Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's such a perfect day...

I'm glad I spent it with you... 
Oh, Such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on...

You're going to reap just what you sow
(Reap, reap, reap) you're going to reap just what you sow...

I'm always amazed at how as I think about a title for a blog post, it often winds up being a line from a song. Lou Reed's Perfect Day seems the perfect song for today.

It's not often that I see a dream realised! What a perfect day this has been. 

Yes, the kids fought, and whined, and sulked and had tantrums at various points during the day. The adults too, if truth be told. And yes, I still seem to be battling some low grade viral infection. And yes, our hayfever has been horrendous and the wind today was not helpful. It wasn't perfect in that sense. However, it was the perfect day, because I saw the best of what this family is. Today, we had fun together and loved each other and enjoyed each other and were kind to each other.

~ Nellie offered, and Nathan accepted, her help to get him dressed
~ Nathan willingly shared his carrots with both Graeme and I
~ Nathan willingly helped Graeme do the dishes
~ Janel did her chores without moaning, immediately, and with such grace
~ neither of the kids moaned about being hungry (although they were ravenous) while we were out shopping
~ Graeme and I got some 'date night' (alone) time this afternoon
~ the kids rode their bikes together in the Close in such a way that neither got frustrated with the other (Nathan sans training wheels!!!)
~ I spent qualiy time with the kids (sadly, a rarity at this time of year)
~ we had pancakes for supper!!!
~ both kids washed themselves in the bath without an argument first
~ we all snuggled up on the bed watching nature programmes on TV together

But best of all, I saw a dream realised. Today, we went riding on our bikes, as a family, with the dogs - Graeme included! - along the canal. This is a moment I have been dreaming of for more than 4 years! And today it became reality.

More than that though. Today I saw a partial answer to an ongoing prayer. I long for my kids to grow up to be people who love God and each other, who will be there to pray with, pray for, support and care for each other when Graeme and I are gone. Today I witnessed a glimpse of how the kids will relate to each other as adults, of who they will be as adults, and it was good! Today I received a fresh energy to keep on keeping on; to persevere, because I have seen how they are growing as children of God. 

I have seen my family love today, and laugh today, and learn today, and grow today. What an amazing day! What an amazing family. I have been mightily blessed! 

Monday, November 04, 2013

The measure of success

In conversation with someone tonight, I found myself commenting that while this has been a hard year, it's been a good one too. I was surprised as those words left my mouth. Why? Because I'm a complainer. I love any excuse to bemoan my fate. Yet, here I was saying I've had a good year. What's more, I didn't realise that was true till I said it.

Yes, this year has been tough. Not as tough as 2007/8, granted, but still tough. I've had several people I love suffer depression. I lost a friend to the Nairobi mall shooting. Financially it's been incredibly tough. Both my mother and mother-in-law had serious ops. My father and step-mother have also had frail health this year. We lost a house we had an offer accepted on, very last minute, which broke my heart. Work has been... extremely pressured. It's been a difficult year. I'm looking forward to the holidays.

Yet, it's been a good year.

As I reflected on where that truth sprang from, it struck me afresh that it's been a good year despite the difficult circumstances. Circumstances don't dictate success, or lack thereof. Rather, it's our attitude that does.

This year has held significant break-through for me, in my faith and my relationship with God. It's because of that, and the changed attitudes of my heart, that my perceptions of reality have changed. My reality is now less focused on the circumstances that surround me, and more focused on the God who loves me, and sustains me. 

My measure of success is becoming His perception of my life, rather than how much money I have in the bank, how many compliments I've received, whether I meet all my deadlines, or whatever. This is not to say I have this waxed! Far from it! Yet, I can look back over the year and see significant strides forward in this, and so I know that I have made progress. Because there is progress, though my circumstances have not changed, I feel the flush of success. 

This has been a good year, not because my God has walked alongside me, but because I am learning, once again, to walk alongside Him, and that feels so good!