Friday, October 24, 2014

Security

I hug them.  I kiss them.  I provide a stable, loving home.  
Yet, my littles struggle in their souls with security.
My own heart hurts when I see them question normal changes in their day as forever changes. 
They have trouble sleeping at times because they simply want to be right next to us.  They need that one more hug.  They need to hear "I love you" one more time before they drift off.  
One would think that the extent of time that these little ones have lived in our home would bridge that void, but as their weeks are filled with confusing interruptions out of our control, their hearts cannot anchor on forever yet.  Insecurity takes over.
I will keep praying.  I will keep hugging.  I will continue being mommy. I will keep hoping that soon their little hearts will settle and rest in the security that only God can truly provide.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Maddie's Wise Words



Doors are meant to be opened.
Words are meant to be spoken.
So says Maddie.  Oh, the simple wisdom of a fifth grader.

Don’t be caught over analyzing or over thinking.  Simply sit on the truth for a few minutes.
How many doors have I intentionally closed to keep something or someone out?  How many words have I chosen to allow swim in my heart and mind without flowing into someone else’s?
Before you get up in arms, yes, I agree that closed doors exist for a purpose, and there are words that just simply must be kept locked up.  But I want to just settle on the up side of Maddie’s words.
I will not always know what crouches on the other side of a door, but I know Who does.  By opening the door, I may be pouring darkness into a dark life.  The openness may lead to new and exciting pathways not only for me but also for anyone on the other side.  An open door is a breach within a barrier set too tall to scale and too thick to push through.  Opening the door may simply make things easier.
Words are powerful, both the ones swimming in silence and the ones set free from our minds.  Books (full of words) fill shelves providing plenty of information on how to speak, what to speak, and when to speak.  Scour God’s Word and you will easily find how importantly God views words.  “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
My words spoken in truth and love should flow freely over my kids and Bryan.  I am too free to spew the harsh ones, however, instead of bathing my family in the sweetness of encouraging and healing words.  My words should be framed in beauty, not flattery.  Am I choosing to speak words that will brighten a dreary spirit, heal a hurting heart, or encourage a weary warrior?
Thank you, Maddie, for your words today.  You bless my heart in so many ways.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sitting Cozy

As we go to a smaller church, often my 3yo has one on one time with his Sunday School teacher.  Not always, but often. We have a big family and are involved with other families regularly, so this is not a big deal.  This Sunday, Alyson was in his class, and he found himself the lone ranger again.  She brought him over to join Bryan and me with the teens while Bryan taught.  I heard his little feet climbing the stairs and saw his dark, full head of hair as he peeked around the corner.  Climbing into my lap, he and I sat snuggled together for the next hour in a cozy chair with my Ipad on mute.  I know, not really spiritual.  Well, a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do.  
My little guy is rarely quiet let alone still.  This Sunday a peace blew over his busy body.  I caught a glimpse of sweetness from his usual orneryness.  We sat together, close, cozy. His chubby hand slid over to rest on my leg.  Nothing big, just tender.  
I love my little guy all the time.  He is not always that likeable.  Thank you, God, for giving me the pleasure to sit with my youngest and enjoy him.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

After a long day for the kids

You know you are a team when you can hug your 11yo on the verge of tears in the driveway while the social worker stands waiting on the front porch, when you watch Matthew on his hands and knees playing with the 5yo building with an erector set he just bought for his brother, when Alyson snuggles with the 4yo on the couch while reading a book and listening to the little one talk of a father she will never meet.  
We are no match for this opponent independently.  God graciously has brought our team together.  He calls the plays.  He equips us.  He takes over when the game gets ugly.  
Our team could use a break, but for today we will play on.  Sometimes our plays are defensive, other times offensive.  Go, team, go.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prayer for a bus on the way to school

We pray often on the way to school.  It does take a while to get through all the kids, but I try nonetheless.  
The morning began rough.  Life is taking its toll on my children.  Prayer has become an essential tool to surround our hearts.  Before we even left the driveway to begin the half mile drive to the first drop off, I was pleading with God for a peaceful day.  
As I was crossing my 11yo to school, the bus began sounding funny . . . again.  We headed back to the throne of God.  It was so sweet for four of my kids, ages 3, 4, 5, and 10, ask God to please help our bus to keep running.  I listened.  God listened.
It was no accident that as we drove down the highway after dropping the next two off that all engine indicators were now off and the annoying squeaking fan noise was now silent.  
God has not promised me a bus that will never break down.  It may not work tomorrow.  For today, for this morning, God chose to give me a glimpse of his provision.  
God has promised to take care of our needs.  I can count on that.  Thank you, Lord, for providing me with a big enough vehicle today to drive all my children to school today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rest

I enjoy naps.  I admit it.  I really like it when my kids nap.  Quiet is a good thing.  My body needs rest.  Some of my kids get it.  Rest, that is.  They know how to sit.  They know how to be silent.  They know how to rest.  Others of my kids don't get it.  They need to be up and involved every minute.  Even in their sleep they are restless.  They find it hard to sit, to be quiet, to rest.  
I know these are personality differences.  God has made each of my kids uniquely.  I cannot expect them all to respond to life as I do.  
But how essential is rest?
Christ knew how to rest.  I mean, really, he slept in a boat in the middle of the storm.  He was also in the habit of spending quiet time alone - away from people.
God the Father rested within the first week of our world's existence.  He set the pattern of work and rest.
Repeatedly, God gives examples in his word of those who rested.  A simple search leads to kings, judges, men, and women who learned this valuable lesson.
God obviously thinks rest is important.  So  why, then, do we fight it?
My annoyance level significantly increases when there is no rest, when the noise level and busyness level is incessant.  What results is not pretty, friends.  Gone is the rest.  
So, today I find myself wondering how in the world do I impress on my children the why and how to rest.  
Forcing a square peg into a round hole may be the image you are envisioning.  Me too.  Most often I find myself having to surrender to the unrest unwillingly.  
Rest is a life lesson.  If not learned, chaos, poor learning, unorganization, are just a few of the immediate results.  Long term results may be more damaging:  workaholism, damaged marriages, unsettled families.  
We keep a fairly routine sleep schedule in our home.  There is wiggle room, but we expect that our kids will have time for rest.  The littles in our home keep everyone hopping, but there are times when we just need to assign comfy spots and just chill for ahwile.  That has taken a resolve that other things will not get done.  As my kids do not lean toward rest easily, it takes oversight on our part to make rest happen.  Rest also means taking the time to sit with a child.  It means talking quietly.  It means that it is okay not to have noise in the background.  Rest means that we can choose to stay home.  It also means that each child is okay to play by themselves.  
I do not pretend to have the answers.  In fact, I welcome any suggestions.  How have you made rest for your heart, mind, and body?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gratitude

Trudging though the days, weeks, months - my heart and mind settle into survivial mode and forget.  Blessings become blips, disturbances in the chaos of daily life.   I don't want to forget.  God's merciful word reminds me to remember, evidenced by countless stories of men and women pleading to God to work, forgetting that he has and will not forget his promise to continue that work and bless.
I wish to stroll some days, rather than trudge.  I wish to look up more than look down.  I wish to trust in the continuing work of God and not trust in myself for the moment.  
I choose to be grateful for the blessings of today, no matter how small.

  • Sunshine and cooler weather freshen a stale afternoon.
  • My full fridge and pantry keep my kids fed and growing.  
  • Lesson plans online make me almost giggle with glee.
  • My church is alive not with just programs but with ministry.
  • Fourteen teens attended Sunday School this morning.
  • I enjoy listening to Bryan teach from Gods' Word.
  • Cedarville University continues to work in lives, preparing young people to change the world.
  • Both Alyson (online) and Laura (on campus) attend Cedarville.
  • Four kids in soccer have gone virtually injury free this season.
Gratitude needs to be a concious decision in my crazy life.  My goal today is to find more ways to walk a life of gratitude.