Legalism vs. Walking In Favor

Lots of things on my mind today….

so many people in need of prayer — especially a baby girl named Ameila and a young lady named Laura…and my oldest son…

I also read what has often been a favorite website this morning.  Instead of enjoying the varied comments from the moms, I found myself feeling sick to my stomach.  They were speaking out against parents who allow their homeschooled child to attend high school.  The argument is pretty much the same “If God called me to do this in the first place, why would I consider giving up now?”  Of course, it’s worded differently — but the underlying “ick” of it is legalism. 

Do they know what is in the hearts of the families who make those decisions?  They may think they do, but only God knows the real truth.  Why do they doubt that God might call a family to do that?  Why do they doubt the confirmation of peace that the parents feel?  Yes, it is truly wonderful if they are concerned — but how about PRAYING?  

But you know….that’s what we frail humans do.

We critique, discuss, fuss, debate, and talk about it with everyone — MORE than we spend time actually praying.

Ouch is all I can say!   Looking in the mirror is never fun.

 Yes, I’ve been praying this morning — praying that I’ll have the right words to say when things are said that annoy and irritate me.  May I always suggest that we pray about it before I launch into a sermon!!!

On the other side of life, yesterday was Walking In Favor Day!

After a quick trip to the Big City to take care of medical and financial needs for my brother, I took one of my youngest sons to enroll in — yes, you guessed it — the public high school!  GASP!!!!

Earlier in the summer we had discussed it, even though both older and younger siblings will not attend public school.  This boy is different. 🙂  When the idea was initially proposed to me, my response was, “Of course!  That makes perfect sense! That’s exactly what is supposed to happen!” When my husband came home, we discussed it — and his reaction was the same.  Out of all our children, this one can handle it, this one can be a blessing, this one can begin what God has called him to do!

I did have him take tests to help him see where he’s at and what he’ll have to work on, but it really wasn’t about his academic ability.  He is a servant-hearted leader.  He is called to be there “for such a time as this.”  

Did I ever think I’d feel this way?  Nope!  Not at all!  In fact, my original  plan was that once they were out of public school, they’d never go back.  🙂  As always, God says, “Oh yeah?”  and I comply with His plan, which is always and forever better than anything I could come up with!

Anyway, back to the enrollment process — which took about 2 hours….

The first person we saw there was my dear friend and prayer partner, Ruth.  She is beautiful — inside and out.  She helped us gather all the necessary paperwork.  The second person we dealt with was the coach/drivers’ ed teacher that most of the other kids had when they took the summer driving courses.  He was so complimentary of all the kids — and you know how we moms love to hear good words about our children!  The third person was the counselor who had given the reading exams required by our state before students can enter the summer driving course.  Again, she was excited to see yet another of the “herd”.     What a blessing to know that my son already has supportive adults watching out for him in this new environment!

So…if you are opposed to public school or homeschool, then pray for us!

Servant-Hearted Leadership

A week ago I was listening to one of Nancy Campbell’s daughters speak about being a good mother.  www.aboverubies.org   At one point in the message, she shared an incident where she asked God to tell her what He thought of her mothering abilities.  God spoke to her loud and clear at Walmart. 🙂   *Now don’t you want to go order that CD series? 

 I’ve had a few incidents lately where I’ve stood in awe of how God filled in the gaps of my mothering…

Son#4 came home from a trip today and was telling me about the activities, sermons, music, etc.  A few things slipped out that caught my attention and caused me to question him further….

at one point, the youth were asked to go pray for their youth pastors…and, out of the entire group, Son#4 was the first to step forward.  The announcement was then made that they should also pray for the assistants/helpers in each local youth group.  Son#4 was the only one of our group to do so.  He was surprised and a bit sad that none of the other kids acknowledged the full team.

But I was surprised by something else!  How did you know to do that?  What makes you different from the other kids?  I don’t recall ever teaching you to notice!

When I arrived at the church to pick him up, the other kids were outside talking and laughing,  Son#4 was nowhere to be found!  After searching a while, I found him out on the bus, sweeping and helping The Delightful Ms. M (our lady bus driver).

I asked him about that later on — was it his job, had she asked for help?  No, he just knew the bus was trashed and he didn’t want her to do all the cleaning by herself.

HOW DID HE KNOW TO DO THIS?

 Once we got home and had plenty of time to talk, I asked him about that sort of thing — at length!  He said that working on the farm and cleaning offices had made him realize how it takes a lot of work to earn just a little bit of money.  Also, after teaching a children’s class for 3 years (one of our family projects), he saw how the helpers did all the grunt work and usually were not noticed — and he did not want the Delightful Ms. M to feel like she was not appreciated.  He went on to tell me that she had stopped him before he got off the bus and thanked him for praying for her.

Pass the Kleenex.

Who is this boy?  Where did he come from?

All I can say is this:  I have never been a perfect mom.  In fact, I have blown it so badly so often that my kids can share stories of my catastrophies in parenting for HOURS on end.  But you know what?  God is so incredibly MERCIFUL!  He stands in the gap, He fills the needs, He provides opportunities that I overlook. 

My hope is that every young mom who feels insecure and unworthy will catch a glimpse of how amazing, loving, kind, merciful and helpful God truly is.  The simple prayer of asking Him to help you teach and train your kids is sufficient — He does and He will continue to do so — and the fruit of His teaching will always be a delightful surprise!

 Stop fretting…..Trust Him to fill in the missing pieces. number4

Disappointment with God

That is the title of one of my favorite books.  It is written by Philip Yancey.

After my nephew drowned in a neighbor’s swimming pool, I had a lot of questions.  God didn’t seem to be Who I’d always been taught He was.   The more questions I asked, the more frustrated I became.

I got very tired of hearing people say, “There’s a reason for everything!”  “Well, they just need to have another baby as soon as possible.”  “God needed another little angel in Heaven.”  “God needed another little flower in His garden.”

I wanted to scream, “There is NO good reason for this child to die.  Having another child will NOT replace this one!” and “My God planned ahead — He doesn’t have to kill babies to fulfill His angel quota (like that concept is even scriptural) or His flower quota!”  But of course, I did not want to hurt the feelings of the people who were trying so hard to bring comfort to me….

I ran across the book, Disappointment with God, at a Christian book store.  The title intrigued me.  And yes, you can bet I got a funny look when I headed up to the checkout.  Is it okay for Christians to be disappointed with God?  gasp!  The thought!

That book helped me walk through a very challenging time in my journey with Christ.  While my questions were not answered, I understood the thought line of Much Afraid in Hinds’ Feet On High Places, where she says that even if her Beloved has played her for a fool and He’s really not that awesome and powerful and amazing, even so, she’ll still love Him and appreciate how much better her life has become since she’s become acquainted with Him. 

Coming to terms with unanswered questions is that paradigm shift that brings about a greater intimacy with God than one could ever imagine.  That leap of faith is fully and completely delightful, amazing, and empowering.

Now it’s my husband’s turn.  Due to a recent farm accident, he had to have a portion of a finger removed.  His personality is such that he does not do well with any kind of ‘deformity’ or ‘abnormality.’  He wonders where God was when the accident took place, why his ever-cautious and thoughtful approach to working on machinery was not enough when teamed with God’s divine protection.     

I won’t answer him with cliches.

I do not know why it happened.  I do not know what God’s ultimate plan and purpose is regarding this injury.  What I do know is that God is still good.  He is still loving.  He is still merciful.  He is still our shield and our defender.  He is the same God who got us through much more horrendous circumstances….

and He will get us through this.

Motorcycles, Manhood, Moms & Money

21 SonNumberTwoSon just turned 21,  good kid — a little odd, like his mother, but a good kid.  He recently purchased a motorcycle so we thought getting a helmet would be a good birthday gift.  Took him, the girls, and a couple of female friends of his to the big city for a day of helmet fashion searches.   We splurged with lunch at Chimi’s — and the girls decided to let the restaurant staff know that today is Birthday Boy’s 21st!  Perhaps I should say “Birthday MAN” since we were shopping for manly things. 

We’d started the preparations to enroll three of the kids in a nearby Bible College, so when DaughterNumber2 left to go view student housing with her dad, the rest of us sat by to enjoy a few last nibbles of warm chips & queso.   Fun moment when the restaurant staff approached Birthday Boy and placed a HUGE sombrero atop his head and began playing a birthday song.  Never seen a boy/man turn so red so fast!

 After that moment of delightful embarrassment, we journeyed to several motorcycle shops in search for a decent yet affordable helmet.  Found a couple of bikes in the Harley shop that were especially eye-catching, but definitely out of my price range — and skill level.

 That’s why I am taking babysteps.  Yes, I recently acquired a scooter/moped thing.  I have ridden it around the yard, soaring at approximately 7 kph!   Talk about the wind in my hair!  Phew!  Very exciting for an ol’ gal like me!  Odd thing is that my ability to balance is not quite up to par.  Not sure what caused that — other than weight gain that I like to blame on birthing so many babies — but at least the scooter tires don’t flatten when I sit on it.scooter (daelim)

Itty Bitty Baby Boy

new baby printLots of changes around here — most of them being DIAPERS!

Grandbaby #3 was born a week ago and we’ve all spent hours cuddling him.  So many things are different this time…GB3 (Grandbaby #3) has a sweet mom who enjoys having our multitude of kids come over and play “pass around the baby”!  Her mother, who is from New York, is also very generous about sharing — even though she knows we’ll have the lions’ share of time with GB3 after she leaves.   

This has been almost stress-free, with the exception of a little health scare that required a last minute c-section…and, in the midst of all that, I met a very interesting woman at the hospital whose musical family played with the “Old Timers” of country music.  (I’m not very familiar with the music, but I have heard of the names!)

 Additionally, more bridges were mended with ex-family members.  Seems there was concern that I might harbor ill feelings for the past — but, when we began sharing stories of Grandma Chelsea — the doorways of communication burst wide open.   Grandma Chelsea’s youngest son (my oldest son’s paternal uncle) had never sat in on a birthing before — 🙂  he was able to experience the long hours in the waiting room — the girls giggling, the boys teasing, and the family praying.  There were several times he said he should leave, yet I could tell he simply wanted to be asked to stay.  Apparently my “tribe” understood that, too — and they’d beg him to wait just a little longer.  He did!  He even became brave enough to stop by unannounced.

So, itty bitty baby boy has already brought about some sweet changes….

When God does your Laundry

white kittenAfter several days of being out of pocket, the laundry had once again mounted up to the height of the washer & dryer.  I decided that I’d stay home today and tackle it.  Started off well enough…

two load on the line, one in the dryer (girly stuff) and another in the washer….

looking forward to filling up TMOAC (The Mother Of All Clotheslines) with a full day of washing!

Then it started to RAIN —– AGAIN.

Some nearby towns have actually had to evacute people from their homes due to the flood waters.  We’re in good shape here, just can’t do any field work or haying…

and apparently not much laundry!

I was IM’ing one of my friends and quipped that if it started raining, I’d know God wanted to rewash all my laundry.  Within half an hour, the rains started.

It got me to thinkin’….

Sometimes I’ve been under the impression that I had an area of my life in pretty good order.  The little ducks were in a row — although a few might be looking around for other options.  Seems like when I think I can let down my guard, something comes up that slaps me upside the head and reminds me that it is all very, very fragile.

 God will elbow me in the sides on Sunday morning and point out a few people in the crowd at church.  He’ll ask, “Aren’t you harboring some resentment toward them?”  Ouch.  He’s rewashing my laundry.

I forgave them a long time ago, Lord!

“Ohhhhhh……”, He says, “I remember you were working on it –but I happened to notice that when you saw them the first thing that popped into your mind was that they still hadn’t returned any of the books they’ve borrowed from you or the other moms…..and he (the husband) never did apologize for losing his temper with your son.”

(I can feel the spin cycle coming)

He continued to point out a few other people in the crowd and casually mentioned the thoughts that had run through my head about THEM.   Ugh.

And then He said, “They’re My kids, too.  Just like you.  Not perfect, but I love them.”

As the sermon continued, He began to remind me of how easily we slip into sin — sometimes simply because we’ve gotten caught up in the busyness of life.  He reminded me that we live in a world full of disappointments — and unless we continually train ourselves to focus on the blessings, we can get bogged down in discouragement — and ‘medicating’ that discouragement by fleshly activities.    He reminded me of much more — enough to make me stop and take a deep breath as I looked out on those people.   (I’m feeling the rinse cycle)

When I’m hurt, I have to remember that forgiveness is a process.  I may have to rewash my mind over and over until the stains of the wound come out.    I can’t get weary of rewashing and retreating those stains if I want to keep my spiritual garments clean — it’s just part of the process.  Every time I rewash, the stain gets a little less powerful….

Gotta go get more of my original ‘glow’ back!laundry line

Scrapbooking, Interruptions, & Cheap Therapy

Okay, since the latest solar flare in our house, I’ve made a few happy changes:

one thing is that I am giving myself a little time each day (it varies) to work on my scrapbooking.  The first several days it was just the drudgery of sorting through everything & getting it reorganized after taking it all to our friend’s house to work on the birthday album for her husband.  Now that it’s pretty well sorted and I know what I’m missing 😉 I can move ahead to work on actual pages.   **Kinda fun that I found 3 albums (empty) that I didn’t realize I have!  Woo Hoo!  I can get some stuff done with those!***

This morning I saw that I had started 4 pages for the quickie album for 1998.  Yeah, I know…9 years ago.  I’m that far behind.  sigh.

Back to the good news — so I threw them together real quickly and gave myself permission to make them “good enough” rather than Magazine Worthy.   🙂  I ended up having to drive the tool truck to the ranch — which was a pain in a lot of parts of my body because it is so stinkin’ sensitive about the clutch — and I missed a few hours at home.  Bummer.

Once I DID get back, we had lunch and I started the next round of chores.  DaughterNumberTwo left for work, the boys arrived, and after we’d had a bit of a chat, I retreated to my room to put up the scrapbooking stuff that was on my bed.  I realized that I had a handful/stack of photos that were actually sorted into the correct events, so I pulled out my POWER LAYOUT box.

(hear the drumroll?)

It’s basically a pizza box filled with cardstock in the same size as 12X12 pages.  There are probably 50 sheets in there.

So I went through the pictures & took how many ever would fit on a page and placed them atop one sheet of cardstock — then I got the next how many ever pictures and did the same.  I ended up getting the entire stack of photos sorted by page.

Hooray!

I came to the kitchen to rummage through the fridge and see what was growing fur — because what WASN’T growing fur was going to be Leftovers for tonight!  CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES!

After I forewarned the majority of the family that it was Leftovers Night, (and they gagged and left the room) I went back to my little haven of paper!  I thought, “Well, it won’t take too long to take a sheet of printed paper for the background…” (coz these are just “good enough” and not MAGAZINE WORTHY) so I went through the sorted photos once again & put a fairly decently corresponding piece of paper in with it.  That went well — and SonNumberThree:Who-is-in-love took that as the golden opportunity to share from the depths of his soul.  “Isn’t she still supposed to be grounded?”  “Why are you letting her get away with that?”  “Do you think I can go spend the weekend with ***The Sweet One’s Extended Family Who Live In Another State***?”

After that moving discussion I realized I had plenty of time to sort through die-cuts and ribbon to accent each page.  “What do you think about me having my own motorcycle?”  “Do you think my muscles are getting bigger?”  “Don’t you think ***The Sweet One*** is amazing?”  “I promise I won’t run off to marry her unless you guys are really, really bugging me!”

When SonNumberThree’s voice gave out, I quit.  All I have to do now is to adhere everything to the pages…(which can be done when another kid needs to share their life revelations with me)…

but when it comes to journaling, I’m waiting until the house is EMPTY!