Tuesday, October 30, 2012

sit still and breathe.

Three times a day, for the next five to seven days, I have to man-handle my two year old while I administer a breathing treatment.  At bedtime, the dose is doubled and it takes twice as long.  My sweet Liberty screams. Bloody murder kinda screams.  And my Mama's heart breaks every time.

Truthfully, I tried to avoid the treatments as much as possible. I postponed them as much as I could.  Praying for a Jesus-kinda miracle that she'd suddenly get better and I wouldn't have to wrestle with her. I'd wait until Daddy got home so he would have the daunting task of the Nebulizer (back when she only had to do it once a day). But, Jesus clearly had other plans and I just had to do it.  I will admit, I shed a tear tonight as I was man-handling her.

photo credit
"I love you sweet girl.  I'm sorry you're not enjoying this, but Mama has to do this.  You have to get better.  I can't have you being sick.  This is for your own good," I would whisper in her ear.

And then, it hit me. How many times has the Father whispered those same words to me in my distress?  When trials and tribulations head our way, how many times do we throw a tantrum, scream and cry at God saying "Dada, no! Stop, please!" (Replace Dada with Mama and you've got a clear picture of what my little girl was asking of me mid-cries and screams)  while all the while our Heavenly Father is whispering to our hearts, "I have to do this. I have to administer this suffering for your own good. It's going to expand your capacity to breathe in the breath of life.  It's going to keep death away that you may live and live well."

There are "spiritual treatments" so to speak that our Heavenly Father administers to us to rid of us that life-threatening disease we inherent called our sin nature.  There are trials and tribulations that we just have to go through to be refined and purified.

We all know it.  We hear about it at Church (well, at least I do) and understand it with our mind, but do we ever embrace it and live it out?  Liberty's breathing treatment is actually not painful.  She just has to sit still and breathe. Sit still and breathe. I can't help but wonder how many trials we endure that are actually painless, but because of our struggle and fight, we make painful.  I can't help but wonder what life's trials would look like if I just sat still and breathed.

Though some medical treatments are painful, most aren't.  They just require our cooperation and consistency. I have a feeling God's refining is like that.  It's not that we crave the "treatment" so to speak, but that if we would just sit still and breathe, the trial would be quick-lived and gone and all would be better. I'm pretty sure most trials are only painful because of our inability to trust and have faith that this is for our good.  But just like medical treatments have to be consistent, so does His refining.

Trials and tribulations are a fact of life and will continue consistently as long we're alive and especially as we serve Jesus. So, I'd probably better learn to sit still and breathe and trust that these "treatments" are all a part of His perfect plan to make me an eternal Bride.

Not sure if my tired-Mama-babble is making any sense, but I thought I'd share some of what Jesus has been sharing with me.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

the unconventional way I became a mama...

My little girl is 7 years old. 
My little big-girl turned 7 yesterday. Seven years ago, I became a Mama and I had yet to fully know it.  I remember walking through the campus of UCF on that beautiful October day seven years ago and having a sense that something *great* was happening.  I didn't understand it.  I certainly didn't foresee that I'd become a Mama that day, but there was enough of a sense of greatness for me to journal about it.  And journal about it I did.

"I get the feeling that something life-changing just happened.  Not sure all of what it is. But I sense something was birthed today. I'm excited to see what it is."

I became a Mama, not by biology but by a covenant of love. My womb didn't carry her and I didn't have the privilege to bring her into this world.  But I'm her Mama.  My sweet Grace has the beauty of having two Mamas, and I am privileged enough to be one of them.  I didn't have nine months of bonding before I met her.  I don't have the scars to prove she's mine, but mine she is. I never got to see her crawl for the first time, or walk for the first time, but my heart has been there, every step of the way. I get to share her and keep her all to myself in one glorious swoop. Grace is my love and nothing can ever change that. Many don't understand it and probably never will, and truthfully I'm ok with that. You don't have to understand how I became a Mama or how that day seven years ago gave me the gift of motherhood-- but I know it did. 

So, in honor of Grace's* seventh birthday, here are seven things I absolutely love you about sweet girl!

1.  You, sweet Grace carry a servant's heart.  In everything you do, you live Phillipians 3 and look to the good of others above your own.  Whether you're interacting with your brother and sister, your friend or a complete stranger, I love the way Jesus shines through you in this way! 

2. I love your wide range of interests.  I love that you can go from playing dress-up and tea parties with 'Cole, to rumbling and tumbling soccer with Daddy, to coloring and drawing pictures for Mommy all in a day's work. 

She was most def MVP in her little soccer league. Averaged 4 goals a game! 
3. I am convinced Jesus gave Cole and Daddy another baby (no, this is not a pregnancy announcement, I'm talking about Justice) because of what an amazing big-sister you are.  I think Haven is your reward sweet girl.  You are the best big sister in the world. Your patience and kindness towards your siblings is absolutely beautiful and outstanding. 
Clearly, Liberty loves you very much!
Grace holding Justice.
She couldn't wait until he got up! :)
4. I love the way you love.  I love the way you fiercely love your Daddy and protectively love your Mommy.  It is evident by the way you speak about them and pray for them that your Mommy and Daddy are the light of your life.  And that your desire is to fulfill the 4th commandment-- to honor your Father & Mother.  I can tell you this Grace, you will indeed have a long life. 
Grace with her Daddy and Liberty for Liberty's 2nd Birthday

Grace out on a Daddy-daughter date 
5. I love your goofiness and silliness. I love that we can jump in front of the camera and make funny faces all day long.  I love that we can put on a dance party and dance all silly together

6. I love that you're both a little girl and a young lady.  You have lived so much life at the young age of seven, but you have adapted and always smiled and loved your way through.  Your maturity is well beyond your years, but you still maintain that childlike innocence that is incredibly rare to see. 

 7. I love how tender your heart is towards Jesus.  You are truly a young lady after God's own heart, and I am so blessed, honored and privileged to call you my first born.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When it feels like Monday...

It feels like Monday today.  And it looks like Monday in our home.  It's one of those discouraging days as a mom and homemaker (hey, I'm just being honest here).  I fell asleep unbelievably early yesterday (umm, I'm overestimating if I say 800p, I actually fell asleep *with* Liberty at around 730 as I was putting her to bed) and I'd been out most of the day.  The weekend was a blur because our little man, Justice decided to bust through two teeth at once. So, needless to say, I hadn't gotten much sleep.

So, waking this morning I had high hopes and great expectations for a productive day. Funny how those days are the days our children decide they want to un-cooperate with everything.  Justice is still weepy, wanting Mommy. Liberty's getting into everything and overall disobeying everything Mommy has to say.  Ah. It's just one of those days a Venti Pumpkin Spice Caramel Latte just can't fix... and that's a big deal.

But now, both my babies are quietly asleep.  They are dreaming about Jesus and Mommy's sitting, resting, and asking Jesus for an attitude adjustment.  I've determined that nap time is "oil" time.  I've purposed in my heart that no matter the disaster that is our home, nap time has to be resting time-- I have to lean into the Almighty during that time.  I want to develop the habit of waking up early, before my children (which means like 6am) but I'm not there yet, and I can't wait until I have it together perfectly to set aside that time. I just can't afford to.  I'm not a good person without abiding in the Vine.  I'm pretty crummy actually.

"Sit down for a little while, what's the hurry anyway? You can't do anything without abiding in Me."   
--prayer room song

And while I'm begging Jesus for grace and mercy on this, not-so-good-feels-like-Monday-Tuesday, He reminds me of His Word. 

"For the Lord God is a Sun and a Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withold from those who walk uprightly."  -Psalm 84:11 (AMP)

Present Grace. Future Glory.  His Grace covers me today, when I'm not supermom, superwife or superwoman at all.  All I have to do is sit down, abide in Him and receive the grace I'm unworthy to receive but He freely gives anyway. 

So, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll unplug now and do just that. 


Sunday, October 21, 2012

cease and desist!

I stared at the laundry pile as though it had horns and an evil little tail. I promise you it breeds while I sleep.  Laundry (along with 85% of all housework duties) is something you just have. to. stay. on. top. of.  And, I like to take my weekends for my family and go out.  So, something happens and I promise you, our little family creates laundry every weekend to put to work my poor little (very little) washing machine for the entire week.

Life with two babies and a school-aged girl keeps me on my toes and it has taken me quite a while to adjust.  Something was always being left behind.  If it wasn't housework, it was Jesus, if it wasn't Jesus, it was the kids.  Something just seemed to be off-balance all the time.  But then, four months later, life began to have a semblance of normal again and I started to catch up and learn balance with three children (well, at least a bit of a routine and a whole lot of discipline).  And I realized that this mothering, wivering and homemaking business sure is a lot of work and that it required actual effort on my part.

So, that's what I do now.  I work.  Hard.  From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep.  I'm working and serving and communing with the Lord simultaneously in some sort of miraculous testimony of Jesus (because it takes a whole lot of grace to sustain me).  But then, there's days like today.  Days where I'm exhausted beyond the point of delusion, when I've been up most of the night with my teething son and sick big-girl.  When I chose to go to bed late last night in an effort to maintain a clean home but it backfired on me because then today, I can't see straight.  Days when I choose to serve our brothers and sisters from our House of Prayer community in the ministry of hospitality but aren't quite sure where my strength will come from.  Days like today, Jesus reminds me to rest. Even He rested after the glorious work of Creation. As a man, He often left the crowd for the stillness and solitude of the morning in an effort to rest upon His Father.

I'm pretty sure rest is important to Him since He practiced it Himself, commanded an entire day of rest be recognized in His 10 Commandments (I mean, it's up there with idolatry, murder and respecting the parents!) and continues to remind His friends today of that very commandment.


In the original Hebrew, to rest was the commonly used word of Shabath. Its literal translation is to cease and desist. Stop and let go!  In American English, we use the phrase when a command is given in a law enforcement job.  Cease and desist. Stop. Let go and don't do anything else.  

What a magnificent reminder to this OCD Mama. Yes, the practical ministry of homemaking is important and it musn't be neglected.  But the commandment to rest still lives today and we are to obey it.  I am on a mission and I choose rest.  Maybe not today (Sundays tend to be busy) but some time this week.  I will choose Sabbath.  I will unplug, stop. Cease and desist and listen to the gentle, violent voice of the Holy Spirit. 

I pray you will too. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Some thoughts on marriage...

I am by no means a professional on anything related to marriage. I am very much still a newbie at this and will probably feel like I am for the rest of our lives.  Considering marriage is a union of two imperfect people that is meant to portray the perfect love of God for His people, I'm pretty sure we can (and will be!) married for 50 years and still know very little about the union and commitment itself.
Almost 4 years married.
12.21.2008 :)
There is, however, a trend that I've noticed among newlyweds that is completely out of sync with what He had in mind. I've blogged about it before, but it's such a deep and important truth that I feel it's worth writing about again.

Our society (and humanity in general) is pretty good at making godly, holy things into self-centered, bad things. Marriage has become about self rather than love.  Love has been reduced to an emotion rather than a daily commitment based on the good of another-- no matter the cost.  It grieves me, really.  But even more than that is the notion that marriage is meant to fulfill an empty part of ourselves.  You know the saying, "He's my better half?"  Half? Half of what?

I love my husband to death and back, but I was a whole person (theoretically speaking of course, because I was a broken mess before the Cross) before I met him and today I'm still a whole person.  There are zero halves in this marriage.  We are both two completely complete people made complete strictly by the grace of Jesus and His sacrifice on Calvary.  If either of us ever becomes a half, it's not by anything the other has done but because (Heaven-forbid!) we have chosen to walk away from sweet, sweet grace.

Marriage was never intended to fulfill. It was intended to be a glorious picture of Christ and His Bride.  Ultimately, whatever my husband chooses or doesn't choose to do or behave in relation to me is not my ultimate gratification.  Jesus is.  This seems like a pretty "duh" statement and I've always believed and known it was truth.  But if I believed this truth in my heart, offense would never creep up in my heart towards my husband. I would never argue with him or struggle to submit.  I would never have to "fight" for my opinions and views to be heard.  If I believe this truth in my heart, I would gladly and easily demonstrate a gentle and quiet spirit because my entire confidence would be found in the Lord and His goodness towards me.

Please note, I am by no means saying that desiring (emotional & spiritual) intimacy with our husbands is wrong in any sense.  It is good and right for two to become one in every sense of the term, but if by whatever reason our marriage lacks in an area of oneness then we understand our Source for peace, joy, and true intimacy comes first from the Lord.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

The main issue in this upcoming election.

This post will probably be a little out of place in a blog geared towards the ministry of mothering, wivering (ha! just made up a word) and homemaking. However, it's October and in a little over a month, this nation will once again decide who they want as their leader and there's something I just have to get off my chest.

This post isn't about bashing any candidate. It isn't about convincing you to vote for one over the other. It isn't really about the election (very much).  It is rather about righteousness and a call to action to all those who claim Christianity as their faith (ahem, "98% of all Americans").

Facebook is inundated by political posts advocating one of the candidates for President and the person's reasoning behind it. Twitter has 3 second blurbs dedicated to advertising one political party over another. I'm sure if I look hard enough there will be thousands of full-length blogs dedicated to this subject. Presidential elections are a big deal. And yet, I don't know how to put this politely, but I don't care who you're voting for.  No offense, but it really doesn't matter to me. Do you wanna know what I care about?

I care about the millions of babies that are unwanted every single year.  A friend put it so tragically beautiful yesterday, "It's a genocide. Between abortions and people unwilling to parent, we have a generation that's being lost in the middle of our selfishness." The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob also values life and if we call ourselves Christians, how dare we make excuses for supporting death on behalf of a better economic system for our nation? As Christians, it is our duty to stand with Christ and be ambassadors for His name sake. The last time I read the Gospels, He is life, He loves and gives life and life abundantly. Death has no part in Him and neither should we. And I care about having a President that values life.

I care about the sanctity of marriage. I care about the God-ordained order of things, I care about keeping the sanctity of marriage between man and woman because that is the way it's supposed to be. God designed it that way and He said it was good. I also care about the homosexual. I deeply care about the homosexual.  Just because I believe in the sanctity of marriage doesn't mean I'm a gay-bashing small minded bigot. I disagree with their lifestyles but I deeply care for them. I think they're sinners, but then again, so am I.  I don't think their sin is any "higher" on the sin-scale nor do I think they're doomed to a hotter fire than I am because of my sin. I will not avoid speaking with them, talking with them nor growing in friendships with anybody who chooses that lifestyle. However, I do care about having a President who also values the sanctity of marriage. Not because it's my opinion but because it's God's opinion. 

Here's the crux of it all.  Our nation has shifted it's focus off the important issues and on to something that is insignificant.  The main issue this election Christians, is not the economy.  The economy is not the root of the problem.  It isn't about Obama spending money we don't have, or Bush having ruined our nation with the wars he declared.  It isn't about creating more jobs nor funding a health care bill.  The main issue during this election is whether or not this nation will choose to stand with what God says it's right and wrong.  That will determine our economy and the rest of our fate as a nation.  God doesn't care about the United States' influence in the world nor its balance in the checking and savings account.  He cares about the foundation of this nation and whether or not we will choose to remain rooted in that foundation or twist it to be something it was never intended to be.  Like it or not, history shouts that this nation was founded on Christian principles.  Christian principles that are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self, control, righteousness, peace, mercy.  None of those prove any threat to any one else's beliefs or choices. Christianity is rooted in goodness and good things because that is who God is.  Unfortunately the Church of this nation has gotten off that track and hence we have the small minded gay-bashing insensitive jerks who cry out obscenities to women entering into abortion clinics and declare a physical and verbal war on any belief that is not of Christ.  This nation is full of "churches" who forget that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal and take on a carnal mind to spiritual matters.

But. That is not the point.  The point is this.  God is who He is. Man is dust and He is not. He wraps Himself in light, He is glorious, majestic, all-knowing and righteous.  He is Holy and demands we are so because as Christians, we are of Him and have taken on the nature of the victorious Christ.  As Christians, we should stand for what He stands for no matter the cost.  Politics is a world filled with greed, power, deception and etc.  Romney and Obama are both men-- they are both dust.  But God turns the heart of the king whichever way He desires and He will use either one to bring His purposes for this nation to fruition.  It isn't about who gets elected because they're both weak men, bound to stumble.  Rather, the man chosen is a declaration by the people of this nation of where they stand.  Do they stand with their pocket-books and a liberal movement bound to further-silence righteousness in the name of tolerance or do they stand with a man who believes in life and the sanctity of marriage and who openly believes in the power of prayer to turn this nation back to the beautiful light it once was?

Both men will fail without the Spirit of God. But not both men choose to stand for righteousness. I pray you vote for righteousness so that we can see this nation restored.