Thursday, March 4, 2010

So precious...

Our day yesterday began with our son running head-first into the corner of a wall. The wall won, and we ended up in the ER with a gash in our son's head. I praise God that although it bled a LOT, it could have been a lot worse. The ER doctor glued his cut (who knew they could practically super-glue a wound), and he is leaving it alone - for now. I continue to pray that it heals well, although he will have quite the battle scar on his forehead!

What an awful reminder of the sovereignty of God! As part of our women's Bible study at church, I am currently studying Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. This past week we learned that God is COMPLETELY in control of ALL events of our lives - the traumatic, the big, the mundane, and the small. He is not passive; He is actively involved in all that happens. God was aware of our circumstances, and God chose those for us yesterday. And when our days seem to be uneventful, He has chosen that day for us as well. God does ALL things for His glory and for our good. Do I really believe that? If I did, would I be worried about anything...really, what can worry us?

Lord, thank you for protecting my little boy yesterday. Thank you for bringing us both blessing and calamity. Give us also the wisdom to see your glory and our good in all you do, and let us praise you for it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This is only a season

We have been studying Ecclesiastes in Sunday School. If you ever want to be reminded of the futility of our struggles, read this book. A few weeks ago, we studied the passage about seasons - a time for everything. This idea has been such an influence on our lives lately. Being a full-time wife and mother is exhausting. Most days, I long for a break of some kind - please children, just take a nap, or at least play quietly for a little while! They are so full of energy, and I'm positive the volume in our home increases a little each day. This, too, is only a season. They will not always be so little and full of endless energy. They will not always want to sit on my lap. They will not always want to dance like silly and play house. They will not always call for Mommy when they wake up. But they will remember how I respond when they wanted to do all of those things. Did I enjoy the beautiful things about this season of life, or did I dismiss them as cumbersome, longing for a season where things are orderly, quiet, and well-suited for my selfish desires? Each season has its own joys if I just look...before I know it, those joys will be gone forever.

I recently heard a mother say, "Teach your kids about God. They won't care if the house was clean or the laundry was folded just right." When they're teachable, teach. When they're huggable, hug. And when they're loud and silly, join in their little world of joy so they remember you loving them in every season.

Lord, give me the wisdom to see the joys in every season of life. Give me the strength to enjoy each season as it quickly passes, for our lives are so fleeting compared to your Glory.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Can't you gracious me?

A few months back, our daughter was having a particularly difficult day. She had blatantly disobeyed our instruction all day long, and we were weary from the constant discipline and correction. We were tired of telling her "No," and she was tired of hearing it. So we decided to relent and give her grace. We told her, "we are choosing to be gracious to you right now, and we are going to let you do the thing that brings you joy right now. You've disobeyed, and we have been keeping you from the fun things all day long. Even though you don't deserve it, we want to be gracious and give this to you." Her eyes lit up, and she jumped up and down with joy! She was so excited because she knew discipline was coming but instead received a gift of grace. She even ran to me and said in such a sweet, sincere voice, "Mommy, I love you!" Now, when she knows she's been disobedient, she asks us, "Can't you gracious me?!" She may not understand the concept of grace, but she knows it's something she doesn't deserve, and she knows it brings joy to her heart. I hope you're seeing the parallel here, but in case you're not, here it comes...

Everything we do deserves discipline and consequences. But God gives more grace... While we were sinners, Christ died for us, and God gave more grace. Do we react the same way that my daughter did? Are we overcome with joy? Do we run to our father in love and thank Him for the grace He gives which is infinitely more than we could ever give our children? Or do we instead continue to sin, demanding to our Holy God, "Can't you gracious me?" God's grace is an unearned gift. Let's constantly remember the grace our Father daily gives, and let's strive to show the same grace to our children in an effort to point them to Jesus.

Father, we praise you and thank you for the unfathomable grace found only in Christ. Help us to parent our little blessings out of thankful hearts, and help us to reflect even a portion of your grace onto their impressionable little souls.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's Not the Children - It's Me

I had "one of those days" yesterday. My daughter was more defiant than usual, and I got frustrated. I find myself saying "I was so frustrated" way too often. Most of the time, it's because the kids simply won't obey! I mean, how hard is it to just do what I say? Everything wold be so much easier, but they just won't do it!

Over the past few weeks, God has been giving me gentle reminders that my frustration problem is about me, not about the kids. Just this morning, someone reminded me that our homes should be a place where our kids are free to sin, be lovingly disciplined, and see Christ in the process. My husband read something the other day that said discipline is only effective if the parents are more disciplined than the children. I've also been studying about my own wicked heart that cries, "I WANT, I WANT, I WANT" all day long and gets frustrated when I don't get what I want. The normal day-to-day challenges of parenthood are only exposing what's in my heart - the sinful desire to have perfect order, obedient children, and peace and quiet so my life will be a little "easier." But I'm confident that even if I had everything I "wanted" - order, obedience, peace - I would never be satisfied. I would find more to want. After all, a theologian once said that our hearts are idol factories. We always create something to worship that will never satisfy our souls.

Christ is our only satisfaction. Until we are fully satisfied in Christ, we will never be satisfied with our lives. Until I am perfectly content in Christ, I will always be frustrated with my children. I don't really want obedience and order; I want Jesus, and I need to make sure they want Him, too.

Lord, forgive me for seeking anything but Christ. Help me to set my heart on Jesus so my children can see that He alone satisfies.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Love My Husband

Last night, after the kids were in bed, my husband and I were fixing our daily bowls of ice cream and settling in for a little TV. We don't watch much TV (we don't have cable), but we do really enjoy watching a few shows together. We've done that since we were first married. We clean up the kitchen, get the house in order (somewhat), and just relax together. I've never once thought of using that time for laundry, house cleaning, paying bills, or any of the other things that probably need to be done. I just know that every night, we will have our time to relax together.

Last night, I realized that it's easy to put aside all of the chores to spend time with my husband, but it's not so easy to do that with my children. I feel like I NEED to get everything accomplished during the day, and I get frustrated when I don't. But I don't look forward to time with my children like I do the time with my husband. Why is that? Maybe it's because I spend so much time with the kids that I take it for granted. Or by the time I sit down for our ice cream, I'm probably so exhausted that none of my chores will get done anyway! Children are hard work, and maybe after a long day of discipline, diapers, and meals they will not eat, I feel like I've been more of a childcare provider than a mother. Or maybe it's natural to want to spend time with your spouse more than your children. After all, he was there before they were! He really is my best friend, and I love being with him. Regardless, I want to enjoy the time with my children and look forward to it like I look forward to ice cream time. I won't always have this time with them, and I want to take advantage of it.

Lord, thank you that my husband is my closest friend, and please give me a heart that longs for sweet time with my children.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Such delay...

So how long has it been since my last post? Long enough for me to feel guilty for never having anything to say. Maybe I should be silent more often...
We're settled into our new home but not settled into much of a routine yet. Moving, busy church schedule, wild children, house repairs (more than I would like to admit already) - they have all stolen my time to "myself", ergo the lack of blogging. So now it's time to jump back in! Hope I still have a reader or 2 out there! Thanks for being patient with me!
I've discovered a few things since moving. I now know that more room means more places to stash boxes that you forget to unpack. I also know that if you purchase paint for a 3-year-old's room, you should use it quickly or be willing to hear her ask, "can I paint my room today?" every day until you do (I'm still hearing it, so no, we have not painted)! I also know that a busy schedule, unpacked boxes, walls to paint, appliances to replace, and walls to patch (because the girl was pushing the boy's head into it), mean that "counting others" is an even more difficult task. I've learned that if I don't make my children a priority, I can find plenty of other things to do instead of spending time with them. And when I fill my days with "things to do" instead of with my children, they know it. But I've also learned that when I play with them, the "things" get a little easier to do when the time comes.
Lord, help me to get rid of my excuses no matter what's on my plate and to be thankful that I have so many blessings to balance.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Time to Settle

We are in our "new" home. We are still sorting through boxes trying to find our socks, but we're here. Here's the view from our back door...

If anyone knows how to take care of plants, come on over! We have an abundance of beautiful plants that desperately need a green thumb. The good news is that the kids are enjoying life in their new back yard. We are even shopping for a swing set. We are so thankful to be in a home with room for our family, and I will update again soon!