Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Deepest Fear Come to Fruition (only in my kids life)

(I posted about this on my other blog, but it was a more serious mom take on it. Here is how it really went down.)

Those who know me know that I am deeply afraid of wasps (and moths for some unknown reason). Why? I do not know. I've never been stung by one, but it seems to me like it would be the end of the world were I to be stung. In our house in the suburbs, we have had a growing wasp problem over the years. (Reason 682 why we are selling the house.) 2 years ago we even brought out an exterminator (3 times actually) to take care of it. Uh, yeah, it didn't work.

Last night Eden and Sam were out back playing tag (according to Eden). Eden comes running in screaming a scream of death (which is not uncommon for her to do). So we half-heartedly went to rescue her from who knows what. With Sam running behind her deeply concerned, she exclaims with hands out, "I got stung! The bee stung me! The wasp stung me!" We are looking at her hands, not seeing anything but a scratch. We assumed she was playing with the rose bush or something. So we continue to try to convince her that she in fact was not stung, but rather disobeyed and picked my roses. Sam runs off to play on the couch, when all of a sudden, we hear him screaming a similar scream of death (which is NOT so common coming from him). We turn to look at him, and all assume he fell of the couch. Now both are screaming at the top of their lungs. All the meanwhile, a friend who is staying with us has a chihuahua who is also now yelping a yelp of death, making Eden and Sam who are just recently overcoming their fear of dogs (yes, even rats with fur) cry harder out of fear of this rat like monster. I turn to look at Sam and all of a sudden he begins to beet his body. No, not the way that Paul instructs in scriptures, but rather a horrible something is wrong type of beating. Finally it all clicks in my mommy brain. The rest happens in slow motion.

I'm watching this happen, running to my son, yelling, "I-t-'s i-n h-i-s s-h-i-r-t" (That was my attempt at slow motion in writing.) As I get to him, the wasp falls from his shirt onto my floor. Now remember, these creatures of God's are my deepest fear. So I now start screaming the scream of death yelling at Aaron to "KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT", and am about to jump on a chair to save my own life. (As if I had made it on the chair, and Aaron hadn't made it to the wasp to kill it, it couldn't have flown up to me anyway?!?!?!) Well, Aaron killed it (actually Sam probably slowly killed it). So, now that I hear Aaron and our friend telling me to stop screaming, I begin to climb down from my mental chair and again try to tend to my children who are ligetimately screaming.

Eden's stings finally began to appear. It really had gotten her ... 3 times. Poor girl. Only now she sees that Sam got it worse than she did, so she calms down fairly quickly. Sam, however, continues to be in hysteria for about 45 minutes. We are trying desperately to rub a baking soda concoction on them. Turns out Sam had at least 5 stings that we could see. One right under his arm that was the worst. I hate that feeling that there is nothing I can do to ease their pain. We didn't have anything in the house even to soothe their pain. So I ran to the store (and picked up some wasp killer while I was at it). They were asleep though by the time I got home.

This morning Aaron went out to destroy the remainder of the colony. We had finally gotten out of Sam what had happened. Sure enough, it was not an innocent game of tag, or playing with my rose bush, but rather climbing on the structure where the wasps have made their home (of which I've warned our children of in the past). Aaron killed off about 20 of the boogers (at least that is how many dropped from the nest) as he went around to the different places I had been telling him they were taking over. And while I'm so glad that my husband had the opportunity to have a "Terminator" moment (T2 is one of his favorite movies) and even lived to blog about it, I'm more thankful that he now believes me that we do indeed have a "wasp problem".... not just a problem wife who has a problem with wasps.

Today the kids are fine. Sam has spiked a fever, which I guess is from the toxins coursing through his vains. But I've been told he will be fine. He enjoyed watching the Terminator Exterminate them this morning.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My more vs. His more (and another bit from my book)

Remember that book I was talking about a couple of posts ago??? A Quest For More by Paul David Tripp. Have you bought it yet? Do.

Anyway, as I was reading it the other day, I stumbled across one of the most powerful things I think I've read in a long time. In his book, Tripp writes....

Where does one find ultimate fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment? In God and God alone. Living for God is indeed fulfilling, but we don't find him fulfilling because we are too busy being satisfied with the temporary pleasures of the physical world. Before we ever come to God we have already decided the things that we want in order to be fulfilled. We tend to seek God so that he will deliver some kind of physical, relational, or circumstantial fulfillment. Rather than working to satisfy us with these, God wants us to experience hunger so deep that it drives us to forsake these things and finally find our satisfaction in him.

....Because the things of the physical earth will never truly satisfy me, they tend to leave me fat, unhealthy, and addicted; bitter, hurt, and disappointed; angry, demanding, and controlling. Being ruled by the desire for little kingdom pleasures harms both body and soul.

...Ungodliness runs much, much deeper than a failure to keep a list of rules. Ungodliness is about my life being so dominated by desire for present pleasures that my heart will never stay inside of God's boundaries. Searching for satisfaction in what I can see, touch, taste, hear, or hold in my hands will always lead me to commit an endless list of sins of heart and behavior.

Wow!!! The reason this spoke so much to me, is that I do this..... "Before we ever come to God we have already decided the things that we want in order to be fulfilled." I think I know what I need or want for my life to go as planned. And I'm right, if my life would actually go as I've planned it. However, 99.9% of the time, the way I have it planned is not at all what God has in store for me. So I press on wondering how I find what He wants for me. I suppose it partly begins with setting aside what I want. Here are some examples from my life.

In our calling to adopt a child, I pursue a business to make us lots of money to provide for our family. Aaron becomes a famous musician while we travel the world in our tour bus homeschooling our children (with a nanny in tow), yet are able to remain committed to our church family and be home most Sundays still to lead them in worship. All the meanwhile, we are leading people to the Lord through our different areas of work and life. We are able to keep our current house as a rental property to one day sell to pay for our kids education. I then get to purchase an old home full of character and stainless steal appliances and a garden that I will of course learn how to make beautiful. We continue leading small groups of people, both together and apart. Our children are thriving, obedient, and walking with the Lord from early on in life. They will fully understand the Trinity and Salvation by the age of 10. I will have patience and joy and enough time in my days to keep a perfectly clean home, play with my kids, read all the books I have sitting on my bookshelf, minister to younger women, sing with Aaron both on the road and at church, oh ... and still rise to the top of my business.

Why not God??? What's wrong with all of that? It is all for your glory that we pursue these things. Ummmmmm ..... God has a different story already written, that is what's wrong. And while some of these things may or may not come to be over the course of our lives, currently He seems to be revealing something drastically different for us. I'm not rising to the top of my business, instead He's asked me to be content with the little extra our family needs. (Which still leaves us with more than 80% of the world.) As for the expense of adoption, again it isn't my business like I thought to provide - it is the body of Christ. God decided that we were to take the route of involving others in Orphan Care through our choice. (We HATE asking for money. But who doesn't really?) Instead of renting out my house and buying that cute little old house, we have our house on the market to move into who knows what - but I know it won't be that tour bus. My children often misbehave. And while they know they are loved by us, and by Jesus - they too are still little sinners (but cute ones) that are not working through end times, but rather what it means to repent (which Sam thinks involves turning and walking away from the table). Most days the patience, joy, and time that I have don't feel enough to me. My house is ONLY clean because it is for sale. It will cease to be so once that changes. The unread books remain on the shelf. And I feel disconnected from young women (and most people really) because I don't know how to find the time to purse anyone or anything other than my sanity.

Well God ... thanks for this journey of teaching me that true satisfaction that comes from the depths of my soul will look very different than the comfortable world I've concocted. You will in deed ask me to surrender, and groan, and wait. And it will be in the path you offer where this "more" I'm searching for will be found. For this, I praise you. As Aaron voiced in his song "Less of me....and more of you". (Anyone want to cut us a record deal?)

What's your story look like??? How's that working out for you???

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Bikini Battle

Growing up my sisters and I were not allowed to wear a bikini. We despised our parents decision at the time, and thought we were highly dorky and out of style due to our lack of swimsuit options. (Yes, I did just say dorky.) And of course, upon leaving their care and living on my own, I went out and purchased my first bikini. (I'm sorry ... that has got to be an incredibly frightening thought to those who only know me post-baby size.) I'd lay out at the pool only to burn my belly button. Was I a better swimmer with my new bikini? No ( in fact, I can't swim anyway - only stay alive in water). Was I less hot on a 100 degree Nebraska day? Nope, still as hot. Did I feel more self confident in my bikini? No, the opposite in fact, way more self-conscious and "fat feeling".

Fast forward 10 years. Now I've got 2 daughters who have already begun to be drawn to those tiny little 2 pieces hanging on the shelf. Good things come in small packages, right? Wrong. We have placed the same rule on them that I had ... 1 piece only (or a modest "tankini" if they are lucky, because yes, I will admit - going to the bathroom is easier when there is a top and a bottom). However, here is where I feel the difference is in how we approach the topic. (And maybe my parents tried this, but I was too angry to hear it at the time. Who knows.) We are going to give them reason ... in fact, many reasons. Here are some of my thoughts..... (leave a comment if you wish).

Bikini's themselves are maybe not the core issue here. In fact, they aren't the issue at all. It is an issue of the heart. (And you can say I'm thinking too much about this, but I think it is time that my generation that wasn't allowed to wear bikini's and have gone to the opposite extreme as a result begin to think too much about it.) WHY do we where bikini's is the question that no one thinks about. Of course, there is the time old issue of "not causing your brother to stumble". Men are visual, we know this. Thus, they see a woman in a bikini and they are now potentially facing a stumbling block. As it stands for our children - well, it is us as parents that are responsible for guarding and protecting our sons in fighting with our daughters to COVER THEMSELVES. (For the protection of our sons, but also our daughters in the sad perversion that is reality today with older men viewing our little girls.) As for us adults, well think about this. Ladies, you see a woman who in your mind (not your husbands I'm sure) looks better than you in her bikini. Now all of a sudden you feel this awkwardness knowing your husbands eyes will land on her - and even though he loves YOU, he will most likely stumble in his mind.... or at least have to put his heavy armor on to fight against it. You now hate that girl, and are angered at what she is revealing to YOUR husband. All the meanwhile, you are standing there in your bikini, and she is thinking all the same things about you! Her visual husband has also most likely landed his eyes on you. As wives, we need to protect our husbands as much as possible. And so I'm sorry, the womens liberation and freedom that is somehow found in a swimming suit has now become an issue in marriages around the world. As sisters in Christ, we need to protect each other against the viscous lies that run through our head when we begin to compare our bikini body with the other womans bikini body. It's just torture. Why we do this to ourselves, I do not know. We have to set the example of modesty for our daughters!

Okay, so that's one issue. Then there is the heart issue of WHY. I want my daughter to begin to reason these things in her heart now at the tender age of 8 & 5. Do they want to just "fit in"? If so, then it is my responsibility to teach them that we are "in this world" not "of it". We are not always supposed to "fit in". What a teachable moment in helping them realize that it is in the little things (even a swimsuit) that our lives can look different than those who do not love Jesus. It's also a teachable moment in telling them they are to honor their bodies as a temple of Christ who lives in them. They have not polluted their body with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, or gluttony. That does not mean we shouldn't be training them about this temple they are responsible for. Like I said earlier, there are no real reasons for wearing a 2 piece swim suit. You are still just as hot (temperature that is), you won't swim better (in fact worse because you have to be always yanking the top up), and no ... you will not feel any better about yourself, eventually as a maturing young woman, you too will begin to compare yourself with other woman and feel things about your looks and your body that simply are not true.

I should probably step down now. (Sorry, Aaron and I took the kids swimming this morning and we left sort of wanting to post a "Nude Rec Center" sign with some of the suits, or lack of, that were being sported. ) So again, I don't have a problem with 2 pieces in general. I have a problem with the fact that 1) My generation of rebel bikini wearers don't think about WHY we want to wear one, 2) We don't teach our daughters to think for themselves, and 3) that the womens lib movement that was supposed to liberate women, has actually done the opposite in this department (yes, I consider myself a bit of a moman's lib if you must know) all because it made us NOT ASK WHY. Just do because we can. Well, I'm sorry. What is permissible is not always what is beneficial (for everyone in this case). Parents, we have to protect our daughters (and our sons). They can't reason to this degree for themselves, so we must do it for them. Young women who can reason, I urge you to do so. The men you will draw to you because of how much skin you are revealing ... are most likely NOT the men you want to be drawing to yourself. (When Aaron first saw me in a bikini (we were dating at the time), he actually asked me to not wear it around him...not because he didn't like how I looked in it, but the opposite in fact ... and he was protecting himself, and me to be honest.) As for wives, I don't care if you are on a beach somewhere with your husband and want to look "hot" for him. But for the sake of my self conscious mind (and most other women), and for the sake of my husbands battle (and every husbands), I urge you to think twice before heading to the rec center in that bikini. :) Ask yourself, "Would I want my husband to see another woman wearing this???" Because you know what? He's going to.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Baby Britton Blurb

(I know, it's a cheesy title, but hey - I am just that kind of mom.)

Often my kids will say things that are worth telling the world (or at least writing on my blog). Aaron has already stolen the term "from the mouth of babes" for his blog.... anyway, same idea.

This morning after Sam woke up, he came and sat on my lap to cuddle. (Doesn't happen often enough!) After a few minutes he began to wiggle away. I said to him, "but wait, I want to cuddle". His response was, "no, I'm done with you.".

Ouch...such a heart breaker this one is. He's only 4 and he's done with me! :(

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This Isn't What I Signed Up For (WARNING - Long and heavy)

I referenced this phrase 2 posts ago in regards to how I think my children must feel. As I stated then, it is a feeling that I think is ingrained in us from birth, but shifts as we age. It's a feeling I'm fairly certain was placed there by our creator due to that fact that this, indeed, is not all we were created for. We were created to transcend the minor motions of day to day life. (Yes, I did just use the word transcend, I know it's a big word for me.) Transcend to what, however, is where most of us screw it all up. (Okay, all of us.)

Thanks to Jeff, I will now write on and on about this subject. :) In fact, it will be something I will probably speak to a lot in one way or another, as it is a very pressing issue in my life (and has been for several years now). Oh, and for those of you who think I was too hard on myself and over thinking my role as a mom in the "keeping them alive" post (no PJ, you were not the only one :) ) , just know that is how my brain works. I wish there was an easier way for me to come to realize things, but I've always done things the hard way - including process. Know, however, that through posting that (and many other posts), I came to realize many things that Aaron has been trying to help me process for some time. So, it's all good. :)

Anyway, back to the topic of "This isn't what I signed up for".... This is a feeling I've been wrestling with for some time now. Don't get me wrong, I have an amazing life that I am so very thankful for. But in the daily demands and realities that I live in (as do we all), I find myself often thinking, "I was made for more". I've tried numerous ways and times to find more and sign up for something different. From before surrendering my life to Christ, up until 10 minutes ago, it's been a struggle. I won't go into the nitty-gritty just now (is that how you spell nitty?), but let me just tell you - they don't work. So, I press on.... what will work? I brought this internal conversation before the throne - FINALLY - about 2 years ago. Every now and then, little glimpses of what "more" looks like are revealed. And every now and then, I try my own route anyway just out of pure stubborness. I fail, and then He again points me in the right direction. And of course, because of my current role of mom of 3 little ones - that is the where the lies straight from the Enemy will mostly effect me. I will begin to think that what I'm doing isn't worth much of anything to anyone's kingdom. Of course I know that isn't true, but that is where the "desire for more" will bleed out of in my life today. For others (as well as for me once I'm through with this phase), the lie will come from other areas. The Enemy, in whatever our role is in life and ministry and relationships, will try to feed us this lie that "this is not what we are made to do". Well, the lie isn't so much that we were made for more, as much as it is that 1) What we are doing isn't worth squat, and 2) where He will try to guide us in our pursuit of more. No.... the car won't do the trick, nor the big house, nor the relationship with someone other than our spouse, nor the higher paying job that robs us of our time with our family, nor the new skirt at the Gap (darn it). I think I'll stop now with some of my measly thoughts, as I'd rather share some of someone who is much smarter than I.

There is an amazing book that I'm currently reading called A Quest For More by Paul David Tripp. Amazing, and difficult. It is so incredibly challenging in that he walks you through so many ways of thinking that we as humans have (and how wrong many of them are). He is so good at pointing out how, due to our sin, we begin to build this small little "kingdom of one" rather than striving toward things of the one true eternal kingdom. No, I have no answers yet, as I'm still reading. But I want to share some things that were so powerful to me as I read last night. (And I hope this isn't illegal. Know that the following paragraphs I DID NOT RIGHT - although I wish I had.)

...No, it is not evil to invest in a good car, to buy a good house, to enjoy a relaxing vacation, or to relish the pleasures of a succulent steak. Each of these things points, in someway, to the creative glory of God. The issue here is what drives the system. It is all about what you are living for, what gives you meaning and purpose, what gets you up in the morning, what gives you identity, where you seek to find joy, what you seek to satisfy your heart, and where you are looking to find life...

....Of course, I am supposed to be a good steward of the gifts the Lord has given me, and I should care for my immediate friends and family. It is not wrong to do so. What is wrong is to spend so much time caring for me that there is no time or energy left to expend on the cares and concerns of the vast universe that exist outside the borders of my life....

....The kingdom of self tends to be more focused on what the hands can touch than what the heart should embrace....

....Is my life expended by a protection of personal boundaries, personal property, and personal entitlements; or am I willing to lay down my rights, to sacrifice my comfort, and even expose myself to mistreatment for the sake of the work of God's kingdom?

And finally....

....The size of my living was meant to be connected to the depth of His greatness. The fathomless greatness of God is the more that I was designed to live for.

I would write out the whole book if I could.... but I can't. So go buy it! Sorry for the length and heaviness of this post....it's all Jeff's fault!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We made it out, and alive even

After my last post, a dear friend and fellow mom called me. (The kids and I were on our way out the door to, yes, the mall.) She was feeling the same way as I was. So, after talking for a bit, we decided to hit the rec center. Us, and our 5 kids total (giddy up).

As for how it went, well, it's not MY first choice of what to do with my time, but then I
remember - it isn't about me. The kids were content to play in the shallow end, while we sat and discussed why moms feel the way we do and how to get out of it. As our children grew restless, they would - one by one - come over and ask for our undivided attention. We of course were very busy deep in discussion about why we can't just engage our children. HAHA. We realized that we were guilty even at that moment. (Why children can't enjoy just being in water with other children I will never understand. A child just wants their mom I suppose.) So, we headed in. Upon entry it was, "look mom", "watch me mom", "follow me mom". Oh, okay. We did. We looked, we watched, we followed. And yes, 2 of my children (who don't swim) even stuck their heads under the water without plugging their noses. (And no, I didn't push them into the deep end, although one did accidentally fall in- and yet he's still alive.)

I could go on and on about my theories, and the ones "A" and I talked about this morning at the pool...but I shall leave that for another time. As for how to get out of such a rut....well "A", we took the first steps - we just did it, and even better, we did it with a friend. I suppose everything that does not come natural to us begins with making the decision to act. See you tomorrow night friend. (Let's just not overdo it too soon!)

Oh, and one last thing. I got the kiddo's home only for the whining and fighting to start right back up. "I'm hungry, I don't want an apple, she took my chair, thump......" Too bad. Eat the apple, don't hit your sister, get off his chair, and now watch a movie while I blog again and go mow the lawn. Only thing is...there wasn't quite so much guilt attached as this was all taking place, because I had done my part (for 2 hours at least), and now I can move forward fully knowing that they are just being kids, rather than little reflections of my mistakes and selfishness.

Off to my lawn now. (Oh, and there is a load in both washer and dryer and 2 that need folded.)

Just Keep Them Alive

This is what I feel like most days my method of parenting has resorted to -just keeping them alive. Let me tell you, I'm doing splendidly at it! But then, at the end of every day, I see this look in their little eyes (Sam is the worst) that say rather pathetically - "what about fun mom?, what about personal attention mom?, what about sitting down with a book or a puzzle mom?, what about tickles and hugs and kisses mom?". I'm sure there has to be something deep ingrained in a child that shifts as we get older, but speaks a very similar story. It's this feeling of "I'd rather not be alive if this is it", or "this isn't what I signed up for". Granted, my kids have no idea that any other child has it better, or worse than they do. They don't have that ability yet to compare their lives with others. However, they do have the ability to feel lonely, bored, and not loved to the fullest they should be. Problem is, they don't know how to tell me they feel this way (or even recognize the feeling most likely) ... other than the constant whining, fighting, and being "can I's" as we call them in our house. Anyway, somewhere along the line, I've lost my ability to find an uninhibited joy in my children .... all because I'm just trying to keep them alive (and have massive amounts of laundry, and other chores screaming louder than them most of the time).

I am also that mom that feels incredibly guilty upon realizing such things. So what do I do, I sit here while they are watching cartoons and write about it. Ouch..... I allow them to push me to this feeling of "I'm the worst mom in the world". I begin entertaining every thought along the way, which in turn, pushes me farther out of their reach. I so do not want them to remember me as a mom that was emotionless (other than anger over the floors getting dirty), or a mom who didn't have enough time for them. I don't want to be the mom who never took any risks - and thus raised children who will never take risks. It's a risky world we live in. I want to teach them that life isn't always fun, and they need to learn to behave when needed (without feeling guilty for making them do un-fun things - like grocery shopping). But I also want to teach them to play hard, knowing their limits - yet pushing them anyway. I want to push them down the hill on their bike with no training wheels so they will get it, and be all the more thankful for it. Or throw them in the deep end so they learn how to swim. Instead, I tighten their little wheels, and stand in the shallow end with arm and waist floaties attached. While I understand there is always a time for life's training wheels and standing in the shallow end vs. sinking.... I fear I'm doing my kids a big disservice in my tendencies to stay there -- all in the name of keeping them alive.

So what will I do about it?? This is something I know that MOST moms struggle with, so I'm not alone. But I also know that no amount of parenting books or sharing with my friends will help me overcome this joyless safe rut I think I'm in (or at least heading toward). It's going to take me stepping out of my house that needs cleaning, and into something so out of my comfort zone. Something as stupid simple as swimming at the rec center or the Res.... me against them. I'm so outnumbered. But that shouldn't matter. Not when I go back to my biggest lesson I've ever learned - that my children belong to God, not me. If I kept that at the forefront of my mind all the time, I maybe could begin to find this freedom I desire to have as a "fun mom". I won't ever be that mom that brings in all the neighbor kids for snacks and crafts and a slip-n-slide going down the stairs. I just won't. That isn't even what I want. I just want to move toward the middle a bit. (Ah-ha.... I knew if I sat here writing long enough it would come to me. Here I am at an extreme again. I used to be an uninhibited no-fear person, then I had kids, and another and another....and now I'm at the other extreme. Hmmmmm... I love blogging!)

So, I'm off. What will it be today? Rec center or Res today??? Probably the padded play area at the mall. But I'll at least make it a point to engage them, not one of the 13 books I'm trying to get through.