Lay It Down…

It seems I’ve done in adoption what I do in pregnancy.  I have decided I am DONE with this process before it’s even over.  The end is in sight, with her arrival somewhere in the foggy distance, but I have no idea when “the day” will actually be (much like pregnancy when you don’t induce – which we didn’t).  And I have officially become a little insane about the whole thing.  I check email constantly.  And I restrain myself from emailing or calling USCIS because there’s a fine line between being the squeaky wheel that gets the grease and being the American whiner that gets stuck at the bottom of the stack.  If March weren’t such a crazy month I would seriously consider just going down there and camping out until she’s ready to come home.  I haven’t seen my girl since June.  It makes me hurt when I stop and think about it.

Like physical pregnancy, this is a growing process, both figuratively and literally (stupid anxiety-induced-eating).  The Lord is stretching me.  I can hear His voice faintly behind all the crazy in my head.  And He breaks through in unexpected places, like in this Elisabeth Elliot quote in a Facebook post last night from my friend Jenna….

God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to. 

And these things in my quiet time this morning….

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Psalm 27:13-14

And this gem from Jesus Calling

Keep your eyes on Me!  Waves of adversity are washing over you, and you feel tempted to give up.  As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me.  Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand   I am fully aware of your situation, and I will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear.

Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow.  If you try to carry tomorrow’s burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat.

And today as I’m driving I realize it’s time to repent.  Time to repent of my own timelines and trying to hold God to my schedule.  Time to repent of wanting my own way and release that to Him and trust in His timing.  Time to let it all go and lay it all down at His feet.  Because even though I may not always know what He is up to, I know that it’s something good.

Lord, I am sorry for my lack of patience in this process and for not trusting you and your timing.  I give this back to you, Lord.  I lay this child and this process at your feet and choose to trust that your plan is best.  Lord, give me the courage and the peace to do this every day and to continue to rest in you.

For His Glory ~

Signature

Runaway Heart

She comes to me tear-stained and tired.  She says no one wants her here and no one cares, so she’s just going to leave.  She wants to run away and wasn’t I just saying the same thing yesterday?

I ask where she’ll go and how she’ll care for herself and what will she do.  And she says she doesn’t know but she’ll be safe because she has her Swiss army knife, an arrow, and God.

And I find her a little later, a couple houses down and I call her back and we talk and I hold her and ask her to just come inside and do her school and think this through a little more before she decides to go.  And she does and I try to go on with my day.

But isn’t this what we want to do when life gets hard?  We want to grab our water bottle and our arrows and run away.  Away from training, away from discipline, away from the tough love of our Father.  I realize it’s what I’ve always tried to do and I know I’ve always been a runner, even before I wore running shoes.  And this little girl, she has her mother’s heart: a heart that wants to escape and a heart that doesn’t like to do hard, a heart that wants to run away.

And my beloved sends me encouragement from the book of James, that book we just spent a year (or more) memorizing, that book I should know well but have somehow forgotten already.  He reminds me of chapter 1 and trials and temptations and counting it all joy.  And I ask myself, am I still running?  It is one thing to write about it and to say it to myself in the early morning quiet, but when it comes right down to it, and my child is carrying on irrational and the calendar is overflowing and it feels like this whole thing is going to come crashing down in one spectacular heap – am I then looking to God and saying, “Yes, Lord, even this – thank you.”  Am I running to my Jesus and saying thank you, even for this – for our daily stumbling and falling and facing imperfections?  Or am I picking up my weary heart and running the other direction – running to quietly nurse my wounds and hide myself away from the world and from the sinking feeling that I’m never going to get this right.

And I know I’m still a runner.  And my girl is a runner.  But I want us both to be running to Jesus, not running away.  And I’ve seen it on a few different blogs this week, how October started this year on a Monday and brought fall and a feeling of something fresh and why not commit to something for the 31 days of October.  And that Monday morning I knew what I’ve known since we came home from Haiti in February – I am to commit to pray.  Pray for my little family.  Pray for our hearts and our minds and our relationships and that we would all be children who run to their Father.

I don’t know what this will look like here online because it’s hard to get on consistently and write in the midst of school and home and life in general.  But will you join me in praying for our families for the remaining days of October – yours, mine, and all of those struggling around us?  May we lift ourselves and each other up to our Heavenly Father for strength, encouragement, and wisdom as we struggle to be lights in a darkened world.  And if we must run, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.”  (Hebrews 12)  And as we think about running with perseverance, let us contemplate this definition that Matt shared with me:

Perseverance – a steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success; continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory.

Steadfastness despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.  Was I not just talking to my friend this morning about how it feels like we keep having these same struggles and will we ever see progress?  Am I being steadfast regardless?  And, oh, to continue in grace!  Grace that overflows from the throne of God, grace that I must simply ask for and gather like manna because He supplies it new every morning, grace that leads to glory.

Lord, as we embark on 31 days of prayer, may you bless our efforts.  May you draw us closer to your heart.  Open our eyes to see our families the way you do.  Give us renewed love and affection for our children, our spouses.  Give us steadfastness and love and mercy and grace.  Protect us from the fiery arrows of the evil one and may all that we do bring You glory.  Give us runners hearts that run to you with wild abandon.  And may our love for you spread like fire to those around us.  Amen.

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For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Time and Balance Tuesday – Delegate

One of the true keys to good leadership is the ability to delegate.  Good leaders are not controlling and self-sufficient, but realize that they cannot do everything on their own.  They realize the value of teamwork and look for strengths and skills and potential in those they work with and begin to delegate responsibilities to their team members.

So it is with us as moms with our children.  While we can pray for and encourage and request help from our husbands, we can’t really force them to do anything, and nagging will get a woman nowhere.  We can, however, train our children to be productive, contributing members of the family (not that our husbands are not….hear what I mean here!  😉 ).  This will not be an easy task and one that I am convinced will be on-going, at least to some degree.  I have to watch over my younger ones and check on their progress and handiwork regularly.  I can give instructions to my oldest and trust them to be carried out, but I am a fool if I do not at least occasionally double-check her work and, depending on her mood, I may have to do some extra motivating.  I believe that one of the primary goals of a mother is to train herself out of a job, until the day her last child moves out and hands the job back to her (but surely it will be easier to keep a clean house once they’re all gone, right?!?!?).

So, what should your child be able to do?  Below is a small list of age-approximate (in years) skills a child should possess or be able to learn.  These have been acquired from a wide variety of resources compiled by my mother-in-law through her many years of delegating tasks to her eleven children.  (Yes, you read that correctly.  Eleven!) In the interest of time as I am preparing this post, I am not going to list all the resources.  If, however, you would like to know some of the resources, message me and I will be happy to pass them along later on.  For now, on to some job ideas!

  • put pajamas away (2 to 4)
  • begin to pick up toys (18 months to 4 years)
  • begin to make own bed (2-3)
  • leave the bathroom neat after use (6-10)
  • empty hamper, put dirty clothes in wash area (3-6)
  • put away clean clothes (4-9)
  • fold and separate clean laundry (6-10)
  • begin to wash own clothes (7-10)
  • sort clothes by color, dirt, fabric (8-10)
    • I disagree – we have implemented a color coded-laundry system in our house.  I have four baskets in our laundry room, each is labeled with colored paper.  One is blue, for denim items.  One is purple, for dark items.  One is pink, for light colored items.  One is white, for – you guessed it – whites.  Even my four year old can sort her dirty clothes using this system.
  • clear own place at table (2-5)
  • dust furniture (3-10)
  • set the table (3-7)
  • clear the table (3-7)
  • pick up trash in the yard (4-6)
  • shake area rugs (4-6)
  • spot clean walls (4-6)
  • wipe off door frames (4-6)
  • clean windows and mirrors (4-6)
  • feed pets (5-8)
  • empty wastebaskets (3-6)
  • empty the dishwasher (4-6)
  • load the dishwasher (6-8)

This is just a small sample of jobs you can begin to teach your young children.  Obviously, some of it will depend on your child’s temperament and level of responsibility.  But I firmly believe that children will rise to our expectations.  If we set our expectations high (not ridiculously so, but enough to challenge them), our children will invariably rise to meet them.  The unusually busy schedule that we have been maintaining these past few months has challenged me to find new ways our girls can help around the house and they are being expected to learn many new skills and take on many new challenges.  I simply cannot run this house by myself, they have to help.  I also believe that, while they may grumble, children want to contribute to the family.  I find that, invariably, my children will finish working in the yard for an hour much more satisfied and happy than if they had spent that hour watching television, even though letting them watch television would have definitely been easier on us all.

Another very important way to “delegate” is by asking for prayer.  I am blessed to have a husband, parents/parents-in-law, and many friends whom I can ask for prayer from.  I have several friends I can text “flare prayer” requests to, and I know that I will be lifted up right then and there.  As I said the first week, the only way to live this life well is to live it in the presence of the Most High and prayer is our constant channel of communication with Him.  He desires relationship with us, He desires to know us.  How blessed and privileged we are!  And how little we make use of this great gift of prayer.  Instead of making it our last resort, let us learn to make it our first option.  Let us pray early and often throughout the day, coming continually before the throne of the Living God with our needs and the needs of those we love.  I believe we will be amazed by the power of it all.

What can you delegate this week?  Is there something on your growing “to do” list that you can have someone else do, even if you have to pay them?  Sometimes our time and stress level is worth the monetary investment of letting someone else do the work for us.  What can you train your children to do?  Who can you share prayer requests with to bear the burdens of daily life?

I’m praying that God is using these weekly posts to draw you close to Him and to simplify your life, even in small ways.  Don’t want to miss a post?  Subscribe by clicking the link on the right.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Next week – more tips!