Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lessons from Leeland

I think Leeland was probably about 3 or 4 months old when I learned this important fact:
"You can't adjust your baby to fit your schedule. You must adjust your life to fit baby's schedule."

I distinctly remember this one day. I had decided it was time for Leeland to take a nap. I fed him a bottle and rocked him. But he screamed. I laid him down in his bed and left the room. But he screamed. I picked him up and bounced him. But he screamed. I know people say to let your baby "cry it out" but Leeland doesn't do that. The more he cries, the more worked up he gets. At this point, I had lost all patience. Leeland was supposed to be taking a nap! He was gonna nap and I was gonna clean. That was the plan for the afternoon.

I got mad and finally said to Leeland, "FINE! You don't GET to take a nap!" I picked him up out of bed, set him in the living room floor with his toys and I stepped outside to get some fresh air and recompose myself. (C'mon, I know we've all had these moments....)

I sat outside in the sunshine for just a few minutes but decided I should probably get back inside because my son was most likely still screaming his head off. I walked in the back door and what did I see? My adorable little son giving me the happiest, cutest, most beautiful smile in the world. I think he even giggled.

It was at that moment that I was reminded of the fact that all of the anger, impatience, tears and screaming (Leeland's and mine...ha!) could have been avoided if I had just picked up on his cues instead of trying to make him do what I wanted him to do. It's not really that hard. All I have to do is set aside my own selfish desires and think of him first. And you know what usually happens? I usually end up getting to do everything I wanted to do in the first place. It might have happened in a different order or at different times than I originally planned, but the day goes on and both my son and I are happy.

I realized that the same concept works with my plan and God's plan. When I take things into my own hands, and I'm thinking only of what I want to do, it usually ends up being a disaster. But if I just step back, let go, and pick up on God's cues, things all work out for the better. It may not always look the way I imagined it, and I may take a different path to get there, but in the end, it always works out better than I could have imagined.

"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."
2 Samuel 22:31-34

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, April 14, 2011

joy, prayer, and thankfulness

As I began my "Words to Live By" project, I came across 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Wow! So much packed in these three little verses. These are the simple truths that I pulled out and wrote down to share with my little man.

1 Thessalonians 5:16
"Be joyful always;"
-We don't always have to be happy but because of Jesus, we can always be joyful.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
"Pray continually;"
-Pray about everything. Jesus is always listening! Listen for Him to speak to you too.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
-Always be thankful for what you have! Even when things seem bad, you can always find something to be thankful for.

And then on Sunday, at the beginning of Sunday School, Jon Newsham shared a little bit about thankfulness and how important that was. We talked about how being thankful can completely change your outlook. Last week, he shared about joy and we talked about joy being an attitude. It is not dependent on our circumstances, it comes from the Lord.

[Are you catching the recurring theme yet? joy... thankfulness.... Just hang on, it's about to all come together.]

Then Janet began the Sunday School lesson. It was from Philippians 4. The lesson was great and there were so many valuable truths highlighted from the text but let me share something with you that jumped out at me:
Philippians 4:4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Did you catch that? Joy/Rejoicing, prayer, and thankfulness. AGAIN. After we read these verses, I quickly flipped a few pages back in my journal and found where I wrote the 1 Thessalonians verses. I almost peed my pants. Well, not really, but the light bulb came on and I got so excited. There they are, all three grouped together, in two different places in scripture!! I'm sure if we did some searching, we could even find it more places in the Bible. I think the key is that they are all three together.

How do we find joy? Prayer and thanksgiving. Our situation might not seem "happy," but through the communication we have with God, we find joy. When we are thankful for the things we do have, the things we don't have fade in comparison.

How are we thankful? Prayer and joy. We are able to be thankful for things in all circumstances because we have the joy of the Lord! That is made possible through prayer and constant communication with him.

Why do we pray? Communication! Did you catch that up there? Communication is key in any relationship, and it is especially key in our relationship with our Father. Joy and thankfulness are made possible through this relationship.

These thoughts all just jumped out at me in the middle of the Sunday School lesson and I so wanted to share them with the class. This happens every now and then and I always get really anxious. My legs start shaking, I shift back and forth in my seat, just waiting for the moment where I can blurt out what just came to mind. [it's actually quite humorous. I don't think anyone notices except me and my husband, who gets a little embarrassed when I get too fidgety. ha!] There wasn't time for me to share it with the class this week, so it gets dumped on you, blog friends. Enjoy!

P.S. Unfortunately, we're not going to be able to be in Sunday School this week (Weston is taking me, and Leeland, and Oliver (?) on some surprise family trip to celebrate my birthday! What a great husband!), but Jon Newsham, I fully expect you to talk about prayer at the beginning of class. I think it just needs to happen. Jesus said so. (I promise, just read what He said.) :)

Words to Live By

I've been reading a lot of things written by Lysa TerKeurst- books, blogs, articles, etc. Something stuck out to me when she shared a few times about going through things with her kids. She talked about sitting with them and sharing truths from God's Word about certain situations they were dealing with. As I read, I said a little prayer that I will have that type of relationship with my kids- that they will be open and honest with me and eager to turn to God's Word for guidance.

But then I was a little convicted. How would I be able to share nuggets of truth from the Bible with my kids if I wasn't familiar with those words myself?

So I've started a new project called Words to Live By. I'm searching the Bible for different scriptures and then writing a sentence or two about how those apply to our lives. I'm going to make a little book out of it to share with Leeland. I expect the book to be constantly growing and changing as my little one constantly grows and changes. And I hope that as Leeland grows and our family (hopefully) grows, that Leeland will then be able to teach his little brothers and/or sisters these valuable lessons.

As I've been searching, not only will these lessons be valuable to my kids in the future, but I am doing a lot of learning myself. I am becoming more and more familiar with God's Word, which is the real reason I even started this project in the first place. The Lord is using this simple project to teach me a lot and I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it soon :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

too much blog!

I have recently become quite the blog junkie. I may not write a blog every day but there are tons of blogs that I read every day. And I am also constantly writing blogs in my head, many of which never make it to my keyboard.

I have some friends that do Recipe Review blogs. I have never written one but have thought about it. As I was cooking dinner last night, I was writing a Recipe Review blog in my head. As I was doing one certain step, I said in my head, "And the kids will love helping out with this step!"

Then I just stopped myself and said, "What??" First of all, I have one kid, not multiple kids. Second of all, my one kid is 8 months old and was most definitely not helping out with the dinner preparation. How in the world would I know if the kids would love helping out??

And that's when I realized I've been reading way too many mommy blogs.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lessons from Leeland

Leeland isn't quite crawling yet but he is definitely getting more and more mobile. He can scoot, roll, twirl, and even inch like an inch worm. If there is something, he wants, he will find a way to get to it!

It seems that the thing Leeland always has his eye on is whatever is farthest away, whatever is hardest to get. He works and he works to get there, with lots of grunting, falling, twisting, and scooching, and finally gets the prize! His block, or the flight charts, or the xbox cord, or the cell phone, or whatever his target was that day. But you know what he does? He picks it up, puts it in his mouth for a bit, then throws it down, looking for the next big thing.

It seems that the object seems so alluring but once he gets it, it doesn't satisfy. And sometimes is not even good for him, like dog food:

I realized that it may seem silly to watch a seven and a half month old do these things, but all of us still do this even when we're grown up! We are never satisfied and are always looking for the next big thing. We work and work to obtain things that we think will make us happy, but once we get them, we learn it was all in vain because again, we are unsatisfied and want something else. Just like Leeland, we pick it up, play with it for a second, then throw it down, looking for the next big thing.

I was thinking about this and was reminded of Philippians 3:12-14:
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

[I think God really wants me to get this in my head because I was thinking about this last week and then our Sunday School lesson was on Philippians 3 this week! Ok, God, I'm listening. I get the point... :)]

Let's get a little personal with this. What things do I try to satisfy myself with?
I eat unhealthy food because it tastes good. But does this really satisfy? It may taste good for a moment, (what? like 30 seconds...) but then it leaves a lasting impression on my body. I feel gross and fat afterwards. Eh, not so satisfying.
I buy new clothes to make me feel good about myself. But does this really satisfy? The clothes may be nice for a while. But then they go out of style or out of season. Leeland spits up on them. They get old and faded. Eh, not so satisfying.
I'm tired so I sit on the couch and watch tv for hours. But does this really satisfy? It may get my mind off things for a while and my body gets a rest. But then I turn the tv off, realize I've wasted hours of my day and I STILL have things to get done. And really, the things on tv these days aren't really 'good' most of the time so I've just filled my mind with garbage. Eh, not so satisfying.

Instead of straining toward the things of this world that will not satisfy, I will keep my eye on the prize! There is only one thing that will satisfy and that is Jesus.
When I am hungry, I will remember that my body is a temple of God. If I am feeling emotional, instead of eating chocolate to "feel better," I will pray and ask God to fulfill me.
When I am not feeling good about myself, instead of buying new clothes, I will be thankful for what I have. I will read Psalm 139, and remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
If I am tired, I will rest in the Lord. I will look to him for strength to take care of the things that need to be done. Instead of filling my mind with garbage, I will fill my mind with His Word.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think my son is about to chew on the dog's bone.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thus far...

We just recently celebrated our one year anniversary with our house!

Because of this momentous occasion, I have been in deep thought remembering and recalling what life was like for us one year ago. I was already planning a reflective blog when I read this Proverbs 31 Ministries daily devotional.

"Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, 'Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?' " 2 Samuel 7:18

Oh how fitting this verse and those words are to my life right now! Let's look back...

On March 30, 2010, we officially became homeowners. We signed the papers to close on our house, I hurried back to ETBU to work because I'm pretty sure I had some event that day, and Weston headed to unload the U-HAUL truck. You read that right. We didn't get to take time to paint or clean our new house before moving in because...

On March 31, 2010, we officially had to be out of our old duplex in Hallsville. If we were in there just one day in April, they were going to charge us an entire month's rent. Our rent had gone up and it was like $800 or something ridiculous like that so it was completely out of the question for us. We were supposed to have closed on our house the weekend before but you know how those things go- they needed more paperwork and the date got pushed back. I was beginning to get nervous but things worked out!

On March 30, 2010, My brother was nice enough to take a day off work to help Weston move all of our stuff, and one of Weston's friends from LETU helped too. I had a long day at work. I don't remember what the event was, I just remember that I got home late, I was completely exhausted and I really needed a shower. I think I was about 5 months pregnant at this point and just wanted to go to bed. I was not about to clean the shower before I used it so I just took a our new house... Meaning the last person that used that shower before me was a complete stranger and I didn't clean it. I was a little grossed out the whole time, but I got over it.

On March 30, 2010, we didn't know the gender of the precious little squirrel in my tummy.

On March 31, 2010, we found out we were having a boy! Weston had to fly that day so he didn't get to come to the doctor's office with me. This being such a big occasion, my parents came along. It was such a sweet time seeing that little baby move around in my belly! Right after that, we stopped by the old duplex to do the last of the cleaning and turn in the keys (woohoo!), then it was on to Target. To reveal the gender of the baby to Weston, I was going to buy a little boy outfit and put it in a bag. Weston would open it to reveal the big surprise. Unfortunately, I went a little crazy at Target. I couldn't buy just one thing and ended up spending about $75 on several outfits! HA!

On March 31, 2010, Weston got home from flying. He really wanted our firstborn child to be a boy so I was pretty stoked to reveal it to him! We sat at our dining room table in our new house and I handed him the bag. He removed the tissue paper to find a little blue outfit that said "I love Dad." Weston's response, "Well... a girl COULD wear that..." Then he pulled out some shorts and a polo, "A girl could wear that..." And this went on and on! (My husband is crazy.) Until FINALLY, he pulled out a little outfit that said "Little dude, big dreams" and Weston looked at me and said, "Is it a boy?" My response, "YESSSS!!!"

'Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?'

On March 30, 2011, I woke up to get my smiley and giggly, blue eyed, red-headed, 7 and a half month old out of bed. We spent the day together in our house that we absolutely LOVE. Our home. We went to the gym. We went to Target...where I spent too much money (some things never change). Weston got home from work and played with Leeland while I went to choir practice at church.

On March 31, 2011, the day before was basically repeated with a few minor changes. And when Weston got home, we went to Smashburger (my FAVORITE) where we dined outside in the BEAUTIFUL weather. I told Weston it was our one year house anniversary. (I know, I was a day off. I was a little confused and it took a lot of thinking in my brain to sort all of these events out) And we thought, "Wow. So much has happened in a year."

'Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?'

The Lord has blessed us with a house that we love and a beautiful baby boy that we love even more. Another huge blessing is that I am able to stay home and enjoy every day with Leeland AND I don't have the stress and extreme exhaustion of my old job. I love the place we have come to "thus far." The Lord has blessed and provided, and for that, I am thankful.

But there are two important points from Wendy's P31 devotional that stand out to me:
  • "Life has taken twists, turns, and changes at every bend, yet somehow for a season you have arrived at a place of seeing spiritual blessings from the Lord. Yet you realize your place of thus far pales in comparison to knowing and experiencing the goodness and faithfulness of God."
  • "No matter what current circumstances you find yourself in, with our Living God there is always a place of “thus far” waiting around the next bend."