Friday, August 11, 2006

Priorities

This post has been several days in thought, but a long time going from my head to the keyboard due to extreme busyness. Today has been the eleventh day my mom's been sick, and my moments for writing have been few and far between. She's faced lingering health problems for as long as I can remember, and even after many doctor visits nothing has really been found. So, we continue to wait and trust for her healing in His time, and I in the meantime find myself faced with many opportunites to lean on the Lord's grace, and trust His promises for strength to carry on my daily duties as big sister of seven.

Here's just a few snapshots into my life as of late, and some of the many things God's been teaching me through this busy, and sometimes difficult time.

In the few minutes I have between giving one of my 3-4 daily piano lessons and making lunch, I try to quickly print a few things off of the computer that I need for the day. The printer jams, more paper can't be found, the printing format somehow got totally screwed up, and my three minute project turns into 40 minutes of frustrated problem solving.

Later in the day, as I turn to the hymn I painstankingly arranged for a wedding coming up in three weeks I'm dismayed to find out that my carefully created work is forgotten amidst the 101 other things that are filling my mind. I vainly spend half-an-hour trying to re-create what was nearly completed before, and end up leaving the piano with the knowledge that I'll have to start all over again.

As I leave with the resolve to come back and try again later, I glance out the window to see a steady rain falling, all over my almost-dry clothsline full of clothes. Pretty soon a wet brother comes inside, reeking from chasing down our billy goat that had escaped from his fence and was in the garden eating our green beans. After throwing down his manure covered boots and wet coat for me to pick up later, he heads to the the shower, and quickly finds out that the only dry towels are now dripping wet on the clothes line.

Supper now needs to be started, and to my consternation, I find that someone in trying to help, put my carefully softened butter in the fridge. Jars of milk from that morning's milking are still sitting in the used-to-be ice water, and I soon discover that the tub cracked, leaving a stream of water running across our kitchen floor.

A sweet fragrance reminds me of the huge canning job awaiting me over the next several days. Eight bushels of peaches is enough to keep one busy without everything else, and as I glance at my pile of fabric waiting to be sewn, I wonder how I'll ever get it all done!

Now in writing about all of this, I can actually laugh. Admittedly though, I haven't been able to do that the whole way through. There have been times where I've simply needed to put down whatever I'm doing, and take a walk or head out to weed my flower beds just so I can have the peace and quiet to calm my heart. It's at these times, that God has spoken a needed lesson to my heart. It first came in the form of the relieved thought that I'll never, ever, be required to take a jammed up printer to heaven. I'll never have to worry about rain-wet clothes, rotting peaches or smelly billy goats, and I'll never have to worry about sister's running out of clothes due to lack of time for me to sew. Though all these things are needful now, they are not what really matter in eternity. What matters now is my reaction to them because this is in a very definate way going to affect those around me for a lifetime and for eternity. How I respond to these stresses in life, not only affects my joy and peace of heart, but it can change the whole atmosphere of our home. Being the eldest lays a huge responsibility on my shoulders as I constantly have six young lives looking at me for an example of right and wrong.

Though requiring constant grace from the Lord to keep a sweet and loving attitude, He sweetly repays all the extra effort abundantly!! The joy of seeing a sister grasp onto a musical concept for the first time, her delight in finally being able to play the duet together perfectly, and her enthusiasm to get through her books as quickly as possible is something I wouldn't trade for anything. The satisfaction on another sister's face as she finally learns how to hang up towels on the clotheline properly is worth all the time it took to teach her. The approval on two brother's faces as they hand their plates back for seconds at suppertime is completely worth the hardened butter episode, and hearing a knock on my door at 10:00pm and seeing my nightgowned sister slip in for just one more hug before going to bed for the night gives such a sweet ending to a busy day. Priorites - it's where I choose to place them that makes all the difference and gives me the grace to see what really matters. Though not all easy lessons by any means, the rewards are worth it all!

5 comments:

Monica said...

Annie, I think you are doing a WONDERFUl job!! Your such a sweet sister and daughter. If you ever need any help with canning, cleaning, laundry, whatever it may be give me a call. I would love to help you out. Monica

Bethany said...

What a day! Whew!

But I enjoyed reading your attitude through it all -- isn't it wonderful that even in spite of all the 'wrong happenings' in a day, God still gives peace when we lean on and cry out to Him?

Hugs!

Andrea said...

Monica - Thanks again! Your offer is so thoughtful and sweet! I may just take you up on it sometime! :-D

Bethany - Hugs back to you! I can hardly wait until Thursday!

HeatherErin said...

Busy girl! I was so done after doing just one bushel of peaches! I didn't know you arranged one of those songs for the wedding. Which one was it?

Andrea said...

I actually arranged a couple. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee/Jesu Joy of Man's Desire was the one I was struggling with. Also 'Step by Step,' and 'On and On We Walk Together' were my arrangements. Challenging but good for me!