Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Father's Day Sermon for this Mother

Last Sunday's sermon totally rocked the foundation of my little world. Here it is Saturday and I am still pondering one little scripture and truly trying to grasp the depth of its meaning as it applies to my life and my family.

My precious husband, who is also my pastor was preaching here, from the 3rd John 4 and Hebrews 11. If you go back and read the entire faith chapter, Heb. 11, the author talks about all the people who walked in faith throughout their lives in spite of great trials and personal suffering. Then it says..."the world was not worthy of them." How many times have I read this chapter and skimmed right over the power in this verse? This is the moment the foundation of my world began to rumble! Monty said, "can you imagine their mother's praying that their children would be imprisoned, beaten, stoned, etc.? But, the world was not worthy of them."

What do we truly desire for our children and is it in complete alignment with what God desires? Do we desire for "the world to be unworthy of them?" I know God does not desire suffering and hardship for his children just as no parent in their right mind does. He simply created us all for the sole purpose of having a personal, intimate relationship with us. But....we know that because of sin in the world suffering and hardships are simply unavoidable. So, do we truly desire for our children to love God with such a passion even if it means they will experience all forms of persecution and suffering? Okay, can you see how this sermon could really shake up a mommy's precious little world?

The best description I've ever heard of being a mommy is "Being a mother is like having your heart walk around outside of your body." As soon as I found out I was carrying each precious little baby God has blessed us with, I was suddenly overcome with a mommies passion to fight to the death for each child if it was required. Immediately upon the doctor placing each child in my arms I was overwhelmed with an indescribable love that nothing in life can ever compare to. So yes, to say I want the absolute best for each of my children, to say, I desire to give them every good and perfect gift would be a drastic understatement! But what is the best? Is it riches and servants and for everything to go their way or is it to truly be completely sold out passionate followers of Christ?

Personally, I've learned in my own life that I wouldn't trade anything for the strength and wisdom I have gained from walking through the fires of life with Christ. Oh yeah, I hate those fires!!! I can pitch a fit and whine and complain with the best of them until I finally submit and let God do his work in my life. But, I know I would take no amount of  money or anything else for that matter, for the peace of Christ and knowing Him and His love that I have gained through these experiences. I don't want my children to attempt to live their lives with the God of their parents, but I want Him to be THEIR GOD! No, I do not want my children to suffer or face unimaginable trials but I also know that it is often what is required to truly know God. So...more than anything, I want for them to have the strength to stand strong when they do come. To passionately depend on Christ for the very air they breathe and for their passion to give them an unfaltering strength to endure. I want them to be willing to go anywhere and do anything God wants them to do. I want them to truly, entirely and completely live their lives for Christ. When the call of Christ comes on their life, I want their first thought to be "Oh, thank you Lord for calling me. I will gladly go wherever you lead." I want the world to not be worthy of them.

I really feel like I'm setting this mother's heart up for unimaginable suffering. These children are my heart. They are my life.

I have to ask myself though, when I stood before God and the church to dedicate each of them to the Lord did I truly give them up to Him as Hannah did Samuel? Did I give them completely to God?

My six year old continually talks about how she wants to grow up and be a doctor and in the next breath she's weeping and talking about how she wants to go to India and take care of all the unwanted baby girls. This actually began a couple of years ago. Monty and I were completely shocked by the depth and understanding of a 4 year old to feel the needs of children a world away. I don't know the plans God has for this precious, tenderhearted little girl, or for any of our precious children. His plans may not be anywhere near as glamorous (if you can even use this word to describe being a missionary???). But, I  can assure you, if we spend a fortune to educate her and witness her becoming a doctor and she immediately decides to get on a plane headed for India, not one penny will be wasted. We will honestly be able to say goodbye, as painful as it will be knowing we will be separated for years at a time and knowing she will face life threatening trials, that "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 4

I am exhausted! Pulling this post from the depths of my heart has worn me completely out. I probably should have warned you in the beginning to read with caution. This is just where I'm at right now. I'm honestly trying to search my heart for the answers to these very tough questions. Do I really want what God wants for my children? Do I want the world to be unworthy of them?


Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Pile of Sticks

A few days ago PopPaw and TaTa (my parents) came down to help out around the house with a few things Monty, physically can't do right now while he is recovering from back surgery. Top on PopPaw's to do list was trimming the tree in our front yard which was quickly taking over. As PopPaw was trimming the tree he was accumulating quite the pile of sticks, which was just as quickly inspiring this homeschooling mom and her kiddos with a project.

As I said once before, we are a history loving family. For years our girls have spent hours, day after day playing "Maggie and Gracie old times." They cross the open prairie in their covered wagon enduring all types of hardships in their mission to homestead in Kansas, all this in the confines of our simple back yard. It is hysterical to watch and amazing to see such creativity. So, you can obviously see we have a healthy fascination with all things Laura Ingalls Wilder. When they are not playing "Maggie and Gracie old times" you can find them creating all kinds of different adventures with their Darbies (Betsie's name for Barbies).

So what happens when you give some creative little homeschool girls with a good dose of pioneer spirit a pile of sticks?

Well, they build a Darbie house on the open prairie of course. We all had an absolute blast. PopPaw, TaTa, Mommy, Maggie, Gracie, and even Grant and Betsie spent the entire morning constructing and imagining life in a one room log cabin (aka...avoiding the to do list).
We still have more work to be done (on the house and around the house). In lew of a roof we've tied down the canvas from our covered wagon to protect the Darbies from the prairie elements (like Pa did in Little House on the Prairie). Therefore, we still need a roof and we need to fill in the cracks with chinking (paper machie) all before winter. (I hear they can be quite fierce on the open prairie, especially in our imaginations!!!) We also want to create some furniture and make some period outfits for our "Darbies." Can you tell we have a slight obsession with details? Trust me, I could go on and on and on. Fun, fun, fun!!!

Have I told you what an absolute blast it is to be a homeschooler!!! The spontaneous learning experiences are totally thrilling. And what a memory maker....all of us working together using our imaginations, talking, laughing and creating. Now that is priceless. This is a memory we will never forget and we will treasure this house for always.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Happy Place

Okay, now who am I kidding? Technically this is not my official "Happy Place" that would be Disney World, but for some reason they refuse to believe I really am Cinderella and that is my castle!!!

So, ya know, a girls gotta live. Definitely not a  close second, but nonetheless second would be my porch. It makes me happy.

I feel like such the "Southern Belle" (said with a deep southern accent) rocking on my Atlanta porch, sipping my ice cold glass of sweet tea,

listening to the melodic sounds of birds chirping and feeling the gentle touch of the early morning Georgia breeze across my skin. This is where I love to wake up in the morning. It is always neat... with the exception of an occasional spider web or the hairy debris on my chair left from the wandering neighborhood cat who has also claimed my porch as his happy  place. But really it isn't my comfy rockers with red and white checked pillows, the big pots of blooming red flowers or all the precious to me antiques or thrift store treasures that make me happy, it's all about who meets me there.

This is where Monty and I have our "porch time", aka....time to talk without the kiddos (even though we turn around to see their little noses pressed up against the glass). This is precious time Monty and I have shared either hashing out a heated issue, sharing our hearts, dreaming of our future or crying out to God for peace, wisdom, and direction. Not to mention the countless hours we spent rocking and feeding tiny little babies.

Most of all this is where I can think and pray and be silent before God. Oh, how I love this spot. This is my "good morning God spot" or shall I say my "God spot." Morning after morning, year after year God has welcomed me here. This is where he has spoken so clearly I've had to look twice at the rocker beside me. It is where he has simply refreshed my soul as I've felt His touch in the gentle breeze. It is where he has become so real to me through the reading of His word. This is where I have begun to understand "the abundant life." This is where He has rocked my world and convicted my heart. This porch has been my sanctuary my house of worship. Now really, who am I kidding, this porch isn't even my "happy place." He is my "happy place" and nothing can compare. This place is simply an old porch apart from Him.

Only with Him does it become my "Happy Place."


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm not ready for THIS!!!

I know, I know, this is crazy. Anyone in their right mind would be thrilled, actually, completely overjoyed and simply giddy. But...I'm not happy, not happy at all. Honestly, I desperately hope this is an enormous failure. I need time. I need to prepare. This is a big deal and I"M NOT READY FOR THIS!!!

Betsie, my heart, "Mommy's ittle pincess" as she says, my baby (and I mean 30 seconds counts!), got the big idea last night that she wanted to go POTTY! Come on, she's 2 years 3 months and 8 days, what is she thinking? Honestly, who does she think she is? So, I comply and put her on the potty just knowing in all my mommy wisdom and experience she's not ready and this will never work. Well, that little stinker teeteed in the potty! Okay, so beginners luck. It had to be all the attention. I mean she did have an audience of 4 all cheering  and clapping.  "Beginners luck" that's all it can be, right?

Well, big brother, Grant (remember 30 seconds counts) decides this looks pretty cool and he wants in on the action. Okay, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer and he may be my one and only boy, but I know boys mature much slower than girls and I know he is for sure and for certain NOT ready! Besides, I have no idea how to potty train a boy. That's supposed to be Monty's job and he's out of commission right now recovering from back surgery! What in the world am I going to do? I have no idea what to do....well, you know!!! Now listen folks, I AM NOT HAPPY!!! This is not part of my plan and if you know me you know "my plan" is very important!!! That little booger gets up on that potty like he knows exactly what he's doing and proceeds to perform like he has years of experience.

Now, what's a mommy to do? I have twin babies (and yes, they will always and forever be babies even when they are 23, and I don't want any lip about it) and they are not ready for this. They are too young...NO, NO, NO, Mommy says, NO!!! (I'm jumping up and down now)

So now, guess what Betsie is begging for? "Go Waaamaaat get panties!" How dare she think she is calling the shots here. I am the mommy and I don't want to go to WaaaMaaat and get panties! But, what do I do?

Sooooo....we all load up and go to Waaamaaat to pick out big boy undies and big girl panties!

You cannot believe the excited squeals of shear joy when we get back home and they show Daddy their new treasures, "Pincess panties and Ooody undies!" 

Now, what choice do I have?

So today, June 8, 2010, we officially begin potty training. I am still not happy and I still hope for failure, but I suppose I'll be "the big girl"  and clap and cheer and dance and rejoice with every successful mission and wash and wash and wash every failed attempt. Because, I am the mommy and they are my babies.

edited to add: All is right with the world....Mommy still knows best!!! The babies decided it was entirely too much trouble to stop what they were doing to go potty. Potty time isn't nearly as exciting when playtime is interrupted.