Tag Archives: family

How it’s “supposed” to be

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Isn’t it amazing how many things in life are “supposed to be” a certain way? Home-making, marriage, pregnancy, church, Christianity, missions, family… the list could go on forever. Allow me to tackle just a few on the list.

Family is “supposed to be” a great big happy thing! Right? No one ever disagrees, no one owes anyone else money, everyone is interested in each other’s lives (but of course not overly-nosey), we all support and encourage each other in our dreams and endeavors, in-laws are just another extension of immediate family, and we all spend every holiday together. Blissfully playing games and eating way too much yummy food. Does that describe your family? I’ve had a few discussions with several friends recently. We all seem to be suffering from the same disillusioned thought: “family isn’t supposed to be like this…” And yet no one has ever known a family that is exactly what it’s “supposed to be.” I guess this is related to un-met expectations on many levels. But I’ve found that many times, dealing with what is “supposed to be” is not usually dealing with your own expectations, but someone else’s. The first two examples of this that pop into my mind are 1.) Christianity and 2.) Missions.

I would imagine that if you gathered 20 people in a room and took a poll regarding Christianity, you’d have 20 different opinions on what a Christian is supposed to look like. Only God knows what combination of those opinions is truly correct. If you are a Christian, you are responsible to be and act like and look exactly like the person that God has laid on *your* heart. No one else’s. If you feel that it’s wrong for *you* to wear makeup or cut your hair short or wear jeans, then by all means. Avoid it like the plague. But for you to presume to tell anyone else that’s it’s wrong for *them* to wear makeup, cut their hair or wear jeans, means that you are attempting to take God’s position in the conviction department. I really don’t think He appreciates that. He’s good at His job, and doesn’t require an assistant.

As for missions. I think it’s ironic that of all the times I’ve heard “missionaries are supposed to…” it has never come from another missionary. Generally it’s from someone who has not been-there-done-that and has no idea what full-time mission work is like! Why can’t missionaries (and their modes of operations) be as different as the people themselves? I really don’t believe that God uses cookie cutters. If you feel God calling you to be involved in missions, that doesn’t necessarily mean that He is asking you to move 3,000 miles from home and start a church from scratch. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to go through your denomination’s seminary and then language school for 5 yrs before being allowed to actually be a missionary. We serve a creative God who is perfectly capable of calling you to a specific task that He has already perfectly equipped you for. Your call to missions might mean a prison ministry in your home-town, or a home-based Bible study, or AWANAS with your kids. For us, it means (for now anyway) working with indigenous people in Southern Mexico. I think God has called all Christians to be involved in missions somehow. Either in your home town or in another country. Either doing it yourself, supporting someone else, or both. What I know for sure is that I should be honored to be called where I am, not apologizing for it. I’m working on that. I tend to apologize to people here because I’m “new” here, am not fluent in any language other than my own, and very rarely go on jungle trips with Nathan. Well, that last part *does* bother me and we are trying to find an affordable travel trailer so that we can all go. But for the rest of it, I need to stop apologizing. It is what it is, and I’m doing the best I can with the tools God has given me. I’m going to try and stop apologizing to everyone back home as well. I feel like I am so often saying “sorry I have to answer God’s call on my life”… isn’t that so backwards though? I should be thrilled and honored to answer any call from Him, and not half so concerned about what people think of it. Of course I would love it if everyone I knew was encouraging and supportive and tried to understand where we’re coming from. As if leaving my family, friends, church, Starbucks, Old Navy and beloved US of A behind isn’t hard enough, being told that we shouldn’t even be going is very disheartening! I’ve determined to stop letting that rob me of the joy of serving my God in the situation He currently has me in. I know several of you are in the same boat. Some of you have endured outright persecution for doing your best to follow God’s direction in your life. Hang in there! Know that the Lord sees your heart and understands the hard part of obedience.

I’ve ranted long enough! My mission field awaits. It’s calling me from the living room where 1 daughter needs to be fed. Another is in the bathroom needing assistance. The third (my sweet first-born) is attempting to assist me in putting clean dishes away and it sounds as though a few items have hit the floor. I pray that you will receive a fresh vision of your mission field today, wherever it is! Sometimes we just need someone to say “that looks hard… can I pray for you?” Let me be that person for you today! I would love for you to tell me how I can pray for you in your field.

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Good day for gratefulness

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I got more sleep last night than I’ve had in several weeks. I had almost forgotten how good it feels to  jump up out of bed because I’m ready to get up, not because I *have* to!  Usually, I fly out of bed to the sound of one of my kids screaming that another kid is trying to kill them… or in the very least, stealing their favorite baby doll. Then I stumble out of my room, met by a house that closely resembles a war zone. At least, that’s been the norm the last several weeks since my youngest (Brennah, 4 1/2 months old) went on her sleep strike. It’s been a frustrating few weeks for me, trying to figure out exactly what her deal is, and how to fix it. But as I got up to feed her at 3 am this-morning, the thought struck me that I need to refocus. I still have so much to be grateful for!

I have tried to imagine what my life would be like if I suddenly didn’t have Brennah in my world anymore. I most definitely would get more sleep. But at the expense of not having such a precious angel in my house… I wouldn’t make that trade for anything!!!  Brennah is an absolute ray of sunshine around here. She is amazing. Most recently, she has discovered her toes… I love that stage! Last night I left her on the couch while I got the 2 big girls ready for bed. A few minutes later I came back and the toes on her right foot were completely wrinkley from being chewed on! As I type, she is laying in my arms, staring at me in absolute wonder. I wouldn’t trade those adoring smiles for all the world.

And then there’s Gabi. 🙂 This child (2 1/2 yrs old right now) keeps me on my toes more than the other 2 combined! But she also makes us laugh on a very regular basis. This is the child who randomly announces that she’s going to Paris… to buy shoes, of course.  Or she will look up at me and out of the blue gasp and say “Mom! I remember you!!!” She incredibly affectionate as well. Several times a day she just feels the need to kiss me or hug my leg. Last night, I made an Italian pasta casserole, peaches and cream, and Italian cream sodas for dinner. She would literally, after every bite or sip of her drink, sit back and sigh “ahhh… this so LUMMY!” And at least 3 times over the course of the meal said “thank for this lummy dinner Mom!!!” If I am ever in doubt of my parenting abilites, I simply have to give Gabi a piece of cheese or chocolate and she will quickly assure that I am the best mama EVER EVER. Did I mention she is also my clumsy child? At this moment she is sitting ON my feet, recovering from another head-bonk.

Cloe is my first-born… a whopping 5 yrs old already!? They weren’t kidding when they said time flies. It seems like yestrday that I was folding and refolding all the clothes in her drawers, anxiously waiting for her to be born. Now, she is my buddy! No matter what it is that I’m doing, Cloe is there. Whether it’s reading e-mails, typing my monthly update, doing dishes, feeding Brennah… Cloe wants to get right in the middle of it, “helping” me. I love how she can make friends with anyone, aywhere. Living in Southern Mexico, she sticks out like a sore thumb. When we go into town, people passing by will reach out and touch her hair… she doesn’t even notice anymore. If someone brings it to her attention she’ll say “it’s ok, they are just curious about what it feels like.” I’ve never seen another 5 yr be so good at being a big sister. She adores Gabi and Brennah! When Gabi wants to play hide and seek, Cloe sweetly feigns confusion while she “looks” for Gabi and then is always appropriately surprised when Gabi jumps out to scare her. I made macaronni and cheese the other day for lunch… NOT Cloe’s favorite. As was sat down to eat together, she took a bite, cringed a little, then said “thanks Mom… this is… yummy.” All the while with a precious little smile on her face. One last little note about Cloe… she has the entire script (including the songs and dances) of “White Christmas” memorized. It is unusual for us to make it through a day without hearing Cloe’s version of “Sisters” or “The best things happen while you’re dancing.”

Last but definitely far from the least, is my precious husband! Nathan and I have been married for 7 1/2 yrs. He is amazing. He’s an incredible daddy and wonderful husband! Our girls adore him almost as much as I do. Since the sleep strike began (and many times prior to it), he has been faithful to slip out of bed first thing in the morning and take care of the 2 big girls while I attempt to sleep a bit. If he hears Brennah awake in our room, he will come in and ask if he can take her out as well. How many husbands are that thoughtful on a day-to-day basis?? He is my champion and hero. There have been times (probably more than I would care to count) when I have been completely worked up and upset over something that maybe doesn’t really bother him at all. But without fail, he will go to bat for me. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a man, but I’m glad I did it. Nathan is the kind of guy that lives out his faith every day… he doesn’t just preach it. He is so completely undemanding and laid-back… he never freaks out about the house being a mess or dinner being burned… even when I am totally freaked out! I used to wonder what the man I would marry would think of my family. Would he like them as much as I do? Turns out, he does. I can’t even get a sentance out about how great my dad is without him jumping in to finish the sentance for me. 🙂 Most of the time I think people do not understand this precious man of mine. But that’s a different blog for a different day. Today, I just want to go on record with this statement… I am SO grateful for my sweet little family. God knew what He was doing when He put us all together.