Rising to the challenge

We had a heck of an evening.  One of those disaster after disaster days when you question whether or not you have done anything right as a mother.   

After several minor sibling problems and other behavior issues brewing amongst several of our children.  Our daughter especially presented us with quite the challenge as her preteen attitiude took rude and disrespectful to an entirely new level.  There have been moments of this attitude here and there but this evening her attitude exploded and crossed many lines.

I will not go into all of the details but reached a point a line was crossed and enough was enough.  It was not quite 6 pm when this situation peaked.  As an immediate consequence her youth activities at church were taken away and she was sent to bed without dinner.  And to bed without being allowed to complete her homework for the evening.  If you know Emily you know that not being allowed to do her homework is devastating.  

All this being done with discussion and further consequences to be given tomorrow.  These are the moments when parenting is at its hardest and most challenging.  Respond don’t react.  Don’t overreact.  I am human, I struggle in the heat of the moment with this concept, but today this situation I kept it together.  Calm face, no raised voices. Success, no yelling or arguing she put herself to bed.  Deep breath and I have time to collect my thoughts and prepare to sit down and discuss this with her tomorrow.  

Several hours later after I chopped up some fresh veggies for salad I slipped into Emily’s room to slip the carrot peels and lettuce heads to her bunnies.  I startled her out of her sleep as I was slipping back out of the room.  Half asleep, eyes closed and she says quietly to me “Mom I love you”.  That’s it, drifts back off to sleep.  

No pleading for getting up out of bed, no justifying her behavior, no apologizing, begging, arguing, just a sweet simple ‘mom I love you’.  

This is the first thought she had when she woke up.  Not angry with me for holding her accountable.  Not trying to get out of consequences.  Just that she loves me.  Oh despite her many flaws I love this girl’s heart.  This sweet heart melting moment does not change her consequences the following day.  She is still held accountable for her words, actions and behaviors.  


But as I lay drifting off to sleep I wonder what if that’s how I responded to God.  When I am dealing with the consequences of my own sin, facing the mess I have created trying to do things in my own strength and not turning to God.  Instead of rationalizing, justifying, complaining and worrying about the discussions of tomorrow.   To just stop and rest and tell the Lord I love Him.  Laying in bed after a day of trials and storms and just say “God I love You.”  How peaceful, simple.  

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”  ‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭


Advertisements

A treasured moment in time.

I am flooded with emotions this week. The last few weeks have certainly been a whirlwind but as I slow down and take in everything that is happening I am overwhelmed with the reality of it all.

Our oldest has turned 14 years old and is graduating 8th grade all in the same week.  Please stop , slow down!  This is too much for this momma’s heart to take in all at once.

Last day of 8th grade😀

 

My letter to you Joshua James on this day, the first day of the rest of your life:

Congratulations my son! You have worked so hard and come so far in your young life already.  I am very proud of everything you have already accomplished and am excited to see what God has planned for you.  You have such a drive and passion that is inspiring to watch you.  Your determination is incredible.  I pray that this continues as you enter high school, this will take you far.

  • When you feel like you are failing and struggling, look to the Lord, He will be with and give you strength and courage.
  • When you achieve goals and great accomplishments, look to the Lord and thank Him.
  • When you feel lost and do not know where you are, look to the Lord, he will guide and direct you.
  • When peer pressure attacks and the world around you is pulling, stand strong and look to the Lord, He will never leave you or forsake you.
  • When you have made a mistake or have a regret, confess to the Lord, He will forgive and He loves you.

You have such a good heart, full of love and compassion. Your faith will be tested over the coming years, the sin of the world all around us is going to pull and call you.  You will be faced with many hard decisions, many challenges in the upcoming season of your life.  You are human and you are young, you will make mistakes along the way.  I pray that when you do it is a learning experience for you and with every mistake you grow closer to the Lord.  Deep down you have such a passion for Jesus and sharing His love with those around you, remember ‘Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed’.  If you remain faithful to the Lord you will be successful in anything you set out to do.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭

I pray as you continue to grow you will use the gifts and talents God has given you.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”                  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:20-21‬

I have been praying for you and I will continue praying for you. I will always be here for you cheering you on.

Joshua always ‘Remember who you are.’

  • You are faithful
  • You are intelligent
  • You are courageous
  • You have a servant’s heart
  • You are determined
  • You are strong
  • You are a beloved warrior of Christ
  • You are adventurous
  • You are compassionate
  • You are generous

You are my first born, you made me a mother. My love for you goes to depths that words cannot adequately describe.  I cherish every moment of your life and I am truly BLESSED to have the awesome privilege of being your mother.  I have loved you unconditionally from the moment I knew you were on your way and I will love you until my last breath.

 

April 29,2017 Nashville TN

Successfully ran his 1st half marathon age 13!!!

1st day of Kindergarten

Passion for soccer since age 3

This smile! 😀😀😀

5th grade chorus

JV cross country during 8th grade

Fall 2016

Letting go…finding complete surrender during difficult times

” If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it you surely will”  Abraham Lincoln

That quote really strikes me deep this morning.  I have been caught in a growing struggle over the last few weeks.  I am facing some unconventional parenting challenges and this has really been especially difficult for me.  These challenges have really left me looking for the bad in my kids and overlooking to good, how true this quote really is.  Shame on me!

After being with their father for 3 weeks of summer my children come home confused and corrupted.  How can I teach them right from wrong when they go spend time with their other parent and learn that wrong is right?  Where are the articles, books and advice columns on facing this challenge!  This puts a whole new spin on parenting and I feel like I am failing. 

I understand that they will be exposed to things of the world and negative influences through their peers at school and in various situations outside my home, and I am prepared to fight those battles.  But when I look at the situation of my children going into their other parents home and are being taught and shown the opposite of the values and morals I am working to instill it feels like a losing battle and I don’t stand a chance.  Where are the self-help books on raising your kids to know Christ and stay in Christ while learning how to be a bully with a potty mouth and how to not believe in God while spending time with their other parent! 

Of course they love their other parent and look up to their father, that’s natural, they want to do and say things that please their father, so they are being taught to please him they should have a potty mouth and treat people disrespectfully and how fun it is to be sinful and live only for yourself at the same time being criticized and ridiculed for believing in God.

I just feel so stuck, I see all of these negative things coming from my kids and have been so focused on ‘undoing’ what has been done.  But that is proven to be wasted time and effort.  I need to regroup and focus on the positive and what I can do, focus on what power and influence I do have and trust God to fight the battle for me.  I realize I have been hanging on…. have not been able to truly let go of this and give it to God.  I know that I need to trust Him, He knows whats best for my kids and He has a plan for me and for them.  I have been praying over my kids but I have been fighting to keep control and have NOT truly surrendered this to God.  This is so much easier said than done to give up control….Lord give me strength.

Today I need to a reminder that God is in control.  God gave me the privilege of being their mother and stepmother because He made me and knows what I am capable of so obviously He has equipped me and will continue to do so to be the best mother and stepmother I can be for our children. 

1- PRAY-PRAY-PRAY and then PRAY some more, constantly be in prayer for over children, constant communication with God.

2-Instill God’s love and law in their hearts, bury it deep, so that when they are being submerged into worldly ways and sins whether it is with the influence of their other parent or kids at school, God’s love and law will be written in their hearts.  God has control over the rest, it is my role to teach them and plants the seeds deep within them.

3- Reenforce in them with my unconditional love, I don’t want them to think my love is conditional, I will strive for them to know that I will love them no matter what they do or say, my love is unwavering and forever and I will forgive them just as God forgives me, I will love them by example, I will strive to be an example of Christ’s love in how I show my love to our children.

4-Do my best to gently and firmly correct their negative behavior, feedback and attitude without dwelling on it.  Try and focus on the positive attitudes, rewarding the good behaviors.

5- More consistent and intentional family devotion and prayer, continue to instill God’s words and love into their hearts.

6- PRAY-PRAY-PRAY and then PRAY some more, constantly be in prayer for over children, constant communication with God.

7-When I start to feel defeated, like giving up, discouraged and like I am failing as a mother, to stop and remind myself, this is not my battle, this is God’s He is fighting it for me, I need to trust Him, GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME, ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!!!!  He is there in every situation, He will always be with my children, when I am feeling discouraged I need to remind my self to let go and trust in God, one of my favorite verses is a great reminder of this- “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

8-Don’t dwell on my past mistakes or failures, move on and learn from them, stop criticizing myself and stay positive.

9- Concentrate on where we do have influence over my children, in our home and conversation and activities, let God’s love and light shine bright enough in our home and hearts that it outshines the darkness they encounter everywhere else.

I feel like the Lord’s Prayer is very appropriate and fitting today…

“Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.”</

IMG_5609-5.JPG

Welcome to the country!

I was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in the suburbs of Chicago where I lived until I enlisted in the Navy and moved to Virginia in 2000. I lived in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia from 2000 to 2013 when I moved to the middle peninsula of Virginia. So gradually over time I have moved into areas that are less and less populated. I have always considered myself a ‘city-girl’ but this past year I have fallen in love with what is considered a ‘rural’ area so maybe…just maybe I am a country girl at heart.

 

IMG_4613I

 

 

I moved to Gloucester, VA at the end of March in 2013 as I made my career transition from Registered Nurse to Nurse Practitioner. It was my career that moved me from Chesapeake, VA to Gloucester but there are so many reasons I am thankful God led me here. Tonight I will reflect on all the reasons I am thankful that the Lord brought me to the country.

1- I am thankful for God’s mercy, forgiveness, love and grace. He led me here and has filled our lives with blessings. Over the last 13 years even when I was not living my life faithful to the Lord He was always there with me guiding me and protecting me. NO matter what storms life may bring to me I know God is going to be there with me. When I encounter something that at first appears impossible I remember all the difficult times God brought me through before and I know He can do it again. I have constant peace within as I know that God is always with me and He will always love me.

2- Moving here led me to meet Matt, the love of my life, my husband who shares in my love for Christ, best friend, spiritual partner and the most amazing man I have ever known.

3- I have been told, “Welcome to God’s Country” in a way it is almost like a whole other world out here, this area is full of believers, there is an atmosphere of love among most people here, everyone smiles and waves hello, you actually feel like a person living in a community with others who care about you and are happy to see you. I have never felt more welcome or wanted in a community or town than I have felt here.

4- Smaller towns means smaller schools, my kids get more one on one personal attention in their classrooms and schools here, they are not just lost in the crowd they are a child that is cared for and loved by their teachers.

5-I live in a town of less than 40,000 and commute to work in a community with less than 9000 each day, I have NO traffic, a bad drive to work is encountering a tractor or school bus, which gives me a peaceful 25 minutes to pray, sing worship music or have quiet time to myself before or after work without having to fight hundreds of other drivers for space on the road, thank You Lord for country life with no traffic!

6- My church family.  I had an incredible church home in Chesapeake, but the church home I have been led to here in Gloucester is beyond what words can describe, I have never felt more welcome than I felt my first day at Newington Baptist.  My church family is amazing.

7- I can really enjoy God’s wonderful creation here, there is just a short drive to enjoy a beach, woods, mountains, farms and not too far to get to the city if we are in the mood for the hustle and bustle of an evening on the town.  At night if you go outside, it is pitch black, you can see every star in the sky and nature chirps a wonderful serenade.

 

Welcome to the country!!!  I am so thankful the Lord brought me to this area.  I know I am most likely missing a reason or two for reasons I am thankful to be away from city life but bottom line is I am thankful, for the Lord, my salvation, my life, my family, GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!

“As for God His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him” Psalm 18:30

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9

A Mother is Blessed When She Endures

Indeed we count them blessed who endure. James 5:11

As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you. Isaiah 66:13

God has been so wonderful to bless me with my eldest child, Joshua my son who is turning 11 years old today. I am so thankful and so blessed with raising this wonderful boy and watching him grow into this incredible young man. What a privilege that God gave me when He made a mother.

There are times through the ups and downs of being a mom that I question myself and fight the overwhelming feeling that I am failing my child. Last year I read Rick Johnson’s book titled “That’s my son.” and he wrote something in there that will stick with me forever.

Rick Johnson writes “God loves you, he loves your son. God has wonderful things in store for your son. He purposely chose you, out of all the women in the world, to be your son’s mother. God knew the struggles and challenges you would face. He knew all your faults and failures as a mother, and yet he still chose you as the right person to raise his child-because he also knew all your strengths and skills. Truly, you are worthy to be your son’s mother, an awesome woman.”

How AWESOME is that! I love what he writes here and when I need a reminder or encouragement I will go back to this book and read this passage over and over.

My children are such a precious gift from God. I wonder frequently do they know how thankful I am for them or how much they are loved? Am I doing a strong enough job of telling them these important messages. I am afraid with the hectic details of each day I fail to express this to them in a way they can truly appreciate how wonderful they are.

Today I reflect on being thankful, to go to the Lord with thanksgiving in my heart. I can not teach my children to be truly thankful with just my words I need to demonstrate to them how to show thanks to our Lord and to each other. To have genuine gratitude for each and every blessing God has given us. I know that I need to grow in this area, I am realizing that my children’s thanksgiving or lack of is a direct result of my own. It is humbling to reflect and really evaluate how I need to develop and improve my heart and attitude in giving and showing thanks and gratitude.

” Heavenly Father,

I pray that I can continue to grow and change, I seek Your wisdom and strength to learn how to be truly thankful and to be able to show this to my children through my own words and actions. Lord please let the love that Jesus has for me flow through me to my children. I commit my heart as Your child and as a mother to put You first, let the joy of The Lord surround me as I share the knowledge of Your love with my children.

Thank You Lord for this wonderful day, for all of Your provisions, for Matt and his love, for my children, for our family, but most of all thank You for Your mercy and grace, thank You for sending Your son Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins. In Jesus Name I pray~ Amen”