Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My 40 Day Adventure

I just recently finished an adventure...You may envision a ship sailing the seas or maybe an airplane in flight. No, not the kind of adventure that would take me far from home. This was a local adventure actually. Climbing mountains or scaling rock walls? Nope, not that either. This was the type of adventure in where I had to completely step outside of my comfort zone...and well even myself really.

See, I somehow "accidentally" became involved with 40 Days For Life this year. Ok, I don't really believe it was an accident. But, God ordained and orchestrated by The Holy Spirit. This Fall I participated in their 40 day campaign, which consists of fasting and prayer for the unborn and an end to abortion. I also committed time to go and pray outside of one of our local abortion facilities.

The very first day that I was scheduled to pray, I was so excited...a little nervous, but mostly excited. This was going to be kind of fun, I thought. Driving there with my children, I was so full of joy, praying, singing praise songs and dancing in my heart. I know I must have been sporting quite the huge smile too...Haha! When I parked at the facility I excitedly and cheerfully joined the other prayer volunteers with my little ones. We walked to our designated area and I proudly held my "Pray To End Abortion" sign and I felt awesome! That was a very short lived feeling...Almost immediately I was screamed at by one of the abortion minded mother for bringing my little ones to something like this. "How dare you!" The woman screamed at me...I was startled. She continued, "Don't you have any concern for those women in there who may be offended by the sight of little children?!" Oh, she was furious...I felt scared. She walked toward us and I moved slightly in front of my children...just in case. She screamed some more and then turned away and walked into the clinic. She was starting to make me angry. I wanted to yell back at her and defend my reasoning for bringing my children. On the way home I started thinking maybe I shouldn't have brought them, and maybe the next time I wouldn't. I was feeling torn and confused...I was no longer excited about being there. I didn't like being yelled at. I felt uncomfortable.

The next day while praying at home I knew that it was the right thing in bringing my children. The sight of them obviously touched something in this woman's conscience...and it was good. She may want to deny the fact that she is choosing to abort an actual baby...her baby, but her heart, her conscience knows better. And, my children reminded her of that truth. I decided that I would continue bringing them with me whenever I was scheduled to go and pray.

When we went the very next time, on the way driving instead of singing and smiling, I prayed...I prayed for protection...I prayed that God would keep my children and myself, the other prayer volunteers, the abortion minded mothers and especially their babies safe. My demeanor and my heart were much more somber and I knew this day would be different. And oh my heart was emotionally beaten up that day! We called out to several women going in and even men that were accompanying them. Most ignored us or just said a very quick, "No!" There was one man though that we could tell was feeling very torn. He wanted to come and talk to us...We pleaded with him to please come...He didn't. I will never forget his face...He was broken. My heart was broken for him. On the drive home when my time was over, I cried...I cried so hard! I was so crushed inside for these mothers, these fathers...their babies. I just couldn't ever come again to pray...It was too hard.

Back at home I prayed and begged God to help me since He called me to this. It was too hard! This was no longer fun and exciting! I was soooo unaware of just what these "sidewalk counselors" went through. I was so naive to what really went on! It was heart wrenching and I wanted out! I just couldn't watch another mother ignore me or flip me off and just walk right into the facility to abort her baby! I regretted getting involved! But, I knew that since I committed to scheduled times, that I had to do it. I didn't want to back out. But, I also didn't want to do it with an unwilling heart either. God reignited my desire very quickly and I knew it would be hard, but sometimes following Him in obedience isn't comfortable or easy. I set my own feelings aside and let Him lead.

The couple times after that were a very wide variety of different eventful things that happened. I was yelled at, flipped off, sworn at, had my yard signs stolen, threatened...But, I also was given supported honks, waves and thumbs up. People would stop to ask what we were doing and when we told them they praised God and thanked us! I got to "meet" the abortionist dr when he'd drive into work with his beautiful fancy sports car. When anger and hate began to flood my heart I prayed for him and for the other facility workers...I prayed that God would open their eyes and hearts to the truth of what they were doing, and to see that they were committing horrific sins against a Holy God. My usually very quiet and shy self was able to call out to the dr and tell him that I was praying for him, to call out to scared and desperate mothers, lost and confused fathers, lead prayer and even read scripture aloud with others. I know that was only by the Holy Spirit. I was also blessed to witness my children praying and reading scripture aloud as well. We shared our lunch with a homeless woman and prayed with her. I was able to share information with a Russian man who spoke very little english, but wanted to know what our signs meant. I was so blessed with seeing one young couple turn away. I made new friendships and deepened old ones, but most of all I was obedient to my Lord.

These past 40 days were such a gift. It started off being an exciting fun-ish thing to do, but ended up being a somber yet blessed adventure. I am so humbled and so thankful that God allowed me the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than myself. Something I had always had a very huge passion for, but never really truly knew much about. I committed to praying for the unborn and an end to abortion...Which I did. I hoped and prayed that I would witness just one save...But, then God went and touched many areas of my life during this time. Totally unexpected and undeserved...But He did, just because He can!

I will always treasure and hold closely in my heart my very first 40 Days For Life campaign. To God be the glory!

My 3 youngest at the Kick-Off Rally
Mid-Point Rally
My handsome little guy 
My littlest and I 
Praying at the road
Praying at the road

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Working Together For Life

I have "accidentally" become involved in the prolife movement. The reason for the "quotes" is because I actually don't really believe in accidents...I believe in the sovereignty of God. A woman who leads a local prolife campaign where I live, stumbled upon a blog post that I wrote titled, 'Where Was I'  . Since then she and I have become friends and since then I have committed myself to getting involved with 40 Days For Life . If you haven't heard of the 40 Days For Life campaigns, I urge you to click on the link and research them...They are wonderful!

Because of my new involvement with 40 DFL I have experienced some pushback and some hostility. I was confused, hurt and even shocked by this. At first I thought maybe it was because some people just don't feel led to get involved...And, that's ok. I would honestly say that God doesn't call every Christian to stand outside of an abortion facilities to pray, counsel women, and to speak up for the unborn who have no voice. But, I would say that as Christians we should be concerned with the issue of abortion and we should be praying for it's end. Anyway...The pushback...I now know that it has more to do with the fact that I am partnering myself with Catholics. Gasp!!! A Protestant partnering with Catholics to pray for the precious lives of the unborn...Shocking!

This is something I am really trying to understand, but am really having a hard time with. Why are my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ turning their noses up at me because I have dared to serve with those who have theological differences than myself? I just can't see it? Where am I wrong here? Have I turned my back on my faith? No, of course not! If anything, I feel as if God is strengthening my faith by giving me a wonderful opportunity to get involved where He is obviously leading me. I have stood waaaay outside of my comfort zone and had the blessed opportunity to speak publicly by sharing my testimony, lead prayer with others, and even made a public presence outside of abortion facilities by committing myself to being there and praying. God is using these means as a way to grow me...and I am scared, excited, thankful and humbled all at the very same time!

And just as an FYI, 40 DFL isn't just a "Catholic thing". Yes, it was started by a couple families who also happen to be Catholic, but it wasn't meant to only be for Catholics. 40 Days For Life is a campaign made up of individuals of faith committed to praying, fasting and peaceful activism for an end to abortion. They are more than open to and even encourage Protestant partnering. Their goal is to unify around a common focus...To end abortion.

I know there are some theological differences. Differences that I do not take lightly...Differences that were important enough that the Reformers were labeled heretics, apostates, and even lost their lives over. I have not forgotten that, nor have I turned my back on that. But, would it be "more Christian" of me to reject a project or service opportunity because I may be the only "real Christian" there? Is that what our reformers, that we hold so dear did? No! They agonized over those that they disagreed with, trying with all that was in them to get them to see the truth. Their aim wasn't to reject them or turn their backs on them. Their desire was to reform the church they so adored! They loved the Catholic Church! To turn my nose up at partnering with Catholics or others that I may differ with theologically is, in my opinion, both arrogant and very un-Christian.

I think we can all agree that the Catholic Church has been the backbone and moving force behind the prolife movement...And, for much longer and broader than the Protestant Church's involvement. I praise God for their faithful commitment and service in protecting the innocent lives of the unborn. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be involved. I am humbled and honored to stand beside them for this precious cause!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Disappointments Of Our Children

Have you ever noticed that when your children are excited about something, you are too? I mean of course as long as it's something safe...and well, legal. Their dreams and goals become our's too for them. When they are eager and anxiously awaiting for this really cool "something" to happen, you are too! And then, when they are disappointed because that "something" didn't really work out quite as they had hoped..so are you. Their hurt becomes yours.

What's a mom to do? I know I can't just go and fix everything...Although I'd love to and sometimes I even try. But, as they get older I've learned that I have to step back and allow them to learn through their disappointments. Sometimes they get looked over and passed by, sometimes a friend may let them down, sometimes their disappointments are caused by unfair situations. Even though I'd love nothing more than to get involved and make things better, I shouldn't. These bummers now in life will help them deal with bigger bummers in the adult world. How my children learn to deal with disappointments now will help them deal with them as they grow.

Life will be filled with un-fairs, passovers, and too bads. Even though I will always want to defend my kiddos, it may be a bit inappropriate if at 45 years old my child has their 65 year old Mama showing up at work wagging her finger and giving their boss a piece of her mind because how dare they pass over her precious adorable pumpkin and give that other schmuck the position. Ya, that would probably be pretty awkward...for everyone.

No, I guess maybe instead I want my children to develop the skills needed to handle the un-fairs and too bads on their own...with humility. Is it ok to stand up for yourself if you feel you've been wronged? Well, yes, of course. But, not in a way that says, "Whaaa, you hurt my feelings!" It's ok to voice disappointment, especially if they feel like they've been wronged. I want my children to be in charge of their own reactions. Don't lose control and get all overly emotional. Don't take disappointments too personal. Sometimes it's not even about them, but instead about someone else and something that they may be dealing with. Sometimes people only see themselves and don't realize that they may be stepping over you...Be patient with them and give them grace. This doesn't mean to be a doormat, but it does mean to show them kindness regardless of how you feel they deserve to be treated. We are all dealing with something...Sometimes our personal lives affect who we are to others without even really meaning to.

I want them to honor themselves through their disappointments. I want them to keep being themselves...Don't lower their standards, settle, or become someone they are not just to please the crowd. If someone else has been given a position or a role that they wanted, it's ok. You still be you. Don't focus on the bummers of life...Instead focus on the awesome things you've done and have been able to do. Use your disappointments and grow through them, allowing them to strengthen you. As long as my children know that they've got nothing to be ashamed of, I want them to continue to be proud of themselves. Keep your head held high and smile!

Most of all, I want them to honor God in the midst of their disappointments. They are responsible for their own reactions to life and it's many ups and downs. Life will let us down...That is a given. But, how we live through those ups and downs is who we really are. We are not defined by our failures and disappointments. We are defined by He who lives in us.

My advice to my children is this...
The world may pass you by and look over you. The world may be unfair sometimes and hurt you. The world may let you down and disappoint you...But you just keep being you! Smile as bright as you always have! Love as big as you can! Celebrate your accomplishments! And shine for Him!

My girl...Celebrating in her accomplishments! 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Missing Pieces

Have you ever lost something that made you feel just not quite whole? I mean, you were still you, but inside you felt like something just wasn't quite right...Like a piece of you was missing.

On Friday, January 31, 2013 I started to feel very dizzy, my heart rate was thru the roof. The last thing I remember was trying to catch my breath and sit down...The next thing I remember, I am lying on the basement floor at the bottom of the stairs. My middle daughter who was only 6 at the time found me, she gasped, ran down to me and said, "Mama, you're bleeding on your head, are you ok?" She didn't even wait for an answer and quickly ran to get my oldest daughter who was 14 and my oldest son who was 12. My 12 year old got to me first. He asked me if I was ok, but also didn't even wait for an answer. He grabbed the phone and threw it at my 14 year old and said, "Call 911!" He walked upstairs quickly but calmly and kept the littlest ones 2 and 4 distracted and busy. My 14 year old calmly spoke to the emergency operator telling her that her mother had fallen down the stairs and that I was bleeding from my forehead. She didn't know what happened to me, and at that moment, neither did I! The operator told her that I was not to move at all and to just lay there and wait for the paramedics, police and any other emergency responders...they were on their way. I wasn't going anywhere anyway...I had fractured my ankle during the fall. My daughter was so brave and stayed strong for me the whole time...Not breaking down even once...even when the police officer arrived and paramedics finally wheeled me out. She stood there and smiled telling me that she would call dad and everything would be ok. My children were my heroes that day...I praise God for them!
In the hospital they discovered that I had a condition in the upper chambers of my heart, but that it could be "fixed" with a minor procedure and daily medication...I was so relieved! We all thanked and praised God for sparing me!

A little more than 7 months later, Friday, September 13, 2013...A day I have no memory of...I don't even remember that week, or even the week before. I guess I had driven with my younger 3 (ages 6 1/2, almost 5 and 2 1/2) to my oldest daughter's school to help the kids in the marching band get ready for their performance during the football game. My daughter who was 6 at the time, says that once we parked and got out of the truck, I stopped, took a deep breath, told the kids to hold on for a second, and then collapsed right there in the parking lot and right in front of my children. A couple other band parents ran to see if I was ok. They called the ambulance and brought my children in the school to keep them distracted. My oldest who was now 15 was brought to me and her description of what she saw and how she reacted pains my heart severely! There "just so happened" to be a mom who was also an ICU nurse who immediately started CPR on me. She was only able to get my heart to flutter, but her quick response ultimately saved my life! I praise God for her! The police officers who "just so happened" to have already been at the school since the football game was getting ready to begin, were the first responders and one of them had to use the portable defibrillator on me which finally got my heart to start beating. The paramedics who also "just so happened" to be pulling into the high school parking lot because of the football game were also right on the scene very quickly and rushed me straight to the hospital where I am told I crashed several times, was in a coma for about 4-5 days, and the doctors and nursing staff didn't really think I was going to make it. Well, I did...I still have no memory of anything that happened. But, I do have wonderful memories of waking up and seeing my husband, children and my Aunty (who is much more like another mother to me). My youngest son turned 5 while I was in the hospital and my husband brought his presents and cupcakes so that I could be a part of that...A very special memory!
While in the hospital they discovered that I had another heart condition, but this time in the bottom chambers of my heart...not fixable. My doctor said that I needed surgery to implant a pacer/defibrillator just as a precaution...My heart sank. So, now I have this device in me...But, at least I have my life...I praised God! And the kiddos say that now I'm robo-mom...Haha! Oh ya...and one more thing says doc, "No more children, ok?" That was very hard to hear...But, God had preserved my life! He gave me a second chance! I have such a beautiful family! It took a while to accept, but God granted me the peace and understanding...I thanked Him for the beautiful children He had so mercifully blessed me with and praised Him!

Sunday, July 11, 2015...I start to worry that I may be pregnant. I tell Gary, he starts to worry too. I say that I will give it one more week.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015...Only two days go by but I am anxious and tired of waiting. I do a home test...I am pregnant. I start to literally shake in fear...I cry...I'm terrified! Gary is worried too. I cry out to God...I ask Him why did He allow this to happen with my heart condition and even after we were so careful? I am mad at God!
4:00 in the morning on Wednesday, July 15th I am awoken by, I am sure, The Holy Spirit. I heard very clearly, "His name is John." I rub my belly and immediately fell in love with my baby...I praised God! I said, "Ok God, I am pregnant, let's do this!" I trusted Him and had faith that this would be ok...I knew it...I fully knew it.
Thursday, July 16th...By now all of my doctor's knew. I wanted to make sure that I would start getting care to ensure both mine and baby's safety. My doctor's were very encouraging and ensuring me that things would be ok. I was feeling very relieved...I praised God! That same day I went and had my blood drawn.
Then on Saturday, July 18th I had my blood drawn as well.
Monday, July 20, 2015...The Ob nurse calls to tell me that my levels are very low and that they need me to do another blood draw...I sadly go and get it done. I beg God, "Please, no!"
Wednesday, July 22, 2015...The nurse says that they are still too low and that they needed me to come in for an ultrasound...They worried that either I had a tubal pregnancy or that I have lost the baby. My heart was broken...I am angry and confused...I scream at God, "Why?!"
Thursday, July 23, 2015...Fully expecting them to say that baby was gone and to start discussions on how we should go about things that would be safest for my heart condition, but instead I see my baby alive and growing right on schedule...My husband and I hear his tiny little heart beating! She prints me off a picture...I am completely confused...How can this be?! Then they said, there is a chance I may still lose the baby...His heart rate is too low. They scheduled me for another ultrasound a week later...They wanted me to have hope, but I was too afraid...Too emotionally worn out. My heart literally hurt...I told God that this just isn't fair and that He is cruel!
Friday, July 24, 2015...I look at the ultrasound photo of my tiny little almost 7 week old baby. I cry...God gave me such a gift. He allowed me the blessing of seeing him alive and moving. He allowed me the blessing of not only hearing his tiny little heart beating, but also seeing the flashes of light on the screen as his heart pumped! He allowed me such a sweet and precious gift. I praised Him through many many tears!!!
I decided right then that I would not give up hope on my little baby...my baby boy whom God called John. That as long as there was hope I would hold onto it with all of my might! I knew that God may still take him home, but I was going to hope like I have never hoped before. I seen him alive and I determined that until proven otherwise I would live each day as if he were living too...He deserved that. God deserved my faith in Him and this little one deserved my hope for him! I knew two things for sure...1, I would see my little one face to face one day and 2, I would hold my little one, one day. What I didn't know was when that would be...After these 9 months or after I passed from this earth into eternity? But, I refused to give up hope...I thought even if things don't work out the way I wanted it to, I knew that God would comfort me and heal my broken heart.

Thursday, July 30, 2015...Our second ultrasound...My baby's tiny heart has stopped beating...My heart literally feels as if it has sunk so far into my body...I am crushed inside...broken. I hoped so hard...I prayed...I trusted...I faithed it up more than I ever have in my life before! I asked God, "Why?" Did He just give me this baby only to grieve? That didn't make any sense. Why would He allow me to get pregnant even with my heart condition, even when Gary and I were extra careful...Just to take my baby away? I couldn't understand any of what was happening. This was literally the worst 2 weeks of my life...and it was only going to get worse. As I sit here cradling the middle of my body, heart literally aching for this baby, I pray for answers. I am not angry at my Lord...I can't be...I have tried though, let me tell you! But, when I am asking Him why has He allowed my baby to lose his life? I am reminded that He crushed His own Son's life for mine...and my little one. I know He loves me...I know He loves this baby. I know His ways are much higher than my own. I know He has not forsaken me.

I sit here realizing that I won't get to be 8 months pregnant, physically exhausted and ready for this to just be over...Instead I am only just 8 weeks pregnant, emotionally drained and not at all ready for this to be over. I hold my middle...touching my belly and pray.

I praise God for blessing me with the precious little life of our John David, even if for just a moment...He has already blessed my heart more than anyone could ever even imagine. I will cherish the memory of him full of life in my womb and the sweet sound of his tiny little heart beats...Until we meet in eternity with our wonderful and merciful Savior! I look forward to that day...The missing pieces of my heart will no longer be lost and my heart will be made new and complete!

Our Little John David
(6 weeks and 4 days old)

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there were not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, Oh God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.
~Psalm 139:13-18 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Harming Our Own

Being a mother, I am horrified when I read or hear of a story about another mother who has hurt her own children. It literally pains my heart. But, why?

How are we as a people shocked when we hear of children being neglected, abused, tortured, and murdered at the hands of their own parents, when we as a nation have fought for and won the rights to end the lives of our unborn children in the womb? Our own unborn children in our own wombs! We no longer refer to them as babies, but fetuses or clusters of cells, blobs, masses of tissue. They are called parasites, burdens, unwanted, mistakes, annoyances. They have been ripped of their most inherent human right...Their own right to life. We have screamed from the mountain tops that the woman has the right to choose...It's her body...No one has the right to force their beliefs or opinions upon her and her rights. Meanwhile the unborn have no rights...have no worth...have no value. And then we dare to be surprised when a mother kills her own 2 children and hides their bodies in a freezer for several years?! We can't believe that a mother would kill her own son and hide his body in her car for several years?! Are you kidding me?! Are we really confused by this?! I mean, weren't they just exercising their own rights to rid themselves of mere annoyances?

When we legalized abortion, we in turn spoke very loud and very clear how children are to be viewed. How can we expect mothers to cherish and treasure their children when they have the right to end their own babies' lives? It's just a matter of age and location...In the womb, 6 months old, 2 years old, 10 years old...15! It doesn't matter. Just mere issues of legality. We have no respect for life...Well, for the lives of our most innocent. Until women begin to truly see the worth of their unborn child, that they are not just a fetus, but a baby, their baby...Then they will begin to value that life and desire to protect that life. Until then, stop being so surprised by parents harming their own children...I mean, they are only acting out what has been fought for.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Where was I?

Today one of my kiddos had a Dr's Appt. and while waiting in the lobby I met the most adorable little guy...and his Mama. He was so precious and was so not shy in the least. I asked his Mama how old he was and she said he was a year. She then tells me, "Oh man, after I had him it was like the floodgates opened up for my body to have more babies!" I was a little shocked by her openness and laughed, and responded, "Oh, really?" She says, "Oh ya, I was pregnant with twin girls!" I say, "Wow, really? You have a one year old and twin girls?! That's w..." Before I can even finish saying "That's wonderful!" she interrupts me and proudly corrects me, "On no! I WAS pregnant with twin girls...I had to get rid of that!" And she laughed and laughed...

I was shocked...Shocked silent. I didn't know how to respond to her. I sat silently for a moment...a long awkward moment and then said, "Oh." All I said was, "Oh." The only thing that came out of my mouth was, "Oh". I was afraid to say anything else as I glanced over at my own children...I wanted to come right out and ask, "Oh, you had an abortion?" To which of course she would have answered yes. Then I would have asked her why. But, those words weren't coming out of my mouth...Just "Oh". I looked at another mother seated by me who sat there eyes widened as she played with her own daughter's braided hair. She looked shocked too...Both of us saying nothing....Both of us obviously shocked by the young mother's unapologetic honesty. I was thankful when the receptionist called us. I didn't even look at her when we passed by...Instead, with my head filled with whirling thoughts, heart filled with overwhelming emotion and eyes filled with tears, I smiled at her little boy...This precious little one year old full of life!

On the drive home I became filled with anger...How can she be so brazen about what she did? She aborted her twin baby girls! For her to know that they were twins AND girls, meant she had to be pretty far along. She had to have heard their heart beats...She had to have seen them moving and playing in her womb...Her girls...Her two baby girls! How does someone do that?! And then to talk about it so openly as if it were just casual conversation...As if she were just changing her mind at the grocery store putting something back on the shelf!

I thought to myself...I know women who have had abortions and now regret that decision. They are crushed and heartbroken by the choice they made to end their precious unborn baby's life. They often will say that they never knew their baby was as developed as they thought...That they were lied to at the clinic...That they thought their baby was just a "mass of tissue" or a "cluster of cells"...Not yet a formed baby. They are broken inside for the loss of their baby....A loss caused by their own choice. They have gone through post traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicidal thoughts or even attempts. But, here is this woman bragging to a waiting room that she "got rid of" her twin girls! No remorse...No shame. She obviously knew she wasn't aborting a mass of tissue...No, she knew full well that she was ending the lives...not the potential lives...but the actual lives of her two baby girls! Why?! AND, she's a mother! She had already given birth to a very healthy and beautiful baby boy! What could cause her to not allow those babies life?! I was getting madder and madder the further I drove and the further I thought.

I started thinking..."I wonder if there were any of those sidewalk counselor's there? Was there anyone out there calling out to her pleading for her children's lives? Was there anyone there speaking up for her children who have no voice? Hmmm...I bet not. I wonder if there had been, maybe those twin girls would still be here today. There needs to be more people out there doing that. Where were they?"

And then it hit me...I heard God say to my heart..."Where were YOU?"

I cried...Where was I? That's the real question...We all want others to get the work done...But, where am I? Maybe if I was out there, those twin girls would still be here...Or perhaps maybe not...But, I will never know that because I wasn't there.

No more waiting for someone else to do the work. I am committing myself to being there. I don't know where to start or even what to say. But, I know that I can no longer sit safely at home hiding behind my computer posting pro-life pictures, quotes and articles on FaceBook, Twitter, etc...while wondering "where they were".
I have to...No, I must get out there and be there. I feel unworthy...I know that I am not capable of changing other people's minds...But...God is.

I am trusting in Him who is calling me to be there...

Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, "Behold, we did not know this,"
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, 
and will he not repay man according to his work?

~Proverbs 24:11-12

An ultrasound image of 13 week old twins 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Wait Patiently For Her...Right Now She's Mine

My beautiful 17 year old daughter who is a Junior in high school has this way about her...A gentle, loving, kind, free spirited, and feisty kind of way about her. She's both delicate and tough...Has a soft heart but can handle the trials God hands her with such strength. I am often in awe of her...Just watching who she is...Since she was just an infant cradled in my arms nursing away, to a rambunctious toddler in princess dresses and boots climbing trees, to my little ballerina dancing her heart out as if no one else were there, to a shy and timid 12 year old wanting to rather hide away than have to look into someone's eyes or to speak out loud (unless you were a good friend or family member and then you'd know a girl who could yack your ear off and give you a pretty good arm wrestling match), to the lovely young lady she is today...So precious and yet so ferocious at the very same time!

This girl of mine has attracted the attention of a couple young men, also in high school...That of course turns this normally quiet Mama (Haha...Ok, I laughed pretty hard at that too...But, let's all just play along for fun anyway), into a raging protective Mama Bear...on steroids! Now, at first it was kinda cute...only just a little kinda. Because I mean she is pretty stinkin' adorable...But, then it just got annoying. See, her Daddy and I have a rule...No dating in high school. I know that may seem harsh, extreme and maybe even a bit mean to some...But honestly, dating in high school is totally unnecessary and just asking for drama that no one at this age needs. We have all seen it, heard about it, or experienced it ourselves. We don't want that for our daughter...or any of our other children...or even your children for that matter. Now I'm not saying parents are wrong for allowing their children to date...It's just our personal convictions to not allow it. As we say...While we may be convicted of "something", that doesn't necessarily make that "something" a sin for someone else. This is just a personal thing that has been placed on our own hearts, parenting our own children.

Has this been easy? Nope. Her friends have all been dating since middle school...That occasionally makes her feel out of the loop and sometimes like a "baby". It does make me feel a tad smidge sorta kinda sad-ish for her...But, actually not really. To be completely honest, I don't really care too much that she hasn't had a real boyfriend...She has though been allowed a "special friend"...Which turned out to be pretty much a mistake and her dad and I learned some tough lessons through all that...Long story...We won't go there...Today...
No, I'm not sad that she hasn't experienced that thrill of someone telling you that they'll be with you for always and then experience the heartache of seeing him with someone new. I'm not disappointed for her that because she won't go far enough, she will then feel not good enough. I'm not too bummed out that she won't know what it's like to have her heart skip a beat when she's told I love you just to make some choices she shouldn't and then experience what it's like to be alone and have that feeling of regret, shame and loneliness. I'm ok with her not experiencing jealousy, rage, hate, unworthiness, self loathing, etc...All while in high school. High school is hard enough for goodness sakes, without all the unnecessary drama of dating another teenager also going through all the same hard growing up stuff! Why would you want to add to the already tough stuff?

Most of the time my daughter is completely fine with not dating. She gets an ear full and an eye full on a daily basis from her peers. And although she is very caring, kind, compassionate and attentive to their heartaches...She does not envy them. But, sometimes she still wonders what it would be like to be a "pair"...She fancies romance. Now, I am all for romance...Just not in high school. She is such a loving girl...She desires to love and be loved! This is perfectly fine for me...Not so much dad though. God created us to love. I want her to love and be loved too...Just not in high school. Sometimes she gets hurt because of our rule. She'll meet a young man who will always compliment "just how different she is than any other girl" and "how she has this special thing about her that makes you want to be different too". This will usually only last a couple months until they get bored and move on...Making her feel rejected. Sometimes she blames Mom and Dad. I know sometimes she thinks it's our fault...But honestly, I think we are doing her a favor. See, the good guys will show her that they respect her by respecting her parents views and wishes.They will befriend her and wait patiently to see what the future holds because they know deep in their hearts, she's worth it...And the other guys? Well, the impatient ones get weeded out. And, I'm sure that's an added gift from God.
She is well aware that the ones who move on, weren't really her's to begin with anyway...and God has graciously showed her this through their own choice of walking away without any fault of her's.

Now I wouldn't say that my husband and I believe in courting versus dating...Although, we do feel like dating should include the parents. It just helps keep things out in the open and helps keep both parties accountable. And, when our children are graduated from high school if they so choose to date...That's between them, the one whom they chose, and God. We can only pray and hope for the best...and trust in the Lord.

My girl is now at a place where she wants to trust in God and also trust that we are making parenting decisions that will bless her. She wants to patiently wait upon the Lord...Although, it's tough when you're a girl with a romantic heart. She wants to meet her "Prince Charming". But, right now she belongs to this Mama Bear.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cleaning my toilet for the glory of God

I haven't posted in a really long time...Busy with our 7 kiddos and my new adventure of homeschooling! Before you think I'm amazing to be homeschooling 7 children...No...Only 3 of our 7 homeschool...and then out of those 3, only 2 are doing "real" school...My youngest just turned 4 and does "fun school"...Haha! Although I'd LOVE to homeschool all 7, being that we are a "blendy-fam", we just don't have that freedom...But, God is still so good.

Anyway, what made me want to blog today? Well, I was cleaning a gross nasty toilet...For God's glory! Hahaha! Well, not at first...At first I was pretty ticked actually about cleaning the gross nasty toilet! See, I was currently on one of my "Mom Strikes" when the toilet flooded over and because there was already a mess, the new mess added to the fun. Sigh...I wish I'd learn that going on my "Mom Strikes" don't help, but alas I never do! What is a "Mom Strike" you ask? Well, for me it means that I am throwing about a week long prideful silent temper tantrum where I sit on my high horse, do the bare minimum and make others feel guilty about not doing enough to help around the house...Lovely, right? See, the problem with this is that it doesn't help. What happens is that things start to pile up and just get gross and dirty and nasty. Eventually the fam starts to help...Not cause they love me and want to help me, but because they feel guilty and then begrudgingly assist...And because my silent temper tantrum has turned into more of an angry troll growling dance that scares them into submission!

I started off cleaning the toilet with these thoughts, "Ugh...Why am I the only one who cleans the bathrooms?! Why do they always clog the toilet?! Why don't they listen when I say not to use so much stinkin' dang toilet paper?! Why don't they help more?! Why?! Why?! Why?!"

All of a sudden...Boom...It hit me...Right in the heart..."Clean this toilet for the glory of God!"

I would like to say right then and there my attitude changed...Nope...Not me...I argued, "Ya right!"
Then again in my heart..."Clean this toilet as if you are cleaning it for God!"
"How?! I am soooo stinkin' mad!" I screamed...Inside my head of course, cause that would have been pretty awkward to yell that in the bathroom all by myself.

All of a sudden I felt my heart start to change...I became very emotional. I was mad because "they" didn't do enough for me. I threw temper tantrums because I felt entitled to something that "they" weren't giving. "They" are my family...The ones I love...The ones I have been gifted by God! "They" aren't the enemy...They are my heart!

I started thinking...When my little ones make messes, my husband doesn't help do the laundry, or my little guy uses too much toilet paper and causes a mini explosion...They are still my gift from God. Do they maliciously do what they do? Of course not. My younger kiddos will play and forget to pick up their toys...They will leave dirty socks on the living room floor...My husband and older kiddos will not want to help with laundry...or dishes...My family will make the toilet overflow from stuffing waaay too much toilet paper down...It's not because they want to purposely upset me or stress me out...It's cause they are not perfect...But, neither am I. How dare I throw prideful temper tantrums as if I am any better. God has chosen to love me unconditionally with all of my many many many faults, failures and imperfections! I will chose not to obsess over what my family doesn't do, but rather focus on, cherish and celebrate all they do!

My little 4 year old Bryanna loves to help make beds, load the silverware into the dishwasher, feed the puppy, and snuggle like crazy with her Mama!

My 6 year old Joshua loves to help me teach his 4 year old sister colors, shapes, letters and numbers. He likes helping me make meals and pour the soap into the washing machine. He is full of adventure and loves telling me stories he's made up before bed. He still holds my hand while falling to sleep.

My 8 year old Isabella is like my little shadow! She is always ready and waiting to be asked and eager to help with a task. She has such a servants heart and will often put others before herself. She enjoys going grocery shopping with me and running other errands. She loves helping with her younger brother and sister. She tries to keep all of the siblings united and at peace. You can expect her to request several quick snuggle sessions throughout the day...and she sure does love the Lord!

My 10 year old Grace is always wanting to be asked to help too...It doesn't matter how big or how small...She wants to help in anyway that she can! She is sensitive and loves to love and be loved!

My almost 12 year old Kaylie is such sweet company...She will sit with me while I'm working away in the kitchen and we'll have the best conversations about school, friends, music and God. She's a tough girl on the outside, but is tender and gentle at heart.

My 14 year old Jordan takes good care of his Mama! He is always helping me even without me asking...He seems to know just what it is that I need even before I do! He makes sure that I rest when needed and won't let me over do it. He is a wonderful big brother and spends special time with each of his younger siblings. He has a wonderful and witty sense of humor! He is creative and full of curiosity! He's very bright and enjoys teaching me new things he's learned and sharing his ideas. He has such a sensitive and compassionate heart for others. He has such a heart for the Lord...I pray God continues to draw him closer to Himself!

My almost 17 year old Victoria is my treasure! She is truly a mini-me...Haha! This girl can cook a meal, answer the phone, load the dishwasher, check her I-Pod...all at the very same time...and with a baby on her hip! She has spent many nights down with me in the basement laughing, listening to music, talking and getting laundry washed, folded and organized. She helps me with all 6 of her siblings and even babysits...without complaint! She even has plans after highschool to not move very far for college so that she can still help with her brothers and sisters! She has become one of my closest friends...God has been so gracious to me...I look forward to seeing the woman, wife, mother she becomes.

My husband Gary works so hard! God has blessed him with the ability to provide for our large family while I am able to stay home. He never complains that I don't do enough...Ever. He never complains that we don't have enough...Ever. He works all day long at work and then comes home and will sit and listen to me talk for almost an hour without taking a breath...Just to turn around and spend more time with the kiddos for about another hour or so. He helps me get dinner going and set out for our kiddos. He brings his Bible to the dinner table each night to make sure that we get our Family Devotion time together. Finally around 8:00 he rests...While also multi-tasking between working at home on the computer and playing dragons, building Lego castles, dancing with Barbies, wrestling, having tickle fights and listening to the kids talk about their day. The timer set on his IPhone reminds him that he needs to remind his wife to take her heart meds at 10:00pm. After the rest of his family goes to bed...He studies...The word of God. He is always learning and growing in Christ...and excited to share that with others. He is my best friend and the love of my life!

I will chose to think about these things they do and these things that make up who they are rather than what I feel they don't do. I will chose to clean my toilet and serve my family for the glory of God...Thanking Him and Praising Him for the gift of my family and their hearts to serve me with love!