Thursday, July 9, 2015

Together or Separate?

One night last week, a storm rained out baseball games and everything was canceled. It was our first chance for a date in ages so we jumped on the opportunity.
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Tim and I are busting our rears during all-star baseball season. There is no extra time. We have one night off a week. The rest of the nights, we are at the ball fields with the boys. The little ones LOVE being there. They play in the dirt, play with friends, or play on the playgrounds. Most moms would not enjoy this but (most of the time) I do. Some days I burn out and wonder why in the world we have committed to such a time-consuming activity. Because I grew up playing ball, I feel "at home" at the ball fields.
We are praying about "balance". How much do you invest into sports? How much really matters?
We lean heavy on sports because we homeschool. We feel like it is such a good way to smooth some of the rough edges in our kids. It exposes character issues and really helps develop areas we can't develop at home. Some of our kids are more naturally athletic than others. Some have to really WORK at what comes naturally to others. One of our children is learning way more about perseverance and attitude than baseball. He (probably) won't be a college baseball player but this is his PE class. We choose one sport of the kids to play every season and it is their PE class. They don't have to love it. They just have to try and learn the sport.  So far, we have been able to keep everyone (pretty much) together in REC sports. Reece is about to age out of REC though. I don't know what we will do after that. We just take it one day at a time. I have asked the Lord to show us the way to go when we come to a fork in the road.  His Word truly is a lamp unto our feet. Not a flashlight. A LAMP. He gives us the light we need when we need it. 
People ask us if we are going to homeschool all the way. I have no idea. Not sure what God has for the kids. Our goal is to follow the Lord. BUT, teaching the kids at home has been a TREMENDOUS blessing. I love having the children home and together. I am thankful I don't have to share them yet. 
How could I ever regret spending so much time with them? 
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Back to my story about our date. We went out to get sushi. We are always evaluating everything going on in our lives and trying to figure out if what we are doing is best. Tim takes discipleship VERY seriously.  Our life has really hit a new gear. We live a very fast-paced life. (sometimes too fast... I just got a hefty speeding ticket!). If we aren't constantly evaluating and hearing from the Lord, we can get on the wrong path and swallowed up by it. Tim says we live in a BLENDER. That's what it feels like sometimes if we aren't seeking first the Kingdom and letting Him add all of the other things! The "other things" can creep in and take over if you aren't careful. The Kingdom has to have priority. 
Our marriage has to have priority too. I haven't been wearing my wedding ring much lately because I clap and cheer so hard at the baseball fields, that it hurts my hands. :) I didn't have it on during our date so I guess the waitress was trying to figure out if we went together. Tim had a wedding band on. I didn't. So, she came to the table and said... 
"TOGETHER OR SEPARATE?".
My heart seriously dropped into my stomach. Tim winked at me and said, "separate". He thought that was so funny. Then he said, "TOGETHER".
I held his hand as we walked out of the restaurant and said, "together. we are TOGETHER."
That was actually a good question though. How many couples can answer that question with "together". Tim and I have been through tough seasons and have felt "separate". Maybe that is why that question hit me so hard. 
We are committed to fight for ONENESS.... or what I call TWO-GETHERNESS.
Praise God we are "TOGETHER". 
Fight for it. Only God can make two people one. He does it by the power of His Spirit. Through spending time together with Him... in His Word and in prayer as a couple. The intimacy the entire world is looking for is found only through Jesus Christ. 
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Today is Tim's birthday. I won't say how old he is but he looks about 28. :) I looked over at him in the van the other day and I noticed some new wrinkles around his eyes. The funny thing was that I noticed the same wrinkles around my eyes. It occurred to me that we really are growing old together. 
We have fought the same battles, cried the same tears, laughed at the same things, worried about the same spiritual attacks against our marriage and family, played together out in the sun, etc... We truly have been TOGETHER. Even our wrinkles are looking the same. I think Tim is aging better than me. He is a TOTAL HUNK. I worry that the level of trials I have gone through during the last few years has made me look and feel 100 years old. BUT, I think if you take them to the Lord and let Him carry the load, you become more beautiful. I hope that is the case. I still feel 100.
I surprised Tim and took him to the place where we used to go when we were dating. We didn't date long but during those 3 months, we would get turkey sandwiches and drive up on a local mountain and sit at a picnic table. We hadn't been there in years. I went to the same place and got two turkey sandwiches and we drove up there.
We both just started crying. Tim prayed before we ate and said, "I am just overwhelmed by the life you have given me, Lord". It's true. That is how we both feel. We are fighting the good fight and by God's grace... keeping the faith. We never dreamed (when we sat at that picnic table all those years ago) that God would give us 6 children and let us participate in such an adventure with Him.

I couldn't even get the words out to tell Tim how much I love him. I will keep that part of our conversation private.
**I'm still not even sure why I blog all this personal stuff but I like to journal to remember. It helps me clear space in my mind, re-focus, and not forget what God is doing/has done in our lives. And, maybe just maybe it can encourage someone!

I am so grateful God has given me a front-row seat to Tim's life. As his wife, I have been given a VIP pass forever. I get to know him like know one else does. He isn't a social-media guy. He just pours into his family. We get to watch him and know him and I am so so thankful. Praise God I get to be the girl who holds his hand. By the way, holding Tim's hand is still as exciting as it was the first time. God has kept our love ALIVE and fresh. Christ pours His love into our hearts! Marriage does not have to get stale. Don't let it!! Ask for a fresh outpouring of love for your spouse!

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Rom 5:5
I have watched Tim do so many courageous things behind-the-scenes over the years. Things that have required deep humility and courage. He is a spiritual giant to me.
I watch him fight for us and for the children. He follows hard after God, not the culture. He loves me WELL. I told him that I hope this is the best year of his life during lunch. 
He said, "it already is".
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The children are growing up.
Reece is almost 12. He hit an out-of-the-park homerun this season. He loves UT football. He is an excellent leader. He is starting to blush about things that didn't used to bother him when girls are around. He is becoming a young man before our eyes. The boys are truly Tim's best friends. Tim would rather be with them than anybody. Reece loves to joke with me and turn my seat warmer on while I am driving home from a ball game in 115 degree heat. I figure it out when my rump is ROASTING! He thinks it is funny every time. I get him too. :)
He has wisdom. He is predictable. He is steadfast.
One of the scariest moments of my life happened not long ago when I was on my way from Lake's baseball game to Reece's game. I had gotten a text from Tim that said "Reece is on deck". (That means he is about to bat). Then I got a call from a mom telling me that Reece had been injured severely and that I needed to pray and head to the hospital. I did not know if he was conscious. I did not know if he was dying. I was driving and praying with all my heart. It was terrible.
When I FINALLY got to him, I find out that he had gotten hit by a foul off of his own bat. It hit him in the eye. I rushed him to the ER where he had a CT scan and praise God nothing was broken. In those minutes of not knowing how badly he was hurt, my heart and love for him grew 1,000 times stronger. Funny how God can do that. God truly gives us more and more love. Thank you Lord for protecting my "baby"...








Evan is right behind him. He is funny. He makes me laugh so hard when I am driving, I have to tell him to stop because I am afraid I will wreck. He gets me so cracked up I can't breathe or open my eyes. He loves music. He is very creative. He loves Matthew West. He can draw or create anything in his imagination. He is a reader. He reads Christian fiction books faster than I can buy them. I think he will be a song-writer/musician. It comes easy to him. He is a beautiful child. I love his two beauty marks around his mouth.
Art and Music are very easy and natural for him. He has to work HARD at sports. He can do it but he has to practice hard. He looks like Tim and is wired like me. Our personalities are similar and so are our giftings. I named him Evan for "EVANgelist". How I pray that is how God uses his life.  He is doing school with Reece so he is ahead. They both have a built-in encourager/accountability partner. What a GIFT! When I was chasing two baby boys at the same time, I had no idea how precious their relationship with each other with be.
"Bubba" (I will always call him that) is my homebody. He loves being home. I'm glad because I love having him home. Homeschool is a dream-come-true for him. He would never choose to leave home to go to school.
He is witty (which gets him in trouble a lot). I pray that God uses his quick tongue for telling others about the Lord. I tell him often that we can use our tongues to bring life or death. Choose life.
He is a beautiful child. I love him so so much.



video


Lake has more joy than ever. He is playing baseball this summer too. He has shocked us at his ability. Tim worried he didn't invest the time into him like with the older two but he is doing great! His laughter and his worship fills our home. He is out-going and friendly. He just loves life. I wish I had his attitude. His health gets stronger every year. He still deals with asthma/allergies. He is cute as a button. His top two teeth are coming in.  His adult teeth are 5 times bigger than his baby teeth! 
His joy changes the environment in our home. He laughs all the time. God knit together a WONDERFUL ball of joy, when He put Lake together in the secret place! I wish he didn't have health trials but I have told him that in our weakness, God is STRONG. I have asked God to fill Lake's lungs with worship. 
He has done that.


My darling Hope is just a treasure. She is FUN. She is confident. She knows who she is. She loves people. I joke she was born in a LOCKER ROOM. She and I live with a lot of boy stuff. It's what we know and what we are used to. I thought it was (kind of) funny the other day when I lost her at the ball fields. I started to worry when someone said, "she is sitting on the bench".
She is definitely our little fire cracker.
We can't wait to see how God uses her!

She loves to go to weddings with me. I get to go to not-only-weddings but FAIRYTALES often because of the ministry God has allowed me to be a part of. I can't tell you how many fairytales I have seen God write for girls who love Him and wait on Him.
She takes in every detail of the wedding. On our way home, she said... "you know how the bride has her best friends stand up in front at her wedding. I want you to do that at mine."
That was the most beautiful thing I think she has ever said to me.
I said, "If you want me up there, I will be there!".
I would love to be her maid-of-honor. 
I pray God blesses us with that type of relationship.
I believe those mother-daughter relationships exist through the Spirit!
Hope is lovely.
She isn't perfect. She is still being sanctified (like all of us). But she is different since receiving salvation. 

 Crew is an interesting little kid. He is the most "natural" athlete of the bunch. He loves BALL. He wears batting gloves or a batting helmet all the time. He wears cleats all the time. He has loved all this stuff since he was tiny. He used to walk around with my oven mits on his hand and we didn't know why until we figured it out... he thought it was a glove! He loves being stuck at the ball fields for 10-12 hours at a time. He WATCHES. He was watching the catcher on Reece's team. He was in a trance when I looked at him and he said, "I can't wait to wear all that stuff". He is hysterical. He will have nothing to do with cute Boden clothes or anything other than "sporty". He says it's "for babies" when I suggest he wear it when his sporty clothes are dirty. I am telling you, it's just his NATURE. I didn't put it in there. God did. The funny thing is that he is our most timid/fearful child. He is scared of his own shadow. He is terrified of thunder yet he can't wait to be a baseball catcher. Isn't God fun when he puts people together?

I worry that I won't have the time to invest in him (and the other little ones) like I did with the older ones. We just have to be INTENTIONAL or it won't happen. If there is down time in our house, we are studying the Word.
God, help me teach these little ones about You!
Renew my strength!!
My prayer is that Crew will proclaim Jesus' return like John the Baptist did. I believe he is living in the generation that will usher in the coming of Christ. I am so proud of Crew. He takes his Bible to Church! I didn't even know that until I saw him there with it! You know you are in a good Church when your 3 year old remembers to take his Bible!


Our little caboose, Rhett, is 20 months old! He is strong. God made him strong. I call him "little Samson". He doesn't say a lot of words but he talks in baby language constantly. He did say BIBLE today which made me so PROUD. Some people might think he is saying "bubble" but I know exactly what he is saying... "BIBLE"! Nice job, baby!
Rhett is on the go a lot. He spends quite a bit of time at the ball field. :) He and Crew both seem to like it though. He is a rough little boy. Rougher than any of his older brothers. 
He really seems to be wild-at-heart. 
I have a lot of work on my hands with this sweet one. 
I love his spunk. He is funny. He loves balls. He and Crew are going to have a FUN life together playing ball.
He doesn't trust people. He gives people dirty looks if he even THINKS they may want to hold him.
He still drinks goat milk because his little tummy can't handle cow milk.
He is off his reflux meds, praise God! 
He looks like Tim and Hope to me.
He is one of my "evens" so it makes sense that he looks like Tim/Hope/Evan.
So far... Tim's DNA won with the evens.
Mine won with the odds (maybe we need a tie breaker baby!! :).
I believe God has given Rhett supernatural strength. 
How I pray he uses it for God's glory!
 "We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. 
May you be filled with joy,  always thanking the Father."
Col 1:11,12









Motherhood- what an amazing adventure.
Thank you, God, for letting me be a mother.

Be Blessed~
Steph

1 comment:

Kim said...

Dear Steph,
I always seem to stop by your blog the day after you post.:) I have commented before on what an encouragement you are to me. My children (3 boys) are grown and I wish I had been more faithful in teaching them scriptures while they were young. But I do know God is faithful and trust that he will use what little has been shown and taught to them for His glory. You have a beautiful family! God bless!
Kim