11 January 2017

Her Journey...Not Mine

The first born...

We have such high hopes, so many dreams, so many expectations for all of our children, don't we?

But that first child... is it just me or are they almost magical?  There's something you just can't explain. There is a bond that is deep and an extra special feeling of knowing that that particular child made you a mom.  And because that child is older they tend to be your right hand.

In our experience we waited 4 years before we even started trying to have a baby.  We wanted to travel and establish "us" first.  After that it took almost 2 years for Julia to get here. The first year just trying to "get pregnant" and the second year just being pregnant and planning and waiting and reading every single book on parenting, sleeping schedules, discipline, food charts, we wanted to get it all right...

We lived in a different house when Julia was born and I can remember how every nook and cranny was filled with "her" from her high chair to exer-saucer, from her toys and mounds of clothes the minute she was with us it was all about this beautiful baby girl. I kept reading books on how to be a good parent.  I kept praying for her and asking for wisdom and guidance.  And I still remember that winter, snowy day driving her home and sitting in the back seat with her and thinking..."We get to bring her home?!...like what do we even do?? How are these nurses and doctors even allowing us to bring home this human??  Are we even ready for this?"

Then she started talking and crawling and walking and before we knew it this baby was no longer a baby, she was a person!  She was a girl with opinions and wants of her own.  She was crawling by 8 months, and talking up a storm by 10 months.  She was always so aware of her surroundings and her blue eyes were always captivated by people.

This whole time I kept wanting the best for her.  The best schooling, the best surroundings, the best books, the best learning toys.  I wanted her to experience as many new places as possible and I wanted her to love people and learning so we were always going to play dates, and gymnastics, and library story time.  I wanted to expose her to as many positive experiences as possible and I was so excited to see her joy as she made friends and learned new things.  It was always a double blessing.

We started doing homeschool officially when Julia was age 4, we enrolled in a homeschool coop and started doing social studies projects, and buying curriculum.  I wanted her to learn to read so badly by age 5 because I wanted to be able to say, "I taught her how to read," but like any average kid it finally happened around age 6.  I was so intense with homeschool at first.  I was so structured and so hard on myself.   Julia always loved the painting, and coloring, and reading books and she has the best imagination there is.  I love watching her play to this day because there is such a happy go lucky free spirit about her.

She is so different from me.

I always tried growing up to please everyone and succeed.  Julia just enjoys being and having fun.  She is so comfortable in her own skin.   Life is simple with her.  It is never complicated.  I am learning that now that she is almost 9 that this is all about her journey.  

She is going to have her own precious walk with the Lord.  She is going to learn to depend on Him and her faith is going to grow with each of her life experiences.  I can't deepen her faith or make her grow.  I can guide her.  I can be a good example.  I can teach her to pray and read the Bible and show her what it means to follow Christ but she is going to have to choose to walk that road.

She is going to make her own friends at school.  I pray everyday that she makes wise choices in the friend department.  We have been praying about and for her friends even before she was born.

She is going to make mistakes and need forgiveness.  She is going to learn to grow from those mistakes.

I can remember thinking (when I was pregnant with her) how am I going to raise a strong little lady?  Then she was born and I realized that she has a lot of strength already.  

God has given me a daughter who knows what she wants and finds a way to make it happen.  

It truly amazes me every day that we bring children into this world, but that God paves their journey.  We can do our best and our part, but there is so much that they have to learn and discover on their own.  For me that is both exciting and terrifying.

This year especially I have had to surrender a lot of control over Julia and Mark as they go to school and are not homeschooled for now.  One thing I loved about homeschooling was the control of who their friends were, and the things they were exposed to and learning and the environment in which they learned.  

I know that we did the absolute right thing for both of our kids and I have no regrets whatsoever.  I loved homeschooling but I also felt I was dragging Micah and Mia to things and sticking them in a nursery for hours instead of giving them the quality time they needed.  This year I have been able to truly invest in my littles and I am loving it!  From mommy and me swim class, the library story time, to a christian homeschool coop called Big Kids where Micah and Mia get to learn all about God with kids their age.  

This doesn't mean we will never homeschool again, in fact we are praying about next year and are almost 90% sure we are homeschooling.  But so far this year has been such a great change for us and I have loved watching Julia in particular blossom where she has been planted.  We keep praying that she will grow into a young lady that fears God, that she will walk in His ways, and continue to be that joy filled free spirit that sees the sparkle in everything.

Watching your first born child (actually any of your children) grow and mature is the coolest thing (and scariest thing).  I am learning that it is so important to take each day one at a time.  I'm trying not to look too far ahead, but to prayerfully consider the next best step for her and for us.  And I am mindful that this is her journey...not mine.


09 January 2017


Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new."

Why do we have to read the Bible?  What if we can't remember all the things we read?  What if we can't pronounce all the books of the Bible, all of the places, all of the names?  Why do we have to take time each day to read it?  What difference does it really make?

John and I sometimes do church at home on Sundays with the kids.  We take out all the kids instruments, the guitar, the tambourine, the triangle, the maracas (Amelia's personal favorite) and we sing our favorite worship songs and dig into the Word.  It isn't long.  In fact sometimes it is only 15-30 minutes.  And part of that time is asking Micah to sit still and Mia to be quiet, and Julia to put the guitar down, and for Mark to stop spinning on his head...but we are all together for one purpose and that is to worship, pray, and learn more about God.

This particular Sunday (John doesn't know I am writing this--I promise) John out did himself with getting all the kids ready, and he sat them all on a blue yoga mat (and they stayed there!) and he got Micah and Mia peanut butter on a spoon and low and behold we were actually able to read from the Bible and really answer some questions.  We were reading in the book of Colossians.

Our verse of focus was on Colossians 3:2 "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."

John gave this awesome analogy and he didn't make it up but he heard it somewhere and it stuck with me and the kids and was completely perfect.  I started to tear up even.  He brought up the point that many people ask, "Why do we have to read the Bible?"  There is so much in the book.  There is so much information.  Why do we have to take the time to read something that is so hard to understand sometimes?  And John heard of a man telling a young boy to take a basket and fill it up with water and come back to me.  The boy obeyed.  He went to a nearby well filled up the basket (which was of course filled with holes) and went back to the man.  

But every time he filled the basket with water by the time he brought it back the basket was empty.  But the man kept telling him, "Go fill it again."  So the boy finally said, "Why do I have to keep filling up the basket if by the time I bring it to you it is empty?"  The man said that many times we feel like what we are doing or reading makes no difference, but look at the basket now...how does it look?  "Clean," the boy replied.  Well, that is why we read the Bible.  He cleans our hearts from the inside and that changes us.  That is what makes us different.  We may not be able to memorize the whole Bible, or remember all the facts, all the places, all the names, but every time we open up God's word we can be sure that He will use it to clean us, and change us and that will make every difference.   

Maybe that is a silly analogy to you, but I needed to hear that message.  I needed to hear that every time I spend my time reading the Word and meditating on a verse, or praying, or doing what I know is right, it does matter.  Because sometimes it can feel like maybe it doesn't matter.  It can feel like it's just something else we HAVE to do or something else to check off on a list.

I am thankful for that message of being clean, and I love that God can make all things new.  

Happy New Year.

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