Wednesday, February 17, 2010

complain, complain, complain

Complaining is rampant in our house this week. And I know who the chief complainer is...ME!

What combats complaint? Being reminded of those things that are GOOD. Thankfulness.

Take today as an example. Eloise has a fever and with fevers come crying and whining. Lily is fine but she's almost 3, so we know what comes with that -- trouble. Sam is slightly sick but is just a baby and can only go so long without being held. As I'm tending to one, the other two are crying and as I'm holding one, someone is falling or hurting themselves. It's enough to make a girl feel nauseated (and it actually does because of the Graves' diagnosis).

Last night was HORRIBLE. All kids up at all different hours. At one point I was up with someone every 10 minutes for over an hour. I finally laid back in bed and started crying, "serenity now"!!!! Then Dave left because I was tossing and turning. Eloise somehow made it to our bed and before I knew it, it was 4 a.m. and Sam was up for a feed. Morning arrives and my head fells like someone has been punching it all night long. Coffee can not come fast enough.

But I'm quick to realize that it's only 8 o'clock and I have to survive until 6:30. Not to mention feed them all and make sure they sleep. This will be our 3rd day in the house and the walls keep getting smaller.

I have to make it through and i can either make it through whining (which is what drives me crazy about my kids) or I can choose to find the positive. I'll be honest, mustering up thankfulness doesn't roll out easily.

FOLLOW UP: As I look back at today I've realized something profound. About 4 o'clock, Eloise was on the couch, as she had been all day, and Lily and I were outside playing (Sam was sleeping). I walked over to a flower bed to start cutting back some hydrangea's. I looked down at a Lenten Rose my mom had given me last year. It's the first flower to bloom and always blooms at the beginning of Lent.

Today is Ash Wednesday signifying the beginning of Lent. I grew up Lutheran and observed Lent every year. It holds a very significant place in my heart and history.

People often give up something for Lent in order to prepare them to have a small understand of the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross. I think of it more as a time of looking inward to see what the Lord can use to teach us more about himself. A refinement process.

As I looked at the rose I realized what needed to be refined in my life -- complaint. I needed to learn to not complain. Because complaint is evidence of doubting God's goodness. This doesn't mean I need to be happy and blissful all the time, but to see the other side of the coin. To see that there is always goodness somewhere in the midst of difficulty. And I cannot see the goodness if I'm complaining all the time.

So I'm giving up complaining for Lent. Every time I complain, I'm putting a quarter in a jar. My kids are going to put in a penny. (they are joining me in this too) At the end, all money has to go towards something good (hopefully there won't be alot in there).

Philippians 2:13-15 (New International Version)
for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe Complaint is hard to overcome, but I'm hoping joy covers over all.

Complaint is hard to overcome, but with God all things are possible.


amanda said...

love your follow up - you can do it!!

AnonyMe said...

Kate, I can completely relate. It always makes me laugh when people ask if the baby sleeps through the night, because even if the baby does, there's no guarantee that the other kids will! It all goes in phases, though. You are so great at remembering to be thankful. You inspire me, too, in giving up complaining.

Rachelle said...

Thank you for these convicting thoughts! Your honesty is so refreshing and your thoughts are applicable to all.

Shelby said...

I love this Kate!! Love it! Praying that God gives your strength, patience and grace!! I know He will!!

Love ya my friend!