I've been a terrible mother. I have done and said things so many times out of frustration and anger that I regret. Have you ever? I'm telling you that it I have lost it and in the wake of my storm, when all is calm, I become highly convicted about my own behavior despite the reason why I blew a fuse. Then starts the comparison game. I bet my friend who is so sweet and calm all the time, never talks to her kids that way. I bet the preachers wife has never even raised her voice to her kids. I bet my friend from college is the kind of mother that scoops her kids up and has highly effective conversations with her little ones so that they never disobey, never mess with things, never undo hard work, and always hit the laundry basket every single time.
If one of your babies was lost out in the world you wouldn't stop looking for them. Ever. Right?
In this throw away world, it’s uncommon that you hear of someone going after something they’ve lost because of the abundance they have. I bet you we don't even notice most things we've lost. We typically keep moving forward in a world where losing one thing compared to the other ninety-nine things we have is okay. We have so much that we value that in reality, we value very little. If you had $100 would you really miss $1 of that if it were lost? It’s just 1%, right? No big deal. When we have fewer of something, we tend to value it more. If you have 3 cars and one is wrecked or out of commission you notice. It probably bothers you or upsets your daily plans. What if one of those things you were missing was one of your children?
As my husband and I are moving closer, day by day, towards the adoption of our foster babies God has been opening up scripture and circumstances He needs us to be aware of.
This morning on my way to church my 15 year old son was sitting next to me with earphones in, mad. James , my husband, had to work today to be off Friday, a VERY important day for our family.
While the Bigs were all getting ready for school I told my husband The Toddler was laying in his bed, awake, ready to pounce on the day. The first sign of life and he is up. I was right.
I laid in bed with my boy and rubbed cuticle cream on his little fingers. He's been chewing his nails down and picking nervously at them for awhile.
My oldest son loves to earn money. I can't even pay him though to do chores because he make more working side jobs for family and friends. He does have an entrepreneurial spirit and saves every penny. Yesterday after church he was in a hurry to eat lunch and get in the garage. He had an idea that was burning in him and his creative spirit needed to get it out.
Repeatedly, this morning (and in the past months), I have read in my Bible about my "voice". I found that there is a great deal in Proverbs 1 & 2 especially. When I first started reading these scriptures, I started highlighting every time I read the word "voice". Example, Psalm 3:4
I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.
The Book of Psalm is full of words like these; Psalm 4:1 is another favorite.
Here me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
Next to that verse I wrote: VOICE IT!
Pray with me...
Lord, you are keenly aware of any hopes that have been deferred in my life. Help me to put my hopes in You for You will fulfill my longings.
I remember those days.
Dried jelly stuck to the kitchen floor under the table.
High chair smeared with last nights dinner.
Smelly bibs stacking up in the laundry.
The diaper pail that is never empty.
I remember those days.
Tiny socks with no mates.
Baby powder all over the dresser.
The child that is sick that needs rocking.
Tiny outfits with tiny accessories.
A camera catching almost every moment.
I remember those days that you are experiencing.
Working a job and juggling car seats.
The way cereal never stays in the bowl.
Pop Tart mornings smeared in the hair.
Sick nights and stained carpets.
Missing appointments and forgetting to cook dinner.
Fights with your spouse over whose turn.
Some days seem to drag on when you're at home with your child. Some days you look up and wonder where yesterday went. You spend time making sure you have the right car seat, stroller, diaper bag. You give up on doing dishes at the end of the day. Ponytails and yoga pants are a daily norm. Unless you're dad and ball caps and sweats are the norm. Working moms are always in a hurry and time ticks faster at home.
I have been a work from home mom, a work away from home mom, and a stay at home mom.
I have missed moments and
I have whisked moments away.
I captured important moments with my lens and
I didn't take time to notice some.
Today I was packing away memories that were brought home from my Grandmothers empty house.
I gazed into the eyes of my children staring back in the photographs and paused.
Suddenly, I was choking.
I was trying so hard to swallow.
Tears streamed down my face, chin, neck, chest...
They splashed on the table cloth, the frames, and caught in the hollow of my neck.
When I was a little girl I prayed.
I believed with all my heart that God would allow me to have babies.
I wanted nothing more in this life than to be a mother.
He blessed me three times.
With three sons.
Their baby toys are mostly gone except for a few I saved.
Only a handful of outfits and blankets they wore and were wrapped in are boxed away.
The tiny beds are gone.
Older pictures are replaced by newer ones and they are off to school.
To the mom or dad with the toddler and the baby and the growing children...
Kiss their faces.
Smell their bellies.
Stroke their ears.
Record their laughs.
Capture the moments.
Save the hand prints.
Fold their tiny clothes slowly.
Say "no" to busy.
Say "yes" to snuggles.
Be okay with messy for awhile.
Yes, they cry.
Yes, they scream.
Yes, they destroy like a hurricane.
Yes, they are precious.
To the mom or dad with the children...
They are growing into themselves.
Speak life into them.
Tell them they have purpose.
Show them the little things are important.
They feel little...they are important.
Listen to their words.
Feel their breath in whispers.
Watch their eyelashes flutter in sleep.
Rescue their "lovies".
Kiss their wounds.
Let them cry it out sometimes.
Be thankful for their trails of dirt.
Yes, they are sleepless.
Yes, they are hungry.
Yes, they love you.
I was that mom who needed someone to show her the beauty from time to time.
I was that mom who didn't want to see there was beauty from time to time.
I was that mom that stayed busy
I am that mom who misses their smallness.
I miss their innocence.
My husband almost missed it all.
So, pick them up and dance.
The moments don't last, they don't stick around.
Time ticks on and we grow older.
They do too.
Here are a few (or many) scriptures I love for my tired self...I hope they lift you as well.
Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Psalm 62:1 “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.”
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 127:1-2 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.”
2 Thessalonians 3:13 “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”
Romans 12:11 “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
I Kings 8:56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.”
Jeremiah 31:25 “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
Hebrews 12:12-13 “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
Isaiah 40:29 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Psalm 68:35 “You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!”
Romans 8:26-28 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”
Colossians 1:29 “To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.”
Philemon 1:20 “I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.”
Psalm 18:31-32 “For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”
Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”
Proverbs 3:24 “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
Exodus 33:14 “The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Psalm 46:10 “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
I am not sufficient.
I look at the perfectly blue, cloudless sky and feel so small.
I'm looking up with tears on my face, looking for an answer.
I am not sufficient.
I have sat at my desk today balancing budgets, paying bills, telling my money were to go and frustrated. There is a number on my sheet that I wish wasn't there. There is a number that will move from my budget to my check register and I wish I didn't have to have it. I know many, many parents who feel the same way.
Our children are our responsibility and years ago before my middle son was conceived I prayed for another baby. I wanted a big family and we tried for years to have number 2. One night I laid prostrate out on the bed, not in tears for a new baby but in tears of worry.
That night I gave my first son back to God and saying "I am not sufficient but You are. Watch over my son when I can not, he is Yours not mine. I am just his caretaker while he needs me to be." A month later we were in awe to find that I was pregnant with our second baby. That is not a coincidence. I believe these two events in my life are connected by an eternal Father who was waiting on me to give back to Him and trust Him fully.
This baby boy was born and all circumstances surrounding his birth can be traced back to complete miracles. Nothing was left out of the miracle touch, not his name, not the date, not the year, second, or even the room number he was born in. Everything about this child was a miracle.
Around 2 years old he was still not talking and and participated in at home speech therapy. By age 3 he was riding a little school bus to speech therapy locally and by 5 he was starting Pre-K and had graduated out of speech. Then 1st grade...struggles started and in 2nd grade we found out he was legally blind in one eye and now in 3rd grade his attention and focus are so bad that I'm hurting for him.
So much makes sense now and my intuition always directed me towards a processing disorder... in 3rd grade it was revealed through testing that he indeed had a processing disorder...but which one?
Auditory Processing Disorder
It felt good to finally put a name with what it might be but we need an official diagnosis.
In the meantime...I am not sufficient.
So sitting in my figures of bills and expenses is this number that is looming...it's the price for a prescription. It breaks my heart. I know it will help him focus. He's had it before.
God will provide an answer but in the meantime...
Homework is a struggle.
School work is incomplete.
He doesn't understand directions.
Focus is nonexistent at school
I get calls from the school.
Emails go back and forth from me to the teacher
Meetings are scheduled
Phone calls to doctors for help.
Trips back to doctors offices.
Compared to others who I know are grieving for their children's health this is not a big deal.
But comparison is not an option.
Comparison is inevitable.
Compassion is next.
"And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:16
The little children and Jesus have a special bond.
My son does not worry unless we worry him. He walks blindly through his struggles, knowing they are there but trusting it will all be okay.
That each day will continue to turn over into the next.
That he will still be a child.
He comes home to a safe place were this problem is not seen.
That sweet boy plays with his toys in full concentration, building and exploring, creating and experimenting. It's only when we enter his world and bring our expectations that he is different.
I stand in awe when I am near him. He is a genius in his own mind. His world makes perfect sense to him.
Ours does not.
He can't understand our expectations and is frustrated when he can't meet them.
We work quietly together.
I start the laundry, put everyone else in the bed, and we work.
We work close together to make sure he is understanding.
A piece at a time, a little at a time he understands and remembers or gets it as new.
When he gets it, he gets it in his own way.
“But she came and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me” Mark 15:25
I am at His complete mercy when it comes to my children.
I was given these sweet souls to raise up.
He gives and He takes away.
Two words: "Help me."
Many times lately before entering a conversation or situation I find that these two little words precede the moment. I know I am not sufficient that I will not say or do the right thing without His guidance.
"Help me, O Lord, my God..." Psalms 109:26
Everything inside of me is trusting God through this.
My sons plight will not define him.
God's love and grace and mercy will.
I am not sufficient.
Thank you, Lord.
When I closed my eyes early this morning for an additional hour of sleep because my eyes opened way to early something amazing happened, I dreamed. I dream all of the time but sometimes I have one of those dreams that will never leave me and haunt me until I understand it. My dream was one that made me move my feet when I got up this morning so that I could clear my head and focus on a task I was meant to do.
For about a month and a half I have had adoption application papers in a box, filed away neatly by my bed. I keep waiting for that peaceful moment when I can pull them out and begin chipping away at them. What was I thinking? That moment will just not come. God has really been speaking to me on this which is why I did the "He Speaks to Me" posts. I want people to know that I don't take this matter lightly and it is NO JOKE.
My business seems to wax and wain with the thoughts I put towards the adoption which is no surprise really, God needs me to trust Him on this. I put everything in a box, closed it up and went about life and in the mean time God has not been blessing me so much when it comes to my work. So, he heavily convicted me last week, every single day, and so Sunday morning I pulled the files out and put them in a bag to carry with me. God proved that He was waiting on me and we received a blessing, really multiple blessings. Now it's back out of the bag because this morning He put urgency behind my actions with my dream...
Imagine that you are in the middle of a situation where a young girl, teenager, comes to you and says...I CAN'T find my baby. The whole community starts looking and before the day was out you find the baby. In the woods, alone, crying, dirty, injured and when you pick her up she clings to you with all of her strength and with all of her might she holds on to you. She won't let go and you take her home, bathe her, change her dirty diaper, call the authorities, the doctors, and dress her. Imagine rocking her to sleep for the first peaceful rest and feeding she's had in who knows how long really and then laying her down to sleep. Then imagine that girl coming for her baby and all the while you know what happened, that she had discarded that baby girl and you will fight with everything in you to protect her. She was never wanted, never loved; and now she is. You are going to fight for her.
I feel like I've used the words "fight for your family" a few extra times today we talking to people. I don't believe this dream was by chance. I haven't watched TV, or had any conversations or seen anything remotely that would make me think it was out outside influence. This is His eternal influence.
So today, I found this little green file folder and it screamed...use me! So, I love that I can carry this around and keep it with me. May seem small but to me this is big and instead of waiting on that peaceful moment, I'm going to be writing on these papers and filling them out and reading the articles required and so much more because I will keep it on me even in all my chaos. So if you see my green folder with me, know that I am serious. I'm also personally in great prayer for the mother of this baby girl. Please be in prayer for her. I am asking for LOTS of prayers that God continue to move me forward in His Will, continue to bless our house, my family, my business so that I can stay focused on this task that He clearly is preparing us for.
We all have them. We all wake up some mornings and just love our life and then as the day goes on it seems like our day falls completely apart. Before the day is even over you are full of questions and worry. Today, I loaded my boys up into the swagger wagon along with my nephews and drove the 12 miles to our church for VACATION BIBLE EXTREME (when I type it I hear an announcer like from WWF in my head, sorry). Our church VBX is always amazing and the kids LOVE going but this week I've had some slightly sick little boys on my hands. This morning, I thought they were all better as I drove to the church. When I pulled up my littlest Little said, "I don't feel so good." So, I dropped off the other Little's and headed back home with a little sickie. He asked for Sprite, chicken noodle soup, and I suggested a movie. It sounded like the perfect morning with my baby minus that he felt bad.
I popped in a movie, fixed a cup of Sprite, made chicken noodle, loaded my dishwasher, ran some clothes, sorted laundry, baked a chocolate lava cake (FOR REAL), and cooked some grilled chicken. I then sat down with him to watch movie number two when it happened...I went to check on my laundry that was supposed to have just finished washing and it was wet, heavy and wet. That couldn't be right. I was sure that it was supposed to be not so heavy and wet before going into the dryer. I loaded another load and realized something was off. It was washing before it filled with water. I messed around with it awhile until I thought maybe it would work, then my dryer started making a funny noise, loud and scary. I opened the door, it seemed to be working but when I went to start it, buzz, buzz, buzz and then nothing. The starter went kaput. I felt so defeated. Defeated seems to be a popular word in my vocabulary lately.
Okay, here's the kicker. I decided I need to run an errand before picking up my oldest from church. So, we left...defeated and all. I picked up Cooper and my husband called so I told him about my defeat. On the way home I started feeling just disgusted. We've been paying off debt, swearing off credit cards, and doing everything we know to do, that we've been taught to do by Dave Ramsey. I'm not sure that our emergency fund has been replenished...so I started worrying about that. If I can't dry clothes I will need a new dryer...I worried about that. What if the washer needs work because it won't spin the water out of our clothes...I worried about that. My business is slow this month...I worried about that. My husband called again..I gave him an ear full when he asked me if I had gotten everything done...I worried about that. Do you ever feel like your worry is pressing in on your chest so that it's hard to breathe and it's making your eyes cross? YES! That's how I felt on the drive back home as my oldest son told me he needed to go to the doctor because of a bump on his shin and my littlest wanted to go because he felt bad still. My thoughts were going around and around in my head. My worry made me feel like that washing machine felt, like it was stuck in a slow moving spin cycle, that I was going around and around, that I wasn't efficient, that I couldn't do my job well. This "spin cycle" I was in had me pressed against the walls with my eyes closed tight and praying for it to stop.
I just wanted some peace for one minute just to cast all this worry onto Him but He knows that. He already knew it! He knows how weak I am. He knows that I will turn to worry but He uses this weakness to draw me closer to Him. He wants to be my salvation. Isaiah 12:2 says that we are to trust and not be afraid. The Lord is our strength.
Just like all moms, we try to find peace in our chaos. We feel that we are constantly in chaos and that we have so much to worry about and it gets out of control. The faster our spin cycle spins, the more that is pressed out of us and sometimes it is just plain UGLY. As moms we would love to always spend time without worry in a peaceful place where we can enjoy our babies while they are little. It's just not going to happen that way unless we start really pressing into Him. If the chaos is overwhelming and the distractions just won't stop then we must know we have the power to summon His angels into our presence for help. He will send them. However, sometimes the spinning is necessary for a moment. It reminds us that we can't possibly do it all, that we need Him, and in order for Him to help, He has to press some things out of us to make room for Him.
As I pulled into our garage and my kids exited the car and as my husband was hearing me vent I realized I just needed some peace. I've become a little spoiled by spending time with our Father. It seems now that I've really started pressing the more I want to press. The more time I spend seeking His love and strength, the less I worry. I become frustrated with the chaos and become demanding for His peaceful presence. That's how it should be. When I spend time with Him he loves it and so when I came into the house I went into the laundry room. The clothes in the washer were exactly how I expected them this time and the dryer...the dryer; well, the dryer started right up and went right on back to work. Yep, it did!
I put my sick baby in the shower and down for a nap. The middle boy went to his room to play and the oldest went into his room, cranked up Toby Mac and got busy working in there and even unloaded the dishes when I told him too. As a result I have spent time writing, studying, journaling, and reflecting. Even for just a few minutes...I have pressed into Him. Now when husband gets home, I may even go for a nice long run...I've got some thanking to do.
Image on this post provided with permission from DaughterZionDesigns from Etsy.com and are available for purchase.
I don't know about all of you moms out there but sometimes I get aggravated by silly little things my boys obsess about, this morning it was a $15 "trapper keeper like" notebook my 11 year old had to have. He has it and is excited about it, he didn't want to put it in his book bag and so I shoved it in there for him after watching him for 5 minutes try to figure out what to do with it. But when I looked up at his face I could tell that bothered him that I didn't LOVE his notebook like he did. So, that bothered me. Perhaps it was because I called it a "stupid notebook". Ugh! As soon as I said it I knew...bad seed.
I have got to learn how to lift them up and strengthen their spirits when they are with me. Sometimes I feel like I fail at that because I stress about things that don't matter. I have thought about doing a devotion with them in the mornings but I think before I do that I have to get my heart right! I can not walk around pretending that it is. The last few weeks I have been picturing my heart as having all these black stains and I've asked for forgiveness but I think it's got to be more than that. I have got to be purified so that when the "well spring" comes bubbling up, it's good things that come out of my mouth. Lately, I have got myself saying things I regret...bad seed.
I noticed this morning that a particular Bible in our house was no longer collecting dust. My husband has been reading it and doing his studies before bed at night. Now that we have gotten rid of the TV in our bedroom he is looking for a better use of his time. He's leading me and I am neglecting to follow...bad seed.
So, I think that today all us mommies and future mommies should pray for them and pray for ourselves too. God has all the wisdom we can imagine, it's time we ask for more. He will purify me today because I'm going to let Him. I have about 6 hours of today to spend in conversation with Him. So while I'm purging my home of clutter today I will be confessing...good seed!
I found the below post today, unpublished. It was written in August of 2012. It made me cry like a baby. I'm so thankful I don't have to miss my babies anymore. I like my occasional hour or so of peace but I don't have to miss them anymore. Thank you Lord.
I have given you all fair warning that I have become obsessed with talking about running...so this is just fair warning again that I'm going to talk about it. LOL Actually, there were so many things on my mind this morning that I wished I'd had time to write them all day after I returned home from running.
Something about running starts to spark my mind. I think now that I am comfortable with my own pace, I am now able to let my thoughts just flow. I became quite emotional towards the end of my run, I was trying to hold back tears. And know not because I thought I was going to die after 5 miles.
I miss my babies...
I went back to work for the school year last Thursday and while I love my job so much that I send far too many hours devoted to it daily, I realized this morning that I am really going to miss my boys.
They are my babies.
They are all going to be in school this year together. This is the first and only year that they will all be at the same school. They will all ride the same bus together and big brother will be able to guide the little brothers. I am loving that part. The part that gets me all worked up is the part that they are all old enough to be in school. I no longer have to worry about breastfeeding, diapers, strollers, high chairs or pack and plays. No, I have to worry about homework, tennis shoes, clean undies,
straight teeth and super cool haircuts.
I am going to be gone before they get up in the mornings most likely and hopefully, home shortly after they get off this bus...God Willing!
I miss them already.
On the bright side, I have made the real choice to live a healthier life so that I may spend many more years with my babies...boys.
I have a new strength...
When the glory goes up, the blessings come down.
I believe that to be true.
I tend to amaze myself lately with the things I have been able to do physically.
In doing so, I always have to step back and think, now how am I able to do all I have done.
Some say it is will power and the human spirit.
I say, it is more than that. I know that I can not depend on myself for follow through.
I have to depend on God.
When I run, I find myself in awe of the things He is helping me to do. He lifts me up when I am down and pushes me on when I think I can not go further and the ways in which He does so are subtle and noticed only by me.
I do NOT serve a God of hate as some have said in recently media circles.
I serve a God who wants the best for me because of His amazing grace and love.
I have to be willing to go after some of His blessings and others I only have to accept them.
He puts me through trials to strengthen me!
I have the strength to run a 10k several times a week while still trying to lose weight. (being over 100 pounds too heavy)
My heart is stronger, my body is stronger but most of all my spirit is stronger.
It is like nothing I have ever known.
He gives me strength!
All this talk about needing to lose weight.
I really need to focus on what I need to gain some of.
Because I have lost weight and inches I think that maybe I have gained some youth. I feel more spark and energy. It is hard for me to believe I am considered in my mid-thirties. I feel renewed in so many ways.
One other gain is how happy I feel most days. Sure I have my tearful moments but my happiness feels youthful.
Then, there is my husband.
I love him!
My high school sweet heart.
I love him!