Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"The Whole Thing is Slanted"

I miss blogging. I used to have time to blog when the boys were little and all napped at the same time. I don't have time like that any more. Our whole day is FULL. Full of life. Full of learning. Full of love.
We got hit again with a terrible winter illness. Last night I was up with 3 very sick ones all night long. It was awful. Crew has RSV again (grrrrrrrrrrrrrr) and wants me to hold him all the time so he was screaming every time I would try and put him down... to help Hope who had a very high fever and was crying for me. I got them both settled for what seemed like 5 minutes when I heard a little barking seal named Lake at the bottom of my bed. We had given him a breathing treatment before bed but it hadn't worked. He has asthma so when he gets croup, it gets extra scary. I immediately sat straight up in bed with my arms reaching out in the dark until I found his little scared body. I just grabbed him and started saying,
"Jesus. Jesus. Jesus."
That is all I knew to do. It was instinctive. Tim says God has rigged marriage and parenting, making it impossible so that it is always SLANTED TOWARD JESUS. Keeping us near Him. Keeping us in prayer and constantly crying out to Him.
The longer I said the Name of my Savior last night, the more peace came. To me and to him. Lake snuggled into bed with us and barked during the night some but I truly believe God heard my cry on behalf of my sick child and intervened. Makes me think of how Jesus is constantly interceding on my behalf.

"Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Romans 8:34

I was up most of the night. It was long. It was hard. I am always happy when the darkness passes and the sun peaks in the window. It is nuts how much worse kid sicknesses get during the night. I think I slept in about 8 different places last night.
Crew loves me A LOT and which is great but he wants to be with me all the time. RSV has thrown everything out of wack. I have slept with him so much during the last couple of months because he keeps getting sick. So, now he thinks that is the norm. He would also nurse ALL DAY and NIGHT if he could. Makes me think of the verse we just taught on in 1 Peter..
"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation"
That is how we all should be with the Word of God! Being nourished and comforted by it AROUND THE CLOCK so we can grow. Nursing all the time makes me starve. I am not making good eating choices because I am so hungry and tired. I just want to eat cereal and more cereal. That isn't good when you don't have time to exercise. I am feeling pretty frumpy these days! But these sweet 5 children are so worth being a little frumpier than usual... and more exhausted than usual. We are called to give our lives away. So, goodbye life! Goodbye being in shape, cute clothes, and trips to the mall. Hello to smelling like spoiled milk and homeschoolng ! I love my world. It is a blessed world. Not glamorous at all.. but so blessed.
My older 2 are doing great in school. I could not have survived without the Abeka DVDs they are using. What a total blessing to me. God knew I needed them. Reece and Evan are like twins... more than that, like Siamese twins. They hurt when the other one hurts. If one gets in trouble, the other cries. They play together from morning till dark. Laughing the day away at each other's jokes. I love their friendship. I love that I don't have to separate them and send them to school. Our children are really close because of the choice we have made to homeschool. I love how the older ones get to see every milestone that the little ones achieve. They cheer for every new word Hope says. They are amazed every time Crew smiles or laughs. We are all together... and I love it.
Having a big family has its hurdles too. Especially since I am not an organized-detailed-structured-homemaker-kind-of-momma. Some moms are naturally better at this than me. 
Involvement in sports is harder because there are so many of us.  Sicknesses are harder because there are so many of us.  Going to my Bible Study on Tuesday morning is hard because there are so many of us.  I am constantly DESPERATE for the Holy Spirit's power in my life because I have been asked to do what I CANNOT do. Meals are getting trickier. The more everyone grows and the hungrier they get, the less I can just "wing it". I want our home to be a place of peace, order, yummy food, and much love. I especially want it to be a place where Tim loves to come home to.  But, even more than that I want my "spiritual house" to be in order. Our houses cannot be in order if our spiritual house is a wreck. I learned a lot about our "spiritual house" when teaching last Sunday. Here is the audio if you want to listen...
"you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house" 1 Peter 2:5 

It is cool how the Holy Spirit will usually show me who needs me the most in our family. It has been Lake... now I think it is Tim. Tim needs me. I need him. Our life is very hectic. Very chaotic with so many little ones. Our friendship can suffer. Tim is a do'er and loves to serve but I don't want him to burn out.
He needs a wife. He needs a helper. I want come behind Him in any way I can to help Him do all God is calling Him to do. He is my first love... after Jesus of course. I tell my kids they are our little love explosions. He is first... they are second.
 I am seeing burnout more often in our friends who are involved in ministry. You can serve yourself right into a breakdown. We need to take Sabbath rests. We need to remember to breathe. We need to remember to love one another deeply from the heart. We need to LAUGH. I have been laughing more lately since praying for God to fill me with inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8). I laughed really hard when my 4 yr old got my i-phone to check the weather the other night and told me it was going to be "moon-y". I said, "what, honey?". He said, "It is going to be moon-y today, mom". I also laughed when my 7 year old was tickling my collar bone and laughing so hard without his front two teeth. I was laughing at him and he was laughing at me...neither one of us could stop! It was glorious. Or when Hope ate something off the bottom of her foot and said, "All gone." Or when she first saw her new kitchen. Or the JUMBO cupcakes I made yesterday...
JOY- inexpressible and glorious joy. It is moments like these that are beautiful to me. I never want to forget them.

 We need to know what is right for OUR families. Letting the Spirit do the work and produce the fruit... while working diligently and tirelessly at the same time.
Balance and Obedience are the keys.
How much ministry?
How much sports?
School vs. Homeschool?
How many date nights?
How much one-on-one time with each child?
How much exercise?
How many children???

I am always fighting to be balanced. The answers must come from the Spirit. There is wisdom and good counsel from other couples who have already walked the road but ultimately the Spirit and our husbands will lead. We are always safe in submission to both. What does God want for YOU for YOUR FAMILY? Not for someone elses?
Lately I have been so tired. I have been doing ministry, parenting, & life on fumes. Working as hard as I can to prepare to teach on 1 Peter.
Lake has been drawing me pictures every day. He works on them forever. He is so proud when he gives them to me and asks me to hang them up. I LOVE his drawings! I love them because he worked so hard and because I love him! His drawings have no "value" but they do to me. That is the image I get in my head these days of my feeble efforts to do something for the Lord. I work really hard preparing to teach and then hand my best effort over to the Lord. Because I love Him. I feel His pleasure in my effort. Not because it has any value but because He knows I love Him and I want to show Him! So, at the end of the day, I imagine myself collapsing from fatigue and handing  my Dad my "colored paper" for the day...whatever it may be. Whether teaching the Word, taking care of kids, loving my husband,  or cleaning my house.
I just hand Him my colored paper...
He smiles and I smile. :)

I LOVE memorizing.
 God's Word gets stuck in my  head like a broken record. Especially when I am up all night. What a blessing to have God's Word playing in your head. The other morning I woke up and the first thought in my head was "you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable... through the LIVING AND ENDURING WORD OF GOD!" How is that for an alarm clock? God's Word really does watch over me while I am sleeping.
"When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you." Prov 6:22
I am more excited about memorizing the Word now than I ever have been. Oh, how I need God's Word to guide me and speak to me and watch over me.

I hear the coughing starting. Ugghhhhhhh. The sun went down.  Here we go again. Gotta run!
"Jesus. Jesus. Jesus"


The Burns said...

Amazing Stephanie! Amazing! Thank you! So, so sorry to hear they are sick :-(

Erin Southwell said...

I broke down crying at the beginning of this. Ok, I'm still crying. You (well Tim!)is so darn right that the whole thing is so hard because it is slanting us toward Him. I am so sick from dawn til sun down and then all night long. I feel like I have nothing to offer my child or my husband and I am just hanging on and praying for the hard part to pass. I was sick until week 22 with Wynn and can't imagine going through this for that much longer. SLANT ME TOWARD YOU, LORD. In the middle of the night, when my nausea is the worst, I lay awake and say 1 Peter. It's like all I have to offer.

I am SO sorry that Crew is sick with RSV again and that Hope and Lake are sick too :( I can't imagine what you are going through. When we both tumble down this slant toward Him, I'll meet you at His feet. Look for me, ok?

Love you Steph.