Showing posts with label Brothers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brothers. Show all posts

November 12, 2012

How Faith and Motherhood are like obstacle courses {and when Mom gets a migraine}

This past Friday, my boys and I went to our homeschool co-op group get together. We had really been looking forward to this particular one because it was Obstacle Course Day. It was each family's job to create a portion of the obstacle course. We talked about it all week and in the end, decided to we'd do the "balloon waddle". Now, for anyone who has not heard of this, all you do is blow up a balloon, stick it between your knees and waddle away without dropping it. It's an old 4th of July Family Olympics favorite of ours and is hysterical to watch. 

Once we arrived and the course was set up, we prayed and had a short lesson centered around the parallel of our faith being much like an obstacle course. It takes patience and perseverance. Some of it will be challenging and sometimes there are setbacks. But the testing of our faith builds endurance and it takes endurance to finish and get to the end. And one thing we can know for sure, there's a great reward at the finish line...Jesus.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
-James 1:2-4
I thought this was such a great lesson for all of us and a great reminder to me that Motherhood is included in this parallel. Raising, loving, teaching and caring for our children takes many years...a lifetime of years. As much as we'd like for our kids to "grow up" in certain areas or learn how to do certain things in our timing, it doesn't work like that. Just as the maturing of our faith takes time, so does the maturing of a child and his or her own faith.

So often, I catch myself thinking we should be past "this" by now or there are days when I wonder, "Why can't my boys just be kinder to each other? or Are they ever going to learn to clean up after themselves without my prompting?". You know the questions I'm talking about. As moms, we spend so much time teaching and training, modeling and even pleading with our kids to LEARN and MATURE.

Yes, Motherhood is like an obstacle course which takes much faith and endurance!

So, when my boys had completed their course four times, I decided we needed to leave immediately. Let me back up...that morning, I had woken up with another migraine. I wasn't all that sure it wasn't something more, but did know for sure my head was throbbing, and feeling like it would explode any minute, especially behind my right eye. I almost cancelled our outing, but hoped the fresh air might help alleviate the pain and nausea. It didn't.

So, with four very unhappy boys (some crying) loaded up in the truck, we headed home. Their friends were still playing and probably had another hour or more left before they, too, would be leaving. My guys felt cheated. I felt terrible for making them leave so abruptly, without even saying goodbye to their friends, but I was just too sick to stay another minute. They soon realized just how sick I was when I had to pull over at a nearby park as the nausea consumed me entirely. As I got back in the truck, red faced, tears streaming, there was silence. Now there were four tender-hearted sympathetic faces starring at me. I reassured them all I'd be okay once we got home.

With my window rolled down, I took deep breaths all the way home. I was shaking. The pain in my head was awful. I just wanted to crawl under a blanket in a dark and quiet room and shut my eyes. I prayed for help for the hours ahead, as on any "normal" day...peace and quiet don't typically define our days. And that is exactly what I needed most.

We pulled into the driveway. Finally. My oldest son who is eight, jumped out of the car, grabbing backpacks, water bottles, coats and then my keys. I was moving slowly. He ran to the door, unlocked it and ran inside. My other boys followed closely behind him. As I walked in, there was a silent flurry of motion. No one was speaking. They just KNEW what to do, how to take care of their mom when she gets a migraine. There was never a question or a beat skipped. My oldest two ( 6 & 8) made a bed on the couch for me with my favorite quilt, my pillow and heating pad for my head. Then they brought me a bowl, just in case, and water. And they didn't just hand me the water. They carefully let me sip it, taking turns to put it back on the table so it wouldn't spill.

Then they worked together to warm up milk for our youngest and put him down for a nap. Amazing! Truly amazing....a gift. And for the next three hours, there was silence. They played with their four year old brother in the play room, checking on me every half hour or so.

I couldn't believe it. And yet....I could. They didn't learn how to work together or take care of their mom or even learn how to be quiet when needed, overnight. No, these things took time. And often, their teacher gets frustrated and sometimes impatient, even ungracious with these boys....these sweet boys who are still so very young. God doesn't get this way with us though. I'm so thankful for His patient and gracious ways.

And on this day, God showed me that everything we're doing....all this hard work? Motherhood? It's like an obstacle course. He honors our every effort. He sees it all and knows our hearts. Every second of this high calling is worth it. So on those days when your house is a mess and it feels like your wheels are spinning or there's constant sibling rivalry going on and you can't get your youngest down for a nap....just pray and keep going. This is not a race. All of these days work together to build endurance and character in us and our children.

I was so thankful for the gift of love and care in action my boys gave to me on this day. And I am thankful also for the gift of being able to see the fruit of my labor (and God's) in the hearts of my sons.

September 2, 2012

The adventure of engaging our children {in search of Bigfoot}

"Mom, I think this is a Bigfoot track."

"Really?", I said...with absolute seriousness and curiosity.

"Yes, look at the size of that track!", my oldest son said as he carefully placed his 8 year old boy foot inside that ginormous mud crater.

"Look at all these clues!" my other boys chimed in.

And so it went...a trek through our favorite park searching for clues that Bigfoot could have graced the paths of this place so close to our home.

Excitement grew and imaginations went wild with each new discovery of something found that made this giant creature a possibility. And as I listened and watched our boys completely letting go of all things tangible and embracing what might be possible, I beamed. This was childhood at its finest...jumping headlong into a world of things that many grown ups have long since forgotten...the magic of just being a kid!

Often, I am so tied to my to-do lists that I forget to stop and join them their worlds for a little while. How often do I expect them to rise up and meet me where I'm at? Sadly, probably more often than I meet them. As moms, I think we get so caught up in the day to day tasks and logistics of raising our kids, that we forget...those to-do lists that we think are calling our names....they're not. It's our own voice we hear...the one telling us that in order to be a "good mom and wife" we must meet some level of perfection we've painted in our own minds.

So, on this day, our Bigfoot Adventure Day, I allowed myself to get swept right up into the magic and wonder of something that we are still talking about days later. This was one of those moments I am so thankful I traded my time spent checking email, Facebook and Twitter for. I put aside the temptation to pull out my iPhone and instead embarked on an adventure WITH my boys.

As I did so, I saw four other moms sitting while their kids played on the play equipment and they sat, head down, with phone in hand "checking in" with the world instead of checking in with their kids. How many times have I also done the very same thing? These are weary moms, just needing a break. It's not easy and sometimes checking out for a while is okay. But every once in a while we need to resist that pull to fade out so that we can actually live the adventure God calls us to, fully awake and present. Dare I say, the every-once-in-a-whiles need to happen more often.

I think they do.

I must say it was exhilarating to be a part of such joy that day....a breath of fresh air that filled my heart with thankfulness to hear their laughter while indulging their every whim as we searched for clues of Bigfoot.

Just the night before, I had prayed that God would show me how to be more present with our boys. That morning, God revealed to me for the twelve-thousand-four-hundred-and-twenty-seventh time how important it is to step away from the sweet demands that cause this mama's heart to feel like there is a never-ending to-do list of chores and have-to's and need-to's. God wants us to gain some real perspective, to remember our purposes and high calling, the ministry right in front of us. But in a world filled with mountains of laundry and dishes, making meals, work and running errands, homeschooling and yes, even social's easy to lose sight of that ministry if the tasks are all we're focused on.

I'm thankful He reminded me of my own sweet desires and that those desires are also His desires....I am the mom. So are you! And yes, that means there are constant demands and things that vie for our time and attention...but the next time I hear my kids say, "Mom, I think that's a Bigfoot track", I want to be able to hear what they're really saying......which is, "Mom, I need and want you to spend time WITH me in my world...let's go on an adventure together!"

It is possible to gain a better perspective right in the midst of where you're at. God is big like that and can show us Truth even when it feels like we're consumed and overwhelmed with the busyness (and chaos) of each day. We just have to say yes to the adventure a little more often.

Linking up with: 

The Better Mom 
Hip Homeschool Moms

August 20, 2012

Back to School {and how our homeschooling journey began}

I found an old journal of mine recently and began reading the first few pages, realizing that THIS was where I first recorded our decision to homeschool. I had forgotten I wrote this down somewhere other that here on this blog.
"I am entering a new season...with God's leading, we have decided to homeschool our boys."
Those were the words written across the page of my journal on January 12, 2008. Our oldest was just about to turn 4 and our youngest, almost 2. Although, the homeschooling seed was planted long before that moment, that was the day I formally declared out-loud (OK, um, quietly in my journal) that we intended to homeschool our boys. It was right around this time that God also began a real heart change within me. 
"Renew my mind and heart as to who you are Jesus, your love for me, How I can more fully love like you, know your will for my life and my family's. I want to seek you God and have a much fuller and deeper relationship with you. I will never be perfect or even close to it, but I am seeking a heart change so that your Holy Spirit isn't hindered or quenched within me. For so long, I've been a Christian, loving you, but never really truly knowing you. This also means I haven't loved or trusted you the way you long for me to - the way that I long to now." 
These are words that remind me of where I was and where I am....still desiring a changed heart, a deeper and fuller relationship with Jesus. But I am also reminded that this is not a race. It's not one of those projects that one can start and finish to completion on one's own or even within this lifetime. No, only God can do that. He is the only ONE who can truly change and mold our hearts for His glory and His purposes....and it will take as long as we are here on this earth. I am comforted to know that we are never alone and that God wants me to depend on Him for it all.

So, today, as we get back to the business of more formal learning (AKA...first day back to school), I am reminded of God's loving plan for our family and how it all began. These precious pictures are of my boys way back when we only had two. They were taken right around the time we decided to school them at home. 



As our family has grown and our homeschooling evolves, I am excited at how God is also revealing His plan for these four boys. I just know He's got great big plans for them. I am so thankful to be their mom AND their teacher.

April 30, 2012

How to Work Through Sibling Rivalry

Do you ever have days (or whole weeks, even years) when you wonder if your children will ever truly be friends? With each other?
Will the bickering, arguing, fairness issues, offensive nature and general annoyances toward one another ever end?
I wonder. All. The. Time. 
Truth be told, I worry about it more than I’d like to admit. In a house filled with boys, we battle these issues regularly. But, I know from other moms I’ve talked to, that this can happen with all boys, all girls or a mix of both. Where two or more siblings are gathered, there’s bound to be some rivalry. 
To read the rest of this post, please join me over at Hip Homeschool Moms to read how we are learning to work through sibling conflicts and character training. 


Linking up with: 
The Better Mom
lowercase letters 

April 10, 2012

Happy National Sibling Day! {brothers day around here!}

Around here, it feels like it's always National Sibling Day because we are constantly working on our sibling relationships. With four boys, there's lots to work on. But today, we are celebrating by spending the day being thankful for each other. We aren't really doing anything out of the ordinary, but I'm trying to be more specific in pointing out ways each of them can love and honor one another.

brothers, siblings, love eachother,

How are you celebrating National Sibling Day? 
How do you deal with Sibling Rivalry? Here's how we work our way through sibling conflicts and character training.
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