I ummed and aahed about what to title this post... I feel like every post has the same message at the moment - life's busy! But truly it is... the end of term bring's a whole new flurry of activity - class swaps, sports days, nursery graduations and end of year parties... it does at times feel a little like we're living in a whirlwind and there isn't an exit!
BUT then the summer stretches before me and its like my whole body breathes a big sigh of relief. "Holidays" with four kids in tow are far from the pre-children holidays of old, and yet there is something wonderful about wide open spaces, fresh air, sunshine and being away from home that causes a level of relaxation and rest I seem to find utterly impossible here. Does anyone else feel like that? I realise we are super privileged to have the opportunity to return to Norway year on year, and its a privilege I truly don't take for granted. This year, we have the exciting adventure of heading to the South of France with my family too... so it's going to be a jam-packed adventure filled summer, and I literally can't wait. Six glorious weeks of no school run, no schedule and no special events.
Just family. And nature. And space.
And yet I think there's a danger in "living for the holidays", or "living for the next break"... or living for anything that is fleeting for that matter - because living in that way steals the joy from the here and now. It robs us of the opportunity to be thankful to the Lord for the daily gifts of grace he gives us in the everyday normal. And it leads us to idolizing something that will never satisfy.
Instead, in all the craziness... I've been seeking to stay rooted to the one who truly brings me satisfaction and rest... and to live gratefully - thankful for every grace he gives me day to day!
Here are some of the things I've been taking joy in, in this busy little summer season!
Last days with both my boys at home - these early years fly by so fast. I literally adored my little girl years, and it has been such a joy to repeat the whole experience with two little boys this time! They are such good little friends and quite hilarious too... its been a more physically exhausting rendition of the small years, but oh so very rewarding and I'm finding it very hard to get my head round the fact I'll only have one baby at home come September!
Sports Day madness - Oh my goodness - sports day! I spent a full day and a half watching different little people taking part in sports day! You'd think having all our smalls so close together it would mean I could kill a few birds with one stone, but no! Each of them had their own sports day and yours truly got well and truly sunburnt. The fatal error of ensuring your children are well-covered only to forget about yourself!
What did I learn in Sports Day this year? That competitive sports really do reveal my children's characters!
Jonas - fun-loving, sporty and ueber-competitive. He won every single race he took part in and when one girl threatened to take over, he powered over the finish line, turned to her and said smugly "I winned that" - oh dear! Looks like we're going to have some fun years of training in winning and losing graciously ahead!
This one is small but speedy - she loves sports, takes it seriously and surprised all of us with the long distance. She is petite and started out way at the back of about 20 other kids... around half way she was still behind but with the most determined look on her little face. As the others started to slow down with exhaustion she powered past on those little legs and ended in 4th. Such a proud Mama moment - not for the position she came in, but for the fact she persevered when it didn't look like she stood a chance. And when she came off, she had no idea what position she'd come in - she didn't care! She was just pleased to have done it!
Papa at home - Being married to a teacher makes for full on term times, but oh my goodness, the holidays are bliss. We've loved having Dave home this week. Such a gift! And on Thursday morning we actually went out for coffee, just the two of us with no kids in tow in the daytime for the first time in literally years. Very thankful for my hub!
Tiny moments of quiet in the chaos - few and far between, but an opportunity to listen to a good podcast, read a good book or spend some time with the Lord literally feeds my soul like nothing else!
Time with friends - so much fun with this lovely lady who celebrated her birthday yesterday. We spent the day heading up to the Young Living Headquarters, having some quality child-free catch up time, making bath salts and picking up orders for our fabulous essential oils community. Such a joy to work alongside one of my best friends, especially now she's moved so far away! Very grateful to the Lord for this lovely lady, for how she grounds me and points me to Christ.
So its been busy... all of these special moments surrounded by piles of laundry, 3 daily school runs, a house to clean, appointments and meet-ups, bible studies and school events, meetings and workdays. I am truly thankful to the Lord for sustaining me and giving me some incredible opportunities to share Jesus along the way... and though I have probably felt more close to exhaustion than any other season of my life, I'm so very conscious of the joy of being his and of being where he wants us to be for now.
God is good - in the busy seasons, in the quiet seasons, in the heights and in the valleys... he is steadfast and certain when the storms and the gales and the strong breezes of life roll round, as well as when the sun shines and all is well... and his love for me in Jesus is what holds me steady and gives me hope, and roots me deep in the joy of knowing him whatever comes.
"Oh what amazing love,
I stand before the cross,
my pride reduced to dust.
What amazing love
It overwhelms my soul
My broken life made whole.
Oh what amazing love
Forever I will praise
the glories of your grace
What amazing love,
I offer up my life -
a grateful sacrifice
for your amazing love
Your amazing love..."
(Tim Chester, Colin Webster, Phil Moore)