Monday, January 29, 2007

Things I've Learned

Today my parents are celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary. I've been thinking of their marriage and what it has taught me through the years (they'll be relieved to know I have learned something!). Here are some things I have thought of:

  • I have learned that longevity in marriage can indeed be a reality.
  • I have learned that faith is more important than money.
  • I have learned that you can raise three kids on the earnings of a farmer, though I'm really not sure how they did it. We certainly never went hungry nor lacked for any of the important things in life.
  • I have learned that marriage is not easy but is a covenant to be taken seriously. It can be trying at times, but that is no excuse to jump ship the first time things get rough. A good marriage is worth fighting for.
  • I have learned that praying with your kids before bed is an investment that will bring returns many times over when your grandchildren are being raised.
  • I have learned that you hold tight to your faith in God even when life deals you the most difficult blow you could ever imagine.
  • I have learned that faith in God is something you never abandon, even if you don't have answers to the hard questions of life.
  • I have learned that though it is an adjustment and a different way of living, life together as "empty-nesters" holds lots of fun and adventure.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you both.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Little Things

As a mommy, one of the biggest privileges and responsibilities I have is to teach my kids about God and how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is such a huge thing, and sometimes I get caught up into the "seriousness" of it all. Well, leave it to a 3 1/2 year old and a 21 month old to make it "not-so-serious!"

As Benjamin has gotten older, he has gradually wanted to be more involved with our prayer times, which is great. Mark and I pray with him when we put him to bed, and then we also as a family ask the blessing before meals. Benjamin will interject his thoughts and his thanks into our prayers whenever he feels the urging, and you can tell his heart is behind whatever he mentions. Well, now that Hannah is becoming more verbal (I mean, REALLY verbal), she cannot be left out. And she not only cannot be left out, she cannot be talked over or muted out. So her interjections into our prayers are at several decibel levels higher than the rest of us. A few nights ago, as Mark began to pray, he had only gotten out, "Dear God, thank you..." when suddenly from her high chair, Hannah begins calling out the names of her friends and her children's day out teacher, and then (as Benjamin is including his two-cents worth at the same time), she continues, "Ketchup! Mustard! CHEETOS!!!"

One night, I guess Hannah couldn't think of any real words, but yet could not be excluded, so she just began jabbering this jibberish that only God could have understood. When we finished our prayer and I was finally able to catch my breath, I told Mark, "She gives a whole new meaning to praying in tongues!

Then last night, Benjamin really got me tickled. It was my turn to pray, and as I began the prayer, he and Hannah began adding their thoughts and thanks, and I realized Benjamin was just kind of searching for something else to add to his prayer. I guess his eyes finally fell on what he was looking for when he added, "And thank you for this clock...which doesn't work..." It was all I could do to swallow my laughs and finish the prayer!

I know God doesn't fall off his throne or roll around on those streets of gold laughing, but I have to believe He gets tickled at these precious creations of His nonetheless. Now there will be a day when teaching reverence during prayer time is important, but that day just is not here yet. You know, in addition to the seriousness of praying, I want my kids to know that God delights in the things they delight in and that nothing is too small to talk to God about.

Not even cheetos or broken clocks!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Walking with Daddy

One of the great blessings that I get to experience both as a Mommy and as a wife happens every Sunday. Now that Benjamin is 3, he has "graduated" from the nursery to Sunday School and then gets to sit in "big" church with me. There is much anticipation in Benjamin's heart as the church service is drawing to a close. He knows that after Daddy "stands up on the steps and talks," then we sing one more song and church is over. But it's not church being over that he is so excited about; it's the fact that he gets to walk down the aisle with Daddy. As that last song draws to an end, Benjamin is practically bouncing up and down with excitement because he knows that Daddy will say a few more things (aka the benediction) and then begin his walk toward the back of the church. As Mark makes those first few steps down the aisle, Benjamin just can't wait any longer, and he has to go meet him before he even makes it to our pew (and we only sit 4 rows back!). With the biggest smile on his face you will ever see and with happiness just bubbling out of him in all directions, he grabs Daddy's hand and gets to make that walk to the back of the church with him. My heart just loves to see my two boys hand in hand, both so happy to be with the other.

Now, does Benjamin know why they are going to the back of the church or even what they will do when they get there? No. All he cares about is he is walking with Daddy, holding his hand, going wherever he leads. If only my walk with my Daddy in heaven was always so eager--never questioning, always trusting, hand in hand, willing to go wherever He's going. I must keep this in mind when the road ahead doesn't go in the direction I want it to, or when it looks like another way would be easier and have fewer difficulties. I need to put a smile on my face, take a few steps up to meet Him, and just hold tight to His hand, knowing that He knows the way and will be there right beside me through it all.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Another Confirmation

In my initial post, I mentioned how God kept confirming that He wanted me to do this blog. Well, when I was setting it up last night and typing in my profile information, I almost left out the "princess of the King of kings" thinking some might think it cheesy or dumb if they didn't "get it." But I've listened to some speakers recently that have talked about how all of "us girls" who are a child of God are indeed "princesses." And who of us doesn't like to think of herself as a princess? (By the way, Sheila Walsh and Beth Moore both have written wonderful children's books about being a princess and the daughter of the King of kings, and I plan to read them often to my Hannah as she gets bigger. I highly recommend them if you have a little girl!) So, this morning, my son Benjamin gets up, and I ask him, as I do almost every morning "How's my boy?" He quickly says he's not a boy; he's a football player (he's VERY into football these days). So I correct myself, and he goes on to tell me, "I am a football player, and Hannah's a baby girl, and Mommy, you're a....princess!" He's never called me that, ever (nor has anyone else, for that matter!). I immediately melted, and all I could say was, "Yes, I am."

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Creation of a Blog

Creating this blog has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. At first I thought it was just a desire to join this fun blogging world that I've grown to love as I've enjoyed a handful of blogs of various sorts for several months now. But then I decided that God planted this seed, not me. So I told Him if that was so, then He was going to have to show me what He wanted it to be--what the title would be, what the theme verse would be, and what He wanted to use it for. While I tried to be patient and wait for His answers, I thought of lots of reasons why I shouldn't do this (and what I felt was God's response to these reasons):

1. Like I have time to add one more thing to my day--I just told my mom a few days ago that I can't even find 15 minutes in the day to exercise! (Don't you think if I want you to have this blog then I'll make sure you have the time for it?)

2. What if my blog is not as good as some of these other great blogs I've been reading, or as pretty a blog, or have as many readers as they do? (It doesn't have to be bigger or better or prettier; it just has to be what I want it to be)

3. But I'm afraid I won't be a very good writer or won't be able to write in such a way as to make others want to keep coming back for more. And besides all that, my aunt Nell is an English professor and she might just want to use my blog as an example for her students of how NOT to write! (Remember Moses?)

Obviously I wasn't getting anywhere with my excuses, so I just said fine, but you are going to have to give me its title and theme verse so that I will know it's You telling me to do this. Guess what? He did! First of all, the word "abundant" kept crossing my path and wouldn't go away, so I decided that was to be part of it. Then suddenly it was "exceedingly abundant." I liked that, but I couldn't find a verse that I thought went with it, so I wasn't so sure. Finally today, I was going to listen to a past Focus on the Family broadcast on my iPod, and as I was listening to the one I chose (or come to find out, the one God chose for me!), I can't tell you how many times the speaker said "exceedingly abundant" and gave me my scripture reference!! That sealed the deal, and here we are!!

As I went through this process, I realized that God wasn't as interested in blogging itself, but in what blogging could do for His kingdom. So I simply want to be obedient to Him with this blog and share with you what He is doing in my life. Now please don't come read this blog and expect some great theological diatribe (I'm not even sure what a diatribe is!) or the answers to the great questions of life. Just know that I will share with you about the life I live day in and day out, how I sometimes succeed, sometimes fail, and sometimes just simply survive. (I'm saying "you" as if I have this faithful following of a jillion people, when in reality "you" may consist of my husband reading this out of curiosity, my mom reading this, well, because she's my mom, and my aunt Nell reading this because she's mentioned in it!)

But if you do like anything you've seen in this "Creation" post, or are just plain curious, keep checking back to see what's next in this exceedingly abundant life that I get to claim as mine!