Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oh this day

So sickness and sleepless nights are visiting the Cook house and John is absent for a few days.  It is a little crazy here today but God in his sweetness is throwing in the laughter which is wonderful for me - I love to laugh!!!  (Read the next post for more of today's saga)  So I put a movie in and tell Jake he needs to rest - his fever is 102.   I put Brady in the beanbag beside him and tell him that he has to sit and watch the movie or go into the playroom.  So everyone is settled watching cars and I sit down to eat breakfast at 10:15.  Jake turns to me and says "Mommie you have a beautiful oval head!!!"  I am still laughing about it 20 minutes later.  

The Wafer Truck is Coming!!!!

My boys love the ice cream truck and they can hear it a mile away.  About 10 minutes ago, I was on the phone with my friend April and I was telling her that the Jake is sick and running fever and he nor I slept much last night.  I also told her that my little Brady was on the prowl full force this morning.  He takes great delight in getting a stir out of most anyone but especially his brother.  So needless to say it has been a little crazy around here this morning and I have started my day quite frustrated.  Then the Lord was sweet and gave me a chance to laugh at Brady rather than scorn him this morning. (Yes I am that dreadful sinner)  Jake said, Mommie look what Brady has in his the back of the blue truck.  So as I head over to look - proceeding with caution - Brady says "You want a nilla wafer mommie?"  This is what I saw and had to just laugh (it is the whole box)  Thank you Lord for laughter at just the right time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is Best really Best?

As a young Christian, any time I would make decisions for my life, I was constantly ask by mentors in my life "Which of these decisions is the best?"  Many of you may have heard the saying that making decisions in your life usually does not involve deciding between a good and bad decision but rather a better and best decision.  Every time I say yes to one thing, there are several things that become an automatic no as a result of that one yes. All of those No's have to be factored into deciding on the best YES. 
John and I are in the processes of praying through some hard decisions for our family - I will share more later as they come together. We feel as though God is giving us some answers and well, for me they are hard to swallow.  Last night, we were talking after a CRAZY whirlwind day. I had time to gather my thoughts from the day and I confessed to John that I was sad about some of these decisions.  He ask me if I was "too sad?"  My response to him was that I knew that this decision would be the best for our family and for the long haul of our life but to me nothing about it felt "best."  He ask me what I meant.  Well, I had a hard time describing the word best without using best to describe itself. (weird I know).  Usually when I think about best I think that it is a good thing - not bad or sad.  John, in his wisdom, said that he didn't always see that.  Shocked, I ask him what he meant.  He said that making best decisions while walking with God and deciding to glorify Him with our lives has always meant sacrifice and in his flesh there is nothing best about sacrifice.  This was profound for me in that moment.  It helped me see that I was gazing at my circumstance and only glancing at God.  I very much long for the reverse to be true in my life - gazing at God and glancing at my circumstances.  
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
Then the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace."

Please pray for me in the next few days that I would walk toward my BEST - Jesus and that all of the other things would be put into perspective in light of Him and His kingdom.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Good Stuff!!!

I had to share this....

“On the most basic levels, I desire fullness, and fleshly lusts seduce me by attaching themselves to this basic desire. They exploit the empty spaces in me, and they promise that fulness will be mine if I give in to their demands. When my soul sits empty and is aching for something to fill it, such deceptive promises are extremely difficult to resist.

Consequently, the key to mortifying fleshly lusts is to eliminate the emptiness within me and replace it with fullness; and I accomplish this by feasting on the gospel. Indeed, it is in the gospel that I experience a God who glorifies Himself by filling me with His fullness. . . . This is the God of the gospel, a God who is satisfied with nothing less than my experience of fullness in Him! . . .

Indeed, as I perpetually feast on Christ and all His blessings found in the gospel, I find that my hunger for sin diminishes and the lies of lust simply lose their appeal. Hence, to the degree that I am full, I am free. Eyes do not rove, nor do fleshly lusts rule, when the heart is fat with the love of Jesus!”

- Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians (2008), 45-46.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Burrito Brady

So I haven't been sleeping much lately and I ask John if I could sleep in this morning. When the kids got up he put a fan by my head so I couldn't hear them and let me sleep. A little bit later he cam in the door with Brady crying. I, halfway awake, ask what was wrong and I thought I heard him say "I am getting something to wash Brady's eye with." So I laid back down and he left the room. A second later he came and said "Your gonna have to help me hold him down." So a little confused I get up and walk in the kitchen, my contacts dry and blurry. I look up and John and Brady are covered in blood. I don't think a part of Brady's face didn't have smeared blood on it. So John holds him down and I attempt to clean it up so I can see how bad it is. Wasn't happening. So we took a beach towel and wrapped him up like a burrito as you can see below. This was the second wrapping after the trip to walmart for supplies so no blood is present. From our trips to the ER with Jake we have learned a thing or two about the need for stitches and how to handle this situation. We decided that Brady didn't need stitches, although, I am a little worried but John seems convinced. Jakes last trip looked way worse than this and they used the liquid stitch so that is what we opted for this time to.
In case your wondering, John said Brady was just rolling around in the floor and hit the corner of the TV cabinet. He just got it the right way and it split his eye open. He is doing ok now. It is already blue and swollen but he is asleep in his daddy's arm still wrapped in his burrito.

There's A Baby in the House!!!!

No I am not pregnant!!! This year I am babysitting a friends little boy. Yes we love that he's a little boy - it's all I know:) Friday was our first day keeping him and it was so fun. Brady adores him and was extremely helpful and loving. Jackson loves Brady too. This was the first time Brady had seen him for the day. He crawled up beside him and Jackson started cooing and smiling and Brady loved it. Seems he will be a great big brother but for now I am getting my weekly baby fix.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Life with Little Ones

Lately I have talked to a few moms that have recently gone from 1 child to 2 and are just struggling to determine what to let go and what to make time for.  Several of you are alot like me in personality and you not only enjoy a clean house but you really don't mind the cleaning itself.   I wanted to encourage you that this is just a short season of life but that from this point on your seasons will come and go in short burst for a little while.  Earlier this spring I shared on here my cleaning schedule.  At that point, Jake was home 3 out of 5 days and life was a little less committed.  This semester (yes I know i am not is college but planning for me works best by semester thinking - I am not a college wantabe - not most of the time :)) life for us has a few more commitments and some specific goals so it doesn't allow for me to be as committed to my house.  Always remember that when you say yes to one thing there are at least 3-4 things you have to say no to.  As a family we are committed to not living busy lives but sometimes for the sake of priorities life has busy seasons.  So I just thought that I would post my cleaning schedule for this season of life.  It is alot different than from the spring and really looks alot like what I did shortly after Brady was born.  Super cleanliness in the house right now is not a yes for me.  Because of my personality it will come around again I am sure.

Morning Routine: (about 30 minutes)
-start load of laundry
-make my bed
-empty dishwasher
-meal preps (includes Jake's school snack, Brady's gym snack, lunch and dinner preps)
-cook breakfast

Evening Routine: (about 10 min for boys and 20 for me)
-Boys (John too) - go through entire house and pick up things laying out and put up (it is mainly toys
-Me: clean kitchen from dinner. I don't clean the kitchen right after we eat.  This is our family time.  I do it while John is doing Bed time routine with the boys and then I join in for parts of the routine and then come back and finish up.

Tuesday Mornings: (about 1.5 hour)
-1st and 3rd Tuesdays:
  - clean living and dining room (dust and vacuum)
  - any cleaning in kitchen & mop
  - clean both bathrooms (scrub and mop)
  - change sheets on beds

-2nd & 4th Tuesdays:
  - clean all 3 bedrooms (dust & vacuum)
  - tidy up bathrooms (wipe off counters, clean toilet)
  - change sheets on the bed

Sometimes in between our bedroom furniture will get dusty and it drives me crazy so I grab a rag and spend 2 minutes dusting off the top.  
So other than my morning routine of about 30 minutes I don't do anything to my house except on Tuesdays. Yes the baseboards need cleaning, the window could defiantly use a cleaning and yes some days I notice and for a moment it makes me crazy but I just have to remind myself of 2 things (really I do have to stop and tell myself this) 1. this is only for a season and my house is not dirty I just see things that could be cleaner 2. the investments that I am making in people will not burn up one day and my house will.
I encourage you not to feel defeated because you just can't do what you could.  Our measuring stick as moms and wives has to be how we glorify God with our time by loving and serving the people he places in our care.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Applying what I learn

I am sad that I don't get to post as often as I'd like. This is one of the very few cons to John working from home full time - he took over the computer!!! Anyway, very seldom, if any that I remember, does God teach me something huge and not give me an opportunity to apply it very soon after. A few post back I wrote about God driving a stake deep into my heart. It basically was that parenting my children is for God's glory and my development/sanctification more than it was for my children's sake. I can teach and train them and lay a foundation in which God will choose (or not choose) to work on. He will make them holy and he will finish the work in them. It is not my burden or responsibility to make them holy and good.
So Jake started school last week and I have devoted time over the past year to training Jake in various manner skills. One of them we work on most everyday is listening skills. He can spout it off to you if you ask him. Something like this Jake what do you do when another person is talking to you. His response will be (either with words or he will show me) stop what you are doing, find their eyes and look at them, hands beside you or in your lap, and respond when they finish so they know you heard them. This helps Jake practice self control and it is respectful. He has known is since he was about 2.5 (not completely of course but we started then). When I get to the parent night this Tuesday, his teacher ask me if he gets dizzy when he looks at you. (she knows about his vision problem) John and I smiled and said no because that is all he has known and ask why she ask. She said "When I talk to him he does not look at me." "I have been working with the children on listening skills but I was afraid it made him dizzy so I didn't make him do it." Well immediately my heart sank because in that moment I felt as though I had failed as a parent and I got frustrated with Jake. There were a few other things that he did that made me feel the same way but for lengths sake I will spare you. Needless to say, I came home and really had to remind myself of what God was teaching me. I am being faithful in what I know to do with Jake but that will not make him a child that always gets it right and it will not make him good and holy. So we did need to have some conversations with Jake but I had to get my heart right before the Lord. My confidence and significance will not be determined (any longer) by my children's actions. I will press on to take hold of the prize which God has in store for me and I will keep my eyes on him and his glory, having faith that he will start and finish a work in their hearts.
But it is so hard!!! I often wonder if God knew it would be this hard. To invest so much time and energy and heart into these children who ultimately are not mine and each day that becomes closer to a reality. How easy to wrap my significance up in who they are and how they are doing. It has taken God almost 5 years and lots of worry and disgust but I am so thankful he is showing me the bigger picture. I am not sure that this one makes any sense. It is in my head and makes complete sense to me but for some reason I can't seem to say it just right. Anyway, its my heart and I put it out there. Hope it is encouraging to someone!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

What's a Mom to do?

So God says in His word that one of the seven things that he hates is one who stirs up trouble with their brother (Prov 6:19). This happens well over 20 times a day in our house and we are at whits end. Very specifically, Brady is an aggravator and agitator. At this point in his life he takes great delight in doing both of the above to his brother. He has been known to run up and pull 2 hand fulls of Jake's hair and take off running. The most recent has been hitting. He will want a toy and just hit Jake and take it from him. It really gets so frustrating how often it happens. Yesterday, out of sheer frustration, we told Jake to hit him back. Several people have suggested this to me. Well we finally did it and well I have to say that it did not sit well with my spirit. So John told Jake not to do that again until we had time to pray and talk about it.
So this morning I spent some time in prayer and the word (using the book For Instruction in Righteousness as my guide) specifically regarding this issue and here are the things that I found:
-Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people but love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:18)
-Do not say "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the Lord and he will deliver you. (Prov 20:22)
-Do not say "I'll do to him as he has done to me..." (Prov 24:29
-others are Rom 12:17-21, 1 Pe 2:23, 1 Pe 3:11 and Luke 6:35-36

Basically, I can't find anywhere in Scripture that even alludes to it being ok for Jake to just hit him back to give him a dose of his on medicine. Kim Foster (writer of for instruction in righteousness) suggest that there are times when a parent needs to discipline in the same way that the child hurt another (bite, pushing, hitting your brother with a drum stick or hammer in the head). She says that it needs to be in a controlled environment with control and calmed emotions. Then to talk with the child about how it felt and such.
This seems to be the correct approach and to me it makes sense but I have a few "cultural concerns" and I would love feedback with your thoughts on it.
So are we going to make Jake a wimp if we don't let him fight back? Is he going to know how to take up for himself at school and other places? What does this look like for a family trying to trust God's word and method in our cultural? Am I looking at this wrong because it seems to me that scripture is clear about it so I would love to see it from a different perspective if any of you have any.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Amazing Grace

So this Fall I am beginning to read through the OT with some specific questions in mind.  In my counseling class last year Dr. Eyrich said that he was convinced that God had provided all that we need for life and godliness in the Scriptures.  He has gone through the OT reading about the people and their struggles and such and put "our terms" to their struggles.  This really challenged me to do the same.  What a great tool to have in ministry.  So I have sat out on this adventure and I am sure it will take me some time - off and on- but nonetheless I have started. As I read I am also looking for how God has "parented" his children along the way in hopes to make more practical applications to how I parent my children.  Anyway, as I started reading in Gen the other day and I was most encouraged by God's grace on sinners.  After God cursed Adam and Eve for their disobedience he made clothes for them.  And after God cursed Cain for killing Able, he put a mark on him so that he would not be killed as he wandered.  This was as far as I got but it was just amazing to me to see how compassionate God is.  "Was this His kindness that leads to repentance?" Just thinking....sure I will share more later.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A new stage of life

I remember very vividly December 22nd, 2004. We were sitting in our living room in Pensacola. Jake was 101/2 months old. I was sitting on the floor playing with him and John was at the bar in the kitchen. Jake was standing beside me holding on to my shoulder and he wanted his walker that was across the room. Normally, he would fall down on his knees and crawl across the floor and pull back up on his walker. Not this day. This day he let go of my shoulder and walked across the room to his walker. John and I looked at each other and both of our mouths were open wide with disbelief.
I knew that day was coming very soon but for me the knowing did not prepare me for what I would feel in my heart. I wrote the following in his journal that night: "I must admit, as I cheered outwardly, inside my heart sunk and a very large knot filled my throat. As you "toddled" across the floor tonight you walked away from being my baby and passed into the toddler stage. Though I was thrilled at your accomplishment my heart was sad at what we left behind."
Today we entered into another stage and my heart felt the same way. As I begin to climb the hill to take him to his first day of school (5 days a week) that same lump entered my throat. Tears begin to flow down my face though he never saw them. He wanted me to drop him off in the carpool line like the big kids. I told him that today I needed him to take me in and show me that he knew the way to his room so I could be sure he knew what to do when I drop him off tomorrow. He knew what to do and I knew it but today I needed my moment. So we get out of the car and walking up the hill he held my hand. We we approached the school and he saw the big kids he let go of my hand and the knot got bigger. I maintained my composure from here. I followed him into the building, straight to his room and watched him put his bag at his assigned seat. He looked at me to see how I was and in that second I saw a bit of fear and hesitation. I gave him a big smile, hug and kiss and said have a blast today. I will see you in a while. He said have a good day mommy bye. I turned and walked out the door. Once my back was to him the tears started to flow. I cried the whole way home.
He is ready, I am ready and just like his first steps I am completely thrilled on the outside but my heart aches with great sadness today.

Who loves you the most

I periodically ask Jake "who loves you" He will go through the list of people that he knows loves him. Then I say "who loves you the most, more than all those people" He answers "God does" It is often a very comforting reminder to Jake because he is much more of a feeler - emotional child. He just smiles from ear to ear when we talk about.
Lately, since Brady is talking so much more, I have started asking him the same things.  His first response is quite different than Jake.  The funny thing is that he has never heard Jake say this nor has anyone taught him to say this.  He just thinks so differently and I love it but I must also admit  it is scary to think about this charming boy as a teen. The conversation went like this:

M- Brady who loves you

B- Meee

M: (It still makes me laugh every time he says it) Well who loves you the most?

B- I love myself the most mommy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Stake Driven Deep - Part 1

I don't want this post to be super long so I am breaking it up. John suggested this but I am not sure how I feel about it nor how well it will read. So I am gonna give it a try and see what I think.
If you want to stop with the first one then so be it or you can read on to get the whole story.

Today, in church, God used the sermon to drive a stake deep into my heart. What he showed me didn't necessarily have to do with the sermon but only with a few things our Pastor said. Here is the stake: I am not called to parent my children for my children's sake but solely for the glory of God!!!!
That may sound silly to those of you who already get that but to me today it is profound and oh so freeing!!!!! There are 3 very specific instances that God has used in my life earlier this summer to create the momentum that this stake needed to land so deep in my heart like it did today. For me, sitting here writing this is such a worshipful experience because I get to rehash some serious stones that God place in my life this summer to become Stones of Remembrance that He ALONE is the Faithful One.

A Stake Driven Deep - Part 2

My Stones of Remembrance:

Stone 1: I rode with Belinda, the lady that discipled me in college, to our friends daughters funeral earlier this summer. We were talking about some struggles that I have with my personality. Bottom line is (I didn’t know this then but now I do) that I feel completely responsible for my children's holiness. What she said to me has resignated with me the entire summer. "Amy, your life and specifically your marriage alone is such a beautiful story of God's redemption. God drew you to himself later in life but look how he has returned to you the years that the locust had eaten. Don't you know that God alone is writing your story and you are just along for the ride. As you submit to his obedience you get to be apart of His redemption."

Stone 2: This week I got to spend time with another friend who played another vital role in my life in college. I don't get to see her very often because she lives overseas but oh how I treasure our time together because she is one of the very few people I know that really "get me.” Our personalities are alike is so many ways and she understands how I think and process and such. We talked about several things that were huge for me but one of the things that resonated with me was her putting words to one of my struggles. I am not a mom who struggles/worries about God protecting my children from harm - the pool, sending my 4 year old away on an airplane with his nana for 10 days, strangers taking my child, them getting hurt on the playground, etc. It is easy for me not to worry about these things. But what she put to words for me was that although this is not a struggle for me, I have a struggle just as hard as the moms who do struggle with the above. I struggle with trusting God to save my children and make them holy. I have been bearing an unhealthy burden for some time now and on this day with my friend I was able to put it into words.

Stone 3: If you read one of my recent post titled the value of my children, you read about Jake thinking it was crazy that a little boy could beat a great big giant. Well during that conversation I really believe the Lord spoke through me to myself - though in that moment I didn’t relize it. Over the last few days I have rethought about that conversation, applying to something totally different that God is doing in my life, and I was amazed again at a story of redemption. There was nothing special about David. It was God who made him special. David had faith in God and chose to be obedient and as a result he got to take part in the great story of redemption that God chose to write for his life. That same day we talked about boasting. I told Jake that God tells us we can only boast in knowing Him. THAT’S IT!!!!! Not in how good my children are, not in how much they love and serve the Lord, not in how well I applied the Scriptures to parenting them, not in how consistent I am with them - just in knowing Him.

A Stake Driven Deep - Part 3

So today, God put all these thoughts into a package that has released my heart from this unhealthy burden. Today, as he talked about Joseph’s life and all the “bad” things that happened to him he said “God can draw straight lines with a multitude of crooked sticks.” As soon as he said those words I wrote them down and then I wrote this “My parenting is not for my children’s sake. It is for my God and His glory. I parent in obedience to him and out of overflow for my love for Him. He will write their story of redemption - NOT ME!!!” 
Today I was able to apply a principle to my life that God taught me the first year of our marriage - only to a different aspect of my life. Our first year of marriage John and I read The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. We had some great conversations about this book and how it really works. Finally, after struggling for some time with my part vs God’s part in making us holy we felt like God helped us “get it.” A stake that God drove deep into my life that year was that “I am to pursue holiness 100% and God will 100% bring it to fruition.” What I mean is that I can’t just have a lazy attitude in this life because it is God that makes me holy. I must be committed to dealing with sin in my life, seek to know God and hide His Word in my heart on a regular basis and with great fervency. But as I do this I must constantly remind myself that nothing I am doing is making me any more holy than I was before I did it. See if I sit down and read God’s word, God must meet me there or there will be no change.
What I realized today was this principle is true for my parenting. I am to 100% point my children toward God and holiness but He alone will save them and make them holy. So this doesn’t mean I can be lazy and just wait for him to do it. Some parents have and God still does redeem those children because it was always his plan. Those parents just miss out on being a part of God’s story of redemption in that child’s life. Today I realized that God’s plan for my children will come to fruition. I just get to be an active part in that process by being faithful to what He calls me to do as a parent (Duet 6). I don’t have to bear the burden of making that plan happen. How FREEING!!!!
My parenting is just another avenue that God has placed in my life to teach me about Himself. He uses that avenue to sharpen me, to soften me, to make me more like Him. For me this is so freeing. (did I say that already?) I feel like I can sit back and enjoy my labor because that is all I have to do. It doesn’t make what I do any different. I will still be diligent in thinking, praying and planning for my children. I will still be purposeful with them most of the time. I will still always ask God to open my eyes to teachable moments. I won’t take on the attitude of “just let this one slide.” But now those things are done for Him and not for me or my children. I will pursue holiness and He will make them holy.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Value of My Children

This is long but such a blessing so once again read at your choosing:
Yesterday I read the following paragraphs from a book that I am reading called "Say Goodbye to whining, complaining and bad attitudes in your kids!":

"Raising children has a high price tag.  It includes loss of sleep and fewer choices for your free time and money.  It means transporting them from here to there and back again.  Children cost much more than parents ever imagined.  But if you focus too much on the cost, you loose sight of the value.  Parents who realize the value of their children conduct themselves differently.  Closeness is the result.
Children aren't possessions; they're treasures.  Most parents don't realize what they're getting into when they bring that little bundle of cuteness home from the hospital.  They may get irritated or lose some of the joy of parenting over the years. Part of the solution is to get your mind off the cost and onto the value of your children."

At this stage in parenting, we often get very few returns for all of the giving that we do and I so relate with what the above author was saying.  I was really challenged by this and ask the Lord to help me really see the value in both my children and the time I give to being their mommy. I never expected what He would give me the very next day.
Today I (with John's help) had 3 very different spiritual conversations with Jake (our 4 year old) before 10 am.  God used these to bless my heart tremendously and to encourage me that my time spent investing in these children and just being here with them is so valuable to the Lord.  Here were the gist of each conversations:

1. At breakfast this morning Jake said something boastful to Brady and I told him that was not kind and that God only allows us to boast in loving and knowing Him.  He sat at the table and thought for awhile about it.  Then he proceeded with about a 10 minute role play to see if he knew what boasting was.  He would say "If I say ..... is that boasting?"  It was amazing to watch his mind wrap around this concept.  I have said those words to him many times (planted seeds) and today I got to watch fruit grow in his heart as he begin to understand what boasting really is and now he has a filter in his heart to help him better honor the Lord with his words.  Priceless to my heart!!!!

2. He was having room time drawing and listening to a Bible Story cd.  He came into the bedroom and said "Mommy that story just said that a little guy beat a giant.  Little guys can't beat giants, they are too little."  So we talked about how that it seems that would be the case but that David was a special little guy because the Lord made him special and the Lord gave him the ability to beat that giant.  I then talked about how God could use him to do great things if only he would learn to ask God for help.  We talked about how to do that.

3. Later, still during his room time he came out and into the kitchen where I was and said, "Mommy when will I get to see Big Daddy (after questioning him, I learned that he was talking about his great granddaddy that use to live with his Big Nana.  He died about 2 years ago)  I told him that we wouldn't see him for a long time because he lived in heaven now.  I said that when we go to live in heaven that we will get to see him again.  He started crying really hard (remember he is my little feeler) and said I don't want to go to heaven I just want to stay here in my house with you and daddy and Brady.  So I sat down in the kitchen floor and pulled him into my lap.  I talked about how great heaven would be and that he would never be sad when he lived in heaven.  He would not be comforted.  So I called John in there and daddy picked up his little boy and took him to the rocking chair.  He said "Son why are you crying?"  Jake told him why he was so sad and that he did not want to go to heaven and leave us.  So John started telling him that is was ok to feel sad but that living in heaven would be way more fun that living with mommy and daddy and that God loved him more that me and mommy could ever love him.  10 minutes into this conversation he is still very sad and crying very hard.  It really broke my heart.  So I decided to see if God's word would comfort him.  So I said to him as he sat in Johns lap "Jake you are sad because you think that living here is better than living in heaven with Jesus but in order to stop being sad we have to learn to know and think about what is true.  Jesus tells us about heaven and that he is in heaven right now preparing a room just for you.  (John 14)  Jake stopped crying and sat up tall in John's lap.  It was precious.  I continued reading that Jesus said that he promises to come back and get us and take us to be in heaven with Him.  So we talked about that for a few minutes and he was completely satisfied at that point. (we tried to tranisition into the gospel with him but for this time he had heard enough).  He said i am glad that Jesus loves me and lives in my heart and will come get me and show me the room he made just for me.  And off to playing he went.  
So later this afternoon, Jake was in his room having quiet time while Brady finished his nap.  He came into my bedroom and said "Mommy I colored this picture and I want to keep it and hang it in my special room in heaven."   Here he is all smiles holding his picture that mommy will forever keep to remind me of the value of this child and my time with him:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Straddling the Fence

This is a rambling so proceed at your choosing:
I am not one to straddle the fence.  My personality lends itself to be all or nothing especially in the areas of my deep convictions and I sincerely struggle with learning how to operate outside of this thinking.  Lately, John and I have spent much time discussing my gifting and what I feel God is calling me to do with my life and time. (not that I have much "extra time") Mainly, we are thinking in light of the future more so than the present.  Through these conversations I have really begin to put words to my heartbeat.  It is quite funny to me because today I realized some of my heart's desire is so contrary to my personality in many ways (if that makes sense?) 
Since leaving college ministry, John and I have had countless discussion of what we want our life to look like regarding family and personal ministry.  There are various schools of thought out there about this.  When we went to parent orientation for Briarwood Christian School a few months ago the superintendent said that usually Christian schools fall out on 1 of 2 sides of the spectrum - strong education or strong Christian morals and value.  Very few do great at both of them.  I see this to be true with parenting and building God's kingdom.  We have those that choose to protect their children from life and sin and thus create almost an island with their family and have no conviction for building the Kingdom outside the 4 walls of their home.  Then there are those who forsake teaching and training and discipling their children for the sake of building the Kingdom not seeing that their home is their first importance even in ministry.  (you know children of these parents are called "pastors kids")
So my desire for our family is to learn to straddle the fence.  I long to learn and discover what this looks like on a daily basis.  How do I teach and train my children but also minister to a lost world.  I don't think that it is impossible but I do think that timing is EVERYTHING from a mom's standpoint.  So please don't read this and get overwhelmed because you know this is not where you are.  I think that many stages of a mom's life lends itself to nothing outside of the home. But not just me as a mom - how does our family do this? How do we purposefully engage our culture now - not later?  Just today I was reading in John where Jesus tells the disciples to open their eyes and see that the harvest is ripe.  But oh the laborers are few.    So what does all this look like in life?  How do we/I become good at both without forsaking either? Any ideas?
Side note - I know that this is the reason that I am passionate about being organized.  Because I see all the benefits of  freed up space in my mind.  I don't have to think about what I need to do tomorrow for the most part because I have a routine.  I can, for the most part, schedule time with people on the spot because I know when I am available without having to drop the other important things in the week.  The mundane things for me become mindless and allow me time to think about other things.