Slow Down


My youngest son is an enigma. He’s logic paired with extreme emotion and quirky paired with excessive routine. He’s smart, funny and as frustrating as he is endearing. I can say all of this because it’s true and because I’m his mother. I love him fiercely, without question, yet he still leaves me shaking my head at times wondering what just happened.

I shake my head, but I secretly love the way his brain works. It’s eye opening and always makes me double think the way I say and do things. Recently, I didn’t think hard enough, though, because I left him confused and he left me shaking my head with a chuckle. 

After VBS, I took the kids to lunch at a restaurant and while we were waiting, a group of servicemen walked in and were seated at a nearby table. The kids started talking about them and I took the opportunity to discuss how we should always thank servicemen. They do a very dangerous job and keep us safe. After the boys were redirected from an obsession with the big guns they carry, the conversation turned and we decided that as a token of appreciation we were going to buy their lunch. As a whole, everyone was excited for this special surprise, but my youngest son was becoming visibly antsy. As I’m asking what is wrong, he pleads, “Mom, I don’t want to buy their lunch. Don’t do it. I won’t like their lunch!” 

Oh, son ….

After I bite my tongue, nearly drawing blood, so I wouldn’t giggle, I assured him that we weren’t going to take and eat their lunch. We were just going to pay for it as a surprise. I’m honestly not sure if he internalized any of the kindness or gratitude I was trying to instill that day, but I do know he’s never been more excited to see his plate of noodles show up at the table! 

From daily ‘costume’ changes to lunchtime concerns this child is a constant reminder to slow down. Slow down and enjoy life. Slow down and choose your words wisely. Slow down and embrace the unique you God created. 

I spend a lot of time shaking my head … and slowing down. 

Cupcakes and Barbies

My oldest daughter is a bit dramatic. Who am I kidding, she’s a full-fledged drama queen. She can throw attitude with the teenagers and shoot looks that rival some of the best moms out there. She’s sassy and stubborn and she keeps me on my toes.

I’m accustomed to knock down, drag out tantrums when she doesn’t get her way and I’ve learned to turn a deaf ear to her monologues. Some days that is easier than others. Recently, it was tough.  She hit my mommy heart pretty hard and although she probably won’t remember it tomorrow, I will.

In the throes of her upset she cried, “I wish you weren’t my Mommy. I wish my real Mommy didn’t give me away”.

Insert audible breaking heart.

I know she’s six and hasn’t fully processed what she’s saying, but it still stings. This will be a battle that we have time and again over the years and I’m sure it will never get easy to hear – even when I know she doesn’t mean it.

As her sobs quieted, I hear her whimper, “I just wish I had a mommy who bought me barbies all day.” I chuckle as the issues get arranged into appropriate six-year old priorities and then full out guffaw when my oldest son says, “Well, life isn’t all cupcakes and barbies.”

Life isn’t all cupcakes and barbies.

Hilarious, yet pertinent and insightful commentary. It’s true – life isn’t all cupcakes and barbies. Sometimes we feel entitled to “cupcakes and barbies” because we’ve accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but that’s not what is promised to us. Eternal salvation is promised. Earthly ease is not.

Like many of us Christians, my daughter (on a six-year-old level) assumes that “the happy life we want to give her through adoption” means the absence of trials, tribulations or difficulties. It’s simply not the case.

Similarly, our adoption into the family of believers as one of Christ’s children does not guarantee us a life void of pain and suffering. Satan is hard at work here on Earth and he will continue to rear his ugly head.

What adoption does mean – for her in my family and you and I in the family of believers – is that we don’t ever have to face that heartache, that trial or that pain alone.

My daughter will always have the steadfast love of the same mother she claims she no longer wants.

We will always have the steadfast love of the same Father we will each disobey.

We will always have support, grace, love and hope … we will not always have cupcakes and barbies.

Hush, Satan!

Recently, Satan has been working over time in my life. He’s stealing the joy in long days with my children. He’s encouraging frustration over fun and he derives excitement when I lose my patience. In my writing he’s stalling my efforts, telling me I’m not good enough and won’t meet my goals. He’s curbing my creativity with self-criticism. Satan knows when to strike.

The judgmental thought I had about the mother at the grocery store? Satan heard it.

The mistake I thought I covered? Satan noticed it.

The doubt I have? Satan encourages it.

Satan loves my flaws, mistakes and doubts. He derives joy from my discomfort, worry and stress. He’s perfected his attack and always knows how and when will be the most destructive.

Satan is smart. I am smarter.

Satan’s information is not new and I can’t be surprised by his heated whispers.I know that I am a sinner and fall short of the glory of God. I know that God gave his one and only son so that I could be free from the hold of that sin.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Satan envies the hope I have. He covets the spirit that lies within me. As I feel the pressure to be super mom or meet my deadlines, I quiet the panic with a declaration – Hush, Satan!

I know he will continue to attack in my moments of weakness. He will continue to plant seeds of doubt and nurture them with lies. I don’t have to listen! I will arm myself with God’s promise and be smarter than Satan!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Satan is hard at work in my life, but I know you work harder. I am a sinner and I fall short of your glory. I am saved only by your grace and I am so grateful. Thank you for loving me through my flaws. Thank you for providing me the armor of protection from Satan’s attacks. He is smart, Lord, but you have made me smarter. You are the truth and the light and you are where my hope lies. In you alone I am worthy.

Amen

Hi! Water


This past weekend my family took a mini vacation to my hometown, about three and a half hours away. We spent our days visiting with family and friends, swimming, exploring the zoo and swimming some more. After four hours swimming outside on the final day, I was sure the kids would sleep most of the way home. 

I was wrong. 

Even the child who routinely falls asleep heading to the grocery store barely closed her eyes on the trip. The trip was laden with bickering, singing, yelling, laughing and by the end, everyone was a bit slap happy. 

With about thirty minutes to go, my youngest son started giggling uncontrollably and I hear him trying to talk to his brother through his giggles. Finally, he’s able to say, “Cameron, that sign said “Hi! water”. 

At this point, I’m now giggling uncontrollably. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the sign actually said “High Water”, not “Hi! water”. His inflection was so adorable and he genuinely thought we were saying hello to the water, not being warned of a possible danger. 

His proclamation made me think about God’s desire for us to have childlike faith. Not immature faith, but the faith of a child who believes they are well taken care of and safe. My son didn’t perceive that sign as a warning because he felt safe. In his eyes, he was protected and there was no other explanation than to say hello to the water. 

Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

It made me realize that I need to say hi to the water more often. I need to revel in the safety God promises, embrace the moment and not worry over the possible problems. It’s likely we all do. 

Start today. Embrace your childlike faith and shout a Hello! to the water. 

Blessings in Disguise

This post is a part of http://www.fiveminutefriday.com. 

Word of the day: Blessing 

Blessing is such an appropriate topic for me this week. I’m celebrating two of the biggest blessings in my life. 

My children are adopted and we celebrate their Adopt-a-versary each year on the day they were “official”. This week, we celebrate two of my four children. It’s a special occasion complete with a one on one date that they get to dictate. It’s full of fun and memories. 

Blessings. God blesses us abundantly every day and sometimes it’s in very blatant things like beautiful children joining your family. Sometimes though, it’s in the tiny things that you may overlook. Do you ever consider the stranger who gave you a compliment a blessing? Well, they are! 

I think we often like to link the word blessing to obvious happenings or gifts and we overlook the hidden blessings in our days. Going back to my children – their adoptions are the greatest blessings of my life, but my infertility was also a blessing. At the time I could have never believed that. It was heartbreaking and felt more like a curse; looking back, however, I wouldn’t have these precious children without it. It was a blessing. 

There is truth in the cliche “blessing in disguise” and I think it would behoove us all to look a little more closely for the blessings that are hidden. God sends us blessings everyday, in many ways, we just need to focus our eyes fully on him and believe they’re there. 

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