Saturday, February 4, 2017

One Soldier

I still remember that day nearly 9 years ago that I was lying in bed with my hand resting on my belly and having the most intense peace. God created this baby and He will always protect him. During his birth the doctors, nurses and loving family members were bustling about and all I could think was, "Why is everyone so worried? He's fine." Also, "Get out of me!" but still a lot of weird peace that God was doing something special with this baby. 

Years later I found myself in a mom's group and heard a life changing truth: Not only was Isaac given to me as my son, but I was given to him as his mother. God chose me to be his Mother and He did so with a specific plan and purpose, only working for Good. 

Isaac's always been emotional. Happy or sad, when you're with him you know exactly how he's feeling. But oftentimes, all those emotions, the good and the bad, are bigger than his little body can handle. 

The last three days have been bigger than Isaac can handle. In a completely new setting with new rules, new expectations, new routines...his brain and his heart are in overdrive. A friend compared his experience to that of someone from another country who speaks a different language being put into a classroom. And that's exactly what it's like for him. He doesn't understand the language or the culture.  And he's acting out in culturally non-acceptable ways- yelling out, crying, and meltdowns. 

As his Mother I know he needs time. That's been the word of the week. Time. But what is time when you are a mother and you see your child struggling? You see a piece of your body walking outside of you, only now out of reach and there's nothing you can do. Time is nothing. My son is struggling and I just want to fix it because I am his Mother and making things better is my JOB. It is my LIFE. 

And then I went to Faithfully Fit this morning and the theme was Warrior. We prepared our hearts and our bodies for battle during the warm-up. I did a cardio work-out for 20 seconds then read a bible verse for 10 and repeated that 4 times. We did that at 5 stations. When I read the following verse the tears immediately started to fall. 

God's voice was so incredibly loud and the Holy Spirit was so clear in his message to me:

You are a soldier in MY army. My army is Powerful. My soldiers wear angel wings and worn shoes. You are merely ONE solder. This is not your battle. It is mine. The Enemy is near and he is fighting but my army is mighty and huge and we will never lose. Isaac is mine. You are not alone in this. Trust in my army. He is mine and I will send my best soldiers, including YOU. 

I read that 4 times and each time new tears sprang up as I saw in my mind the soldiers fighting this with me: the faithfully fit Prayer Warriors that have been praying for him, Larry, his grandparents, Simone, Shannon, Melissa, the FB Prayer Warriors. And those are only the ones who wear shoes. I then imagined the Angels. Mighty and Powerful. I imagined what we are battling for. We are not battling for a test score or good grades. We are battling for Isaac's soul- his happy spirit. And you better believe I will fight with a mother's rage. I will wear my armor everyday and I will be on the front lines, praying over him, giving him the strategies I know, and sharing Bible verses with him. But I will give myself grace because I am not fighting alone. God made me Isaac's mother and gave me the gifts and talents I need to fulfill that role, but he did not make me perfect. He did not make me a super mom. That was never his plan, intention, or expectation of me. He didn't need to do all of that because He didn't need to. He has an ARMY. 

It takes more than a village, it takes God's Army. We will always win. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Season

"God, give me the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it."
This has been our prayer for the last year. Over the summer Larry told me it was time that I start looking for a new job. I said no. Because no. I wanted to work until the kids were all in school, then I wanted to quit working and only homeschool. So no. A different job was not on my radar.
Then I started to feel the uncomfortable itch of a life that no longer fits. I was stressed out and realized life was changing and pushing me in a direction I had no interest in going.
So I said no again.
I grew bitter toward Larry. Bitter that he was able to have more years with the kids at home than I would get. Bitter that he was right. Bitter that I wasn't better at doing it all.
I found myself standing in the middle of the kitchen crying because this wasn't working anymore and I was bitter.
My job continued to make more and more changes and I found myself reaching a point of acceptance. Accepting that this dream job I had was no longer the dream job I had signed up for. Larry continued to push me to look for something else and I slowly started to look. But I was still bitter. I hadn't told him how I really felt until one day I asked him for some of his fries and he said, "I'll give you fries if you stop telling people it's my fault that you are looking for a new job." I didn't take any fries. (Because we're grown ups with the heart of toddlers sometimes.) We had it out. I finally told him how mad I was. That this was not what I thought was going to happen. And he said, "I'm going to stop telling you how to feel because you don't ever seem to respond well to that. Instead, I'll tell you my own story. I had a dream job too. But I realized that it's not enough to support my family. So I had to make a choice: my dream job or my family? I choose my family. What are you going to choose?"

And just like that the bitterness floated away. Because he was right. It was ultimately my choice. I could choose my dream job or I could choose my family. When it was phrased like that, the choice was easy.

The next week I was called in for an interview. I was excited, but mostly scared and very apprehensive. So I prayed to God, "Lord, if a change in jobs is what YOU want, I need you to change my HEART. I need you to make me enter this with joy because I can't be miserable for my family."

He answered my prayer within moments. I could suddenly see all the positives. I wrote Matthew 5:6 on my interview paperwork: "Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires, God will satisfy them fully." I put my faith in God that he would grant me the desire to do his will.

The day I took the boys to visit their new schools was a spiritual experience for me. I was smiling the entire time and when I walked out I told Larry, "This is exactly where we are supposed to be right now. I don't know why or what God has in store for us, but I know that I know that I know that this is right."

I'm incredibly scared for tomorrow to come, I won't lie. It's not a lack of faith because I know God will walk every step with each of us. I know that he will satisfy us fully. It's more about saying goodbye to the last 8 years. It's recognizing that our season of life with little ones is gone. A new season is beginning and God will bless us through it and we will love it, I'm sure. But man, we sure did love this one. We will always be grateful that we followed God's will to stay home for as long as we did. And we will continue to follow Him. Because his plans are always bigger and better than our own- and that's always something to thank God for :) <3 nbsp="" p="">

A Letter to Jared on His First Day of School

Dear Jared,
            Can you believe it’s your first day of school?! I know you’re super excited about this day and that makes me so excited for you! Your teacher is thrilled to meet you and I know you will make so many friends. You are the sweetest, friendliest, most determined person I know. You always put the needs of others before your own and you never give up. Our family is so blessed to have you. Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. When you go to school, you will learn new information and you may get answers wrong sometimes. That’s why you have an eraser on your pencil J You can always learn from your wrong answers and you can always correct mistakes. Nothing you do could make us love you less. Every day you will come home to your family and we will love you. Know that God is always listening, even when you’re too mad or sad to talk to Him. Remember to simply tell God how you are feeling and let Him help you feel better. He loves you so much and he only wants the best for you. He’s with you always. My prayer for you is that you will give yourself grace and let God use your heart to show his love to everyone you meet.  When you come home at the end of the day, the five of us will be here for you, and we will always be your family.

Love you always,


A Letter to Isaac on His First Day of School

Dear Isaac,
            Today marks a new beginning for you. You’ve led such a unique life for the past 8 years and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Your Dad and I treasure the time we’ve been able to spend with you. There are so many parents who don’t get the opportunity to spend so much time with their children, but God has blessed us abundantly. I love you so much. You are the smartest, funniest, most creative kid I know. Your brain is always working, processing new information and putting pieces together to make new creations. You are able to learn new information quickly and I know you will catch on to the new lessons in school. Remember to take deep breaths when you get frustrated. Your teachers are there to HELP you. They don’t know you yet, but they will love you and care for you. Let them support you and help you. Be friendly to everyone and you will make friends easily. You will face challenges and you need to know that God is listening to you pray no matter where you are. You can pray in your head and ask him to help you and he will. He helps me a lot! At the end of the day you will always come home to us. God gave you the five of us walk through life with you and we will be with you every step of the way. We are here to listen to you and provide support to you. We will always love you. My prayer for you is that you will allow God to help you use your talents to His Glory.  You are an amazing kid and I know God has great plans for you. I’m so lucky to be your mom so I get a front row seat to see all the great things you will do.

Love you always,


Friday, September 2, 2016

Family Update

You know what I hate? Five year plans. I can't just make a plan and then say, "But we'll see how it works out." No. If I take the time to map it out, it's going to happen. And when it doesn't, well, I kind of flip out. Because it was a PLAN and it was GOOD.

When Isaac was four we made a new plan to homeschool. We never considered homeschooling until he was 4 years old, but once we started I loved it. I figured we would homeschool until they graduated high school. Once Katie joined our family, we made a new plan that once she started Kindergarten, I would need to be home full time if we were going to continue to homeschool. But Katie had her own plan and that includes wanting to start school at age 3!

So that brings us to now. Larry has 3 jobs and I am still working full time while homeschooling 4 children. Don't try the math. It doesn't work.

This past week has been full of tears (mine), breakdowns (mine), and more than one empty wine bottle (me again). I kept hearing Dr. Phil in my head: "And how's that working for you?" and I wanted to punch him because it's NOT working and I HAD A PLAN, DR. PHIL.

When you're drowning, all you can do is kick your legs hard enough to get your nose above water before growing weak and falling below a wave again. You know what you don't get to do in those times? Look around. You can't see the lighthouse. You can't reach for the life preserver. You can't get your eyes above water long enough to see anything. You're just trying to catch your breath. And that's what I've been doing for the last month. I finally had to recognize that I have to do SOMETHING to get more air.

First step: Say it out loud: I CANNOT DO THIS. Accepting that *shiver* I can't do it all is really hard. I had to say to Larry and friends that I am drowning.

Next step: Pray. I read recently that sometimes God let's you hit rock bottom so you realize he's your rock. Nothing is truer. I cannot do this without God. And yes, I probably should have done this first, but I didn't. And I'm not going to pretend that I did. Honestly, I was kind of scared to pray to God because more than anything, I felt I had let HIM down. Larry and I look back over the past 4 years of homeschooling with NO regrets. We KNOW that keeping Isaac and Jared home was exactly the best thing for them and for our family. So to think that NOW it's not, makes it feel like it's my fault. Like if I was just a little bit better, things would work better. But the reality is, that math. It just doesn't work. Larry used to be home a lot more during the day and could help with homeschooling, but now he's not. And he's doing exactly what he should be doing. So we have to make some changes.

Step 1: Grayson will start PreK on Tuesday. Ya'll. The kid is SO excited! He keeps telling people, "I found the PERFECT SCHOOL!" He took a tour during NAP TIME and fell in love. We are all so excited or him! We made the decision to enroll HIM for many different reasons, but ultimately, he made the decision for us. He wants to go more than anyone. So we will start there.

Isaac and Jared will continue to be homeschooled, but using a different curriculum that a friend recommended. The curriculum I was trying was very demanding on me and still required a lot of planning and additional resources that I simply did not have the time to handle, leaving me feeling like a failure on a daily basis. I don't need that in my life, thankyouverymuch.

We have several different options for our paths moving forward at this point. Larry and I are praying as a family and thanking God for our family and all His many blessings. I now feel like I'm holding on to the life preserver and I can breathe for now. It's a great relief.

It's so hard to look at the plan you had and know that it's not going to work and this isn't working out. Being wrong is hard hard hard. But being wrong and stubborn is worse. So we're letting go. We have no idea where we will be in 5 years. We have no idea where we will be in two months or a year from now. All we know is we're holding on the life preserver, we can see the Lighthouse, and God is pulling us in to dry land. <3 p="">

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Great Aunt Mary

My Great Aunt Mary’s impact on my life began before I was even born. When my Dad was 28 he was on the wrong path. He was married to my Mom, but was not following God and was making many negative and dangerous choices. Meanwhile, my mom’s Aunt Mary kept asking my Dad to go with her to church. She kept asking, in typical Aunt Mary fashion, and my Dad kept refusing, in typical Roy fashion. (I can say that because I’m just like him!) In God’s infinite wisdom He decided that it would be the PERFECT time for my Dad to become a Father. In doing so, my Dad realized he had to grow up at some point and something had to change. So he accepted Aunt Mary’s invitation. It was at her church that he spoke to the pastor and finally handed his life over to Christ, and in doing so, changed the course of my life.

I was then raised in a loving Christian home. We attended church, we prayed, we read the Bible. When I was 6 I decided to accept Christ. The night of my baptism was part of a rainy day. Instead of holding the Sunday evening service at the Chapel by the Lake, it was held indoors. My friend was also scheduled to be baptized so we all went over to the chapel by the lake after the service and we were baptized, but there was no crowd like there normally would have been. Instead, in that pivotal moment, stood my Dad and my Aunt Mary. She was still there. Still supporting us. Still loving us. Still helping us in our walk with Christ.

Many, many years later I was a mom of two boys and found out that Aunt Mary was living fairly close by to me. My husband and I took our two boys to visit her. Now the thing about visiting Aunt Mary is that you’re going to get some amazing food. And you’re going to get to see that big smile and you’re going to get a big hug. And man, you are going to feel like the most loved person in the WORLD. But if you’ve been doing wrong, she’s going to call you out on it. I’ll never forget when she looked at me and said, “Your mother loves you, you know. You should call her.” I tried to explain that I was just so incredibly hurt. Instead, she told me of the many times she had been hurt, but she continued to love. She told me that God wanted me to forgive my mother and call her. So after that visit I called my mother because you don’t have Aunt Mary tell you to do something and then just not do it. It didn’t work for my dad those many years ago and it wasn’t going to work for me.

What I love most about these particular memories of my Aunt Mary is that these aren’t just my stories. There are so many in this room with a similar story and many more outside this room. Mark 16:15 says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Aunt Mary lived and breathed this statement wherever she was. And she was able to do it because she didn’t just preach the gospel, but she listened to 1 Peter 3:16 that reads, “But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” Several different people, including my Dad has said in these past days, “She was the Godliest woman I knew.” She truly was. She opened her home, her fridge, her pool, to all of us. It didn’t matter what bad things were going on in our lives, she continued to love each of us. In so many ways she was the best living example of Christ that I’ve ever known. She didn’t see what we ARE, she saw what we COULD BE with the love of Christ.

I’ll forever be grateful that I had a Great Aunt Mary. I believe God allowed us to have her for so many years because she was still showing God’s love to those of us that needed to see it. When she couldn’t be near us in person, we received a card in the mail. She couldn’t stop telling us she loved us. I think now the best way to honor her is to share the Good News of Christ to all, and to love everyone, no matter what. 

Thank you, Aunt Mary. Thank you for not giving up on my Dad and for being the path to Christ. Thank you for always loving me. Thank you for finding me when I was lost. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to move through your life for us. We will always love you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Birthday, Isaac

Dear Isaac,

Seven years ago you made me a mother and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. It's been quite a ride these past 7 years, but I don't think any have compared to this past year. When you were six, you accomplished so much. You have grown and changed from a small boy, to a young child and I am incredibly proud of the man I see forming before me. 

Since you were a baby you've worn your heart on your sleeve. Happy, sad, angry, we never had to guess with you. This past year I've seen you start to manage your emotions in a new way, struggling to find the words to express yourself. It's hard being six. There are new responsibilities, new goals, new experiences, and new expectations. But when I look at the seven year old before me today, I see you soaring. 

So let's talk about all the things you accomplished this year. Academically, you've read books like Wizard of Oz, Shiloh, and Chocolate Touch. At the beginning of the year I was worried about your inferencing skills, but by the end, I was amazed at everything you were able to grasp in the books we were reading. Your love for Science is infectious. New discoveries light up your world and I'm so grateful to be a part of that excitement with you. Physically you've learned how to ride a bike AND swim! Holy cow, Isaac! You accomplished two major fears, and YOU DID IT. And can we talk about the fact that you ate a hot dog? You have a lot of sensitivities to food- their textures and flavors, but you are also learning new ways to absorb those sensitivities and move forward. And of course, you are 3 months seizure free today! I am so excited for you on this new stage of your life! The best part of you being six was the night you accepted Christ into your life. You are learning all about God's magnificent love for you and I could not be happier. 

Recently you told me that you just want to do what you want to do. And I want you to know, that I feel you. We all just want to do what we want to do. But the reality is, we have to love the people around us more than we love ourselves. We have to want to do what's best for them. And I see you learning that. It's hard sometimes being the oldest of 4 kids. You have to give a LOT of love to everyone. But God gave you such a big heart and I know he did it because he was going to give you a lot of people to love. 

I want to talk to you about one more incident that happened this year. A few months back you tore up Jared's art work. You said it was useless. Jared cried and when I spoke to you in private about the incident, you said Jared already has a bunch of art work on his wall in his room and his new art work was useless. After speaking to you for a few minutes, you turned your head from me and said, "I'm useless." I want you to know a piece of my heart broke in that moment. I told you then and I want to reiterate now, just in case you're reading this at a point in your life when you need to hear it: YOU ARE NOT USELESS. You are perfectly and wonderfully made for this family. You are designed by God from the top of your head to tip of your toes. From your inner organs to your inner spirit- you are made perfect by God. I need you to know that. You are not your brothers or your sister and you are not meant to be. If you were, we wouldn't need them. We need YOU in our family. We need your brilliance, your laughter, your jokes, your plans. We need you. 

I want to close this letter with your thoughts. The following was dictated by you:

I'm the best guy ever. I do not so funny pranks on my mom and dad and I want them to be funny so I really need to buy the Dangerous Dragon Book for Boys. It has so much funny pranks in it. 

When I grow up I am going to have 4 children and 1 daughter. That makes 5 kids. Their names are: Peter, Isaac Jr, Gregory, Arctic (that's because he will like the snow a lot), and Abigail. My home is going to be a 3 level home. And I am going to have 3 vehicles: a motorcycle, a truck, and a van (just in case everyone wants to go somewhere.) My jobs are going to be UPS loading trucks and the US Navy with a new technology of invisible cannons on the submarines. The end!

Isaac, I cannot wait to watch what this next year brings for you. 

All my love,