Saturday, March 28, 2015

His eye is on the ladybug

A few days ago I had a revelation from the Lord.

Now I'm not normally one of these people who walks around "hearing" from God on a regular basis.

Have you talked to people like that before ? It's ... unusual ... to me when I hear some people say that they have daily ongoing conversations with the Lord.

I don't mean the kind where you pour your heart out in prayer, and you feel like God is giving you a scripture verse to think about, or that He whispers something to your soul.

I'm talking about people who have elaborate conversations with God, the kind they can replay for you in precise detail days or even weeks later.

We watched a Sunday School video series at church years ago, and the gentleman speaking did just that : he was talking about financial direction, and he recounted word for word several lengthy dialogues he (supposedly) had in the past with God. And he recounted them verbatim. And the cynic in me thought- I can't even tell you verbatim what my husband and I discussed yesterday, let alone three months ago.

And right now I am having a total deja vu moment, so if I've blogged in the past about my cynical mind while watching Sunday School videos at church, please forgive me.

Anyhoot, my point is this : I am a natural mocker and skeptic and cynic, and that may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I don't go around having daily, lengthy, specific, detailed conversations with the Lord. Don't get me wrong- I have a personal, living, vibrant relationship with Jesus. But our communication for the most part, takes place in the form of prayer (me speaking to Him) and Bible reading (God speaking to me through His word.)


A few days ago I had a revelation from the Lord :)

(Don't you just love how I poked fun at someone else for saying basically the same thing, but when I declare I've heard from the Lord, it's the real thing?? Lord, forgive me if I mistakenly judged others who really did hear from you, even if they sounded like they were making the whole thing up just to be sensational.)

Sooooo ... are you just on the edge of your seat right now, wondering what that heavy revvy (church slang here) was ??

Scroll down for my heavy revelation ...

Keep scrolling ....

Here it comes .....

Wait for it .......

God sees it all .

I know.


But really ... God sees it all .

I snapped this photo of Hayden in our backyard last week, observing a "wady-bug." (iPhone pics only on the blog today, so excuse the grainy quality. Oh, who am I kidding that's the only kind of pictures I post anymore - no apologies !) There is a little family of ladybugs making their home in our yard, and he had just discovered them a few days before...

He was climbing up and down the stairs outside and babbling on and on in his adorable toddler voice about the birdies (what birdies doing', Mama ?) and the neighborhood cat (what Butters doing', Mama?) when suddenly he squatted down and stared intensely at something on the ground.

I got down on his level and looked in the dirt for what it was that was captivating his attention, and instantly I saw it- a tiny, perfect little ladybug. She (are there he ladybugs?) was crawling around minding her own business, spreading her wings a few times, and then deciding to stay on the ground instead ....and Hayden was fixated on her. He gasped in surprise when she moved, he covered his mouth in disbelief and whispered OHHH, he pointed to her in sheer amazement. There was such an awe-filled reverence in his voice and on his chubby little face. Pictures don't do it justice.

But a video might :)

Fast forward to a few days later, when I was standing in my kitchen washing dishes. Readers, allow me a moment of brutal honesty here ? I was doing more than washing dishes... I was sobbing my eyes out, having a first class Pity Party with a capitol P.

My husband and Mackenzie left last Tuesday for a five day father/daughter trip to San Fransisco. This trip was planned a month ago, and they were meeting my husband's brother halfway through it for his birthday. Jason and Naomi and their children were there on spring break as well, and they all met up for some lunch and sightseeing in downtown San Fransisco. Hayden and Lily do not do well on long road trips, so Sam and I have (since my meltdown !!) planned a getaway for the four of us in May.... Hayden is still nursing (don't judge !) and Lily requires 24/7 care, something that is a little bit past the pay grade of my older children at this point. So while we do have something for the future planned... I didn't have anything on my radar that day.

I was feeling overworked (did I mention that we were hosting potty training camp while daddy was gone??) and underpaid (unless you count the secret stash of Girl Scout cookies hidden in my bedroom closet for such a time as this) and a week of single-parenting was wearing on me.

And in the spirit of "brutally honest" I'm going to make a statement here. I'm sure there will be some real single parents who protest that I know nothing about being one, but I'm willing to bet there are about 50 others who will give me a hearty amen.

But here it is : when you are married to a working pastor ... meaning my husband works a regular 40-hour-a-week secular (paying) job and is a full-time (non-paid) pastor as well ... you might feel like a single mom on any given day.

I am NOT saying this to complain or grumble, I am NOT saying this to exaggerate, and I am NOT saying this for sympathy. I am simply stating a fact : life as the wife of a working pastor can be a struggle.

There are days ... many days ... where I feel like I cannot possibly juggle it all. I wear many hats - chef, taxi-driver, maid, parent, teacher, friend, sister, daughter, pastor's wife, confidante, nurse, counselor (kids only !!), laundry lady, personal shopper (lol) , potty-trainer (?!?!?!?) and I often feel that I don't wear any of them well. Sure, I can put any of those hats on for a few moments and try to give my attention to being the best possible - insert title here - that I can possibly be. But most days I feel like I am stretched to my limit.

speaking of hats ;)

For instance ...

I might wake up one morning and decide that today I am Master Chef Mom, and my family is going to have only the healthiest of meals, the organic-ist of vegetables, the best and most balanced menu I can possibly give them (on a budget of course) ....

... and suddenly Children A, B and C are in desperate need of Taxi Driver Mom. Which would be me.

And at the same time that they decide they need to be in three different places at once, Sister So-and-So from church calls and asks if she can get a lift to her doctor's appointment - because she forgot to plan ahead and take the bus (lots of needy folks we meet in the ministry!)

So we head out the door (shelving Teacher Mom for a few hours, because doctor's appointments and work schedules don't always coincide nicely with homeschool hours), only to discover that Child H is puking violently, and needing Nurse Mommy to run back inside and hold her head over the toilet.

Ten minutes later, puked-on floors mopped up, and Child H placed in the tender care of Child E, Daddy calls and says he "forgot to bring his church shirt to work with him today, and would Laundry Mom be able to touch it up and make sure it gets to church tonight ?" (it's a Wednesday, when we have our midweek service). Laundry Mom makes a mental note (which will be stored and forgotten until five minutes after pulling out of our neighborhood when we are headed to church) to iron Daddy's shirt, and proceeds to shuttle children and sister-so-and-so to appointments, work and the doctor, hopefully all in the correct order.

Later on, Teacher Mommy returns home and frantically answers algebra, world history and English questions (why DO we diagram sentences these days anyway ?? Has ANYONE actually used that stuff in real life???).

Shortly afterwards, Maid Mommy looks at the morning dishes and realizes Children A, B and C did not do their chores before they were deposited at their various locations. Maid Mommy makes a mental note (filed right next to the one about touching up Daddy's shirt for church) to address this forgotten chore with her children when they return home later on today... but in the meantime Children E, F and G need lunch, and Child H is still puking on the couch.

At this point Master Chef Mommy decides that she can't possibly make it to the grocery store this afternoon - not if she is going to get Children H and I down for a nap and go retrieve Sister-so-and-so from the doctor in time. Take and Bake pizzas sound like the only reasonable solution at this point, even though Master Chef/Dietician Mommy is cringing on the inside and kicking herself for not planning ahead. (Except that Monday and Tuesday looked an awful lot like today, and that trip to Whole Foods keeps getting delayed for yet another day.)

I could go on and on ... but you get the point. And of course I've left out the late-night Counselor/Mommy sessions (teenagers always seem to schedule these things directly after everyone else has gone to bed) and Potty Training Mommy, who has donned that hat nine times over the years, and is just this week wading into those (pee filled) waters once again.

But this blogpost is getting long, so I will reiterate my earlier point : motherhood can be a struggle.

I don't care if you are a single mommy, a working mommy, a stay-at-home mommy, a married mommy, a Mommy of One or a Mommy of Many : motherhood can be a struggle.

It is at this point that I take you back to our scene : Burnt Out Mommy, tearfully pouring out her woes to God over a sink of dirty dishes.

And it was right in the middle of that Pity Party, with all of my imaginary "hats" lying scattered across our peed-on, puked-on, toy-strewn kitchen floor, that I had my revelation.

God sees it all.

And the funny thing was - I didn't even get that revelation for myself.

As I was crying and scrubbing and drowning in my own sorrows, I suddenly had the most intense feeling that I needed to text a friend across the country (who shall remain nameless- but you know who you are ;)) and tell her the following :

God sees you.

He sees your heart to serve others and your sacrifice and the long hours you serve as a mommy when nobody notices. 

He sees the fact that you never get a break or a vacation and that you feel alone and that some days you just wonder how you can make it through another day.

He sees all that you have endured and He sees the times you've cried that nobody else sees. 

And He is a faithful rewarder and one day it will all be worth it.

He  sees it all.

And suddenly God spoke to my heart - He really did- and said: those words are for you as well.

I didn't hear an audible voice, and there wasn't a bolt of lightning or a rainbow over my sink-ful of dirty dishes, and a hallelujah chorus didn't suddenly, miraculously fill the air ...

But I knew I had just heard from Heaven.

Just like that earlier moment, when my 22 month old golden haired little boy stared in amazement and wonder, past the dirt and weeds, and he beheld that beautiful little ladybug ... God sees it all.

However insignificant I may feel, however many hats I drop and people I fail, whatever my emotions and brainstorms and crises and disappointments, through the trials and the tears and the heartache and the self-loathing and the Pity Parties, through ALL OF IT -

God sees it all.

And He sees me.

But this wasn't really just my revelation, was it ? It's a revelation from the heart of God, revealed to the ancients long ago.

"From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do." ~ Psalm 33: 14,15

His eye is on the sparrow, don't you know ? And the ladybug as well.

And how about you, dear blog reader ?

Are you struggling like me ?

Do you have moments or days, or even SEASONS where you feel alone and unappreciated and maybe even a little abandoned ? Are you struggling to keep a good attitude, juggling a kajillion hats and watching helplessly as they all fall to the pee-soaked floor ? :) Are you crying over your proverbial sink of dirty dishes and asking yourself if anybody even cares ?

God sees you.

He sees you and He cares, and He is just waiting for you to "cast your cares upon Him, for HE careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

His eye is on the sparrow, and the ladybug, and the mama crying at the kitchen sink ...

God sees it all.

If you don't know the love of that all-seeing and merciful and loving Savior, stop what you're doing this minute- and run into His arms. Pour out your sins and you cares and your burdens to Him, and He will give you rest. 

And after all of that .... .... DITCH all of those wearisome hats for a day and hand the reigns over to someone else . . .

.... SHOPPER MOMMY is stepping OUT !!! 



Mary said...

Amen! :) I loved reading it all, and I love the message. God bless you Patti!

Grammi Faith said...

Be still my heart..... Oh those pictures and the video. Such words of wisdom. How silly we sometimes are to think we are all alone juggling life's situations. We need to constantly remember His hands are in control. We are never alone, He promised to be with us always. We need to turn all our "hats" over to Him. 👵😘

MamaV said...

Oh yes. Very yes. Thank you!

crystalkupper said...

As a military wife, I'm often alone on another continent with 3 small children. And I hate EVERY SINGLE SECOND.

all10popes said...

Hey, we were stationed overseas for 4 years. We had 4 at the time and life could be very, very lonely...especially during deployments. Anything I say will probably sound trite, but I wanted to just let you know that like Patti said, God sees you" and I hear you as in know just how you feel, my dear.

Wendy Talley, Portsmouth, VA said...


cara said...

Couldn't have read a better post right now as I am awake at 3 something in the morning nursing my two year old ( no judging here) while eight months pregnant with # 8 struggling with symptoms that have caused me to be a bit weary lately. And kids need us no matter what. And each one is truly a blessing! But sometimes I will feel a bit guilty if I experience the emotions you are describing, so thank you for posting and speaking such beautiful truth. Our Lord does see it all and knows. He loves us so much! He will gently lead those with young. And the only way to remain refreshed and transformed is by abiding in Him continually! His Word is powerful and effective! :) I recently heard a sermon that was a simple message from Scripture, but had such an impact on my personal daily life from some principles taught in Scripture. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and to be thankful in all circumstances. I have been praying to apply these.

Cannot get enough of that most adorable video! You have a doll on your hands! And I know the late night talks with those teenagers. Just beginning this new chapter. Sometimes one of mine will just walk in my room in the middle of the night chatting with me like it is the middle of the day, ha. You are doing an amazing job Patti, and I am grateful for your wisdom! :) xoxo

Mix Mix :D said...

Beautiful! There are days, when I put my baby (only one so far) to sleep, that I wanna cry myself to sleep for what had happened on that day (last days...).... When I feel skeptical about the hours to come, I always pray- even if it's not in a pray mood, and then, it happens... Just like u said... He speaks to me... And give me strenght and faith to keep moving...

There was one time, I was completely sad abou the lack of generosity I thought was revolving the world. I was driving back home (I live in Sao Paulo/Brazil- pretty much like LA as in the city model) and thinking and praying about it. And suddenly, my car stoped. Right in the middle of a huge avenue with high traffic. Also it was raining. And I was with my toddler and my dog in the car.
The other cars were almost screaming around me, and all I could do was call for help (the service would take at least 40 minutes to reach me) and cry. And then, out of the blue, one taxi stops by my side, with a guy in bike and a motorcicle, and then, the three of them pushed my car to a free and safe zone. When I get there to wait for help, I ask them how could I ever thank them? And they said "please, never hesitate when you see someone who needs any kind of help..."

There was my answer... There was G-d showing me that YES, there is ALWAYS people willingly to help....
I cried like a baby for gratitude and above all, for Seeing that He's always by my side...

Oh, and yes, there is a "he ladybug"- in disney's Bug's Life... ;)

Paty thank u always for your inspiring posts! I wish I can be as awesome as you as a mom, as a woman... You rock!

Xoxo (beijos!)

Kimberly said...

While I doubt your revelation was directed at me, I AM across the country and took it to heart. Sitting in front of my computer being "procrastination mom" I'm crying my eyes out because I needed to hear it. I need to know that He sees me each and every day in all the puke, pee, and unopened school books. And He loves me. I'm very good at telling it to my 5 yo (Jesus loves Me is a favorite), but very bad at actually believing it. Thank you Patti for being that "friend across the country", even if you didn't know you were.

Patti said...

So happy to read this - thank you for sharing !

nicole said...

You really need to write a book for Mommies someday, Patti. You know, in your free time. Put on your Writer Mommy hat.

Elizabeth A. said...

Thank you for the reminder that God sees me, Patti. In my case, it's not about feeling overwhelmed by all of the "wife and mommy hats." It's wanting desperately to wear those hats and feeling like I have been left behind. I needed that reminder tonight that God sees and has not forgotten about me.

Race Bannon said...

That was ALOT of words, so I will share a similar story...

The other day, I was in a relatively unused empty building on a relatively unused side of a military base. The building was just concrete and cinder blocks, no carpet, no paint, very little lighting. I was there with some, well, very rough guys. We were surveying the location to determine if it was suitable for training. CQB training, Close Quarter Battle - shooting guns, physical fighting, tactics, yadda, yadda, yadda...

I paused for a moment when I saw a small red dot on the ground. It was a ladybug. Spring has not yet arrived in this part of the country so I got down on the dirty floor to examine. Alas, this would be "last years's" ladybug, as she (or he) had passed. But the shell remained. One of my co-workers asked what I was doing on the ground. I said, "Come check out this ladybug. Its the only color in this entire building." Okay, then they all made fun of me, and we don't need to get into that. But as we examined the building further, we saw dark patches on the grey cinder walls, and some more in the corner. We thought it might be mold, and that the building would be unusable for our purposes. Some of the patches were very large, and protruded out some inches, and one far dark corner was completely covered. (Do you know where this is going?). As we got closer, we realized. They were piles of…swarms of…deceased lady bugs. Maybe they do that to stay warm? But they did not last the winter. One guy took a swipe at it to see if they were alive…and it crumbled, the pile moved, and some floated, kind of flaked off in the wind. Of course we all screamed and ran the heck out of there.

True story.

I will never look at a ladybug the same...

M Kelly said...

Motherhood is tough!
I have never heard of a pastor/priest who also has a day job. It's not a thing in Australia.
Why does your husband do both? It sounds so tough! Wouldn't it make more sense to either be a full time pastor or a full time job but help out and a senior role at a church?
Just curious as as I said, I've never heard of it before! Our pastor, and all the associate pastors are in full time ministry and would fall over if I suggested they work on top of that ;)