Insecure

How is it that last night I could write about the beautiful promises in Isaiah and be all happy about God taking care of His people, and today I am an insecure mess in need of a good cry? And feeling like people will be angry or dismissive of me if I cry?

So I read the promises again. They are wonderful. They are true. And I’m still struggling big time.

I’ve even been doubting my vocation as mother and homeschooler. Maybe I should be working. I can earn more than my husband; support the farm. He doesn’t want to quit farming and the cows are doing awful. Maybe I should be doing that. Or work and homeschool at the same time. It’s been done. Who will take care of the kids? I don’t know. I don’t know anything right now. Except that I’m trying to do everything right; follow the rules, live in integrity. And I feel like I’m doing it all wrong, anyway.

Even my freelance writing; it’s a source of income. But it’s not steady or predictable, or enough to cover groceries. And if I spend too much time on the computer I end up thinking of my husband at counseling saying how I was on “that stupid computer” most nights. But I was taking care of the kids during the day. And this stupid computer is actually one of my favorite places to be. And I don’t think, deep down, that it’s wrong for me to be on here. But maybe it is. Maybe I’m always wrong about everything. Maybe I’m a horrible wife and mother. I don’t think so, but I also do.

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Beautiful Promises of Isaiah 43

We had a sermon on Isaiah 43 tonight, and it got me thinking more about that lovely chapter. Here are some things I’ve been thinking about.

Vs. 1b: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” To be told not to fear is a wonderful thing in itself. I do fear. I fear a lot. And I shouldn’t because God has called me by my name and said I am His. He takes care of His own.

Parts of vs. 2: “…they shall not overwhelm you… the flame shall not consume you.” Wow. So when I feel overwhelmed and consumed, it’s really just a wave or a flame that’s touching me while I am in the very safe grip of God.

Vs. 4a: “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.” It reminds me of that hymn, “Jesus, Lover of my Soul.” Just when I think I am unloved, I am proven wrong. And actually, when one person unloves you and dishonors you, that’s when you begin to realize how many others really do love you.

Vs. 13b: “I work, and who can turn it back?” That’s so reassuring. God is at work, and all the sanctification He works in me and others cannot be turned back or dismissed or reversed with lies by anyone.

Vs. 26: “Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right.” Ha, I’m not exactly sure what that means, and I’ll probably check my study Bible later, but right now I’m thinking, hey, this is an invitation to communicate with God and to claim the promises He has given in His word. I’m not a big fan of arguing, but reminding God of Himself seems like a thing I can do.

Dear Mrs. Bird

As I tried to enjoy what should have been a lovely chat about romance, I made a proper promise to myself. Absolutely no more letters in the magazine.

I had meant well, but I’d nearly put dear Kathleen in the most difficult position. The thought brought me up short. It was bad enough not telling Bunty I was writing back to the readers, but if Mrs. Bird ever thought Kathleen suspected me of tampering with advice in the magazine and not reported it to her, it would be very serious indeed.

— from Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce, 2018

I finally found another book I really enjoy. It has been awhile. Dear Mrs. Bird takes place in London during WWII, and the heroine, of course, does not stop tampering with advice in the woman’s magazine she works for. The language in the book is really funny, full of Capital Letter Words which imply something is Terribly Important. The relationships in the book are endearing, especially the friendships formed. I appreciate that it is clean. I haven’t been able to recommend much on here lately because of too much immorality, to which I’m sensitive lately. Dear Mrs. Bird is totally recommendable. Go read it!

Sunde in Jolster

Sunde in Jolster by Nikolai Astrup, ca. 1920

I’m letting my mind take a vacation to Norway tonight. At least for a few moments. I read somewhere that picturing a beautiful image in your head during moments of stress can calm you down. I’m going to try to make that a habit. The trouble will be choosing one beautiful image. Our world of art has so many!

Walking by Light and Truth

Psalm 43 has meant a lot to me lately, and I want to take a few moments to tell you why.

Everyone goes through tough patches in life. It’s how God grows us. Mine is now, and I’m often confused and lacking hope. Verse 3 says, “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me.” And that’s what I’ve been praying.

When God sends me His light, then I can see more clearly what is happening. I will be more understanding of myself and others, and I will be less likely to react in ungodly ways. How does He send me His light? I think it’s through lots of little and big ways. Through sermons (we just, conveniently, had one on marriages, which is applicable to my problems). Through counselors. Through devotionals and Bible readings. Through books, like the Boundaries book I’m studying. Also through friends who pray for me. Natural light actually produces Vitamin D in our bodies which nourishes us and fights depression symptoms. Spiritual light fights hopelessness in much the same way.

When God sends me His truth, then I know that if I follow His truth, I won’t be wrong. It is reassuring to understand that God’s opinion of me and His understanding of my motives matters more than anyone else’s opinion. If my vertical relationship with God is right, then my horizontal relationships can be out of whack and it doesn’t matter that much because God will either pull them back into position or… I don’t know… leave them the way they are. Because God cares about me. God sends His truth and light to me. And He doesn’t do that to every single person out there.

I still feel in the dark sometimes. But I know God will answer “Yes” when I ask Him to send me His light and truth. And I know He will also answer “Yes” when I ask Him to lead me. It’s a matter of faith. I don’t see all the results yet, but I know God is working on His Yes answer.

An Interior with a Woman

An Interior with a Woman by Vilhelm Hammershoi, c. 1900-1909

This lovely, mysterious painting suits me right now. The layers of rooms, the strangeness of having the woman facing away, the mysteriousness of what she is looking at, the open door and closed door, the middle ground, the signs on the walls, the purity of the light, and the way it reminds me of Vermeer: it all strikes a chord. I don’t even want to know what her face is like. I am glad she seems to be a private person, and I am glad she has a place in these clean rooms.

It makes me think that everyone has secrets, and problems, and reasons to keep one door closed and one door open.

I seem to have gotten my internal clock mixed up, and so I can’t fall asleep until around 3 in the morning, and then I don’t have much energy in the mornings when I get up. But maybe that’s this woman’s problem, too. You never know. Sometimes it’s good that you can’t tell everything about a person just by looking.

Summer Vacation has Begun

Now that summer has begun, here’s what I’m thinking about homeschool:

  • I refuse to regret anything in the past year; it went well enough, and the kids learned things.
  • I have a lot of research to do during the summer.
    • I have to get new history curriculum (or decide to do more unit studies).
    • I have to decide which math program to move my middle daughter into. She’s not thriving on Math-U-See.
    • I have to decide if this is the year we begin learning Spanish.
    • I want a more thorough language arts curriculum (in combination with the literature I choose to read aloud) because I don’t want it to be all on me to teach them the technicalities of writing and grammar. I’m a little vague on the technicalities.
    • I might want to purchase a different typing program because Keyboarding Without Tears is getting old and tiresome for the girls.
    • I need to find ways to keep my son busy doing things he loves. Thankfully, he does love some aspects of school.

And here’s what I’m thinking about summer vacation:

  • I want to be more creative with our time than I was last year. Go places, be brave, but not so brave that I get lost or in situations I can’t handle.
  • My son is now mowing lawn, so I’ll probably be clipping edges all summer. He doesn’t get as close as last year’s lawn mower. I need to convince myself that this is okay. The last time I clipped, my hand wouldn’t stop twitching for 24 hours. Hopefully that doesn’t continue.
  • I hope the pool is enjoyable for the kids and I this summer because it’s a great place to go when everything else is boring.
  • And I want to paint that picture I promised myself on New Years!! I just have to begin.