Sunday, November 3, 2013

“Now Strengthen My Hands”

Life is going on (almost) as normal around here. 
School, football, soccer, cheerleading, ballet, etc...
Rhett is going learning to *go with the flow* because he was born into a flow of people. He is a sweet baby. He is up every 3 hours in the night but that is doable for me. It is the babies that are up every hour that send me over the edge. I am still not "normal" though. I get a lot of anxiety after I have a baby. And, rightly so. I know I am not sharp.  I am so scared I am going to forget something.. like a child! 
I am constantly counting heads. When we get in the van, I can count by 2s now so that is a little easier. "2, 4, 6?"... "yes, we are all here, mom. You have counted like 10 times now."  But, it gets a little trickier when we split up and I can't count all 6 heads. I have to reassure myself over and over that Tim has 2 and I have 4. Or, Tim has 3 at football and I have 3 at home. It is maddening. Not to mention, I have crazy anxiety after I have a baby and worry about the weirdest things EVER. Like, how I am going to get all my kids in one spot if there is an earthquake??? Seriously...I was going over that one in my head the other day. I just feel so scattered and half asleep. I think I have been like that for the last 11 years but it peaks after baby. 
A lot of people say, "I don't know how you do it". Well, ME NEITHER. All I know is God chooses *the least-likely-to-succeed* and empowers them to do the impossible. I am fully aware 100% of the time that apart from Him, I can do nothing. 
Yesterday the verse I kept praying was "Strengthen the work of my hands, Lord". I prayed it over and over.
I worked my tail off cleaning, doing laundry, homeschooling, teaching Bible, nursing a baby, changing diapers, cooking, going to football and cheerleading, and putting people in bed. This season is intense yet so wonderful at the same time.
As I have said before, Tim is unusually helpful. He is unusually involved. He is a HUGE part of 
"how I do it".  
He vividly remembers how lonely he was until we met when he was 28, so he has a thankful heart for our big family. He tells me how he remembers cleaning his one dish for all those years and he would trade it for the 100 he washes every night any day. 
I think God allowed him to be single for all those years to prepare him for us. ;)
"God sets the lonely in families"
Ps 68:6
(He prayed that God would give him a family and God did!!! Exceedingly and abundantly more than he may have asked... lol)

Even though this season is hard, Psalm 1 says that we can produce fruit every season and that our leaves don't have to wither.

"But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither"

How did "THEY do it"? 
They are soaking in the Word! 
I would suggest that our hardest seasons are probably our most fruitful because we recognize our utter and complete dependence.
I think the most difficult realization for me after I had my 6th baby was when it hit me,
We don't have family here. 
It is me and Tim. 
That's it.
He sent me a text the other day that said..
"It is just u n me"
(Well, I do have my amazing lady who comes every Tuesday morning to help me do laundry and regain a little order in my home AND our wonderful Sunday School class has been bringing us food every other night since baby was born!!!)
But, every day, it is ME by myself juggling 258 balls.
But, I don't even know how to juggle 2 balls! 

It is interesting how many times God has to teach me the same lesson over and over.
He had just taught me 2 weeks ago that He was the only one to help me during delivery. Now, He has to teach me the same truth again. He was THERE when Rhett was born and he is THERE with me now. 
Not only did I need to learn that when I was birthing a baby. Now, the Lord will daily have to remind me that HE IS THE ONE WHO WILL HELP care for the children after they are born.
He has really arranged my life so that He would continue to be my "true vine". I am so prone to cling to other vines so He does me a favor and doesn't give me that option. He has kept it really simple for me to stay close to Him instead of clinging to anything else.  Jesus is my true source of life and help. And one AWESOME part about God being your "help" is that He is EVER-PRESENT!!! He doesn't drop in and then go back home... He is always available. 
He doesn't even sleep!!! He is helping me all day and ALL NIGHT.

"I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me."
Ps 118:13

"With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall."
Ps 18:29

"God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day."
Ps 46:5

"The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged."
Ps 69:32

As hard and overwhelming as my life is these days, God is encouraging me to keep going. I just told someone the other day that one of the main things that keeps me going is that GOD believes in me or He wouldn't have called me to this. If He believes in me, I will be able to do it
I definitely don't "believe in myself" (those kids books drive me crazy). I can't do this. But Christ in me and and through me can and He can do a GREAT job.

I have been struggling so much lately with feeling defeated. I don't know if it is hormones, sleep-deprivation, the enemy or what but the smallest things can make me feel like a total failure. Like when I can't braid Hope's hair in cute braids for cheerleading. Or that it takes me 5 times longer than the average mom to clean my kitchen.  Or the fact that I have big dark circles around my eyes and smell like rotten milk from nursing through the night. I have been short with my kids because I am so tired. 
So, I was standing in my kitchen with all these defeated thoughts consuming me when I decided I would very nervously ask my kids what they saw. I asked the one who would tell me the truth. I braced myself for his answer... knowing I deserved a bad response.
"Honey, what 2 words to you think of when you think of momma?"
I thought he would say... "mean and ugly". Seriously. That is how I have been.
He said, "...ummmm.... beautiful and loving".
Tears came to my eyes and the thoughts were stopped by the sound of an 8 year old little boy's voice.
I realized then that the grace that God gives us for our children, He also gives them for us. 
And, words are powerful. 
That is why we need to know God's Words toward us. To undo the lies of despair and defeat that the enemy constantly whispers.
Now, at the same time, I am asking God to CHANGE ME, MOLD ME, and HELP ME be beautiful and loving and to ESTABLISH THE WORK OF MY HANDS.

"And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands."
Ps 90:17

I want my boys to think I am beautiful but it will be the BEAUTY of the Lord they see and remember.
And, how I need God's help to establish the work of my hands and to strengthen them!
They are tired. Yet God can establish us and strengthen us, mommas!
"But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
Neh 6:9

 I have been thinking of Moses' parents lately. It tells us in Hebrews that they knew Moses was different-unusual-beautiful-not ordinary  when he was born. 

"By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict."
Heb 11:23

Moses' momma had "spiritual eyes" so that she could see supernatural things. She walked by faith and not sight. She knew God had a calling on her child's life and she was ready to lay down her desires in order to see that calling fulfilled. 
Can you imagine having a baby boy in those days? The days when all baby boys were to be MURDERED? 
But this verse tells us that his parents were NOT afraid???!!

Oh, how  his mom must have loved those 3 months. He was close to her for 3 solid months as she must have constantly nursed him to keep him quiet. I am sure she was tired. But, she sacrificed her life for his. She was called into a walk of great FAITH to trust God with her son's life. At the end of 3 months, she places him in a basket in a river and watches him drift away.  If her postpartum anxiety was anything like mine.... I CANNOT IMAGINE. 
What if the basket sinks? What if a crocodile is in that water? What if he is hungry? What about an earthquake? :) 

Yet, it was part of the story God was writing for Moses. It was the way God had chosen for this not-ordinary child. It was a harder way. It was a scary way. It demanded FAITH.
How I can relate as I raise my children. I want to have spiritual eyes. I want to be able to see that EACH one of my children are "different-unusual-beautiful-not ordinary". We all are! We are all made in the very image of God with gifts, talents, and unique callings. What if we BELIEVED as Moses' mom did that our children were born with eternal gifts to change the world. What if we were willing to lay down our lives in order to place them in God's hands and in *the way* He would have them go?
That is my heart's desire. 
"God, help us moms to see our children the way you do. 
Help us to walk by faith and *let them go* in surrender to Your plans for our children." 

I love how it says...
"they saw he was a beautiful child; 
and they were not afraid..."
Heb 11:23

I do not want to be a fearful mother.
Where does this type of faith come from???

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by
the Word of God."
Romans 10:17

If we are going to be mothers who are not afraid, who live by faith, who raise world-changers then we HAVE TO BE IN THE WORD OF GOD.
Reading, memorizing, meditating, having our minds CHANGED...

Listen to how Hebrews 11 speaks of Moses' life...
"It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.  It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.  It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons."

I have to wonder if Moses was changed by his mother's faith and example. I know I was. I remember my mom reading her Bible every morning when I was young. It left a mark on my soul. 
Moses was a man of faith. His mom must have watched and prayed as God used him in such a powerful way... remembering the cost of surrendering her precious baby to God but seeing such a GREAT REWARD.
I tell my children all the time, "You are not normal. You will never be normal. God has a HIGH calling on your life. You are set apart for holy purposes."

I also tell them that Jesus didn't come to be served but to SERVE and to GIVE HIS LIFE AWAY. That we aren't to live for ourselves anymore BUT FOR CHRIST WHO DIED FOR US.

"He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them."
2 Cor 5:15

If you are a mom who does not have a personal relationship with Christ, today is the day of salvation. Believe on the name of Jesus Christ and be saved. He loves you and offers you forgiveness yet you have to receive it by faith. You cannot lead your kids somewhere you aren't. God will teach you how to teach them. 
Cry out to God. 
No more games or pretending. 
Get alone with the Lord and tell Him the TRUTH about your sin.
He can forgive you, make you whole, and place His Spirit in you. 
You will know you are going to heaven and you will become a new creation as He removes your sins from you as far as the east is from the west. Turn from your sin and turn toward Christ today. May today be your *spiritual birthday*. Jesus told Nicodemus we MUST be born AGAIN. I just celebrated my spiritual birthday on Nov 1. 18 years ago, God changed me from the inside out. I received the great salvation He offered and said YES to come away with Him into the greatest love story ever told. God loves you. 
He is pursuing you. 
RESPOND to His love.
"This is real love—not that we loved God, 
but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins."
1 John 4:10


I hope I never give the impression that raising 6 children is EASY. 
It isn't. 
If I didn't have the Lord helping me, I would collapse under the weight of it all. Yet, His Word and His love keep giving me the strength I need. And, I will continue to keep my eyes on the One Who is invisible. 
(isn't the Christian life wild? We are to keep our eyes on the Invisible!!??) 
"He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible."
Heb 11:27

Be Blessed~

Real world when trying to get a picture of all 6...


Mom to 3 said...

Thank you Steph for the update, and for the sharing the lessons that God is teaching you about motherhood. i hope you have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate every word you write and share. THANK YOU.


Unknown said...

That was exactly what I needed to hear- THANK YOU!

Unknown said...

I just plopped down on the sofa in the midst of my busy day and lapped up EVERY word- thank you!