Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Obey With My Heart

I locked the door, climbed on my bed, and tried to block out the singing, the banging, the general kid noise, at least for a few moments.  I had reached a point of critical mass.  If I did not spend some time by myself with God, I was going to explode.  
So there it was. The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, penned words breathed from God himself.  "Let your heart keep my commandments."  
I deal daily with behavior modification.  Wrong words and actions have bad consequences.  Children need redirection.  However, this verse was not written solely for children, or teens, but for me. 
I was the goody two-shoes as a child,  the teacher's pet one could say.  I aimed to please.  For fear of getting caught, or disappointing someone, I avoided trouble.  But where was my heart?  
Fast forward to the present.  Has much changed?  I still try to please.  I generally choose good.  But where is my heart?  
I expect much from my kids, but this verse challenged me to examine myself.  Going through the motions simply because I know the right thing to do is one thing.   Obeying because my heart is soft to God and his truth is another.  

The rest of the chapter deals with favor and success, straight paths, discipline, wisdom and discretion, refuge and fear, and blessing others.  Many of the verses I could quote by memory.  Yet the first verses pound the stakes into the foundation on which all else is built.  It starts with God's teaching and my proper heart response.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

God, please give me a changed heart.

God, please create in me a new heart and renew a right spirit within me.  David knew what he was talking about when he poured his soul.  My heart hurts many days as others' words are thrown toward me.  My head tends to spin as the many demands push me faster and faster.  My expecations, which I felt were clear, lay unheaded, smack in my face, they almost sting.  
No, I am certainly not the cool mom, the one who has it all together.  Despite my attempts, I am still the nagging mom, the one who is too tired to play after dinner.  
Lord, I need to feel you walking along with me in this job of mommying.  I want to hear that whisper that reminds me when to whisper.  I need to be prodded when to walk away and when to run, arms extended, ready to embrace my child.  I need my kids to see you right there, not a crazy momma.  
Oh, I fail at that miserably.  
I know this has been a difficult afternoon.  Thank you, God, that not all afternoons are difficult.  Thank you, that in the end, it was not impossible.  Thank you that tomorrow has new grace, a newly risen sun, a new chance.  

Thank you Lord, for being my Heavenly Father. You are the creator of all things.  Please do a new work in me.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Initial Thoughts on the Planned Parenthood Investigation

Planned Parenthood paves the tortuous road for a mother choosing to end the life of her child.  Giving the lie that such a surgery is painless for both the mother and the baby, this organization brutally kills, leaving wounds that will never heal.  
As the story broke regarding the selling of the dead children, my heart felt a weight that left me motionless.  My insides reeled.  Planned Parenthood exists for making money and not for benefitting mothers and children.  
Julia died inside of me over five years ago.  A compassionate, Christian doctor along with my hurting husband walked me through that horribly painful week.  Letting Julia go meant surgery.  Ugly surgery.  She was already in the arms of Jesus, but the reality of the surgery still haunts me.  
Choosing to kill your child because you think carrying her will cause you pain of any sort is absurd at its very base.  There is pain in loosing a child. Unbelievable pain.  I had not chosen to kill my little girl, of course.  God had numbered her days perfectly, and he had already carried her to heaven.  I cannot even fathom the choice to voluntarily end the life of such a little one.  

As long as Planned Parenthood conducts its business, money will change hands at the cost of little lives and mothers' futures.  Hearts of many have been hardened.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Another Battle for My Son's Heart

Three year olds think they are really big kids until they realize they are not.  Reagan has been in church since a newborn, yet now he has declared war on anything church.  Therefore, my battle station is a pew outside his class, guarding the door, calming the resistance.  Battle pay is not in my contract.  Others have chosen to come along side and join the fight for my son's heart.  I want a quick solution.  I want to be able to fight from a distance or not fight at all.  Fighting can hurt.  God has not called me to be a sideline mom.  I am drafted to fight intensely for my son.  If I don't, others will win his heart.  
At this moment, there is no screaming, no doors slamming.  I don't hear his name.  I hear quiet.  For the moment.  
For the moment, he is hearing truth, learning alongside of his peers, choosing to listen.  
For the moment, I can hear the adults in the other room worshiping together.
For the moment, I can see Alyson and Matthew serving in the 2's and 3's.  They were three at one point too.
For the moment, I see God answering prayer.

I am thankful for the cease fire - for the moment.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Moments of Sanity

There are moments that God strategically places in my day that remind me that I have not completely lost it.  You know those times when you say to yourself, "I just might make it through this day." I call these moments of sanity.
Being able to pour AND drink a second cup of coffee ranks pretty high on that list.  
We pulled out a stack of books earlier,  sat on the floor, and enjoyed some sing-songy picture books - the kind that make you sway and giggle.  I love to read to kids.
The sink is clean, and the laundry baskets are empty.  Mind you, that will not last for long, but remember, these are MOMENTS of sanity.
Maddie and Kyle are playing without fussing, and their play involves music, costumes, and creativity.  These two may survive middle school together.  
Anna, Sawyer, and Reagan may be playing with a live cricket in the basment, but they are not breaking anything or screaming at each other.  For now.  Moments, friends.

I am smiling at these gifts of moments.  I complain too often, and my days often turn into a struggle.  Today may have some bumps in the road, but that is okay.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Adoption Reality

Once upon a time, there was a mom and dad.  They had four children.  In both the mom's heart and dad's heart, there was a longing to extend their family.  Not too long after a sweet conversation over a pizza lunch, the mom and dad knew that another little one would join them within the year.  Their little girl grew for about twenty weeks in the mommy's belly and forever in her heart.  Yet, this little one never got to meet her mom and dad, but rather saw Jesus first.                                                                                The mom and dad now wondered how this empty feeling would even come close to healing.  They knew that God's plan was perfect, but they did not know what that plan was.  At the moment, all they knew was hurt.  As the months passed, God was doing something special that would involve patience, time, and trust.  In the past, the mom and dad had opened  their home to other children and a young mom.  God had already been planting a seed for what seemed to be the next step:  foster parenting. 

After mounds of paperwork, hours of classes, and multiple home visits, the mom and dad became what God had been planning.  They were preparing to open their home to two other children, who, though were not born physically into the family, were welcome as the mom and dad's own children.  God used those two little ones to prepare the mom and dad for fostering with the plan to adopt, but those two little ones were not the ones God had planned to join the family.  
The mom and dad waited for weeks.  Then the phone rang. Two more little ones, a blond haired little 19 month old boy and his sister, a 9 month old, blue eyed little girl needed a home.  They entered the mom and dad's home and hearts on August 23, 2010.  
Each day together was another step in forever, though there was no certainty that forever for these little ones would mean life in this new home.  Many visits, court appearances, and red tape turned into months and years.  
As the mom and dad parented their family of six kids, they received a call that now another little one, a sibling to their newest children, was to be born the next summer.  Two children now became three.  Six children would now become seven.  It would take more waivers and more paper work.  God was doing something.  
As the mom spent precious time in the hospital with this newest little one, a boy, her heart grew even more.  Sadly she watched the heart of the birth mom break as her son rode away. God's plan is always perfect, but this plan was not pain free.  
The next year spent with three in diapers and little sleep stretched the mom and dad thinner than they thought possible.  
In another home, minutes away, lived another little boy, a big brother to these who came to live in this new family.  He longed to be with his brothers and sister.  The mom and dad saw his heart break even more each time they met.  God moved again in their hearts and plans were set for him to join them as well.  Eight children was not the original plan, but it was a good plan.  
Over the next three years, the mom and dad were put through much turmoil as accusations ensued and threats of removal were voiced.  Court appearances weighed heavily as the mom and dad made themselves present time and time again.  Humanly, the permancy of these four children in the home of this mom and dad seemed impossible.  The state seemed the big, bad monster who could roar loudly and wreak havoc.  
God became very big to this mom and dad.  When at their whits end, God said, "I can go further."  When nothing made sense, God said, "I know what's going on."  When life hurt, God said, "I am your healer." 
Trial was set for January.  The mom and dad headed to the courtroom supported with prayers around the world.  It appeared by all accounts that this trial would go the limit.  There was no deal to be made.  As the snow began to fall, court was closed for the next day.  Trial would have to wait.  Waiting had been the name of the game to this point.  Yet waiting was just what was needed.
Day two of trial was met with a renewed heart.  God had brought the birth parents to a point of decision that would change the future for many.  The mom and dad sat quietly as the birth mom shared her hurting heart and her desire for these four little ones to remain where they are:  together in this new home.  She voluntarily gave up her rights to parent these children anymore.  
Numbness described the feeling as this mom and dad walked back to their car.  Adoption was now a possibility, a probability, an answer to prayer.  God is good all the time, so he would be good had the outcome been different.  However,  this change of events showed a gracious, patient, loving God who chose to grow the family of this mom and dad by adoption.  Again the mom and dad sorted through more paper work, doctor visits, and home visits.  The final hearing was set for June 12, 2015, only a few months shy of five years since that initial paper work had been completed.  
As all eight children  with their mom and dad entered the courtroom, they were joined with friends and family, hugs and handshakes, tears and kisses.  The road to adoption leads through valleys deep and dark.  Its twists and turns may leave you in confusion and frustration.  Questions may have answers, or they may not.  Yet, in it all, this mom and dad saw God like they would have never done had they not said yes to Him five years ago.  
Adoption is final, but it is not the end of the story.  This mom and dad now celebrates a big family of ten.  They celebrate a bigger God.  

Maddie's Poem - "Mice"

Words are a gift.  Today, I was gifted with this sweetness from Maddie.  She sat in our kitchen, green marker writing on a simple, lined paper.  Her words would not change the world, but they certainly made me smile.  They did not take long to write, and they express a simplicity of ideas.  Please enjoy this step back to childhood.  Savor the words.

I was walking through the house
When at once I saw a mouse.
He ran across the floor.
I looked, and there was more.
One's name was Nick.  Another's Span.
But when I saw a blue one, I took off and ran.
As I ran I stubbed my toe.
It hurt so bad.  Oh no!  Oh no!
"Mice! Mice!" I cried.
At that moment the more mice I spied.
I decided to follow them as close as I dare,
But then the mice climbed into my hair.
Turns out all they wanted was a ride.
Then I was sorry that I had cried.
Nick became my pet.
I'll never forget the day when we met.