Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Beginning of the school year Blues...

I have a desperate need lately for prioritize and perspective......Hang with me here....my thoughts are kinda random and confused as I juggle through another new school year trying to "fit in" everything that comes along and I keep finding myself crawling into bed at the end of the day and thinking (after all I've done) "I didn't do enough"....Do you all do that? I didn't hold Brooks enough, didn't play with Benjamin enough, and didn't read with Kayden enough, or clean my house enough, or make a good enough dinner.... and the list goes on...so, I just got this essay from a friend and teared up at the "GREATNESS" of what we do everyday---it's big...every tiny unseen detail. This email nailed it for me and I tied it all together with yet another great quote that always sticks with me from Andy Stanley's book Visioneering "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down" (Neh.6:3)......please read...

I'm invisible.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walkinto the room while I'm on the phone and ask to betaken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't yousee I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one cansee if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping thefloor, 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 openthis? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm noteven a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What timeis it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "Whatnumber is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order,"Right around 5:30 , please."
I was certain that these were the hands that onceheld books and the eyes that studied history andthe mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now theyha d disappeared into the peanut butter, never to beseen again. She's going .. she's going... she'sgone!
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 shestayed in. I was sitting there, looking around atthe others all put together so well. It was hardnot to compare and feel sorry for myself as I lookeddown at my out-of-style dress; it was the onlything I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair waspulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I couldactually smell peanut butter in it.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turnedtome with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "Ibrought you this." It was a book on the greatcathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure whyshe'd given it to me until I read her inscription:"To Charlotte , with admiration f or the greatnessof what you are building when no one sees."
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - thebook. And I would discover what would become forme, four life-changing truths, after which I couldpattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - wehave no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a workthey would never see finished.
They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by theirfaith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich manwho came to visit the cathedral while it was beingbuilt, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird onthe inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked theman, "Why are you spending so much time carvingthat 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 fallinto place. It was almost as if I heard Godwhispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see thesacrifices you make every day, even when no onearound you does. No act of kindness you've done, nosequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, istoo small for me to notice and smile over. You arebuilding a great cathedral, but you can't see rightnow what it will become."
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction.But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. Itis the cure for the disease of my ownself-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong,stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when Isee myself as a great builder. As one of the peoplewho show up at a job that they will never seefinished, to work on something that their name willnever be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say thatno cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetimebecause there are so few people willing tosacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my sonto tell the friend he's bringing home from college forThanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morningand bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes aturkey for three hours and presses all the linensfor the table." That would mean I'd built a shrineor a monument to myself. I just want him to want tocome home. And then, if there is anything more tosay to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love itthere."
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. Wecannot be seen if we're doing it right. And oneday, it is very possible that the world will marvel, notonly at what we have built, but at the beauty thathas been added to the world by the sacrifices ofinvisible women.

an excerpt........

... talking about vision using both the book of Nehemiah and Andy Stanley's excellent book on vision, Visioneering.
Stanley writes his book based on his own reflections from Nehemiah. In the introduction he says, "Visioneering is the engineering of vision. If I were to boil it down to a formula, it would look something like this:
VISIONEERING = INSPIRATION + CONVICTION + ACTION + DETERMINATION + COMPLETION"
As I read through the book and considered the places where vision in my own life fell apart, I realized it was the place of "determined action." I start off with clear vision, but don't stick with it as the every-day-ness of life sinks in. Bill Hybles says that "vision sinks."
So it really hit me how Stanley highlights how Nehemiah deals with one particular opportunity for distraction. There are a couple of evil dudes in the book of Nehemiah who are trying to stop Nehemiah's effort to re-build the wall of Jerusalem. They send word to Nehemiah as he is working on the wall, asking for a meeting where they intend to kill him.
Nehemiah's response: "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down."
Here's how Stanley applies this to family vision:
"Don't allow 'good' opportunities to rob you of your family vision. When you tuck your children in at night, just whisper to yourself, 'I am doing a great work and cannot come down.' Men, when you are tempted to pick up the phone and to tell your wife that you will be home late from work (again), just look over at her picture on your credenza and whisper, "I am doing a great work, I cannot come down." Then stand up, grab your keys, and head for the car."
I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.
Family. School. Work. Ministry. Vision sinks apart from determined action to see it through to the end. And so I need this little phrase from Nehemiah: I am doing a great work and cannot come down.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Great post. And oh, so true.

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Brooks, "You're My Everything!"...