Thursday, September 27, 2012

In God's Hands....

As I walked in circles around my house this afternoon praying for my family who was inside, I turned my attention to my overgrown garden from this past summer.  From where I was standing it was a mess, there was no possible way at this point in the game to get any type of edible harvest out of that disaster of a garden!  As I got closer and really focused on the actual plants that were there, instead of everything else growing up around it, something caught my eye.  I saw the largest, most amazing prize winning Jalapeno I've ever seen in my life!  I couldn't understand for the life of me how in the midst of  all the thorns, weeds, and rotting plants all around it, this pepper managed to continue growing, and became exactly what it was meant to be.  Never once, since July, have I been out there to water it, weed it, or even check on it.  It was left completely in God's hands as to whether or not it would thrive.  And that's when it hit me...

As my children were "quietly" playing in their room this afternoon, they had managed to sneek the baby powder past me into their room.  Here I thought they were playing well and really getting along, but what they were really playing was who could look more like their "Nanna"  (my 95 year old great-grandma).  When I heard them say "I look just like Nanna now!"  I knew....  As I rounded the corner and saw my 4 oldest children completely white from head to toe, I thought, "well that's not anything a bath can't solve."   I told them all to get in the tub, and went back into their room to find a white powdered mess!!  From what I can understand Sweet-pea (2) was standing on the doll house making it "snow."  And snow it did.  Everything from toys, to blankets, to clothes, walls, beds, are covered!!  This is where my anger began to get the best of me and I had to take further steps to not allow that.  So I put the air purifier in there, and locked and closed the door.   Out of sight, out of mind right?  Hardly!

You see last night, my husband and I had started reading the book "Praying Circles around your Children"  together and began praying for our children together.  The book was great and talked about how we will make mistakes as parents but prayer covers a multitude of sins!  How we have to just lift up our children in prayer and that is the most important thing in their lives.  And the minute those prayers left our mouths last night for each of our children, it was like Satan himself stepped into our house and tried to completely destroy us.

Now I know you are thinking "wow all this over a little powder?"  NO, not a little powder.  A LOT of powder!!  And not just this one incident, it has been several recently, this was just the icing on the cake.  The attitudes that came from our children as we talked to them about what they did and there was no remorse, just I don't care attitudes, was devastating to me.

After bath time I made the little ones lay on the couch and the big girls sat in a chair in the corners to think about what they did.  We ate lunch, and then it was nap time.  Two were in my bed, and two on the couch, while I sat in the hallway trying to figure out what to do.  I made three trips back outside and around our house praying over it and my family and asking for wisdom and patience.  I felt my head beginning to explode and tears running down my face, I began to pray even harder!  "What was I doing wrong?  Why can't I get through to them?  Why would you give me this many children when I can't raise them the way I am supposed to?  How am I supposed to be a gentle parent when they do things like this?  You don't know how this feels your son was perfect!"  That is when I saw the Jalepeno....

"Yes my son was perfect but I allowed his blood to be shed to cover your imperfections, the way I see you is the same way I see him, because you are under his blood."

 hmmm....  "I'm sorry Lord, forgive me"

"This Jalapeno was left in my hands to do what I wanted to do with it, and even in the midst of the weeds, and storms I still protected it, and allowed it to become exactly what it was supposed to be."

"your right Lord, I just need to leave them in your hands!  again, please forgive me!"    

The answer was that easy!  I guess I just take my children's behavior way too personal.  My desire for them to have a soft heart and love each other and live for Christ is not something I can make them do...but I can teach them and pray that they will do it.  And  that is what I realized today...I need to pray without ceasing in all circumstances no matter what!!

It's amazing the lessons that I learn from my children's mistakes, I just hope that they will learn lessons from my mistakes as well.  I told someone the other day I feel like I'm walking blindly...well I guess I kinda am, I'm placing them in God's hands and praying that he will help me to be the mom they need, and that in the midst of storms, and weeds, he will allow my children to grow up to meet their purpose in life...Living for Him.

In the meantime, they will be spending the day cleaning up their mess in their room.  In the past I've helped them with their messes like this, but I believe that now it is time they start to learn how hard it is to clean up their messes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Joy of the Lord.....

So last night I was so excited for my  husband to go on his men's retreat with the church today that I could not sleep at all!  I tossed and turned all night long!  I went through my list of things I needed to wash for him, pack for him and put together for him to take, and I racked my brain on how his back is going to be comfortable in those horrible mattresses on the bunks there.  I prayed all night asking God to give him relief from his pain while he was on his trip. All this week he has had major back pain and started having muscle spasms in the upper part of his back.  He ended up at the doctor and was put on yet another medication.  I really felt this was a spiritual attack since God knew Nathan really needed to get away and be refreshed and spend time with him.  But we pushed through with prayer and he left for his retreat this afternoon.

While I was up last night I also read a bit in my new book I just got.  "Created to be his Help Meet"  by Debi Pearl.  The chapter I read last night was on having the Joy of the Lord.  This is really something I struggle with badly.  When Nathan and I first met I was a fire cracker!  I was happy, joyful all the time always laughing and smiling, and now seven in a half years later life has taken some of that joy away.  I still feel joy in my heart, we have a great life together and are very blessed, however; I just don't take the time to make that joy end up on my face much.  I am SUCH a "martha" now days.  It's been so hard for me the last few months to just sit down and enjoy time with God, or just be joyful in things.  I've felt like our lives have been on this strict time table and my motto has been for the last six months, "I just have to get this finished!"  But nothing ever is finished, there is always more to do every minute of my life!  This book made me realize that I want to be a gentler person.  I was to speak gently to my children and not harshly, I want to discipline them with a gentle spirit and not in anger.  I want to be a gentle wife for my husband, I want to be a good happy inviting person overall.

So that was my goal this weekend while Nathan was gone.  We (me and the girls) will be praying for him while he is there, and also praying that God will help us have the joy of the Lord for when he gets back.

Already tonight I have had several tests!  The minute Nathan walked out of the house I decided to start prepping the kitchen to make dinner for me and the girls.  I put something up on the counter and before I knew it the HUGE jar of pickles that was sitting there fell onto the floor and shattered to pieces!!  Normally, because Nathan is such a through person, he is the one who cleans up broken glass.  I can never get it all picked up and fear I will leave some behind and the girls will get hurt.  So I picked up all the large pieces but because of the pickle juice all over the place I could not get the smaller I laid towels down all over that part of the floor to soak up the juice...and that's where they stayed......... now I'm not sure what to do.  If I pick up the towels they could have glass all over them so do I throw them away??  UGH!!

So then I took the girls outside to play for a while.  They had a blast.  While we were out there I decided to try an experiment.  I spoke Pumpkin's name very gently and quietly and she immediately turned and said yes?  I was surprised!  So I tried Hobble-bobble's name, and again she looked at me and said "yes mommy?"  again shocked!!  So Little Bear was the big test since she can ignore me a ton!  And she looked right at me and said "yes?"  WOW!!  So I waited a few minutes and tried it in a harsh tone. First Pumpkin....she just kept jumping and didn't respond.  Then Little bear...again kept jumping and no response....and lastly Hobble-bobble...still no response!

So as we try to change our hearts this weekend and our voices, and our faces ;)  please keep our family in your prayers!!  I want nothing but joyfulness coming out of my children's lives, and I want my husband to be excited to come home to a joyful, pleasant wife!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

House fire...

Nathan and I got married in 2005.  When we married we never imagined that God would bless us with so many children in such a short time, so we bought a house that was 1,095 square foot, three bedrooms, and two baths.  We purchased this home right before we got married, and after a two week honeymoon in Cancun, a week later we found out we were expecting our first child!  We moved into our home a month later and have been there ever since.

God has used this tiny home to mold me and shape me into the person I am today.  Who would have ever thought that he could use our living situation to strengthen our faith.  After a few months in our home, we realized that there was a leak in the kitchen.  We shut off the dishwasher, and the leak stopped.  We began to pray that we would get a new kitchen floor for free, because the floor was messed up from the water.  So for the first few years we washed dishes by hand until we were able to save up some money to get the leak fixed.  By the time 2009 came I was pregnant with baby #3 and somehow the leak got worse and just shutting off the dishwasher didn't work anymore.  We came home to water gushing up between the floor boards in our kitchen floor!  We were so upset and had no idea what to do, or that we could even afford the amount of money it was going to take to clean up that mess!  So we prayed!  Someone mentioned we should call our insurance company, so we took the chance and did it.  Although it was a huge headache, a huge mess, and a long process; God answered our prayers!  Not only did he give us a brand new floor for FREE, he gave us a BRAND NEW KITCHEN!!  They replaced the cabinets, the flooring, we were able to add MORE cabinets, and painted the entire kitchen!  We got a 14k kitchen for free!!

Not only were we praying for the floor in our kitchen, but we were praying that God would supply us with a new refrigerator!  While ours worked perfectly, it was cracked on the door on the inside and was held together by duct tape!  While they were doing the flooring in our kitchen they were being pretty rough on our fridge and when they were finished with it and had it back in place, it would cool my feet as I walked past it instead of our food that we had inside!  So we ended up getting a new fridge for FREE because they had damaged the one we had!

After baby #3 things became very tight in our home.  The living situation was becoming crowded, but still do-able.  I think my biggest complaint was that we didn't have storage space.  So I began to pray for a larger house!  I didn't need something huge, just something big enough for the family we had, plus room to expand that family with how ever many more children God wanted to bless us with.  After baby #4, I just became bitter!  I was angry that we didn't have a larger house yet and I didn't even feel financially that we were able to even make that step to look for a larger house because everything larger was a higher payment.  As our family got larger our house became smaller!!  

One day I was listening to a CD from our homeschool convention.  There was a woman talking about how bitter she had been because God would not bless her with a larger house.  She realized that she had been so obsessed with wanting a larger house that she couldn't enjoy what God had given her.  Her "larger house" became an idol to her.  As I listened to this story, I was immediately convicted that I was doing the exact same thing!  So I repented, and began to love the house that God had already blessed us with.  I built a garden out back, and we got a trampoline and swing set and we love our back yard!!  We made our kitchen into a homeschool classroom (who says a kitchen has to be decorated like a kitchen) and we love our learning space.  I love our spacious new kitchen.  There are so many things that I have fallen in love with about our little house, that I became completely comfortable and content with not moving ever!  UNTIL A MONTH AGO>....

Everyone in our family has had birthday's this year.  They are all getting so big.  Our 5th baby is 1 year old now and everyone is walking and climbing and fighting, and no one gets naps because they are all sharing a room and keep each other awake all day long!  I have a whole house full of crabby, babies!!  So after lots of talking, Nathan and I decided we needed to start looking.  We decided the best thing would be to rent out our home and buy another.  So we started looking.  We chose a Realtor who has been a family friend since I was little.  I actually used to babysit his daughter!  He has been fantastic!  After months of looking we kept going back to this ONE house that was just perfect for what we needed!!  

We felt for sure this house was the only one on the market so far that was that large, in a good neighborhood, and had a school room, play room, office and 4 bedrooms, at an affordable price.  We were pre-approved to get another home without having to sell our current home, which I felt was a miracle!  So we drew up an offer for the house and felt very peaceful!!  We were told it was accepted, but thirty minutes later another offer came in and they said they would let us know in the morning because they had to allow the seller to decide the next day.   

That night all 7 of us got on our knees and prayed that if it was God's will he would give us that house!  The next morning I woke up with a song in my heart:
    "Lord you are more precious than silver, Lord you are more costly than Gold, Lord you are more     beautiful than diamonds, and nothing I desire compares with you."

I knew immediately that God was teaching me a lesson and testing my faith.  Could my desire for that home compare with my desire for God himself?  Who did I desire more and seek after more...the house or my Savior?  That morning I woke up with a heart-change.  I knew that morning even before I received the call that we would not be getting that home, and that God had other plans.  And sure enough I received the call that they went with the third offer.  I was heartbroken over it, but I wasn't torn down.  I knew that God had a plan and there was something else out there for us!   

So for now we remain in our crowded, suffocating, loud, chaotic small amazing house that we were blessed with from God, because to Him those things were not important.  What was important was that we made God and only God, enough for us.  That we seek him and want him more than we seek and want a larger house because it will make things easier in our lives.  I've learned that God isn't in the business of making life easier, but he is in the business of making life a series of fire pits that will shape us and refine us as we walk over the burning embers, through the fire to the other side.  This time it just happened to be a "house fire."  We never look the same as when we went in, and once we are melted and shaped we never go back to the way we were before.  That I am thankful for.  I pray that through this process he continues to mold our hearts for him!