2013 is here! I have many resolutions but one of them is to blog more often. I’m tempted to say ‘write a blog post every day’, but I think I’ll give myself some grace and say ‘often’ as I realistically know myself.
My delightful friend, Carrie , wrote a blog post mentioning that each new year her family prayerfully considers a single word to define it. I thought it was a wonderful idea. So I talked to TJ about it and asked him to pray about a word for our family for 2013. I had a word that I felt like the Lord had placed on my heart, but I wanted TJ to seek the Lord about it also. Amazingly, we both came up with the same word (well actually TJ had two, the one we both heard and family).
It’s an exciting, yet unnerving word all at the same time. Because growth usually comes at the cost of pruning and refining. But I’m excited to see what Abba has in store for us this year. I felt led to also find a scripture to memorize and pray throughout 2013 that had ‘growth’ in it and I don’t think I could have found a more perfect one.
Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
- Psalm 65
I pray that God be glorified more in our lives this year than ever before. I pray for less of me and more of Him. I am excited for what this new year brings and I’m thrilled to grow in my relationship with my creator! May 2013 be a year filled with the richness of the Almighty One!
God is taking me on a crazy journey to find Him right now. I’m desperately searching. I’m struggling with joy…wrestling is probably a more accurate word. I go through my life day to day and I’ve found it unfulfilling. And then I feel guilty.
This post is really hard to write. And I’m going to be completely transparent and open even at the risk of sounding incompetent, selfish and crazy. But I’m trusting that those who know me, will know my heart. And I’m hoping that my transparency will help others to know that they’re not alone if they too feel the same way.
I know God has called me to be a stay at home, home-schooling mother to my kids. He has called me to nurture their character, disciple them, lead them in the way they are bent to go. And yet, it’s so hard. It requires such a forced effort. I just don’t want to sometimes. Most times, lately.
I think it is because there is no gradient when it comes to children from the moment they wake up to the time their sweet little heads rest on their pillows, it’s 100 mph. They are constantly moving, engaging, needing, singing, asking questions, exploring, making messes, hungry, thirsty, crying, laughing, fighting, hugging (you’ll notice I didn’t say cleaning). Then, after the marathon of bedtime, I experience a little bit of quiet before passing out only to wake up bright and early and do it all again tomorrow. Let’s just be honest, I’m tired. No, I’m flat out exhausted. I’m having a hard time enjoying myself. It’s all so laborious. I sigh before my feet touch the floor in the morning. I have a hard time getting on the floor with the kids to play a game or do a puzzle. It’s like lifting weights to build a blanket house or go swimming.
But, I do it. I do these things for the sake of my children, but I’m not really loving it. It’s more out of obligation or duty or necessity. I think the problem comes from the fact that I’ve looked for my joy and happiness to come from my children instead of from God. I’ve looked for fulfillment to come from them instead of from Jesus who is the ultimate comforter and fulfilled the ultimate sacrifice to that I may have abundant joy in the midst of trying times (or demanding kids). I’ve been serving and playing with my kids unto myself rather than unto Him.
Matthew 25:31-40 New International Version (NIV) The Sheep and the Goats
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
This scripture is so rich with so much revelation that I’m sure I could go on for days. But today, God is showing me that the ‘least of these’ are our children. He’s revealing that when I feed, clothe, care for and play with my children it’s for Him. I’m serving him, not them.
See, I carelessly forget that God loves my kids more than I do. I forget that He created them and knows their inner parts. And I bear the enormous weight of making sure their needs are met, both physically and emotionally. And while God has intrusted these children (His children) in my care, He ultimately holds them in the palm of his hand. He’ll fulfill their needs more and better than I ever could.
I definitely don’t have it figured out. In fact, I feel like I’ve just begun this journey of finding myself in Christ. But slowly, He’s peeling away the layers. It hurts to realize that I’ve been looking for joy in the wrong places. It hurts to realize that I’ve idolized my children. But God is tenderly calling me back to Him. He’s graciously showing me what a loving Father He is. And I’m learning to serve Him through my children. I’m learning where to find my joy.
It never fails that in the midst of good times, my kids take off their shoes. I don’t know if it’s that shoes slow them down or if they want to take in everything that’s happening, even feeling the ground beneath their feet. Nevertheless, when the kids are indulged in good times, the shoes come flying.
It doesn’t matter where we are. They don’t think about the consequences of hot ground or rough terrain. They are too consumed with the ‘right now’ to be concerned about later. And so they run carefree, breeze blowing through their hair, and swing on swings and slide down slides. They play tag and dangle on monkey bars.
It’s not until the hush of night and usually *right* before bedtime that one of them comes to me upset. They have a splinter. In the midst of their play, a small foreign piece of lumber worked its way into their delicate little feet. There are tears. Lots of tears. Because it stings and hurts.
So I get a needle and sterilize it. I get some tweezers. I get some antibacterial ointment. And while I’m doing this, the tears continue. Only they’ve changed. Now, they are tears of fear for the removal and my heart breaks. I explain that I only want to take away the sting and hurt. I just want to make it all better. I explain that it may hurt for a tiny moment but it’s far better than leaving the splinter there. I explain that leaving the splinter could eventually cause infection. My heart breaks. I just want them to trust me and I love them so very much.
It was during one of these late night experiences that the Lord revealed to me how he often feels the same way with His children. We run carefree. We don’t protect ourselves with His word and we get a splinter of sin. And then it stings, because sin isn’t something to lie dormant very long. We want to run to God to fix it but we’re fearful. And His heart breaks. His heart breaks because He loves us and He just wants to make it better. He knows that if we leave that sin unresolved in our hearts, it could lead to infection and death.
God is such a loving Father. Sometimes, we get these splinters and we’re fearful to take them to God because we don’t want to deal with the pain involved with restoration. But Jesus paid it all and the Lord is good. The pain is only for a moment because He is the ultimate healer.
I’m extending my hand out to the Father and asking Him to remove the splinters of my heart. And sometimes, it’s painful. But it’s so worth it. Because where there was once a burning and stinging, there is now peace and hope.
Hello old friends. I’m back. Here’s to consistency! Clink. (that was the clink of our glasses)
This is absolutely devastating and heartbreaking. I’m constantly on the brink of tears. I went outside today and it looks like there was a fog and it was about to rain; but it wasn’t. It was smoke. They’re advising people to stay inside as much as possible today to avoid smoke inhalation. Please pray for rain and for all those who suffer loss.
A while ago (June), I was playing my guitar and worshipping the Lord when I felt he laid something on my heart. I felt as though our homeschool group should have a women’s retreat. We’re all believers and followers of Jesus, though we do not all attend the same church. The goal of RRHOME this year is to build and cultivate community outside of our bond of homeschooling. What better way to get to know one another than to worship alongside one another! Leadership was gracious enough to let me lead the discussion time as well as a little worship. It was such great time to get together with lovely ladies to relax, refresh, and get to know one another better before starting the school year.
I was so very stressed out planning it. I didn’t want to offend anyone. I didn’t want to look like a fool. I prayed and asked the Lord what He would like to speak to us about. A few days before the retreat, I still didn’t have a topic to discuss. I was browsing YouTube and came across this video and I knew the instant I watched it; this was what we were to talk about.
How often do you feel this way? I feel like this a lot. I feel like no one hears me. No one cares. No one sees. I remember making pancakes for my kids early one morning. I remember thinking “I’m such an awesome mom (pride! yuck!). I’m doing such a good job! Way to go, Melody!”. When I put those pancakes down in front of my children, they complained. They didn’t want pancakes. Pancakes are gross. I remember taking it so personally. I can see now that my ego was hurt as well as my feelings. But how many times do we serve out of a sincere and humble heart only to have it go ignored or unappreciated.
Everyone likes to be acknowledged. It makes us feel good to be told “Thank You” and “You’re Awesome”. But what about the heart? If all we’re doing is fulfilling a function (cook, clean, chauffeur, teach) then why does the heart matter? It doesn’t. But if we’re serving the Lord and answering a call He has placed, it does.
God is so sweet. He sees when we feel invisible. He knows our hearts. It really changed my perspective. I no longer try to do the laundry, cook or homeschool our children with the expectation of gratitude or immediate result. I do it because the Lord has called me to. I understand that I am helping to build something that I may never see finished. I try do it with joy in my heart because it is pleasing to Him. And He sees it.
If you’re a
homeschooling mother of three who barely finds time to blink busy mom like me, you know that you don’t always get to shower everyday. You especially don’t get to wash your hair everyday. I’d always been a little curious about dry shampoo since I first saw it in Sally’s Beauty Supply on one of my many hair adventures. I finally bit the bullet and bought some after it came highly recommended by my dear friend Monica. I picked up some Suave Dry Shampoo at Walgreen’s for $3 but you can get it pretty much anywhere.
This stuff is awesome. It smells really good and it’s really easy to use. It comes in an aerosol can and you spray it on your hair like hairspray. Use your hands to tousle your hair and “rub it in” and VOILA! You have refreshed hair that looks like it was just washed. Easy and Fantastic. We moms need all the help we can get. Go get you some!
We started our homeschool year last week. We were pretty excited about 1st grade and Kindergarten.
This will be our first year to homeschool the entire year. We schooled Lakyn at home for part of her kindergarten year. I was so excited to get started. I planned our calendar year, made a daily schedule, and planned our first week. We’re using Sonlight curriculum for our Bible, History, Science, Language Arts, and Reading. We using Alphabet Island for our phonics program and Handwriting without Tears for handwriting (obviously). I selected Saxon for our math program because of it’s heavy use of manipulatives in the early years. I haven’t gotten these manipulatives yet, but soon. Really soon.
Holden is four years old and will turn five in February. Technically, he’s got a year before he should start Kindergarten. But he’s totally ready. He knows all of his letters (both visually and phonetically), numbers, colors, days of the week, and shapes. He can recognize rhyming words and words that “sound alike”. I figure we’ll take our time with it. No rush.
The kids were really excited to start school. They kept asking me when we were going to start all summer but I wasn’t ready. It takes a lot of preparation and honestly, I was a tad overwhelmed with all that needed to be done to prepare. On Monday, they awoke with a mixture of anticipation, excitement, and anxiousness of the unknown.
This week we learned about creation, the earth and its rotation on its on axis as well as around the sun, the continents, and hemispheres. We spent time learning about the Nomads, where they lived, what they wore, how they hunted and what they ate. Lakyn read a book about Pat the fat rat. It’s mostly three letter words but she’s getting so much better and sounding the words out and she’s thrilled to be reading. We spent time writing our names and practicing our grips. We learned about Noah’s ark, Abram and Lot, and the tower of Babel. Of course, there was a lot of coloring, cutting, and pasting!! TJ has been reading a chapter a night of “The Boxcar Children” to the kids at bedtime. They love it and always ask him to keep reading! It was a pretty full week.
Monday went really well. The kids were very attentive and excited about learning. Tuesday…..sucked. I actually called TJ in tears because it was going so badly. I lost my temper, the kids would not sit still long enough to let me even blink! Somehow we muddled through the day but it was rough. I spent most of the evening seeking the Lord and asking him to reveal things to me to make this process easier. I got up early Wednesday morning and prayed for our day. It’s a hard realization when you see that your children are given to you to edify you and make you more like Christ. Through them, I see how flawed I am everyday. I’m thankful for my kids and feel so blessed to be able to educate them and spend time with them. The Lord revealed to me that I need to “lighten up” a little and not be so rigid about everything. I need to have fun and remember the benefits of being able to educate at home. Jesus was so sweet and comforting to me. Needless to say, the rest of the week was much better. Friday, our homeschool group RRHOME had it’s annual “Not Back to School Party”. It was a swim party and the kids had a blast! I’m so thankful to have these lovely ladies in my life to influence and encourage me.
All in all, I’m excited about this school year and the many memories and blessings that will come from it. And I think they are too.
*Note – Lakyn keeps holding up one finger for 1st grade.
Hey. So you know how you have those best friends that you can go months, maybe even years, without talking to and when you do finally speak with them, it’s as though you talked with them just yesterday? Let’s pretend this blog is one of those dear friends.
I’m sorry I haven’t updated anything in
a gazillion years a while. Let’s just say that giving birth to Boston, a golf ball of a kidney stone being found requiring extensive surgery and recovery, adjustment to a life of five, and homeschooling have all kept me pretty occupied. Therefore, the blog hasn’t really been on the forefront of my mind.
It appears that things have finally settled, for the moment, and I can blog again! Hurray! But I don’t really want to write a huge, long, extensive post explaining all that’s been happening in my life since I last posted. So let’s just pretend we’re BFF’s, just talked yesterday, and pick up with the present. Are you excited? I am! I have so many things to talk about and share, but mothering calls now so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Or quiet time. Either way, it’ll be soon.
Our friends have this hammock that is really comfortable to lie in, as hammocks are. But every time we’re over there it becomes something far greater, it becomes the raddest of backyard swings. The kids live in this thing, constantly yelling “higher, higher!”