Monday, January 30, 2012

paying the cost

So, as I was reading the Bible the other day, I came across some verses about "paying the cost" of following Christ. In church and among other followers, you here this frequently. Paying the cost, carrying your cross, etc. I get it, God asks when we follow Him, to lay down our own life and take up the life He has for us. It can be hard. The world doesn't exactly see eye to eye with the Way Christ asks us to live. In other countries, people are tortured and killed for following Jesus. We have to make decisions that go against the flow and are not in line with the view the world is taking on. Our morals aren't always people's choice or popular opinion.
Today I was confronted with the fact that, at some point, my children will also have to pay the cost. They will have to defend their own faith and may be discriminated against for it. They could be put down or frowned upon for following Jesus. This hurts my heart. For Jesus and for them. It is one thing to deal with my own battles, but another to consider the fact that my children will face their own and I can't fight for them.
I am one to borrow trouble. God and I are working on this. BUt in regards to my kids, I am having to work doubley hard. I am having to turn their little lives over to Him again and again, trusting in His incredible grace and praying for His great wisdom. I want to stand in front of my children and protect them from any barb, jibe or hurt that may come. But I can't. It is so hard.
The comfort I am clinging to is how God did this to the highest degree for us. He gave His only Son to die on the cross. He knows the hurt of watching His son be hurt...far more than I ever will.
Oh may I take comfort in the fact that we have a God who understands. And though it's hard to imagine, loves my kids even more than I do.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Life has hit an interesting crossroad. For those that know us, I used to work at a church and then continued to attend it...we were pretty involved in it. However, in the last few months we have started attending a different church and it has changed our lifestyle quite a bit. We just don't have the same commitments we used to and it has freed up a great deal of time.
On the flip side, our kids are getting older, I am beginning to look into registrations for kindergarten and preschool and sports are already becoming an issue in the house...our time is getting eaten up.
So as we hit this point in our lives, I am struggling to make healthy habits for our family. We need to get involved in church and make sure we are giving back to the place that feeds us...but where and how much? We want to find a ministry our family can pour into, but where? We know this doesn't have to be in the church, but after working at one for so long, it is just a different scenario for us. We want the kids to participate in sports and activities, but they can't do all they want to. Karate, preschool, swimming, soccer and cubbies is too much for us to coordinate and ridiculous for a 3 &5 year olds schedule. One sport is to choose it. And to tell your child they are not going to be on a team with all their buddies. I am already feeling the pressure. I feel like I should be able to have them do it all, however, in my heart of hearts, I know that what is right is to set limits and be the mom who says "No". God, Family, Friends...those are our priorities and that is the order. I am just not sure why it seems so hard.
All that to say, I am excited for this new place in life, because I feel like it is a fresh start and if I plan it right, I can start good habits. But I am also a tad overwhelmed at the responsibility. And so I am praying hard that God gives wisdom. He says He will to those who ask and I am taking the time to ask a lot! We'll see how it goes...
I must say, I am continually suprised by the things I hit my knees for. I never considered I would be spending so much time asking God to help be choose between soccer and karate for my three year old, but here I am. I think my next prayer will probably be to ease the anxiety over the paper work all theses activities create!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

strength and weakness

I fully remember Shawn looking me square in the eyes, when I was pregnant with Brayden and informing me that we couldn't have a girl...I was all the drama he needed. Though slightly offended, I laughed it off. Puh-lease, it's not that bad.
Enter Amanda. Um, yeah. So when the drama is directed at you, it is that bad. Every one complains about the drama of a teenage girl, but no one mentions that the emotionalism begins at birth and just progresses. By 16 months we have waterworks on demand, screaming glares of detest when corrected and head banging on the floor when she doesn't get her way. (Here I insert my apologies to my husband for all my inane emotional outbursts. I now understand why SHawn sometimes steps back and looks at me with the look that says, "I've got nothin'. I am pretty sure you are currently insane and anything I do may add to the maniac you have become." And so he remains silent, which only adds to my fury.)
And so, unwillingly and with great humility, I admit...she probably gets it all from me. However, this does not mean I have any coping mechanisms to deal with it or a great strategy to put in place in order to prevent or circumvent an Amanda moment. I am at a loss with this little lady.
BUT...with her drama and her spirit, comes a great enthusiasm for life that has recently brought so much joy to my heart. She is imitating the older kids and completely keeping up with them, she's learning signs and words so fast, she is dancing to the wii games with the boys and she's doling out kisses and snuggles in between activities. She is so completely FULL of life. We are just loving it!!
It is the same in all of us I suppose. Our greatest strengths also being our greatest weaknesses. I for one am overly organized a bit of a rule follower and love to have things go according to plan. This plays out well in some arenas, but well...just read the above and I am sure you can see the pitfalls of all those "strengths". I just hope my friends and family (and hopefully strangers too) can find the good and avoid seeing the downfalls of my sometimes neurotic behavior.
As for my kids...and Amanda, her crazy, dramatized, spitfire way of taking on life has some amazing brightsides that I am discovering. I must choose to see her through the lens of positivity, as I hope others choose to see me. In doing so, I am finding a little girl that I just giggle over regularly and puts a smile on my face so many times a day.
Do I still get irritiated when the drama takes a turn for the worse and I find her bent over banging her head on our hardwoods and giving me a glare that says, "Look what you have reduced me to"? Yes. Yes I do. However, I am reminded that it is the same enthusiam that has her shaking her hands in the air, wriggling her shoulders and bum barking like a dog and dancing around to wii "just dance for kids" trying to keep up with her brothers as they break it down to "who let the dogs out". Great weakness, great strength.
And so I thank God. For my kids...their strengths and their weaknesses. For my strengths and weaknesses. And I pray that He grants me grace when my weaknesses seem to prevail and that He reminds me to grant grace for my children. I also pray that He helps me to take great joy in what it is that makes them who they are...because afterall, they are His creation and there's nothing to complain about in that!