Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Spite of Myself

This morning I woke up feeling a bit foul. 

Not physically, but emotionally.

Lord, I said, save me in spite of myself.

Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. (Ps 61:2) 

I had no idea how those words would play out. Or how how that quickly-uttered prayer might get me through this day...

Every blessed week once in awhile I make mistakes that force me to remember that in my own strength I am nothing.

This week is no exception.

(Except for the part where I made two mistakes.)

Mistake Number 1: 

I had some really fun video of my two students on the first day of school. 

As I went to upload the videos, I accidently deleted them instead.

So the very big and fun (and really funny) first day of school will only be a memory for those of us who were here.

My thought was that I would just "re-enact" the 1st morning on the 2nd day of school. 

Only, my best laid plans changed the face of my youngest student.


I took The Girl to her scheduled orthodontist appointment to get (what I thought would be) her expanders adjusted.

The doctor wasn't happy with how slowly her teeth are moving, so he switched the plan, and an hour and a half later, my baby came out with braces.And she looks the same, only different. 

The metal brackets have filled out her face; they changed that sweet baby face into a portrait of an older girl. Both beautiful, but different.

Maybe its just me...but I felt like she aged a lifetime while I read a magazine in the lobby, unaware of the change set before me. 

I didn't anticipate the emotional road I would travel over such a small thing...but for some reason, it doesn't feel small in my heart. Even though this course is what's best for her, I'm gonna miss that snaggly toothed grin.

My kids are growing up...and I am helpless to stop it...and I deleted the moment before all the change had begun.

Mistake Number 2: 

If you know me in real-life, or have read the blog for awhile, you might know that I love pinto beans. I was so excited because I recently purchased a brand new electric Cuisinart Pressure Cooker, under the recommendation of a dear foodie and friend, The Carpool Queen. She told me that this machine would revolutionize my bean baking. She is wise, that CPQ.

I bought my machine of quick-cooking pressure, exactly one week ago today, and have used it about as many times.

My MO has been to set the cooker on the glass top stove top while it does its cooking. I've done this for years with my CrockPot because....well, I thought it would make for less mess if anything should spill or boil over.

Hindsight says it was a stupid idea.

Today in an attempt to boil water for macaroni (my little brace-face requires soft food of the non-bean kind) I accidently turned the wrong burner on. I didn't realize my mistake until the fire alarm sounded and thick, acrid, plastic-smelling, smoke filled the downstairs.

In attempt to take make things easier, I doubled the work. (Not to mention expenses.)

Lest you think this post is complaint, I want you to know that nearly every week every once in awhile I'm reminded that I am not in control. As a matter of fact, I'm the antithesis of "control." I'm meant to be helpless. Consider this quote:
Throughout the book of John we see people coming to Jesus because of their helplessness. The Samaritan women has no water (see John 4). Later in the same chapter, the official's son has no health. The crippled man by the pool of Bethesda has no help to get in the water (see John 5). The crowd has no bread (see John 6) The blind man has no sight (see John 11).
We received Jesus because we were weak, and that's how we follow Him. Paul told the Colossians. "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him" (2:6) We forget that helplessness is how the Christian life works.
(Paul Miller, The Praying Life,  pg. 55)
For years I have tried to hide it, deny it, stuff it, fix it, control it, lose it, and talk around it. 

I like to think I'm in control; have all my courses in check. I like to think that there is nothing I cannot accomplish, or secure. 

Honestly, I like to think I cook my beans and my macaroni too.

Today I was reminded that I can't. 

I cannot stop time; or have things done my way; or keep things that I desire...and often those things that I really think are good and rational plans can sometimes be folly waiting to be born.

And every once in awhile, on the days when my eyes are open and my ears strain to hear...and the stench of plastic is a vivid reminder of the chaff God is burning in my life...I remember that by myself I can do nothing. (John 5:30) And I will never be alone

Will I make mistakes? Of course!

Will I wish I "would've, could've, should've?" Absolutely.

But the real question is: Will these things drive me closer to a God who cares deeply for his children? 

Or will I allow a prideful desire to keep up appearances, and wear myself out fighting in vain for control I do not own?

Lord... save me in spite of myself.

(and if at all possible, save my appliances too.)


Anonymous said...

Sweetheart,the nut falls not far from the tree!!!
I see your Dad in all your adventures!Hot pan burns on the floor,exploding waterbeds,etc.
Love ya,

Gretchen said...

I'm sorry that the girl got braces before you were ready. And, I'm sorry about the kitchen er...mishap. Thankful that you're all safe, that God works in very personal, if mysterious ways to continue to show His precious love for us. And hoping...the Mister will take you out tonight. For beans & macaroni. Or something else. ;)

Sarah said...

Ok, seriously Kellie, this is the post I needed today more than anything. I fed Brother Bear solids for the first time and for some reason I desperately wanted to take it back. And also, I am helpless against the raging inferno of mess that is my house. Thanks for the funny (to me, probably not as much to you) encouragement. Loved the fine print on your prayer--a strategy I may have to employ in my prayers.

stephanie j. said...

Big hugs coming to you...

Anonymous said...

ooo no on the deleting the video! What kind of video camera do you have? There are a few recovery programs that are pretty good for things that use a FAT partition. I can look up what your camera uses if you want. The key will be if you want to recover it don't record anything else on it. oo I bet she does look so much older!! ahh on the appliance!!

Amen to the trying to do it with our own strength! I constantly need this reminder!

Tracey said...

Thank you for this post! I needed it more today than in many days past..

Braces seem to draw a line in the sand..on one side, childhood..on the other, the fast path to adulthood. I hated crossing that line, but it made me slow down and savor the time left..not to control the time, but to stop fighting the time passing away.

I am so sorry about the appliances. :(

Candace said...

Great thoughts, Kellie. Reminds me to cherish every moment and remember my utter. Thank you for sharing.

Candace said...

OOps! Oh, that was one funny comment I left. I think I meant my complete helplessness or something like that. ;)

Kristin said...

Beautiful thoughts. I've been struggling with "time marching on" myself lately, especially knowing that it's my last year before my baby goes to school full time. I feel the same helplessness quite often - always gives me a better picture in my mind of the what an empty vessel looks like.

Carpool Queen said...

This is why you're so cool. Only you could take these events and turn it into something meaningful while I would be complainy and dramatic.

You are so good for me!

Sami said...

I'm not sure I've ever really thought about my random mishaps as being evidence of God's control and faithfulness. I love the concept. I may mod podge my shirt together...but God is the one in control anyway :)

His Girl said...

the sheer fact that you are not blogging from a pit of ashes, renting your clothes and screaming WHY ME? is a testimony to your willingness to listen to God's whispers in the catastrophe.

You're cool beans, lady. cool beans indeed.

(also, I have ruined several, several things by turning on the wrong burner- platernal twin for sure)

Jessica Fuller said...

Wow! Great post. Needed to hear that today.
I ruined my brand new food processor by doing the same thing on my ceramic cook top stove. I've melted a few other things as well.
I hate ceramic cook tops. Forever. :)