joy

“What is your goal in parenting?”

I stood outside our bedroom door with my head resting on the trim.

Jeremy listened. “Mom comparison” comes fast. And hard. And I’d just laid a week’s worth of “what if I’m doing so and so wrong” squarely on his shoulders.

“What is your goal in parenting?”

That’s what he asked me. We’d talked about this before. Again. And Again. And again.

“That our kids would love God supremely.”

It was simple. But easy to lose sight of in the day to day crazy. And easily forgotten as I compare myself to “her” and “them.”

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4)

No greater joy than to know that the 5 who call me Mom are walking in His ways.

It’s not about how they’re doing in soccer. Or the number of words they can read per minute. It’s not measured by the time I do or don’t allow them to play video games. Or how clean they keep their rooms.

No. Walking in the truth is what brings me joy. It’s what will give them joy. Through every day ahead of them.

And it’s what we’ve got to live for. To put our efforts toward. To consider most important.

For them. For us. For a hurting world.

“Love God supremely.”

I’ll fail. So will they. But there’s grace upon grace upon grace.

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I.CAN’T.DO.THIS.

Because sometimes He speaks so clearly I stop in my tracks…

If following God means the joy I’m showing, would our kids want to be in His will?

I tell them:
-The best place to be is in God’s will.
-God loves you and has a plan for your life.
-Serving God is the greatest thing you could ever do.

Then I mope around the house. I’m short with them. I rush through bedtime to get a break.

Sometimes I probably look downright miserable doing what I tell them He’s called me to do.

Why would they ever want to follow Him with me making it look so terrible?

I’m the first to say that the life of a Christian is not one of ease. Christ suffered. Why would we expect any less? But I also believe a life without joy is not living the life Christ died to give us.

I’m also the first to admit that having kids is hard. And we don’t own it enough. And everyone looks perfect, so we keep smiling while we’re dying inside and just so, so tired.

But has He called me here? In this little spot we call home? Has He called me to be His ambassador? To partner with Him in shaping these little arrows to be sent out?

YES!

The disconnect…Working in my own strength. Carrying the burden He intends to bear. Talking God to our kids while not talking to God myself.

I.CAN’T.DO.THIS.

That’s where I find freedom. I can’t, but He can. He never asked me to do the things I’m trying to do. That’s why I get burned out.

So I give them to Him all over again. And I can smile and laugh and run and tickle. And yes, I’m still so tired, but it’s a joyful tired.

Because being in His will…where else is there to be?

  “Have you not known? Have you not heardThe LORD is the everlasting Godthe Creator of the ends of the earthHe does not faint or grow wearyhis understanding is unsearchableHe gives power to the faintand to him who has no might he increases strengthEven youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhaustedbut they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eaglesthey shall run and not be wearythey shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

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And currently we have two two year olds!

 

When you go back…

The last time we were here I got the phone call with the referral for Amelia. The referral we turned down. The baby girl I wept for. The one I now know was not ours.

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This week we went back. Same park. Same me. Same 3 crazy boys.

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And I breathed deeply. Accepted that today, as it is, is God’s best for me.

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We went letterboxing. Followed clue after clue til we found the little box buried under a rock. Stamped our hands. Signed our names.

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A journey. A search. Finding joy along the way. Over bridges. Up hills. Around trees. Not really knowing the destination but being sure it’s there.

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“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 123:1-3)

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Prisoner at Home

What am I enslaved to? Sometimes being in this house all day with the boys, folding these mounds of laundry, and sweeping up endless amounts of dropped food begins to overwhelm me. I wonder why I do what I do and feel like a prisoner in the four walls we call home.

On some days, I can’t even find time to do the things I don’t enjoy much less the things I do. I get burdened down and feel enslaved; all joy is gone.

That’s when the Holy Spirit reminds me that through Him I have freedom. There is no bondage for those who have trusted in Christ.

Serving my family only becomes enslavement when I’m looking to it for freedom.

When I remember what Christ has done to win my freedom, my perspective changes. And although there are still tough days, I can serve and love with joy.

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Laughing at Troubles

Last night we read this from Sarah Young’s devotional Jesus Calling.

“Learn to laugh at yourself and at the world. Instead of getting bogged down in the mud of worry and fear, laugh and be happy because I am by your side. Just as parents delight in the laughter of their children, so I delight in hearing you laugh. I feel happy when you trust Me enough to enjoy your life.

Don’t let worrying over troubles-especially things that haven’t even happened yet-keep you from laughing. Live each day to its fullest by being full of My Joy. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever have any problems. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever be sad. But it does mean that when troubles come, you can still have Joy because the Creator of the universe is right there beside you-helping you with your problems.

So learn to laugh at your troubles…and you’ll find that they aren’t nearly so troublesome.”

My takeaway…”Live each day to its fullest by being full of My Joy.” I wanna be a fun Mama! But I so easily get bogged down, overwhelmed.

Fill me, Lord, with Your joy, so I can live life to its fullest!