Tag Archives: joy

Take delight in the Lord…

 

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

 (Note: this is Part One of a multiple post story. Part two is linked at the bottom.) 

Above is one of three verses I have held in my heart for the past year, reminding myself that I am a child of God, and He has great plans for my family.

It’s going to take me a while to tell this story in its entirety. I’m having trouble finding the right words for some reason. I’ve tried several times to sit down and type it out, but the words just never came to me. It’s already a long story, and God keeps showing me that it isn’t over yet; he has more to show me, more to do. I am really excited to see how it all turns out. While it hasn’t been an easy journey, I know His hand is over it all. I have seen so many mountains moved and details arranged over the last few months; I am in awe. I’m not just writing this for myself, but I truly can’t wait to share this story and all the wonderful things He has done for our family this year. It’s been chaotic and amazing at the same time. At every turn there seemed to be another roadblock, but God took care of each and every one. I have said this before, but when I chose joy as my word for this year, I really had no idea. No idea that now I would be writing all of this with a sweet baby girl asleep in a bouncy seat next to me. No idea I’d become an aunt again in 2013. No idea I’d make new friends that I will certainly cherish for a lifetime. No idea I’d be in a new town less than a year later. No idea I’d be waiting on my husband to come home at 5:00 so we could take the kids to the park in the middle of the week.

 

One morning, as I sat on my couch, my bible across my lap, I found these words in Psalm:

 

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30: 11-12)

 

As I read those words, God spoke a promise into my heart – a promise that He knew the desires of my heart and they would be given to me so that I could proclaim this verse as part of my story. For 4 years I had been praying for my husband to get a job that would allow him to be home every night, without giving up the career that he loves. My husband started doing linework in 2006, and I knew right away it was his calling. It’s in his blood. He eats, sleeps, and breathes linework. However, it has also kept him on the road for days and sometimes weeks at a time. It’s hard saying goodbye to your husband week after week, knowing he’s leaving home to work a dangerous job and go “home” to an empty hotel room every night. It’s even harder to watch him say goodbye to his quickly growing little boys that miss their daddy and don’t understand why he is leaving or when he is coming back. I always knew God heard my prayers, and I felt that it was a matter of waiting for His timing (Oh how I wished it was on MY timing!), but sometimes doubt would creep in and make me wonder if the answer was simply no. That day God spoke to me though, and I knew the answer was yes.  I clung to that verse for the rest of the year. Later I also came across Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and springs in the wasteland.”  I wasn’t sure how or when it would all play out, but when things weren’t going as I had hoped or planned, God reminded me through that verse that it would all be for His glory in the end. And it truly has.

PART TWO…

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{Wordless Wednesday} A Sunday Morning Breakfast

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I’m a Mama of Wild Ones

I’m a mama of two Wild Ones. I’m proud of them.

A friend of mine just posted on Facebook a link to THIS article from Lysa TerKeurst.

Wow. She hit the nail on the head. If you are (or aren’t) a parent to wild ones, read it. I am so glad I did. Her description of her daughter’s antics at the mall, could have easily been a scene for my life. Oh wait, there was a very similar situation with my oldest son and a friend’s toilet… More than once I have left a playdate in tears, feeling like I must be doing something wrong. None of the other children act that way? What did their parents do differently? No one else has to chase their laughing toddler through the restaurant because he could open all the doors before the age of 2 and refuses to stay in the play area! The other kids aren’t more interested in exploring the whole house, instead of playing with the toys. No one else has to ask for a new high chair, one with a working seat belt… At times I’ve even been treated by other moms as if I must be doing something wrong. It’s not uncommon for strangers to give my children dirty looks, or give heavy sighs as we go by.

With having wild boys, I have realized that so many people don’t get it. They don’t see what I do, and they sure can’t see what lies ahead. They assume we are doing something wrong in our parenting methods, never considering that God made my boys the way they are for a reason. Both of my boys are curious, unafraid to tackle a new challenge on their own, and love to learn from experience. How do those people think adults become that way? They start out that way, as little wild ones. 🙂 They both have the biggest, sweetest hugs imaginable – hugs that aren’t just reserved for mommy but are also for friends, family members, pets, church leaders, babysitters, and each other. Sometimes I get more joy from seeing them hug someone else than when they hug me. I’m their mom. They are born with strings tying their hearts to mine. I meet their daily needs and kiss their boo-boos. They are choosing to love others with those hugs though. The Boy is a born leader – no question about that one 🙂 Brother is an encourager, both to his big brother’s antics and to his mommy every morning when I think it’s too early to get up, but he’s there smiling at me and jumping in his bed. His laughter is infectious. I have always said that I can’t wait to see what amazing things God has in store for my spirited boys. What on earth could require so much energy, fearlessness, creativity, and love? It must be something big. But sometimes it is hard to remember that when you are dealing with rude comments and stares from strangers and people you know, and you’re chasing two toddlers going in opposite directions.

Last week, an older gentleman paused as he approached me in the aisle of a local bookstore. My heart sank; I knew he was going to say something negative or give a big sigh, and I really didn’t have the time, energy, or emotional strength to deal with it that day. I was chasing my oldest toddler across the store, trying to keep him from emptying the shelves or running out the door, while my dad held my youngest toddler (upside down, by his legs) to keep him from emptying the shelves. All I wanted was to get one sheet of stickers and have 3 pieces of paper laminated. (That sounded a lot easier before we entered the the store, found out the lamination machine needed to be turned on and heated up, and one of my sons decided that was  great time for a dirty diaper.) That man didn’t sigh though. He smiled and said, “Don’t get upset. They will grow out of it. Don’t get upset, Mama.” I could have cried, and almost did.

You see,  just that morning I had attempted to take the boys to the park for a picnic and some playtime before running a couple of errands. My husband had been out of town for most of the week for work, and had left that morning to take some fence posts to my grandma’s farm. I couldn’t put the errands off anymore, and the weather was nice for the first time in weeks. We made our way to the park, but after feeding Brother and eating my own lunch, The Boy was still screaming hysterically because I was cruelly making him sit with me instead of running off to play by himself without eating his lunch. While so many little ones want to drag mommy and daddy to the playground, he would gladly take off on his own adventure. Lots of people just ignored him, but a few people were not so kind. I heard more than one rude comment and saw lots of stares. Sometimes I feel like a ticking time bomb; I’m waiting to kick a stranger in the shins and scream, “I’m sorry you had perfect little girls that were too afraid of upsetting someone to be disobedient or a little boy who was too much of a mamas boy to leave your side for 5 minutes until he was 25! That’s not my kid! Deal with it!”  Then God sends that one person to give me an encouraging word or a helping hand, and reminds me that someday I will be that compassionate lady in the grocery store, mixing a bottle for the stressed out mama with two crying babies, unaware that it’s the first time she’s left the house alone with both of them, she hasn’t seen her husband in almost a week, she just had to juggle both of them to pee and change the newborn’s diaper in the dirty bathroom with no counter or changing table, and three other women walked by her without even giving an encouraging smile. (I would love to see that lady again, so I could give her a hug!) I also pray that on that day, my wild ones will be using their adventurous spirits and loving hearts for whatever God has planned for them.

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“I see you!” {joy and blessings…and fear}

So I’m tip-toeing into the waters of homeschooling. I’m still afraid to completely commit to it. God’s working on me though. 🙂 God laid it on my heart more than 2 years ago, right about the time The Boy was born. I’ve always said it was an option, but leaned toward the “no” end. After all, I survived public school, and loved it, why shouldn’t my kids? My husband felt differently about it though. Honestly, I don’t have much confidence in myself as a teacher, especially for rambunctious boys! Nor am I excited to hear the negative comments that I know some friends and family will feel the need to express to me. Even as I type that, Deuteronomy 31:6 comes to mind. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I’ve had all kinds of excuses why I couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t do it, but God keeps pushing them to the side. I was worried I would be going at it alone. Most of the people I knew who were involved in homeschooling had children much older than mine or had no children at all, but they had grown up in a homeschooling family themselves. In the last few weeks I have found out several families I know are homeschooling, and I had no idea. I also found out that several young moms I know (that also happen to have children the exact same ages as mine) are researching it and considering it. Even two of my own relatives with children the same ages are considering it. One of those, my aunt, lives a little over an hour away, and her little girl is 8 weeks younger than my oldest son.

I began worrying about the cost of curriculum, especially since I was wanting to start a preschool curriculum soon. My aunt told me about ABC Jesus Loves Me. It’s FREE and looks like it is going to be fabulous. We are starting it this week.

I began feeling overwhelmed every time I tried to research anything or look into curriculum. I sent a quick message to another homeschooling mom I know via Facebook, hoping that she might have a minute to send me a couple of links to web sites or book recommendations. She does have 4 kids, so I wasn’t expecting much. She did have time though, and she also sent a longer reply than my original message and invited me over to look at her stuff and share info and ideas with me.

Through each of these little blessings, God has reminded me, “I will provide. It will be a JOY.”

Last week He started working on my insecurities about my teaching abilities. I am very concerned that I won’t be able to teach my children everything they need to know – that I don’t know enough. One morning last week, while the boys were eating their breakfast, I read them the story of Zacchaeus and we talked about the story. I even looked up a video on YouTube of the old song I learned in Sunday School 20 years ago at First Baptist Church of Almyra. The boys weren’t nearly as excited about the song as I was. 🙂 After breakfast, Lincoln stood up in his chair, told me to go to the couch, and started saying, “I see you! I see you!” He loves to hide, play peek-a-boo, sneak up on people, etc. so I hear that phrase a lot and really didn’t think much of it. He was getting frustrated though. I paid closer attention to what he was saying. He instructed me again on where to go. Then I got it! He wanted to act out the story! I asked him if he was Zacchaeus, and he gave me an excited, “Yeah!” I was shocked. He really had been listening! I gave him a playful, “You come down!” and he scrambled down, grabbed my hand, and pulled me to his house (the kitchen). I was overjoyed. I’m so glad that God allowed him to be excited about that lesson and show me that it can be done – my rambunctious 2 year old can listen, understand, and retain stories and lessons spoken by me. I’m still terrified, uncertain, and feeling overwhelmed and incapable, but that definitely planted a seed of confidence. Maybe this can be done.

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Lesson #1 Let them eat dog food.

Lately I’ve I’ve been thinking back over some of the parenting lessons I have learned over the last two years. Today I’ll share one of those.

Often parents remark about how you hover less as the number of children in your home increases.You realize the little things aren’t going to harm them and are able to let them be more independent, messy, dirty, loud, messy, adventurous, silly, and did I mention messy?

I was told many times before The Boy was a year old that I was, “extremely laid-back for a first time mom.” I always shrugged it off as being a result of my personality and my husband traveling so much. I also think it had a lot to do with me being exhausted though. Have you tried being 6 months pregnant and chasing a crawling baby across the house, only to have to hold that baby down and attempt to change his diaper while he, quite literally, stood on his head and left elbow to get away, kicking you the entire time? Yeah, it left little energy for dragging him down off whatever he was climbing on for the 100th time that day. It didn’t help matters that he was very coordinated from the beginning and didn’t fall when climbing. I knew he could do it, so why worry?

There was one thing I was constantly battling though. The Boy’s obsession with eating things drove me crazy! Baby gates blocked every doorway and I put everything away – dog food was moved to my bedroom and crayons were in a drawer and hardly used. No joke, he ate finger paints until he was 2. (Rarely was painting done in our house until recently. )

Then Brother came along! If I was “extremely laid-back” about things with my first son, I probably really scare other moms with my second son!

Lesson #1 (It wasn’t the first thing I learned, but for writing purposes that’s what we will call it.)
Let them eat dog food.

Now, before anyone panics and calls Child Protective Services, I’m not recommending you feed your children pet food. Definitely not. However, there are only so many hoops you can jump through, and so many places you can hide stuff. Millions of kids have grabbed a handful of Kibbles or a dog biscuit and crammed it in their mouth before mom or dad could get it away from them. I did it, and I’m betting you did it if you grew up with pets in your home.

Thankfully, Brother has not shared in The Boy’s habit of eating everything. He does, however, show the same love for dog food that his older brother did. Today was no different. The dogs had left a few pieces in one of the bowls in the kitchen, and I didn’t realize it until I was halfway between the refrigerator and the counter, arms loaded with leftovers I was getting out for lunch, and little brother was 2 feet from the bowl. I started toward him, immediately realizing it was pointless. “Have at it son. If you think it’s that tasty…”

It was not just about dog food though. It wasn’t even about realizing it was not necessary to drop everything, trip over the open dishwasher, and accidentally kick the dog just to pry open his mouth to dig out dog food, crayons, dirt, or any other non-food item I knew to be non-toxic that he could safely chew.
It was about that word I posted about yesterday. Joy. Today, like so many other times, keeping the boys out of the dog food, paint, or whatever mess it might have been, was not about protecting them. As usual, it was something that I know isn’t actually harmful. I just didn’t want to deal with a big mess or having to clean a dirty face and hands again. Was it really worth the fight of trying to pull the dog food out of his hands, making him furious, and probably causing me to spill our food everywhere? I decided it wasn’t. A little extra mess would be okay. If only I can remember that more often! If they want to get muddy and dirty outside, that has always been fine and dandy with me, but inside…oh inside the house is a different story. Well, where’s the joy in that for a little boy? Next week I’m planning at least two messy activities. (There. It’s in print, so I have to do it now.)

I went on with making lunch, and Brother happily helped himself to the last few pieces of dog food. Oh well, someday he will realize it tastes disgusting. Until then, I guess I won’t have to worry about him not liking anything I cook!

Isn’t it amazing how children teach us things through the smallest everyday events?

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my word

A few weeks ago I read this post by Beth B., over at Perspective of Love . Immediately I knew what my word for the year was – JOY. I didn’t even have to think about it. That was the word God had laid on my heart for two weeks prior to reading that post. Last year was not the easiest year for me. I was working a lot of weekends, chasing two kids under the age of two during the week (that had opposite nap schedules until a month ago), and I was utterly exhausted for months at a time. I honestly feel that I didn’t stop and see the JOY in my days enough though. God has given me lots of blessings to enJOY.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation,” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Philippians 2:14-15

Even worse, I didn’t often take the time to  share with others the JOY of having God in my life and the ways that I have been blessed.

Just today I made a rare phone call to see about getting my car serviced for a recall on the headlights. I say rare because if I can’t text you, I’m probably not going to call you. This has nothing to do with an aversion to talking on the phone and everything to do with my children screaming hysterically and climbing on me the moment I’m connected to another individual on the telephone. (Maybe that happens all the time, and I only realize it when I’m trying to make/take a phone call?) The man that I was speaking with could obviously hear my children in the background, and he asked how old they were. When I answered (1 and 2) his quick reply was the one I so commonly hear, “Oh…bless your heart!” While I have talked to many mothers that are offended by this response, I always laugh. I find it humorous that so many people think I’m doing something extraordinary by raising two young boys. Yes, it is difficult, but two under two definitely has advantages too. I’ll have to post those for you sometime. 🙂 Anyway,  when I got off the phone with him I realized I should have told him, “No, bless your heart!” There I was, barefoot, hair in a ponytail, lying on my couch in the middle of the day, with two laughing toddlers climbing all over me. That poor man was sitting behind a desk somewhere across town, waiting on 5:00 to roll around. Thirty minutes later, my oldest son was down for his afternoon nap and I was standing in their bedroom, swaying back and forth to the music from the kitchen radio with my youngest in my arms. JOY.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9

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