Choices

Last night it was closes to 2 a.m. when I closed my eyes to drift off to sleep. I had an “after kids bedtime” meeting to work on an awesome Both Hands Project for my friend. My heart was going to sleep full and blessed- yet my body so weary. I haven’t been sleeping much lately, and its really starting to take its toll.

So, at 4 a.m. when my 5.5 year old woke me up with her gentle touch and a whisper, “Mama” – I REALLY wanted to just send her back to bed. And I tried to first with “Sweet girl, mama is really tired, go use the potty and snuggle back in bed”. Her response, “But Mama, I need you. Will you please come lay down and snuggle with me?” This is not a usual response from my sweet girl. She usually happily goes back to bed and is asleep in 5 minutes or less. I’m thankful that God let me be awake enough to realize her need to just have her mama. When we all got up 2 hours later, she said, “Oh mama! YOu are the BEST mom in the world. Thank you for getting up and snuggling with me, even though you were tired.” I reminded her gently that we couldn’t do that all of the time and she said:

“Oh mama, I know. But how wonderful to know that when I need you, you are ALWAYS there.”

That right there is reason enough to put away our phones, sign off of facebook and just really enjoy life with our kids.  I want to be the mom who is sensitive enough to realize when my kids really need me, and set aside my own needs to remind them “I’m always here”. Right now, our girls are learning about the Father’s love because of the way their dad and mom take care of them and love them. That’s a huge responsibility. The only way to even come close to living up to it is seeking God and asking Him to show us the right way to respond to our sweet ones.

They are growing way to fast. I hope and pray that when she “needs” me in her teen years, we will have built a road of trust , and she will know, no matter how tired and weary I am, I am ALWAYS here!

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Imitate

I love when God gives me glimpses of truth throughout my day…..

This morning, I was playing trains with our almost two year old, Molly. The simple figure 8 track was built and we were playing her favorite way: sending the trains one by one down the slope to bang into each other, once you have a “line”, make choochoo noises and start again. After a few minutes, I notices she was studying my indian style legs criss cross applesauce legs and then looking at her own, moving them a bit, and glancing back at mine. She continued over and over again, glancing and adjusting, until she had it just right. She was so happy and pleased at herself for imitating her mama- the woman she loves most!

Isn’t that how our relationship with God goes? As he grasps our hearts, we start to notice the qualities in character and action that are His. They are the ones we ultimately want to imitate. I love what Ephesians 5 :1-2 has to say:

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God”

We are so richly blessed as followers of Christ to have the Spirit of God dwelling WITHIN us! He is there to guide us and teach us– to mold us like Christ. A few verses later, In Ephesians 5:8-9 we are told:

“Fore once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.”

The best way we can imitate Jesus– is to follow his teaching and example:  LOVE ONE ANOTHER! 

I’m going to end today with one of my favorite verses in the Bible. This is Psalm 32:8-9

“The Lord says, ” I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

Join me in seeking to imitate Christ, in every moment of every day. We wont be perfect, but ever so slowly, we are becoming more and more like the One we love above all.  Ask the Lord to lead you by His spirit. To teach you each and every day. He will be faithful to do just that! (His promise to do so is right there in Psalm 32!)

 

Where’s Our Focus?

My quiet time today landed me in Proverbs 17. Verse 24 says

“Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” (NLT)

Lately, God has really been impressing on my heart about seeking Him and His wisdom, not the wisdom of the world. It is easy to fret about cleaning schedules, doing all that my day requires of me with 3 kids, and just life. Maybe if I read this book on housekeeping it will stick? …Oh maybe THIS lady has the right method for (x,y,z). I came very close to buying that huge wonderful “bundle” of a gazzilion ebooks for such a great price..and all of its bonus materials! Is the bundle bad? No. It had a lot of great information I am SURE! (I just LOVE LOVE LOVE everything I have read by Sarah Mae…and she had quite a few books in there! That alone would have been worth it).

But you see, sometimes I still struggle to get in my daily quiet time (gasp!). It’s easy to get busy. It’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s version of how we should do things. But when I am plugged into Jesus first thing in the morning, that long list of to do’s and little hearts to lead all just falls into place. There is no set order, but he allows me to get done what matters in the day. My husband will tell you he can see a difference… on the days my eyes are glued to God’s wisdom, he comes in from work to a clean kitchen, good supper, and happy family. Verses the other days..yeah..we just wont go there. I’m a mess without Jesus! Are you?

I ended up writing down the commentary on Proverbs 17:24, it says:

“Wisdom is not a natural ability- but must be pursued. Sensible people cultivate wisdom, but a fool’s eyes cannot stay focused”

Yep… I’ve been there. And “fool” is a good term for those days.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy pintrest and other great DIY information (we even made Kool Aid play dough today!).   And it’s all well and good on its own. But just like food, it can easily become god in our lives. But when we seek God’s wisdom daily, He is so faithful to help us find a “balance” to life.

As a new mom, I followed babywise to a T. Being on a schedule seemed to work great for us. Chloe was an only child at that point, so it was so EASY to follow. And we had great results. She slept by 8 weeks all night long; I knew when she would do what each day. I was SET….so I thought. But after 2 and 3, a deployment, and just growing as a family, I have learned that I don’t want to “follow” a method (on either side of the spectrum). God will be faithful to reveal the heart of each child to us, and lead us, through HIS wisdom, the best way to train their hearts and raise them up in the Lord. I still enjoy a bit of a routine in our daily lives, but we are not scheduled… and I’m okay with that. I am thankful that God gave me Rob, and the amazing leader he is in our family.

My friend Kara and I do things a little bit differently parenting wise (although we had Molly in our room until she was 14 months old this last time). But her honesty and wisdom in what I am about to share with you is so deep and just real. She was our children’s pastor in our last town, and she along with a few others,  were used by God to shape me into the mom I am.

“I am going to say this at great risk, but I feel it is good when in leadership at a church to be very clear. Are you scared yet? Hahahaha! Brandon and I have five kids, number six on the way. They are normal children, generally well-behaved, but definitely need grace and discipline, as you all have seen regularly. People assume because we have five children, that aren’t terrorists yet, that we used Babywise and Growing Kids God’s Way as our method of parenting. Oddly enough, we get this question or statement all the time. So, let me be completely honest and upfront. I breastfed our babies on demand and napped our babies on demand at ballfields, in church gyms, in car seats, etc. I held my babies hours on end and if I wasn’t holding them, Brandon or a sibling was. Our babies sleep in our room until the next baby comes and then they have each happily moved into a kid room. I know some of you are picking yourself up off the floor right now:) I sort of feel like I’m coming out of the closet. As they grew, I watched their cues and introduced them to the table with the family and happily encouraged our family meal behavior. As they grew, I expected immense amounts of age-appropriate self-control and discipline and self-sacrifice. And believe it or not, our kids all sleep really well; we have wonderful, happy family meals, even in restaurants, and Brandon and I have a normal, happy marriage. But the truth is, I have no idea how our kids will turn out in the end; I am trusting God for that. I am hopeful and scared. I follow no book or method. I talk to older moms, my mom, my aunts, my grandmothers. I talk to women who have adult children who love the Lord and great relationships with their parents. It’s no wonder older women don’t want to get involved in our lives…we always prefer the advice of a book or “expert” to women who have actually done it well. I talk to God  and I trust Him to reveal the heart of my children to me. Though I love to hear from other young moms, I do not rely primarily on their advice. Let’s be honest; we are all in the experiment stage. I say all of this, NOT AS ADVICE, but because I want to end the judgmental mommy wars that go on in the Christian community. I want all of you to be free! I feel that some of you may be in hiding for fear that your method is unacceptable or for fear that you are failing. The truth is we are all failing and any method that accurately reflects the deep love of God for His children is exactly right. We will all do this differently because we are gloriously different. Just as God parents each of us differently, we will each parent differently and this does not mean it’s wrong. Find your strength and confidence in scripture and in Christ. Ignore the pressure to follow a method out of fear. Perfect love casts out all fear. And last but not least, one piece of advice I can give: relax and enjoy your babies; it goes so fast!”

So, to those of you I have recommended certain books to, yes, read baby whisperer – its got GREAT information. But seriously, just follow the mommy instincts God has given you. Follow what works best with your family as a whole. Seek God and His wisdom as you raise your babies. As a first time mom, I thought people were crazy who chose to not do it my way. (did I JUST admit that..yeah) But as I have grown I realize this: we all were fearfully and wonderfully made with different personalities, and some things work best for different people/families.

The point of it all: Put our focus on Jesus alone. Find our strength and confidence in Scripture and Christ. Be who HE made us to be, and no one else!

Next time we will be talking about Titus 2 and both finding women “a season ahead” and seeking to be a blessing to those who are “a season behind”. (and just so you know, its not our “finding” its God’s leading!)

Grace and Peace,

AdaKate

Cleaning the toilets….again.

Two of my three have been up most of the night with very upset tummies. The you-clean-the-potty-each-time upset (I’m not a fan of spreading germs!) Earlier this week, I was up with my oldest most of the night with a stomach virus. So, needless to say, I ‘ve done my share of (extra) laundry and bathroom cleaning.

It would be easy to be a bit grumpy this morning… I feel my flesh wanting to go there. But as I spent time in the Word this morning, this is the manna I was given for this day:

Ephesians 5:9, 17

* For the light within you produces only what is good and right.

* Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

So I know this may not sound like good advice for having a happy heart while trying not to get sick yourself. But stick with me for  just a moment….

The Lord longs to help us weigh our thoughts and choices. We still walk on dirt, and our flesh will try its best to get in the way– but the Lord produces only what is good and right. Its a choice to submit to the One who created us, and who knows exactly what we need.

My prayer is for God to guide me each and every day to complete the tasks for that day. I trust that He cares about all of my day- not just what is “spiritual”– but doesn’t our whole day become spiritual when we “work as if working for the Lord”. When we have a heart that is serving the Lord by cleaning the bathrooms to bless our family…that can be worship. And we are called to worship Him with our whole life.

I have lived too many days stressing over what to eat, what to fix my family to eat, cleaning schedules, homeschool schedules, being the wife and mom I need to be,  and getting life done. Psalm 37:34 says “Put your hope in the Lord, travel steadily along His path.” When my eyes are fixed on Jesus, I am traveling along His path. And He orders my day to complete the tasks He has before me. And allows me to love others, even when I’m tired.

That is some of what He has been teaching me lately.

I love this song by Aaron Keyes based on Psalm 62. Spend some time letting your heart worship. 🙂

Blessings!

AdaKate

Picture Perfect?

Do you ever have those days where one minute you are basking in just.how.amazing. it is to be a mom. How precious your children are… How well they do x.y.z….and before you know it, BAM! That “perfect picture” is shattered! That was our family earlier this week. The weather was amazing, we were all outside playing. My husband was doing some landscaping, while also taking breaks to blow bubbles with baby cakes, and then letting the big girls “help” him with the mulch. Bike riding, bird watching, chalk drawing (and spelling work ) and then it hit…..I’m not sure what the fuss started over, but it was big and ugly and time outs followed….ugh. And immediately that mean voice in my head starts blasting me about my mothering. (Please tell me I’m not the only one with a bully in my head!) I know logically that children are just that, children. Three girls all 5 and under are going to squabble from time to time!

You see, the problem here isn’t 2 or 3 girls fussing. Its the lie of “picture perfect”. its unattainable, by anyone. But if we aren’t careful, we can all get in the cycle of comparing ourselves to this standard…..and may I even say to each other? It is so important for us to be real with each other. Life isn’t a big pintrest board, filled of only the beautiful and crafty things we accomplish. It’s feeling like pulling our hair out and oh-my-gracious is it only 9am! Its struggling, some days, to be the spouse God calls us to be, to speak kindly to the little ones when we just want to scream.

Are you ever a little scared to let others see the imperfections?

I am.

But when I’m hiding behind picture perfect, I’m believing the lie.

Yet its when my picture perfect is shattered that I am reminded that I don’t take a breath without Jesus. He breathes life into this mama when I’m tired, and weak, and lacking all of the fruit I’m supposed to be bearing. Its not pretty to look at the shattered….but thats not where my eyes are supposed to rest. Praise God for that! “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” – Hebrews 4:16

We belong in community with one another. And when we open up and let our imperfections show, that is where true friendship begins. We need friends who can speak truth into our lives, who can hold us accountable, and who we can laugh and cry with over the ups and downs of life. When we can actually be real about life with our girlfriends we stop hiding behind the lie….and sister, that is where freedom can be found! And as we receive Gods mercy and grace, it will overflow into our lives with our families and friendships.

So… the real joy that day came after the time outs: we talked about how the girls acted, I asked them to recall their actions and think about if thats how Jesus would want to see them act (that was a big NO!) And then getting to hear their answers of how Jesus wants us to treat our sister…and the giggles, and hugs and I’m sorry’s and thats ok..and hey– you want to go ride bikes together?? As their mom, I long to live out the words of Hebrews 4:16 before their eyes. That audience is really the one that matters. They see me on my good days, and my bad. Their lives are the ones on which I will have the greatest impact– whether for the good or the bad. And some days, its mama saying “I’m sorry”, and they get a small glimpse of just how much their mama needs Jesus, too.

Different day, but aren't they cuties!

Different day, but aren’t they cuties!