No Fear

When each of my sons was just a newborn baby, before we even left the hospital, I prayed a prayer over each of them. I prayed that God would help me give them back to Him. I prayed that He would help me understand that even though He gave them to me, I have to let them grow up and do what they are called to do. My boys are young enough that what they want to do when they grow up has changed pretty consistently over the years. My boys pray over different countries every night that God puts on their hearts. Some of those countries are scary and dangerous places. My motherly instinct is to say scream, “no! No you will not think of that country and you will definitely not be going over there.” I have to remember that my sons are here to bring glory to God in whatever they do. They may grow up and get an office job. They may be missionaries. They could even live in other countries in dangerous areas where they feel called to spread His word.

I love my boys so much I can’t even believe it. I never thought I could ever have this much love in my heart for my husband and my five sons. I can see how parents want to protect their children even beyond their childhood into their adulthood, but that is not what is supposed to happen. God called us to raise our children to become independent of us; to understand right and wrong; to fulfill the call of God on their lives. My boys have seen us just three and a half years ago sell everything we owned to move across the country because we felt that was what God wanted us to do. It wasn’t easy. It was hard to sell my beautiful things I had accumulated over the years. It was hard to hear the negativity from family members and the harsh words. It was hard to see the disappointment in my sons’ eyes when we told them we were selling everything and moving because we knew God wanted us to. It can be difficult, but they saw for themselves how God works. They have seen for themselves how our life is not our own. They have seen the tears and excitement as well as the anger from parents and other friends and family. One day, this may be them. They may feel called to move across the country, or even to a completely different country for that matter.

It is not unloving to let your children go. It is not unloving to let your parents go. So many parents don’t ever want to let their children go into this big scary world. We live in fear of the unknown; in the fear of failure. We have taught our children that fear is bigger than God, rather than God is so much bigger than our fears. Too many of our children are afraid to leave the nest and we are too afraid to push them over the side and let them learn to fly on their own.

I will always remember those prayers over each of my boys in the hospital. I have to remember them because one day I will want to not let them go and God will gently remind me of those prayers. I will always be their Mama and will always be there to help counsel them when they need it. They know that. They also know that God has plans for each one of them and one day in the future, they will work on fulfilling their callings.

Parents, don’t let fear hold your children back, or yourself for that matter. Children, don’t let your parents fear hold you back. Don’t let your own fear hold you back because our God is greater than any fear in this world. He loves us!

Finish Strong and Mature

My baby turned two yesterday. He was my last pregnancy. We feel like our quiver is now full. We love our sons and we celebrate each stage of life with love and laughter. As parents though, how many times have we stated how we want to keep them at a certain stage or age of life? I know we have. I absolutely love those first few weeks of my baby’s life where I can literally hold my baby day and night and just love on my perfect little angel. My husband likes it when they learn to talk a little more and he understands what they truly want!

We love our sons and ultimately we are raising them to be independent, God-fearing men. Though we all love certain stages of our children’s lives, we all know that life is a continuous journey. We grow, mature, and develop into the people that God created us to be.

As children of God, we need to continue to grow spiritually. As a newly saved Christian, we are spiritual babies, but we should never stay babies. The Bible tells us that we cannot survive on milk alone. Just as our babies move from milk to baby food to solid food, that is how our spiritual walk is supposed to be. We are supposed to read and study the Word of God and pray without ceasing. We need to learn our Spiritual Father’s voice just as a newborn baby learns his biological father’s voice.

God celebrates with us. He loves to see our growth and maturity. Just as it would seem silly for our kids to stay the same age and maturity level for the rest of their lives, doesn’t the same apply to our spiritual lives? God wants to see us mature steadily. He calls us to finish the race. That means we have to keep moving forward and never give up. I want to finish the race stronger than when I started. I want to do all that God created me to do and be all He created me to be. This life may be a race, but I am going to enjoy and celebrate each stage of it just as I enjoy and celebrate every step and stage my boys succeed in.

Thank You God for All the Difficult Times

Let me first say this, “What kind of a person would you be if you never even once had a difficult day?” I can’t imagine what a self-indulgent, arrogant, entitled, terrible, rude, etc etc… You get my point. Going through difficulties actually make us better people. How many times have you seen a young child throwing a terrible temper tantrum because they aren’t getting their way. Sometimes the parent gives in, and sometimes they don’t. The bible tells us to spare the rod, spoils the child. We are to discipline those we love. As children of God, He disciplines us because He loves us. We are here to worship Him and to spread His love across the world.

Each difficulty I face draws me ever so nearer to my Lord. Being in His presence is like nothing else in this world. One of my desires is to praise God in the good times as well as the bad. Even if your difficulty is so great that you don’t know how you can make it through the day, remember that God is always with you. Take a few minutes to thank Him for what is coming after the valley. Your faith will be greater. Your love will be greater. The fruits of His Spirit will be more evident in your life than ever before.

So God, I thank you for loving me enough to discipline me. Thank you for helping me to become a stronger, more loving woman who desires to be in Your presence throughout all the good times and bad. Thank you for never giving up on me on those difficult days when I cry and scream and throw my own temper tantrums. Even still, You held me in Your arms and have never let me go because of Your great love for me.

Adults Only

I was one of those young people who hated hearing the child cry when I was trying to eat at a restaurant. I wondered why somebody would choose to go to a restaurant, or even a movie with a child! Now, after 12 years, I have five of them. Five sons who cry, throw tantrums, yell, sound their alarms when they want me or their Daddy to come running to their rescue. I have seen both sides and I have to say, neither is wrong. When I went out before I had children, I didn’t want to have to listen to a child crying for three fourths of my dinner. Nobody wants to hear that. I didn’t want friends bringing their toddlers over to my home to break literally everything within reach of their grimy hands.

Now I am that mother. I am the one who cannot be in my house one more minute; I HAVE to go out for supper because today has been one of those days and I want somebody to serve me for once. Often, people come up to us to tell us how well behaved our children are, but not all the time! I feel bad when my baby cries out because he dropped something and can’t get it. I see the looks. I hear the mumbled comments. Believe me, I understand. 

We are in a place now where people love to get together, without kids; Adults Only the invitation says. I would say it is 19 times out of 20 anymore we get the adults only invitation. Now I need YOU to understand that we just can’t do that. I respect that you have every right to not want screaming kids running around and breaking your stuff, but you need to understand I have FIVE, yes FIVE, children. Our family moved across the nation to follow what we believe is the will of God for our lives. We have no family and no really close friends yet. We don’t have people who offer to watch our kids anytime we want. We are a close family that does everything together. My husband and I maybe get a date once, sometimes twice a year, but now we are supposed to rush and find babysitters because every invitation we get doesn’t allow children? I don’t even trust many people with my kids. I don’t know any babysitters, let alone a babysitter that could handle 5 boys. I don’t even want to know how much a legitimate babysitter would charge to watch my five kids for a few hours. I think we would have to get another job!

I love adults only invitations. I may cringe now when I get them, but it isn’t because of the hosts. It is because we have five children; we live on a tight budget; we have no family to help; we have five children; we didn’t win the lottery; we won’t let just anybody watch our kids; we have FIVE children! I think you get my point. 

Next time you get the adults only invitation, don’t feel bad. I don’t feel bad about it. We may be the only couple that doesn’t show up. We do NOT want pity. We understand your purpose in the invite. Please understand our purposes when we politely decline the invitation. One day, when our children are older, we will love to come to your adults only parties, but right now, let us enjoy our children, who are five wonderful blessings that God gave us. Don’t make us feel bad because we have children and want to spend time with them. And parents with children, don’t make others feel bad who don’t have children and want those adults only parties. Nobody is right or wrong. Just understand we are in different places in our lives right now and love each other for it.