Thursday, March 28, 2013

Life is hard, but God is Good

 We all have "stuff".  At any given moment, we are all dealing with something that makes us at least a little uncomfortable.  If you aren't, then I guess I'm happy for you.  But watch out.  It's coming! 

I can look back and think of so many struggles that I went through that I called trials.  And they were trials.  Like potty training my oldest.  It took 10 months to get that girl to poop on the potty.  Or like moving across the country as a junior in high school.  Gosh, those were definitely trials.  Yet life at the moment feels like a much bigger trial.  Maybe that's part of it - whatever you're in at the moment can sometimes feel worse than anything you've ever gone through.  Just because it's what you're in right now. 

As a believer, it feels like you're supposed to handle a trial in a certain way.  The way those super-mature believers seem to handle trials when you see them at church and you ask them how they're doing and they answer with a sweet smile and say they're trusting in the Lord and praising Him through the storm.  But you don't see them at home on their knees with tears running down their faces begging the Lord to let it end.  Come to think of it, even Christ begged our Father to get Him out the mess He was about the face.  But praise God He stuck it out and paid my way to abundant and eternal life! 

Abide.  I was reminded of the passage in John 15 where Christ commanded over and over for us to abide in Him, "for apart from [Him] we can do nothing".  A good friend recently reminded me that abiding is simply clinging to Him.  You don't always have to have a smile on your face or be happy about your circumstances.  But it is simply a constant remembering of His faithfulness.  Of His goodness.  Of His strength.  Of His sovereignty.  It's running back to Him again and again and asking Him for the faith that we lack and for the strength to keep going. 

Today I opened the Bible to Isaiah 40.  Starting in verse 27 it says this: "Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel; 'My way is hidden from the LORD, and my just claim is passed over by my God'?  Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

I had to include that first verse because that's what I have been tempted to do lately.  Believe that "my just claim is passed over by my God."  That basically, He's just not being fair.  So I remind myself once again if the truth of His Word and trust Him to renew my strength and grow my faith. 

Praise God that He doesn't grow weary with me and my unbelief!  He hasn't given up on me and He never will.  Wow, what a promise :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

When irony works out in your favor

For some reason, I've been battling headaches every day this New Year's week.  I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that my kids have already been home for 2 weeks and embarrassingly high number of episodes of "Jesse" have been playing loudly in my living room (what's the deal with kids and VOLUME?).  Also, Allie got skates for Christmas and has spent almost all her days skating through my downstairs.  So today I had to stop our painting project and park it on the couch for a while.  My kids continued to paint - that's how out of it I was - I let them continue without me.  What happened next came close to shocking me...

Avery cleaned up all the paint.  Then she went and got supplies and proceeded to brush my hair, massage my head, rub my feet with lotion, and take off my 3 month-old toe nail polish.  She also changed the Pandora station that was playing Broadway tunes to "nature sounds".  And my sweet Allie got her favorite book and read it to me. 

The irony didn't escape me that my sweet children were probably part of the cause of this headache, but it sure blessed me that they were so quick to help cure it.  I sure do love those sweet girlies :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Extraveganza!

I believe this was my 3rd year co-directing our annual kids' Christmas program.  I LOVE doing it!  I get to spend lots of time with one of my best friends, Wendy Kivett, and hang out with a big group of some amazing kiddos.
This year was called "Christmas in Snowflake County", but we kind of retitled it "Christmas Extraveganza".  It was a little extra fun for me this year, since both my kids were old enough to participate this year (which also caused quite a few challenges), and because Avery was given a major drama role.  She played Suzy Hallmark, the mayor's daughter.  There she is with the main cast, right in the middle.  She is playing Suzy, who is playing Mary.

The climax of the show is when Suzy finally gets to share her surprise with her mom, which is an entry for the contest.  She sings "Silent Night" all by herself, as her best buddy Max (played by Riley Penn), accompanies her.  It was absolutely adorable.  I seriously couldn't be more proud!

Then, Mayor Hallmark (played by Cassie Hughes - she did great!), realizes that they've been too caught up in making the Christmas story too fantastic, forgetting the amazingness of the actual events.

Here's Allie's buddies!  All first and second graders.
And Avery's buddies.  Allie is in the picture, second from the left and Avery is 4th from the left.  Her friend, Esabella had Avery's Mary costume on.  I'm so thankful for the good friends my girls have at church!

I had to include a picture of Allie in the choir.  This was at a moment when they were supposed to be sitting down during a solo or drama.  Allie's head was peeping over the wall for the whole show.

It is such a blessing to do this every year!  Wendy and I spend a lot of time talking to the kids and telling them how proud we are that they want to serve God in this way.  It is one of the few ways that kids get to serve in the church.  There is NOTHING like hearing God's truth - especially the truth of Christmas, being proclaimed from the mouth of a child!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Leaning on His understanding

Lately, I'm reminded of just how impossible it seems to raise my kids well.  No matter what I do, they don't turn out perfect.  They keep on sinning and reminding me of where I fall short as a person, a mother, and a child of God.  Not to say they aren't growing and showing some  improvement, but doggonit if they don't find something else to struggle with as soon as they seem to have overcome a particular issue.  And who am I kidding?  None of us truly overcome anything!
I was recently talking with a friend about some struggles her kids were having in school and I was reminded that none of us are exempt from struggles in this life.  But each struggle is a chance for us to teach our children to "consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (James 1:2-3)  And of course I need to remind myself of this verse daily, when I'm tempted to complain of the struggles I'm facing.
This morning I was working on my Bible study lesson on submission and I was reminded of the old standby: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." (Proverbs 3:5)  If I am truly trusting the Lord with my children, I'm going to follow what He says to do, not fall into my own ways of solving problems (which often includes anger and frustration).  If I'm honest with myself, things seldom go well when I lean on my own understanding.  And I'm ok with that.  He's got it covered.

Monday, October 29, 2012


It's been a while since I've posted and I am determined to get an October post in, so here ya go! 
Here's Avery enjoying one of our almost-daily treats: hot chocolate :)  Honestly, this isn't really fallish for us - Rowzee girls drink this throughout the summer, too.

I'm sorry, but I'm proud of this!  Avery decided she wanted Perry on her pumpkin I'd say Mom delivered.

Here's Avery going for the ball at her last soccer game of the season (she's in the blue jersey).  I'm pretty sure she got it :)

One of the reasons I insist on making sports work for our lives, despite my tendency to go nearly insane in my attempts to get both my kids to all their practices and games on time with gear on, is the experience of being on a team.  Honestly, every kid needs to live it at some point in their lives.
  This is Allie's team this year.  Cute group of girls :)
This is out of order, since we did this a few weeks ago.  We had a couple of hours between soccer games and decided to kill time at a nearby apple orchard.  Good times.

Apples are seriously Allie's favorite food.  She'll take it over candy or chocolate most days of the week. 

I still miss summer, with the warmth and the carefree days.  But if you gotta live it, you might as well enjoy it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Off to the races!

We had a little family adventure last week!  I've been talking for years about entering our long-haired dachshund in the local wiener dog races.  This year I finally did it.  A few days before the actual races, the girls and I showed up at 6 am for a little promotion for the Oktoberfest (in which the races were being held) on the local news.  Five other dogs were there and they ran a little practice race.  Raleigh was pretty confused, this being his first time.  He got last place.  Allie was QUITE disappointed about that :)  Ok, fine - we were ALL disappointed!  My kids didn't come by their competitive nature by accident. 
So last Saturday, we took Raleigh to try to make a name for himself.  And how did he do when it really counted?  Let me put it this way: at least he's pretty.  We've decided the race is WAY too short - it's literally about 10 yards.  We've decided he's more of a 50 yard racer.  He's just getting his speed up by the time it's over!  Not to mention he has no idea he's racing...
It was a really fun family memory, though.  And Raleigh had fun, too, I guess.  His smile is huge!

The memory was extra fun because we had our special buds with us.  Ethan and Hailey spent the weekend with us, since their parents were finishing up a mission trip in Rwanda.  Good times!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

His Promises

NEWS FLASH - mothering is super hard. 
Maybe as a mom, you don't feel like me (but I seriously doubt it).  My heart is often weary of training and disciplining and feeling like I seldom see the results I'm so desperate for.  How in the world does anyone do this without the promises of God to grasp onto???  He is so faithful to encourage me through His Word.  Today I read a very familiar verse and was reminded one more time of an awesome promise. 
Philippians 1:6 "that He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." 
Hallelujah!  He won't stop working on my kids!  And guess what?  It's not even my job to finish the work!  I just need to be around and obedient to Him, He'll do the growing. 

Oh man, that's good stuff.