African outfits

African outfits
Our crazy family

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Keeping Balance

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about balance.  Maybe it's because I feel like things are so out of balance and I'm not sure how to get it back.  It seems that for the past 11 months I have been single minded, focused on our upcoming trip to Africa.  Even though this is a good thing, taking an immense amount of planning and preparation, it still has swung us out of balance.  Drew has worked long hours, the kids and I have devoted more hours to outside work than we normally would have.  Our school work has been increased so that we will be free to travel without all our books.  Our thoughts are constantly on how many days we have until we leave, what we need to pack, what else needs to be done, how can we avoid getting sick, how exactly do we use SKYPE?  Even our Christmas presents are all revolving around the theme of traveling.  There are many days I feel so overwhelmed that I just can't wait to be on the plane and done with all of the preparations.  In addition to all that leads to us to Africa, life still goes on.  I still need to pay the bills, feed my family, wash clothes, clean our home, correct papers, spend some time with my husband, family and friends... the list seems endless.

I'm sure many of you can relate.  Maybe it's not Africa exactly, but it could be a number of things that pull us off balance.  Maybe it's hockey, or drama, or some other sport that has your family feeling anything but united.  I envision myself at times on a balance beam just trying to get to the other side.  One way to keep your balance is to find a focus point and just concentrate on that.  One of my favorite verses is in the book of Hebrews, "Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our Faith."  I even have this verse stenciled on my family room wall so that I will be reminded of this every day.  I try to make Jesus my focus point when life starts to get crazy, at times it feels like I'm balancing on the beam, making my way across, only to be bombarded with water balloons trying to knock my off.

  Just this week, I had lunch with some college friends.  The subject came up of one of my friends daughters who both have scoliosis.  Ellie and I had just been at the hospital visiting her friend after surgery for scoliosis.  I  went home and was talking to Drew about how strange it was that 2 of my friends were going through this.  Ellie walked in the room and I had her bend over to check her spine, I was just curious.  Drew and I were shocked to see that her spine was VERY crooked.  I slept little that first night, wondering how I could fit this into our already busy days and yet feeling this fear that I couldn't just let it go.  I had to remind myself to get my eyes off the circumstances and the "what ifs" and trust the One who formed my little girl in my womb.  Today I was able to get her into our chiropractor for an x-ray and he confirmed that she does have scoliosis.  He assured us that even though her spine is in the shape of an S, she is still very healthy and he does not see FEAR when he looks at her x-ray.  He was so encouraging about moving forward in having a base evaluation and checking her again to see if anything has changed once we return to the states.  It's funny how freaked out I was feeling but actually nothing had changed in God's eyes.  He knew her spine was growing crooked and yet He was still leading us to go to Africa.  Ellie is the same young lady she was before we looked closely at her spine.   I realize when we return, we will have to make decisions that will be for Ellie's best interest.  Today I can rest, knowing that I don't have to have everything figured out all at once.

I think balance is really about recognizing when we are off balance and putting our focus back where it belongs.  I'm going to share a journal entry from a Mom who just yesterday went to be with Jesus.  Heidi Swenson left behind a husband and 7 young children.  Even in her final days, she could see that her family was getting off balance.  Not that anyone would blame them, but it is so beautiful how she brings their eyes to the future glory of meeting Jesus.

Would you mind dear family and precious friends if I go on ahead of you to help Jesus prepare a place of exquisite beauty, tremendous joy, and radiant love for you?  I am exhausted and weary from all this mourning.  I feel the mourning day and night, in your presence and away.  I hurt as I cause you to mourn.  I am exhausting those nearest to me.  I sob every day at being able to do less and less to care for you.  I imagined myself helping you lovely grandparents in your old age, not this.  I hurt so much over what I am causing you to feel and sacrifice in your tender care of me.  I must change my perspective.
So, would you mind if I focus on the joy ahead of all of us--a time when we are all re-united at the feet of Jesus?  Then it won't feel so much like I am deserting you, rather going on ahead where I shall lovingly and eagerly await your adoptive arrival into my Father's heavenly family.  As I prepare my/ our wedding gown for Christ, know I forgive you any shortcomings and humbly  I beg your forgiveness for the hurt you hold from my existence.
With an everlasting joy, Heidi (taken from her Caringbridge entry)

The things that I am balancing are nothing compared to what this dear family is going through.  I hope her words challenge you like they do me, to remember to fix your eyes on Jesus too.  

Hebrews 12:1-3  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."