Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tender vs. Hard-Hearted

Ephesians 4:32

"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you"

Sunday September 23rd- I sat in our church- one wiggly 6 year old on my right, one whiny and over-tired 4 year old on my left.  Having numerous behavior problems in the short time we had been in church and to say I felt "tender-hearted" that morning would be a flat out lie.  Anxiety attack would be a more accurate description of how I felt.  

Off the boys ran to children's church-  Pastor Rod started his sermon- we read Ephesians 4:29-32 and are talking about how to be a good steward with our words.  My heart, however is convicting me to be tender-hearted towards my boys.  I sit next to my husband, letting the message sink in, scribbling notes, following along...  One note written at the top of my page is "Am I tender-hearted or hard-hearted in what God has called me to do right now? At home with my kids?"

You see- parenting isn't easy.  (I'll pause for a moment so you can let out your shocked gasp) Actually, anyone with kids knows all too well the challenges that go hand in hand with raising them just in the day in and day out activities. Breaking up sibling fights- teaching about kind words, obeying what mom and dad say, how to be responsible with their own things, how to clean up after themselves. Working with them on how to handle emotions they are faced with- especially hot headed little tempers.  Doing our very best to shepherd their little hearts to know Christ on a deeper level. For me- it seems that all too often I struggle with building up a wall of resentment towards my own little boys. I get weighed down with the struggles we have and don't offer grace along with the discipline. Not that I think that as parents we can turn the other way when it's obvious that we need to step in and help them make better choices- direct them and their behavior and help them grow to be respectful of others.  In fact- it's very important that we take our time to really instill all of these characteristics in their hearts while we have this awesome opportunity raising them.  

But I realized that morning, sitting in our church how much I have really fallen short with allowing that resentment to build up-  not forgiving them and moving forward with our day the way that we could.  Kind-of holding their sin against them.  How dare I do that?  After all- Christ shed His precious blood to cover that sin that they are struggling with- who do I think I am, that I can be slow to forgive?  I am humbly taking this to heart and thinking of all the times Christ poured His perfect grace down on me- for my own struggles with sin and how we as Christians are called to do the same.  I am called to forgive my boys- and move on.  Period.  I feel overwhelmingly convicted to pray about this and really allow Christ to take me, as a mom, to a deeper level of parenting.  I am tempted to be overwhelmed, to feel defeated on some days or to take the easy route.  However, that isn't the only option for me.  I can instead choose to rely on Christ to fully give me the strength to do this well and to change the areas that can be improved upon.  It is wrong of me to hold onto their mistakes and have a bitter hard-heart towards them.  

That being said-  His grace covers my own shortcomings and it's with sincere gratitude that I am soaking it up this afternoon and praying for a teachable heart, that through His perfect parenting He can teach me, His child, how to be more tender-hearted towards my own little boys. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2nd Year of Etsy Giveaway

I am celebrating 2 years of having my little Etsy shop open for business-  I have learned a lot along the way, been both discouraged, and encouraged & met some wonderful people who have allowed me to make something cozy for their lives!  I want to thank my awesome supporters by offering a giveaway to all of my fans.  

One lucky winner will receive their choice of an item from my Etsy shop (excludes the blanket)

Just follow the steps below- get yourself entered and sit tight- I will announce the winner once the giveaway closes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are some examples of the item you could pick if you are the winner!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

School Year 2012

We homeschool.

I know- a lot of stereotypes probably come to mind as soon as the word "homeschool" is said.  We honestly, probably fit into a lot of those preconceived opinions.  Some, but not all of them.  

Our heart:
We have chosen to homeschool for a few different reasons- the main one being our faith.  I do not see public school as bad, or evil.  In fact- We are very blessed to live in an excellent school district and look forward to when our boys are a bit older and we will plug them into a school that we trust with teachers I not only respect, but who I know have a true heart for the kids they are teaching.  I know my boys will be in caring, loving and well trained hands.  For now though, while they are still in the early years- we feel led to keep them home and teach them not only academics, but also help them grow their own faith and lay a foundation that has roots straight to eternity.  I love being their teacher- it is an inspiration to teach them and watch their eyes light up as they catch onto a new concept.  To be here to see how proud they are when they get words on their spelling quiz right, or to watch them work hard on a project.  I am not quite ready to share the joy of teaching my boys with someone else! 

It isn't always easy, in fact with boys ages 6, 4 and 2 the days can be quite a challenge.  That doesn't discourage me (most days) or make me question our decision to keep them home for now.  A lot of jobs are hard- and a lot of jobs come with challenges a mile long.  I am relying on Christ to give me the strength for the extra hard days, and resting in His grace.  I know that having them home has given us, as a family, endless opportunities to instill a faith that is authentic, applicable to daily life and more valuable than anything else.  Opportunities that may have otherwise been missed.  

I do not feel that every family under the sun should homeschool their kids in order to instill a foundation of faith.  I also do not feel that parents who choose public school are bad, or are neglecting their responsibilities.  I do, however, feel very confident in the fact that for the season of life God has us right now- He is blessing our efforts to homeschool.  I know that by having the boys here- it is growing all of us to rely more deeply on Him, and it is a step of faith to obey what we feel He has asked us to do, knowing that all too soon this season will come to an end and I will be waving goodbye through the school bus window.  I know that He will also be there when we transition to the next phase- and that He will bless our years with public school kiddos too!  

My boys are gifted to my husband and I and we feel blessed to be raising them.  Our prayer is that they will grow up knowing a Savior that will never leave them, that they will learn the power of prayer.  That from an early age they will begin a daily walk with their Lord and become men of courage, integrity, compassion and love.  For the years I have them home, my prayer is that they won't just learn how to read, how to correctly do math and the different parts of sentence structure.  I pray that they will learn about the God who made them, loves them, and has a purpose for their lives that will far out pass any other path they may choose to take.  That they will begin the process of learning how to walk with Christ in a way that effects every moment of their day- not just their eternal destination.  

We are diving into a new school year- with a sense of peace knowing that the time we are investing in these 3 little souls is a very worthwhile investment.  That my job as their mom is one I do not take lightly, and one that gives me great joy!  Weather you are homeschooling, private schooling or public schooling- may this school year be one that matters in the life of your child!  Keep praying for their days- and that they will choose to walk with God wherever they are.