelly, I've uttered almost the exact same words. In fact in might have been today before the grandchildren went home. And then I realize that God may say the same things about us. But thanks be to God he still loves us.

Shelly said...

Amen, brother! Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate it!