Protective Brother

Father’s Day was so great around here.  It’s easy to celebrate Josh— especially when it comes to his fatherhood.  What a great daddy he is! We celebrated with gifts and uninterrupted nap time, along with a delicious steak for lunch after church.

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On the way home, I was trying to find a song from my iTunes library and came across a country song about a guy going to ask the dad of the girl he wants to marry if he can indeed marry her.  I played it and told Josh he should cry at least once on Father’s Day about how quickly the kids are growing up.  He laughed and didn’t shed a tear during the song. HOWEVER, Mack piped up at the end of the song to let us know he did not appreciate that song at all.  “What about the brother??” he asked.  “I’m gonna have some things to say to him, but this song didn’t even mention the brother!” He looked at the girls very seriously and said, “I don’t have to be nice to him, ya’ know.”

Oh how we love Mack.  He absolutely cracks me up with much of what comes out of his mouth.

And a lot of words come out of his mouth.  He is an only child this week; the girls are on a week long mission trip in the city of Charlotte.  They are sleeping at the church and doing service projects during the day. We spent some time with them last night talking about the trip and what they might expect and what to not say or do and what not to forget to do…you know, all the mom things we want them to know when they aren’t with us.  Josh prayed for them and then we were all going to bed, but not before Ruby let us know that she was pretty sure this was going to be a great trip because she really needs some time away from us.  She went on to tell us that Mack has been annoying her every day and that Josh and I were not exactly on her good list.  I am not sure where all of that came from, but I am choosing to view it as her way of mentally preparing to be away from her family she loves so dearly.  Or something like that.

In the meantime, I am only one set of ears for a cute little boy who has lots to communicate.  So while you say a prayer for Ruby and Molly on their mission trip, could you maybe say a prayer for me as well? 🙂

Remember– Don’t forget!

This past weekend was the first weekend in June! This holds a significant spot in our lives, and yet I didn’t wake up last Sunday morning with an awareness of the calendar.

In the class we attended on Sunday morning, someone asked what keeps us as believers from accepting whatever comes our way as from God? Why do we have weak faith and operate out of fear when we have a track-record with God’s faithfulness in our lives? I answered and talked about how we don’t talk about those times He has been faithful; we have a short memory, so we need to have times of remembering and talking about His faithfulness over and over again.

A-hem.

Then, we went to the worship service. I have still given no thought to the fact that this was the first weekend in June. The pastor is preaching in Matthew about the time James and John’s mom asked Jesus to let them sit on each side of Him in Heaven. He mentioned “A Parent’s Mission”—this mom truly believed Jesus was God and brought a bold request to Him. Can’t fault her for that part.

Then, the pastor moved to “A Parent’s Mistake”—she was praying selfishly. He then referenced James 4, and my ears perked up and a flood of remembrances came to my heart and mind.

The first weekend of June 2010, Josh and I were sitting in worship at First Baptist Woodstock and Pastor Johnny preached the beginning of James 4. It was as if Josh and I were the only ones in the room that day. As a result of what we heard and the Spirit’s movement in our hearts, we knew we were to sell the “dream home” we had built and lived in for less than a year. I have blogged about it before ( What a difference a year makes! and What a difference a year makes! Part Two and March Brings Back Memories) God did a good work in our hearts through that struggle. And that first weekend in June 2010 marked me.

The very next year, the first weekend of June 2011, our Pastor asked us to go to dinner. As we drove to the restaurant, I told Josh, “You know this weekend is the weekend last year when God spoke to us in service about selling our house.” No one else knew that. Well, Pastor Johnny asked Josh to come work for him as his director of Timothy+Barnabas. What an honor and what an opportunity! And what a personal God. We could not have taken on this job if our lives had been so cluttered with all that we had on our plates in our new “dream home.” God used the selling of our home to begin an unraveling of sorts from earthly, temporal pleasures (read the previous blogs to understand more fully).

So, you would think that we would use the first weekend of June to remember this work the Lord started. We should, at the very least, talk about it with our kids and tell them the story again. They were so little when it happened and even if we told them last year, they likely haven’t remembered all of it on their own, so repeating the story of God’s personal goodness to us would be so beneficial!

I was encouraged by the Lord on Sunday when the pastor ended his message with Matthew 20:26-27. Jesus is wrapping up this “episode” with his disciples about who will sit where and who is the greatest with “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” Jesus turned greatness and success on its head. And the question to the congregation was “How do you know if you are living out this truth?” The pastor followed with questions we can ask ourselves to evaluate if this truth is being shown through our lives.
Am I willing to sacrifice myself in Jesus’ name for the sake of others? Am I willing to serve in hard places? Am I willing to serve in lonely places? Am I willing to serve in demanding places? Am I willing to spend and be spent? Do I really want to honor God in The Kingdom? Am I willing to be criticized with out harboring bitterness? Am I willing to withstand suffering without giving in to self-pity?

Then, he also asked, “Are you more like Jesus (referencing all those questions) this first Sunday in June that you were in June 2012? than you were last June?”
And it all kind of came to an encouraging point for me. I can answer YES to that question. God has been so faithful over my whole life. Specifically, He has most definitely used circumstances of my life to make me more like Christ since June 2010 as we sat in that sanctuary in Woodstock. And this June 2017 as we sat in the sanctuary in Charlotte, we still face struggles and difficulties, but we face them differently than we did in 2010 or 2011 or 2012 or 2013….there has been growth and movement with the Lord as we have fallen more in love with His Word and His presence. As we have sought and attained earthly desires and they have fallen woefully short of satisfying, Jesus has been there to point us more and more to Himself——the only One who can satisfy.

And how appropriate that at the center of the wall we face in the sanctuary, there is a beautiful stain-glassed picture of the woman at the well and Jesus.

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Later in John 4 we see that she goes into the city to the men and said, “Come see a man who told me all the things that I have done.” I imagine she may have retold her story many, many times. I would think that every single time she went to draw water she was remembering the day Jesus met her there, washed her sins away and satisfied her dry heart. Her search for what satisfies was over. Let’s be faithful to tell others of the times when Jesus meets us right where we are, forgives us and brings satisfaction to our searching hearts. We are all thirsty for these refreshing, encouraging stories. And we can be assured that Jesus will use our personal stories of His faithfulness to encourage others to see Him for who He is– the Savior of the world.

“Many more believed because of His Word; and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.'”

death brings life

I sat in her office, still feeling a little awkward being there and opening up to someone who I have known for just a couple of months, and I tried not to be too aware of my body language.  (Crossing your arms might seem like you don’t want to share….is that true for crossing your legs also? But looking too comfortable might seem like you’re trying too hard to seem open. How much direct eye contact is appropriate?…ugh…see what I mean?)

My counselor has been so helpful.  I’ve often considered being a counselor, but had yet to actually visit one in their office.  The move and the onslaught of loss seemed a good time to start.  Facing new every single day has a way of shaking you up a bit.  In a good way! And in a way that might require counseling.

“What else might the Lord be putting to death in order to bring new life?” she asked, pointedly.

We had been talking about the walks I have been taking and how they are good for me; I shared how the beautiful spring in Charlotte was not lining up with the winter in my heart.  All the beauty and life and bright colors. I was still in winter— still dying to myself in some painful ways, so I found it hard to believe that it was time for spring to usher in “all things new.”

“What else might the Lord be putting to death in order to bring new life?”

Death of pride in order to make room for humility.

Death to familiar and expected in order to awaken a new reliance on His Word and His ways rather than my own.

Death to busyness in order for rest to find a place to grow.

Death to comforts so that an awareness of others’ discomforts might sprout in my heart.

Death to a critical spirit so that compassion could spread.

That’s a lot of death.

“indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthian 1:9)

So, what about you?  Maybe there are some things in your life that God is putting to death in order to raise something better to life? It’s worth asking the question and letting God speak.

(And you didn’t even have to pay me for this little counseling session.)

“Don’t Blink”

It used to annoy the heck out of me when well-meaning people would see me with three small kids and say, “Don’t blink.  They’ll be up and grown before you know it.”  Or maybe they would say, “Enjoy every second with those babies.  They grow up so fast.”  And then there was that sweet grandmotherly lady smiling at my three littles in the grocery store aisle who told me, “These are the best days of your life.” It sure didn’t feel like the best days of my life at that moment.  Grocery shopping with three little kids is not usually anyone’s first pick for what to do in their free time.

I don’t know if it annoyed me because I was like, “I’m spending my days and nights with these little boogers and tending to their every need…loving them and reading books to them and playing with them, feeding them, bathing them, teaching them to count and know their colors and even how to read….I am not sure what else I am supposed to do!”  It was like they were telling me to do something that I wasn’t really sure I was doing.

However, time has a way of teaching you.  Teaching me. I can now understand what they were trying to communicate.  I love the days we are in now, but those days past will never come again.  I love the preteen girls that I am getting to know now, but those days of running around the house in tu-tu’s and plastic high heel shoes are over.  I love seeing Mack absorbed in football and reading 6 fiction football-themed books in a matter of days now, but the baby Mack that toddled around in a diaper and rain boots is not coming back to my house.

Kind of sad to dwell on.  That’s why I don’t normally dwell on those things.  I do, however,  think about how I was there!!!  I was there for the late night feedings.  I was there for the snuggles on cold mornings, baby in footie pajamas, of course! I was there for the first steps.  I was there for the patty-cake games.  I was there for popsicles and water sprinklers in the backyard (because a trip to the pool alone was too hard!).  I was there for all the books.  I was there for swinging in the back yard, strolls around the neighborhood, and afternoon snacks.  I was there for the first time they read a book on their own.  I was there when they got hurt.  I was there to kiss the boo-boo and give a band-aid if they needed one and even if they didn’t. I was there.

I am so glad I was there.  And to the young mama who rolls her eyes (in her mind) when the well-meaning people say, “Don’t blink. They will be up and grown before you know what happened!”—It’s true.  They will grow up.  Sooner than you think. But instead of wondering what that looks like or wondering if you will miss something along the way….just be there!  Be there.  Smile and laugh and don’t sweat the small stuff.  These really are some amazing days you are in with the diapers and picture books and funny toddler conversations.  But amazing days are likely ahead.  These little creatures continue to challenge you, but they also continue to make you smile and make your heart so very proud.

Just be there.

What makes me write such sappy words?  Well, Molly and Mack decided that their Reading Time would consist of their favorite books from when they were little.  Gah! Nothing brings back memories like picture books or their favorite short read-alouds from when they were toddlers and early elementary aged.  Days we will never get back, but days that were so much fun. Again, I am so glad I was there!

(Special shout-out to Josh who has always worked so hard so that I could be there.  He’s the best.)

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Have you smiled today?

In an effort to be honest and open, I will first say that I learned from my counselor that one of my “yellow” signals is when one of my kids say to me, “You doing good, Mom? Are you happy today?”  That is a flag to let me know that I am probably not in the greatest place, that the kids are picking up on my unstable emotions, and  I could use that waving flag as an opportunity to do a little self-examination.  I may need to take some time to be alone, take a walk or something like that.  So, yes, I have many, many moments of less-than-superb mothering.

HOWEVER, I was so encouraged last night by Mack.  He was up later than normal reading, and I was, too.  Josh was sound asleep next to me when I saw Mack slip into the hallway to tell me he was going to the bathroom and then would come say good night to me.  (Our rooms are right across the hall from each other…little too close, but we don’t have a choice.)

He came to my side of the bed, hugged me and said, “Thank you.” I asked him why he was thanking me.  I thought it was because when I was first tucking him in I told him some encouraging things about his school day. But he said, “For smiling at us, like you just did. You always smile at me when you see me coming, and I really like that.”  I was a bit taken aback, but so thankful that he shared that with me.

I have let that roll around in my head and heart a little bit today. Thinking about how our Heavenly Father very likely smiles when He sees us coming towards Him…whether to pray or praise or complain or ask for wisdom.  He is always available for His children.

I’m not sure what your day has been like– good, bad, busy, slow, frustrating, filled with ease– but maybe we should make an effort to smile at our children when we see them  coming towards us. Let them know you’re glad they are drawing near to you.  Let them know you’re available to them for whatever they want to talk about. You will be encouraging their little hearts and teaching them about their Heavenly Father.

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Now turn north!

I was pregnant for a million years.  Ok, not a million years, but it sure did feel like the days of waddling around were never ending.  I remember when Ruby was 5 months old I found out I was pregnant with Molly. What a surprise!

On Molly’s first birthday we announced that Mack was on his way. Surprise!

Ruby (the oldest) was only 2 years old when we brought Mack home from the hospital. Sweet Molly was holding her own at 19 months and now the middle child.

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When Josh had gotten all things taken care of so that we weren’t able to get pregnant anymore (or as Mack says, “when Dad got the shot to not have anymore kids”), every month for many months I would STILL feel like I was pregnant.   My mind was just so used to thinking I was pregnant that even though I was NOT pregnant and even though my husband “got the shot” so that we wouldn’t be able to get pregnant, I STILL really thought I could be pregnant.  It took some time and even a negative pregnancy test along the way for me to realize that, indeed, I was not going to get pregnant again.  It was time to move on.  Get some new thinking going on in that brain of mine!

Sometimes our thinking is just wrong.  We know it is wrong, and we know that wrong thinking has led (or will lead to) wrong actions, YET, we make excuses.  We chalk it up to how we were raised or the era we were raised in.  We don’t call it sin because, well, “I’ve always been like this.”   We just keep on making the same choices, keep on walking the same steps.

I recently read 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish strongholds and everything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to God.”

Sometimes we get in ruts of wrong thinking that will eventually lead to ruts of wrong behavior.  It’s got to stop!  I remember a verse in Deuteronomy chapter 2, verse 3, “You have circled this mountain long enough.  Now turn north!”

That’s pretty clear.

So how about you?  Got a mountain you’ve been circling over and over just because this is how you’ve always done it?  This is what you’ve always done ?  This is how my parents raised me?  This is what is most comfortable?  Maybe you’re just afraid to try something new and different or maybe you’ve not give any time for personal examination?

Might be time to TURN NORTH! Find some scripture to apply to your life and demolish those strongholds.

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Putting one foot in front of the other

The family went on a long walk in the woods this morning.  It was a gorgeous way to start the day and got me thinking more and more about the little phrase I find myself saying to myself and sometimes to Josh.

“Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

When you are in a new place sometimes it’s tempting to just sit down and stop trying to figure out where things are.  Or maybe it’s tempting to quit introducing yourself to new people that seem pretty well set with their group of friends.  Maybe you hear about your old city and friends there that are getting together and you’re tempted to wonder what it would be like to take steps back in time to when you were there with all things and people familiar, too.  Loneliness can play terribly tricks on the mind and heart if you’re unguarded.

Josh asks me, “How’s your day going?”  And some days I have said, “Just putting one foot in front of the other.”

And that’s ok.  At least I am still showing some effort, still trusting God and His plan that is high above my thoughts and ways. If there is anything I have learned in my short life, it is that I really don’t know much about what is best for me.  I have gotten far ahead of God in my heart and mind way too many times.  I have also lagged behind in stubborn disobedience, much to my dismay.  There is a freedom in trusting God when things are not wonderful circumstantially;  your heart can be at peace because, well…GOD!  He loves me.  He is good.  He does all things well.  He can be trusted; I cannot.

The Israelites in the book of Joshua most definitely showed trust when they took the steps into the Jordan River and then saw the waters part. They walked across on dry water.

In Joshua 3 the waters are parted AFTER the soles of the feet of the priests entered the river:

13 “It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap.”

They didn’t just move on after that miracle, but Joshua 4  tells us that the priests took twelve stones of remembrance and Joshua put down twelve stones in the river where the priests had stood:

8 Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the Lord spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there. 9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day.

I am here putting one foot in front of the other, sure that the Lord has His eye upon me.  Sure that He led us right here, right now.  Sure that His ways are perfect.  Sure that His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path on this walk called life.

So I picked up a stone today on my walk.  A stone to remind me of God’s truths that have been so personal to me during this season of “putting one foot in front of the other.”

Micah 6:8 He has made it clear to you, mortal man, what is good and what the LORD is requiring from you— to act with justice, to treasure the LORD’s gracious love, and to walk humbly in the company of your God.

Colossians 1:10-11 so that you might walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and be fully pleasing to him as you bear fruit while doing all kinds of good things and growing in the full knowledge of God. You are being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, so that you might patiently endure everything with joy.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

2 Corinthians 5:7 …we walk by faith, not by sight.

I have put one foot in front of the other rather mindlessly some days, just waiting for nighttime when I could go to bed.  But lately the Lord has been very personal to me and gracious with me.  He has reminded me that I am to walk with purpose and in His promises every step of the way.  He has reminded me that He is with me.  He has also reminded me that the evil one would like me to stop walking ahead, claiming the land the Lord has given to me and my family.  I can stand firm in His truth, and I can keep moving forward because He is guiding me with His eye upon me.

Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” 

That’s a promise I can stand on and walk with on this journey of life, no matter where it takes me!

Anyone still there?

It feels so weird to sit here and type on the blog.  I haven’t done this in quite a while!  I think an update is in order.  First of all, I am posting on Instagram (@kristydorminy) regularly, and I receive chatbooks at every 60 pictures, so that is a great way for me to keep up with our shenanigans and even record some our school year.  The blog has definitely been left behind.  I think there’s still some writing in me, but time shall tell.

Ruby:  She is almost a teenager, which is super crazy.  She is learning “Come Thou Fount” on the piano.  The recital is in May.  She is doing amazing in her math, which always surprises me because she uses a dvd teacher and basically teaches herself.  I oversee, but I am little help.  It’s time to start expanding our reach in how we educate, as I don’t think I am smart enough to teach high school.  Ruby is making friends in the youth group at church and has adjusted so well.  I am very proud of her. She continues to be a READER! And notice those braces….

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Molly:  She is 11 and is very funny.  We have turned a corner in our relationship.  It has been a bumpy road, but let me just say that the Lord did a work in our family, and I think He made the breakthrough happen for us, and I could not be more thankful.  I really enjoy her company.  We still get on each other’s nerves from time to time, but we respond better to each other and don’t let things escalate.  She is a great piano player also and is working on “How Deep the Father’s Love  for Me” and “Home.”  Molly continues to be independent and knows her way around the kitchen. She loves all things pineapple.  She also is enjoying church and making friends.  This year we will go on a “Blessing Retreat” with JUST Molly!  The church really uses the 6th grade year to pour into the kids before sending them on to Youth Group.  It’s the neatest thing I’ve seen in an elementary department!  And it was just what Molly needed.  She was not quite ready to be in the youth group with much older kids.  Just another way the Lord has confirmed His leading in our lives. Here she is with a good friend when we visited Woodstock last month.  Such cuties.

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Mack: He is almost 10!  Double digits….what in the world?  My baby is getting big.  He loves football and will play flag football in the spring.  He is begging for tackle, so I am sure that will be in our future.  He also enjoys basketball.  We got a basketball goal given to us right after Christmas–a huge blessing! The mild winter weather has enabled Mack to meet some neighborhood boys, and he is SOOOOO HAPPY when they are home in the afternoon and can play and SOOOOOO MAD when they aren’t available.  It’s times like these that he begs me for a 9 year old brother. UGH.  He still takes good care of me–always so thoughtful and kind.  It amazes all of us.  Neither Josh or myself are as thoughtful and tenderhearted as he is. He keeps us laughing most days. IMG_9559.JPG

Josh:  He is enjoying his new job here in Charlotte.  There is never a boring day, that is for sure!  He misses teaching Sunday School, but knows now is not the time to add that responsibility to his plate.  He has been able to hunt more often this past season, which has been a lot of fun for him (and Mack).  Josh is kind of private, so that’s about all I feel comfortable sharing about him. 🙂

Me:  I am not very private, but I will restrain myself for the sake of the two of you who stayed with me this far. I will be 40 pretty soon.  Yikes.  I’m not afraid to be 40.  I kind of welcome it.  It’s been a reflective time for me, and I think I am growing as a person as a result of the move, so I have had plenty of circumstances  to evaluate and reflect upon.  Challenged in new ways that are good for me.  I am leading a table at a Bible Study at our new church, The Armor of God.  It’s really good and couldn’t be more perfect for where I am. I still teach the kids, but like I said, I am looking for ways to transfer responsibility to someone else…maybe Liberty Online?  maybe a math and science tutor?  That’d be awesome!  I pray about making that right connection to someone who wants to teach my kids math and science, so if you want to pray for our family, that is one way that I would greatly appreciate!  I am reminded of Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your ways to the Lord and your plans will be established.”  So that is what I am doing in the area of homeschool.  He has guided us so far, and I know He will continue to show Himself faithful to us.  I have crazy thoughts about going back to school myself and becoming some sort of counselor.  I have a book idea that I roll around from time to time, but then get too scared to really put any effort into it.  And it’s dinner time, so since I am still the mama around here, I best get into the kitchen.

Thanks for hanging in there and reading this.  I will post a pic of Josh and I from our honeymoon over 16 years ago.  We celebrated our 16th anniversary in January.  And this picture is better than any that we have taken lately of our tired selves. 🙂

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Time to Lean In and Listen

If on one’s epitaph the quote of what the person said most frequently when they were living had to be written, I suppose mine might say, “I need to go switch laundry.” Although, “Have you finished your math?” might be a close second.

This mothering business is for real, y’all. My kids are 12, 11 and 9 right now. You could say we are about halfway through raising them under our roof, and to be honest, I’m getting tired. I thought I was tired when I was changing diapers and wiping runny noses. I thought I would never make it out of the “teach-them-their-colors” and “how-to-read” phases, but I made it! And they all know their colors and how to read. Amazing. Even more amazing—no one asks me to wipe their behind or to help them blow their nose anymore.

But halfway through and I am feeling myself (read: MY FLESH/SIN NATURE) rise up against the daily tasks of motherhood and home schooling. I daydream about what it would be like to not “just be a mom.” Because let’s be honest, motherhood is just about the least glamorous thing going. Most of motherhood is work. It’s laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, listening to stories about wrestling or stories about what happened at youth group. It’s vacuuming and dusting. It’s picking up toys, reading books, kissing boo-boos. It’s cleaning toilets and sweeping and mopping. It’s monitoring time spent on devices—oh, the devices. I hate them, but I know I need to train the kids in how to use them and warn them of the dangers. We don’t live in the 1800’s. It’s lying in bed at night wishing you had handled that issue with more patience and grace. It’s wondering if you are teaching them well and praying they will not remember all the times you fail miserably.

This is not intended to be a pity-party. I promise. I know I could also list all the joys of motherhood—and there are many! I just felt the need to be real for a moment and say out loud (or type and post) that IT’S OK TO ADMIT THAT THIS IS HARD. It’s ok to not love every part of what you are doing as a mom. But it is not ok (I’m particularly speaking to me here) to quit. To wallow in the hard places. To throw up my hands and say, “Whatever!” Nope. It’s not time for any of that.

This reminds me of Florence Chadwick.  She wanted to swim to the shore of mainland California from Catalina Island. She swam for fifteen hours and then begged to be taken out of the water.  Her mom encouraged her to keep going and told her she was so close.  Yet, Florence, completely exhausted, stopped swimming.  She was pulled into the boat and then realized she was less than half a mile from reaching her goal.  Here is what she said at a news conference-

 “All I could see was the fog.…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

So what is it time for? It’s time for perspective.  It’s time for strength to rise.  It’s time for faith to swell. How does a mom do that?  How does a mom see what she can’t see?  Only the Lord and His Word gives me the strength and perspective I need. Just like any other time or under any other challenging circumstances, it’s time to, as Joshua 3:9 says, “Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.”

And as I have leaned in to hear what The Lord would say to me over the past few weeks, these are some of the things He has spoken to my heart:

From Psalm 3— “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.”

From Psalm 4— “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their new wine and grain abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You, LORD, alone make me dwell in safety.”

From Psalm 5— “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy…And may You shelter them, that those who love Your Name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.”

From Psalm 9— “I will tell of all Your Wonders…..That I may tell of all Your praises…”

From Psalm 16— “ I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’…You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

There have been recurring themes like ~ Joy ~ Gladness ~ Favor ~ Shelter ~ Shield ~ Surround ~ Sustain ~ Sleep ~ Awake ~ Alone ~ Rest ~ Trust ~ Submit ~ Yield ~

And in my journal I have written prayers and thanked God for the Truth of His Word that is meeting me in the tired days of motherhood. His presence gives me strength and wisdom that I need to press on and do the work of motherhood with gladness. It’s daily—moment by moment even.

No matter where you are on your journey of life, let’s all listen to Joshua in chapter 3, verse 9 and

“Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.”

Evolving

Oh, this blog.  Oh, this life.  My kids are disappointed in my lack of posting on the blog in any consistent manner.  They say they want me to write down stuff about our life, but the stories I have these days with tweens are VERY different from the toddler days.

When they were 2, 4 and 5 years old, they would say and do some hilarious stuff.  We still talk about the time Mack stuck his head in the potty.  Molly still asks him, “WHY would you ever do that???”  We also laugh about when Mack pooped in the woods and told us he did it because he wanted to see what it was like to be a bear.  Hmmmmm.  I can’t say the word “pilgrim” without thinking of Ruby telling me about her teacher at church dressed up as a “pig worm.”  I was so confused until I realized she was saying “pilgrim.”  So cute.

Since the fall of 2008, I have posted pictures of chubby kids running around half-dressed or photos capturing them playing in the sprinkler in the back yard, pictures of them eating with food all over their faces, photos of princesses, cowboys, superheroes, detectives and more.  Cute, funny, adorable stuff that needed to be documented.  I am so thankful I recorded the stories here on the blog before I forgot them.  Those years can be such a blur.

I miss those days.

We watch videos sometimes from when they were young, and Ruby usually asks me in disbelief, “So, this is what you did all day?”

Yes, Ruby.  That was what I did all day.  Diapers.  Food.  Books.  Bottles.  Costumes.  Toys. Make-believe. Lots of answering questions and settling disputes over snacks and sippy cups.  What a fun, messy, exhausting, blessed way to spend my days.

These days I’m not physically exhausted, but mentally and emotionally I am.  The disputes involve iPods and favorite shirts.  The questions are heavier.  And after snapping a picture of Mack, he says, “Don’t post that anywhere!!!”  The girls want to see it to approve it before I post it anywhere.  I was mortified to hear Molly say, “Yeah, that one is good.  It is ‘instagram-worthy.'”  HUH???  Dear goodness.  We had a little talk about social media at that point–The way we select only certain photos that reveal the best sides of our lives. I gave warnings and cautions.

Big Sigh.  Parenting in the 21st century–not a simple pursuit.

How in the world did I get on all of that?  I suppose I am just trying to say that blogging about the family is a bit more of a challenge than it used to be.  Don’t want to embarrass the kids with stories they wouldn’t want me to share.  And definitely can’t post pictures that aren’t approved.  I am keeping up with some of our life on Instagram and just started receiving chat books, so that is exciting.  But it doesn’t help me know what I want to do with the blog.  Maybe devotional thoughts as I have some time?  Key words: as I have time.  

But for now I am going to try out our new electric pencil sharpener.  Exciting times around here, people.  Exciting times.