Steward Well

(Honestly) part of the blessing in being a stay at home mom, for me, is that I am not a morning person (soooo it’s rare we go anywhere very early.) This morning, however, I filled in as the mops coordinator at our church. My husband got the boys ready and brought them to the church when he came to work and they went to their mops class. 
As I was backing out of the drive way, Drake stood in the front windows to wave and mimicked every kiss blow and wave I gave to him. He looked like an 18 month version of himself. Passionately saying bye to me and throwing out some sad faces bc this isn’t our norm. My memories on Facebook today showed me his first steps 5 years ago. 
How is the human heart capable of sadness over our children growing AND AT THE SAME TIME pride and joy over our children growing!?!? I totally know that’s only a mix of emotions God sets within our hearts in order to appreciate His complex way of loving us with grace and mercy. 
I’m so sick and really exhausted but we managed to grab lunch at Cracker Barrel bc dad usually has lunch meetings and didn’t today. I will say, my heart pounds equally big time as I watch my husband raise and lead our boys. It was hot and I was tired and they asked to play and I plopped down in a rocking chair and my husband squatted right there and taught them how to play. 
Feeling the weight of expectations I put myself is deceptive and unworthy of sharing space in my heart with the grace of Christ. Walking in freedom that He guides and provides what we need to parent these children brings a new measure of the gospel and love each day to lavish on them and one another. 
Let go of the confusion (He doesn’t author confusion) and the overwhelmed feelings (because He is sufficient), and do whatever comes next in the day to be a good steward of His blessings:: relationships, possessions, and responsibilities. 

How I Learned to be Content

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My Problem

In my haste to satisfy the pride of life, I have diligently fed my flesh by trying to be one step ahead of my season. What I found, instead of joy & contentment, was feelings of failure, frustration, unmet/unrealistic expectations, & a restless spirit that settled so deep in my heart I couldn’t see my way out for trying to fix the way I was approaching life.

The gentle nudge I started to hear echoed Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

I quickly clung to my abilities, meek as they are, and hoped to do better. I can be steadfast, I thought. I can work on a pure heart.



What I Didn’t Do

As I didn’t do much struggling or wrestling (that would have required actual effort, and unfortunately, I trying to just do better weren’t going to work for me), I settled with trying to rest on the areas of my life that seemed natural. Once I was working out of my strengths, and even comforts, I could hear the whispers that could only be heard in a stillness.

I cannot, after He has clearly spoken to me about how my outset is not working, continue to work so fervently to be a step ahead of where I am in my life as a woman, wife, mom, or any other aspect of my roles.

Then it presented itself like a blooming plant that is emerging from the blossom that has rested, filled with nutrients and all the perfect setting up for a beautiful, bountiful expression of nature. Contentment. I knew the minute my soul was filled with this, alluring to some, actual manifestation of the Spirit.

It’s not an emotion. It’s not a feeling. It is the culmination of hope, mercy, grace, and trust.

I began thinking “this is so good…I need to write this down.” That pride of life crept back in and then I exclaimed in my heart “this IS good, thank you LORD for getting my soul to a place of understanding, rest, movement, and finally the acquisition of contentment.

Finally, A Looking Glass

It began with anxiety and panic that I wanted so desperately to be ahead of my season, onto the next step, planned/prepared/ready, and without a shred of help from others. The deep sorrow I felt after not feeling prepared and ready when a new phase of discipline was necessary in the heart of one of my children, left me feeling the way I mentioned in the introduction. The trepidation was almost more than my person could handle.

With the newfound contentment, I could almost hear “this is the next step…look at this Scripture….look how God led His people here….look at Paul’s admonishment here….who are you right here…..what the goal for this season…..what is hard right now in your heart….” questions that I haven’t left lurking like I used to when I thought I could move forward and fix the questions with my approach instead of listening to His guidance.

Moving Forward in Understanding

The joy and contentment found in resting in His guidance for where I am now, ABSOLUTELY does prepare me for the NEXT season.

If I am not walking so closely with His guidance, direction, hope, and correction right now, then I will surely suffer more when His planned suffering/trials/chastisement enters because I haven’t absorbed the gentle preparation He was providing all along.

The discipline of the Lord is love. An example from my life would be when He tells me to slow down. Before, I would have rebuked that thought that I don’t have time to slow down because I need to be ahead of my children’s needs (discipline, health, homeschool, etc) or that I need to be working diligently throughout the day to make sure we are ready for dad to get home to a peaceful place (which never happened when I was pushing out the Spirit’s prompting and pushing hard at home). The result of my efforts was stress, anxiety, discontment, and anger. Meeting the words “slow down” with obedience, speaking gently to those around me, opening my heart to the needs of others, always works in great motion towards whatever my future holds.

The sufferings and trials are not big and small in His divine wisdom. They are specific to the days ordained of OUR individual lives and He is faithful and just to give us all of Himself to walk through them.

I learned to be content, by recognizing His ability. That ties up so much in my heart that is lacking trust, faith, hope, and an acknowledgement that He’s in control.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Motherhood as a Ministry

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I am reading a rich book alongside Scripture. It is geared towards home education, but mostly what I’m drinking deep from this book is the hard truth regarding discipleship of my children. I will be doing a series of blog posts to share with you what I’ve gained from this book and how it has nestled into my heart concerning my role in biblical parenting.

These are my personal thoughts from reading “Educating The WholeHearted Child” by Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.”  John 12: 24-26

This verse appoints to us the necessity it is to account for the cost of ministry, given that we have acknowledged our role in ministering to our children. Although they’re discussing home education, I couldn’t help but dwell on the great ministry I have to my children. We have chosen for me to be a stay at home parent since my oldest son (5 year old now March 2016) was 6 months old. After the first month, my husband noticed a gigantic shift in my countenance. He asked if I was doing alright. I told him I was going to pray for definition, but that I didn’t FEEL alright. We were able to talk through my newest disposition and nailed down than my downtrodden appearance was negligence. Of myself. I quickly learned to discern when I needed time to refresh and recharge, but also learned that wasn’t going to be a consistent reality. I learned to find those opportunities even in the presence of my children because my calling was to model Christ to them and He wasn’t about self. In a culture that is screaming at us “you deserve _____” or “be true to yourself”, parenting in a biblical effort means we understand Jeremiah 17:9 “the heart is deceitful above all things”. We can lean into our heart or feelings when discipling and disciplining children. Those two will lie to us and steal the future healthiness and wellness of our children.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will rewards each person according to what he has done.”  Matthew 16:24-27

There is a cost to parenting with Christ in mind and goal. We make decisions and sacrifices with great prayer and focus in order to lead our children to the mind of Christ.

In our decisions, consistency and commitment are among the most important.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.” Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation wile the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14: 28-33

It’s a desperate moment when our children’s hearts are bent against Christ because they are caught in a battle of the spirit and flesh. That desperate moment when we waiver whether we are going to swiftly address their heart issue or if we’re going to let is slide because it’s the hard work. The hard work of being committed to biblical discipline and discipleship is what will produce the children we (as parents of young children) see in the teens and their parents relationships that we hunger after for our families in a few years. We watch our mentors and friends with high school and college children who have healthy relationships with positive life choices and love Christ and desire that for our families. It takes the hard work of ministering to our children, making sacrifices, and being committed.

 

How do I find my voice

  
In a single minute we have more access to technology than many of our ancestors would even know what to do with much less care to utilize. I could look up the statistics, but that would be in direct opposition to what I’m thinking on today. 

I’ve seen several posts regarding national women’s day which have mostly included pleas concerning their own daughters finding their strength, voice, wisdom, etc. I don’t have a daughter, but I am a woman. 

I love people and learned how to do that from my husband (after deep conviction from the Holy Spirit that this is a main crux of the gospel). I don’t love as well as I would like and find myself frantic to invest into my children, be active and helpful for our parents (however, they’re honestly STILL doing this in our season of life more than I would have chosen), and to come alongside my husband’s endeavors whatever that may be (him being out after or before work to serve/minister, giving him time alone to rest and Sabbath-though he’s stubborn there due to his lively & passionate desire to be with us, pushing him to take time away with friends, etc). 

I don’t feel neglected or lost in my identity. I know Who I belong to for eternity and for whom I’m living here on earth. My husband is steadfast in ministering to me in so many ways–sleeping in (my love language), encouraging me to have a day for the boys to go to grandparents and I spend time alone (again, my love language) and so many other ways. 

Because sleeping and being alone are my (jokingly) love languages, I am hampered in building friendships. My new diagnosis (Multiple Sclerosis) has given viability to those loved activities (sleeeeeeep please) and anything alone to refresh. There is a take on energy called “spoon theory” and it is referenced by most chronic autoimmune disease sufferers (MS has been thrust into that category, though, like all things MS, still mostly unknown). It basically means you have only so many spoons of energy a day and you have to choose wisely how they are used for the day. Let me just say, on a rare day filled with fatigue, a shower and getting ready is pretty much ALL of my spoons (and it makes me so angry because I’m learning how this does not equate laziness but goodness it so FEELS like it). But, I’ve learned how to maneuver that and make it work for our life because I cannot slow down and won’t. 

Finding my voice takes energy. Finding my voice takes thought and action. I have preferred the written word for much of my life. Want to know what I’m thinking? May I send you an email? Some of my best friends have said “can you just call me?” Because I can text with you into the depths of my heart and you will get more of my soul than anyone on earth standing face to face with me. It’s a flaw for me, I know. It speaks to my heart when you’ll take my test conversations. I have learned that if I want to be loved by a friend understanding that I would rather text, I have to live by understanding they’re a verbal processor and I need to call them. This will land on the hearts of some of my people and make them think I never want to talk in person or on the phone, ever. That’s not true, this is how we grow in finding our voice. It’s not about me being heard. 

Finding my voice is about me growing and taking baby steps to be stronger. These same friends now text and let me process via text and allow me, in my own time, to call them! And I do. I’m much faster to pick up the phone now. It’s not about being awkward or uncomfortable like some of my introvert friends. I’m the most outgoing introvert there ever was and continue to enjoy being around and with people. But, I have a “recover time”. Anyone else? 

This is still my happy place. Writing. Conveying my thoughts, ideas, convictions (risky, given the absurd speed at which “opinion” travels and the backlash that can ensue before you can ask “I can’t have an opinion?!) and hopes, dreams, and fears. 

Scripture tells us the heart is deceitful above all things. I have a love/fear relationship with one of my giftings (prophecy). It prompts me to think beyond the heart and feelings (which is healthy) but sometimes keeps me in my head (my momma always said I had common sense 😂) and out of my heart. It has proven to me that I must seek to be like Christ because a prophet sees the hard and real and sometimes misses the mercy and grace. 

Today, on national women’s day, I’m finding my voice by admitting that I have some serious steps to take in building deeper friendships. Our culture of women keep talking about “my people” and “my tribe” and though it sounds wonderful, I want to make sure mine knows I’m just as much a part of being honest and vulnerable in having a voice to share as much as I ask and wish from them. 

It seems ironic to say I’m going to talk and not just listen, but to reciprocate friendship I have to be known, too. It seems arrogant. I have wisdom that tells me many of my closest friends who know me and value me will be elated to know I’m ready to be known, too. I won’t just be asking the questions anymore. I won’t just be saying “I’m okay…how was that….the other day that we prayed about?” 

Finding my voice will be a work in process. When most of us process, we start where we’re comfortable.  I’ve started where I’m comfortable but it’s vulnerable and I’m trusting the Lord to move mountains in my heart and flesh. 
  

my blind spot is multiplied

There are so many reasons why it is hard for the human heart to be vulnerable. But the “let’s just be real” reason for me most of the time is my great want for authority, respect, & admiration. I told you I was getting real. I could put that blanket reason out there-pride. That generic description doesn’t get to the root of my sin though, that word just give my root sin a label.

When it comes to conviction & sanctification, wouldn’t it be soooo much less excruciating if the Spirit just pierced out hearts? I mean, I would rather the Spirit deal with me right down to the heart….just me & all alone. I’m a coward at heart.

But He knows far deeper ways to permeate my soul & flesh. It’s far more sifting, sanctifying, & lasting for Him to go about dealing with my heart by actually utilizing the very depths of what make my church.

Let me just try to face it, I’m like my 3 year old when it comes to obedience to the Lord in becoming more like Christ. I’m going to grunt, growl, stomp, run away, cross my arms, and scream when it’s hard for some hard obedience. Especially the kind that requires a change in me & from me.

Here’s how He reveals my blind spots. He uses my husband & children. CRINGE.

Not fair, says the immature 32 year old wife and mom.

I was looking in my rear view mirror to change lanes & I thought, I rarely even use my rear view mirrors. It was busy traffic & I desperately needed to change lanes. I want to make sure those blind spots were clear.

Instant parallel. I wanted to make sure my family was safe, so I checked my blind spots. Same principal in life. When He’s leading & speaking, check my blind spots. Where am I missing Him and where I am trying to just “make things work” by just weaving in and out of traffic? Jumping around in life and not really being intentional (buzz word I know, so TRY to think about the reality of that in relation to what I’m sharing).

We love people. We love serving. This is what God uses to purge the sin from our flesh. This side of Heaven, He will not ever finish sifting us. I’m thankful that He pursues me hard and constant to purge the sin. It may take so very long in some places, but He never gives us. I must learn to not give up checking my blind spots. My blind spots are usually revealed by my relationships with my husband and children. As much as I would love for them to not have to learn of my sin or be a part of the purging thereof, I’m grateful for the great testimony they are of God’s grace.

They love me just the same.

Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

What is vulnerable?

It’s telling you that I’ve had a day full of “I wish I was……” insert anything from prettier to a better cook. This thought life is actually very uncharacteristic of me.

I’m not the most confident person in the world, but The Lord dealt very seriously, albeit graciously, with me concerning my self-image and self-condemnation a few years ago. It has been a point of interest for my heart & a place I speak Truth to myself about on a regular basis.

So for this day of useless comparison and self-loathing to be battering me, I felt a little caught off guard. Every picture I saw contained someone with bold fashion statements, risk-taking make-up, toned physique, steel like nerves with their children…..all the qualities I felt were supremely insufficient in my existence.

Then I remembered my post on Facebook yesterday.

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I let him in…he stole from me. I felt betrayed. Then I remembered that’s his nature. I’ve never trusted the enemy so there was nothing to betray. I let down the guard. I wasn’t vigilant with my heart or my thoughts today.

Thankfully, The Lord empowered my weak mind and heart to see what today held for me in terms of my need for a Savior.

Just like that::I repented & forgiveness separated me from the sin that had entangled me for a moment.

when answers don’t come

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when driving home for nap time, I whispered “please God, send the rain” and i heard about 30 times “PLEEEEEEASE God, send the RAIN!” from Drake. we got home and he said…”I guess He didn’t want to send rain right now”. a theology lesson ensued about how God answers prayers. i think the lesson was more for me than my son.

if you didn’t know, northern texas is on the doorstep of Stage 5 drought conditions. it’s devastating. i dare say you can understand if you haven’t seen this kind of dryness. our lakes are drying up. our yards are dead. our trees are dropping huge branches. it’s terribly sad.

there are areas of our family’s life that have seemed like the wilderness. places in our life and hearts that we have prayed for years that God would deliver and heal. so far, he hasn’t done either.

then there are places in the life of our family that we have prayed, and immediately received exactly what we needed and/or wanted.

did the same God handle both of those circumstances? absolutely. he was not a better Provider for us when He gave us our request than in the places where He hasn’t given direction or resolution.

where we lack for understanding, He is still Providing. He’s providing because He is walking with us, teaching us what it means to trust Him. He’s providing because He is giving the faith to realize and proclaim that we believe Him….even when we don’t understand, even when we hurt, and even when we have severe wants.

we are not exempt from the struggle of this world and the struggle with sin when we trust Christ. we are given a new set of tools with which we can maneuver this earth. what grace and sufficiency He is to empower us with great access to wisdom and trust. we just need to ask. sometimes our knees, but ask nonetheless.

He’s always there. He doesn’t see our times as good or bad. He seems them as He ordained them-we walk, knowing He’s in control and sometimes He’s more interested in growing our hearts and character than growing whatever might come from our requests.

Psalm 139

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in [f]Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will [g]overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark [h]to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

the one word that sums up all i’ve learned about myself when i became a mommy

 

it’s so painful to my flesh to say it.

selfish.

it’s painful to my flesh for 2 reasons.

1. because i’m embarrassed i didn’t learn how selfish i was when i got married…it took having a child for me to realize that i’m selfish.

2. because i have a root sin of pride and to realize, confess, & grow beyond this selfishness means i’m not perfect.

1 John 2:16

King James Version (KJV)

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

when i have on the filter of Truth, i can see my selfishness for what it is (sin) & press into Christ’s redeeming forgiveness. when my heart is bent towards asking God to produce based on the good intentions, motivations, & desires He has put within me to steward the lives of my children, i am outside of my flesh & directed towards the idea of redemption.

yes we are all selfish. but praise the Lord of all Heaven and Earth that He is in the great and glorious business of Redeeming.

Ephesians 5 Amplified Version

13 But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light.

14 Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light.

15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.

so there is no condemnation for the temptation to be selfish towards my husband or children. but an ever present reminder of what success really is in the realm of home. success in the Spirit is waking up each morning and asking of the Lord

Psalm 139 New Living Translation

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

so that when our children will not give us a break, they spill milk, have a potty accident, pull their clothes out of their drawers, wake up 3 times each in the middle of the night, scream and run away when discipline is knocking on the door of their hearts……….or when our spouse forgot to do something important for us, forgets something special, makes a decision we don’t agree with, or is having a rough day and their attitude effects us–we can confess we have selfish hearts that want to scream or pout, but then repent and remember Lord’s ability to lead us in the way everlasting.

He puts His Spirit within us to walk and guide us in the trenches. yes, even the trenches of our selfishness. our hearts are deceitful (Joshua 1:9), but He is grace. He forgives. He gives. He extends mercy and grace.

He knows our hearts. our very fragile, worn out, over-extended, but very very very full hearts. the heart that beats harder and faster during the hard days. the heart that explodes at night when our littles snuggle up on our chest while we read. the heart that grows more full as our children begin to speak Truth themselves and model all that we’ve spoken about Jesus. and as we hear and watch our sweet babes talk about Christ, He is sweetly beckoning us as we watch the little seeds we’ve planted begin to be harvested by Him.

it’s so hard during the drag of day and sometimes night to remember that we are living out a calling. a calling to love our husband and children well. it is weary sometimes when we don’t know what “well” is and we’ve lost track of our purpose. but He says we can call on Him. so my prayer for myself and other mommas is that we reevaluate what it means for us (as individuals, not as compared to other mommies) to love our husband and our children well. we are all gifted, interested, and experienced in different ways. press into Him with your deepest and grandest expectation that He will speak directly to your heart about how you can rest in who He has made you and love your family well with how He has equipped you. no more trying harder. no more being better. no more rules and regulations. just asking, exploring, and living out who you already are and loving with the tools and resources He has already provided.

just ask Him. and then abandon your own idea of what the pressure tells you it should look like for you to be a mom and wife and, instead, be the mom and wife He’s already equipped you to be with a whole heart full of expectation. sometimes your greatest equipping and resources come from your children and your spouse. be sensitive to the Spirit.

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what i’m not taking for granted.

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we left saturday at 9am to travel to colorado with our two boys and my parents. we were headed there for my grandfather’s (my dad’s father) funeral. so many have asked about the circumstances. he was ill, but it is never expected and it is always grievous to experience loss.

we lost my grandmother (my mom’s mother) in december. she was buried christmas eve while i was in the hospital.

having experienced loss and a temporary goodbye, my heart is in the place of receiving grace and giving thanks for the now…

salvation. 1. i am redeemed & expecting eternity with Christ. 2. my loved ones will not have to ache in wonder about my eternal destination. for the sake of the cross, your eternity, and your loved ones…accept the sacrifice and blood covering for sins of Jesus.

my husband. 1. he’s the greatest person i’ve ever known. 2. he is redeemed. 3. he loves me like Christ loves the church:::sanctifies me and leads me.

Ephesians 5 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

4. an exceptional father. he is intimately involved in every aspect of our children’s lives.  from morning until night he is top notch and top request (DADDA!!!) for both of them. 5. his sacrifice:::for me and the boys. he sat in the backseat with an uncharacteristic gigantic fit throwing baby so that i wouldn’t get car sick. needless to say his chronic pain didn’t do him any favors, but he calmed a baby and saved momma’s stomach. i cried the entire time.

my children.

Psalm 127:3

New Living Translation (NLT)

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.

1. i know what it is lose a child. i love all three of mine, including our baby not here with us. 2. i grew to appreciate all moments with my children this weekend (locked up in a car with them screaming in car seats, in a small hotel room with little space for little adventurers, no media for entertainment, no privacy for sleeping for them, happiness when we can make small luxuries for them happen, joint bath time for them that seemed like a bath tub birthday, a grandparent induced chuck e cheese visit, the list could go on and on). 3. the richness of hearing “i love you momma” over and over and over from my 3 year old. i’m not sure if all kiddos do this, but it sure does wipe away the screaming fits of disobedience when i hear this.

understanding. 1. sometimes we ask questions about our family circumstances. i’ll leave that broad. but in reality, it’s God’s design for you to be with the people you are with and related to your specific peeps. i got to see some family this weekend i haven’t seen a while. we may not see each other for a while. it’s cleansing and bonding, though, to grieve with others who you are confident understand your ache and hurt. we shared the ache of losing someone recently, losing my grandfather because we all love him, and hurting for each other as we walked through this.

motivation. 1. to love more intentionally and specifically. i feel confident i do this well with my children. 2. i have taken this area too much for granted concerning my husband. i am not taking for granted the motivation to love him more intentionally and to show him more often.

friends.

Proverbs 11:25

New Living Translation (NLT)

25 The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

1. i never realized what a definition in my head for what a friendship is or should be. that has been butchered and redefined as i have received hugs, texts, facebook messages and posts, cards, etc. people watch, care, pray and meet our needs. that is friendship. even if it’s “just” through facebook. they took the time and shared their heart. that’s vulnerable and compassionate. that’s a friend.

i could go on and on about what i’m not taking for granted especially since i’m not in my big, warm, comfortable home in the quiet while the boys are visiting their other grandparents. but i’m going to rest and relax while i can and then eagerly pick my boys up and squeeze all of my friends and family i see today.

though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes with the morning.

i had a few moments of feeling a bit like David recently. (i mean, seconds. especially once i got to the end of this psalm and read his resolution). this psalm has followed me since Shane & Shane released a song utilizing this particular psalm. i was listening to their cd (yes, we did use cds at one time) and while i was listening i was reading this psalm and the corresponding song came on at the same time. that was a time of the Lord’s deep moving in my heart and i forever remember the time i spent with Him then. i thought things were very difficult at that moment. i had no idea how NOT difficult it was and what a preparation of my heart that time was for me.

Psalm 13[a]

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

disappointment and loss. grief. grace.

i woke up desperate for relief today. ever need that? crave that? and the worst part about our flesh is that we can “FEEL” like we need something, go to the ends of the earth for it, and not even know what we’re searching for….we just KNOW “it” will make us “FEEL” better.

i know what i need. i need Jesus. at all moments and at all costs. so this morning my desperation for a relief was not only a cry for mercy and grace but a plea for something different. so much had piled up over the last two years that i admitted today i wanted, needed, craved a “break” and i have no idea what that looks like, but here is my reflection.

on december 23, 2013 i decided (after 4 days) it was time to call the doctor. i had attended a family christmas out of town, cared for my boys, gone out to eat, and done various other things with most of my left eye out of commission. the best way to describe it was that everything was shiny, fuzzy like watching the tv with no cable, and just blotchy. i wouldn’t drive because the peripheral vision was nonexistent. so i decide, it’s the day before Christmas Eve at 4 pm. if i’m going to look into this, no is the time. i start realizing it’s no aura with migraine because i’ve had that a few times and went it away in at least 30 minutes and sometimes with a headache. neither had happened here. my husband had been on vacation and he was using this time to take care of our boys while i lay in bed. not an ideal vacation in that his whole family wasn’t present.

when i talk to the doctor he says that is not normal and he’s calling an ophthalmologist. the one he contacted was so gracious to meet me at his office after hours. he does a complete eye exam and several tests (that i’ve never had because i’ve always had perfect vision) and said my optic nerve was swollen. he says i need steroid infusions to get the swelling down and that’s a pretty normal outpatient situation. however, all of the infusion therapy clinics are closed and will be until thursday. oh man. the dreaded words. you need to be admitted for iv steroids.

my husband had been driving around with the boys after he dropped me off. through dilated eyes i tried to text and then just called. we have to implore grandparents. my grandmother’s funeral was the next day (Christmas Eve) but my mom was so gracious to help and picked up the boys. one of my best friends spend the night at our house with our boys and then my in-laws stayed at our house the whole time with our boys with a few breaks from my husband and my parents. and my father-in-law was ill most of the time and i’m pretty sure my mother-in-law was too but all of our parents are so kind to us. we are loved well.

so disappointed. Christmas in the hospital. without my children. my sweet husband who suffers from chronic pain slept on those uncomfortable chair/recline/pull out beds they have in the rooms. we were visited, showered with flowers, gifts, sweet words, facebook messages, texts, etc. the redemption? my husband (who is the most gifted and sensitive to what redeeming means) brought Christmas decorations to the room and my gifts. i opened up a necklace that i have wanted since Drake was born. it had a pearl and a hand stamped initial for each of our boys and the sweet first child we lost through miscarriage. perfect and perspective and healing.

i missed my grandmother’s funeral. my eye waited until the 11th hour to start getting vision back. right before the last dose of steroid in the iv i started to see better. i went straight to the ophthalmologist after being released. my eye was doing better. i had to go to my regular doctor to get a blood sugar test kit (steroids can mess with blood sugar. a new low—-pricking my finger for blood. thankfully brady did that. and i never had to give myself a shot).

i was told to take oral steroids for several days. i was so messed up. brady and i will probably remember for the rest of our lives how i acted those days. i tore our house apart to clean and reorganize. i only slept from 330-6:30 am most days.

we will also never forget what happened when i quit them. cold turkey. i had flu like symptoms. i was “depressed”. i started crying so hard at one point i was weeping and convulsing. i looked at him to try to explain and probably laughed the hardest and loudest i ever have because i had no words. no idea why i was crying.

this condition i have now been diagnosed with is a precursor 40% of the time in women age 32 for Multiple Sclerosis. so, in the hospital the neurologist said when the steroids had cleared my system i had to have a lumbar puncture. i’m pretty laid back, but those words sent me into a frenzy of anxiety and fear. my husband has had two and assured me if i had endured labor i could handle this. we’ll see.

two weeks ago i had the lumbar puncture. it was terrible. i was dehydrated. it took way too long. and the next day i got a spinal headache that lasted five days. i text everyone i knew who had one and asked what “normal” was for these headaches because i didn’t want a blood patch.

last night we received word that my grandfather passed away. my dad’s father. my last living, blood related grandparent. i had not received closure from losing my grandmother, is my assumption, because i cried longer and harder than normal for myself when finding these things out. no matter who it is, how close you are, what your life is like, death of someone or something is sanctifying.

loss brings perspective if you’ll let it have it’s toll and work on your heart. i fessed up to myself that i had feared so many unknowns and so many possibilities that just aren’t reality right now. what if i experience this with my eye again? what if i lose my vision? what if i have MS? and i won’t list out allll of the history we have with my husband’s medical history recently…you can read that here.

there is so much grace for the loss, for the sin, for the hope, for the disappointment.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?