Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Smoke Alarms and Perspective

We had a pretty normal start to our Friday, we were chipping away at the end of week school subjects. I was working on English with Ledger when I heard the smoke alarms both upstairs and downstairs go off.  My 9 year old's room was hazy and smelled of burnt plastic. I knew something wasn't okay, but I couldn't find the source of the smoke.  The breaker in that section of the house kicked off. I called my husband at work to come home, and the boys and I all exited the house to wait.  

Emergencies do something to our nerves.  I was calm and a wreck all wrapped into one.  I couldn't help but think if it had been the middle of the night, how scary that alarm would be for my boys (& me!)

Josh got home and after looking for the source found our dehumidifier overheating and was actually starting to melt. The inside was charred, and I know could have caught fire.  We are all safe. Our home is fine. No harm done other than we need to replace the appliance. 

But I'm left with all of this. The what if's. The almosts. The could have beens. The images of my boys asleep in that room.  The God who I can trust, through life's close calls, and also life's tragedies.  God isn't more loving today when the outcome was what I would have picked than He would be if the outcome was complete devastation. Because God protected us today doesn't mean we are more in His favor than the family who is suffering total loss, or heartbreaking tragedy.  God doesn't change.  He IS love in both outcomes.  Life on earth holds devastation because it is broken.   

This verse has been meaning a lot to me lately for many reasons, and today I was reminded once again how little this life here on earth guarantees. We are not promised tomorrow.  We only have right now.  

James 4:14New American Standard Bible (NASB)

14 [a]Yet you do not know [b]what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

A life that hardly has a chance to begin and is snatched back to Glory- or the life that reaches the century mark and every single age in-between- ALL life here on earth is so tiny, so brief... Just a vapor compared to Eternity.  What will we do with that perspective? Are we confident in our eternal destination? We can be. The promises in the Bible and the free gift of Salvation through faith in Jesus' work on the cross can be the anchor of hope in a very tragedy, emergency filled life on earth. If today would have ended in my vapor of a life being over, I have complete confidence in where I would be... not one bit because of who I am, anything I've done or not done, it has nothing to do with who I know, how I spend my time or anything I could have possibly ever earned.  My Eternity is secure because Jesus offered to pay my ransom, He loved me so deeply that He wanted to rescue me. He is offering you the same! That gift, that GRACE, that place He took for me is my promise. It can be yours too- take some time to reflect on your vapor of a life... and where your hope is placed. 
It is well with my soul tonight when we are all safe, and my soul would be well if we were enduring heartbreak.  He goes before me and beside me.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fear& Faith


This is forefront on my mind this week.  We had an eerie visitor yesterday afternoon.  We live in a very wooded area, to our east we have a swamp and a small creek.  The highway is to our south.  It was early in the afternoon, we had really just came back inside after playing in a beautiful fall day. I was getting our youngest down for a nap when my 9 year old ran into the room saying, "mom, I saw a man" not really thinking too much of it I assumed he saw someone walking on the highway, we often do.  But when he restated what he saw I caught the urgency in his voice and knew this was different. That's when something triggered in me and protection mode kicked in.  I ensured all house doors were locked and secure.  The scene he told me gave me goose bumps.  A man exited the woods onto our east lawn, only about 15 feet from our house, he was taking intentional deliberate steps right towards the patio door that was unlocked, looking straight towards the house when he suddenly turned and ran, Ryder described it as an Olympic runner.  He sprinted out of here.  He had paid attention and was able to give a description that we could give the police when we called it in.  My dad was here in a few minutes, my husband not long after and the police came and spent a handful of hours making sure we were safe, talking with neighbors and patrolling the area.  They found nothing.  

So nothing is found, yet there is this traumatic event we need to deal with the aftermath.  Truths, we are all safe. No one was injured or even necessarily in danger. I do not know the man's intentions, but I do know he was where he did NOT belong, he was walking very intentionally right towards my home, and he was not welcome here.  I will likely never have a followup of this occurrence, I won't have closure. So how do I deal with the fried nerves or feelings of uneasiness? What do I do with the fact that the secure feeling I'm accustom to having is suddenly interrupted.

I can choose to focus on the what-if's? There are many.  What could have happened....  

Or I can choose to focus on the One in charge of our today and all of our tomorrows.  This is where peace reigns.  I do not know God's plan for the days ahead, I am not promised protection from all harm, from all the bad things in this world.  I am not promised a life without tragedy, or events that shake us to the core.  But I DO know the One who has designed my life- He knows every day and every moment. He knows my life plan, and the plan for my boys' lives too, because He ordained it. He goes before me and beside me.  I can TRUST HIM.  I can claim peace even in circumstances that aren't peaceful, because this isn't a peace that circumstances get to determine.  This is a peace that is inward, at soul level.  I can give all that anxiety, all that worry over to God and choose to walk by faith.  I'm choosing this, I'm not letting emotions or fears control. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. 

It is well with my soul.  Even if that's a mindset, and a heart-set, I need to continually choose. SO when standing face to face with the choice of fear or faith, I'm working on choosing faith. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Homeschool kick off year 8!

Someone asked me how I can be a supporter of both homeschool and public school... I've been thinking about it this week. A few conclusions: I have confidence in our decision for this season of raising kids, I know we are doing what works for us. Therefore I'm not living for your approval; I'm not doing this to impress or gain status. I've got nothing to prove other than we're choosing this (because it's our choice to make) and aren't worried what other people think whether good or bad.  

BUT I also have confidence and support for your decisions, even and especially if they are different from mine! I support families, and raising kids IS NOT a competition. We can add richness and perspective to eachother's lives by encouraging and supporting, not in comparing. Each path holds its benefits and challenges. What a gift we can bring to relationships if we can learn to be a life giving source of support, encouragement and a different perspective. We can add new possibilities, enhearten through the challenges, and celebrate together the complete joys each path holds! You don't need my approval, but I'm wholeheartedly giving it.


School on families, school on!!! Hope it's a great year no matter how you're doing it!!! And in the spirit at trying this NON COMPETITION raising kids, what's your FAVORITE part of the path you're choosing? Mine right now is having the privilege to teach a new concept and see their minds click as they catch on.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

When the idol of sleep gave me the green light to sin

Motherhood and sleep deprivation go hand in hand. I "knew" this before I became a mom, but I didn't realize what it actually feels like to experience in real time. I looked forward to middle of the night tending to my newborn, and when setting up the nursery I remember sitting in the rocking chair with that deep longing to hold that babe in my arms. Truth is, I didn't mind so much the actual tending to the baby part, but the effects of night after night of very interrupted sleep was more wearing than I realized possible.  

We moms have this thing, we get together and catch up... a very common topic being a badge we wear about being tired. Almost a tone of bragging. We ARE tired so we get together and talk about how tired we are, we listen with our head tilted sympathetically to the side, nodding in agreement, to how tired our mom friends are while sipping coffee and feeling run down. Busy and tired. The top go-to topics in any mom circle. I laugh when writing this because I wonder how many people I have told over the years just how tired I am. "how are you?" 

"So. Tired."

My friend first challenged this pattern of thinking in her own characteristically sweet way one day by just responding to the routine question on "how's the baby sleeping?" with a very uncommon answer... "Oh, you know... well, I stopped expecting sleep" Or something along those lines.

Wait, what?  (gasp!) Sleep is this thing we all work towards, we all look forward to... we all strive for! and you stopped expecting it? What does that even mean?!  

The sleep idol.  This was a biggie (really) in my home.  Partly because it's not like sleep is a need or anything (note sarcasm) we need sleep to live, function, recharge and survive. So how can a real need become a real idol in my life? Well, it crossed the boundary from a need into idol territory when I allowed it to dictate my following day: my mood, my emotions and my behavior. Night before I was interrupted 3 times, cue selfish attitude, green light to be grumpy, my crutch to allowing the following day to be bad, because after all, "I was sooooo tired" 

me. me. me. 

idol. idol. idol.

Lack of sleep, being really really tired, not feeling my best, is NOT a green light for selfish actions. I don't get to be a grumpy mom just because I didn't get a certain number of perfect, preferred sleep hours. IDOL=SIN

Her gentle way of speaking to this issue (and she probably didn't even realize it at the time) really was used by the Holy Spirit in my life to do some convicting, and launched my "fake it in faith" morning routine. I didn't FEEL top notch, I didn't feel rested or recharged or good to start my days after pulling all night hours with little ones. The sin nature in me wanted to use it as an excuse that I had quite the pattern to green lighting myself grump status. The selfish side in me was TIRED. To take down this idol I had to break some pretty set in place habits (SIN).  I started a catch phrase that I would repeat to myself those mornings... "fake it in faith" what it really boiled down to was I was determined to take those actions captive, those attitudes, emotions and feelings that had overtaken so so many mornings and really truly repent... They weren't going to dictate anymore.  In faith I would smile at the boys, and give them a genuine "good morning, how are you today?" In faith I would meet their needs of snuggles, breakfast, sock finder, fight resolver, milk spill cleaner-upper, and attention giver without being a jerk. In faith I would read the Word for a true source of strength and give my day to God no matter how I felt. The sleep idol was torn the heck down. 

And you know what, looking back at this period of time where I committed to using God's strength and victory the cross offers us, I really saw His hand of faithfulness.  He took my "in faith" choices and started to work on my raw and real underlying feelings.  He took my choice to do what was right even when I seriously didn't feel like it, and He changed me at the heart of things.  He used my "fake it in faith" mornings and honestly reprogrammed my emotions, He helped me submit my green lights to sin, and gave me the strength, grace and ability to do it differently. and to actually BE different.

Do you wear the "tired badge" proudly?  Has this tired mom thing stepped into idol ground? Take notice. Take action. Fake it in faith, and see how God works!