Just for Today

Our kids are growing up.  It’s happening slowly and quickly all at the same time.  Each of our kids seems to be at a transition point in his or her life – moving away from one stage and toward another. And before we are totally into that next, new stage, I want to take a moment to remember where and who they are today.

Drew  June 2014Drew, in many ways, you are the heartbeat of our home.  You are gifted by God with the most natural and distinct leadership capabilities.  You are fierce, loyal, and protective.  You cannot be swayed once your mind is made up.  I know that God has put that strong warrior heart in you to make a difference for Him in this world.  I love your confidence and your total lack of fear in life.  You believe God’s power and valiantly trust in it.   You are a great listener and observer.  Even when I don’t know it, you are listening and taking in your surroundings.  You are an excellent and avid learner. I love watching you discover the world.  You are drawn to music.  It seems to be a language that speaks to your soul and sticks in your mind.  I think that many of your most enduring spiritual truths will be learned through music.  You are incredibly competitive and play every game or sport with firm determination.  I love the strength of your personality.  You keep me real.  Being your mom has completely changed who I am as a person.  I’ve been stretched in ways I never thought possible and I am truly, truly thankful.  Even at 6 years old, you are becoming more of a man and less of a boy everyday and I am honored to be your Mom.

Caleb May 2014

Caleb, you are the laughter in our home.  Your body literally cannot contain the joy that radiates from your soul.  Daddy and I smile every day just from seeing you smile and interact with your world.  You are overflowing with imagination and creativity.  This photograph depicts you perfectly.  Each day you dress yourself with flair and beg for me to draw a mustache and beard on your face.  You are a talented athlete.  I’ve never seen any physical challenge that you could not tackle.  You can climb anything, pull yourself up on anything, and swing in ways I’ve never seen before.  You are also a budding artist. It seems that you see the world (and yourself) as your canvas. Most mornings, we begin the day by me finishing my devotional time with some journal writing and you right beside me drawing art in your journal.  It’s a memory I’ll cherish forever. You are the sweetest lover of cuddles.  You will choose “cuddles” over any story or song before bedtime and you still say “Yay!” when you get to snuggle in our laps. You are so tender toward brokenness.  It is as if it physically pains you to see a hurting person or animal and you are drawn to help them.  I have seen you fearlessly offer grace and mercy to many in need without considering yourself.  I see you becoming more of who God made you every day.  You are leaving the toddler years behind and entering boyhood with great excitement, curiosity, and joy.  You’ve taught me to approach life with humor, optimism, and delight.  I’m so thankful to be your Mom.

EK

Emily Kate, you are the sunshine of our home.  You smile endlessly and have the sweetest, gentlest, and kindest demeanor.  For the rest of your life, you are going to hear, “You’re so sweet” because it is one of the first things that others notice about you.  You are extremely flexible with the noise and activity of having 2 big brothers.  You puff them up with confidence just by the way you adoringly look at them.  You are shy, friendly, feminine, and sassy. You are already the most fun companion to me.  You love to be in my arms while I put on makeup, cook, and fold clothes.  You love to just be together and I love that too!  You are already a beautiful singer. During the day, you sing or hum just as much as you talk, and at night, you always sing “Jesus Loves Me” with me before bed.  You already adore your baby dolls and take such good care of them.  You push them around the house in your little stroller, change their diapers, feed them, sing to them and rock them.  My favorite part of  watching you play this way is seeing the joy on your face.  If God one day grants you children, I feel certain that you will be the kindest, gentlest mother. You have definitely stolen your Daddy’s heart and I love the relationship you share.  I cherish the moment that he walks in the door each evening – you run to him with the biggest smile and squeal “Daddy”!  I pray you run into your Heavenly Father’s arms with the same joy and trust.  When God gave us you, he added so much love, light and tenderness to our family.  You are now moving away from the baby years and becoming more of a little girl. I have loved every minute with you so far and look forward to enjoying each stage ahead with you.  I’m so thankful to be your Mom.

And thank you God, who has, just for today, blessed me with these.

 

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Mom Interrupted

Every single thing I do in life is interrupted.  I’m sure every mom can relate.  I’m folding laundry this morning and I realized how crazy interrupted my life is as I stopped for someone about every 2 shirts. There is interruption when I am cooking, eating, reading, going to the bathroom, taking a shower, sleeping, and having a conversation with my hubby. Trying to talk on the phone is an absolutely comedy show.

I know this is no news to any mom.  In fact, life’s interruptions are a big part of our job descriptions.  And for me personally, it’s for those moments that I like to be at home and present with my kids.  But today, I’m trying to get the family ready for a trip (which makes a mom’s list a mile long) and I just find myself annoyed.  After interruption #172 from the same child during the same load of laundry, I asked God, “Lord, how do I manage this?  I want to tend to him but my other responsibilities are calling.”

Immediately, the Holy Spirit brought to mind 2 things…
1. I have access to Him through prayer 24 hours a day, every day. I interrupt Him constantly and He is never annoyed.  In fact, He invites my to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) which means He invites me to interrupt Him constantly.
2.  I’m reading through the book of 1 Corinthians lately and I love how no second spent in His Word is ever wasted.  When I’m reading His Word, I’m much more often reminded of what it says than when I am not consistent in reading.  For the last few days, I’ve been in chapter 13, a familiar passage to many.  It’s about love.  My journal writing has been something like this… (Scripture in Italics, my words in regular font.)

Love is patient and kind.

Lord, how often I am impatient and unkind with my kids… but I love them so much.  By this definition of love in your Word, I am unloving. You are so patient and kind with me, showing me the depth of your love.  Let me be a parent who is much more like You.  Thank you Lord.

All of the sudden, these “interruptions” in my day seem a lot less annoying and a lot more divine.  Thank you Lord for using the mundane things in my every day life to stir my heart toward You.  You are an awesome Teacher.  How I long to be a student who reflects You!

Mercy, Part 2

I recently spent 5 days praying for nothing but mercy.  In that short time span, our family had 2 ER visits, 1 surgery,  3 stomach bugs,  4 hours of IV fluids for our baby girl, and almost 0 hours of sleep.  It was crazy.  One day, my husband suddenly needed and had an appendectomy. A few hours later, our daughter came down with the dreaded bug.  From that time on, I was terrified that my post-op hubby would get the bug from our kids. I begged God for mercy by the minute, hoping that no one else would get it. 

And I really believed that no one else would.  I’m talking, I prayed like crazy.  So when another child caught the bug each day, I was upset, exhausted, and feeling my faith tested.  (I know it’s lame that something so trivial tested my faith but what can I say? I’m weak.)  I found myself saying to God, “I really thought you would protect us from this.  Why is another kid sick right now?  Why another sleepless night?  Why another empty bottle of Lysol wipes?”  I even felt myself getting a little mad.  I had prayed in faith, expectantly, and God didn’t answer my prayer to stop the bug.  So in my frustration, I just stopped praying.  I felt like it hadn’t made a difference anyway.  

In the midst of this, I went to read my Bible and “accidentally” went to the wrong place.  Instead of Psalm 23, I went to Psalm 123.  Here’s what it says…

To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!  Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God til He has mercy on us.

The phrase, “til He has mercy on us” was such a sweet one to read at that moment.  It was like God was saying to me, Don’t think I haven’t answered your prayer for mercy.  I have more mercy than you can even dream and so much that you are now experiencing.  My well of mercy never runs dry and don’t give up asking me for it.  To give up asking is to give up knowing how deep my mercy is.

The Psalm continues,

Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.  Our soul has had more than enough…

Yes, my soul felt like it had “more than enough” in those 5 days. But God’s Word again brought me back to Himself.  His Word ended my stubborn strike on prayer. His Word understood how I felt and drew me deeper into relationship with Him.  

I’m now convinced that I’ll never see the bottom of His well of mercy. Thank you kind Father.