Monday, September 22, 2014

To My Colby...

So I'm a little behind.

The words have been making themselves at home inside of my head and heart, but my fingers aren't too good at staying on top of these pages anymore. I want to continue writing here. I really do feel that it is important... Especially during these days. months, and years of raising teens.

It's early, and the house is quiet, so I will start again this morning.

Yesterday was my sweet Colby's 15th birthday. That's actually what motivated me to come back to these pages. A long time ago I started writing birthday letters to my boys here. This year, I unintentionally skipped over Caleb's birthday last month. I will have to come back to his soon. He will have a little belated birthday surprise! With these few quiet moments though... I want to write to you, Colby.

Dearest Colby,

   Happy birthday! Your hopes of becoming an adult are quickly coming to their end, for you are almost there. For the longest time now, you have been the one that has been a little impatient with your childhood. You have always had big dreams and bigger things motivating you into adulthood. My prayer for you this year is that you will discover that childhood is now almost a distant thing, and that you will embrace what you have left of it. There are many things to looks forward to as you become an adult, but there is something so magical about being young and figuring out who you are, what your gifts are, and who you will be. Be where you're at, Colby. Don't let a single moment pass you by unnoticed.

   You are one who has always had something important to say. I shared with you a couple of weeks ago that some people talk just to talk. You are not one of those. Often times you are silent, but when you speak, people listen because what you have to share is good and worth hearing. I've always seen this as a strength of yours, but never as much as I do today. I see you with your peers and I know that as long as you are being obedient to God's calling to share what you know to be true, then you will be the leader of that pack. I know that doing this isn't always easy. In fact, I don't know if it's ever easy. It's much easier to take the road most traveled and be the "typical" teenager. You are not that though. Please always know that and act upon it. Apply the gift of leadership that has been given to you.

   I've seen the look on your face as you compare yourself to others. You've decided not to play sports this year, and I think you made this decision for good reasons, but it breaks my heart to think that maybe ONE of those reasons is because you think you're not good enough. The world we live in is often times a cruel world when it comes to comparison. We are told though, that we were "knit together perfectly", so there is no room for comparison. You cannot compare perfection with anything else. You are perfect! Can I just share something with you? The way your mind works with your hands to create such beautiful lines and color and make them into something so fabulous is incredible to me! When I was younger, at one time I thought I might want to be an artist. Even now, I love the feeling of creating. I love having a paint brush in my hands and making something new, or look new. I, however wasn't naturally gifted with this. There are basic things I can do with a pencil or brush, but nothing anything close to what you can do. You are doing something I have ALWAYS wanted to have the ability to do! God gave you this gift, Colby. I pray that you will always use it to His glory.

   When you came to me last spring and asked me to school you at home this year, I was surprised. Actually, I think you were surprised! After prayer, we decided to take this leap. I'm going to keep it real here. It hasn't been easy. I know that you would agree. We have had our fair share already of "technical difficulties" with the curriculum, and the overall idea of homeschooling a high schooler. There have been more hard days than easy days since we started. Last week though.... It finally felt good. It seems we have found our groove. As I have been praying myself through these days though, I have heard the Lord telling me this: " Just enjoy him. Love him. Know him. This is an opportunity I have given you to be WITH your sweet son. Take this gift with open hands and learn about him." So this is the attitude I am schooling you with this year, son. It's still about math, and language arts and all of that stuff. BUT... It's more about us... About accepting this gift of you and ALL of who you are and coaching you through these teen years into this next stage that you have been so excited to enter into... Adulthood.

   I love you with all of my heart Colby. Everyday you are a sweet reminder of God's goodness to me. You have an incredible amount to offer the world... So many gifts and talents. Be BIG Colby! Be bigger than the ugliness that sometimes tries to get in front of you and tell you lies. That's satan, not your Maker talking to you. Your Maker sees you as perfectly knit together.

I love you,


Monday, August 4, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I am still pinching myself as I type these words on this page! Our journey to "home" has taken us here... To this sweet place. When I stop and think about all of the days, all of the tears and all of the prayers that have made their way to this place I almost lose my breath! God has been SO amazingly good to us!

I remember sitting at my computer last summer. I had a cup of coffee in hand, and I had carved out time to catch up some of the other blogs I enjoy reading. One of those blogs is called 'The Nester'. She is a mom on the East Coast who mothers three boys and has a heart for homemaking and decorating. We are like minded in many ways. Anyhow, I went to her page that day and read about her recent move to her new home. Like us, they had been renting for several years, and the time had come for them to buy again. The pictures were incredible! They bought this sweet little white farmhouse on some acreage. It needed lots of work, but nothing that seemed impossible to her! She wrote about how she was SO up and ready for the challenge to make this dream home their personal dreamy home. I sat there with my coffee and admittedly, became FULL of envy. How I adored the pictures of this little home! Sure it had outdated everything, but my eyes see past that, and I immediately saw exactly what I would do with such a place. As I dreamt about it though, I sat there and told myself that when our time came to purchase another home, it most likely would be something a little more "cookie cutter". Not only because things like this around this part of the country are pretty pricey, but also because I never thought I would talk my hubby into such a thing.

As we have rented these past three years, there have been hard things for me to get over. I LOVE color! I have been surrounded by white walls for three years. You would be surprised how that one simple thing can zap the creativity right out of a person! It hasn't been easy for me to make our houses our homes without being able to slap paint up on the walls. Each time I would voice my discontentment about being a renter, I would be reminded, either by someone listening to me or by the Holy Spirit, that the Lord would be surprising me with something extra special at the end of all of this. I have felt His goodness in many ways over the past three years. He has blessed me with new knowledge about myself and about my family that I never would have known if not for this journey. I had come to a realization that THIS was the "something extra special" that I had been hearing about. It wasn't about a house, it was about me and my heart. This was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow... And what a treasure it is! Never did I imagine that there was more....

When we saw this farmhouse/used to be schoolhouse back in April, I immediately fell in love. Much like 'The Nester's' home, it needed my touches, but when I walked in the door, my touches are what I saw. I saw past the ugly blue-green carpet and the salmon orange walls. I saw every sweet thing about it and I immediately began to dream. However, the price tag turned this dream machine off. It wasn't the home after all. Fast forward a month or so and all of that changed. The price had just come down, and there were literally multiple people offering. We became part of a coin toss... And we won! That's right, we literally won a coin toss for this home. For me though, I knew it was much more than that. It was about God gifting us... Pure and simple. Why did I doubt just HOW good God would be to me?

We have been here for three weeks now. It was a long, frustrating, nail biting journey to get here. It was also a sweet, eye opening, learning experience. We are here because God wants us to be here. He wanted to show this family what He is capable of doing yet once again. He NEVER fails! Since the first night we slept here, we have prayed that this house would continue to be a blessing to us, but that it would be a home that would bless others. It is SO important to us that the walls of this home are not just painted pretty with all of our personal flairs. More importantly, these walls should always hold a strong sense of the Holy Spirit within them. This home was a gift to us... We want to gift others with it.

We have already painted every room except for the master suite. We have replaced the flooring with a beautiful hickory floor. There is much to be done still, but we are here. Our journey has brought us all to this place. Our roots as a family started in a home. During the past few years, our roots have expanded more inside of the walls of our hearts. Now, the roots that have become established have been re-planted in this home. We are feeling blessed beyond words... And I still pinch myself every morning when I wake up.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Taste and See With Me?

Taste and See

~ "Taste and see the fullness of His peace." ~

One has to happen with the other, right? It's something I haven't given much thought to until I was listening to praise music yesterday.

Our senses work that way. One sense gives height to another. When I taste something, I can actually SEE it, FEEL it, TOUCH it, and HEAR it! The fullness of God's peace is greater than I can begin to put into words. During these days, I am asking the Lord to make ALL of my senses completely aware of that peace. Last night was the first night in quite awhile that I slept through the night. I went to bed tasting the peace of God. I slept, and then I woke up FEELING and HEARING His peace from every angle!

I'm so grateful, Jesus. We need you now, and you are HERE! I can FEEL you, HEAR you, SEE you, and even TASTE your goodness. You are moving mountains in front of my very eyes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Wait

       Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

I sat and prayed with my boys yesterday. We do that often, but yesterday was different. We are ALL feeling weighed down with frustration over waiting. We were supposed to have keys to our new house weeks ago, but we sit and wait still.

For me, I take some comfort in knowing that there is purpose in this wait. Even as we sat and prayed together yesterday, I explained to my three young men how the times in my life that I have had to wait on the Lord have been my most defining moments. It was these periods of time that developed character in me and added truth to who I say I am.

If I'm going to be honest, then I have to share that during these days (actually weeks now) I have questioned the purpose. I have looked for it and tried my very best to figure it out. Last week I told others that maybe the purpose in it was that the Lord wanted me to experience and enjoy summer with my boys BEFORE the move. He knows me. He knows how easily I become obsessed with making my home. I'm a nester. So, He wanted to allow time before we moved in for us to spend some fun summer days together. That was the purpose I found last week.

This week I feel differently. I am still enjoying these summer days with my boys, but this week I feel that it's less about fun, and more about feeling the pain of the wait. It's that pain that will refine me... And it will refine these growing young men too. Yesterday I told myself, and I shared with the boys, that every time I wanted to speak or think some negative thought, I needed to stop myself and just pray.

Pray for peace in the wait.
Pray for endurance.
Pray for God's perfect timing to be perfect enough for me, for my sinful heart wants to deny His perfect timing.

It's tempting to hide myself away in my cave. I am afraid to answer calls or texts. I am even more afraid to actually see people. I don't want to try to answer people's questions about why we still don't have keys. The truth is, I don't know why. Maybe I'm not supposed to hide though. Maybe a part of the refining that is happening in me needs to be more public. Maybe my reaction to this mess of sorts is significant.

Last week I texted this photo to my mom who was out on the east coast visiting in laws. I wrote these words on a framed chalk board back in April when we opened escrow. This board still hangs on my living room wall. Everything else has been removed and packed, but not this one. It hangs as a daily reminder. My mom texted back words that have stuck with me. She wrote back:

" Superman got nothin' on you, honey!"

I hope that at the end of this, that still rings true. I pray that I can take each day with God's sufficient amount of grace. I want to take that grace and apply it to whatever comes my way.
I pray that I can always do my best to react in a way that portrays some sort of superhero.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Lucas!

It is a tradition not to be broken....

Even if there is no one here to read it today.

Every year for each of the three boys' birthdays, I write a letter to them on this blog. When they were too little to read them themselves, I would read it to them. Then they became old enough to read it on their own. Today there is nobody here to read the birthday letter.

Today my oldest turns 17, but today he is at camp.

This is the first birthday I have ever spent without him. It feels strange. I sympathize with military moms today since this is what it must feel like to spend your child's birthday without them... Without even the ability to call them! I'm sure that he's having a great birthday today, but I sure am missing him on this day.

Dearest son,

   Today you are seventeen years old. This is the last year that you can call yourself a kid. Next year, I will be the mother of an adult child. Ugh... I always ask myself this question when birthdays come around, so I will ask again... "Why does time march on so quickly?"

   I feel like this year was a year of many milestones for you. Usually I recall the highlights of your year within these birthday letters. My fingers type quickly all the many ways in which you have shown growth in different areas of your life. As I look back on previous letters, I read about how you have grown academically, physically, in your sports abilities, and in your character. This year hasn't been much different... And yet it has.

   This year you have shown me (and SO many others) what you are truly capable of from the inside out. As you have experienced a rather large hurdle thrown in front of you, you haven't given up. You haven't spent a single moment feeling sorry for yourself. I remember the day when we sat in the car in that parking lot... When I told you what the Dr. had told me. I choked tears down. It was MY lip that quivered, not yours. You sat there still. You sat there, bit your lip hard and let me know that YOU WOULD GET THROUGH THIS. Your attitude has been healthy and strong ever since, even when I could not hide the fact that my own attitude about all of this was not.

   I am more convinced than ever that seeing your strength through all of this has been the gift of it all. As your parents, we have always been pretty good about sharing that life is sometimes hard. Sometimes you get dealt a bad hand. Sometimes things just don't work out the way we planned them to. Seeing how you have handled exactly the kind of thing we have told you about all of these years is something that not every parent gets to see while their child is still at home. A lot of times, parents don't experience their child's painful life situations until that child is grown and out of the house. I am not saying that I am happy for your pain, but what I am saying is that seeing you cope with it has shown your father and I what a strong man of God you really are! This has been a gift... YOU are such a gift!

   Lucas, I know that there is great reward in this for you. No matter what happens next, God IS using you, and He is going to continue using YOU and this story. I am SURE of this! I feel confident that this set back will not define you. Instead, YOU will define IT.

   I could not be more proud of you than I am on this day... This sixteenth day of June, 2014.

I love you more than all the stars in the sky...

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Fall

When they are little, they fall a lot. When the fall happens, there is either silence for a moment before the wailing begins, or there is immediate wailing. Either way, there is no mistaking the emotions spilling from their little beings.

As their mothers, we tend to them. We scoop them up, kiss their scrapes, bumps or whatever might be causing the hurt, and we love them like there is no tomorrow! Soon after the fall and the "mommy love session" life returns to normal and everything is right again.

This is the cycle.

The cycle changes, but the cycle does not stop.

Mine are older now, and their "boo boos" are no longer the type that disappear after a sweet little kiss. No matter how much I try to fix the things that hurt and torment my three boys at times, I cannot kiss and love them away. Their hurt and torment becomes MY hurt and torment, and there is no end. Usually, the "falls" just continue happening... One on top of the next one. It sometimes feels like we might ALL just break.

I read something in my devotional yesterday that I am trying to really meditate on during this season. This is what it said:

"When you turn from your problems to My Presence, your load is immediately lighter. Circumstances may not have changed, but we carry your burdens together. Your compulsion to "fix" everything gives way to deep, satisfying connection with Me. Together we can handle whatever this day brings." ~ Jesus Calling (Sarah Young)

No, I cannot fix their burdens. I usually cannot even fix my own. Am I obsessing over what I cannot do, or am I turning away from these burdens and instead looking into the face of His Presence? Am I teaching my young men how to attempt to fix everything, or how to let themselves fall into that deep satisfying connection with the One who knows (and loves) them best?

It doesn't look the same anymore either. When they fall, there is usually just silence... No wailing involved anymore. Sometimes that's what hurts a mother's heart the most. The silence can be deafening. It is still too. They no longer come running for comfort. Often, distance is what heals their hearts faster than my getting involved. I know it's all natural, but even though that knowledge is in me, it is still as uncomfortable to me as the fall itself.

I knew this season would come, but it came earlier than what I had anticipated. I am finding that I am not handling it with the grace that I thought I would. I find myself fighting tears in the middle of the day as I think about the struggles and hurt that my boy is feeling (and sometimes make that plural, boys). Instead of easing into the struggle I have caught myself fighting against it... Trying to figure out how to fix things for the ones I love.

After receiving the reminder in this devotional, I have realized that I CAN fix things. The ONLY way I can fix things is by finding and modeling my own connection with Jesus. If I model connection and a sense of leaning on Him for my children, then that's what they will learn to do too. If I place myself in His presence, then my children will find themselves there also. It doesn't get any more "fixed" than that!

In His presence there is perfect peace.