Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lead Me to the Rock that is Higher Than I

Thinking today about the storms in life...and the storms of life; the ones you can prepare for...the ones you can't. 

And how when you think things are going one way, they can take a sudden turn. 

And how a hurricane may "hit" some directly...but the outer bands can also affect those not directly in it's path. Like how a tragedy can directly affect one person, but the ripples can touch the lives of many others. 

And I was thinking how when the winds howl, we strain to hear words of instruction and peace. 

And when the waters rise, we all look for a higher ground...and for something or Someone to cling to. 

When there's turmoil all around us, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and distracted by the devastation. 

And when things are brought bare, there is no "easy fix." 

It's gonna take tearing away and digging up and you have to go all the way down to the foundation. 

It's not easy to "just go on" after a shock, after a diagnosis, after a loss. You can't slap on a coat of paint, or flip a breaker, or sew on a patch. Sometimes you have to go down to the studs, clean out what is rotting, remove what is malignant...and start from there. 

Maybe it's because my husband works for a utility company, but I'm aware that restoration after a storm is not always as simple as flipping a switch. 

It's not always as easy as attaching a line. 

Sometimes, you have to start with the infrastructure...you have to clear the roads to get the trucks in. You have to clear the line of debris. You have to set new poles. 

Like in life, restoration takes time, patience, intention, tenacity. 

And the time it takes...it changes you. 

Because even after things are fixed...if they are able to be fixed...they not the same. 

And we are not the same. 

There are some things that happen in life that can't be wrapped up neatly in a bow. 

Because what is new can't always replace the old. And because loss leaves scars. And because some things can never be the same. 

Where do you put your hope? 

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand." 

"From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2

Monday, August 28, 2017

Moving Day for #4 (Jr Year)

And just like that...he's gone. 

We moved #4 back to school on Sunday. 

He helped with our church's "Dorm Storm" (moving freshmen into their dorms) on Sunday morning...and on Sunday afternoon, we moved him back into his dorm at OBU. 

And I'm using the word "moved" very lightly. 

This year was different, in several ways, and my heart is sad. 

And, in true "boy" fashion, the child wasn't even willing to throw me a bone...to help me through it all. 

He brought everything he said he needed...in two plastic tubs. 

TWO. 

I'm not talking two tubs of CLOTHES...I'm talking two tubs of everything. 

He brought nothing for the walls, no rugs, no pictures (not even one of me...shocker). No decorative items for his desk or shelves...you know, things that might make his room look a little homier. 

He has the same suite-mates for the 3rd year. They voted to only have 1 frig and 1 microwave, because of space...so he didn't bring his. Which, that is pretty smart...just sayin'. He didn't bring the black-out curtains...even tho we have them at home. 

His bed? He did not bring the mattress pad that makes the bed more comfy. He brought a fitted sheet...a FITTED sheet...and a pillow. ONE pillow. No top sheet, no blanket, no comforter. He put his sleeping bag on top of the sheet, like he was at camp. 

I told him that his room was decorated with sadness. 

Because here's the thing: we have ALLTHESTUFF at home from his first two years. WHY WON'T HE USE IT? 

As far as clothes go, he brought maybe 8 shirts, total. And zero hangers, even tho he has approximately 3000 hangers in his closet at home. 

What gives, man? 

My heart was breaking a little, because this day came too soon. 

Take notice of this, moms of littles (and moms of boys): there will come a day, for most of you, when your kids are gonna leave. That's normal, and to be expected. 

But here's the kicker: they.will.not.be.sad.about.it.at.all. 

And there will come a day, if you have boys, when they really don't need or want you to make things cute and comfy for them...because they'd be fine sleeping in a hammock...in a tree...wearing the same clothes forever, like on Swiss Family Robinson. 

My role as a mom has changed with each child, and in each season of life, as my kids have gotten older. It has to, and it needs to. 

And yesterday was a prime example. 

Because really? He could've moved in by himself, in about 10 minutes. Which, I know you think that sounds like a GOOD thing, and it is, it's just hard...hard for mommy. 

Last child and all. 

I may or may not have cried all the way home...and I was driving.

"He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:21

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I'm Still Alive

Well, hello there!

[Knock, knock?]

Anyone still there?

I want to say that I still love blogging. I do. Please don't measure that by the last few months. Ha!

Summer has kicked my rear-end.

Not necessarily in a bad way.

Our youngest son spent most of the summer working at Kamp. He loved it. And we missed him terribly.

And, I guess with age has come the inability to concentrate on more than one thing at a time...because he was constantly on my mind and in my prayers...and I just didn't have the mental energy to sit down and write about it on here.

It just hit me, at some point this summer, that this is our youngest child...and we have maybe one more summer with him under our roof, under our influence. Eeep!

I can't even deal.

God is telling me to hold things loosely...and I am telling HIM that I want to hold on tight.

Oh, I'm not telling him that with my words...I would never do that. That would be so disrespectful...like saying I don't trust that He knows best...that His ways AREN'T better than my ways. I would never do that.

Or WOULD I?

Did your Momma ever tell you, "actions speak louder than words?"

Yep.

So, lots of learning going on around here. God is stretching my heart, and it's uncomfortable, and it hurts. Lots of trusting Him without knowing my next step...when I can't look ahead to be sure that the road is nice and safe.

I started this blog to document our lives with Joshua, to share my faith, to show how God uses humor in my life every day...and to leave a type of journal for my kids and grand-kids to read one day.

You know...if they're really bored.

I just know that my Mom died young, and I would've LOVED to have had some insight into her heart...what she was thinking, what made her laugh, what struggles she had, how awesome of a kid I was...

Wait...WHAT?

And I try to remember that I write for an audience of ONE...and if I don't use my words to point to Jesus, then I'm just wasting my time.

Summer is coming to an end. Our college/grad school kids all start back in the next couple of weeks. Joshua's program starts back soon as well. Things will be a little more consistent and "normal..." whatever that means.

It's a good time to reassess...to regroup, refocus, plan. Hope to be back on here a lot more often! :)

"I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High." Psalm 9: 1-2

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Letter From Clark

Am I dead?

Seriously...did I die?

Because I just go the most beautiful letter from my #4 child.

We really haven't seen much of him this summer, because he's been working at a Kamp. This letter was unexpected, unprompted, and I.was.blown.away.

I'm not throwing any shade on the other three kids...and this youngest child is not any more sensitive or appreciative than they are. But, like they did, he apparently had a moment when things just "clicked," and he wrote to tell us about it.

Our kids are all very sweet, and all 4 mean the world to me. They don't ask us for anything, and they are very appreciative of everything we do for them: little things, big things, and the big, BIG things.

I was just talking to a young mom from our small group this past Sunday. She was telling me how hard she works to please her family, ON TOP OF HER FULL-TIME JOB, and how her kids fuss, fight, and complain...and nothing she does is "right."

Things like, she fixed a healthy, well-balanced meal...and they all wailed because "that looks yucky."

And then once she told them they needed to wear tennis shoes to the gym instead of flip-flops, and they acted like she just killed their best friend.

I was thinking, "SISTER, I have been there."

I mean, haven't we all?

If you have several littles running around, like she does, this is magnified even more.

And can we just talk about summer, and filling the days, and it's hot, and you are worn out, and feeling trapped...AND YOU'RE THINKING ALL TEACHERS SHOULD MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR FOR DOING THIS EVERY DAY.

There are good and fun days when your kids are little, but there are also some hard days. This happens at every stage. Not bad days, necessarily...just hard. Decisions and choices for us, and for them...when they're little, they don't seem as potentially life-changing as they do when they're older.

I told my young friend that there will come a day when her kids will understand and appreciate all she did for them...and then I got Clark's letter the next day!

Of course, he's 21...so it might be a while for my friend! Ha!

But, seriously parents...it's all worth it. It really is.

Well, actually, no. Not all of it is worth it. 

Spending a lot of time cutting your kids' sandwiches into the letter of the week in Kindergarten? Not worth it, because I did that for all 4 of mine, and NONE of them remember it.

Also not worth it: making anything "cute" for your child's holiday party at school. Do they even have those anymore?

I remember one year, a Mom spent hours decorating these homemade cupcakes. They were so cute, but I kid you not...no less than 3 kids went over to the trashcan, scraped the frosting ONTO THE RIM OF THE CAN, and then ate the cupcake. Even more kids ate the frosting, and chunked the actual cupcake in the garbage.

Young moms out there...swallow your pride, and grab your treats at Wal-Mart. I learned too late, and now I'll never get those hours of my life back!

But intentionally investing in the lives of your children, however that looks for you and your family, is totally worth it...and it would be worth it to me, even if they never took the time to say thank you.

"Do everything without complaining and arguing..." Philippians 2:14

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Father's Day 2017

The greatest thing my Dad ever did for me happened before I was born: He married my Mom.

It was because of her influence, early in their marriage, that he gave his heart and life to Jesus. That one decision set the tone in our home, and directed the path of our lives...and led us all, individually and at different times, to commit our lives to Him as well.

My Dad has quietly lived out his Christian walk on a daily basis. Day in, day out, he's been a faithful follower, and humble servant of Christ...leaning on Him in times of trouble, and pointing to Him in times of joy.

He taught me to praise God in both good times and hard times. He taught me how to be content, and that has been one of the greatest gifts.

Today, I am thinking of my Dad, and praying for him. I don't know if he realizes that today is Father's Day. He is such a humble and gentle man...I doubt he understands the profound impact he's had on each of our lives...or the example he has been to us, and to others.

I'm incredibly blessed to have him as my Dad.

And, today (and every day), I'm thankful for my husband.

We made a lot of mistakes in parenting, for sure...but by the grace of God, and with His help, we managed to raise 4 kids to love each other, and love the Lord.

And, BONUS...this year, our kids have gotten to see their Dad in a different role: as a fun-loving Puddin' Pop to Rhodie.

Our kids know they can count on their Dad for anything, and that he wants the absolute best for them.

We've been partners in parenting for 31 years now. We aren't perfect, by any means...but, together, we are a pretty good balance.

I'm thankful for this hard-working Dad, and for the way he loves and supports our family.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:4