We took a short camping trip with friends last week. Did I mention we camped in a tent? All seven of us. In a tent. We just sold our pop up camper and plan to get a bigger one someday. In the meantime, we borrowed my parents’ tent (which was significantly bigger than ours) and headed over to Deer Creek State Park. We loved the park. Our campsite was perfect (we are kind of picky and like a secluded site surrounded by trees). We spent a lot of time out on the lake where our three oldest kids actually waterskied for the first time! It was an adventure to say the least, but that’s what I crave. Even though I was a grouch part of the time (no big surprise), we had a good time as a family and enjoyed spending time with friends who provided some great entertainment while we were there (boat, jet ski, and awesome campfires)!
1. Since having kids, I have always hated the baby food stage of a child’s life. Yes, I am lazy. It is such a hassle to try to feed a baby who is just learning to eat solid food teeny little bites on a rubber coated spoon that holds 2/1000th of a teaspoon of pureed goo. Did I mention that I am also impatient? Good news! My laziness is now referred to as baby led weaning! I feel so much better now. It is good to know I am not alone in the world. Also good to know there is a more politically correct phrase to use when describing myself.
2. All of the racially motivated news that’s been overwhelming us lately really makes me think. I’m not sure I want to go on record with any opinion, but my desire is to really see people as God sees them (I Samuel 16:7b).
The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
I also love this quote from Corrie ten Boom:
Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.
3. I may only be capable of blogging once a month (or less), but that is where I am right now. We are enjoying the summer!
4. Our service at church and small group last night were so encouraging. This verse kept coming to mind (Hebrews 10:25):
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
1. These brownies changed my life. I have never been a big brownie fan, but the rich, chocolatey goodness of these were a huge hit!
2. I love summer. The kids are a little crazy at times with school being out, but nothing beats a good road trip, lazy mornings, hikes at local parks, the freedom to plan your day however you wish and $.49 ice cream cones at McDonald’s!
3. I may have OCD. I have spent entire days on the internet looking up commercial real estate listings in search of a permanent location for our church. Also, I have spent entire days looking for a beach house for future vacations. Is this normal?
4. Sleepovers are exhausting. We have only had kids over twice so far this summer, but it wears me out. Who knew my kids who normally go to bed at 8:00 pm, could stay up well past midnight? Crazy!
5. Horses are my favorite animal. In fact, the horse is the only animal I have ever had any affection for. A trip to Carriage Hill Farm yesterday affirmed in my mind that we need to buy a house with more land so that we can have horses. The kids agree with me, of course…
6. I can’t stop watching Flying Wild Alaska on Netflix. I feel like my life has purpose when I am in the middle of a television series on Netflix. It takes the “what are we going to do after we put the kids to bed?” guesswork out of each evening. I love that. Any suggestions for what we should watch next?
7. My husband is the master chef of popcorn. I thought my popcorn making skills were as good if not a little better than his, but this month I learned that I was wrong. His popcorn is superior. He gets the award! And I love that he has to sling a kitchen towel over his shoulder during the process.
My kids are a reminder of God’s grace to me. I do not deserve them. I am not the perfect mother, but I am so thankful that God has entrusted me with them (even when one of them refuses to be photographed).
In case you didn’t know Emily Freeman (author of Grace for the Good Girl) is the younger sister of the Nester (whose blog I’d been reading for awhile before I realized she was Emily’s older sister), and Gary Morland is their dad (I referenced one of his posts here). Isn’t that crazy? I am such a nosy person. The internet provides way too much access to information for an inquisitive soul like myself.
This quote from Emily’s blog really stood out to me today.
Fear tells me to run away from connection.
Vulnerability dares me to run towards it.
It turns out the emotional line between those two experiences is fragile and thin.
In the gathering that we had back in April for in(RL), which was awesome BTW, we discussed vulnerability briefly, and I confessed my fear of it. I don’t like to be vulnerable. I hate it, in fact. Just read the definition below according to dictionary.com.
Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.
I am aware that the choice to send your kids to public school, Christian school or homeschool can be a divisive issue, and that is not my intention at all. I recently read an article about homeschooling and that sparked some thoughts that I’ve had concerning the different schooling options. Please feel free to comment with any thoughts you have. I have friends and family that differ in their views on this topic, and I subscribe to non-denominational motherhood, so I respect and admire the way they are raising their children as well.
A little background, we currently send our two school-aged children to public school. Our community is fairly conservative, and we know many of the parents and teachers. It is a situation I am comfortable with, but that doesn’t mean I am pressuring everyone to follow suit (although I do struggle with wanting to do that and have sometimes). It is of course in my kids’ best interest to surround them with as many positive influences as possible, so of course, I’d like you to send your kids to school with mine. Okay, that advertisement is over. Please excuse my selfish public service announcement. By the way, our schooling choice for now may change in the future as we never know where the Lord will lead us.
We are all called by God to different places, and every one of those places has potential for danger. Many times being in those dangerous places can be a faith builder. I’ve always thought it would be such an adventure to be a missionary in a sketchy area (like a third world country, inner city, etc.). What if you feel called to one of those places AND you have kids? Do you deny the call in order to protect your kids? I often wonder about the whole argument of keeping your kids out of school in order to protect them. There are days when I worry about what could happen during the school day, but I am able to calm my fears through prayer, and for now my husband and I both feel like our kids are where they should be.
Ultimately there are endless possibilities of ways I could lose my children. At some point, I have to view them as God’s and trust Him to take better care of them than I ever could. Do I keep them home from missions trips when they are older because it’s too dangerous? Where do I draw the line? What age do I start to let them go? I had a hard time turning off the baby monitor in my son’s room when he was probably close to two years old. My mom finally told me I needed to do it. She knows me. I am a worrier, and I lose sleep because of it. I lay in bed, unable to sleep, waiting for the next child to cry out and need me. I think letting go of my kids started at that point. It was a lot harder than I thought. One of my daughters had several febrile seizures and that was another issue that was hard for me to handle. Should I keep her in bed with me all the time just in case? Our doctor assured me that she would be okay in her own bed. If she had a seizure in the night, her body should stop on it’s own. I lost a lot of sleep after that too, worrying that I heard her bed shaking on the baby monitor. This parenting thing is tougher than I anticipated!
Anyway, all that to say do we give fear too much of a priority when planning our child’s future?
Okay, there is also the issue of bullying and mean kids and all of that. They will have to deal with it soon enough, so let’s protect them as long as we can. I get it. I understand. I am writing this because I am trying to work this out in my own head as well. My oldest is a boy, and I really didn’t worry too much about kids being mean to him (because he’s a boy, let’s toughen him up!). I told him to turn the other cheek, don’t repay evil with evil, and all of that. However, when my daughter started school it was a different story. I had a much harder time telling her to be kind no matter what. Girls are mean! I thought the pettiness would start in middle school maybe, not kindergarten! Of course, I’m only getting my daughter’s side of the story, so who knows how many of her issues were provoked by her actions. But back to the parenting part of it. Is it my job as a mother to shield and protect her from any and all situations like this? If so, what age do I start to let her out into the world a little? Is it best to keep my kids in a protective bubble for as long as possible or gradually expose them to reality while training them to be responsible for their own attitudes and actions regardless of what others may say or do?
I’m reminiscing about my own past being raised in a pretty sheltered environment, attending Christian school through ninth grade, and heavily involved in the church. My upbringing allowed me to put my foot in my mouth quite often as I got older, mostly due to my naivety. I am so thankful that others were patient and tolerant of me with my sometimes holier than thou mindset. I felt like I was a living billboard for how perfect your life can be if you came to Christ. I now realize how wrong a lot of my motives were and how lousy I was at loving others who didn’t look exactly like me.
So, we will make mistakes with our own kids, I’m sure. But, I want them to receive as much Biblical guidance and unconditional love as I can give them here at home. And while they are out in the world (i.e. school, soccer, etc.) I want them to put what they’ve learned into practice. I’m still learning how to put the things God has taught me into practice. I’m still struggling with the whole bitterness thing and maybe that’s why the girl that was mean to my daughter at school struck such a chord with me. My kids will deal with fallen people just like I deal with them. I want them to learn to be gracious to others as I continue to learn as well (to be honest, I have stuggled with this whole grace thing all week; I am a slow learner). This is what I want my kids to remember: the world is made up of a bunch of imperfect people that Jesus died to save and we are called to love them like Jesus and lead them to a relationship with Him.
I have rambled long enough. What started out to be my thoughts on our schooling choice turned into a lesson for me. Apparently, I still have issues with worry/fear and dealing with those who have wronged me or those I love. I’ve been reading Romans 8 today and getting excited about the HOPE that is to come. Why do I dwell on the things of this world when there is so much JOY in our future?
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
Romans 8:18-21 (The Message)
I’m embarrassed to admit the childish way I’ve behaved today. My 35th birthday is tomorrow, and my sweet husband gave me my birthday present early (he likes to give me gifts early, and I am not always strong enough to insist that he wait till the actual big day)! So, I opened a gift card to a salon last night, and in my excitement made big plans for using it today. I mean, I have been having trouble relaxing lately so I could really use a facial right about now. I called this morning to see if by chance they could squeeze me in, only to find out the salon was closed due to a local festival. You cannot even imagine my level of anger and disappointment. I had made these amazingly perfect plans in my head for a day of pampering yours truly, and in an instant my whole attitude changed to despair (just because these plans couldn’t happen right this minute). After moping and trying to find a way to salvage the day, I realized how impatient I’ve become. To think that I can’t wait another few days to use my gift card without losing my mind is kind of ridiculous!
Here are just a few reasons why I should be thankful instead of grumpy:
-We got a second opinion on Nate’s issue with his leg, and this specialist agreed with the first specialist that the bone lesion is benign, so I should be rejoicing!
-My two oldest kids are done with school for the summer, and we are all leaving for vacation in a week!
-We have a beautiful place to live and food and clothes (too many for me to keep put away, in fact)!
-We are surrounded by family and friends who love us!
But even if none of these things were true, I still have a relationship with God who loves me and works all things for good! I was painfully aware of my bad behavior after reading this post by Gary Morland. I may never understand the purpose of some of the circumstances in my life, and as petty as I’ve been about my circumstances today, I need to come to terms with this. Whether it be a disappointment big or small, my belief in God’s sovereignty needs to be predominant.
After reading Emily’s post here, this is what came to mind:
-I’m upset at the church that got rid of my family seemingly out of worry and the need to place God in a little box.
-I’m scared of the great big unknown and my tendency to put God in that same little box that I judge others for doing.
-I am struggling to trust God with a problem my husband is having with his leg. What if it’s cancer? I’m afraid to even catch a glimpse of a future containing that. Have I mentioned we have five kids?
-I sometimes grow apprehensive of life in a small town harboring those who dislike (maybe even hate) my family. I keep trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter what others think, only God, but I’m being honest here. It still scares me, even if only for the minute possibility that my kids will be mistreated, lied to, or ridiculed.
-I hold my relationships loosely, worrying that they too may someday detect a reason to distrust me.
-I’m scared of bitterness overtaking my life, defining my relationships, and keeping me cynical.
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.
I John 4:17-21 (The Message)
I love the end of this chapter: “Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.”
Scary, but true. Risky, but rewarding. It’s easier to remain the cynic, but my best days are the ones I reach out to others in love instead of cowering in fear. I’m taking baby steps, but I’m trusting God to finish the real work in me.
I was reading this post (isn’t this how I always start?), and I was convicted of my own disbelief. I am a lover of knowledge which makes it tough to believe sometimes. I think it’s always a power struggle within me to rely on God versus my own strength.
I can fight, resist, and argue, but I’ll be on my own because my God will not be big enough for me. Or I can agree and trust him and allow him to be my comfort and my strength as he makes the confusion, waiting, regret, and hopelessness fit.
In the U.S. we grow up believing we can do anything we put our mind to, and I’m not saying this is always a bad thing, but when we put our mind to something which will inevitably lead to our own glory instead of God’s that can be bad. Motives play a big role in all of this. I remember a conversation with a coworker in which I took all of the glory for my seemingly perfect life. “You just have to take it one step at a time and make good choices.” While this advice seems harmless enough, I can’t help wondering how I left God out of it completely. What if I had been homeless and living on the street? I guess few people would’ve been inquiring of my recipe for success. Why do we associate financial prosperity with spirituality sometimes? I have no doubt that God can bless some with a lot and some with enough, but do we place more importance on those with excess?
I say I believe God and His sovereignty, but do my thoughts and actions show it? I need to use my energy to pursue God and a deeper with relationship with Him instead of pursuing knowledge in an attempt to control the situation on my own (this is usually my preference).
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.