Sometimes it is so Clear

As I was doing my bible study this morning it led with this:

When He speaks, it’s in the language of our own personal lives, through a verse or passage of Scripture that just seems to leap up off the page with our name on it. Anne Graham Lotz

I have been praying and agonizing over some things for a while now.  When I say a while, I mean I asked a very trusted woman of God about this before her passing.   I wholeheartedly knew the words spoken from her were weighted with gold. She had seen the colors of heaven just days before our conversation.  As humans we have to ask several times before we listen though.  I believed Beverly but apparently just wasn’t ready to take up my cross.

As I got a couple of pages into my daily study the words that leapt off the page were uncanny. I had planned for days, being without kids or hubby, to complete my weeks study this weekend…to really devote the time to listen to God in my solitude. My ego kept telling me to do other things and I was somehow able to overcome that feeling and pick up the book first thing. 

I know God uses us for vessels in moments where it is right, so if this should ring a bell for you GREAT.  However, I am sharing this so I can be reminded physically in writing how He works and to spread His word.

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He definitely woke me up.  I’m still asking for a little clarification…because that’s what we earthly souls do…but He spoke loud and clear about some of my most intimate and recurrent conversations with Him. Geesh, that took long enough.  Or maybe I just never listened for my name.

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Gentle Waves, Big Movement

You KNOW when the Lord speaks to you.  Oh yeah…you know when He speaks.  It does not have to come as some loud thunder clap or moving mountain.  Sometimes it is that still small voice nudging your heart.  And you know how I know?  The.Break.Down.

Something has been stirring in me for a few weeks now.  I could not put my finger on it and I have been very much at odds on the inside.  War.  It has felt like war taking place within.  If you don’t know the feeling then you may just be lost.  I pray for you.  If you do, I pray as well because this spiritual war (that I now know) is something out of a movie. Maybe I am just wishing it was because then it would not be real.

The first step to victory is to recognize the enemy. Even though I know he lurks about I often overlook his power and presence, just believing God “has this.”  I have let the enemy in.  In he came, the smug uninvited guest and he did it over and over again.  What a fool I am.  (There is a lot more to this that may come out later) Or maybe this is the life of a Christian.  Two can play at this game…now I am equipped just a little better than before.

The Spark

So, I cried all the way home pretty much from my night out with girlfriends.  I was so shaken and blessed by the words and friendship of these ladies, ladies who are just like me – ladies who have the same mindset and mission.  It was heartwarming and eye opening at the same time.  To listen to stories about our kids, our husbands, our journeys yet ahead.  The clarity He gave me tonight I pray will lead to greater knowledge.  I thirst for His wisdom and I yearn for more time with those who know Him so I can know Him more.  Those ladies have no idea how profound that gentle chat was to me I’m sure, but that is God. The still.small.voice.

Some years ago I made a promise to myself to open up.  I have kind of lived in my own little world not allowing anyone to enter, or the ones who do BEWARE!  You know the Great Wall?  Got nothing on me.  HA!  I can rattle off all the things going through my head right now but the only thing I know clearly at this moment is I love Jesus and I want to know Him more.  At any random point in your life you can choose to love our Father…but what if that point is not so random?  Maybe that point is at a time and place set up by his truly so that you will be so smitten, he will be forever your Valentine.  I don’t say Valentine as in the money making, card selling, candy eating one day a year Valentine.  I’m talking the love of your life – imprinted on your soul, in your spirit, YOUR EVERYTHING.

How could an evening out with girlfriends bring about this post?  How could the indwelling of emotion be so strong that it came out in none breathable swells of crying?  How could I not have know for YEARS that this feeling was something of the Holy Spirit?  All I can say is that still small voice.  Sometimes we overlook the obvious.  Sometimes we are not ready for it.  Sometimes we just ignore it because we aren’t yet sure what it is – we are just not ready.  We.are.just.not.ready.  I.was.just.not.ready.

“How often it is a small, almost unconscious event that makes a turning point.”
Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

I heaved out something scary tonight. Let it all out.  I mean this is when the tears were rolling…and then stopped abruptly!  It was my break down. “Lord use me, I lay it all down.”  Of course I said a little more after that because I just always ramble to Him and by the end I was scaaaarrred!  I just OPENED up my world. What’s next?

 

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To Just Being His

Let’s face it, we are all at times something other than ourselves.  Kevin has on many occasions become “mean daddy” as Kendra used to say.  I, myself, have been Ms. Sheila (spoken in a Bahamian accent), the tooth fairy, monster, horse, nurse, a friend and the list goes on.  Gosh, we have big shoes to fill.

Daddys shoes

I often find myself asking my mom how they did this – this parenting thing?  Well, one thing is I was the only child (mom seconded that ;-)), a pretty quiet child and in daycare. :-)  Not to disregard the parenting my mother and father did.  I did talk incessantly and I’m sure there were other things that I can’t remember which required nerves of steel.  Yes, we parents have nerves of steel or some very imaginative ways to cope.  There are days I want to be INVISIBLE, but until I find some way to produce super human powers (I’ve tried) I will just have to settle for mommy night outs occasionally.

In church we have been learning some Life Apps and going through the book of James.  Pastor Chris has mentioned over and over that this book is hard to wrap your mind around, that it is Word that we often want to skip over or skip certain parts.  Personally, I have not found that to be the case.  It has pushed and inspired me, actually, to the point that I am scrutinizing myself to no end. I know I am not where I want to be as a Christian, or as a mom for that matter.  I’m probably harder on myself.  Aren’t we usually the first condemn ourselves?  I have been in a constant state of turmoil for years and especially since becoming a parent. Am I doing my best?  Am I good enough? Why is A not like B, Kelly’s kid? We do that as parents.  Even as others praise us, like the friend from my last post, we drown ourselves in “yeah rights” and put even more pressure on.

The silver lining – YES, there is one! – is this:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:17

If God does not condemn then why do we?  Is that fair to do that to ourselves if He will not even do that to us?  It’s almost like not obeying Him and expecting to hear His word.  “The less we are manipulated by the expectations of others, the more we are open to the expectations of God, ” says Richard Foster.  We are weak and we will fail but He is strong and He prevails (a little quip I coined). As the Women’s Devotional bible states, [we need] “to discover who we are in the light of his love, freedom and grace.”

Even though our roles may be parent, princess, superhero or therapist in the end we are His sheep and I don’t need to fill big shoes.  It’s already been done. Amen!

 

superwoman

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A is for Alligator

Sometimes we just need a game day, play day, a gimme some play dough day.

I love homeschooling, no matter how much I gripe about the daily process. 

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Carson is using a program to learn his letters.  Kendra is learning fractions via Math U See.  Brady is learning to read with Learning to Read by Christian Lighthouse publications.

Today we did our memory work, listened to the states and capitals song while we made play dough animals, learned some Spanish, thanks to YouTube, and had a great card game of Crazy 8’s.

We love Fridays!

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A Picture of Imperfection

There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. ~ Jill Churchill

What a statement of truth.  Sitting in a room full of women, my friend said something to our new friends that took me aback. She referred to me as a perfect mother, the queen mother, the mother of all mothers.  Well ok, maybe she didn’t take it that far but she did say perfect and that, my dears, is so far from the truth. I do not want to fool anybody and if that is written on my person then I need to make a correction…quickly.  Let’s face it.  I don’t have time for the magazine articles, TV shows, and book tours that come with being The Perfect Mother.

After nudging her slightly hard in the shoulder from her mishap of a word, I let it go…until I got home.  My mind took off like a race car at the start line. Perfect.  What does that look like?  Wanting to run away after 5:00 each night?  Dreading coming up with a dinner they are going to eat? Yelling, yelling, and yelling some more (still working on it)?  Or is it correcting them when they talk back?  Giving them a hug after they just called me stupid? Taking them to their favorite restaurant? Planning the best birthday party? Trying hard to teach them the ways of God?

Perfect: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

Hmmm, let’s stew over the as good as it is possible to be part of that.  How many times have you heard someone say, when speaking of parenting, I/we did the best I could?  Maybe you have even said it.  Pretty sure I have.  Does that qualify as perfect?  I can only answer that for myself….

When we first started our family, our lives were far from perfect.  Our marriage was tumultuous at best with lots of baggage floating in streams behind us, probably stacked 2×2.   I’m pretty sure between the two of us the kids have enough junk to write a novel or spend years in therapy working through.  Honestly, it’s life.  We’ve had 10 years to get something right and I will confess, with happy emotion, that recently things have turned around.  The novel is ending.  This parenting thing is hard though.  There is no handbook, no class, only life experience to hurdle through and at the end, and hopefully,  somewhere along the way we hope to be “good” parents. We long to do the best we can, not being perfect, but to train our children in His ways so that they will do the same with theirs and mimic what they learn.

So, we really are doing the best we can – most of the time- and this is how I would like to be known by my children:

A wise mother knows: It is her state of consciousness that matters. Her gentleness and clarity command respect. Her love creates security.
~Vimala McClure, The Tao of Motherhood

Perfect, I am not.  I hope I am not deceiving anyone because I strive to be honest and transparent. I am no Mother Teresa.   I have many faults for which I cry out to Him to help me surrender daily. I took my friends comment to heart because I know she loves me and she thinks I am a good mom.  That’s what friends do, encourage each other. However, I also took it as a sounding board because this stuff is rough, hard, and sticky as all get out. I can’t do it alone.  I NEED help and I need my friends.  On those days when I am not perfect, I’m gratefully honored to have someone to turn to…who is perfect.

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My imperfect loves

 

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We ARE Those People!

Lights go down.  “We’re just resting” says Kevin.  “Yeah, resting” comes from my withering body.  It was 8:32 when I last looked at the clock.  Kevin had just put his arm around me as we cuddled closely in the bed. Next thing I know it is 10 something and I feel a tap on my shoulder.  I’m thinking at that moment…

wake me and die

Woken from a peaceful slumber, which I have no idea I went into, Kendra is asking me if she can sleep on the couch.  REALLY?  You woke me up for that.  Mumbling something that I still don’t know exactly what was said, she left.  Back to sleep.  THUMP!  I lay there for a minute or two listening to screaming from upstairs.  The thump was the all too often sound of a boys feet hitting the floor above our bed.  What were we thinking when we set up these rooms?  Already decided, our next house will be a ranch with a GIANT split floor plan. Great.  Kevin got up to deal with that and I fall back to sleep, kind of.  This screaming, pretty much happens about every night, is louder than usual and very annoying as I was in dreamland right before.  UGH!  How could I have been asleep for 2 hours?  I still have my clothes on and my feet were getting quite warm in my cozy socks.

We are those people, I think, as I really get ready for bed, which consist of me pulling off my socks.  Those people.  You know who I am talking about.  Those people who are in bed by 8:00…ok, maybe not right at 8, but pretty close.  When did we get to be THOSE people?  This thought has lingered in my brain for some years.  When we were in our mid twenties our neighbors had small children.  Mind you, our neighbors at that time were about our age.  At night as I would be settling down for my TV shows or getting ready to go out with friends, or even on a job (Tupperware it was!), I would see all the lights off in their house…all except their bedroom. ” Gosh, how could they be going to bed already?  It’s like 8:00.” I would think with some concern.  What kind of life is that?  I was Judge Judy not believing these folks could really be going to bed at 8:00. LOL  Boy did that one come back to kick me in the butt!

Well what I didn’t realize, because we did not have kids then, is that those little souls can suck the ever living life out of one large body.  How can little people like that have so much energy and take so much from ours?!   OH MY GEEES!  I ask for forgiveness for judging my neighbors so poorly.  SLEEP!  SLEEP when those life suckers are soundly tucked away because they will again rise from their slumber, oh too soon!, and begin filling up…again, and again, and again.  And I assure you I will be asleep as soon as they are tucked in the next night.

sleep

 

 

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Don’t Worry, Be Prayerful

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. –Robert Brault

There are so many mornings I sat in church listening to the preacher talk about how he prayed for his children.  That they would meet the right person, that they would have the right friends, that they would be good.  Nah, I don’t think he ever said that but I would surely and have prayed that over mine.  I don’t pray as much as I should – well, let me rephrase that.  I don’t pray for the right things as often as I should.  I find myself “spot” praying as I call it.  Brady has done the unthinkable – “God please grant me some restraint not to hurt him.”  Kendra has talked back once more today – “Oh God!”  Yeah, that one just slipped out.  Hey, I’m being totally honest here.  I pray all day but they are not the deeply routed in my soul prayers that I think the good pastor spoke about.  Plus, I think he AND his wife may have prayed together and you know what they say about more than one praying, He is there.  Getting real for a second though, prayer works.  I have experienced it myself and though we don’t always get what WE pray for, the knowing that HE hears our prayers and wants us to relate to Him is all the reason to send up some love.

Tonight I am particularly emotional for some reason, and when I get this way waves of thoughts and feelings just wash over me.  I have to almost heave cry…you women know what I’m talking about right?…to get through it all.  IT.FEELS.SO.GOOD.  Of course I have to do this after my kids are in bed or hold up in the bathroom with the door locked, hoping they don’t find the key.  After sifting through the garbage, holes and sometimes lies, it pretty much ends at the road of worry.  Gracious, I worry about everything! My mom can attest to that, right mom?  I worry about the kids falling on their bikes, falling from a tree, getting snatched from me, hitting their head on the coffee table, breaking a leg, falling out of bed, getting lost, getting hurt by a friend, getting hurt by a loved one, hurting each other!, falling down the stairs/or being pushed by a sibling, and the list goes on.  See, I’m insane right?!  And what if any one of those things were to happen?  What would happen?  We would go to the hospital?  I don’t even want to think about that anymore.  I think I was born worrying.  I would love to see a study, or better yet be in a study of why people worry so much…and they find the cure!  Oh wait, the cure has been written for ages.

prayer

On the couch, crying over whatever was coming to mind as I was reading my newest novel, I began to anguish over our eldest.  My sweet baby girl who is growing up before my eyes.  I feel like time has cheated me and I have let so many opportunities slip through the sand.  There is so much sand and I want to scream!  As she was going to bed and I kissed her goodnight, I began thinking about her taking her first trip with a friend, to the Outer Banks no less (following in my foot steps).  This is when the worry set in – already.  The trip is in August!  I won’t bore you with the list of incidences that came to mind because if “they” read this, they are likely to think I am more insane than I already act.  LOL I still remember the first time she was away from us.  She just went to my parents for a weekend but she was a baby.  I showed up on the doorstep of a friend and began bawling through a fake smile while saying, “I’m free.  Kendra is at my parent’s for the weekend.” Gaaa, that was hard.  It did get easier and that gives me comfort that each first will bring with it a little more peace. It’s just that this is my baby, our first born (who cares if from heart or womb)…she is my baby girl.  So, through tears of happiness  I will let her go because I know this will establish her independence and give her those wings we hear about.  This day is coming too soon.

I will continue to pray my spot prayers I know, I will not lie, and I am vowing to begin to pray the fervent prayers for all our children that I believe our pastor did with his.

As I end this post I leave you with one last quote and this.  I so believe in these words and pray that my children will see me in this light as I do my own mother.  I think as we grow older and certain things come to pass, we gain greater understanding of the ways of the world and hopefully that which lies beyond as well.  For all the moms out there…

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. – By Washington Irving

 

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