Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Prayer Walk

I woke up at 4:30 this morning and couldn't fall back asleep. I laid there, hoping my eyes and body would surrender to the lull of my bed. But they never did. So at 5:04am I got up. I told myself to sit and spend some time meditating on God's word. But I didn't. I told myself to take the dog for a run. But I just couldn't. I told myself to fold a basket of laundry. But that was not going to happen. I told myself to p90x it in the garage with Tony Horton. But I really don't like spending time with him all that much. And so at 5:10 this morning, I found myself just wandering around my house.
 I walked from the office ...
To the kitchen ...
To the living room.
Eventually I found myself standing by the front door, looking into the heart of our home.
And from somewhere inside, I was filled with a heartfelt longing to pray.
Lord, please bless whoever walks through these doors today. Help them to be welcomed with love and to feel the warmth of your presence in these walls.
An abiding joy washed over me as I found myself walking toward our office.
Lord, help the activities that go on in this room today to be pleasing to you.
Help the time to be well spent. And minds to be eager.
I walked on toward the kitchen.
Lord, as I tend to the work of making meals and cleaning dishes and wiping little hands, please help me to work as if I'm working for you. May my thoughts and my actions be an offering to you. Help me to serve my children today out of love, just as you would if you were the maker of this home.
Onto the dining nook.
May the meals that are shared around this table today be blessed by you. And may the conversation be pleasing to your ears.
Next I found myself in the family room.
Fill this room with laughter and joy today. Protect the kids from bumps and bruises. And when arguments arise please fill me with wisdom and grace to handle each situation.
And lastly, I was standing in the music nook in our bedroom.
And Lord, please help any music that rises from this instrument to bring glory to you. Help the fingers and minds that are just learning to be encouraged today by their progress. And help me to be humble and patient as I guide them to practice.
And when it was all said and done, I was filled with peace. Sweet, sweet peace.
Praying through the rooms of my home in the still hours of the morning. How had I never done this before?! I'm sure there are many moms out there who have been lead in such a way. But for me it was a first.
And what a blessing it was.
Because just a couple hours later when I found myself standing in the kitchen preparing breakfast and the kids wanted eggs and cinnamon sugar toast and grapes and yogurt.
Oh, and "Momma can we pleeeeeaaaasssse have a smoothie toooooooooooooo?"
My mind started to go to the place of martyrdom as it so often does.
But it stopped as I remembered just hours before standing in that exact spot and praying for a servant's heart. And suddenly everything in me longed to serve my kids with loving kindness.
And a few hours later as I stepped over three little bodies laughing and wrestling on the family room floor, I recalled my earlier prayer for joy and laughter to fill the room. And I smiled.
And when I lead Henry to the keyboard in the afternoon to practice I suggested that he focus on just one song today. And he did. And he got it! And he felt so proud.
In many ways our day today was like all the others. I was busy. The kids were needy. They played and they fought. They needed correction and discipline. We all laughed. And 5/6 of us shed at least a tear. The baby spilled her milk and mom spilled a glass of wine.
But when all was said and done, today was just a little different.
And so very wonderful. 
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for tugging at my heart this morning.
  And thank you for filling this home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Twists and Turns

It's been so long since I've had time to sit and write. So long in fact that I completely forgot what my last post was about. So when I opened up "A Bunch Of Barron's" just now I needed a reminder. And as I read my post from a few months ago I found myself covered in goose bumps and completely in awe of how God intricately weaves together the story of our lives.
In my last post I mentioned a letter Matt sent me in 2001. The letter in fact, that made me realize I loved him. The line that opened my eyes to that love was this ...
"I want to send my kids to you." 
When writing that letter, Matt had an unlikely dream of sending his someday children to my someday classroom. Today when I reread those words, the awesomeness of that long ago dream was not lost on me. In fact, it was more meaningful than ever. Because last month Matt and I decided that this fall we are going to home school our children. So it appears that in a twist and turn of events that only God could have known 13 years ago, Matt will indeed be sending his children to me!
Thank your Lord for knocking my socks off today.
Only you know how I needed this reassurance that the plan we have for our family is indeed a plan you are writing.
*     *     *
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Favorite Happily Ever After

Matt and I took the kids out to dinner last night. We got to the restaurant nice and early, hoping to beat the rush. We still had to wait 15 minutes to be seated. We just missed ordering before a party of thirteen so it took a bit for our order to be placed. The restaurant was particularly busy for a Wednesday night so service was understandably slow. From start to finish, it was a much longer dinner out than I excepted. The kids were squirrely and loud. As they whined and played with knives and picked food off the floor and played musical chairs and bickered over crayons and laughed and scarfed down their food I just gazed across the table at my husband - completely and totally overwhelmed by how much I love this man.
Matt and I met in 1997, toward the end of our first year of college. My first impression was that he was a "very nice hippie". Years passed and we were very good friends. During the time our college years overlapped in San Luis Obispo we spent many hours talking about life and dreams and goals and family. But neither of us ever thought we would end up together, married and parenting 4 children. In 2001 I had just graduated college and I was preparing to get my teaching credential. Matt was finishing at UCSD and applying to medical schools. After not talking for almost 2 years we had a brief email exchange in which I learned he was a bit worried about the application (and acceptance) process. After our email exchange I sent him a letter, hoping to encourage him along in the process. Two weeks later I received a letter from Matt. 
Prior to this letter, I never thought of marrying Matt. I admired the man he was but I never thought he was the man for me. But one sentence in one very dear letter changed all of that.
"I want to send my kids to you!"
The moment I read that line my heart skipped a beat and I thought,
"I want your kids to be my kids!"
The clarity God placed on my heart in that moment was shocking. After a month or so of mulling over my hearts desire to be with Matt I called him. Unknown to me, Matt had been mulling over his own thoughts. And he had decided to call me too - at the exact same moment. So for the first time in nearly two years we talked. It was a brief and awkward phone conversation. After a few more conversations that turned into face to face visits. And a long distance dating relationship that turned into a long distance engagement we were married in July of 2003. And the rest, as they say, is history.
My love and appreciation for Matt has grown stronger with each passing year. Matt and I both feel we've been blessed with a marriage we only thought possible in our dreams. The time we spend together isn't always exciting or romantic - but it is always appreciated and treasured. Matt is my most precious gift. And by God's grace he has gifted Matt and I with 4 beautiful children (and 2 more awaiting us in heaven). I thank God every single day that he gave me a heart to love that "very nice hippie" and worked out life so that my kids are indeed his kids too.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What Once Was Lost

This is a blog about motherhood (obviously). And an honest one at that (hopefully). For the last 2 months things have been quiet on here. I haven't wanted to open up about my days spent mothering. Because truth be told, for the first time in my life, I spent much of the last two months just wanting to escape motherhood. And for someone who has desired to be a stay at home mom from the time she was a little girl - that's a very painful reality to sit with. Somewhere in the mess and chaos and exhaustion of raising 4 young kids and taking care of a home and loving a husband and being a friend and blogging and finding time for my health and cooking and checking Facebook (too often) and sleeping and carpooling and nursing a baby and paying bills and folding laundry - I lost my joy.

Thankfully, I journey this parenthood road with an incredible husband and partner. And we have an awe-inspiring Heavenly Father guiding both of us. And through the grace and love these two have lavished upon me - joy found me again. 

I noticed it returning when I traded minutes spent on Facebook for minutes spent interacting face to face with my babies.

I began to feel it when I chose to start each morning with a simple, earnest prayer - "Lord, fill me."

I sensed it's presence when I allowed myself to sit. And just be still.

I discovered it when I tuned out the television - completely. And tuned into my husband - wholeheartedly.

I was greeted with joy when I began to see the world around me with overwhelming gratitude once again.

And I found joy when I made time for God to reveal himself to me. Through his Word and through the words of those wiser than me. Words like the following:

     "When a man changes a diaper, when a mother puts a child to her sore breasts to feed her, this parent is doing what God created him or her to do, what gives God great delight, what faithful believers have been doing for thousands of years. Let others mock us; let others ridicule us! That's a small price to pay when our dutiful service brings a smile to God's face and pleasure to his heart. This is the world as God created it, and living in it rightly brings great joy to him.
     Faithful parent, hear me: Heaven rejoices in your service and even cheers you on. The world has mocked and will continue to mock our choices and our estate. But we know the God who called us to live as a family, and we are to find our pleasure, our purpose and our acceptance from him.
     You are doing what God created you to do. Look Godward, friend, and be strengthened."

(excerpt from, Devotions for Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas)