Thursday, August 30, 2007

Building a Cathedral

I don't usually pass on forwards but every once in awhile I'll get one at just the right moment that I need an encouraging word or pick-me-up. And, wow - this one made me cry. I was going through my list of people that I thought might enjoy this email forward and realized I have so many awesome friends that are walking beside me in this life. And some of you may be in a place where you are not only feel invisible but also feel like you have not done anything right... That's just bogus. And I know I need stuff like this to remind me of what I'm really doing. Don't you? We moms are all building something as amazing as a cathedral one brick at a time.
For just one minute try to imagine a place where we will actually be able to see each and every moment we made happen in their little bitty parts all adding up to one incredible lifetime. That is what heaven will be. Why else would God have written about jewels in our crown if we won't even be able to see the crown. Surely we will not only see the jewel but also the reason we have it. Think about that!
But please keep in mind that though we "do" lots of things none of it will matter if we don't recognize who Jesus is and what He did for us.
I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30 , please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going ... she's going... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are! building g when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rolling Over!

Josiah has rolled over a few times in bed this week. I only got to watch him do it once though. He did it around the same age that Nate did – 4 ½ mos. He sleeps on his tummy so he rolled from front to back. We’re still working on back to front. He’s very chatty when he’s happy. Isaac and I take turns sitting in the foyer at church with him because he gets so loud sometimes.

Nate has gone in the potty off and on this week. One day he went three times! We’re offering incentive of stickers if he pees and a cookie if he poops in the potty – so far all we’ve actually gotten to do it the stickers… no cookies rewarded yet. He’s funny. When he is going somewhere, even just to bed or something he says good-bye to everything. He says “bye bye books”, “bye bye Signing Time” (when the video ends), etc. It is pretty cute.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

inside the mind of a woman

I have to tell you.... I loved reading a recent post on a friend's blog. She is a stay at home mom of three and as we all know, grown up dates don't come along everyday. So, she kind of rambled on about being excited and worrying about what to wear to go out. I'm glad I'm not the only one who frets over ultimately trivial things that are somewhat vain (but harmlessly so). I also rarely have the occasion to "dress up" so when I do I go out of my way to look stylish, cute, as thin as I can, etc. Isaac has to laugh at me sometimes because I will on occasion be all school-girlish and say that I think I look good that day. Which may sound vain, but anyone who knows me knows that that doesn't really happen all that often so I think its alright.