Monday, August 12, 2013

Trusting Jesus with our children

The same sentence had been whispered in my heart over and over and over again.

"Trust Me with you children Nicole. Hand them over to me. Give them to me. Trust Me with them."

It struck me as odd because I feel like I do. At least I felt like I did. Now, I'm not so sure. I mean, I dedicated my children to the Lord when they were newborns.  Our entire Church Family has been witness to both. I meant it then.  I still do.  But somewhere along the line of parenting, as my love grows for them, I've also allowed fear to grip my heart.

Haven Justice being dedicated to Jesus. 
"It's amazing how we think we trust God in an area, and then He's like... 'Yah, no kiddo. Sorry.' Haha. I love it though! Praise God that He loves me enough to call my bluff."
-- text sent to a friend of mine, confessing my lack of trust. 

Aaliya Liberty being dedicated to Jesus. 
We live in dark, dark world and I never want anything to happen to my children.  My mother's heart wants to shield them from all pain, suffering.  I want to create the perfect circumstance so that my children will come to know Jesus... without pain. I want to be there every second of every day.

Truth is, I believe in homeschooling and staying home and being my children's main teacher in life. I believe that 100%.  I know my most important ministry (besides to the Lord and to my husband) is tending the hearts of my children.  But I believe that, in part*, it is because fear reigns my heart when it comes to my children.  I am depending on my own efforts to raise my children and protect them. I am depending on my own efforts to bring them to the foot of the cross.  I am fearful that if I let them out of my sight, the world will swallow them whole and they will be ruined forever.

But what a silly notion! I am not the author of protection. God is!

"Yes, our protection comes from the LORD, and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king." 

--Psalms 89:18

Did I not give them to the Lord? Do they not belong to the Almighty God who makes Heaven His throne and earth His footstool? Do they not belong to the God who promises that if God is for us (and I am convinced He is for my children) then who or what can stand against us?  It doesn't matter if I homeschool or send them to private or public school. Truth is, my job as a parent is not to choose the schooling I feel most comfortable with.  It isn't to keep them in a bubble tightly wrapped, it isn't even to stay home so they can see me more and I can see them more. It isn't even to bring them to the foot of the cross. My job is to pray and ask Him what method of schooling is best for my children and trust that He knows best.  My job as a parent is to show them the way to the cross and pray the Holy Spirit leads them there.  My job as a parent is to demonstrate obeying Jesus, whatever that may look like.  And my job as a parent is to hold on to them, with open hands, remembering they do not belong to me. Jesus has reign over my children, however He sees fit. He knows their heart even better than I.  He knows the circumstances and the events that must take place in their life to prepare their hearts to receive Him.  I cannot and must not stand in the way of that by allowing fear to reign.  Our God has their days numbered and we should make the most of their days by trusting Him with them every single minute of the day. Our God is a good God, a merciful God who causes all things to come together for the good of those who love Him.  I know my babies love Him.  I know by the way they want to worship Him without fully understanding what it is they're doing.  I know my babies love Him by the way they hunger for Bible Stories at dinner time and devotional time.  They always want to know more.  I know my babies love Jesus because the first response to a boo-boo isn't a kiss from Mommy's lips (though a very integral part of our making the boo-boo better routine), it is prayer.  I know they love Him because they are seeking to know Him more and obey. So I know that God will cause all things to work together for the good of my babies. More than I ever could.  My resources are limited, His are unlimited.  He is the author and created of the resources.

I am writing this, not as though I've achieved the fullness of this.  But as one who is wrestling with God, begging Him to give her grace to fully trust without doubt or fear.  I know I haven't achieved it, but I want to. I know my God is good and He loves my babies beyond what I ever could (and that's a whole lot, trust me). And my prayer for you is that you would wrestle with Him the same way I am. We cannot afford NOT to have this conversation and wrestle match with God. The days are short and getting darker by the moment.  And we ourselves will not be able to keep our children, only He will be able to sustain and protect them in the face of whatever comes...

Agape Friends,

* for me-- this is my journey ya'll, I'm not saying everyone who home schools is gripped with fear or that all stay at home mommies fear for their children. I am only wanting to exhort us all to full faith, even as mothers. I encourage every mommy, homeschooling or not, stay at home or not, to ask Jesus the condition of their hearts-- whether gripped by fear or not.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

for when we want to complain

I am not a happy pregnant person. Never. I've been pregnant twice and twice I have been jipped of that "glow and joy" women feel when they're pregnant.  I mean, halfway through my pregnancy, I am done being pregnant.  Really, really done. Shoot, by the time 36 weeks come I am bribing the doctor to just move the C-Section date up a week or three. I hate the nausea, and the hormone insanity that rushes through my body.  I hate the discomfort and the aches and pains. I hate blowing up like a balloon and always feeling tired. It's just not my favorite season of life.  Some women love being pregnant and others, like me, hate it.

But then....

Then I remember my amazing friend who wants a baby so so bad but has miscarried three times.  She would give anything to *not* complain about her pregnancy. Then, I find that an old friend DID have her baby halfway through her pregnancy and he went to be with Jesus an hour after being born.  Suddenly, I am reminded of a dear friend who tried and tried and tried to get pregnant for four years.  They were years filled with tears, a fight to keep the faith and hope deferred.

And suddenly, complaining about cankles and some weight gain, just seems super silly. Actually, complaining about any of the hard parts of mothering seem silly in comparison to the pain some women feel when they are unable (even if for a season) to conceive, carry and deliver babies.

I am not pregnant. And I have no plans of becoming pregnant anytime soon. And this post isn't about a desire or anything of the sort.  But it is a post that I pray will raise awareness. Mommies, we know this job is hard work.  I mean, really hard work. And it is so very easy to fall into the trap of complaining about how very hard our job is.  But I am begging you Mommy, in that moment when you want to give in to complaining, to think about my friend who wants a baby but has miscarried three times. I dare you to think about my friend who can no longer hold her son because he was born so incredibly premature and think about the four long years of trying my other friend endured.  Seriously.  Pregnancy, mothering. It's all hard.  But I am now convinced, after walking the path with several friends of mine, that harder is the path of hope deferred than the path we walk on dear Mommy Friends. 

Let's make a deal that we won't complain about our toddlers' tantrums or sleepless nights or achy backs. Let's instead walk gratefully at the gifts we've been given and marvel in their little hearts and little feet.  Let's pray for our sisters who ache for children they once had but didn't get to hold.  Let's pray for our sisters who ache for children they will one day have... or not.  Let's just walk in thankfulness and bear our sisters' burdens.