My Folded Laundry is a False Shelter

It was right after breakfast. The kids were playing sweetly together in the playroom. I grabbed my bible and this book. I topped off my coffee and sat down, ready to start my day with some good truth. To fill my tank. To lighten my heart.

I read Psalm 91:1-2. It says:  “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.””

In my book, I’m prompted to list the false shelters that I cling to in my life. I write down: obedient kids, a clean car, folded laundry. I close my book. 

It had only been a few minutes. I hadn’t even had a sip of my coffee yet. 

But I was reminded that I had laundry waiting to be folded.

See, I recently started a new routine. Before bed, I fill the washing machine with the day’s soiled linens. In the morning, before coffee and breakfast and overall chaos takes over, I start the machine. While it’s washing, I empty the dryer, fold and put away the load from the day before. It’s a good system (thanks, Mimi!) It keeps me on top of the never ending laundry piles. It makes my house significantly tidier. It makes me feel good.

It’s a false shelter.

As I’m folding it, I’m realizing this.

I’m putting my faith and trust in worldly things. If I can just stay on top of our enormous laundry pile – I will be happy (insert eye roll here). I know that it’s wrong. Instead of putting the laundry down and returning to my study, I push those thoughts aside. I turn on my favorite Christian podcast instead.

I think about how silly this is.

How imperfect I am. How we are all sinners. How badly we need Christ.

My marriage, my kids, my relationships, my home, my things – these aren’t my shelters.

As Ruth Chou Simons put it in her book… “our physical environment was never intended to be our true refuge. Turn instead to the unshakeable, steady and strong shelter of our Savior…”

Is it wrong to have a clean house? Absolutely not. Is it wrong to find a rhythm for our home that works for all parties involved? Of course not.

But when I let my desire for a successful laundry routine take precedence over my time in the word – that’s a problem.

Whatever we love more than God becomes our god. And, I don’t know about you, but I definitely do NOT want laundry to be my god 😉

Where we spend the most of our time and energy often times reveals our heart motives. It shows us the false shelters that we are building. 

I’m thankful for the reminder this morning that while I love not having piles of dirty laundry scattered around my home, I don’t want to invest most of my time staying on top of it. I want to be investing my time and energy into furthering His kingdom. He is our true shelter and our refuge.

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:7-8)

What are the false shelters in your life?

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Prayer for 2018

Heavenly Father,  

I pray that you rid me of my desire to be honored, praised, being preferred to others, consulted and approved of.

Help me to not fear being humiliated, forgotten, being wrong or suspected.

Grant me the desire for others to be truly loved more than I, for others to be chosen and I set aside. For others to be praised and I be unnoticed. That others increase while I decrease.

Help me to start with scripture, to draw near to and live for you. 

Amen

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More happy, less ache

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit” – Proverbs 15:13

Friends, I must confess that lately my spirit has been crushed. 

My heart aches for the friends and family that we left behind in Hawaii. The relationships that we built in our five years there are so special to us. It is so hard not to see the faces and hear the voices that we are used to on a daily basis. 

My heart aches for our daily life there. I’m sure it’s not a surprise to hear that the quality of life in Hawaii is hard to beat. I was comfortable in our world. I knew the best spots to take the kids. I knew how to find parking at our favorite beaches and the best times to be on the road. I felt like I knew how to meet all of our needs and that I had all of the tools available to do so. We had a rhythm. 

Leaving Hawaii wasn’t an easy choice. We talked and talked and talked and talked about it for ages. We knew it was going to be hard.

But I’m surprised by just how much my heart aches.

How it’s set off by such little things.

I didn’t imagine that I would cry every time the kids play pretend and “go to Hawaii”. Or how I would cry every time I open another box of things that hasn’t been opened since I packed it in Hawaii. 

Most days I can’t even bring myself to look at photos from our time there. It hurts too much. 

No, it’s not easy. At least not for me.

I’m having a hard time plugging in. I’m having a hard time finding a new rhythm. Both things will come in time. 

Despite my heartache, I don’t regret our choice. 

The biggest reasons that we left were to be closer to family (although we did leave some pretty awesome family behind – love you Taniguchis) and to buy a house. Both which have already been accomplished and both which I am SO grateful for. 

I know that this heartache is temporary. 

I pray daily for God to show us why he brought us here. For more happy, less ache. 

Let’s do this, 2018.

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Hawaii is a hard place to leave

Five years ago this month, Alex and I were packing up our apartment in Southern California and getting ready to embark on our big adventure in Hawaii.

After being married & honeymooning on the beautiful islands of Maui and Kauai, we decided to do something “fun” and purchased ourselves two (one way) tickets to paradise.

It was hard leaving family but we had always said that we were just going to go for a few years, have fun and experience something new. We would be back before we had kids…

Welp. Five years later and three kids later we are still here (sorry, mom) But, at the end of this month, we will be packing up one more time and cashing in some more one-way tickets; this time heading east.

Bittersweet is the best word that I can think of to describe how we feel about it but it doesn’t seem big enough. It’s hard to put into words how this island has become our home. How the people have become our family.

Hawaii is a hard place to leave. Truly truly truly. The scenery, the spirit, the people – all so beautiful. And so very special. There is really no place like it.

Hawaii is a hard place to leave. But, in all honesty, it’s a hard place to live too. It’s expensive (shocker, right?) – especially when you are trying to raise three kids on one income. It’s also very transient (at least our island) with lots of military families. This year alone we have had to say “a hui ho” to so many of our dear friends. It’s sad.

Hawaii is a hard place to leave. Especially now that we have kids. The island is littered with memories of pregnancies and the earliest stages of my babies’ lives. I love that all three of my children were born in the same hospital. That they all took their first dips in the same ocean. That they all were introduced to this world in a space of beauty. I know that they are resilient but, in all honesty, it’s hard for me to imagine them anywhere else.

Hawaii is a hard place to leave. But it’s our time. We both knew in the back of our minds that we probably wouldn’t stay forever. It’s time for us to be closer to the majority of our family (we will be leaving behind our auntie, uncle and cousins – wah!). It’s time for us to spread out and try new things. It’s time for us to find our home and put down roots.

Hawaii is a hard place to leave. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t excited. There are a lot of fun things coming down the pipeline for the Byrds. We are looking forward to more family time, new experiences and, in all seriousness, some good Mexican food. And Chic-fil-A. 

Hawaii is a hard place to leave. But we know we will be back. And until then, we will be spending our last week here drinking it all in. 

 

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Baptizing the Byrds

When we were in Michigan, we had the opportunity to get all three of our babies baptized at a place that is very special to our family – Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp

If you know me even a little bit, I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about this camp. It’s been in our family’s lives for a long time (ask, and my Grandpa will proudly tell you of the year he was given the “best boy camper” award – with a pencil to prove it).

It’s truly my happy place and, even though I’m too old to be a camper, I make sure to visit every summer and I look forward to sending our kids there too! 

We had a sweet little ceremony down at the lake. The pastor had asked the summer staff to join us as well and they sang a couple of songs (which just so happened to be my two favorite camp songs – woo hoo!)

It was such a beautiful day that I will cherish forever. 


To my three sweet babies, 

In a small ceremony at Fortune Lake, we welcomed you into a community of faith that, we feel, is so needed in this broken world.

Daddy and I pray that you all learn to know Christ and follow Him. While we wish we could just make that decision for you, all we can do is promise to love and teach you to the best of our ability. 

Your individual faith journeys will look different. You will all experience love and loss. You will question and explore. You will be frustrated and you will be exhilarated. Just always know that you are special, unique and created by God and that before you were our children, you were His. 

You wont remember this special day, but that’s OK. Just always remember you are loved. Loved by your family. Loved by the church community. Loved by each other. Loved by God. 

May Jesus bless you and keep you always. May he make his face shine upon you and give you peace. You are the lights of the world. 

Love, 

Mom

 

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