Thursday, March 28, 2013

Your children are your character references.....

I can't really remember where I first heard this statement, but over and over and OVER again I have been seeing the proof of its truth.

Your children are your character references.

However, as I ponder the idea it has led me to some strange places.... come along with me please. There might be a lesson for you too.

#1 My children are AWESOME character references. First of all, I admit that my babies still poo sitting down; however, they are pretty amazing kids (especially out in public). They LOVE. They SHARE. They are COMPASSIONATE. The are POLITE. [Quick story.... as we have been praying for a little girl June to get a liver, it started getting pretty desperate. Jeremiah said to me, "Mom, I want to give her my liver." With tears welling up in my eyes, I said, "Jeremiah, you can't live without your liver." He said, "I know mom."] So my kiddos are pretty AWESOME character references.

#2 However, lest you think I would be prideful about that, let me assure that

a. they have their bad moments too [Story #2.... not going to out the thief, but at a play date this weekend one of my kiddos used the "five finger discount" to abscond with someone's toy.]


b. I often wonder HOW these children turned out to be so kind, compassionate, caring... because MOST days I feel like my parenting skills are a MAD HOT MESS! [The other day found me NOT very kindly telling my little princess, "Remember the part in Cinderella BEFORE the fairy godmother showed up??? THAT is going to become your life if you don't stop CRYING every time I ask you do to a chore!!!"]

#3 (the conclusion of this blog) It isn't as much in the discipline method I use, the content of the lectures I give, even the consistency of the parenting I dispense. Children learn what they live. Now I am not ANYWHERE close to perfect. I erupt under pressure. I have VERY little self-control. I am OVERLY sensitive. I could list flaw after flaw after FLAW here but that is not the point of this blog. My children are loving, sacrificial, compassionate and polite because they spend a GREAT deal of their time with a woman who is these things too.  (Please don't take this as haughty... it's not!)  So when I am struggling with a poor behavior in my children (Noah is SO sarcastic at the ripe ole age of 13! NO ONE puts away ANYTHING when they are done with it so the house is constantly a mess and things are CONTINUALLY missing. My kids are PROS at ANGRY outbursts.) I need to examine my own self and see if it is possible (and likely it is) that they are seeing me model these behaviors. [Last quick story: Yesterday, Noah asked me a question and DRIPPING with sarcasm I answered him, "Maybe." The world stood still for a second as the Holy Spirit SCREAMED in my ear, "That's where he hears that sarcastic 'Maybe' he keeps answering you with!!!!!"]

So the application of this blog: for me at least is this.... My #1 parenting priority has to be pointing myself towards Christ. Modeling Him in ALL I say and do. Because these precious little beings I am raising (positive attributes and flaws) are taking their cues from ME!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

More and more and MORE lessons!

I have really been going through some battles lately. I told someone last night I feel challenged on EVERY front.

"Why can't we do speed math instead of regular math?"
"Why do we have to ALL take off our bows if someone forgets theirs?"
"Why do I have to get out of bed before noon and eat more than 2 bites of my dinner?"

I want to SCREAM at the top of my lungs, "Because I am the mom/coach/old-person-caretaker, and I said SO!!!" [In fact truthfully, I have screamed the mom version of that statement several times] I feel as if I am fighting SO many "challenges to my throne" that I am not handling many of them very gracefully at all. It is VERY draining to have to give a 3-point sermon defending every instruction you give. It takes a TON of energy and when you multiply the sermon by the instructions I give to: 4 children, 1 old lady and 17 cheerleaders.... I'm done!

Yesterday was ESPECIALLY trying. See we got this HUGE blessing. Our dear friends gave us a bunch of their old stuff (tv, DVD player, surround sound, entertainment center) because they were updating and that is leading to a FRENZY around here. The kids are so excited about where the new stuff is going to go and when we are going to set it up. They also got their backup Xbox back from their big brother, and they are CHOMPING at the bit to use it, because "we can play two things at once, Mom!" So I fought and fought and fought to get them through school and chores.

I was plagued by nightmares last night. In my dreams I was arguing with John, the kids, my aunt, cheerleaders, the bank.

This morning I woke up EXHAUSTED. I was getting ready to read my Bible and just started with, "God, please speak to me. Please tell me what this is all about. I must be fighting wars on every front because you want me to learn a lesson!" Before I even opened my Bible, His word came to me... through verses I made my sixth graders memorize years ago:

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 
James 3:5-6

It doesn't matter how many battlefields this war is raging on. It doesn't matter how many times and from how many directions I am challenged, questioned, even defied. God wants me to control my tongue! I have to stay patient, keep control of my words, even keep control of the impatient thoughts raging through my mind. This is NO small task as I already mentioned the WAY too many fronts I am engaged on. But God doesn't say, "Okay Jami since you are trying to do so much I will accept 50% effort on each front since that still equals 150% or 200%"  God expects me to be Christlike in each and every situation... in each and every contact.... with each and every word!

That is the tall order I am trying to fill today.  Please pray for me if you think of it because if you know me at all, you know that "keeping a tight reign on my tongue" has NEVER been my strong suit. But I am going to give this the old college try today!

God bless!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The other shoe.....

In spite of how great things are going, I have been VERY down in the dumps lately. I have been examining my heart and begging of God to reveal what is going on with me.... Here's what I have so far:

1. There is ALWAYS a bit of a let down when a stressful situation ends. I believe this is because when you are going through stress, your body is keeping you going with adrenaline. When the stress ends, the adrenaline leaves and you are WORN OUT.

2. (and this is what this blog is about) The other shoe.... I read this phrase in a blog earlier this week, "I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop." When you have spent an extended period of your life under STRESS it is VERY difficult to step out of that mode. You find yourself looking and even waiting for the next thing to go wrong. I am not sure that this shows a lack of faith in God, it just shows the natural design of our wondrous bodies. See God made us so that when we touch a hot stove we jerk our hand away. But He also made us so that we REMEMBER touching that stove so that the next time we see a hot stove we remember being burnt and avoid touching it again. I think this is what is responsible for "the other shoe" phenomenon. See our bodies remember that feeling of happiness before the bottom fell out of our life and with that remembrance comes the recollection of the bottom falling out. We can't help but cringe at the memory. It is wired into us. Just like John will forever struggle with the tightness of neck muscles which were cut from brain surgery: I will always struggle with those memories. Simple things: Noodles & Company, the song Stronger by Mandisa, the feeling that everything is on the upswing IMMEDIATELY followed but everything getting worse.... these are indelibly imprinted in my psyche. And encountering these "triggers" can INSTANTLY transport me back to that time and place.

I do not know that I should waste time trying to erase these indelibly imprinted items. Instead I think that I need to recognize them and call them out as memories.... NOT prophecies. I also need to let that "other shoe" feeling call my mind back to the the times when the bottom fell out and walk ALL the way through the end of the story... because the end of the story contains the facts that God sustained us through it all.... that God's people cared and prayed and ministered to us... that God brought our family CLOSER together through the bottom falling out....  and that IN THE END WE SURVIVED!

So I am trying to be patient with myself. I am trying to realize that I am tired now that adrenaline isn't carrying me... and that this other shoe can be a reminder of all the good God has brought instead of a negative around my neck weighing me down....

Have a blessed day everyone!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Consider it pure joy....

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.... James 1:2

PURE joy??? Really??? PURE joy!!!

Pure: unmixed with any other matter

Joy:  the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight

When I face trials I am to consider it PURE (unmixed with any other matter) JOY (the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight).  How exactly??? Trials aren't fun. Trials aren't easy. Yes they bring about good. Yes they have a silver-lining. In 43 years on this planet.... In 33 years of being a Christian.... I have YET to see ONE trial that didn't bring about something good, but PURE joy???  Joy unmixed with any other matter??? That is one TALL order!

Lord whatever You desire.... whatever You command... I vow to aim for PURE JOY when my body is aching and sore. I vow to aim for PURE JOY when I am assaulted by the unsolicited opinions of others. I vow to aim for PURE JOY when I am crushed by apathy, discouraged by lack of commitment, and disheartened by complacency. I vow to aim for PURE JOY when the struggles of this world, the attacks of the enemy, my own sinful desires assail me. I will aim for PURE JOY.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Where we are at....

The other day as I was pulling into the garage it hit me.... WOW! How far we've come!

I know I have been horribly remiss in keeping my blog updated. If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that when I "go offline" it is typically because everything is going just swimmingly. The sad truth is that typically I only really blog when my heart is troubled, and I need to process what I am going through. But the other day as I pulled into the garage I thought, "I have GOT to blog about this!"

See for so many years we have STRUGGLED! Through health woes and the accompanying partner financial problems.... through stress and difficulties and worries and fears... But RIGHT now I find myself in VERY unfamiliar territory. I find that we are in a land of luxury, and I really LIKE being here!

We have TWO drivers and TWO vehicles.... that is luxury for us!

John has not had a "seizure-like episode" in over 13 months.... that is luxury for us!

We are actually paying our bills ON TIME... that is luxury for us!

Because I always need to find the lesson, I want to SHOUT an encouraging word to all of you:

Whether you are in the pit of terrible cars, walking through the valley of unpaid bills, or frolicking in the meadow of 2 drivers and 2 vehicles.... remember: to everything there is a SEASON. While it may seem like you've been stuck in UCK forever, this too shall pass! HANG ON! HAVE HOPE! You WILL get through this.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28
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