Thank you, Lord, for my children and for the gift of summer vacation.
As this new school year begins, I pray for your blessings on them:
Lord, please give my children Christian teachers. Let the people who lead and teach them be led and taught by You.
Surround my children with kind and patient authority figures, who are also consistent and structured.
Lord, please help my children know and remember their identity in You. Help them understand how You see them .
Help my children have a healthy self-esteem throughout the school year. Let them be confident in how well You made them.
Lord, please put people in my children's paths that will encourage them, motivate them, inspire them, and guide them in the right way.
Give them friends who will encourage them in their faith, and let my children encourage others. Teach them how to be a friend.
Please let my children encounter people who are different from them, so they will see how creative You are in Your most important handiwork.
May you expand my children's knowledge of science this year, so they will marvel at Your awesome creation. Let them learn more about the history of the people you have placed on this earth, so they can learn from the mistakes and the successes of the past. Give them a passion for reading, and for language, so they will learn how to think and to communicate. And, let each lesson my children are taught contain only truth.
Teach them how to be responsible. Teach them how to deal with stresses and pressures.
Please give my children endurance to accomplish the tasks set before them every day. Help them to try their best at everything, with a good attitude. Give them a healthy pride in their accomplishments at school. Please teach them to accept and learn from their mistakes.
Father, let this be a fun and happy school year. I pray school will be a joyful place for my children to spend their days. I pray this year will be exciting and memorable to them.
Please protect my children from all mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual harm. Guard them, Lord, with Your strong hand.
Help my children to let their light shine for You. Please present them with opportunities to show people Your love, at school and everywhere they go.
Above all, let Your will be done in the lives of my children.
My heart is bursting right now. I just talked to my ten-year-old daughter for the first time in four days, and she's finally on her way home from camp! I am so excited to see her, and hug her, and hold on tightly for the rest of the weekend!
This post is a little more personal in nature than other recent articles I've written. I want to share that this has been one of the most challenging weeks I can remember. As a full-time working mother who has always wished she could be a stay-at-home mother, I have been reveling in the opportunity I have this summer to take several weeks off just to spend with my kids. It has been glorious! We have laughed, and played (and fought and cried), and have been so busy seeing and doing fun things for most of the month- then one of my three left me for almost a whole week!
My family is involved in a group called American Heritage Girls (I tell people it's like Girl Scouts, but Christ-focused). It is a remarkable organization. I serve as the troop Shepherd (kind of like a chaplain), Elizabeth is in the "Explorer" unit, and Sarah is a "Tenderheart". We've gone on family camp-outs with the group, and Alex has taken the girls on many of troop outings during the last two years of our involvement. We love American Heritage Girls. But when Elizabeth wanted to go to an AHG summer camp five hours away, my faith was tested in a big way!
You have to understand, I have not gone without seeing this child for more than a day in ten years! Other than a few one-night stays with grandparents, the only times I've not slept under the same roof as her was when I was in the hospital having her sister and brother. But I knew this experience would be good for her, and she was so excited to go. To be honest, the only reason I could let her go was because her dad took a week off from work to go volunteer at camp. (Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful daddy for my children.) He took four girls from our troop (including our girl) and drove from Lewisville, NC to Crawfordville, GA on Monday, and they are returning on a Saturday.
Campers are not supposed to call home, I suppose for a few reasons. Logistically, it would be impossible for that many girls to have access to phones. I think they also feel it makes homesickness worse instead of better. Plus, camp is supposed to be a place to escape the hold technology has on us. Still, I balked at the restriction. It doesn't feel natural for a mother not to speak to her ten-year-old child for that long! (We bent the rules a little, and I did get to speak to her for about 60 seconds on Tuesday. And, of course, my husband sent me text message updates and pictures every day, plus I could talk to him on the phone in the evening.)
But, what a lesson God had for me this week! There were a few lessons actually. I could talk all day about learning to have faith that He will take care of my children. But the biggest lesson was something I thought I already knew: Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3).
Another one of the moms from our troop and I got together this week and discussed it. We are guilty of worshipping our children. It is a difficult thing for me to distinguish between the love and devotion of a mother and idol worship, but I have to admit that I probably cross that line sometimes.
Deuteronomy 4:24 says, "For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God." God's rightful place is at the center of our lives. He belongs at the top of our priority list. The thought of being without my daughter for a week almost made it hard to breath! But do I feel that kind of devotion for the Lord? I definitely believe He created a mother's heart to long for her children, but I need to be very careful that I am not placing them above Him in my life.
I can't say that I've learned any special secrets for avoiding elevating my children to idol status, but I think just recognizing I do it is an important step. As with any sin, all we have to do is ask forgiveness and ask Him to help us overcome it.
I am so thankful that when we walk with the Lord, He helps us to grow and puts circumstances in our life that draw us closer to Him. There were times while Elizabeth was gone that I thought, "Why on earth did I let her go?" and "Why did I agree to this?" The answer is simple. It was a God thing. He helps us grow. He teaches us the lessons we need to learn when we seek Him. This week was so beneficial for my child. And as much as it hurt, it was beneficial for me, too. I pray I will succeed in not having any other gods before Him, including my children.
This is technically not a blog post. I just updated the "About Me" page of my little website, and I don't want to lose the original text. So, I'm pasting it below for posterity.
I'm a bit of an extremist. Truly an "all or nothing" personality. I
either stay up all night cleaning every corner of my house, or it goes weeks
without being touched. I either get engrossed in a book and read it in two
days, or I don't pick one up for a year. I either crash diet, or I eat
everything in sight! Go big or go home- that's me. So it has been with two of
the talents I believe God has given me.
As a child, I envisioned I would grow up to either be a writer or a singer. And I
would be famous!!!! All my goals somehow centered around me being in a
spotlight one way or the other. But, when those goals didn't magically come to
fruition, I largely put singing (other than in my church) and writing aside.
Now- after the birth of my third child, I seemed to have found a new
sense of purpose! I see in my three children how amazingly we are crafted by a loving Creator. And I am reminded how we are made in His image, and how He gifts us all with some level of desire to create as well.
Having three children has also given me a new sense of
entitlement. My life is so crazy-hectic, and so crazy-busy, I actually feel
entitled and at peace with not being able to do it all! My children give me the
purpose that my younger self thought I would find in the spotlight. My
extremism seems to be subsiding. I'm learning that it is better to "do
something" than "nothing", even if that 'something' is to make a website that
might not be seen by anyone but me and my very supportive husband, Alex.
So- here it is. A website. A website for
what? Well, partly just because. But I hope it will be a place to share a
little music, a little writing, and maybe a little bit of myself, while keeping
Colossians 3:24 in mind: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord,
and not unto men."
I found this "note" on my iPhone. It was composed on 10/16/10. Sarah was one month old. I guess it was a blog of sorts, except at the time I wrote it just for myself.
We still have nights like these on occasion, but now with three kids instead of two. Thankfully, the good times always outweigh the rough ones. And some of the rough times even provide a laugh later on down the road.
"There was an hour-long debacle in our house this evening that looked like scenes from a movie about the trials of parenting. Our three-year old had the most extreme tantrum ever because she couldn't have cake for dinner. We promised she could have some after she ate something else, but this reasoning didn't work. The tantrum was so bad it caused her to have a nose bleed which resulted in a bloody couch. While I'm pre-treating the blood on her shirt, Alex is scrubbing the couch. Then I make Elizabeth a turkey sandwich and she is happy. When I empty the washer so I can wash the bloody shirt, I discover a disposable diaper had been washed this morning and the gooey diaper gel is stuck all over the wash basket of our brand new machine. While I'm cleaning it out, Elizabeth finds a travel size bottle of baby soap which she thinks is hand sanitizer. I take her to rinse the soap off her hands then go back to the washing machine where I realize there is also blood covering the back of the shirt I just treated (not quite sure how that happened). At some point during all this the baby started screaming. Alex took over cleaning the washer and I went to take care of Sarah to find she had a dirty diaper and her clothes and blanket were soiled as well. It was so bad in fact that I immediately put her in the bathtub. Elizabeth wanted to help, but ended up re-soaping parts I had already rinsed. I had to call Alex to help. We finally got the baby and the couch clean, the washer is going through a 'cleaning' cycle, and we've all settled down for now. And, Elizabeth forgot all about the cake."
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Thank you for visiting my blog. I share devotional articles and musings about life, parenting, and the writing journey, as well as important news about my books. I hope you find something of interest here!
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