Friday, April 26, 2013

Every April he returns a better man.

Strong man an extrovert is energized by people, but every now and again his soul becomes agitated and restless, just like a child becomes after being securely buckled in the back seat during the nine hours of traveling.  We're learning his signs, and this is when he needs to retreat, from work, friends, and even the boys and I.  This is when he needs to retreat to be with his Maker.

If you ask him the woods are his sanctuary, under the canopy of trees with sounds of life playing softly in the back ground and his Bible laying open in his lap, in these times he hears God most clearly.  It's there that God taught him how to see the small things as gifts. It's there in the quiet of the mountains that he knew I was the one he should marry.  When he returns to me I never know what to expect other then it will be life changing only knowing God will breathe life into his soul.  The woods have become his chapel.

Now if you ask me where it is that God speaks most clearly to him I would also tell you deep in the forest, but I would add that Atlanta is the other place where it is easy for him to hear God.  For the past three years he has spent a week each April attending the Orange conference.  While he is being taught and worshiping with thousands of like minded souls it's in many ways the same as the forest, a place where he steps out of his life letting go of distractions allowing himself to listen a little bit more.

While he is away the boys and I usually spend the week in my grandparents guest bedrooms.  During the day we fill our love tanks up with friends and family.  At night we retreat to the quietness and safety grandparents bring.  After I kiss little boy foreheads good night I curl up on the couch making the announcement that I too will be going to bed as soon as my glass of water is finished.  But that's when my heart begins to find rest because they take my hand and share there journey with me.  We wonder together what God is going to do with my Strong man and our family.  They show me my accomplishments when I speak mostly of my struggles.  Sometimes life is like that the struggles are too big for me to see the accomplishments.

And so when Strong man comes home a different, a better man, I am eager to take his hand as he turns the corner.

This year as Strong man is away I find myself at home, working, mothering, and continuing on with our daily life.  After we said our goodbyes I was slightly worried that maybe I wouldn't be ready to take his hand when he got back this time. The introvert in me feared the idea that I was to parent alone and to work almost everyday he was gone, and to take a day trip down to my parents, and to do all the chores at home, I was scared.  This year I don't have my Nana's cooking and clean house where I can simply sit back and rest only needing to love on my boys.  I don't have my grandfather in the back ground watching me mother and hearing my heart all week long when just before bed that last night he grabs my hand to tell me that I am doing well.  But most of all I worried I would forget to wonder where God was taking my husband this week and where he would be leading me next week.

Too often I forget who God really is.  I have spent hours each night contemplating, talking, and just being in the presence of my Maker.  I have had just enough strength to get through each day.  I have slept well, even though my bed is empty.  Most of all I have wondered where we will go from here.  And so when Strong man comes home a different, a better man, I am once again eager to take his hand as he turns another corner.

That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.  O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
~ Psalm 30:12

~ Before bed time family Bible reading with my boys, a place where we all breath deep and relax.
~ Hearing the tick-tock of the clock.
~ Sleeping boys.
~ Crackling fires.
~ Wonder
~ A God who knows me most of all.
~ A husband willing to hear his Master's voice.
~ A husband who is willing to follow his Teacher's instructions.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Momma of boys & EFA 3.7

"BOY n. noise with dirt on it"
When I found out I was expecting baby number one.  I considered the possibility that I might have a girl child growing in me just enough to have a name picked out to prove that I really was going to be a good Momma.  Late at night as we would lay in bed dreaming of our tiny "Malna" I would share my fear of having a daughter.  I had played house when friends wanted to, my first choice was catching frogs in the swamp out back or riding my bike.  For me doing my hair all up fancy was letting it half down instead of the ponytail I sported every. single. day.  And shopping, my favorite store is Good Will and I always bring a friend when clothes are involved.  Left to my own devices I find a pair of pants I like and I buy four pairs exactly the same so I don't have to shop again for at least a year or more.  So while I would have smiled at the ultrasound technician if she told us the baby was a girl, I smiled just a little bit bigger when we learned our first born would be a boy.

As baby number two began growing within me Strong man was ready to hold his little girl, and so for him I hoped for a girl.  When I found myself laying on my back looking at that black and white screen in suspension I held my breath scared out of my mind that this baby would be a girl.  When the evidence left no room for question I breathed a sigh of relief that again I was having a boy, with a small pang of sympathy for Strong man as he refused to believe our baby was a boy.  In fact he had to have three people look at the screen to confirm it was a boy, and then still wouldn't believe it until he could actually hold the child in his arms.  When that day finally came it was instant love for all of us.

I'm not sure why the idea of girls terrifies me so.  I'll admit there are moments, days even, okay once there was an entire month where I longed to be able to say, "She's my daughter."

But a Momma of boys, just in hearing those words my heart stills.  Maybe it's because I have five brothers and only two sisters so I know what is to come.  Ha! I KNOW what is to come and yet my heart finds rest in having sons...

Today my heart is full as dreams of motherhood came true.

~ Birds Acre, a family friendly safe haven for injured birds that's not to far from home.

~ Hearing peepers for the first time this season.
~ Finding frogs but not catching any.

~ Looking for salamanders.
~ Finding bugs.

~ Catching a fish with my bare hands, even if it's itty-bitty it's still a first for me.
~ Two boys excited to have lunch at the "spork restaurant" aka KFC.

~ A duck following a goose as if she were his mother.

~ Glad my husband enjoys outdoor adventures as much as I do, actually I'm sure he enjoys them more.
~ Warm sunshine.
~ Trees begging to be perched in.

~ Mother son dates with my oldest.

~ Giving him a drink I know he admires, but doesn't ask for.

~ Playing games, while splitting a cookie.

~ Building massive train tracks with the boys as "Chomper" eats the mean trains, and dragons protect the good one.

I had no idea that Percy was a good train, but Laughter was slightly mortified that I would let Chomper eat Percy.  It went something like this:
*Gasp* Oh no not Percy!  Oh poor Percy!" As he gently nestles the toy train into his neck....
And that was the end of my train adventures for the day.

~ Water swishing as happy boys rinse off in the tub.

~ End of the day joy that only parenthood can bring--Bible stories read, prayers said, heads kissed, and teeth brushed, toys picked up, jammies covered with cozy blankets.

~ Reminders that I am a Momma of boys.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The day it was me and five hoolies

"I need a favor" said my Bestie, "But it is huge so take some time to think about it."

I prepared myself for the worst.

She continued on, "Do you think you could watch the boys for me?"

I died laughing, was that all she was asking?  I know these boys. For the last four years we have walked life together every single week. Our youngest sons are two months apart. Both of our families have made major life changes and we share the same heart. The husbands spend there lunch breaks at Olive Garden talking of life, and us Mommas do the same over little boy chatter and reheated coffee. We love it. When life is hard we drop what we're doing and listen to the other in cozy pubs or over the phone while we hide in the bathroom...I love these boys. I love there parents.

"No seriously take time to think it over. You would have five boys." she warned.

I agreed with the condition that along with leaving me her boys she would also leave a piping hot cup of joe.

And so she did...At 7:30 in the morning.

The day went about like this:

2 batches of banana muffins gone in 30 seconds.
My son bullied her son.
I was mortified.
All the while in the other room, the two littles decided to "clean" the tub.
My youngest got soap in his eyes.
Tears were wiped.
Hearts were healed.
Eyes were rinsed.
I took a deep breath.
A whole bag of chicken nuggets devoured.
After lunch treats were enjoyed, because "Mith Thandy always has treats."
Nerf wars.
Rest time.
Hugs and kisses.

Nothing less then I expected.  A good day with my five favorite boys.

Friday, April 5, 2013

To the two who grew in my womb,

There will be times when only you will know what it is God has asked you to do.  Good intentioned people will not understand and even try to change your ways, I may not even understand.  When these times come beg God to search your heart and show you if you have turned away from Him.  (Don't ask Him to affirm your actions as proof that you are doing what's right.  One question is asked in humility while the other in pride, and it is the humble heart that He will direct.)  If you through all your searching of Him and if He finds you blameless in all His searching of you are still convicted to walk against the well intentioned and perplexed mother then remember these people and carry on.

Now faith is the assurance of the things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.  By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. 

By faith...
...Abraham, when tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, "In Isaac your descendants shall be called."
...Even Sarah herself received ability to conceive.
...The walls of Jericho fell.
...Rahab the harlot...
...Women received back their dead by resurrection.
...Others were tortured...experienced mockings and scourgings...chains and imprisonment...they were stoned...sawn in two...tempted...put to death...

And all these, having gained approval through their faith...(Hebrews 11)

And some will say, my loves, that these are men of the past of the Old Testament, before the new covenant was established.  Then boys remember these:

~George Muller who built multiple orphanages simply by praying; through faith.
~Jim Elliot who had a great ministry by all Christian standards here in the U.S. but left to love a people that ended up killing him.
~Elisabeth, Mr. Elliot's wife, who after her husband was killed went to those same people and watched them come to know Jesus and eventually the entire tribe.
~Francis Chan, who gave away 90% of his income and watched God change heart after heart, and miracle after miracle happen.

Sometimes what we are asked to do will be understood only by God. 

May you, dearest boys, find God's approval through your faith.

Love you,

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  And He was stating the matter plainly.  And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.  but turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
~ Mark 8:31-33

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

But what of me?

Honest love...honest love...two words that slap me in the face with almost every breath.  Two words that won't be seen side by side any where in the Bible, but then when one puts there heart so painstakingly out there some things don't need to be said but are simply known.  Honest love.  God's love is honest.  No doubt in the mind of any who know Him.  But what of me, is there a doubt in others that I reflect honest love?  I look in the mirror, I see clearly that my love is far from honest, my reflection blemished, and that is when I feel the sting.

I pull out my crayon box in search for the right colors so I can see those God breathed words come together.  My red crayon to remember sacrifice, because isn't that the foundation of love.  With purple I will uncover the heart.  At first I move slow and find my thoughts drifting, but days pass and the pages turn faster and naps end quickly and it's not enough time.  I need more time.  These Holy words need more of my time.  I so desperately need to see. 

Alone sipping coffee the pages turn, crayon marks show me how far I am from Honest Love, the foundation of God's heart.  The more I search the more my religion is torn apart.  This is good, because God hates rituals, and isn't religion just a list of rituals to check off ensuring one has done enough?  Isn't religion just one more caution that God doesn't simply want obedience but wants our love.

Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?  Is it for bowing one's head like a reed and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?  Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke?  Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say, "Here I am."
~ Isaiah 58:5-9a

Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm disgusted.

Mondays are by far my favorite day of the week, for one simple reason: Date night!  Each Monday the grandparents are happy to spend the evening with the littles while we are happy to spend the evening making googly eyes at each other as we talk about where we are as people not just as parents. 

Tonight as we were looking over the Monday night specials I noticed a small piece of paper with this title, "The greatest news ever heard".  The waitress in me instantly rolled my eyes and my mouth spewed out, "Yes it's the greatest news you've ever heard in fact it's so important you won't even take the time to tell me in person."  Out it came, harsh but true.  That's exactly how my coworkers would look at it.  After I tucked it in my purse so our waitress wouldn't have to find it I noticed another one entitled, "Easter basket or empty tomb?"  Now really let's put ourselves in the shoes of a not yet believer who has only heard of Jesus from t.v. and news articles..."Heck ya, I'll take the chocolate and spring colors with children giggling as they search for hidden eggs.  What do I care about a dusty old cave?"...Seriously, you who left that tract, admit it, you hid eggs for your children and let them open there Easter baskets before church just like the "pagans".

...Yeah, I'll just tuck those words deeeeep in my bag so there is no chance of it falling out...

To us who already know the gift of Easter the tract makes perfect sense, but to those who only know Christians as media portrays them:  a people who don't allow women freedom of choice and hate homosexuals, those same words are not going to be seen as a gift but rather more proof they should stay out of the way of Christians.

God wants a relationship with us.  Anyone who is a Christian knows this so why would we take the relationship out of the gospel and think we are doing a great thing for the kingdom when we leave a tract without taking the time to personally show God's tangible love.

Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"  And he said, "Well, how could I, unless some one guides me?"  And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
~ Acts 8:30-31