My Journey of Faith
My Journey of Faith is the most exciting, yet difficult, journey I think I will ever be blessed to experience. At times it has been more heart-pounding than any rollercoaster ride I've ever been on, and at other times it has been down right tough.
The only thing that makes it all worth it for me is the CONSTANT presence of the ONE TRUE GOD, my CREATOR and KING. I am still humbled and in awe of a love that covers all my sins. It blows me away that HE never lets GO of my hand....
Monday, April 2, 2012
I am trying to teach myself that a clean house is TEMPORARY. Is it just me? Or do we all put to much pressure on ourselves to have a "perfectly spotless" house? I like to have all the laundry caught up, the refrigerator full of good things to eat, and clean bathrooms and floors. However, I know that those things are TEMPORARILY caught up. At best I can "maintain" them.
Lately, I have felt like these daily tasks have been robbing me of my precious time that I could be spending with the Lord or with my children. I know that time invested in either of those relationships will never be WASTED. It's not that I am saying let everything else go to complete dismay, but I wonder if we just gave ourselves permission to let those things wait- how much more satisfied with our day would we be? I'm asking myself, mainly because I want to EXPERIENCE deeper relationships with the ones I love. I am sure that when I am meeting my Maker, He will not criticize me dust bunnies on top of the entertainment center. Nor when I am an elderly person, possibly without nearby family or fading health, will I ever look back and regret not keeping my hardwood shined. No one cares if the sink has a pile of dirty dishes. No one will remember that the clean laundry sat in a stack on the dresser for a few days. I believe the generation I live in struggles to resemble perfection and we want to control everything a little too much. I know I do. I need to regroup and prioritize my time so that these TEMPORARY things don't get the best of me!
I just thought I would share. I know I am not the only one that tries to balance all of the responsibilities that come with being a busy mom and wife, while trying to maintain order in our home. However, I do believe we need to encourage each other to give ourselves a BREAK! I want those in my life to feel like they can drop by anytime and so what it my house isn't clean. I would rather spend some time visiting with a friend than cleaning ANY DAY! I also want to be clear with the ones I love, I will NEVER judge you by your fruit loops on the floor!
Have a great week!
Friday, February 17, 2012
Just this week I was reminded how important the small things really can be for our families. Instead of going out for Valentine's Day, for several reasons, I thought it would be fun to make a big meal for my family and dine in! We used our used our wedding China, had candles, and homemade desserts. My children were so sweet when they said, "Dad, come in the dining room and see what Mom did for us!" My heart swelled with joy. That was my goal, to show them an out pour of my love for them. I have decided that they have to KNOW without a doubt that they are SPECIAL to me. In order to ensure that I do that, they have to SEE my love displayed in ways that touch their minds and hearts. Sounds simple enough, right? Even Lydia, who has been struggling to learn to eat solid foods, enjoyed TWO servings of my lasagna and peas! Little tears snuck out of the corner of my eyes to watch her enjoying her dinner in our dining room! My four year finished the dinner with a plea of "Mom, can we do this again next year?"
I believe sometimes I am so busy that I am missing God's best for my life. Scaling back is getting easier but it is a daily surrender of my time. I have so many friends with similar scheduling dilemmas, and we can all say LIFE IS BUSY. It doesn't have to be chaotic, though. It seems as if just getting the laundry clean and put away is enough some weeks to push me right over the edge of motherly sanity! As if that were even something to stress out about. Ha! I don't believe that is God's plan for us. If we will give Him all the we have, HE will make it enough. If all we have is 20 minutes to spend in His word, or in prayer, maybe that is where we should start. I have been praying for His continued presence in my daily time with Him. Yesterday as I was rushing around He reminded me that He wants me to be faithful to His word and to commit myself to Him in prayer. The story in Matthew 14 about Christ feeding the 5,000 people with just five loaves and two fish came to mind. As I read about that miracle again today, I am amazed at how the disciples just wanted to send the people away...Hurriedly....They didn't even think to ask our Lord to meet their needs. What a word for me. I just needed a good reminder of how simple it can be when we keep our eyes on Him. I pray He gives you peace this weekend and simplicity in your day today. I encourage you, and myself, to give Him what YOU HAVE and let Him do the rest!
Monday, February 13, 2012
As the snow is silently stacking up outside my window, I can't help but think how perfect it is for me to spend this sad day indoors. All the while, I sit watching the bluebird play as if it were Spring. Such contrasting viewpoints of this life.....
Monday, January 23, 2012
As a parent, it is heartbreaking to hear your child has been violently hit or verbally assaulted. Upsetting enough that I even cried as my child calmly recounted his playground incident from Friday. We dealt with some bullying issues when he was in the first grade last year, but nothing that we felt was beyond the semi-normal realm of mean children being mean children. I was totally caught off guard when I realized we had a problem this year.
There had been several incidents here and there over the semester with some of our classmates that I had heard about, but I wasn't overly concerned because of my confidence in our teacher. During our parent teacher conferences I reported to her some of the stories I had been told, mainly to see if what I was hearing was true, and she confirmed they were and assured me that the mischief makers were being punished and so forth.
Fast forward to last week. My son came home daily with new stories of how so-and-so did such-and-such to little Billy and/or Sally. He was always quick to say, "but they didn't mess with me," or "but I didn't get involved" but it seemed like the incidents were increasing in severity. I always asked where the teacher was while these incidences were occurring and he always said that they weren't out there. When I would ask if his classroom teacher knew about it, he would say "Mom, we aren't allowed to tell our teacher anything that happens on the playground because she isn't out there." I told him that I would make a visit to see his principal to make sure that the school was aware that these incidents were happening. I also told him that even if he wasn't involved to always try to get help for kids that are being mistreated, and I really tried to reinforce that God wants us to be kind to one another and help those in trouble. In the moment, that felt like enough.
For several reasons I didn't stop in or call the school last week like I should have done. I figured I would get-around-to-it this week. Little did I know he was going to be shoved down, hit, and kicked several times Friday on the playground. All of which he really hesitated to tell me later that night as I was getting him ready for bed. It was almost as if he was embarrassed, like he had done something wrong. (I forget that he is a man in training, pride is already a factor!) Apparently several were involved: one girl was choked, one girl's hair was pulled, and he and a friend of his were hit and kicked. AGAIN, where were the teachers? Shocking, isn't it? Unannounced to him, I called several of the parents whose children were involved and each of their stories were the same...They had been playing with one another when the bullies came up and started harassing them. Totally uncalled for.
I would never want to embarrass him by telling this story, but after talking to several parents I feel that this story resonates with too many of our children.
As a parent, you simply feel helpless. To some extent, we are helpless. We did all the things we could. I went up to the school. Of course we reported the problem to the teacher and principal, we contacted other parents involved, and we tried to assure our child that just because other kids act a certain way doesn't mean that we should, but the effects of ridicule and violence outlast any trip to the Principal's office I have ever seen. Luckily, our child feels better after having met with our principal, and he shows no sign of fear of these other children. I can, however, see a scary future for these other children involved if immediate intervention isn't implemented. Teaching him to "love his enemies" according to the gospel of Matthew 5:44 and "to pray for them," hasn't been an easy task but we are trying. The mama bear in me wants to give everyone a spanking but seven year olds are getting a little big for a simple slap on the bottom. I'm not convinced that more violence is going to solve these children's issues.
According to www.bullyingstatistics.org, half of all school aged children will experience some form of school bullying. I recommend talking about bullying with your child/children. Our children have to hear us tell them that it is ok to report problems that are occurring at school. It is our job to LISTEN. We are THEIR ADVOCATES and we should protect them WITHOUT APOLOGY. I'm not sure that I care whether or not I upset the principal for repeating "I just want to make sure you understand I feel this is completely unacceptable and has to stop." My only concerns are that children are safe, that they can learn in an environment where they FEEL safe, and that my child knows that I will stand up for him.
My daddy would be proud of me, he always stood up for me. It was something I could count on out of him. :) I hope my children will one day be able to say the same of me. Let me hear from you, is bullying a problem you have faced? How did you deal with it? Much love to each of you.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Although I have jotted down several ideas to share this week, I thought with my brief free time on a Saturday I would share some pieces of different songs that have come together to speak to me. I thought it was neat that God would use KLOVE (a Christian radio station) to help me have such an audible conversation with HIM! Each line is a different song lyric with the artist who sings the song in parenthesis!
Here is what I heard:
"I am RESTLESS looking for you.." (Switchfoot)
"Calloused and bruised, dazed and confused, lying with my face down on the floor, crying out for more. Give me words to SPEAK.." (Aaron Shust)
"YOU are GOOD, YOU are GOOD when there is nothing good in me....I'm running to your arms" (One Sonic Society)
"You reach for me with a love that quiets all my fears" (Peter Furled)
"I trust in JESUS, My STRONG DELIVERER" (Third Day)
"If we gotta start somewhere, I say here..we gotta start sometime, I say now..." (Toby Mac)
"You are making me new. You make BEAUTIFUL things out of the DUST." (Gunger)
"We are the light of the world, we are the city on a hill, we are the light of the world and we gotta let the light shine..." (Kelly JO)
"We'll sing until the whole world hears!" (Casting Crowns)
I hope you have a gReAt SATURDAY!
Monday, January 9, 2012
Our Thanksgiving was spent in a tropical paradise with some of our dearest friends that moved away from us a year ago. They have left the busier schedules of our society and are living on island where they have started a home church that is GROWING weekly. I am in awe of how God has placed them exactly where they are, maybe I can share more about them later! We just took our two older boys, and did we ever have an adventure! We snorkeled, we cave-tubed (with bats!), and we enjoyed some fun in the sun. It was a nice break from our daily routines and hectic schedules. We couldn't have been MORE THANKFUL for our time with our friends and time away. (My husband rarely takes time off, and we soaked in as much QUALITY time as possible! The picture is a snapshot of our adventure!)
October's Prayer Requests...(Still referring to Recapping the last 7 months post...)
(I included a picture of our sweet girl, just in case you were curious of what she looks like! Isn't she a sweetie?)
Dear Prayer Warriors,
We continue to feel your prayers and the Lord's presence as we walk our journey. How can we ever thank you? You bring glory to our Father and its amazing to see how God uses your prayers to manifest himself in our lives!
Lydia is still making progress. This part of our journey started when she was 6 months and she is now nearly 11 months old! We are seeing her use her neck, arms, and legs more and more. She is able to spend longer and longer amounts of time on her stomach, pushing up and rolling over some. She seems to recognize the words: momma, dada, bubba, her name, bye-bye and bite! Her love for Elmo and Dora is already obvious, and her "crazy hair" continues to grow in its own unique way! She is loving, laid back, funny, and precious in every way. Please continue to ask God to help grow stronger every day!
Our physical therapist believes that last Friday she displayed a 1 to 2 second "episode" that could have been a seizure. I was sitting less than a foot away from Lydia and didn't see anything I would have ever characterized as a seizure, but I couldn't see her eyes and I am no expert in this area. It is very troubling to us because we know that she is at risk of having seizures. Our neurologist immediately prescribed a "preventive" type of seizure medication. On the way to the pharmacy, though, I grew overwhelmingly worried that putting Lydia on any kind of medicine like this one would be a hasty decision. Jud felt the same way. We called our neurologist back and asked a million questions. To be certain that Lydia needs this medication, or doesn't need it, we will do a 24 hour EEG on November 7. There are no guarantees that the "episode" will re-occur, if indeed it did ever occur. At this point, we have not started the medication. The medication would be something they would keep her on for two years before re-evaluating her, then it must be "tapered" down before taking her completely off of it. You can imagine our unrest. Please pray that if Lydia is having any kind of seizure activity that we will be able to see that in the EEG, but also pray that she is not seizing. We are so thankful for our physical therapist and neurologist, they are EXCELLENT. We know that they are very proactive and they have been blessings to us.
The Lord continues to be faithful. As our hearts cling to HIM, HE meets us exactly where we are, exactly when we need it. I find myself hearing more every day about the struggles of each of us. Thank you for sharing in our lives in such a real way. Being transparent is not something that comes natural to any of us, but there is such power in it. We know that this LIFE is HARD and we are thankful we are not alone. Thank you for being patient with us as our lives have changed, and thank you for your prayers on behalf of our sweet Lydia.
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your sons asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? ..... If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:9-13
"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7