Thursday, September 30, 2010


Sometimes it is depressing, how poor of a cook I am.  I will plan a meal, and not get the right groceries, buy the groceries and let them go bad in the fridge, cut the veggies and then burn them, put the meat to the pan only to have it come out under cooked.  It is embarrassing, and true.  My dear family can recount  the meals through which they have suffered.

For starters, as I child, I was not given the opportunity to help prepare every dinner or shown how a meal magically makes it to the table (home or restaurant or take out).

A tragedy really, as people do need to eat: 3 times a day.  And I have lots of little people in my house who are counting on me to make that happen.

Another area where I really lacked skills, was in child rearing. I was in love with my little ones the moment they were handed to me, especially if you define love as protective; these babies were not going to get hurt or lack under my watch.

But the actual needs of the child were beyond me: the need to be changed when wet, bathed when dirty, teeth brushed twice a day, hair combed into beautiful plaits.  I soon discovered that when babies cry, they needed to be held, comforted, rocked.  As two of my four developed colic, it meant they need to be held constantly, continuously patted, always moved about.

Also imperative was the need to give boundaries. It was imperative for me to to follow up on those boundaries.  I could not let my child cross a boundary with out an immediate consequence.

If they whined, I had to tell them to cheerfully voice their request.  If they asked after being told no, I had to tell them no was not to be questioned.  If they hit, I had to hold the brandishing arm and shush the angry spirit.  If they were headed to the ground to thrash their bodies about in protest, my firm hand had to be there to guide their bodies upward and their faces to mine.  If they took without asking, I had to remind them no deed goes unnoticed.

It was enough to push a patient person to the brink, and I was not a patient person - by any stretch of the imagination.

I think if there had been any way around it, I would have gone there.  But there was no way around it.

We had no family in town to help, no cheerful mentor mom to pop over with guidance, no money to pay a babysitter, no extra income to hire help, and my husband was a full time student and a full time employee.  Yep, I was stuck with the job of feeding and raising the children; it was up to me.

So, like many a good woman of yore, I cried out to God.

"Oh, woe is me, Lord. [interject whiny voice here] I am a stranger in a strange land and these children need a mother but I am sorely poised for the task. [convincing Him this is not possible for me]  Show me the way out of this mess Lord [and here I show him the obvious solution], give me a friend, a mentor mom, or rain down the money so I can hire help.  Just have my husband come home and do it for me,[see, four easy steps] oh Lord, hear me now![notice the helpful biblical tone]"

Needless to say, God's was pretty much mute on the subject.  And it took me a few years to fully understand why.

As it turns out (and you, my dear reader, have already probably noted) I was asking God and man to do my work for me.  And though our Lord is the Lord of the Sabbath, he also made 6 days of work, and saw it as good.

There are different types of work.  I find the most important work is often not attached to a salary.

So, I had to get to work.  I had to get off my pity party to do it; and I had so enjoyed my little pity party.

Here I was, pressed with no choice but to avail.  I had to cook 3 healthy meals a day and these children had to be raised, and raised well.

It was then that God began to show me that every journey begins with a foot step, every plant starts as a seed, and that life could not be rushed into being.

So began my dailies.

I had to daily ask the Lord for help, then daily stand on my own two feet, then daily walk into the bathroom with cheer, while I daily brushed 4 sets of teeth and bathed 4 sets of bodies.  Next, I daily boiled a pot of water, while I daily added whole grain oatmeal, and then daily handed out bowls to be set at the table. I daily watched over behaviors and attitudes, as I daily read the Bible aloud, and daily help the children draw.  I  daily read a quality book aloud, then daily set the children up for puzzle time, while I daily sat and had my quiet time.

Though my rhythm varies during the week, and development changes in the children's capacities calls for adjustments, this has become the way I approach cooking and child rearing.  Surprisingly, it works.

It is a slow, disciplined way to bring about great, exciting results.

My patience has increased as I see life as a set of dailies.  My cooking has improved to the point that 3 out of 4 meals turn out edible!   My children have become quite enjoyable to one another and to me. And, I really like my work.  I wake up with something purposeful to put my hand to, that of improving my life and the lives of husband and children.

It has given me a sense of joy that my pity parties never did.

What are your dailies?  Where can you begin to work today?

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Psalms 126:5


Abigail Stokes Palsma said...

Well said, MR! God gives grace, and we have to access it. You are a beautiful example.

Stephanie said...

Really appreciated this post - thanks so much for writing it!

Lindsey said...

I so needed to read this today, friend. Thank you!

Kori said...

Everytime I make something new, I set it on the table and announce, "I hope it doesn't suck!". LOL! It's become a running joke in our home.
I am glad to know I am not the only non-domestic-diva and that there are others who don't come by it easily either. We are sisters, Mary Robin!
Great post and well-written. You should send it to Jerrine so Sally can read it. I think she'll love it.

Lori said...

I just read your recent three posts. I'm so glad that you followed the Lord's mandate to do a blog, Mary Robin! You are a gifted writer and storyteller. I love how you weave your stories with the Great Story of the gospel. I also love how you take the macro (great, vast truths of God and His Word) to the everyday micro level. Keep writing for the King!

Sharon said...

Loved this...ooohh, I have SO much to learn from you. Thanks for the virtual kick in the pants!