Over the weekend, I had this brilliant idea. See, the kids need new pajamas, and I'm not about to pay $19.99 a pop so they can sleep with Dora or Sponge Bob - so I had to come up with something more reasonable. Enter the brilliant idea...
Make them myself.
So, that's what I did. For the girls, the tops are Giant Tiger (Canadian and much smaller version of WalMart) brightly colored, plain t-shirts at $2.97 each, with .10 appliques from the dollar store (daisies, butterflies & other girlie stuff) strategically placed on the front. The jammie pants are created from fleece throws at $2.97 each.
Total cost for new jammies for 1 kid = $7.00
They're cute, they like them, and I saved a load of money on each pair. So what does that have to do with where God is? Everything, and I'll explain why.
Yesterday in church we had a guest preacher speak about Jonah and how Jonah wasn't all too thrilled with God's sovereignty in salvation. It was an excellent message that everyone here should have heard. Jonah didn't want God to be merciful to the Ninevites, he wanted Him to smote them off the face of the planet.
Also at church yesterday was a guest musician (who is nothing short of amazing on the acoustic guitar) that had a challenge of sorts for us when we pray about where God would have us be. He suggested that when we pray, that instead of asking God to bless our ministry (which is a perfectly acceptable way to pray), that we might ask God to lead us into where He wants us to be, and be ready, willing and able to go where He leads. I've heard this message before - asking the Lord to lead us into where He is, rather than asking Him to bless us where we are. It's a good message and something I think we should all seriously consider on a regular basis.
How that all fits together with dollar store & Giant Tiger jammies is pretty simple. In honor (sort of) of Frank's disdain for "this is where I am right now" posts, this is where I am right now. At my sewing machine. And my kitchen, and my laundry room. I'm at home with my kids, persuing the opportunity to be the best stay at home mom I can be, and seeking His guidance and wisdom every step of the way. But this isn't where I was headed at one time.
Before I had kids and even after I had kids, being a stay at home mom wasn't my goal. Ironically when I think back on it now, I realize that my children's best interests weren't even my goal. I had huge plans, and going back to school to study in criminology was one of them. Twice I enrolled at community college for my 2 year degree - both times with the plan of eventually heading to Quantico and working in the best forensics lab in the world. Quincy MD was a role model growing up, and I was fascinated with forensic pathology. So that's where I was going.
The Lord clearly had other plans for me even though I was a thick as a brick and didn't catch on right away. Both times I enrolled in school, those plans were wiped out. Both times I was upset and didn't understand why it didn't work out for me. Eventually I came to understand that as a mother, my top priorities were right there in my own house, and I didn't need to go to school anywhere to invest my attention in the right place. Someone once jokingly said that the Lord gave me a whole houseful of my own little criminals for me to study and investigate.
I know it might sound odd that as a mother I didn't put my kids first. The thing is, I didn't realize that I wasn't putting them first. I had the mistaken notion (read: subliminal feministic type brainwashing) that my fancy-dan career would afford them better opportunities, etc. so forth and so on. In other words, I had convinced myself that if I could justify taking time away from them and investing it elsewhere, that eventually it would be good for them. Um... no. Any time a mom takes her time away from her little ones, she cannot get it back. Ever. Time gone, moments lost, period. That's never good for them, and never good for mom. Ever.
The day it hit me was like a ray of sunlight accompanied by choruses of angelic alleluias. Or maybe it was like a rap on the forehead and hearing "hello, McFly?". I'm not sure. All my plans were washed away and my top priorities (my kids) were standing right in front of me. It was so simple it brought me to tears that I hadn't understood it sooner. God gave me (and Kev of course) all these kids and also gave me a few gifts and talents to be able to take care of them. That, is where I was supposed to be.
So when I heard the messages yesterday about seeking God's guidance to be where He is, or go where He is - and Jonah's resistance to being and going where God wanted him to go - it was a personal message to me. I had lived that way (in rebellion) for a while and I can tell you it's no fun. Even as a believer, I wasn't "getting" that I needed to be where God wanted me to be. It took Him literally closing doors left and right, before I finally understood it. It was unpleasant, frustrating, upsetting and quite simply a miserable way to live. I continually asked God to bless me where I was going, without ever once asking Him to lead me where He wanted me to be.
That was many years ago. Things have changed a lot since then, and even though the message was one I needed to hear way back then, it was a good reminder for me yesterday. There is a world of difference in asking Him to bless you where you want to go, and asking Him to direct you to where He wants you to be.
The latter is much better, trust me.
Oh, and that musician I mentioned? His name is Jay Calder, and I had the chance to speak with him a little bit after church. I got the impression that he is somewhat "emerging-ish", but I could be wrong. He was quite friendly and it was a pleasant conversation. In any event, God has blessed him in ridiculously astounding ways, musically. You can visit his site here, and even listen to his music. If you like acoustic guitar like I do, you'll love this guy. Watching him play was an added bonus, but listen to his clips anyway. Apply all doctrinal disclaimers & stuff as needed. If needed, I don't really know where he is doctrinally.
Have a great week. :o)