Friday, January 31, 2014

chasing away the shadows.

We have been watching Little House on the Prairie videos this winter. We borrow them from the library every year around this time and they have kind of become our winter tradition. Ma, Pa, Mary, Laura and baby Carrie feel like part of the family now. I love watching them. They transport you back to a simpler way of life and they often have some kind of message or morale to their stories.

You can always tell when something scary or risky or uncertain is going to happen though because the music starts to crescendo. Sarah will often freak out and hide her head under a blanket. I too can feel the anxiety, "What's going to happen to Pa!!!!". Most times the scary music is just for the fear factor. A deer jumps out behind the bush. You think Laura is going to die from a raccoon bite only to find out she doesn't really have rabies. Something you thought was scary is really just a shadow. Even though I know in my head that one, it is just a show, and two, they have to live because there is eight more seasons, I still find myself getting anxious. What is that?
Fear is like the music from Little House. A song in the background that tries to scare you into believing the worst is about to happen. Fear is a stealer of joy. 
I have said it before but it was like a fear gene got awoken in me when I became a mother. It is something I have wrestled with even more the older I get. I think part of it is seeing all that I have to loose and also I tend to see "all" the bad things that could happen. The possibilities are endless and when I am in a fearful place I can drive myself crazy.
Last night we watched Will Smith's movie, "After Earth". It was recommended for me to watch after I was describing to some friends my battle with fear. It has one of the best visual pictures of how fear opens the door to the enemy. In the movie the enemy is blind and the only way he can find people is through the hormones their bodies release when they are afraid. The enemy smells fear. But if the people are not afraid the enemy cannot find them. Literally. It is like they are ghosts to him.

The parallels are huge. When I open the door to fear the enemy comes in like a flood. But when I chose to not be afraid He can't mess with me. And I am free.

Will Smith says this to his son in the movie, and it reminds me of the voice of my Father,

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice.”

~Will Smith

And as the son stays focused on the present  and what he sees, smells and perceives in the moment, fear flees and the enemy leaves him alone. It reminds me of what Ann Voskamp says as well,

Fear is always the flee ahead. God is I AM and His presence fills the present moment.

And also what David says,

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  He will cover you with his feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of the night or the arrow that flies by day. .."

If fear is really a choice that means it doesn't have to continue its grip on my life. I have a choice.
 I want to be free

"All fear is but the notion that God's love ends."

~ann voskamp

" All those voices that fill my head are gone when you got this way of chasing away those shadows that hang around."
~cageless birds


"I lose my ability to be afraid when I see the way you love me."
~Cageless Birds

I have never declared a word over a year. But this year I feel I need to declare one over this year, over myself. If I could chose one word for 2014 it would be freedom. A year to soar. To sing the song I was born to sing. To fly free from the cage of fear, pressure and expectations. 

God has started an unraveling process in my heart. It is a good undoing. It is the unraveling of fear and wrong views of the Father.  I am recognizing that my default mode is condemnation and religion. If I feel like I messed up then I want rules and regulations so I won't fail again. I self impose these rules on myself only to feel like a failure when I mess up again. It is a constant downward cycle. 
 The Lord's heart is not rules and religion but grace, love, freedom. He is not afraid of my mistakes. I will say it again, He is not afraid of my mistakes. Or my children's. I don't need to be afraid either.

Over the years He has been teaching me more of who He really is. He is fathering me in His love. I am a cageless bird that is sometimes afraid to fly from the open cage.  I hear my Father calling.  He is saying "Fly my daughter. You are free." There is no cage.

For Christmas Mark bought me this canvas. The more I look at it the more I know this is the Lord's heart for me. It is not even the end of January and I see the things He is doing in me and it makes me excited for what else He has for me in this year of freedom. I believe I will be brave and soar...

~The glory of God is man fully alive~

Friday, January 10, 2014

another wave.

It's raining outside and the raindrops are pattering against the windowsill.  I am sitting here trying to do the bills but tears keep rolling down my cheeks. 

I will stop fighting and pay attention to my heart.

I went to visit a friend today who just had a baby. There is something about a newborn that is so peaceful and holding a small miracle in your arms. I enjoyed snuggling with
 the new little bundle and talking to the mom about her birth story. I came home and made lunch and was fine. I sat at the computer and opened up Pinterest and someone had posted a bunch of newborn picture ideas. Suddenly there is a longing and hurting in my heart. What is this? I decide to pull up Eden's baby pictures on my blog. I stare into those newborn eyes on my screen and suddenly I am crying. 

Crying because Eden is growing up, crying for the little baby I lost, crying because I'm not sure I want to have another newborn. Looking at those pictures made me ache for the baby I never got to hold. I miss Benjamin. How can I miss someone I never knew....

One thing I have found is that healing comes in waves. Most days I am fine. But every once in awhile a song, a picture, a word will come and wash away some more hurt from my heart. I welcome these waves although sometimes painful. I know it is good...He is good.

"What was intended to tear you apart, God intends to set you apart. What has torn you, God makes a thin place to see His GLORY..."
~Ann Voskamp

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of a text coming into my phone. It was a message saying, "no school today". I had just been wondering if I had taken full advantage of the last snow day and had just written a blog post about redefining my definition of success. It was going to be a good day!
By 8:30 I had already broken up like five fights over the rainbow bracelet loom and the children were running the loop around the kitchen and living room like it was a race track. So in 0 degree record breaking weather with wind chills in the negative 20's I bundle up everyone into the car and head to the grocery store. After surviving the store and unloading groceries, making lunch, having some dreaded, I mean, beloved craft time and watching a movie it is still like only 2:00. So that left over three hours till dinner time which turned into what seemed like hours of fighting, whining, crying, and more fighting, whining and crying. 
How did the day take such a downward turn? What is wrong with these children? What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? 

I take everything so personally. Rather than see it as five children coming off post Christmas craziness and sugar highs being stuck in a small space together for days on end being normal children fighting with their siblings... I think that I am a failure as mother because there is fighting, yelling and chaos.

Lord I need you! This mothering thing is not for the faint of heart!!!

Today the older three went back to school. The house with only two little girls is drastically more quiet. As I was cleaning up in the boys room I came across this note Sarah had written,

It ministered to my heart because I did not so much "feel " like those things yesterday. But again I too often look at where I failed or messed up rather than were I succeeded like playing card games with the kids, doing crafts, making food for my family, snuggling with Silas and Eden on the couch, reading stories together...

Seconds after I found the note Hope brought me my phone and she had turned on a song that I had played a lot during the months of October and November when I was sick on the couch and not sure how things were going to turn out. A friend had sent it to me and it had ministered to me a lot then but it ministered to me again today being on the other side.

But now you're here just like the sun after the rain
And now you're here just like the calm after the waves
And i don't mean to sound surprised that you'd be near
But yesterday I wasn't sure 
Praise God You're here.

-katy kinard

He is here in the quiet. He is here in the crazy. He is here in the pain. He is here in the healing.

Today I am letting the Lord touch those tired burnt out weary places and minister His love, His perspective, His intimacy. It is what I need. He is calling me and I will answer.

Monday, January 6, 2014

the definiton of success.

There are moments, days even where having five kids feels easy, doable, manageable. These are the days where the laundry is folded, the dishes are kept up with, the house looks tidy, I have the patience of a saint and the kids are playing nicely, maybe even sitting in an armchair reading books to their little sister. Who am I kidding? This is hardly reality. Most days when everyone is home there is never ending wash and dishes, fighting and messes everywhere. 

 Some days it can feel like an uphill climb. 
Yesterday was one of those days. I had a meltdown before church as I was trying to direct everyone to get dressed, clean up breakfast, sweep the floor, make lunch for the company we were having over after lunch, tidy up the house so it looked presentable and then get myself out of my pajamas. In the mean time it felt like no one was cooperating with my plan. Kids were literally running circles around the house yelling. Then the girls decided to make a fort in their bedroom, a nightlight got knocked over shattering the light bulb and it was now fifteen minutes till we needed to go and I was still in my pajamas and there was messes everywhere! So I did what any good mom would do...yelled at everybody and then started to cry.
 Mark looked at me with a sideways glance.
"I know!! I shouted,  "I don't know whats wrong with me. 
I keep doing what I don't want to do. But also no one is cooperating either!"

As I jumped into the shower to get ready I let the water wash over me and God began to speak to my heart. I felt like a failure on how the morning had gone and how the kids were acting. That is when I felt him whisper,

 "What is your definition of success?"

 I thought about it. My definition of success looked more like what I described in the first paragraph....basically perfection.

What if my definition of success is not God's definition. What if success looked more umm....messy.
I love to have everything neat and organized and tidy. But the reality of having seven people living in a small farm house means people bumping into each other and making messes all the time. Physical ones and emotional ones too. 
What if success means losing it and then apologizing. What if success is teaching brothers how to work through their issues. What if success is a whole lot more messy and unorganized.

I need to rewrite my definition of success and get God's perspective. 

It starts with letting go of control and my desires for a clean, tidy quiet house (because that's not really all that I want in life). 
Embracing adventure. Giving choices. Being okay with some chaos. Laughing more. 

And as I do. I find more joy, more fun, more love than I ever imagined possible...

"I don't think the way you think. The way you work isn't the way I work. For as the sky soars high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you you work and the way I think is beyond the way you think."
-God (isaiah 55)