17 years of marriage. That’s what we got away this weekend to celebrate, and I am so glad we did! We went to a Bed & Breakfast about forty-five minutes away. Josh has stayed there before and thought we would enjoy the quiet and the short drive—he was right on both accounts. Between his job and all that it entails and my role here as home school mom and manager of all things at home, it can be challenging to find time alone. We had so much to talk about! Josh made a great list to help us accomplish a lot of great conversation!
We talked about our marriage and its history. We recapped hard times and good times. We looked head-on at some of the current challenges and what we can do to do marriage well, right where we are. This season is challenging, but lots of learning and growing and maturing comes as a result of the hard times. So we press on with expectancy and purpose!
We also talked about each kid—strengths and weakness, interests and needs. We discussed finances, church, and took a look at our calendar.
We were celebrating FAITHFULNESS. Faithful to each other. NOT perfection, but faithfulness. We are both so grateful to God for His faithfulness in our lives that makes it possible for us to be faithful to one another. What grace in our lives!!
We also left the weekend with a challenge to “win the morning” and “win the evening.” Josh used a baseball game analogy. His coach used to tell them that most games are won or lost in the first inning and the last inning. Does it matter what you do in the middle innings? Well, of course it does, but making sure you get started well and end well can propel you to victory. So, he and I are taking that advice and applying it to our days. Spend time with the Lord in the morning and keep His Word top priority. And use the evenings with intentionality with the kids…have family devotions with prayer, praise and The Word. It can be 20 minutes…but any time focused together as a family will likely help all of us connect.
Words fall short to convey how thankful I am that God gave me Josh. He is an amazing husband, and I am deeply grateful for our 17 years of marriage.
Last week, the flu. This week, snow. I give up. I wave the white flag of surrender. Maybe my new New Year will be February 1. This year has gotten off to a not-great start–especially where school work is concerned.
So, the kids did spelling and grammar and Math today. Everyone has read a little. But mostly they have been going in and out of the snow and asking for food. All. day. long.
I am still in my pajamas and can’t decide what to do. It’s like I’m paralyzed. I did put a chicken in the crockpot for dinner, but that’s about as far as I have gotten on actually being productive.
So how about some pictures since I have nothing else to show for this day?
The snow started off slowly this morning.
Mack was giving his speech on how unfair it was that he had to go upstairs and get started on some school work. I was not moved.
It continued to fall and fall and fall and is still falling.
Mack tried to build a snowman, but Rolo wanted to eat the snow he was gathering. Oh well!
Molly has spent most of her time making “snow-cream.” She tossed a bowl out to Mack and asked him to fill it up for her.
Rolo has been like a kid. She LOVES the snow and gets covered and wet and then asks to come in to get dried off, warmed by the fire, and she eats some snacks before begging to go back out. She rings the bell over and over and barks until we let her go back out!
Rolo is a fan of the snow! Me, not so much.
Ruby played outside and then came in to warm up by the fire and read. That didn’t go as she planned.
C’mon, summertime. I am really looking forward to your arrival.
Waking up to the sound of someone throwing up is never encouraging, but I will say it was expected. It is Mack’s turn to encounter the full brunt of the flu. Ruby and Molly have already done so. It was only fair that he get started with this dreadful sickness, and I suppose the sooner he starts, the sooner it will be over.
So this morning, in the middle of laundry and Lysol, I found some encouragement in God’s Word. Lord knows I needed it!
I started the book of Exodus. The second chapter begins, “Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months.”
Of course, that little baby boy was Moses. We know Moses and all that he did for the Lord over the course of his life. But we aren’t even given his mom’s name here in Exodus chapter two. We learn it later in a geneology passage.
Jochebed is her name. It means “YHWH is glory.” In what ways did Jochebed show her family and the world that Jehovah is glory? How did Jochebed give glory to God through her life as a mom? Wonder how she handled three kids with the flu in the middle of a frigid winter while she was trying to house train a dog and home school her kids?
Several things stand out:
She loved her children.
She did not fear the king, but trusted in God.
She wasn’t selfish.
She listened to the Lord when He let her see something “goodly” in her baby boy, and she surrendered him to the Lord.
So, I asked the Lord to help me show my love for my kids today as I serve them through their sickness. I asked the Lord to give me confidence in His leading with my kids— that I wouldn’t fear what the world says is right for my kids, but that I will trust in the ways God leads me with Ruby and Molly and Mack. I confessed my selfishness and asked for forgiveness. The Lord sure uses motherhood as a sanctifying tool in my life! And I asked the Lord to give me wisdom on how to raise my kids in order that they might fulfill His purposes for them. I want to bring God glory that is due His beautiful name. And I can do that by how I raise my kids. It’s a big deal, this rearing children business.
G. Campbell Morgan wrote this in his commentary on this chapter of Exodus:
“We shall certainly hear stories of men of conspicuous ability and adventure, who have led and directed the movements of the hosts of God. But we shall surely then also discover that these men were often provided and preserved, begotten and nurtured, by men and women of faith. What the whole world owes to the strong and simple fathers and mothers who wrought with God by faith…It is surely a great thing thus to see, at the back of all the subsequent story, this mother hiding a baby, her heart free from the fear of the king, because she believed in God.”
So mamas (& daddies), let’s keep on striving to bring God glory in all we do —even, and maybe especially, while we disinfect the bathrooms for the tenth time this week. Even, and maybe especially, while we wash clothes and change bed sheets. Even, and maybe especially, while we serve our kids their medicine and make sure they’re drinking enough water. Do you believe God is with you always? Do you believe He sees your work? Do you believe He has purpose in pain? Let’s show it by how we live.
Ours is not usually a glorious life, but it is one that can bring glory to the only One that deserves it!
While I am fully convinced that there is no formula, no 2+2=4 that produces a close-to-perfect kid, I did find this book quite interesting. Rebecca shares much of her personal challenges growing up and how her parents helped her navigate life and grow into a mature young adult, able to make good decisions and be a contributing member of society. She shares other peoples’ stories as well, bringing to the surface how kids who rebel and kids who don’t, grow up with some key differences in their home lives.
I will share some of my take-aways from this book, the first book I’ve read in 2018. You can decide if you want to read it for yourself!
—Having rules is great, but not if they aren’t ever up for discussion. “Because I said so” might be ok some of the time, but do I make room for my kids to express their opinions and desires even if they challenge a rule I have put in place? Am I open to sharing reasons for the rules in order to foster understanding and give my kids the “why” behind our choices as parents?
—I was challenged to voice my confidence in each of my kids’ decision-making skills and to validate when they make good choices that reveal good character. (quote from page 35 “My mom used to remind us, ‘Children have the Holy Spirit as much as adults do. You are capable of hearing His voice as anyone else.’ She trusted us to seek Him out on our own.”)
—Talk about everything and anything and LISTEN to my kids when they talk. Show them they are worth my time.
—There is value in having ‘ritualized communication spaces.’ As I think of our family, I see that dinner times are major connection times for us. We all come together and we eat and talk about so many different things. I also see our morning time in the sitting room by the fire as a vital time to our home school. Josh is long gone by then, but the four of us connect and study school stuff, but also just talk about all sort of topics. And in the late evenings we are all together…though usually just all in the same space while doing separate things, we are still together and some good conversations usually occur off and on throughout that time. Sometimes a child wants some “me-time” and that is fine, but the child shouldn’t do this whenever they want to and isolate themselves from the family on a regular basis.
—Family should be a place where kids know they belong! Where friendships are. Where fun takes place and where the kids learn how to think of others and work together. We play games. We sing together. We laugh together. We take vacations together with the intent of connecting and being together as a family.
—Also, providing other places for the kids to belong…like youth group! My kids have found their place in their youth group and love being with their friends and serving at church.
—It’s important to be honest with your kids about the direction the family is heading or challenges you are facing. Throughout the move, I feel like we have been really honest and open with each other about our struggles…Josh would share openly, I would share, and as a result the kids would share, holding nothing back. We knew how to pray for each other and would have more patience with one another if we knew someone was having a particular hard time. And the kids felt more secure knowing why I seemed sad, instead of worrying about what might be the matter with me. And knowing Josh was learning a new job and staying late some days to keep up, they would be understanding and not frustrated that dad was coming home later than we were used to.
—Josh is much better at this than I am, but coaching kids through their weaknesses is a huge deal. I am tempted to grow impatient and just send challenging kids to their room to get over themselves! Josh has taught me about talking pointedly to the kids about their weaknesses. Here’s a quote from the book when Rebecca said she was having a hard time managing her emotions: “By using my outbursts as a chance to help teach me emotional regulation skills, my parents gave me a chance to growth I simply would not have gotten if I had just been punished instead of coached through my emotions.”
—“Reality-Based Parenting” was one chapter title. Basically, be honest with your kids about what they’re good at or help steer them in the direction that best suits how God has made them. “You can do anything you set your mind to” isn’t true. Let them fail and grow through the failure instead of saving them from any and all hardship. Let them know it is more than ok to not be the best at all they do. Do your best. Leave the rest to God.
—Work together as a team on projects…whether dinner prep or washing a car or remodeling a part of the house, make it a team effort!
—Give my kids opportunities to see the bigger world, outside of themselves…show them that they aren’t the center of the universe. That God is at work in a vast, big world and that they can be a part of that.
I was encouraged by reading this book and hearing the author share why she doesn’t believe “rebellion is inevitable.” Again, she doesn’t present her research as a formula to follow in order to produce non-rebellious kids. She just shares what rises to the top as common denominators for those kids who didn’t rebel as a teenager. I enjoyed hearing her out. Maybe you will, too!