Friday, September 30, 2011

Much Needed Reminder

Last night, I was feeling overwhelmed. And as I sought to pull apart all the reasons why, I had a pretty big epiphany!! Living under rules and law, instead of grace, is burdensome, tiresome, and overwhelming!!!!

I was faced with a situation in which I really felt like grace was missing; there was a whole bunch of be here by this time, you can't do this, you must do this, and don't even think of doing that, without a whole lot of...understanding. Without a whole lot of, "No, do what you need to do to take care of your first responsibility!! Those sweet little ones!!"

And so, I am reminded today, that I don't much like walking in rules and law without much grace. And I would imagine.... my kids probably don't either. ;)

"...but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Pet. 3:18

Thursday, September 29, 2011

God's Grace

in my children....
(This was actually a contest, a blog give away where I had to say how I see God's grace in my children):

There are so many ways in which I see God's grace in my children. I'll try to limit it to three here:
First, when you see them and hold them as babies, you realize the truth of the gospel-it is not because of anything they do or don't do that you love them, it is because of who they are.
Secondly, children are amazing grace-givers. Whenever I have come to my children in repentance, they are so quick to forgive and to encourage. :)
And lastly, I see God's grace in the specific children God has given to me. They are my perfect match. They have shaped me in so many ways. Even the most difficult moments of mothering have taught me to pursue Christ more fully for the wisdom and insight I need to be their momma.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rockin' My World, Mr. Murray

So, my current read (among others) is: "Raising Your Children for Christ", by Andrew Murray (previously published as "How to Bring Your Children to Christ". It has been so amazing... but I thought I'd leave a few choice quotes here:

"If every Christian home were a training school for His service, more spiritual growth would take place than could be accomplished through preaching."

"Only personal experience of the power of the blood can qualify a parent to speak to his children of God."

"Pleasure leads us to seek what is agreeable and for our own interest. It is one of the most powerful motives in all our conduct. When our pleasure, however, is at variance with the interests of others or the will of God, the sense of duty comes in to restrain and regulate the desire for pleasure. The reward of obedience to duty is that, in course of time, it is no longer a hindrance to pleasure, but becomes itself the highest pleasure. The art of education is to bring pleasure and duty into harmony. Both may be attained without the sacrifice of either."

"It is your duty and your joy to love the Lord your God with all your heart. If you love Him, then love His words, too. Let them live in your heart and let them have a place in your affections. When the heart is filled with God's love and God's Word, it is easy to have them in your mouth, too, and to teach them to your children."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

6 months...

Judah Sean, you are 6 months old today. You have changed our lives forever. I cannot imagine our family without you, you are a constant source of joy. And 6 months has sure gone fast!!
You are now 19 lbs., 4 oz. You have a tooth coming in on the bottom right side. You love your bouncy car. You can roll over both ways, and you can sit up a little bit. You can definitely bear all your weight on your legs. I have a bad feeling that you are every bit as tenacious as Ezra was. We tried baby food, but you just weren't into it. And as I say to all you kids:
"You are a treasure! I love you, and I like you."


"Then Jesus returned to his wind-torn friends. 'Why were you scared?' he asked. 'Did you forget who I Am? Did you believe your fears, instead of me?'"
(from the Jesus Storybook Bible)

I love how well our Savior is captured in this quote. He is so gentle, so kind, to come and gently apply pressure to what has gone wrong. He knows just how to get to the heart of it. This morning, as I read this to the boys, I felt the gentle pressure applied to my heart. Am I believing my fears, instead of I AM?

Fears about my children: Will they ever be well again? Will the whooping cough that Noah has right now end up costing us Judah's life, like all the scary newspaper articles suggest? Are they getting enough of my attention? Is our deprivation of extracurricular activities going to hinder them?

Fears about my marriage: Am I doing enough? Is this crazy life that we have created really fulfilling for my husband? Is my "I've had five babies" body really enough to hold my husband's attention in this world where modesty is highly undervalued?

Fears about friendships: If I don't initiate something, will this friendship just fizzle out? Am I really a friend, or just a resource?

And to all of these fears, Jesus applies pressure gently and says, "I AM." Are you forgetting who I AM? Are you believing your fears, instead of me?
Because Jesus says that I just need to be faithful with what he asks of me as a mom, He will supply me with everything I need to do so, and that my children really belong to Him anyway.
Jesus says that I just need to be faithful with what He asks of me as a wife, He will supply all I need to do so, and that my husband really belongs to Him anyway.
Jesus says that I just need to be faithful with what He asks of me as a friend, He will supply all I need to do so, and that my friends really belong to Him anyway.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing."
Psalm 34:8-10

Monday, September 12, 2011

"A Natural"

People often think that I am "a natural" when it comes to being a mom. I am actually not sure what that means-maybe they think I just love cleaning up poop explosions, that I naturally love to function on very little sleep, and that patience waits nicely in my heart to show itself throughout the day.
Oh, that it were true...
What IS true? Well, I am a nerdy bookworm. I love studying God's Word, and reading great books. I literally have to pry myself away from studying or reading each morning to start our day. I have to move 1 study Bible, 1 study book, a commentary, two notebooks, any books I am reading, and various writing tools just to make our bed in the morning.(TRUE CONFESSIONS: that is IF I make our bed!!) I love drinking coffee (decaf!) and enjoying God's creation. I enjoy exercising. I love great food, and I enjoy cooking. I love people, especially in small group sizes. I like things neat and tidy. Messes make me feel chaotic inside. When things don't make sense to my organized brain, I feel anxious until I "figure it out". I like quiet (I have "bionic" hearing, so loud noises really hurt my ears.) I am a "loner." I have lots of acquaintances but very few friends.
I love the Lord. I cannot live without loving Him (from my favorite, "Hind's Feet..."). Reading God's Word is like treasure hunting. I love reading books that cause me to think high thoughts about God, that elevate my thinking and cause me to dwell upon the goodness of my God. I believe that my purpose is to join Christ in His work of creating a lasting legacy, carving out a special bride for Himself. I am not passionate about homeschooling (SHOCKER, I know!!), but I am passionate about discipleship, and homeschooling just happens to be the best way for our family to go about it. I love God's story in history, science, English, even math, and especially His word, and I love getting to share that with my kids everyday. I believe that discipleship is costly and requires ridiculous amounts of time. I believe that God means what He says-you reap what you sow. I believe that when people need a resource, and they call me, I can give whatever I have to them joyfully, trusting God to meet the needs of my soul. I have seen over and over again, that when I am lonely, God is faithful to bring someone alongside me at just that right moment, that I can reach out to, and find comfort in. I know that God has given me a really special friendship with my husband. He's feisty, but he's my best friend. I have the most generous mom, who knows just the right time for "coffee breaks", or when to pick up 5 extra boxes of cereal at the grocery store. I do adore nursing a tiny, little baby.
But what is really true... is that I affectionately call marriage and motherhood "the slow death of myself." I mess it up all the time. I need to be reassured often that I am not totally ruining my children. I run to Christ for grace to cover my mistakes. I am certain that the only thing coming "naturally" to me is sin, anger, frustration, impatience, and selfishness.
"Yet this I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I hope in Him!'" (Lame. 3:21-24)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A favorite....

This is one of my favorite verses. One day soon (I hope), it will find its way onto our bedroom wall. ;)

"Through wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches."
Proverbs 24:3-4

I love how this is a reflection of God's creative work:

"The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew."

Praying for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to build our home today.