Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hands Full of Good Things

A friend reminded me of this article I saw this summer and it is definitely worth passing on! Things have been busy here and I hope to blog more soon, until then, be encouraged that the call of parenthood is from the Lord! HIS plans and purposes are  beyond our own, and HE sees children as a treasure to cherish and a pleasure to raise!


Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)

A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, “Wow! You have your hands full!”
She could have just as well said, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Are they all yours?!”
Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

A Rock-Bottom Job?

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.
Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.
If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

It's Not a Hobby

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.
Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.
Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.
Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.
The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

The Question Is How

The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?
It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.
Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

Hands Full of Good Things

When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”
Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.
Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.
Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparations

Today I'm getting ready for my first Thanksgiving in my own home.

Mark and I have decided to spend all the holidays at home this year. We want to keep things low key, and be able to include a visit to the cemetery in our plans. As I was cooking and cleaning today, I kept thinking about Jairus. How he'd be crawling around my feet this year if he were here, getting his first tastes of lots of yummy food prepared by doting grandparents, aunts and uncles. Maybe he'd cry when I was trying to get food into the oven and bonk his head when I was trying to sit down for 5 minutes rest. I'd get much less done, which I'd prefer. There are so many blessed things I am missing this Thanksgiving with my baby gone. But the Lord continues to remind me of the innumerable ways HE has blessed my family this year, and for all of these and more, I am Thankful....

I am thankful for my husband, who is my best friend and confidant. He continues to bless me with his love and understanding, with his patience and steadfastness. His care and gentleness for our family is immeasurable.
I am thankful for my sweet Emma, who is growing into such a precious girl. Everyday I get to see her learn and lead and immerse us all in a wonderful world of pretend.
I am thankful for my precious Hazen, who gives me all the hugs and cuddles I could ask for. He keeps me on my toes with his adventure and it is an honor to see him starting to become the little man God is molding him into.
I am thankful for my Heaven Baby, Jairus. My life is so much more rich for his having been in it. I have had the blessing to know God more deeply and see HIS grace more clearly as a result of Jairus. Though much pain has been caused by his going to Heaven so soon, I would not trade his place in my family for anything.
I am thankful for our extended family, whose support and love and encouragement has seen us through many dark days this year, and who rejoice with us at all the mini-miracles surrounding us.
I am thankful for my dear friends who walk daily with me in my journey of being a wife, mother, daughter and friend. I don't know where (or who) I'd be without you.
I am thankful for my church family, who support us, challenge us and love on us faithfully as Christ's representatives to this world.
I am thankful for my home, our health, Mark's job, my children's school, the list goes on....

Most of all, I am thankful this year for Jesus' love, grace, and comfort. HE is good. I know it with the depths of my soul. All good things are from above, all thanks goes to Him as the giver. We are just the joyful recipients, He's the glorious giver! His mercies sustain me. His joy is rooted deep within me. He has been my comfort and my peace. This day of Thanksgiving is for Him.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." 
Revelation 7:9-12

May your Thanksgiving be a day of praise to Jesus, who is worthy of all our thanks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day of Birth

I found this picture from November 16, 1984...

Kind of a wrinkly little cutie, aren't I?! :)

Then I went back into pictures of my own 3 babes from the days of their birth...

The day we enter the world should be a day of so much joy and hope. Its not always the case. But as a mother who spends much of her own birthday looking back to the days of birth that I have been a part of, I know that each of those days is a day I will never forget.

Through their lives, whether long or short, my own children teach me more about who God is, who I am and what is possible through love, than I could have otherwise known. And today, I am thankful for the days of their birth.

How Old Am I?!

The question has seriously baffled my mind at times. Getting older doesn't bother me, but I find it funny how I can't seem to get a grasp on how old I feel. Just how old am I?!

Being only 20 when I married the man of my dreams, I was instantly pulled into the world of grownups. I like it here. Now I hear stories of 20 year olds getting married and think, "Ohh no, you can't be married, you're just a baby! Ohh wait..."
At 22 I had my first baby, yanking me ahead another few years into Mommy-dom. I began to hear stories of single friends and think, "I'm so much older than that. But I'm not, but I am." And so I grew more used to being perpetually (and happily) ahead of many of my peers.
When I was 26 my child died. Now, how old does that make me?! I can't figure it out. I know it feels like something I shouldn't have to calculate yet, or ever. It also surprises me that only a year has gone by since I turned 26. I don't remember much of my birthday last year, but I know I was blissfully ignorant of the limited number of days I had with the baby I carried within me. I know we went to dinner, and the waitress commented how busy our life was about to be when Baby 3 made his/her appearance. I know life looked happy and simple and the way I had pictured in my head.
At 27 I feel, well, not like 27. Older.

Birthdays have different feelings these days, looking back/imagining the joy of the day people were born, placed into their mother and father's arms for the first time. All the excitement and anticipation and nerves that go with the day of our birth. Those thoughts are shadowed for me, I know now that not all birthdays are joyful. But I also know that each day of birth is a great miracle.

There is so much hope and joy and sorrow in life these days. Deep rooted emotions replace happy-go-lucky ones. There is much to miss and even more to be thankful for. What do I want for my birthday? Well, in all honesty I just want a day with my family all together, the 5 of us. But that is not to be. So instead, I'll spend the day holding those who are with me closer than before. I don't know what this year has in store for me, none of us does. But I know God is good. And I know that His plans include things I don't understand. And I know that HE has given me this day. The day of my birth.