How I’m learning more about Christ through raising my children…

It’s amazing how you can grow your whole life & think you know who Jesus is.  Especially when you’ve been raised in a Christian home.  But then you grow up & birth little sinners right into your home.  Sure I had this idea of how it would be with my children.  They would be little angels from GOD.  Of course they are from GOD, however, they are not little angels- quite the opposite most days.  I had my first child & she was the most compliant & easy going child I knew.  I thought to myself, “I’ve got this parenting thing.” HA!  Then I had a few more kiddos & let’s just say that the more kiddos I’ve had the less I’ve found that I know about anything!

A few months ago I started questioning our parenting techniques.  All we’d ever known & read up on we had done.  You know? First time obedience?  But I had this problem- how could I truly expect first time obedience when I myself fail so often with the LORD.  I sin.  I sin daily & yet I’m expecting my child to never mess up.  I’m expecting them to do far than I even expect of myself.  I began my dig for something anything to help me with how to do this parenting thing.  And realizing that I don’t have a clue of what I’m doing.  I knew that I wanted to raise well-rounded children who knew how to think.  I didn’t feel like they should be robots & I shouldn’t control their every move.  I want them to know the love of a Savior that even when they do sin- they have forgiveness!  God’s grace is amazing & HE loves them.

I’ve never seen that kind of parenting lived out.  I’ve only seen the opposite- you do what I say when I say OR ELSE.

I should state that we had really been dealing with our third (out-of-the-box) child & were really struggling with how to handle him.  It was getting worse & worse every.single.day.  To the point where he’d go to his room & say with tears in his eyes, “no one likes me”.  That was the turning point for me.

I had come across some of Sally Clarkson’s writings & had even downloaded a book of hers on my Kindle.  I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel as I started realizing my failures as a mom & how I could resolve them.  She gave no formula, she only spoke words of wisdom! 

Things like: “When does ‘treating others the way we want to be treated’ end-  when we have kids?”  My children are people.  They are people who sin- it is NOT my job to correct their every little mistake- it is my job to treat them as I would want to be treated.  It’s my job to treat them as Christ teaches me with love, patience, kindness & did I say patience.  How would I feel if Christ was following me around with a switch ready to swat me at every mistake?  (Disclaimer: I do not use switches I was just giving an example.)  I’d feel rather defeated & would probably give up.

Christ showed love even to the VERY unlovable.

Look at Judas- Jesus KNEW that Judas was the betrayer yet he broke bread with him & AND WASHED HIS FEET!

My thoughts are kinda going everywhere… but this has become a great passion of mine.  I haven’t mastered it by any means.  By I’m working toward it.

Another thing I’ve found is- this isn’t the easy route.  It involves much more work on my part.  It involves me making a choice each time an issue is addressed- what kind of heart issue is this?  Who cares if you can get your child to obey you the first time if you’re not engaging the heart.  Okay, so your child does everything just as you tell them to- the first time why?  I’ll tell you why.  It’s not because they respect/honor you it’s “fear-driven obedience”.   I don’t want my kids to obey me just because they’re scared their going to get a spanking.  I want them to obey because they love me & honor me.  How do they know to honor/love me?  Because I repeatedly honor & show them love- day in and day out. 

Most of all I’m learning that God’s grace is for me to.  As a mom I need lots of it- especially with 4 little ones running around.

OH!  I almost for got to tell you.  Changing our thinking on our parenting has caused us to deal with our “out-of-the-box” child much differently.  Do you know that just spending a few extra minutes with him each day (often times more) has made all the difference in the world?  Realizing he’s TWO & not putting him in the same category with my older two has helped us tremendously.  Taking the time to do the things he enjoys.  Not yelling because he pushed his sister, but instructing him on why we don’t push our sister.  I mean HE’S TWO!  He’s learning.  I mean his two older siblings push him why can’t he push the 1 year old?  He has not concept of her age & what she can handle.  And so on & so forth. 

I hope this wasn’t a complete bore.   And I hope that if this is an area you struggle with you would take the time to step back & look at your children with the eyes of our LORD & savior.  If you have a tough toddler- pray & ask HIM how to handle that person.  He will assist you- I can assure you that!2013-01-07 11.34.53

Raising Children to engage in REAL life

We had some company a while back with some teenagers… which made me thankful for the stage of life I am now in.😉

After they left I told my husband how sad it is that children, teenagers & even adults don’t know how to interact with REAL people anymore.  I mean they came in looking for a place to plug their phones!  They plopped down on the couches zoned into their electronic contraptions.  Real conversation was foreign to them & what little they did was with a phone in hand with very little eye contact. 

Sad.

But the sad thing is- it was somewhat the same with the adults.  Sports update here.  Text. Facebook notification.  The list goes on.  

This is so sad to me.  I don’t want this for my kids.  

I mean they already ask for games on phones now… at 3,4 & 6!!!  

How do we stop this?  

My husband & I have really been considering this- & how we want our kids to be when they become teenagers.  We don’t want kids who have NO idea how to interact other than texting.  We want them to engage in real life! 

We have recently been weeding out out DVD collection.  We’ve realized that we want to be a learning/reading family & in order to achieve that we must do that.  So slowly I’m ebaying them off- to invest in wholesome BOOKS & such.  

It is so hard in this day & time- I feel like we have to compete with EVERYTHING as parents.  Kids don’t get bored anymore- they are constantly entertained by the world.  I refuse to give in to the world’s distractions.  I will fight to deprive my children of these distractions & teach them to value the importance of their imagination & REAL LIFE. 

I have discovered as well (in the past couple of months) that there is no community if you are not apart of the social media aspect of things.  That’s where everyone interacts now!  How sad that is for so many young mothers.  I’m not downing social media- totally.  I can see where it has it’s good sides.  But when it becomes strictly how people converse… something is wrong.  I have made it my purpose to be intentional with real life relationships.

 It breaks my heart- really it does. 

Do you have any thoughts?  How do you handle things like this with your children?

 

Words of affirmation… go a long way

Let me tell you a little bit about my day yesterday!

The morning went fairly glorious.  Kids played for an hour with playdough at the kitchen table- peacefully.  My baby girl took a good morning nap during this time- & I actually brushed my teeth before 10 o’clock.  It was lovely. I was sure it would be a good day like the previous two days.

Somewhere between cleaning up the playdough & lunch my nerves were done.  A two year old that constantly wants & throws fits when his needs are not instantly met can cause a mama to go a little nuts. 

“I wannnnntttt a benana (banana), Mama”

I get the banana- he’s disappeared.

from another room he’s crying because he wants something else- that he cannot have.

He comes back to the kitchen screaming that he “waaaannnntttsss aaaaaa benana NOW!”

Wow- did he really just talk to me that way?

yep.

During all this I have a fussy (teething) 1 year old (to be), a puppy out of her “area” running freely about the house, & a 4 & 6 year old running chasing one another through the kitchen- screaming gleefully.

Don’t you just feel like pulling your hair out sometimes??

Add endless amounts of sleepless nights- for all sorts of reasons.  Too low dose of my fish oils & my app on my phone ringing to let me know that mother nature should be visiting within a day or so.

By the time my husband got home for lunch I was at my wits end. 

Why?! Why?! Can’t I be the mother who is patient, gentle & kind— always.

Why am I so unpredictable? 

I decided to call my (previous) midwife & ask her some “fish oil questions”.  She called back, but had to let me go shortly thereafter to talk to her daughter (who had had back surgery that day- totally understandable).  I basically started giving up.

No one had time to talk to me.

I get very few encouraging words from outside of my home.

I just needed to be affirmed as a mother.  Just something.

I sat down during naps & started youtubing some Sally Clarkson talks.  Sally is my role model.  I love her because she’s not perfect- she doesn’t try to be, but joy floods over me as I read her writings or listen to her speak. 

There was on particular talk that I had seen before, but never watched it.

“The Myth of a Perfect Life” was the title.  And it’s just Sally talking for about 10 minutes or so… about how we as mothers never feel we measure up.   We believe there is a “perfect life”- we have this imaginary image of other mothers out there who have small children as well- who miraculously do everything right.  Their houses are always immaculate, good homemade bread is always baking, children are clean & never get dirty, their floors in their kitchens never look like mine, organized pantries, the list goes on & on… (just look on pinterest- really.)

Her point was – it’s not like that.  We are all struggling.  Life is NOT perfect.  There are messes & there is sin.  This world is NOT supposed to be heaven.  Why do I think it’s supposed to be?! She said, “your kids are not out to get you when they mess up or cry or whine or fuss.  They’re just being kids.  They’re not all sitting around plotting against you.”  Boy, it feels like that sometimes.

I felt some encouragement in listening to her talk in her dear sweet voice- assuring me I was not alone.

My midwife calls me back finally.  We talk about the fish oils & in fact I was about 4,000mg BELOW the therapeutic recommendation.  She then starts saying words of affirmation that I needed so desperately to hear.  She knew little of what my “issues” of late were, but she assured me that I was normal.  That GOD in fact loves me.  And that I’m doing a good job.  That’s so nice to hear when so often those around either say NOTHING or say things they shouldn’t.  And you know what else?!  She asked if she could pray with me right then on the phone.  She began praying- and the words she prayed over me meant more than anyone can imagine.  When I got off the phone- I felt so uplifted.  I felt strength.  I felt like I could make it.

Sometimes we “young mothers” or mothers of “littles” need that affirmation that we’re doing a good work.  That doesn’t mean that you have to approve of everything we do in our parenting.  It means that you believe in us.  This is a very hard time we’re living in. We’re constantly doubting our selves… we need to be lifted up.  Sometimes that means stopping & praying with us & encouraging us.  WE NEED THAT!!!!

Do me a huge favor?!  Tell someone they’re doing a good job!  Call them.  Stop them in the store (or in the line at the post office).  Write them a card.  You have no idea what kind of day she may be having.  It may be the hope she needs to make it through the day.

Everyone has a story… here’s mine

We all have a story so here’s mine.

There once was a young girl who had been a troubled child.  Her mother had left her when she was young.  Her father was an alcoholic.  She was passed from here to there.  Abused. 

When she was about 17 or so she ran away from home hitch-hiking all the way to Illinois from Texas via truckers.

She ended up in this little town- Milford.

Not sure of all the details here- because I’ve only gotten sketchy inconclusive details of her life in Milford.

She met a friend & ended up moving in with their family.

There was a boy & girl her age who lived in the house she moved into.

Then there was a county fair.

Then there was a positive pregnancy test.

Then they shipped her out.

She claimed that it was their son’s baby.  They denied it.

So, back to Texas she came with her alcoholic father.

Nine months later I was born in a little hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Texas.

To this day I wonder what made her keep me.  I’m thankful she did.  But I wonder…

I can only imagine what it was like- my first few months of life.

The next part of the story is when my mother met my “daddy”.  He tells me he fell in love with me.

I know there was a time that they had broken up or something & she called him crying because she couldn’t buy milk to feed me.  He of course came to my rescue. 

Soon they became pregnant & had my sister. 

Then they got married & had another sister 15 months later.

I don’t remember “happy times” between my mother & dad.  I remember a lot of fighting!  I mean a lot.  But I knew my Daddy loved us girls, but I was never sure that my mother & daddy loved one another.

Then she became pregnant again.

Not my daddy’s baby.

Yet, he stayed with her. After all he had made a vow.

The baby was born, another girl.

There were problems though.

This baby was mentally handicapped.  You see the baby’s daddy was my uncle. My mother’s half brother.  Somehow that doesn’t work well.

But my daddy stayed with her. And kept trying to make it work.

By this time they were in a church.  And were trying to live for the LORD.  Or at least my daddy was.  I found out later that my mother was sleeping around with many in the choir & many of my daddy’s friends.

There was no peace in our home.

I remember my mother would give my sisters & I kool-aide powder to eat because my dad tried to only let us eat healthy.  I guess she thought we were deprived.

I have many memories of that time.  Hot checks were a big issue.

Soon it all came to a head.  One night she was to go on a trip with some ladies from the church- instead she went to someone’s apartment & spent the night.  A male someone.

My daddy was no idiot. He packed her bags & had them ready for her.

Here’s where it gets slightly confusing.

I was not legally my daddy’s child.

I had to go with my mother & the youngest sister (who also was not his).

My two middle sisters got to stay with my daddy.

I clearly remember my mother telling them goodbye at ages 2 & 3. 

She waved goodbye to her life of being a mother simply because she was selfish.

And she drug me along for the ride…

(to be continued)

7 things to encourage a mother of the “Little Years”

1. Tell her she’s doing a good job.  I can’t tell you how important this is to young mothers.  Especially when you’re in a restaurant or store & maybe your child(children) isn’t behaving perfectly.  Some times instead of glares… just tell me it’s okay & you’re doing a good work.

2. Ask her if there’s anything you can help her with.

3. If you’re in her area call or text her & see if you can drop off a cup of coffee or something she likes. Some days this would be so lovely.  My husband is good at surprising me from time to time like this🙂

4. Take her to lunch. My husband gives me “breaks” often.  Sometimes it would be so nice to go out with a wiser lady who would encourage me in my walk with the LORD.  And offer good sound advice on motherhood.  Not offer formulas etc., but just encourage me. 

5. Send her a card- just because you were thinking about her & wanted her to know someone was praying for her.  This lifts my spirits more than a lot of things.

6. See if there’s a household job you can help her with every now & then. CAN I GET AN AMEN!!!!

7. If you have teens- encourage them to be a help to a mother of little ones… without charge (ironing, folding, dusting, bathrooms).  I have found that many teens are willing to “help out”… if you offer them enough money.  But we’re on a budget.  If I could afford a house cleaner then I would get one.  I will raise my children to work- to serve others out of the love in their hearts for that person & their family- not for cash. 

Do you have any to add to this list?

First Timothy 2:15

I never considered this scripture until yesterday, when it was brought out in our church service.

15Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing(or child rearing/training), if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Many times (I know I do) we as mothers look at our daily, mundane activities & think- “I’m doing the same thing day after day after day.  Does it really matter?”  Or if you are really like me- the questions go a little something like this: “Why do I have to keep on cleaning up pee/poop day after day after day?” “Why do I have to listen to constant whining day in & day out?”  “why, why why…”  “why is motherhood so hard?”

Well yesterday I shared with my church family about how I feel like being a mother could help me overcome mySELF.  And how everyday I’m faced with losing more of mySELF.  But the key is HOW am I doing that?  Am I d oing it the correct way?  Am I continuing in FAITH, CHARITY, HOLINESS- WITH SOBRIETY?

MP900313924

Faith: a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

Charity: 1: benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity

Holiness: 1: the quality or state of being holy

Sobriety: the quality or state of being sober

Am I all those things… daily?  Do I show faith to my family?  Am I charitable?  Am I holy in my attitude?  Am I doing all of those things with SOBRIETY?

Sadly, I have to say, “no”.  I.am.not.  I am just not there yet.  But what I’ve come to realize is this- you don’t get there overnight… it takes a lifetime.  And I also will not get there by having distractions distracting me from my goal as a mother & wife.  I am to be being saved through what I’m doing right now… raising & training children.  By being consistent in what I’m doing.  This is a serious job & it has GREAT significance!  I’m the only person to do this job in my home- me the mother of our children.  If I don’t… who will? But I must do it right in order to continue overcoming mySELF.  With faith, charity, holiness & with sobriety.  I must consider this job important- not just trying to get through this phase & on to the next.  THIS PHASE OR SEASON IS IMPORTANT!!! Our children’s little soils are soaking up everything we say & do- trust me I know… I have a mini me right now!  She is my daily mirror… allowing me to see things I don’t like about myself… things I want to change.

20110319_crm_4150

But… it’s tough.  How do we change?  How do we “get over ourSELF?”  One I believe we need the help of a very merciful LORD.  And two- we don’t need to feel defeated every time we “mess up”.  When we feel defeated we are right where the enemy wants us mothers to be… he wants to defeat us.  So… why do we want to give him what he wants?  We are children of the MOST HIGH!  We need to look up “for our redemption draweth nigh!”  Even when we lose it- “our redemption draweth nigh!”  The key is : LOOK UP!!! Don’t be defeated!!!!  Instead of taking two steps backwards lets STOP & LOOK UP & allow the LORD to hold our hand & simply make the next step without losing ANY ground!  WE can do this!  He wouldn’t have called us to this job (calling) if HE didn’t want us to make it!  It takes a lot of work, but HE wants us to make it!  I intend to- I intend on making it.  I want my children to rise & call me blessed! And I don’t mean that in a selfish, pious way… I want them to call me blessed because they witnessed what the LORD could do with a willing vessel & want that themselves!  That’s my desire.

MP900443912

I hope that encourages you… it did me.🙂

Learning My Season of Life

Learning my Season of Life…

Here not too long ago I was feeling somewhat confused & perhaps a bit discouraged, about what all I was supposed to be doing as a mother/wife.  I felt like a bit of a failure because I couldn’t do all the things I thought I should be doing.  I wasn’t involved in many things… well nothing at church.  We weren’t even at church as frequent as I thought (at that time) we should be.  We no longer clean church- something I’ve done practically my whole life.  No longer did I attend prayer meetings.  Going to church meetings- another thing I’ve done my whole life- has been put on hold for a period of time- mostly due to circumstances of where we live etc.  The list goes on.   I looked at all the things I wasn’tdoing… and in some ways it made me feel like “less than a Christian”, especially when you look around & see other mother’s who are able to juggle it all.

I was really having a hard time.  And even though my wise husband encouraged me often that “this is a season” I still struggled inwardly with all this.  One day I was driving & I began to direct all those thoughts toward the Lord.  And I felt HE answered me- not audibly, but HE caused me to think differently about it.

He reminded me of when I was a single woman of how I worked so hard (Naturally) for HIM.  Doing all the things listed above and more.  I was faithful in those things.  But as I got married & started having children that my service had to turn to them & that by servingthem I was still serving HIM.  I am convicted that my GREATEST service is to my family.  Some may not understand that… but the Bible clearly states the woman’s place in the order of God.

Titus 2:3-5

3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

As a mother & a wife my job is clearly stated in Titus 2.  I cannot fully serve the LORD without doing this.  I like how Tara over at Too Many Kids in the Bathtub put it in one of her recent posts.

But often times we we are discouraged in our efforts. Why?

Because we are operating out of the season God intends for us to be in.

I would encourage you to read her post.  It’s VERY good.

I don’t want to be the mom who “does everything” & fails to serve my family- which inevitably means failing the LORD.  Some view that differently I’m sure… but I believe with a proper balance & consistency is key.  I do think you can go so far right… but you can also go so far left too.  And maintaining that balance is a process.

My desire is to operate fully in the season of life that GOD has afforded me NOW!!  I’m the only one that can do this job.  This is my season of life… I’m to learn to walk joyfully in it.  And I’m doing just that… LEARNING.

MC900446418   It’s about the heart… not altogether the actions or the outward appearance.  Who cares if we do all these wonderful things if our hearts & the hearts of our children are not right?  When my children are grown I want them to have a heart for the LORD & not just go through the motions.  I’m still learning the  how  of this… but I think that’s apart of this thing called life…🙂

I hope this encourages someone today.

“Create in me a clean heart oh God…”

10 Things About Me

I thought I’d introduce myself a little bit by giving you 10 random facts about myself🙂

Let’s get started shall we?

  1. I’m turning 29 in a matter of days😦.  This partly makes me sad… just because I wonder where all the time goes.  Time seems to fly by the older you get.  Then I’m partly like, “thirty doesn’t look so bad after all”.  *sigh*
  2. I am married to the my best friend & I kid you not- I knew I’d marry him the day I met him.  I actually called my mom & said, “I’m pretty sure I met my future husband”.
  3. I have four of the most precious children & while they can wear my nerves out hourly— I’d lay down my life for them in a heartbeat.  They are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
  4. I love to be outside.  Winter & I have a pretty much hate:hate relationship.  Between Spring & Fall the kids & I live outside basically.
  5. I have been pregnant for 3 years (not consecutively) & I’ve been  nursing for going on 42 months (again not consecutively).
  6.  I absolutely love coffee!!!  And it’s just awful that I live a bout a mile from Starbucks.😉
  7. I’m a type “A” person all the way.
  8. While I’m a type “A” person – I’m also a mother which kinda throws my type “A” off quite a bit & sometimes puts me in a tizzy.
  9. I am a homeschooling mother & I love it.
  10. I love all things natural, organic & real

That’s a little about me!  Tell me about you!🙂

We’re getting a dog!

We have been planning on getting a dog for sometime now.  We actually told our oldest daughter we would get her one when she turned 5.  That didn’t work out because I had the baby & my youngest was still in diapers & the middle son was just barely potty trained.  So the deal became that when she turned 6 we would get a dog.   She will be 6 next month- we will have our new puppy tomorrow afternoon!!!   Yay for us!  I’m not totally thrilled with the idea of more poop to deal with, however, I think it’ll be worth it🙂

Today we went & got all the things we need to have a dog.  When I say “we”  I do mean all SIX (we have 4 children 6 & under) of us.  We rarely do this- get out I mean ALTOGETHER.  We pretty much avoid it at all costs.  It exhausts me to think about getting everyone ready & out the door to do anything especially if there will be other human beings where we plan on going.  Especially strangers.  I worry about about everyone (kids) freaking out at the same time.  I worry about having to take them to nasty public bathrooms (so we actually go to the bathroom twice before we leave- once before they get dressed & then again before they get in the car).  I worry about parking lots.

Well, anywho- we geared ourselves up for the challenge because we wanted the kids to be part of “getting ready” for our new dog.  Everything went well considering.  :)  I noticed a few looks (at how many little ones we had), but only one comment today.

Here it is:

“You gotcha a boat load there huh?”

We just smile.

I often wonder how come more people can’t say positive things.  Like “Wow, what a nice looking family”.

What about you?  Do you say positive things to other mothers (parents)?  What are some things you say?

I challenge you to encourage or say ONE positive thing to a young mother you see in public.  I bet you would make someones YEAR!