I do believe in God-incidences.  This is where God allows or maneuvers situations and people in your life in order to benefit us in some way.  Now, the “benefit” doesn’t always seem beneficial.  In fact sometimes it seems like unncessary pain, hardship, or difficulty.  But, in the long run, it grows us.

We watched Fireproof last night.  Pretty fantastic movie.  They did a great job and I greatly appreciated what the church, the actors, producers, are doing through this work.  But out of all of it, I most appreciated Day 23.  Indeed, where the journal tells the man of “parasites” in his life.  Things that have taken over love, attention, time……

Now, the Lord has been dealing with me on some things… For literally, a couple of years.  Same scenario, over and over and over again.  Obviously I’m a bit of a blockhead.  So this morning I decided to forgo the computer time and spend a little time with Him as it should be.  And I asked, “Could you show me more clearly? ”  You see what I struggle with is using my time.  My particular parasites are connected – my computer time and True Vine.  They suck time, energy, and attention.  A lot of time, energy, and attention.  Anyone can be a mom.  It takes working ovaries and a uterus.  Anyone can be a wife.  Just say, “I do.”  But it takes time, energy, attention, commitment, and a willingness to serve to do it well.  It is not that I lack in these areas.  The Lord has given me these things.  But I’ve taken these gifts and spread them into other areas so that they are thin in other places.  It’s like having enough pizza sauce, but too much dough.  😛 

And so today, without any idea of what I was going to read, I simply opened my Bible to where a string was in it and read.  It happened to be at John 21.  If you read this story, you’ll see that this takes place after Christs’ death.   The disciples fished, and yet they caught nothing.  Thanks to the goodness of the Lord, their nets became full.  I liken this to our life within Christ.  He gives in abundance that which we need and sometimes even that which we do not know we need. 

And so they came to shore.  They prepared to eat. 

15 –  When they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” 

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” 

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” 

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

 

I’m going to stop there.  There is more and it is relevant, but I’d like to go deeper for a minute.  In my Bible there are notes.  Apparently in this area, the type of love that Christ is talking about is agape love.  This love is translated as true love, the self sacrificing love that Christ showed when He died for us.  It was more than affection.  It was a deep, abiding, unselfish, giving of oneself, the type of love that is committed, that serves others. 

As this applies to ME, I see that Christ does not require a lot from me.   He does not ask as the world asks.  He does not ask for SuperMom.  He does not need me to be soccer mom, run my business, and spin 100 plates.  He does not me to know all, be all, and tell all.  He asks that I feed his lambs.  He has chosen me, at this moment, to be a wife and a mother.  To serve the children and the husband I have been gifted.  Can I truly say that I love them with a deep abiding self sacrificing love?  Can I say I do it in Christ’s name?  Can I say that I am loving (the action, not the warm fuzzy feeling) them each day, not on my own strength, but through HIM? 

Or am I allowing parasites to walk with me, stealing gifts He has given me to use to serve these lambs about me?  Am I allowing weaknesses of character, flaws of the human condition, or situations I’ve allowed, to steal my meek an quiet spirit?  The peace of Christ? 

I’d ask that you reflect today on your parasites?  What has Christ called you for at this very moment?  Not in ten years time, not even tomorrow, but to do today?  As He has put, and is putting, people into your life for YOU to serve (not to BE served) are you choosing to serve?  Are you doing so grudgingly or with the joy that knowing being Christ like is serving in His name?  Reflect on your motives.  Reflect on the parasites.  Make the changes necessary to serve Him by serving the lambs He has given us.  

I hope you have a blessed day.

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So sorry I’m so late posting this morning!  Woke up to no internet!  Apparently it was just one of those flukey things.  So, it’s all fixed thanks to our very nice cable man and I am grateful.  Now, I have to go work on something very special.  But, I promise to show you what it is soon.  Have a great weekend!

Reprint Friday everyone!  This is a reprint from my old blog dated July 15, 2008… Enjoy and have a lovely weekend

Yesterday was a bit of a… hmmm?  What’s that word?  Revelation!  That’s it. That’s the word I’m looking for!

Yesterday was our first day of school.  July in Iowa is sticky, hot, and sticky… Did I mention sticky?  So, we started school and we’ll take a break in late fall when the weather is gorgeous again.  So, new curriculum, new schedule, and new kids.  Well, okay, same kids, but I was hoping for at least the magical transformation of my three year old into this lovely, obedient preschooler.  Didn’t quite happen….

So here I am on Day 2.  I’m behind, lol, and I wonder, “How can that be?  How can I be behind on the SECOND day of school?”

See this year we are taking a new approach.  I’ve always made our own lesson plans, pulling eclectically from a hodge podge of materials that I’ve chosen based on merit.  This year, in a state of utter exhaustion, and admitting I’m not SuperWoman (who knew?!) I went with Sonlight.  Whew boy!  Didn’t QUITE realize *I* would be reading aloud 2-3 hours a day at a bare minimum…. (Three cores, yeah, that was genius.)

Yesterday was absolutely filled with revelations… Just one after another.

I sat here today sorting books and we’ve just recently picked up several of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s books.  And I found myself a bit resentful to be honest.  When we started reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle I was reading rather intently, with the wild idea that I’d get something useful out of it.  You know you must be over your head a bit when you have a child’s book in front of you with a funny little woman on the front and you’re hoping beyond hope that SHE will have the secret to heeling your three year old.  Wrong.  Just wrong.  So as I put away these books this morning I really thought she was mocking me a bit from the cover.  She should be grateful she didn’t find herself in the trash can as I couldn’t find much use for her…  powders and candy.  If only.

My second thought came as I RE-sorted all the math manipulatives.  Our three year old (Noticing a trend?) came up with the delightful idea of playing with the lacing beads, attribute blocks, dominoes, stamps, pencils, paint brushes, and lacing animals… all at one time, in one big pile. 

And the thought occurs to me that “Quiverfull” is kind of like buying a timeshare.  Oh, it looks good on the brochure.  The cuddly, big family, curled in front of the fire… I think they use the SAME brochure.  But about ten years down the line……..  It just takes on a bit of a different look and you’re thinking, “Hmmm… would I have bought into this if I had known what I know now?”

Ahhhh…  In all seriousness I adore my children, with the exception of above mentioned three year old.  But I will be the first to admit there are days, lately, of utter exhaustion.  Those lovely moms of many know just what I mean!   Apparently, simply based on the fact that I get pregnant easily, this does indeed qualify me for Mom of the Year.  We have two olders (planned) 12 and 9.  Then, with Quiverfull conviction securely in hand, we’ve had the last six in seven years. 🙂  So now, they are trained well enough that I can take all of them in public with me.  And people are fairly certain that because they are all dressed, wearing shoes, and I look reasonably sane, that I really must be this amazing, fantastical mama, with a heart of gold and unlimited patience.  As I am not terribly fond of hypocrisy, I try to explain to them that this is simply not so and that I am a mama just like everyone else who does indeed occasionally lose her marbles.  This is of course then hurrahed as humbleness and I’m even more wonderful than before.

Let it be said here and now…  I am not SuperMama.  My kids would laugh at the very idea!

So, now that I’ve set the situation up for you, here’s the rest of the background.  We have really great older kids.  They’re wonderful. We adore them.  They are the kind of kids you LIKE to spend time with.  To about age 4.  We love our resident four year old VERY much.  She’s an absolute delight.  But, age three NEVER fails to disappoint…  We pretty much hate age three.  Bring on the two year olds, but I don’t like three.  It is inevitably at age three they discover they have opinions.  Generally, contrary to my own.  And at about age three, I always have a new baby…  (When don’t I have a new baby, my mom would say.)   So, despite the fact that I’ve gone through this several times, I see my sweet, adorable two year olds and assume that THIS child will not go through this willfull, naughty stage, and we spoil them to death.  Only to pay for this six months later. 

We’re at that stage.  Add in one potty training 22 month old, and one needy infant and mama NEEDED to get out of the house last week.

So, we get dressed and we head to the park.  We’re all in high spirits, congratulating ourselves on being dressed and out of the house by about 9:00 when the weather is still cool.  And as we walk we bump into an older mom, pushing her three year old in a stroller.   Now, I’m in a great mood, but I’m wiped out and you know, you just know you’re having one of those days when….

Other Mom:  “How many of them are yours?”

Me: “All of them!”  Big smile

Other Mom: “Wow! I don’t know how you do it.”

Me: “Oh, it’s not so bad.  They’re good kids.”

Other Mom: “You must be Mom of the Year.”

Me: “Why?”  And realize this is said in genuine shock and a little horror mingled with true confusion.   There.  That was my genius answer. 

It never ceases to befuddle me why people think we just have it all figured out because we’ve had LOTS of kids.  Like because I’ve been bestowed with children, I’ve also been bestowed with endless wisdom… Don’t I wish it? !

Truth is, the more children I have, the more sure I am that I don’t know it all.  I always joke that when we had our first, I was pretty sure I knew it all about parenting.  After all, I had read all the books and we were doing everything right.   With the birth of number two, I just KNEW that I knew it all.  I had two, both of them keepers.  With the birth of our fourth, who was a very high needs baby, I began to suspect that we might not know as much as we thought we did.   Then came number five… a baby who had constant diahhrea until I stopped breastfeeding, a baby who turned into a toddler who was VERY behaviourally challenged until we stopped giving her soy.  (WHO KNEW?!)  It was then and there I admitted I didn’t know much at all.  As a matter of fact, there were days when I considered it a miracle that I hadn’t left any behind somewhere.

Okay, okay, so the quiverfull brochure has lost some of it’s charm.  I did about seven loads of laundry yesterday and I’m ALMOST caught up.  I am using THREE, count ’em, THREE Cores in Sonlight this year.  I have a 7th grader, a 4th grader, a 1st grader, a K, a Pre-K, a potty training almost two year old, and one seriously high needs newborn that lives in her Moby…  THIS was NEVER on the brochure. 

But, I also have one really neat daughter who is almost a teenager and I love her more than I ever did as a baby because she is absolutely fascinating to me.  I have a 9 yo boy who loves to take care of his Mama and loves God.  I have a 6yo who is a delight and makes me smile every single day.   I have a 4yo who is just never upset, always happy, and smiles the biggest smiles.  My three year old, while not well behaved lol, is very umm… creative.  The two year old makes me think every day, “Thank you God that we didn’t stop having children.  How would I live without her?”  (I still think this EVERY SINGLE DAY and she’s 2.5 now. )  She brings me joy every minute of the day… even cleaning up puddles.  And this high needs newborn…  Sometimes I think maybe she is an amazing blessing as well.  If she wasn’t so fussy how would I have an excuse to hold her all day in a family this size?  She’s in her Moby now, snuggled tight into me, snoring soft baby snores, and blissfully asleep.  She has soft woolly newborn hair, and soft, sweet smelling, newborn skin.   And while this may not be what I THOUGHT I was signing up for…  While it is SO much more work than I ever would have wanted…  While I go to bed every night wiped out and wake up in the morning with a long list of “To Do” options, it is so much better than I could have ever dreamed.

How does that quote go?

I’m not what I should be, but by the Grace of God, I’m not what I was.

A lot of our conversations in this house revolve around poop.  Yup, not kidding… Poop.

We have one baby, one toddler, and two preschoolers, so poop is a neverending source of conversation.  Some old-time favorites are always size, color, smell, body parts, and the list goes on.  Mom’s least favorite poop topic is location.  Mostly because the conversation always begins with, “Me poo…. or I pooped…”  And ends with me screeching, “You pooped WHERE?!”  It’s not pretty, but I’m convinced it’s normal. 

My oldest daughter, on the other hand, is positive it is NOT normal and we should all pretend as though no one ever poops.  It should not be mentioned.  Ever… That function which shall not be named.   Following one of these conversations you’ll hear her take a deep sigh and mutter, “It’s not okay.  It’s just not okay.  I can’t believe we’re talking about this again.”   And she’ll quietly slink away, pretending not to be listening to the conversation.

Well, I just want to say, “Thank you Tim Hawkins!  I now have the reassurance  I needed to know YES, we’re normal!” 

We got to see Tim perform last weekend in Galena, Illinois.   I’ll admit to being a little giddy at being alone with my husband overnight for the first time in approximately 13 years, but I thought he was fantastic!

His skit on his three year old ds and poop was priceless and I was laughing way louder than I ought according to my husband.  But, gosh, it’s so nice to relate to someone! 

It was with GREAT relief that I came home the next day and reassured our almost 13yo dd, “We’re totally normal!”

She broke my heart. 😦

“No mom, we’re NOT normal.  It’s just that he’s as twisted as we are.”

Sigh.

Whateva’.