We had our first vacation of the year this past week. It was supposed to be our second vacation but because God has his hands on my oldest son, Hunter, it ended up being our very first for the summer. His timing was perfect the night before our huge Disney trip when Hunter had to have emergency surgery. Now the next day after our return I’ve been battling with unsettling feelings. Nothing unparticular, just female emotions I chalk it up to. Summer vacation for the kids will be ending this week and the twins will start K-4 :( and Braydon will start middle school. Three of our kids are hitting milestones in their lives this week. Next year will make both Jon and I feel really old because Hunter will start HIGH SCHOOL! AHHH!
I had planned on all last week reading in my devotional books, Bible and coming back with five or more blog post. I came back with one written and hardly anything read but I thought about where I was in my faith and where I wanted to be in a few months. I got a chance to break away from all the stress in my life, reconnect with my husband, kids and great friends and just to clear my mind. Maybe that’s what God had planned for me so that he could open my eyes to what it was that is really taking me under and keeping me from being totally committed to him the way he needs me to be in order to use me for his purpose. On the route I was going, I wasn’t any good to anyone including myself!
Tonight, I picked up my good old faithfull book, ‘The Resolution for Women’. For some reason I have a hard time keeping up with where I last left off at so I find myself flipping through the last chapter I’d underline things in and pick with the next chapter. But, for some reason tonight, I reread the chapter name ‘Divine Appointments.’ It never fails lately when I have missed church, bible school, Wednesday nights or reading, I feel so alone and distant from everyone, most importantly God. The Bible verse, the author opens up with is out of Psalm 27:8
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds. “Lord, I am coming.”
Oh, Lord, I’m here! So powerful to read that verses when you feel alone. In the NIV version it states it this way: My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
As I grow in my faith and listen to my heart, I notice that when I’m at my most unsettling times and I feel alone, it’s when I’m not crying out to God to lead me out. Instead, I’m trying to pull myself out. To be faithfully his, I have to lean into his voice, live with Heaven’s purpose in view and Heaven’s whisper in my soul.
Heaven’s whisper? As a mother of twin girls, I know what a whisper is supposed to sound like and what 4 yr old girls thinks a whisper sounds like! I wish God’s whisper was more like a 4 yr old’s is whisper at times but I’m thankful he does whisper to me and I hear it (not always but my hearing is getting better with his whispers). The author uses Moses as her example of how he might not have seemed faithful but was. She says in her book how he seemed to have all kinds of problems in the execution of God’s plan he still held tight to the calling God had on his life.
‘Even in the noisy wind tunnel of guilt and regret, even with loud music inviting him to dance with the decadent, he could still catch the faint whisper of Heaven compelling him to forsake temporary feelings and pursuits for the sake of God’s will. And herein lies what separated him and his people from all others. He was not perfect, but he was purposeful. He wasn’t without mistake, but he was marked by God’s presence.’ The Resolution for Women pg 71 (Good old faithful)
All last week, I had a chance to think about what I thought my purpose was in life and prayed about God’s purpose for my life. I’m not perfect at anything I do but I do try when I have the energy. My heart is my children and everyone elses but lately you couldn’t tell I enjoy it because of being bogged down with the daily stress of being torn between work, kids, life, my wife duties and my momma duties and let’s not forget what society thinks a woman should look like and be able to do! At the end of April, I made the decision to get out of Awana’s and try my hand at the youth because our oldest is in youth and he was at the age where he needs guidance and parental contact. After all, I only have him for 5 more years at home. I have always been stand offish to the youth age because I didn’t get to experience my youth the way normal teenagers did. My parents were very strict and sheltered me just as I’m going to do with my daughters. Maybe not as strict and sheltered, but close. For the past few months, I have felt a little lost finding a place to fit in at church. We had Vacation Bible School. For the first time in three or four years, I didn’t participate. My kids did but I didn’t. The next week, the youth went up to the mountains on a mission trip to put on a Vacation Bible school up there for children that wouldn’t have it otherwise. Jon took Hunter and I stayed behind because of work and our younger children were doing Music camp at church. I have helped out twice with the youth girls Sunday school and I liked it. Because of vacation last week, I missed the last two Sunday mornings. It seems like I’m missing a lot of great opportunities to serve in each age group! That bothers me so I turned it over to God to help me get through.
I go onto read in my old faithful about ‘Heaven Calling.’ I really would rather put it in my own words but she words it so well. So here is the last piece from the book.
‘It’s the call of the faithful. You and me. To fix our eyes on Him and His plans for us, and then--- with the empowerment of the Spirit----to go about achieving them in our various relationships and endeavors.’
I’m in constant prayer that he will lead me in his plans for me and that he gives me the strength to move past people, earthly wants, finances and outside obstacles that might and will stand in my way. I know that what God wants me to do will bring me happiness because I will be serving him and not myself. My focus has to be on him and I have faith that he will take care of the rest. My Heaven Calling will keep me feeling a bit unsettled, sensing an internal ache I can’t quite shake until it moves me in his direction of serving his purpose for my life, not my own. That’s Heaven Calling.
As a person we just want to be wanted and loved. As a parent, we just want to give our children the best, the world. We want them to feel loved and never to suffer pain, loss or want. But also as a parent, we know we cannot prevent any of that from happening nor need too. In order for our children to grow up into a well-rounded adult, we have to set guidelines and structure. When I became a mother for the first time, I knew what I wanted to do with my life for the first time. I have always wanted to be a mommy and wife but for the first time ever I felt I had direction for my future. I wanted to be a teacher. I went to the tech school and started taking classes for early childhood development. I even got a chance to take Hunter in and use him as a college type show and tell. While in school we were also building a daycare for my mom and I to run. Once it was built, I taught 3 yr olds and I loved it! I went on to have our second child, Braydon. Right after I had Braydon, my parents sold the daycare and shortly after that I got fired. The new owners did not think I could grow with their company and my ways weren’t their ways. In other words, my words, the families like me and came to me with a lot of problems and not them. We had developed a bond and when it comes to your children you are cautious on whom you let watch your child all day long. Shortly after getting fired, a few of my families called me and asked if I’d watch their children at my home. I did and continued for almost two years. Then one day I received a call from the owners that had bought the daycare. Long story short, he had ran the daycare into the ground and wanted me to come back and run it. I did and was pregnant again with my third child, Gracie. However, it wasn’t just me that came back. I was not about to jump into the daycare business without my assistant director that I had before and who is now the owner of not only that daycare but another one. Both daycares are doing great! After running the daycare, my career choice has not really been my own and my fulfillment for my job hasn’t been the same. Children are my heart. Maybe that’s why I have so many!
There are a lot of nights I go to bed wondering if I was too hard on the kids for something they did wrong. Could I have been more understanding, more patient, more loving? Could I have not let them slide just this once for that behavior? After all I don’t blame them I probably have done the same thing at one time or they acted that way because I act that way. The answers are a mixture of yes and no’s. Yes, I should have bit my tongue a few hundred times to the point I probably shouldn’t have a tongue left! I’ve learned being patient comes with time and being in the word daily. Being in the word, doing my devotionals and blogging requires discipline. Being more loving grows more and more every day. Every limit I set or punishment I give to them is done in Love.
One of my favorite verses about Discipline by our Heavenly Father is out of Hebrew 12:3-11
3-For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.4- In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.5- And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons:
My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him,6- for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. 7-Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 8- But if you are without discipline---which all receive---then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9- Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? 10- For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. 11- No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
God does not discipline us to harm us but to bless us in fellowship and receiving His peace and righteousness. We, as parents do the same for our own children. As I’ve stated in a previous blog, I understand God more and more each and every day I raise my own children. I understand why God put Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, why he flooded the earth, the plagues he sent and the list can go on and on. We just weren’t listening and he had had enough! How many times as a parent have you felt like you have repeated yourself so many times you felt like a broken recorded and you were just about to blow your top. We are at present battling with the boys to finish up their summer reading books and as much as we want to just let them fail and take the grade they get, we have a hard time doing that! But, the right thing to do is explain that if they don’t do the work and make a bad grade then they will be grounded. It’s just so hard to sit back and see your child fail when you could have done something to prevent it. However, what one teacher told me was it is better for them to fail now and learn from it than have them fail when it really counts. Today’s parents don’t have the freedom to discipline their children the way our parents were allowed to. We have so many children raised by two parents in different homes, one parent, by grandparents and by strangers. It’s not like it was when we were growing up and the children are paying for that. I love my children more than my own life, I want my children to have the security of structure and discipline that I had known growing up. They are counting on me to not be their friend all the time and to direct them in the way of the Word.
In closing I want to share a few more items that are straight out of my Bible on the way the authors interpreted the verses. It helped me to understand it better and I hope it will do the same for you.
Familial language appears throughout the book of Hebrews. The First person of the Trinity is God the Father, and the Second Person of the Trinity is His Son. The Son became a human being in order to unite Himself with His believing “brothers.” The Son can then bring His brothers into the presence of the Father, who will consider them His “sons.” The believers in Christ are sons of God, they have a superior source of comfort. They are more than mere servants; God addresses them as sons. And yet, a father displays his love for his sons by disciplining them. Just as the readers have accepted discipline from their natural fathers, so too should they receive discipline from the Father of spirits. God does not discipline His sons to harm them, but to bless them. The benefit of the Father’s discipline is fellowship in His holiness and receiving His peace and righteousness.
As I’m growing in my relationship with Christ, I try and apply my own feelings with how I feel about my own children to how God might feel when I, myself do a certain behavior that might upset him. When my children are fighting with each other, when they hurt, when they want something that I can’t give them or just how I feel when I love on them, it’s so many emotions. Now, imagine the powerful all in one, God, the creator of the whole universe. I can picture the birth of a baby making rain fall from the skies from his tears and the discipline he hands to his children can shake the world.
11-Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; 12- for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.
To ask God to refrain from giving us discipline would be to ask Him to love us less.
Have a blessed day!