Friday, May 30, 2008

~ Stranger Danger ~

Looks like I have failed at equipping my children with a very crucial skill, a survival technique really in this heinous, ungodly world that we live in.

I sent my 12 yr. old son down to the nearby store where he has gone countless times before to pick up a bag of milk or a loaf of bread when we've run out.
We live in a quiet small town right on a highway. Since we have moved out here, we have gotten kinda comfy, a little relaxed with the freedom we give our kids.
Apparently a little too comfy. My son shared with me casually about the little conversation he had with a couple of MEN in a CAR on his walk back from the store.
I find myself involuntarily twitching as I type this.
He mentioned how the men were friendly and asked him how he was, why he wasn't in school, and what he was up to. All the while my son is walking within arms reach of the vehicle, which by the way is pulled over along the side of the road.

WHAT??!! As my son is sharing this all with me, my head is shaking violently back and forth, my voice reaches an unearthly pitch and I manage to squeak out "What were you thinking?!"
He looks at me as if I have two heads and responds with "nothing." "I was just being friendly."

I wonder how this could possibly happen, what is wrong with this child, and then it dawns on me, I'm whats wrong. I did this.
I taught this child to see the best in people, to be friendly in every situation, to always try and reach out to others. He is an extremely friendly, and social kid. He can talk to anyone. He'll shoot the breeze with some old folks, strike up a conversation with a young couple and easily engage a bunch of youngsters. I love that about him. I don't want that to change.

But, here I find myself feeling completely helpless, unable to protect my child from the unknown.
I don't want to assume these men were up to no good, for all I know they could have been completely harmless. I think it's inappropriate to talk to a young boy all on his own, especially the amount they conversed with him. I am thankful for the sovereignty of God and the safety of my child. I can't help but wonder if divine intervention played a part and these men happen to "see" a couple of bystanders within close range fowling any plans.

I try to explain to my son how dangerous this is. I tell him bad things could happen to him, that he could be taken and be killed. His mind can't comprehend this. He can't possibly imagine that these "nice men" could ever do him any harm.
Yes, I have sheltered my children. I don't regret that. They have been exposed to the big things in this world that matter. Famine, war, poverty. There hearts have broken over the devastation that they have seen, read and heard about. We pray and talk about these crucial things that go on in the world around us.

But, this...the evilness and human depravity that exists in the world. How do you share that? How do you even begin to explain the potential and horror of human nature? Describe it enough so that their innocence is stolen, and they no longer trust everyone? How do you do that as a mother? I don't want to do that. I would never even consider it for my younger ones, because they are under my protection the majority of the time. Just basic instructions would work for them. My older two boys on the otherhand, I have realized need something more. They are in situations where I can't always be. They have freedoms and privileges that come with risk.

So I am asking you... "What do you or would you tell your older children?" "What did your parents share with you at that age?" "How much is too much?" or are we left with no other option in this very scary society than to just expose the whole ugly truth?
Please leave a comment with your needed wisdom, or send me an email.

1Peter 5:7 "Throw all your worry on him, because he cares for you."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

~ Sandbox Fun ~

I'm sure some of you might be wondering why I haven't posted any updated photos of my schoolroom . You know like photos of a clean, neat, tidy school room. Well, I promise you, they are coming.
It's not like I sit around here all day picking my toes or anything. It's just that well, I get a little sidetracked. I'm a sanguine, and I have a small attention span. I get bored easily, I completely blame it on being allowed to watch far too much t.v. as a kid. So let that be a warning to you, go right now and tear your child away from the television or you will be sorry!

Actually, the room looks 100 hundred times better. It's pretty much done, I still have to put away 3 piles of stuff and organize the bookshelves. It's just that the weather got really nice over the weekend, so I got busy with other "outdoor" projects.
We built a sandbox for the kids, and started our garden.
Here where we live in Canada the weather has just been obliging enough to allow us to plant our veggies. The potatoes and onions just went in yesterday. Weeding, tilling, and prepping the area is a lot of work you know, and it allows no distracting thoughts, like a little old schoolroom!

Okay, maybe my excuses aren't cutting it for you, but these cute pictures of my kids loving their new sandbox might.

This area of our yard was a real eyesore. Piles of weeds, and scrap wood. Tradesman was able to redeem some of the wood to build the sandbox, we had just enough. The rest we will burn. It was a big job sorting through it all and moving it around. I know this because I well, um watched.

It was no piece of cake shoveling and filling wheelbarrels of sand to push half away across the yard to be dumped either.
I was literally sweating from where I watched propped up comfy in my lounge chair. Of course, the ice-cold lemonade helped to keep me cool. I do remember vaguely, my boys and tradesman glaring at me now and then. I don't know what their problem was, I did offer them some lemonade as well!

Just think if I hadn't had slaved...ahem... overseen this big job this past weekend, these babies would not be having the time of their life that they are currently having now.

Ahhhh, I know it's a tough job, but somebodys gotta do it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

~ Motherhood a Ministry ~

A Missionary's Vision
After marriage God called me to the mission field -
A little bundle needing all my care,
A disciple in touch with my life, obedient to all he hears.
Then came some more all in a row.
Everywhere I went, six little arrows in tow.
God had to call me again to His mission field.
I answered, "To China, to Africa, to Israel, oh where?"
His voice was clear, soft and gentle. My ministry arranged -
"My child, you are to polish our arrows,
Preparing them for My call to spread my
Words of life for other nations to see."
"Lord," I cried, "Loneliness surrounds my soul,
No other woman stands with me answering your call.
The sacrifice is great."
Women give way to another's voice, pulling them away
from their home, far from the quiver."
Once more I pleaded, "May I go too, Lord, I feel the call
To share with the lost, Life giving words,
To feed the hungry a satisfying meal."
"My child," Jesus replied, "You share with your
children salvation and truth.
Feed them meals under your roof.
Discipline them, train them and then lie down in peace,
For sacrificial love have you given to make the world right.
Arise in the morning, open My book,
Teach them into My eyes they must look."
"Yes, Lord, I replied, "But should I serve you in a more obvious way?"
"Child, my sweet child," God spoke once more.
I anointed you to do this work - the high calling of Motherhood.
To show our children the need for my love."
"Lord,", I sought out, still not fully convinced,
"Should I sew for those in thread barren clothes, a Dorcas, a Martha?"
"Sit at my feet, my child, listen to me.
Your daughter needs dresses, your sons warm shirts,
The button of your husband's coat still lies on the table.
Pick up your mantle, the rod of Aaron.
Lead my women back to their home.
"Yes, Lord." Filled and content, I took my position in God's mission field.
Hungry faces graced my bedside.
Clothed in God's mantle, children at my side,
I prepared breakfast.

----Paula Muller of Brodnax, Va

Saturday, May 24, 2008

~ Can't Kiss it all Better ~

I'm gardening like a mad woman this weekend so I thought I'd share something from my prayer journal with you all.
It's old, but I was reading through them and marveling at how God answers prayer. This same child I wrote about below has really come into his own in the friend department in the last few months. So I'm praising God!
( an entry from my prayerjournal Nov. 2007)

~A bloody knee, a scratched elbow, a large goose egg, these are all things I can kiss better Lord. When the boys were little, it was so easy to be the hero. Scooping them up from the ground smothering them with kisses wiping away tears was just second nature. My boys were always reassured of my love and comforted by me. As they got older, I celebrated with them each new war wound with an appropriate grunt and a pat on the back applauding their toughness. Still I would wrap my arms around them, kissing them even if there were no tears to wipe away anymore.
The physical wounds I can handle but this, this is breaking my heart!
As I held that precious face in my hands today and watched those huge crocodile tears slide down his cheeks, I felt as if someone was tearing at my heart.
He feels rejected Lord, he feels not good enough, he feels unpopular and unliked. This same boy who lights up our life each day with his funny one liners, hilarious antics, and just sweet, easy going personality... can't make friends.
How can that be? Can't people see him like we see him?

As his young, boy body shook in my arms, I marveled at how very little I get to hold him this way. He'll give me a kiss and a hug of course, but he's not one to cuddle a whole lot. I barely ever see him cry and if I do its always to do with some sort of compassion, or a strong spiritual emotion that he's feeling . A World Vision commercial, his baby brother hurt, communion, a compelling book, even his own prayers. These are the things that make my baby cry, not this. It can't be this! I thought I had equipped him well. We have talked about staying out of personal bubbles countless times, enthusiastic attitudes, good attention and eye contact when someone's talking to you.

Today I just encouraged him, I praised him up and down, and told him how proud of him I was. I told him all the things that I loved about him, that his whole family loved about him. We talked about Jesus, and how he must have felt when his own people rejected him, how much harder it would have been to be beaten up emotionally than physically. This boy can take some real hard physical knocks, without barely a flinch, but this build up of situations as of late just pushed him emotionally to the breaking point.
And there I sat, helpless to be able to kiss it and make it all better.

I smiled at him through my tears and realized how very blessed I am. I may not be able to make it all better anymore, but I'm still the person he wants to share his heart with. I'm still that safe haven to come too. I knew that I could bless this young boy of mine, I knew that even though he loves me and wants to please me with his whole heart, I know his heart truly belongs to you, God.
I reminded him of all the gifts that you have given him. His ability to make us laugh on a whim, his great story telling, his love of knowledge. What a powerful combo God had in his hands to use for his glory! I told him when he feels rejected or lonely in a group to remember that feeling, and thank God for it. Those that have been through adversary are the ones that come out the strongest in the end. We discussed again what he knows to be true in his heart of the great plans you have for his life. The sadness he feels now will only sensitize him to the plight of many sad and lonely children out there. What compassion and courage he will take with him into his adult life.
Zanders prayer to you brought a fresh round of tears to my eyes and again I am so very thankful for this incredible young man you have given me.
(end of entry)
Every opportunity presents itself as a chance to bless our children and remind them of their God-given uniqueness. Helping our children see blessing out of pain is one way we can continue to build emotional resilience.
We can't protect or save them from every painful encounter or situation in their life, nor should we want too. The real world is painful, and unforgiving. Our Heavenly father is not. He is full of grace and goodness.
Impressing upon them to look heavenward for their validation and purpose in this life will equip your children for greatness!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

~ I'm Back and Keeping it Painfully Real ~

Oh, how I have missed blogging. All of the useful and useless thoughts swimming around in my head have had no place to be embellished.

Those of you who were visiting here consistently know that my long break was because of the very pressing nature of my pregnancy. The awful sickness and fatigue had left me the last few months powerless to accomplish anything except that which was absolutely necessary.
You will see below how very much my house suffered.
On a mothering email loop I'm a part of, some of the women complained that it seemed blogs are full of women that seem to have their lives perfectly together, their houses immaculate and their children seem to be part saint. Well, I'm about to blow that theory right out of the water!!

If I have ever in this blog given the impression that I'm the perfect mother and nice as that would be....I am truly not!
The last few months have brought me to my knees in self-pity, depression, fear, disgust, and humility.
I felt like a shell of who I really am, but my Heavenly father brought me to the realization that I really am a shell without him. Without his strength, his comfort, his grace, I am nothing.
As difficult as it has been, I am grateful. Grateful for another lesson learned, grateful that He is so good to me. He had not forgotten me, he was there anytime I chose to call out. Sometimes I was just wallowing to deep to remember.

Okay, well unto even more.. ahem..pleasant things...the slow destruction of my home over the course of this journey.
Here are pictures of what used to be my schoolroom.
It is now the dark abyss of my soul. I weep, and gnash my teeth everytime I set foot inside...not that I can get very far in.

It is humiliating and depressing to post these pictures, but in the spirit of being real, very painfully, teeth pulling real, I have.
I let my two craft crazy daughters and my... um, very perfectly behaved, non- mess making 2yr. old little boy have free reign on this room the entire duration of my incapacitation.
I would just close my eyes and the door whenever I walked by. I lived in denial and refused to face any of it.
I decided that today was the day. I would face this monster once and for all and not come out until it was finished. I lasted all of 20 minutes before I was curled up on the floor sucking my thumb, weeping incessantly. I decided to go make brownies and face it head on with a belly full of chocolate and a new strengthened resolve, Cause you know brownies always do that for you.

I didn't finish today... between the bulldozing, chiseling, and brownie- making, along with the occasional mental break-down it seems its going to take longer than I thought. But, alas, I've posted this so I am now accountable to all of you to finish. Tomorrow with a new batch of brownies I will go forth and conquer.
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