Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Daniel in the Lions Den


"Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." Daniel 6:10

This little man of mine, has grown up so quickly, I fight tears as I stare at this picture knowing that even though it was taken a year and a half ago he looks so much different. What a special heart God has placed into this young man that little does he know he is daily stepping into his calling.

Last night I found myself in the kitchen cooking, baking, and cleaning for what felt like an eternity. My family wanted dinner, and bless my sweet husband he wanted dessert. So here I was fulfilling all the requests that had been made. This has been one of those weeks where I have felt trapped inside my own home. With sick kids this weekend, and a very tight budget these days I haven't been able to venture outside of the house for the last six days. While most of the time I tend to be a homebody, there is a delicate balance that needs to occur to keep me sane. This balance was not happening!!

I was in the kitchen by myself (we had to gate the littles out for mommas sake) enjoying the peace of not having a child grabbing my leg or calling "mom, momma, mom, mom, mom, momma" this little sweet boy bounces (literally bounces) up to the counter and begins to talk. My first instinct was to shush him and send him on his way because I wasn't sure I could focus my brain enough to listen to his soft, fast talk. There was something that stopped me this time, I knew that he needed to spend some time with me and he needed to clear his head.

He began to ask me questions about what I was doing, why did I use this ingredient and what is that for. He wanted to know if there was anything he could do to help. I gave him a few tasks trying to be patient with him as he helped. Once everything was cooking, or chilling and we had a brief pause, he sat down and began this conversation.

A: Mom, I had to read Daniel and the Lions Den last night.
Me: what do you mean? You read out of your bible.
A: Yes, I had to read my bible because I was afraid.

You see there are moments in parenting when you make a choice and sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not. The day before we had made a decision and it turns out wasn't the best. The A and E were bored while the G and N were napping so daddy pulled out movies. A thought he'd like to try watching Jurassic Park we didn't make it half way through the movie before momma could see that it wasn't going over very well. It was one of those not the best outcome moments.

Aiden went on to explain that he remembered the story of Daniel and how he faced his fears. While Aiden didn't go into great detail of how he knew this story could help. I could understand what he meant. Daniel knew that by praying to God he was disobeying a law, he knew the consequence of continuing to pray to God. Daniel was facing his fears (the Lions) and was going to rely on God to help him through. Aiden couldn't keep the bad dreams from coming so he grabbed his bible and knew that God would come to him just as he did for Daniel. He even admitted he was unable to finish reading because he had fallen asleep. So there at the counter he sat and finished reading the story of Daniel.

What a proud moment for Eric and I as parents to know that our son knows his heavenly Father. To know that He will calm fears and bring peace. I am so thankful for that moment with my boy. What a blessing he is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Just a few tips I've learned as a parent

I have four kids, (I say this a lot I know but I figured this time it's relevant to the post) they have provided me with some great learning opportunities. I thought that I would share some of my lessons learned over the last almost 8 1/2 years.
These are in no particular order:

1. Do not be surprised when things come out of your mouth that you never thought would.
    Example:
           "It is not ok to wipe poop on your shirt"
           "We do not put our fingers up each others noses"
           "If you are not getting changed, bathed, or just got out of the bath you need clothes on"
           "We do not bite the dog"
           "It is not ok to put on your brothers underwear from the bathroom floor" (said to the 3yr old.)
           This is one that is frequently used. Anytime we watch a movie in our house the kids all want to play the characters from the movie. After constant arguing over who is going to be which character this is what comes out of my mouth.
            "IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO YOU ARE!! THEY ARE ALL FAKE CHARACTERS AND IT'S A MADE UP STORY."  (yes that's me, the crusher of little children's dreams)

2. When using your youngest as a little added resistance while working out, you will no longer be able to walk the next day.
     Recently, I thought it would be fun to use my youngest son while I was working out. I did some bench presses and some leg lifts. He loved it. I then, with the help of a friend (Michelle) came up with the idea to try squats and lunges while having him draped over my neck like a dead animal. (He was not harmed and actually enjoyed it so much that while I was wollering in pain he wanted to continue the routine) I am currently still trying to recover from that little episode.

3. While taking video of your child in a moving car make sure he's actually secure in his seat.
    I have such sweet friends and family that they stayed silent about the fact that two of the four kids were not safely secured in their seats. I only realized this after I watched it a few times and now I have given my children evidence against me.

4. Be careful when speaking to a 3 year old, we must be very literal.
    This was a conversation with my oldest when she was 3.
    E: mom, can I have some more cheerios
    Me: No, I think one bowl is plenty
    E: I didn't ask for another bowl, I asked for more cheerios
   Yes you win sweet one, next time I was more careful.
   
5. Always be prepared for the meltdown of the year to occur when there is a large viewing Audience.
     I'm pretty sure that my kids watch and wait for the perfect time to throw a fit. As we were leaving a restaurant that had too long of a wait, and balloons (important to the story) one child decided he needed a balloon and was not leaving until he got one. So kicking and screaming we left the building out into a dark alley where we had parked. In that moment thoughts were "DANGER DARK ALLEY, GET TO CAR FAST". Of course, we were in the church van, name plastered right on the side announcing who we were and where we were from. As I'm dragging this child and talking with an elevated voice that he needed to hush and just get in the van, we were approached by a young woman. She proceeded to scold me for how I was treating my child, that "as a fellow Nazarene" (thank you church van) she was disturbed by my actions.  Worst moment ever!! I think my advice here is for all of you on lookers unless you've been there please be quiet. I say that in the most loving way, but seriously just be silent it's embarrassing enough.

6. Spaghetti is always messy
    Even at 8 years old they apparently can still get spaghetti sauce on their foreheads. It's a mystery to me but it's always good to have some wet wipes handy after that meal.

7. If they like a food one day it's likely the next time you have it they will not like it
    We have wasted many foods, thinking we had finally found the one thing he'll eat. Ugh...it's never ending.

8. When children are little be sure to enunciate.
    This one is a biggie or you'll have this happen:
     My second born at the age of 4 sneezed this is the conversation:
     Me: Bless you buddy
     A: Mom, it's ble-shoe (yes you read that right)
     Me: uh, what?
     A: It's ble-shoe when someone sneezes, and bless you when you're talking about God
     Me: Oh....(hand slap to forehead)

9. Prepare yourself for the amount of bodily functions you will have to deal with
    Babies are so sweet and snugly and then you change that first poopy diaper, it's all down hill from there. Your days of clean hands, shirts, pants, all gone!! I have been a mom for 8 1/2 years and I am anxiously awaiting the day when I will no longer have to wipe, change, mop, wash, and pick up all the gross things that can come out of a persons body.

10. Most of all love every stage, moment, second of your time with them.
      The best part of reality shows is that someone is constantly following a person recording every minute. I wish I had that, not for everyone to see but so that I can capture every moment with my kids. The time goes by too quickly and they grow and change too fast. I want to remember every silly word they said wrong, every confusing conversation, even every battle we've had because it's those teaching moments that are so important. I love that I get to be their mom!
      Don't blink because this is what happens:


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

These are my thoughts...

In the past month I have become increasingly aware at how much evil and destruction is happening all around me. I wouldn't say that it was one specific instance that led me to this, and before anyone says "uh...where have you been?" I get that this is not something that just occurred, and I am aware that the destruction has been in the works for years.

I don't know maybe it's because I really have been oblivious to what is going on, listen, I am not shy about admitting that I choose to live in a false reality where life is full of happiness and everyone loves God and each other, but maybe it's that God is shaking me saying "WAKE UP!!" I feel like there is something greater he is calling me to, he has softened my heart towards certain things, he has made me weep over things that would normally not affect my daily behaviors.

As I go through my day with my four little monk blessings, I use FB as an escape. There are moments when I am typing a response or a status and I pretend that there is another adult in front of me to speak actual adult things to. It's terrible I know but it is what it is and believe it or not most of the time it helps. During my FB escapes the last few weeks I have sat back and read opinions, thoughts, and soap boxes. I am careful not to comment because I am not a fan of jumping into an Internet conversation emotionally charged and if I do I am almost immediately regretful for what I write.

But, here are some of my thoughts as I read through one of them:
 I read about discrimination saying that you can't have an opinion on it unless you have been discriminated against. Hmmm..... While yes I can agree that there may be some who have suffered much more than I have I find it hard to believe that there is anyone on this earth that has not been discriminated against.

Eric and I with our four monkeys blessings walked into a restaurant on a Friday evening. We had been in the car traveling and were dying to just get out and sit down to eat. We walked in seeing that it was mostly couples, couples without children. We were barely acknowledged by the sweet young hostess but managed to get her to see if she could sit a table of 6. She was gone for what felt like several minutes, when she returned she explained that it would be at least 45 minutes before they could seat us because we had such a large group. We could clearly see several options to seat our family but it was one of those non-verbal ways of them saying "please leave with your 4 rowdy children) Now I realize that this could have been interpreted wrong and I hope for the next family that walked into that restaurant that was the case.

Eric and I are often asked "what do you do?" When my handsome young looking husband answers them with full confidence and authority "I'm a pastor" The immediate response is "aren't you a little young?"

We again went to another restaurant and sat in a nice big booth with our kiddos. One happened to be full of a little extra energy that day and I admit my patience was growing very thin bless his heart. Three lovely women were seated at the table next to us with their shopping bags. We tried to hush and calm our kids so we would not disturb their dinner and conversation. As we sat and listened to their conversation of what they had bought for their precious grand babies, I thought "Oh thank you Lord, these ladies will surely be understanding of our crazy life" As we finished up and were leaving unfortunately the only route out of the restaurant was to squeeze behind their chairs. As  Erin passed then Aiden I was helping my Gav, I happened to make eye contact with one of the ladies at the table and was given a glare that made a knot immediately form in my throat. She then explained to me that I needed to be careful of her bags that were on the floor and that my kids should not step on them.

I am a pastors wife, I am young, we are serving at a church that is filled with such loving beautiful people, but my generation is in the minority, ( it's my polite way of saying we have a large amount of older people, please forgive me all who are reading, I love you, and you have blessed me greatly) In my first few months there were a few conversations had that left me with the feeling that they may not have great confidence in my abilities because I am young.

My point in these examples is to say that we have all faced some discrimination in our life time that it is not limited to the color of our skin. I don't want to assume that I know a person by their age, race, family status, job, sexual orientation. Even as I sit back and reread my small little examples I realize that I am just as guilty. I want to be better, I want to love as Christ loved.

I realize that this is so minor in comparison to what some have faced and my purpose is not to down grade that. I do believe that there are people who have faced, are facing some pretty terrible circumstances. Even though those were not major issues, it hurt, I was angry, and  my children were witness to it. So For me, I am choosing to love, not based on anything other than you are my brother/sister in Christ.

My prayer is for those who are facing life or death based on their beliefs. I am praying that God will fill them with the strength and words to speak life into their enemies. I am praying that there will be a wall of protection over them as they seek to stand their ground and stay to do what God has called them to. I am praying for the children who just started school a week later because of such unrest in their community. I am praying that they will feel safe and loved by the adults in their lives. I'm praying for my generation that we would stand up and go willingly into what God has called us to.

Those are my thoughts...for now...


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My mouth

I have these moments in life when my mouth opens and words come out. Suddenly it's as though I'm trapped inside this body and have no control anymore because inside I'm screaming

        " STOP TALKING!!" "HUSH" "CAN'T YOU HEAR WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!"

but it's too late the words have left my mouth forever in the air and can not be taken back. Why can't I stop myself??

Here is an example:
 I was outside talking with my neighbor and she had just informed me that their dog had been so sick she had to be put down. Me in my awesome sensitivity, trying to be consoling to this poor woman.(Can I just add for my own safety I am very much a dog LOVER!! I have lost a few in my life and it was like losing a family member so pay no attention to what I actually said to this poor woman) As I was speaking the words I knew it was wrong. I think I said something like "well it is just a dog" which is the complete opposite of what I was trying to say. I have this terrible habit of continuing to talk as if talking will either do two things 1. make them completely forget the first thing I said or 2. explain away the reason I said such an idiotic statement. I remember that voice in my head screaming to stop but I just couldn't. I have a  serious inability to just "SHUT UP!"

Why do I have this need to keep talking? Even in emails,. text messages, any kind of written communication I feel like I'm worse, I really should just stop. What makes this worse is that now there is written physical proof of my insensitivity. I try to make it short and sweet but then the obsessive need to continue to read, reread, and read again before and after I send it. If I find something that I don't think is coming across the right way suddenly before my brain can catch up to what is happening I'm typing another message to explain what I meant instead. It's a terribly vicious cycle.

 Another word moment for me is when I am approached with news. Being the wife of someone in ministry I am brought lots of news. Good news, bad news, and in between news. Sometimes the words come so smoothly out of my mouth and I can only give God the credit for that because on my own I'm a rambling fool. I know what to say when someone tells me "I got engaged", "we're having a baby", "I accepted the Lord into my life" all such exciting jump for joy moments that I think even when something like "wow" or in a very unenthusiastic voice "that's great" comes out of my mouth it's covered by the other persons excitement. It's the times when I am approached and I can already read on their faces the news is not great, suddenly I am stumbling over my words. I want to be encouraging, I want to speak life into people, but I'm left with the deer in headlights, jaw hanging open shocked look on my face with no words, or at least none that make sense.

What do you say to your best friend that tells you she has cancer? My heart breaks so quickly that I feel like I can't breathe. I can't even imagine what she may be going through but my body is going through such shock that I just can't process what may come out of my mouth and for a moment I become selfish because I start to run through all the things that will come with this. I hate that my natural instinct is to start imagining all the ways this would affect me. It was a moment when I really discovered how important she was to me I NEED her she can't be sick. Suddenly I forget that this has nothing to do with me but everything to do with someone I love and care for deeply. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

Which brings me to  my family(which by the way is not the answer to "what is wrong with me" that was more of a rhetorical question) who I'm afraid get the worst of these crazy ramblings and words that come out of my mouth before I can stop them. Once those words leave my mouth there is no erasing them. I am ashamed of some of the things I have spoken to my husband. Words that are meant to tear down and not lift up. I am disappointed in some words that have come out of my mouth directed at my children. Spoken out of anger or frustration. I pray that I have not done permanent damage to them. They are such a blessing to me and I would never want them to feel any less.

What I am learning especially in the ministry is that words are so important. I want to be wise with my words. I want to be uplifting with my words. I know that we can apologize and ask for forgiveness but once those words have hit the air it's too late. I say this because I have had words spoken to me and over me that still hang with me. Words that I have let define me. What is so precious about words is that they have this powerful ability to make someone feel special, appreciated, LOVED but they also have the opposite affect and can make someone feel unappreciated, insignificant, and UNLOVED.

I want to speak life and love into people.
 God,
 give me the words to speak, give me the courage to speak them, and the knowledge to know when to speak them. Take away my selfishness and help me to see what is important. Help me to know when my mouth should close and silence is best. Thank you God for loving me and my mouth!
                         Amen

"and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE." 
                                                                                     1 Corinthians 13:13


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

10 Years

I feel it's important to report that I have now been married for 10 years. In 10 years we have had lived in 4 states, moved 7 times, had 5 cars, 2 dogs, and most importantly had 4 beautiful amazing children. I am so blessed.
 
 
Just so very blessed
 
 
 
God is so good! Happy 10 Years!
(should have posted this sooner)
 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Voice of a Pastors Wife

I have recently read a few blogs that have emphasized the point of view of a pastors wife. Giving a church congregation a little insight into what she may go through on a weekly or even daily basis. I really enjoyed reading them and could relate to about 90% of what was said.

In recent days, months, years, I have experienced the highs and lows of being a pastors wife, so I thought why not!! I'll throw my two cents in. I'm hoping this will serve two purposes, one being that this is an outlet for me to express what I am feeling and I certainly am not here to rant and complain about how miserably hard my life is because when it comes down to it there is not one thing I would change about my life. (Remember that as you continue to read NOT ONE THING) My other purpose is to maybe encourage a few of us to be more conscious of what comes out of our mouths. I would say  most of what I write applies to all of us at some point or another. I've got a good twelve years under my belt, while some may feel that's just the beginning and it probably is, I feel I've had plenty of experiences to share my point of view.


STOP COMPARING US TO YOUR PREVIOUS PASTORS WIFE!
Did you hear me?? We are not going to be the same. I will not do the same things that your previous pastors wife did. My husband and I recently had a conversation with our daughter about how everyone is different, that we all think, act, and look differently. If we were all the same this world would be boring! Yes I think it's fair to have certain expectations of your pastors wife. For example, does she love her husband, does she support him in his ministry, is she a loving mother, does she show you kindness and love? Those are all great things to expect in a pastors wife. This actually can apply to your pastor as well. There is nothing more frustrating than to hear "well our last pastor did it this way". God saw fit to bring us to where we are so trust that we are working according to God's plan.

GOSSIP:
Ugh! Where do I begin?? This is the worst, I admit is such a sneaky little creature, I can get tangled in it's crazy little web so quickly without even knowing. I have seen this destroy lives, and destroy churches. It's not pretty, so STOP IT! Do not try to disguise it by using the phrase "we need to pray for..." adding the word pray does not make it free of gossip. Did you know that we can pray for someone and not have to hear every detail of their current situation and past situation that got them to their current situation? SHOCKING!

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Do you know that when you say things in front of other church members about your pastor or pastors wife two things usually happen.
1. It will eventually get back to the pastor.
2. You will have caused serious damage to your pastors wife.
I want to focus on that second one because this I have great experience in. My heart has so many wounds from people who claim they were giving "constructive criticism" or "just speaking in a moment of frustration". I do not claim that pastors wives are the only ones to experience this I'm just merely stating what I have been through. It may all be in my head but I feel that we are looked at as though we should have this magical ability to just let all of that roll off our shoulders. Those are the wounds that stay around, those are the wounds that satan will use to attack your pastors wife. So not only have your words caused damage but you have just given the devil some ammo to use. I know that there will be moments when you will be disappointed in me or my husband, that you won't always agree with what we choose to do. I would just ask that instead of participating in the gossip web go straight to the source of your frustration. Come to us. We want to talk to you.

TRUST
I feel like we are on some sort of covert operation where the instructions are:
1. Love Everyone
2. Trust No One
Do you know how hard it is to find friends when you are in the ministry?? I mean truly good faithful trusting friends. Ones that take you as you are knowing that you are human and are sinful by nature. Ones that know and clearly understand that just because you are the pastors wife does not mean that you have got it all together. It can be a lonely road. It's not a fun experience when you find that someone you had shared and opened up to was suddenly sharing your struggles with fellow church members.

 We have been very blessed and have found very good friends who have been loving, understanding and I would even call them cheerleaders in our lives that have cheered us on even through the lows.

DAILY LIFE:
I'm just going to point out that my husband does not sit around in his office all day reading books, playing video games, and just having a good 'ole time. I'm not sure what people think but I get the impression when talking to some, that they are under the assumption that my husbands job is easy and restful.
There are some days when I'm pretty sure that he has spoken to church members, complete strangers and crazy people who just walk in randomly to sell something more than he has spoken to his wife. It's not easy sharing my husband with you all.
One of the things I read in a blog about pastors wives was that they sometimes feel like a single mother on Sundays. Just this mothers day our youngest son woke up with a fever. Unfortunately it's not really an option for daddy to stay home with his sick boy. (maybe that was a bad example because I have to admit staying home for some baby snuggles is pretty awesome) It is however a stressful situation when your son refuses to go into the nursery and you have to drag him out screaming in the middle of a service. Those are the moments I would most like to have "daddy" to take care of it. Sundays are sometimes my least favorite days because those are one of the days where you get to see and hear more from my husband than I do.

The life of a pastors wife is not an easy one. We face criticism not only on ourselves but we hear it about our husband and even our children. We hold in our thoughts and feelings for fear of causing hurt feelings. We walk a lonely road at times and most likely when the church is going through major blessings your pastors family is going through battles. Satan would love nothing more than to destroy a church and there is no greater way than to creep into the lives of your leaders. Just make sure you're not giving him any extra ammo!!
 Words hurt!
"sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me"
I'd rather be hit with sticks and stones.