Friday, May 01, 2015

The Spirit Within...

Little by little, step by step, I feel the fog lifting.  Coming off of three children in a row... One in 2011, another in 2012, and a third in 2013.  I feel like I have been underwater for years, and I am finally getting a little air!!!  The air has come in two very distinct ways....

Several months ago Zeke began sleeping through the night! GLORY!!!!  So, now my phone sings a wake up song soft and slow at 4:45 every morning.  And, I sip coffee and read and pray from 5:00 to 6:00 every single morning ~ even on weekends.  It. Is. Glorious!!!!  Some mornings I just sit there and in between sips of coffee I say, "Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You for this.  How I've missed this!  Thank You, Jesus!!"

The other way is that I use recess to run on the treadmill.  The big boys watch the little ones, and I get in a short little one mile jog all the while listening to Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen, Jen Hatmaker, Emily Freeman, or the like on you tube. It is divine!  I'm so thankful!

During my run earlier this week, Emily Freeman said something in an interview that I have been thinking about ever since.  You know how sometimes you hear something over and over your whole life, and then all of the sudden one day it makes sense to you!?!  Well, this was one of those times!  She was talking about her book Grace for the Good Girl which is an absolute favorite of mine.  Anyway, she said, and this is a total paraphrase... "I always tried really hard to be patient and peaceful and faithful and good, but then I realized... I already am all those things.  If His Spirit lives inside of me, all that fruit is already there.  I am all those things.  I don't have to try hard to be them."

One thing you must understand... I had 7 kids in a little over 10 years.  My youngest is 1 and a half and my oldest is 12.  Not losing my temper, not losing my patience, not freaking out, not panicking, not becoming completely overwhelmed is a moment by moment thing here. This is my frontier. I may have thought for many years that I was a good girl, a sweet girl, but I am now constantly aware of my sin, every second of every day. I wake up fresh and try so hard to be kind and good, gentle and patient.  I try with all my might, and I fail. I need grace like crazy!!!  And, this statement by Emily got to me.  I kept hearing it over and over in my head all day....

He lives in me.  The fruits, they reside within me.  I've had it all wrong.  I thought my active role was to  try to be patient, generous, good, to muster it up from somewhere deep within.  But, really my active role is to not to try to do good, but rather to not quench the Spirit!  If I let go and let Him be Him, He will pour these things out of me. Semantics?  Maybe.  But, to me this way of thinking focuses on not striving but rather relaxing in the fact that I am loved as I am.  And, then letting go.... When I feel flesh rise up, see it as attempting to quench that which lives in me and wants to come out rather than gritting my teeth and trying hard to pull myself up by my bootstraps.

And, ya'll, it is there.  The love is there.  Let it loose!  The patience is there!  It really is. Sometimes it just takes believing it and living out of that belief.  Rather than telling yourself you are hopelessly selfish... Realize that you are hopefully selfless, so act like it!  Do something selfless, loving, and feel it well up inside of you.  Like when Corrie TenBoom shook the Nazi soldier's hand. She didn't feel the forgiveness when she reached for his hand, but when her hand met his, she was overwhelmed by it!!  The Spirit poured out of her and onto that man.  She didn't will herself to forgive, she just held out her hand and God's Spirit poured it out.

Thank You, Jesus, that we don't have to muster up the love and patience from within our broken selves.  It is a ridiculous statement.  It would never be. Thank You that You sent Your Spirit to live through these broken vessels.  What a beautiful grace ~ broken vessels made beautiful by the overflow of Your Holy Spirit!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Anniversary, My Love!



Sixteen years ago today, I was excited to marry this handsome basketball player of a gentleman who I believed would take care of me, whose character I trusted.  But, what I didn't know was how he would daily live as Christ, selfless and sacrificial.... how I would look across the table from him on our one year anniversary and with tears in my eyes, tell him that I had learned more of Christ's love in one year of being married to him than I had in all the years before. And, now years later, grey hairs slowly emerging, laugh lines deepening, seven little loves surrounding us, my heart says it with even more depth and passion... Thank you for pointing me to my Savior each and every day for the last 16 years.  I am not the same because of your love and example. I thank my God for you.

It's not about us.
It's never been about us.
It was never meant to be about us.
Marriage was always meant to point us to Christ and His love and devotion to the church.  You have so faithfully displayed this.  I love you, and I am so grateful.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lessons from the Snowflakes...

I love the snow.  And, I don't mean a little bit.  I completely love snow.  I beg my husband often to move me further north.  I just love it.


So, as I sat by the window sipping coffee watching the first of the snowflakes fall, the tiny noncommittal type, I felt myself get anxious.  I know the feeling well because I feel it often in my daily life.  When I am given something I enjoy, I tend to think about it, analyze it, worry that it will leave, instead of just sitting back and enjoying it!  As I watched those baby snowflakes flutter and fall, I heard His voice strong and steady, nearly audible say, "Just rest.  Enjoy.  I will give you what you need.  You have no control over this.  You cannot will the snow to fall.  Just rest and let me bring what I choose.  If it is a lot or if it is not much, just rest and trust me. Don't look at the radar anymore.  Just let me bring it and you enjoy it."  I felt myself relax.


And, you know what??  The snowflakes came in droves.  It snowed hard for hours on end.  And, I loved every minute of it.  I thanked him every third minute or so.  I was so full, overflowing.  We played hard.  So much fun.

It was still snowing when we tucked the children in their warm beds after hot soup and warm baths.  My house was littered with wet socks and coats and boots, and I was loving it!  I began to feel the tension return.  "It will all be gone by noon tomorrow.... You know how you hate to hear the drip, drip, drip of melting snow off the roof.... You'll have a day full of it tomorrow.... Everything will go from magical to dreary in a matter of hours..."  

But, again I heard Him, "Just rest. This was a gift.  Don't hold so tightly. You can't will the snow to stay.  Let it go.  Rest in Me, and just let it go.  Find the joy in tomorrow, in the midst of the melting.  Just rest."

Life is so full of ups and downs.  Happies and disappointments.  Great news and tragic news.  The challenge is learning to rest whether he hands you a cup you are eager to drink or a cup you don't wish to drink of.  Either way, resting in Him we can find the peace to steady our rocking.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Catching my breath...

I love dawn.  I think it is my absolute favorite time of day.  The day is new, a fresh start.  Coffee brewing. House quiet. I'm the only one awake - that's the best ever! 

It has been so long.  Jack and Em were only 11 months apart, so Jack slept through the night for one month before Em was born.  Then, it was time to start over with a newborn.  I think Em slept through the night 4 months or so before Zeke was born.  So, there was that.  But, it feels like forever and finally Zekey is sleeping through the night, and this means that I can set the alarm for 5:00 a.m....

From 5:00 to 6:00 is my favorite hour of the day.  I sip my coffee in almost complete confidence that I will not be disturbed.  I seek God's face through prayer, His word, IF videos, and books that feed my soul.  Zeke has been sleeping through the night, most nights, for the past two weeks, and I already feel like a new woman.  I start the day feeling like rested and ready.  Each morning as I fumble in the dark to find my slippers and robe and then slowly make my way down the dark hall to the kitchen, I thank Jesus over and over for a full night of sleep and the ability to rise early to meet with Him!  Such a gift!

I am finally catching my breath, finding time to do a few things I enjoy like writing, reading, and exercising.  Thank You, Jesus!!  My heart is so full of gratitude!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Childhood.





I'm not really a baby person.  Don't get me wrong... I think babies are super cute and cuddly.  And, I have loved mine so much that at times I have thought my heart may burst straight out of my chest. Though infants and babies have won me over a bit through the years, it is children who truly have my heart.  And, as I stand here at this strange place in between babies and preteens, I realize that my heart is melancholy not so much because the baby days are nearly ending, but rather I find myself mourning the fact that my oldest is aging out of his childhood.

Oh, that takes my breath.  It is hard to type.  I love childhood.  It is magical.  Anything is still possible.  Creativity abounds without borders.  The sky is the limit ~ wide open and free.  You've heard it said ~ every child is an artist.  Well, I agree and I would add ~ every child is a dreamer ~ a dreamer of big beautiful dreams.  And, I find great joy in helping to make these things possible as best I can.  A fort in the woods, turning our kitchen into a store, creating a make believe camp out in the living room, etc.  I love childhood.  The world has yet to criticize, to feed them negativity, to burst their bubble, shatter their dreams...  They are still living life to the full, going all out, playing with all their heart.

I wasn't expecting it.  I hadn't even thought about it until it began to evolve on its own. I think the first thing I noticed was the way he spent his free time began to change.  He used to dress up like a cowboy and lead his brothers in imaginative play.  But, slowly his free time has become 100% sports related.  He is either playing football or basketball or watching football or basketball. Last Christmas he wasn't all that interested in cutting out and icing Christmas cookies with me. And, then Joshua became "Josh." He decided his hair should be a little longer in the front.  And, then he started flipping it with this gentle toss of his head that instantly became fodder for his father and I.

Somedays it doesn't bother me at all.  But, somedays as I watch him move and talk and seem so mature, a part of me gets a little sad that this is actually happening.  He is actually going to grow up.  He is actually going to fly one day. Yikes!  Makes me want to enjoy these moments so much because before long these moments will all be memories...

To The Beach!!!

I talked Erik into taking us all on a little getaway to the beach!  So, fun!  We stayed in a wonderful beach house with a pool which was perfect for our family...


Five sweet slow days...





The ducks all in a row...


Zekey loved the water...


This boy.  Be still my heart!


And, then there is Eriky!! He's a hoot!



But, Josh is cool...


These two!


And, so this was an animal filled trip which was awesome for my marine animal loving son, James.  We saw a shark.  First a fisherman just down the beach from us caught him.  A 5 ft long black tipped reef shark.  He let the boys get as close as they dared, and then he threw him back.  But, later that evening as the boys were getting in their last bit of swim time, we saw him again.  He swam right in front of us. Soooo scary.  Needless to say, my boys did not get back in the water after that.


Nana came along which was great fun!



I do love the ocean.


Big breakfasts...






I love this picture!!!

If only our living room at home was large enough for a set up like this!!!  Love the layout.  So much seating...



The night before we left we went out to eat.  The place we went had live music, and the man with the mic sang "My girl," so this...


They kinda like each other...


ALOT!!!!


So, our last day on the beach James picks up this little black thing and is like... "Wow!  A shark egg sac!  Can I keep it?"  Thinking he had no idea what he was talking about I said, "Sure."  You'd think I would know by now that this kid does his research and knows his stuff, but I doubted.  Later that evening I looked it up.  And, yes, he did in fact stumble upon a shark egg sac.  Erik is taking him to Vegas next spring.  Just kidding!  It was totally a God thing.  What are the odds?  Thank You, God, for letting him find it!  Here is the picture I googled to confirm his discovery along with a picture of his discovery...




And, Krisy Kreme on the way out of town....


Bye bye Beach Trip 2014.

Daddy's Girl...





Love.

Life Is Good!!!




And, this cutie is part of the reason why...


So loved!


These two have such a special bond...




She loves this hat.  Even in the summer, she wears it almost everyday!


I told Josh that when life gets stressful I just stick my face in Zekey's neck and breathe him in, and it lowers my blood pressure and soothes my mood instantaneously. Baby therapy.  Josh tried it and agreed...


I keep finding them like this.  Him doing his schoolwork and her sitting beside him... just to be near him....


She loves to watch Frozen on itunes.  Elsa is her favorite.  I keep telling her that she looks like Anna.  But, she assures me that she is not Anna.  She. Is. Elsa.  So, I just Let It Go....


Love my little man...


One of my favorite times of day... Reading time!


Cousin buddies being creative...


Cousin buddies watching football...



My Photo
Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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