I really shouldn’t be blogging right now. So many other things I should probably be doing. But when the Lord leads….. I came to my computer to print off a “sleeping log” because our two year old is not sleeping through the night. I have been aware of this sleep issue. Every time we’ve kept K and J we would experience night time waking. Grandma would even share with me that they would get up and “play” in the middle of the night, have a 3 am snack, whatever. I thought it was a product of bad habits and we could quickly correct it with a few nights of letting him cry, self soothe, get himself back to sleep. You know, instead of intervening with gold fish and mickey mouse clubhouse. It’s been a month and I realize once again how ignorant I am. This is a much deeper and bigger problem than I thought. We’re not only experiencing sleepless nights with J but he’s also exhibiting behavioral issues, aggression and anger. I mean can you blame him? I just got off the phone with my parents (in tears) having an “I don’t know what to do!” moment. I’m discouraged. I’m tired. I know the parenting tools I’ve utilized for 11 years aren’t completely useless but in this moment I feel like I have no tools and no clue what I’m doing. And it’s different with K and J now because they are here to stay and I want to give them the very best and what they need to benefit them for their whole life.
You know how it is when you bring home a newborn baby and you’re figuring everything out. You’re unsure, you’re trying new things, trial and error,… I look back and think how sweet it was to bring home this blank canvas of a newborn that I carried safely in my womb with no trauma. It was hard and we made some mistakes but they weren’t devastating. I feel like I did then, a new parent we’ve brought home a 2 year who’s canvas is not blank, in fact at conception someone took a bunch of black paint and dumped it all over and for the last 2 years people have been putting their brush strokes on it trying to “fix” it. He’s not this clean, white canvas. He’s been hurt, neglected, yanked around, has trust issues. He doesn’t know how to sleep or self soothe or deal with his big emotions. Just because J has lived in two “good homes” (ours and great grandparents) doesn’t mean that he’s unaffected by every move, every visit, every strange face waltzing in and out of his life.
My heart has so much compassion for him.
But I’m human and we’ve had some hard days with this little guy. I’ve felt defeated and insecure, I’ve been impatient (with everyone), I’ve been waking up bewildered on how to go about my day. Some days I have felt like we’ve been in time out all.day.long. and I go to bed thinking “What a waste of a day? Did I accomplish anything?” I have felt like a tyrant raising a tyrant. And then of course there are the other four imperfect children to shepherd as well. So yeah, I guess you could say, one month in we are DEFINITELY still adjusting, to say the least.
In the weariness, hopelessness, defeat and exhaustion I finally made myself get out of bed early enough to cry out to Jesus. Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” I picked up Paul David Tripp’s book “Parenting”. In it he writes a sweet reminder, “Here is the single redemptive reality, right here, right now, that makes parenting possible: God in you……This means that God is with you in the morning when you dread getting out of bed and facing another hard parenting day. He is with you when you have to break up the seventeenth squabble of the morning. He is with you when you have an opening for a very important talk. He is with you when your children are in your face and disrespectful. He is with you when you fall into bed with a combination of exhaustion and regret. He gifts you with His presence. He really does live inside you. You aren’t left to yourself. And he will not turn his back on you until what he has called you to do is complete.”
Today I checked out from our library the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and have already dove in. Apparently sleeplessness can make for one difficult toddler! No kidding!! I know we have a long road ahead, with lots more to learn. I don’t have a neat little bow to wrap this blog up with. But I am printing out some sleep logs and taking the next step and God is in me. I do want to leave you with this song though, because it’s a new favorite of mine and a reminder of how I should love others, as Christ loves me, but it’s been a really timely reminder in my parenting and love for little J. Oh I pray that God would continue to strengthen me with his Spirit and his reckless love.
“I was walking blindly into a new season, a place that didn’t line up with my plans and dreams for the coming new year. A place that I never would have chosen, never wished or asked for. But God’s promise to Abraham spoke to me. God wasn’t promising me ease. He wasn’t promising that things would go as planned. He wasn’t promising a world without trouble, without heartbreak along the way. He was promising me Himself.” Katie Davis Majors, Daring to Hope
If you are looking for a good book I encourage you to read this one. It was appropriate timing that this book arrived in the mail for me today.
Today I recognized that I still have some grieving to do. I told my mom that I was having a strange urge to cry that I didn’t understand. I’ve been “fine”. When my miscarriage has come up I have felt “okay.” But today it was like the flood gates unexpectedly opened back up and my heart is aching like it did the day I learned of our loss. This is still all so foreign to me. I’m starting to learn that when you experience loss, it never stops resurfacing. And sometimes you can handle it emotionally and sometimes you just can’t.
I long for another child. I long for our family to continue growing. It also doesn’t help that Caleb asks me every other day, “When will we get a baby?” He tells me he wants a brother, after all “Micaila and Ryann have a little brother. I want one, too.” I mean who can argue with that? We pray for God to grow our family (however he chooses) and right now I’m struggling to be patient as I wait on his revealed plan. Before I found out I was pregnant we thought God was leading us to adoption but that door closed. Then we were having a baby naturally,…….then we weren’t. Now we are waiting for a placement. Which isn’t meant to be permanent but I certainly wouldn’t mind lavishing all this love on someone temporarily. And yet, here we wait. And the thing God whispers over and over and over is, “In your grief, in your waiting, you have Me.” Because so often when I want something, good somethings, I tend to start thinking Jesus + said thing will make everything better, whole, satisfied. And I have certainly searched my heart wondering, “Is Jesus enough for me?” I want to say whole heartedly “yes!” I guess maybe that’s the point of this season. Maybe God keeps us in these places so we will truly understand deep down that He is in fact enough. He is enough when we have and enough when we have not. He is always enough and He is always good.
“His desire is for us- that we would know His love in these unexpected broken places and that we would know the true hope found only in His Son Jesus, the Lamb, who never, ever stops reaching out for us, who cups our pain in His nail-scarred palms and cradles our hearts close to His. He wants to be our reward.” Katie Davis Majors, Daring to Hope
Haven’t done one of these in awhile. 🙂 Awesome song! I’d like to “dedicate” this one to Baby C’s mom. I’m proud of her perseverance. ❤
Late Saturday evening my husband and I were doing what we often do; sitting on our porch rocking, chatting, and listening to music. The kids have gone in after all their night time adventures and this is our alone time. We catch up, we dream, we aspire, we come back to reality, and on occasion we argue.
It’s interesting to me how a quarrel takes place. I don’t know if you’ve had this happen but we’ll be talking, fine and dandy, and all of a sudden Beef Stroganoff gets brought up and I have boxing gloves on. What we really got on the topic of was dinners. We both were expressing things we were tired of eating and Jason began making helpful suggestions. Quickly I saw them not as helpful but critical and demanding. Suddenly I felt a need to defend my cooking, my family, my families cooking, (family always has to come up right?) why I do the things I do and how I HATE beef stroganoff and refuse to make it. You can see where this is going right? At first it wasn’t all that heated. I used subtle sarcasm (a dangerous tool) to cover up my defensiveness. “If beef stroganoff was good it’d be in your mothers cookbook.” (a valid point if you ask me, that woman knows how to cook.) While I felt like my cooking was under attack Jason felt I was being unwilling to do something simply out of love for him.
By the time our argument peaked I was brewing with anger. I tried to justify why it was okay for me to maintain my position. “I have never loved cooking why are you trying to make me love it? This is who I am! Can’t you just be happy I make dinner?” Boy had I missed the mark.
The truth is I do have insecurities with being confident in “who I am”, even in the kitchen. I have so many women in my life who LOVE to cook and I can’t understand why I don’t but I don’t. The fact is though, my response to my husband last night was sinful. It was unloving, rebellious, prideful, and completely unnecessary. (Seriously, just cook the stroganoff, he never said you had to eat it!)
Meanwhile I’ve been reading a book called The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. And let me tell you I went to bed last night infuriated with that Martha. I had just violated every Biblical standard she outlined for me in being an Excellent Wife. I did NOT want to pick that book up again. Can you sense the spiritual warfare going on here? When I woke up this morning, after letting the sun go down on my anger, I knew I needed a word but not from Martha. (Though I do agree with most of what she offers in her book.) I needed the LIVING Word. I knew that God, his Word, and the Holy Spirit, would be the only thing my rebellious spirit would yield itself to. You see when you expose yourself to God’s Word, its active power will penetrate the most stubborn strongholds. I was convicted, I needed repentance, and I needed God’s undeniable truth to cut through my prideful heart.
First I prayed. I acknowledged my ugly sin. I prayed for God to soften my heart and speak the necessary Truths. I picked up my study Bible and looked up the words pride (prideful) and rebel (rebellious, rebellion). Here’s what I got and boy did it humble me.
Proverbs 16:20 Whoever heeds instruction prospers and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 15:31 He who listens to a life giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom and humility comes before honor.
1 Samuel 15:22-23 Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
*note from study Bible* Samuel does not suggest that sacrifice is unimportant but that its acceptable only when brought with an attitude of obedience and devotion to the Lord.
Romans 13:2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
*Under God our husband is our authority and as Martha Peace has pointed out in her book this is for our protection among other things. This is not always an easy principle to embrace, as you can clearly see by my behavior last night. But it is Biblical Truth.*
The beautiful result of seeking the Lord and his Word is he is faithful, gracious, and just. He will change your heart and align it with his. There was one key thing that needed to happen though for me to be rightly restored back to not only my husband but God and for my attitude of rebellion and pride to be totally demolished. I had to humble myself before Jason, take responsibility for all my sin, apologize and ask for forgiveness. Here is the real test. I could still feel bits of pride wanting to resurface. But I want to fight for what is right and godly. I approached Jason sheepishly and proceeded to apologize. And later I thanked God for such a gracious forgiving husband. He could have held a grudge but he didn’t.
And in light of Father’s Day this reminded me of how gracious, forgiving, and loving our heavenly Father is with us. I am thankful for God’s example, given to us in his Word, and for the men in my life, Jason and my dad in particular, who are striving to become more like Jesus every day. May we all seek to be a reflection of Him. 🙂
I decided to read through the book of Matthew as a way to prepare for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. My attention was drawn to a well-known passage of scripture that I admittedly tend to gloss over because of its familiarity. I couldn’t gloss over it this time though. The Words of the Lord were penetrating me.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your weary souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Often times I think I have read this verse from a somewhat self-centered place. “Yes Lord, I am weary, give me rest!” What struck me though was where he says “learn from me, for I am gentle and humble….” I’ve not taken seminary classes and I’m no theologian but I read that and thought “when I am weary and need rest the answer just may lie within my learning how to be gentle and humble in heart like Jesus.”
Ephesians 4:2 says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
I love my big red dictionary. Humor me 😉
Humble: 1. Having or showing feelings of humility rather than of pride (an excessively high opinion of oneself; conceit; arrogance.); aware of ones shortcomings; modest; meek. 2. Showing deferential (courteous) respect. 3. Lacking high station; lowly; unpretentious.
It’s hard to admit but I acknowledge that pride runs deep. Sometimes I don’t even know it’s there but it is! It’s important for me as a woman, wife, and mother to intentionally cultivate a humble spirit. Jesus goes on to say “you will find rest for your weary souls.” I utilized my study Bibles notes and references 😉 and was lead to these passages.
Jeremiah 6:16 “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Psalm 119:165-166 “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands.”
What I find interesting is that the solution to my weariness is not found by being taken out of my circumstance. Jesus is the solution. Me seeking him, his ways, his likeness, that is where I will find rest for my weary soul. Verse 30 Jesus says “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Again, my study Bible directs me to these two scriptures:
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”
1 John 5:3 “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,…”
This is not about being legalistic. Genuine obedience brings freedom, not bondage. My notes indicate that the people’s “weariness” may have been the result of the Pharisees insisting on a strict adherence to the law. Galatians 5:4-6 “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Keeping a set of rules does not impress Jesus one bit. Trusting Him enough to love those with whom He has allowed us relationship is the pleasing thing to Jesus. Our obedience should be driven by “what is the loving thing to do?” Scripture tells us His commands are not burdensome. They are for our benefit! When we delight in and obey the Lords commands they have the ability to bring us rest.
A lot of times when I write a blog post I will ask a trusted outsider to read it beforehand. I want the accountability and I appreciate the honest feedback. I call them my “editors”. Of course they graciously do this pro bono for me. 😉
Often times in their proofing they will give me treasures of insight and wisdom. My dad was my editor on this particular post. “The people lived lives that wearied them for any number of reasons. The answer of the religious leaders was honor God by keeping the law. Jesus said, ‘come learn from me. Your release from the weariness and difficulty reside in the liberty found in the Law of Love.’ Obedience to Christ is release from bondage.”
We’re not so different than this people group. We get weary for many reasons. And I know I sometimes look to Jesus for complete relief of life’s heavy loads. I think more often than not Jesus wants us to look to him so he can reveal to us how we, through his power, can respond better to chaos. I think our relief and rest comes out of a heart of obedience. Obedience cultivates trusting in the Almighty God. Trust reduces our worrying over what we cannot control. And that is the yoke Jesus wants us to carry.
Come to Jesus.
As I finished up this post I felt prompted to attach a song to it because it was just so appropriate. So this is a Melodious Monday: Special Edition. 😉 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2zhf2mqEMI
Hello everyone! I know right now a lot of us are being flooded by 50 Shades of Grey chatter. Oh wont it be so nice when all this hype has played out!? (how many books were there? ) I wanted to share something though that I heard the other day on my local Christian radio. There are two camps for 50 shades; those who like it and those who are completely revolted by it. Those that dislike like it tend to be very critical and harsh with those who do. The thing that I appreciated about these ladies is they are coming from a very non-judgmental, concerned, and compassionate place. I encourage you to listen to it even if you are confident with your stance in regards to the book. It revealed to me how I need to be praying for my sisters and brothers in Christ and marriages all over the world. They discuss the dangers of pornograpahy, erotica, and romance novels (both in and outside of marriage). They also talk about how we can have healthy, fulfilling, and godly sexual intimacy with our husbands. What marriage can’t benefit from that?! 😉 As they put it, there is a way to honor God with our sexuality. I hope you find it as insightful and encouraging as I did.