Because Life is short.


So with the departure of my husband to a faraway land (Switzerland) I am here marveling at how God is bringing all whispers together in my heart to move me to action.

I have been failing for a few years at fighting this “no yelling” battle. Many nights of tears, repentence, guilt, and fears beating down my door. “These beautiful children that God has given me, I am gonna screw them up.” the loudest voice in my heart when these things happen.

I have cried out to God so many times. How do I stop? Whether it’s the times I was yelled at as a child or my own triggers from my past that send me into a rage, I don’t know. Or maybe its simply my own sin, my selfishness, as I started contemplating after reading this blog post. It doesn’t really matter. I don’t need to get at the root of why as much as I need to get to the root of how it happens and how its going to stop. Cause its got to stop.

Cause Tonight even as my heart was reflecting on all these things. I yelled. At my 1 year old. Completely insane, I know. I was trying to get his pants on and had 3 other things going on an he decided after getting one leg through to go limp. After telling him several times to stand up, which he understands, I yelled at him to do it. And he started crying. Which broke my heart 1 cause he did nothing wrong, he was just tired and letting me know and 2 completely confused about why I treated him that way and confused about if I am a safe person for him (not safe, his own mom.) 3 cause it’s not like I haven’t been mulling over this issue all day and I here I am doing it to the youngest and least deviant in the household (all in the same day). I prayed that he understood me when I apologized before putting him to bed.

Why is J in Switzerland? Cause he is about to attend a memorial service for his God-daughter that was kidnapped and murdered last week. She was 4 when He met her and became her Godfather. She had just turned 19 and is now gone.

And besides a million other things swirling through my mind and heart concerning this injustice, God is surfacing this desire of mine to stop yelling and start loving more.  Because life is short, and childhood shorter. And I want to be a safe haven not something they fear or tune out and close off to. Because each day that I have with them is a gift and it’s time to start living like that, believing it, and making them believe it by how I love them.

I came across this challenge last week. And although it resonated with me, I didn’t jump on board. Why?

Because I am afraid of failing. I am afraid of publicaly saying ” I need help. I need accountability, I need you.” And then having to come and tell you that after 1 week or 1 month, I failed and had to start at ground zero again.

And because  I am afraid that deep down I cant do it. This will be yet another thing that I didn’t succeed at, or follow through on.

But in light of my emotions and revelations tonight, fear is nothing compared to the thought of not having the chance to start again each day with one of my little ones.

So raise your glass friends (cause I can’t, but could sure use one) Here is to change, growth, and starting new. And here is another to transparancy, and helping eachother as we walk run and crawl through this journey together.

Only by God’s grace I am becoming a Orange Rhino tonight.

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There is a time for everything

I found myself on a down side today. Was it that I haven’t quite caught up on sleep? Maybe. I yelled alot. Loud. I wondered a few times if the neighbors heard me. And while I cringed inside I also fumed. By dinner I knew that an apology was in order before bedtime. They were still infurating me while I was trying to calm down and get dinner on the table. So I put T in his crib, and the other 3 in front of the TV. How do you like that for parent of the year?

Then I locked myself in my kitchen, yes I can do that. I dipped chicken in batter and I questioned God. Why am I so angry? Is it really the buttons that they are pushing? The disrespect they are showing? I resent that I have become a tape recorder on a playback loop?

Or is it something more.

Am I angry that I came back to India with hope that some fundamental circumstance would change and so far they haven’t? Is it that I am feeling stuck, trapped? Angry that I was convinced this wouldn’t happen? And now here I am, right were I was when I left.

You know, even after the one success of the day, that dinner was actually good. I still had things to yell about.

Then before bed I gathered them up and told them what I love about them. That today was hard because they didn’t listen, or show respect, but that I shouldn’t have yelled. I asked for forgiveness. I cried and still had things to say.

M was giggling and making jokes.

I looked at him seriously ” There is a time for laughing, and this is not it.”

And you know, my 6 year was lauging at me and mocking me all the while. I didn’t know what else to do. I buried my face in my hands and sobbed.

One asked “is she laughing or crying?”, another said, “crying.”

I lifted my head and quietly told them to get in bed. For the first time today, they obeyed right away.

I put my head back down and bawled, even harder. When I finally looked up the 3 year old was peeking around the corner. I told her again to get in bed and I locked the door. I turned on this new song my love sent my way and just cried and cried.

Halfway through the song I heard knocking. But I just couldn’t. For two minutes I could hear the knocking in the distance as the words to the song penetrated my heart. Then the knocking got louder. I could tell it was Malachi and I could tell he was crying and the spirit inside me took me to the door to hear him.

A bawling boy, “Mom can I cuddle with you?” I knew he was sorry, and this was his way.

Tears slipped past my cheeks, ” you know what I want more than your cuddles?”

” My obedience.” He answered.

“Yes”. I knelt down and hugged him. He sobbed into my shoulder and squeezed so tight.I joined him.

” I am sorry for disobeying and mocking you mom.”

” I forgive you.”

I reassured him of my forgiveness. Calmed him down and sent him back to bed.

I came in later to help V find her blankie and He was still sobbing in his bed.

He couldn’t shake the sight of me curled up in my bed crying because of him. I told him I was ok. That I forgave him and I  thought he needed to forgive himself. He asked me to pray for him. I did. Then he prayed, which I wasn’t expecting.

Through his sobs I heard “God help me to obey mom, and respect her. Help me to stop mocking her and making her sad.”

We took some deep breaths together and he asked if he woke up in the middle of the night if he could come sleep with me. (Dad is out of town).

Then just like this, He needed one more kiss, and one more hug.

I found myself back in my room, needing to cry some more. because there is a time for everything. And I am horrible at waiting.

Rest and repentence

In repentence and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strentgh, but you would have none of it.  Is 30:15

This verse was at the top of my devotional today. It does feel like I don’t get any of it. At first my heart responded with defensiveness, it sounds as I don’t want anything to do with those things. But I do.

Life as a mom, taking caring of little ones and not in the company of adults is lonely. Especially when they are little. Constantly testing you, pushing the boundaries, needing help for so many things. It’s a unique time, and temporary, but quiet difficult and lonely. Add to that living in India. I have never stayed in my house so much in my life. It’s very lonely.

I have found myself needing to share whenever I am around adults, and consequently finding myself monopolizing the conversation. At night I fight the urge to be online for hours and hours, connecting with people. I don’t fight it very well. I am struggling with being pent up and my patience tested so much. I find my self irritated even angry at the kids for pushing the same boundaries day after day. Then in the evening I find myself realizing this is normal kid behavior. Learning to obey and be responsible and always getting close to the boundaries to see if they are really there. For security. Why can’t I expect this and respond with grace, tenderly? 

I realized why this morning, a bitter root is springing up in my heart. What I need and what and I am missing out on is burning inside me like a fire I can’t put out.

God has been speaking tenderly with me and with much grace. This whole concept has been popping up for awhile in my life.  As I work on different goals with my coach one of the action steps that I created for myself in this area was to have one night a week where I sit and listen to worship in the dark and just empty my heart and mind to him. Cry if I need to. Receive what he has for me.

It’s been 2 weeks and I haven’t done it yet. This is that last section of the verse. “But you would have none of it”.  I know God wants to redeem this lonely time in my life to teach me repentence and rest, that leads to quietness and trust.

The devotional ends with this:

“But me she forgot, declares the Lord. Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will giver her back her vineyards, and I will make the valley of Achor [trouble, anquish, crying] a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth.” Hosea 2:13b:-15a

I am in the desert Lord. Come. Allure.

 

To my daughters

Dear precious one-

Your daddy’s gone and I have stayed up WAY too late because I like to have the solitude. I just cant bring myself to go to bed.
But you (Vange ) came traipsing in while I was watching different music videos on youtube. After seeing the worlds women that they hold up high for inspection and examples of beauty. I can’t help but be startled by how you surpass them all. Your beautiful tan skin and naturally curly hair isn’t what stops me. Nor is it that you radiate natural beauty without gobs of make up and shimmering skin tight clothes, course your not even 3 yet.
But its your innocense, your wonder, your simple desires that take me by surpsrise. My heart feels stabbed with the realization that some day these 3 might end. Some day you might find your self caught up in the same question that haunts the rest of the worlds women.
AM I LOVELY? AM I WORTH IT?
And you might try many things to find the answer. But none will fulfil you. Some may even defile you, shame you, give you a certain reputation. But only one can answer your question in a way that you stop looking because you believe, you are satisfied. And it’s my job to point you in that direction.
Am I doing that? How do I do it?
How do I teach you to love your body, skin, and frame enough to be comfortable in it but not need to show it off?
How do I show you that loving yourself means respecting yourself, drawing boundaries, acting honorable, not compromising?
How can I communicate that nothing will carry you from hill to valley in life like the knowledge of God and his word hidden in your heart?
How will you  come to value this more than sparkly things and shiny lip stick?
Will you learn that a women who stands up for the helpless and impoverished is is more respected than any DIVA on mtv?
Or that the Human soul is not meant to be worshipped but to worship only one?
How I can pass down the ability for you to fight for what is good and not pass down a legacy of anger?
Where is the boundary between enjoying beautiful things and needing them?
Will you learn to discipline and sharpen your mind and tongue as much as you do your body?
What will you grow to desire? what will you grow to seek out?
For now it is my love.
“mommy I need cuddles”
while up in my lap you pull back and ask
“sing me a song?”
“what song sweetie?”
“Darkness covers.”
So I sing sweet words of truth to your little hungry ears, and you drift off to sleep.
Darkness covers all the land. Sounds of day are gone. Love is all around you now.
Will be till the dawn. Stars shine on the windowsill. Moon shines through the trees.
Angles by your bed tonight, shine where no one sees. There’s no need to be afraid.
All the whole night through. God has made a promise child. He’ll take care of you.
All that you’ve been dreaming of await you when you rise. So with the peace that Jesus brings, close your sleepy eyes.”
and you do.

Perspective in the night

Arwyn comes in after being in bed for a little bit
A: Mom I am having bad dreams
Me: what are your dreams sweetie
A: that I am turning into all these persons that I don’t want to be and everytime I wake up in my bed new person that are bad. This is happening because someone that doesn’t like me is putting a spell on me.

It took me awhile to offer my prayers, I was so struck by truth in this dream.

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear lies and see attempts for the Enemy to take me down and turn me into someone I don’t want to be. Fears are hurled at me like there going out of style.

My little innocent girl enters this world all too soon, and in her dreams she is cacthing a glimpse of the battle.

Oh beautiful one,

May you know the Victor of this battle more than the pulse of the lies.

May your heart be wrapped in love unending and you grow to learn the depths of God’s marvelous love for you.

May your soul thrive with every word of truth whispered from his word to you,

and in the day to day battle for your beauty, may you find that it really lies in hands of the Awe-some one that created you.

You belong to HIM, and therein lies all your being, and the beauty you could ever hope for.

A mom’s confession

5 Things Better Than an Obedient Child

by burningbushes on September 30, 2011

Some days-the ones where I’m humiliated in public, the ones where I say, “Right now,” way too many times, the ones when I feel like I should wear stripes and carry a whistle-some days I forget that I should want more than an obedient child. ‘Don’t be impressed by outward conformity.’ But, too often, I just want my offspring to get in line, stop being so ridiculous, and obey already.

For all those days, God reminds me of these five things that are so much better than a child who ‘obeys right away, all the way, with a happy heart.’

1 A child learning that God loves him.  Loving God is the greatest commandment-on it hangs all the other laws she’s commanded to obey.  But, she will only love God after being convinced that He loves her already.

We love because he first loved us.  1 John 4:19

2 A child learning to love God’s Word.  His words are living…more powerful than any reward or deal I can make.  He is the WORD.  And so, more of the word in her means more of her conforming (eventually) to Him.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  John 17:17

3 A child learning to love repentance and restoration.  Only God’s spirit can bring change and He only abides with those who humble themselves and admit failure.

These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.  Isaiah 66:2

4 A child learning to love people more than he loves himself.  Selfless living is anything but natural. But learning the love of Christ and His sacrifice makes becoming the Good Samaritan seem as natural as the sunrise.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35

5 A child learning how to live a life of JOY.  So much of sin and disobedience comes from looking for happiness in all the wrong places. When he learns to find his joy in Jesus, all the world’s offers pale in comparison.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.  Psalm 16:11

I hit a wall the other day. M has been RELENTLESS in his disobedience. Everything goes “in one ear and out the other”, as my mother used to put it. There is nothing more frustrating, even angering, than me “being a broken record”. It translates to me ” I don’t respect you”. Which is a big wound of my past and one that provokes anger in me. The anger is combined with hurt when it comes from 3 of the people I loved MOST in the world, that I would do anything, even die for. And when all 3 are disobeying at once, all day, or all week. It’s more than I can handle.

So I had a moment I am not proud of. At the end of the day M just placed the last straw on and I caved in my self control. I was loud, angry, and doing the one thing I don’t believe in when it comes to discipline. I disciplined in my anger. I could tell he was shocked, hurt, and trying to cover it up from me. And half of me was feeling SO convicted right after, but the other half was still seething.

He went to bed, and I went to my bedroom. I just couldn’t release my self to sit and relax and “veg out”. I had failed him BIG TIME.

I love this blog post above from this blog. Cause over the years I have been recommended so many books, and theories, and seen so many different models. Since I tend to lean towards more rigidness and proactiveness, even perfectionism in my parenting I have gravitated towards some of those resources that today I just don’t see God’s character in. I don’t see how you can raise kids who know that God loves them and really want to follow him. So coming across this post my heart cried out “YES!” I need to hear this, and I want to be able to say these things later.

Number 1 was so convicting. After I went to my bedroom and crawled into my bed I complained and vented and asked God what I should have done, given the circumstances. And he whispered, “What do I do with you when you relentlessly disobey?”…” but i dont…”…. “well maybe I do…”

He is patient and gentle, sometimes firm and unchanging in the consequences ahead but always loving and calm. Not what I was, for sure. I had some forgiveness to seek.

Such important things, repentence and forgiveness. I woudn’t say I was very used to it before parenting. But  Josiah and I established in our relationship. The foundation of asking for forgiveness for the wrong that you have done, with no excuses and no blame shifting and then recieving it from the other with the real words ” I forgive you”, not “It’s ok” or ” no big deal” or some other sentence that comes out of feeling uncomfortable and sadly unfamiliar with this process. So it naturally flowed int our parenting. Well natural in the way that we felt it was important to do with them if it was important for us. Not so natural to carry out.

I went into his room, and he was laying there, awake. Afraid that he was gonna receive more punishment. I sat on his bed and started crying, bawling actually. Invited him into my lap and just hugged him. And as I sat there and blubbered my way through repentence and forgiveness for my anger, my precious son astounded me.

After he forgave me, and after my crying made him cry (because he is so tender hearted). He asked ” Mom, can I pray for you?”

And he did, he prayed that God would help me to forgive myself, and not be sad anymore. This broke me. Maybe my boy knows me better than I do. Cause this is where this whole situtaion would live on in my heart, me not forgiving myself. Me letting the condemnation take over.

And I was encouraged. That: number 3 above, is something that, by God’s grace alone, he is learning. And that he valued prayer, inviting God into this moment, knowing that it would make all the difference.

I felt such shame when I recounted everything to J later that evening. Afraid that he would be shocked or disappointed in the mother of his children. It took me a little while before I really did forgive myself. And it still deeply moves me that M blessed me with forgiveness and prayer. And I was so thankful and proud of him as he gave what God has been cultivating in his heart, that sometimes goes unoticed by me.

UP, down, UP

The kids were stirring. I was blogging. My hour of down time was coming to an end. Too soon.

“mom”, whispers a little one in the portacrib, “cuddles”.

Really how long will I be getting this privelage? Not long enough. I concede and lay aside the computer. We lay in bed. Her blankie on me, her on her blankie. She smiles at me behind her binkie.

“Water” she whispers. I hand her my bottle. “sip.” she whispers, happy. “ahhh!” exclaiming perfectly as if recording for a soda commercial, having taken her first drink all day.

I smile. She smiles. I wonder how many moments like this I will get. In the dark of the hotel, cuddling on my bed, whispers full of contentment to be together.

The littlest baby squirms beneath her in my womb, “not long” says the silent voice.

Another “sip”, another minute. She is sitting up patting my tummy, “baby”. I smile and nod.

I take her blanky and rub it’s corner on my nose. Just like she does, evoking a smile. She takes another corner, together we rub our noses. The sweet comfort of a blankie, the sweet moments of whispers in the dark together. My heart swells.

Then minutes later were all up. Lights on, kids demanding food. “Nack!” she screams louder and 10 X as often as they ask. The third is a fighter. She knows how to get me frustatred instantly. She proceeds to go from thing to thing in all the ways she knows how to disobey in. Demanding my attention and food.

We don’t have any snack foods in the hotel. I call for an early dinner Pizza to be delivered. I ask them to be quite for 3 minutes while I painfully communicate my order. She stops their movie, they hollar, and move her away. She screams. Runs to me and cries in my ear. I am so irritated. 3 minutes thats all I needed.

I am off the phone and trying to finish typing something on the computer before I go read with her. But she relentlessly demands “NACK!” while crying and pulling on my leg. How do I keep getting myself in these situations with her where I have no food on hand? She is almost two and for a year now I have known that her hunger goes from 0 to 60 in seconds.

After a hour of this crazyness, our pizza still hasn’t arrived. I stop the movie and ask A to watch Vange for a minute while I run outside and check that I gave the right address to the delivery guy. I come back to V on my bed pounding away on the computer while A is playing tea set on the floor. “WHAT are you doing? I asked you to watch her just 1 minute!”

I stand just outside the door to finish my delivery check up call. Vange is at the crack screaming for me. I open the door to find Arwyn playing again. I scold again.

She goes and cries in the chair for 5 minutes as loud as she can. I send her to cry in the bathroom. Today she has dissolved into tears probably 10 times. The last 2 nights none of them have fallen asleep till at least 11 pm. Her exaustion is catching up to her.

This is only my 2nd day back watching them full time. How can I be losing my impatience so easily? Josiah probably handled 3 meltdowns at once with ease.

We need a change of scenery. I call room service to come clean while we go in the lobby and hang out together, leaving the computer behind. We play while we wait for pizza. The tension eases. Food comes and everyone is happy. The screaming has stopped and all is well. We are filling our bellies with delightful cheese crust.

Arwyn: Mom I have to tell you something.

M: hmmm?

A: I am sorry I didn’t listen to you and watch Vange when you needed me to.

M: I forgive you. It’s dangerous for me to leave even for that minute if I can’t trust you to keep her occupied breifly. Thank you for apologizing.

I sit and hug her amazed that for the first time ever she has come to apologize, unprompted after she has had time to think and prepare her heart. Amazed that she wants to seek reconciliation! It was a sweet moment to remember.