Wednesday, September 14, 2016

God's Protection...especially today

It's been A YEAR since I blogged. Oh goodness, I'm such a slacker! Actually, life has been crazy busy and I have put the blog on the back burner. Hopefully, I can get back in the habit of keeping y'all (really just the few family members that read it) updated on our family. Nate is still working with the insurance company and enjoys working security VERY part time as opportunities are made available. I am still working at the YMCA part time. I have been there five years! FIVE YEARS! That's crazy. Anyway, I am on staff part time with the preschool ministry at our church. We are part of a great church and I love being a part of the team there. And...I also teach three year olds in our church's Mother's Day Out/Preschool. I am in my second year there and it's NEVER dull!! Each day brings new joys...and stresses! Hey, it's three year olds! =)

The boys are doing awesome. Brandon is in second grade and Carson is in first. Dalton is in the Pre-K program at our church and Easton is in a class with other older one year olds and two year olds. By the way, I can't believe Dalton is starting Kindergarten next fall. It doesn't seem possible. As someone said today, "The days are long but the years fly by."

God has been so faithful to our family. He has proven his love to us time and time again...and again and again and again...I pray we never take his provision and grace for granted! I pray our boys grow to love the Lord with zeal and JOY! I also pray the boys sense the Lord's presence and acknowledge his protection in their lives. They got a lesson in that tonight...

We were heading to church like any other Wednesday night. We were on a two lane road that typically has traffic moving rather steadily. We came to a random stop...when I say "random" I mean it wasn't a place that we normally have to stop or even slow down. We came to a stop and I looked in the rearview mirror to see a Toyota 4Runner speeding towards us. The driver definitely wasn't paying attention to notice we stopped. I could see the driver place both hands on the steering wheel and brace herself as her brakes locked...I screamed knowing we were about to get hit. Fear took over. My boys in the back of the van were going to feel the impact and it was not going to be okay.

We were okay. The 4Runner stopped inches from my bumper and traffic moved. Our car was silent as everyone knew how close we were to being in a wreck. Brandon said, "Mommy that wasn't good." No baby it wasn't.

As I was tucking the boys into bed I made it a point to do more than I normally do. Normally I tell them I love them, kiss them, aggravate them a little bit, then tell them goodnight. Tonight I made sure each of the boys knew that I loved them and how precious they are to me. We talked about the "almost wreck" and I told them how thankful I am that each one of them was home safe. Carson said, "Jesus protected us. He was in our car." Of course he was!! He was right there with us protecting us.

Jesus protected us.
He was with us and he always is.
I am thankful for that.
I am thankful for my family.

Zeph. 3:17

Thursday, September 3, 2015

6 months in 9 words...


That's the nine words I use to summarize the last six months. I haven't blogged since April and so much has happened since then but that's definitely the best way to summarize it. If you have heard Colton Dixon's song, "Through All Of It" then you know where I am headed in this update. I am so thankful for the JOYS to be celebrated! However, I am also thankful for the regrets to be learned from! That might sound crazy but we grow through our trials and weaknesses and I am thankful for a God who is faithful!!

  • For starters, I am so thankful for the church we have been a part of the past two years. We started attending Forest Hills on Labor Day weekend 2013.  God is faithful in our valleys. When we started going to FHBC, I was in a pit. We had not had a good year and I was desperate for personal spiritual revival. I had no idea it would come through someone I now consider a hero in the faith. I went with a friend to a Wednesday morning Bible study and that's how it all started! Ms. Nancy just celebrated her 75th birthday. She is a widow, mother, grandmother, cancer survivor, Sunday school teacher, friend, mentor, and student of the Word. Yes, she is 75 and loves studying and teaching the Word! I love her and am so thankful the part she has played in my spiritual development. 

  • On August 2 Brandon was baptized! What a proud mommy moment! Brandon has always been eager to learn more about God and he has asked many questions about the faith. During Vacation Bible School this summer (on his birthday) he prayed to receive Christ. I was able to sit with him and one of the leaders of the church as he made his commitment to follow Christ. 

  • Again, I am thankful for the part FHBC has played in our family's spiritual growth.

  • Starting in the spring Nathan and I led Wiggle Worship. It's a music service for the preschoolers. It's a fun way for us to be involved in the preschool ministry. Starting August 9 we stepped down from leading Wiggle Worship and started teaching 11th and 12th graders. Quite the change, huh?! =) We are excited about our involvement in the student ministry and look forward to the opportunities there. 

  • I started working part time at the church in May. I am the Preschool Coordinator which is really just a fancy term for the Preschool Minister's helper. Ha! Kimba is our preschool minister and does an amazing job with the families at FHBC. I am thankful for the opportunity to tag team with her in the efforts to reach out to these families. 

  • Just this week I started teaching at the preschool at church. I am teaching two year olds which is never dull! =) I am blessed to be teaching with a sweet friend and thankful for the sweet families represented in our classroom. Since Brandon and Carson are in school I have Dalton and Easton with me at the preschool. Dalton is a part of the three year old class and is enjoying the routine and structure. Easton is in the one year old class and has adjusted well.

  • I am still working part time at the Y...yes, three part time jobs...However, I am only there one weekday morning a week unless they are short handed and I go help out. The tough part is that I am there two week nights and Saturday mornings. It feels like a lot with all the other things we have going on but this is just a season. I am confident of that!

    I am thankful for God's faithfulness in his provision!!

    • He provided in a remarkable way this summer. We bought our first house!

    The house buying process is probably the most stressful thing we have done in our marriage but it's all good. We are living in Fairview, TN which we love and even though we have to drive a little further to get places we couldn't be happier with where we are. We are on a 3/4 acre lot which is great for the boys. We have never had a yard and our boys needed a huge yard! We are in a culdesac which is nice and quiet and it's another place for the boys to play. We are located about 1/4 a mile from the boys school which is super nice and convenient. Again, we are blessed and thankful for God's faithfulness!! 

    You might not be able to read this but it says 187. This is the address of where we lived for two years before buying the house in Fairview. We lived in a townhouse in the most undesireable place to live in our community. When we started renting here we were desperate. We had less than a month to find somewhere to live and in the area we lived in this was an almost impossible task. God provided a place over our heads which turned out to be a place of transformation for me. I learned a lot about myself and God while living here. It was not the most ideal place for our family but it's where God placed us and we grew in our faith during our time there.

    The last six months have been filled with reasons to celebrate!! God is so much more than good even when our circumstances scream stress, frustration, anger, sadness, and the list goes on.

    As the song goes,..
    I have lost, I have won
    I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
    Life's been a journey
    I've seen joy, I've seen regret,
    Oh and you have been my God through all of it

    Humbled and thankful.

    Zeph. 3:17

    Sunday, April 5, 2015

    In This Life

    This past week was difficult to process. Sometimes things happen that make you stop and think about life. What's important? What are my priorities? We lost a sweet sister in Christ this past week and from my perspective it doesn't seem fair that a family should be without a wife and mother. It saddens me to think about the lives of that family and the way their lives are forever changed. 

    It has caused me to stop and think about the impact I have on my children and ultimately the generations to come. When I hear about Kenyan Christians being killed for their faith I am fearful. When I read about the thousands of Americans who are leaving the country to join up with ISIS groups I am fearful. I am scared for my boys. I am scared for them to live in this world. 

    I know the Word and I find my hope and peace in that. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "for God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and self-control." Being fearful is being doubtful. Do I trust God to be faithful to his word? Do I trust him to be who he says he is? Do I trust that he will bring justice? Do I trust him with the best for my family?

    My mommy heart wants to shelter my boys. I want to keep them as far away from the ugliness of this world as possible. But they are supposed to be salt and light, right? So, how can they be salt and light if they are hidden in a dark cave not able to communicate with anyone in the outside world? haha ok that may be a little extreme but you get my point. 

    The issue is isolation vs. insulation. I can isolate my children and try my hardest to keep them safe and out of harm's way. Or I can insulate them with the truths of the Gospel and pray a hedge of protection around them. I can pray for boldness and confidence as they grow in their faith hoping they become missionaries in whatever mission field they are placed, 

    As I read Scripture, I know that this world is only going to get worse before it gets better. My hope comes in knowing that Jesus is King and the world will recognize that (Philippians 2:10-11). Those that choose to kill Christians for their faith will bow their knee to Jesus. 

    I have to choose to trust God regardless of the things going on in the world around me. I commit to raising my children in the peace and joy of Christ and can only pray they take the same message to those around them. 

    Come, Lord Jesus.

    Zeph. 3:17

    Monday, February 9, 2015

    Ministry of Motherhood

    Take one to school. 
    Go home and do the dishes and a load of laundry. 
    Shower since you didn't shower yesterday. 
    Take another one to the doctor. 
    Get the other two something for lunch since you were at the doctor's office way too long. 
    Hurry home to eat before putting one down for a short nap before getting the one from school. 
    Try to make sense of the day planner while sitting in the carpool line.
    Read with the kindergartner.
    Change two of their diapers. 
    Straighten the house before getting everyone dressed. 
    Take one to basketball practice. 
    Get home to preheat the oven for a Tombstone pizza because you failed to prepare dinner. 
    Feed everyone. 
    Give showers. 
    Pick up (again). 
    Sit down. 

    That was my day today. Go, go, go. It's similar to that every day which is fine. I am so glad I get to stay home with our boys. I really am. Most days I go to bed physically spent but I am able to genuinely thank God for the four little gifts he has given us.

    I am ending today feeling physically drained and defeated. I am sure no one can relate but I have had a day where I wonder if I am making any difference at all in their lives. I feel like I said "no" five thousand and one times. I raised my voice way too many times which accomplishes nothing really. I don't know that I spoke truth into anyone's life. I spoke threats of early bedtimes and feel like the, "I love you" at the end of the night was said out of obligation. I do love them. I love them like I never imagined I could love anyone but some days I could lock myself in my room and scream. Am I the only one?

    And I sit and wonder how many times God has wanted to shut the door and scream at my stubbornness, lack of obedience, defiance. Oh my goodness. When I think about the grace that I have received I can't help but parallel that with how I am to discipline and love my children. Grace, grace, grace, That's it. It sounds so easy but it's hard to flesh out. 

    "Mommy! He said a bad word!" 
    "I pooped in my pants."
    "I spilled my milk." 
    "I don't like what you put in my lunchbox." 
    "I wish Daddy was home." 

    I get one shot at this motherhood thing. I get one chance to love them and point them to Jesus. One chance. No pressure, right?! I want my children to love Jesus but I can't expect them to desire that if I tell them about Jesus one minute then yell, sigh, and roll my eyes the next minute. In every act of discipline and every teaching opportunity I have, I need to be leading them to the cross. 

    While I was writing this I looked through the pictures on my phone because it never fails that one of them gets a hold of my phone and takes two hundred of the most random pictures ever (the carpet, a cup, legs of the kitchen table, etc). I found this...

    I am going to bed feeling physically drained and defeated but this proves that at some point today we were happy. I may feel like I have failed as a mother today but these boys love me. They trust me. They need me to be the best mommy I can be. And they deserve that. 

    Zeph. 3:17

    Sunday, January 11, 2015

    Worst Compliment

    A few weeks ago I ran into a childhood friend. I recognized her as soon as she walked into a Bible study class at church. I hadn't seen her in years and I immediately knew it was her. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to be awkward and say, "Hey! I haven't seen you in at least twenty years and you probably don't remember me...but how are you?" The next week she came to class again. I couldn't resist. I sought her out after class and before I could even say anything she said, "Ok, I know you." Whew! We chatted for a few minutes. We caught up on the whereabouts of parents and siblings and updated each other on spouses and children. Our conversation didn't last long but this is one of the last things she said to me, "I always thought your mom was so sweet. She always seemed to have it all together."

    A few years ago we moved to Nashville to work with a church in the area. We are no longer a part of that church body but for the two and a half years we were there I struggled with relationships. I longed for spiritual conversation with other women. I didn't have friends that I could call on a random Friday night and meet for coffee or chat about the frustrations of life. It was a very lonely time. At first I just talked about it to Nate and friends from Louisville. Side note: I made some of the dearest friends in Louisville and I was seeking those relationships in Nashville. It was a definite void. During a small group meeting at church one Sunday night we talked about the importance of relationships within the body. My heart started beating really fast. My palms were sweating. I had to say something. We broke off into smaller groups and I was with two ladies that I knew would hear my heart. Through tears I shared my struggle and one of them said, "Oh my goodness. I had no idea. You seem to have it all together and I thought you didn't need friends." Silence.

    So, what does it mean to "have it all together"? I have heard this phrase numerous times since then and it's said with the best intent. It's meant to be a compliment. Someone told me last week that I looked very put together and calm. My response, "Well, that's funny because I definitely don't feel that way." Man, I wish I had it all together...whatever that means! Let's be honest. Nobody has it all together. We are all sinners and struggle with our sinfulness every day. Some might try to appear to have it all together and take it as a compliment when they are told such.

    Well, not this girl. It is the worst compliment. I am far from having it all together and don't want to appear that I do. Are people shocked that I have four kids and still shower every day? Or are people amazed at the fact that I like to fix my hair and not look completely disheveled?  Does counting to three as your three oldest boys run in opposite directions count as a parent that has it all figured out? Does sleeping with your newborn in the recliner so you don't have to get up when he wakes in the middle of the night count as someone who doesn't need advice from mothers who have been there? I struggle with anger and forgiveness. I am constantly seeking the Lord's forgiveness and asking for patience in dealing with my husband and kids. I need encouragement from other moms who have been in my shoes.  

    It is the worst compliment. Or is it? Nate and I have talked about it and he knows how much I loathe hearing it. His input, "It could be grace." What? Grace? I love grace. I am thankful for grace. I need grace. How could "having it all together" be grace? Could it be evidence of the Spirit? Could others be seeing a peace that they long for? Let me get this straight. It's not a temporary peace that I feel and experience when bribing my kids to get in the van and buckle before I count to twenty, but the peace that I experience in the mundane day to day trials of life. I feel the perfect peace that only he can give and maybe I am able to show that through my actions...somehow. I don't understand it because I feel like if I were able to see myself from someone else's perspective I would look a hot mess. On most days I feel rushed, unorganized, out of sorts. But those are the days that I feel most dependent on the Lord. Those could be the days that I hear, "You seem to have it all together." It's grace.

    Zeph. 3:17


    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    100 Day Challenge...Days Six and Seven

    I have stayed with it even though I haven't been documenting it...and even though it hasn't been fun! has been challenging and I think that's the point of the whole thing! =)

    Sunday was DAY SIX. It was a nasty rainy day. My plan was to go to Zumba at 2:00. Well, by the time we got home from church and ate lunch I realized I wasn't going to make it to a class. So, I napped. And this happened...

    I ended up going on a walk. In the cold. In the rain. In the dark. Not fun. But because I napped instead of going to the Y, I had to make up for it later. Ugh. But, day six was complete.

    DAY SEVEN was spent in the most intense class I have been in since having Easton. Not just the most intense class but the most intense workout. It's a class called R.I.P.P.E.D. Seriously, that's how it's spelled. =) If you are interested, you can go to YouTube and type in the class name and see demonstrations from the class. I was sweating and was fun! =)

    I have started to realize the point of the 100 Day Challenge and having "intentional exercise" as part of my day. It's all about creating a discipline. After a week I have already noticed that at the beginning of the day (or the night before) I start to plan what my workout is going to be.

    Zeph. 3:17

    Saturday, November 15, 2014

    100 Day Challenge...Day Five

    Hey, it might have been done at 11:12pm but I did it!! If it's all about "intentional exercise" then I was intentional about working out with a few Zumba videos on YouTube.

    I think I could have gone without it because I spent multiple hours of the day cleaning which I feel counts as exercise. But for those who don't agree (and for my conscience that won't allow me to not check it off my list for the day), I made sure I ended the day with something.

    Everyone else is sleeping and I am Zumba-ing. Something is wrong with me. Goodnight.

    Zeph. 3:17