Thursday, March 14, 2013

I am SO sorry.

Life is going by so fast now it is a blur! Crew is almost 18 months. He is a joy. He and his sister are very competitive. They are cut out of a different mold than their older brothers. Hope says, "NO MA-AM, Crew-buddy!" about 200 times a day. She also says "whobody" like "anybody or somebody". It took me a while to figure out what she was saying when she would say "Whobody put that there?". She also calls a coat a "coke". "Mommy, put your coke on". It is all so fun. I don't want to forget any of it.

Crew calls all of his brothers "Bubba". He has the cutest big baby teeth EVER. He loves to snuggle his head into my neck. He says "juice, cracker, momma, dadda, and bubba". That's about it.
Hope is getting sweeter. It is a process. Just like with all of us. :) I am learning not to stereotype my children. I am thankful God doesn't do that to me. If someone would have labeled me for life while I was in high school, that would have been a disaster. God has radically transformed me since then. Praise God that He sees us through the lens of Christ and sanctification! I was a total mess when I entered into God's family. Yet, He has loved me, cleaned me, changed me, forgiven me, believed in me for almost 17 years now. It has been my heavenly Father's unconditional love, grace, and acceptance that have been the greatest motivators in my spiritual life.
I pray I can do that with my children... no matter what season they go through. I want to LABEL them as God does- His children whom He loves. A love not based on their performance, weaknesses, and failures. 
A love that hopes all things, believes all things, and never fails. A love that cheers, comforts, teaches, models, 
and is PATIENT.

Hope used to be a no-touch kind-of-kid. She really didn't want to hold my hand or rock or anything like that. Now, she hugs me while we are eating dinner. And, tells me she loves me all day long. That is a miracle.
God is changing her and He is changing me. 
In fact, she has been coloring for the last hour and a half???
Holding still and entertaining herself is new... 
as of tonight. :)
I love how God pursues our hearts, showers us with His love, and invites us into relationship with Him.
It is cool to watch Him do that in  MY LIFE and the lives of each of my children.
The way God parents me and the way I watch Him parent my children teaches me a TON in parenting. 
He is gentle, slow to anger, kind, & abounding in love.

I wish I had more time to write. This is my journal and there are some BIG gaps in my "journal" now because (as Tim says) we wake up behind the giant snow ball chasing us. It is so true.
 I am also a little freaked out about blogging because of some super creepy situations in my life that are a result of my life being public. :( 

I used to blog while the children were sleeping. Now, I am teaching the boys the Word during that time. 
Tim and I know we are so far in over our heads that the snow ball is going to eat us alive unless we are praying while we are outrunning it. Every second is invested into these children yet there aren't enough seconds in a day!
So, we lay our efforts down at the end of the day believing SOME HOW, SOME WAY God is going to work all of our parenting screw-ups together for good.
We found out in the last few weeks that my dad has cancer. They found it when they removed his gall bladder. It has been a roller coaster... a nightmare. Yet, God has been there stabilizing our family through all the high highs (of thinking they were able to remove it all) to the low lows (of finding out later that they weren't). It is a journey. I am proud of my mom and dad though. This trial has proved their faith genuine. My mom is so beautiful and full of grace as she walks this unwanted path with my dad. 
We are praying and believing that God can heal dad completely. 
He has the authority in all of our lives. He gives each of us life and breath. He knows the exact number of hairs on our heads and the number of breaths we will take until we see Him face-to-face. 
He is the giver of life. That brings comfort. 
It is not fun to be away from family during something like this. If you live near your family, thank God for that precious gift tonight!! It is sad to live away from family.
We went to the mountains for Lake's birthday. I love celebrating his birthday because God has saved his life multiple times. Most of you know he has had some life-threatening asthma attacks. God heard our cries and pulled him back from the grave. I believe it with all my heart. While we were at the cabin, we read Psalm 30. It reminds me so much of Lake...
"I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me.
You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you restored my health.
You brought me up from the grave,  O LORD.
You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
 Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones!
Praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning...
 I cried out to you, O LORD.
I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
 “What will you gain if I die,
if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
Can it tell of your faithfulness?
 Hear me, LORD, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O LORD.”
 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!"

That is Lake on the tube. You can hardly see him. LOL. You had to be 6 to ride by yourself. He had been 6 for about 32 minutes. We had a blast. I am realizing that going on overnight trips are exhausting because of packing for 7 people for one night, unpacking at the place we stay, re-packing, and then un-packing when we get home. 
Ugghhhh. I get tired remembering!

I was wondering what in the world we had done when Hope was sleeping on my head in a King Size bed and Crew was sleeping in a pac-n-play in my bathroom. I had to go the bathroom so bad but I couldn't and there was a little person sleeping on my head.
But, at the same time, I didn't want to be anywhere else in the world!

This afternoon, I took all my kids into Home Depot. I don't do that often but I was determined to find some cute new planters for my front porch. We just painted our house. It is SO cute. I will post pictures. So, I wanted to see if they had any planters that would look great with the new colors. Usually when I take all 5 kids out with me, I get stares, smiles, questions, etc... I always get "Are these all yours?" or "Wow, you have your hands full". I am used to that. But, I wasn't used to what happened today. A lady working there looked at us and then looked at me and said,
"I am so sorry". 

I was taken aback by this one. I didn't say anything. I just smiled. My heart hurt.
Mainly because I hoped my children hadn't heard her.
Secondly, because of the attitude in our culture toward children and large families. 
Now, having a large family is hard so if she is sorry for how hard I have to work, I appreciate the sympathy but this is what I have been called to do. Just as a missionary is called to a far-away-land. They don't do it because they are comfortable or because it is going to be loads of fun. They do it because it is God's calling on their lives! Sure, it is a sacrifice. But, the reward outweighs the sacrifice by a thousand, million, trillion!
My dear missionary friend who has served in Ukraine for the last 8 years reminded me that, as mothers, we truly are called to a foreign land where we have to learn to speak the language of little ones, the new culture, and how to reach hearts.
Sometimes it really does feel like I live in another country... or another planet even. :)

We follow the Lord, not man.
Having lots of children definitely gives me the opportunity to share Christ in ways I never would have been able to before. We are very peculiar ????when we go out in public.
I think it is not only because of all the children but because we actually,

Today was a good opportunity to put into practice what I preach to my kids.
I tell them all the time...
"You are not normal. 
You will never be 'normal'. 
Who wants to be normal anyway?
You are set apart by God."
I often tell myself that. :)
Some days, I feel particularly peculiar. Today was one of those days.
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should shew forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light"
1 Peter 2:9

Our home is wonderful. It is full of laughter, music, friendships, love, joy, meals around the table, Bible Study, etc... Is it perfect? No way.
The kids get in trouble. They get SICK. (I have one with strep and one with a double ear infection right now).
Tim and I don't always see eye-to-eye. In fact, I am pretty sure I am on his last nerve this week. :) But, God is here with us. Helping us, teaching us, correcting us, uniting us, forgiving us! 

I just bought a dinner bell for the kitchen. It is SO fun. It makes me think of this verse...

"For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness."

Ps 107:9

It also makes me think of when we hear the trumpet and are called to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb! Wow, I cannot wait to hear that sound!!! If the boys are upstairs or outside, they have to be listening for the sound of the bell. I think that is such a fun parallel of how we are waiting and watching for the return of Christ! When that trumpet sounds, we are headed to the DINNER OF ALL DINNERS!!

"Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" And he added, "These are the true words of God."
Rev 19:9
Tonight after dinner, Tim read the story of Samson to the boys. We have so enjoyed watching the Bible Series on Sunday nights and re-reading the stories. The boys were mesmerized by every word. The lion and the honey, the foxes, the strength, the CRAZY girls!!!!

I really don't need the lady at Home Depot to feel sorry for me. I have found a world that is so rich, so safe, and so blessed. Is it hard? Yes. It is. Some days, I feel like I am drowning. Most days I feel like I am failing. But, by God's grace, we don't go under and God gives me tiny glimpses of hope so that I won't give up.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts."
Zec 4:6

"I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace."

Is 54:13

Here are a bunch of pictures off my phone. I just figured out how to get them on the computer.
(I know, it is sad how long it takes me to actually sit down and do it.)

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."
Rev 3:10


Anonymous said...

great journal entry :) amen to yes we are not normal, in the good kind a way too. I smile 'cause I too have always told my kids, "Who wants to be normal? how boring is that?" In fact just tonight the kids were talking about that very thing at the table. You have a beautiful family and every time I see pics of them all together, it reminds me of our fam when we had five just in that order. WOnderful crazy days. prayin' for your dad.

Anonymous said...

You are beautiful, Stephanie. Your words fill me with joy, inspiration and a heart full of The Lord.
May God bless you and keep you.
I am praying for your protection.
Mary T

Anonymous said...

Love this post! I miss reading about your love for Christ and your beautiful family.
I will definitely be praying for your dad!