Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hello. Shut up!

I was standing over the dishwasher mechanically unloading the silverware, my mind however was lost in a wrestling match, at war with itself. My swirling thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Hope's raspy voice from the across the kitchen. She was sitting at the table with her play phone in hand. 
"Hello!" she said loudly, "Shut up!" and slammed down the phone. 
I went into mother mode, "Hope that is not a nice way to talk!"
Her response, "I was talking to Satan."

I turned back to emptying the dishwasher to muffle my laugh when suddenly it dawned on me what I had just been doing seconds before the phone call. Or rather what I should have been doing. At times I think that just because a thouhgt comes into my mind I need to listen to it when in reality there are times I just need to say, "Hello! Shut up! I don't have to listen to you!"

Lessons from a five year old are the best.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Let me write my story on your heart.

We all have stories to tell. 

God was reminding me of this today as I was driving, running errands, and listening to the radio. A song came on the radio, not one that I usually listen to but I stopped and really heard the words, "Let me write my story on your heart". It was God speaking to my heart.

I started to think about our "story"...which is lots of stories really. At times I have let a shadow of shame hang over some of our story. I have let the enemy pronounce "Failure"over me. Today as I was driving I felt the Lord whisper that I need to start writing down my stories and in doing so reframe how I see them. Sometimes we need to remember where we came from so we can know where we are going. And in doing so we can see where God was in our lives and where He is now.

So that is what I am going to do... starting with this story.

We had been married two and half years and were living in the city in an apartment that we loved. Our vision from the time we first got married was to live in community, sharing our lives and hearts with others and we were doing just that. We had one strong little 18 month old boy who preferred to sleep with keys and disregarded cell phones instead of nuks and blankies. And we were pregnant with baby number two. Life was good.
But there was this dream inside of our hearts to own a home in the city. A place to call our own, to raise our growing family. So we did what anyone who has no money to buy a house does. We started looking and dreaming. We would go for long walks through the city with the stroller and my growing belly looking at houses and dreaming of the future. We went to the bank and looked at what we could afford. At the time we were in full time ministry so our paychecks were random to say the least but we had good credit and soon found out we could get a "no documentation" loan that allowed us to get a loan without having regular paychecks. We looked at several houses seriously but still had no clue how we would afford to buy one. But yet it seemed like it was on the Lord's heart.
During this time Mark felt the Lord speaking to him one day and he wrote these words down in his journal "Your shaving cream will be your confirmation in regards to a house". It seemed silly. It made no sense. But he wrote it down.
Also at this time Mark had a consulting business and spent much of his time coaching small business owners.   He would meet with them and help draw out the vision and dreams that God had placed inside of them regarding their businesses. One of his coaching clients told them that his wife had a dream about us and she felt like it meant that they were supposed to help us buy a house. He said to let us know if we found a house.
A few weeks later Mark was in the bathroom shaving his head. Our landlord and good friend Keith knocked on the front door which was right near the bathroom. Mark popped his head out the bathroom door head full of shaving cream and razor still in hand. Keith had his real estate license and had just found out about this house a couple blocks away that was recently redone, had a double lot with a fenced in yard, and a garage. "Someone should buy this house" Keith said.
Mark looked at him, head full of shaving cream, "Yeah I think its me." 
Within a couple hours we were there walking through the house. It was my dream house in the city. I loved it. I wanted it but didn't see how we were going to come up with that kind of money.
The year was 2005 and the market in the city was hopping.  Another young couple went through the house at the same time we did. Keith told us he didn't think it would be on the market by Monday. It was Saturday. 
Mark called the coaching client and told him we found our house...and that we would need fifteen to twenty thousand to buy it. The client paused for a second and said "i have fifteen thousand I can give you..." They talked details about how to get the money in time to make the deal and then Mark asked how they should write up the terms of the load for paying him back.

"I don't want you to pay me back. I am giving you the money."

And just like that we were handed fifteen thousand dollars.  The rest of the five thousand dollars we needed came in between that day and our settlement.  We bought our first house. Our dream house. God had fulfilled our dream.
~A page from our scrapbook showing the "proud homeowners" and an ad from the time that also was a huge billboard in the city that God would always speak to me through every time I walked past it and a picture of the roses that grew in our backyard~

We are in another season of dreaming of a house to call our own, a place to raise our "growing" family. We have been driving around the countryside looking at houses and dreaming. God reminded me today of this story. It is not a story of failure, but of His faithfulness. I don't know the end of this story but I do know He likes to write page turners.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

stepping into the new.

It's the year of freedom. It's also the year of stepping into new things.

Monday morning I got my first ever gym membership. This is history in the making.

In the last eleven years I have been pregnant nine times and carried and nursed five babies. A gym membership never seemed to be high on the priority list. Truth be told, some days I was just trying to make it through the day. But since the miscarriage this fall, I have been feeling "blah" physically. Exercise and running used to be something I enjoyed back before I had kids but got pushed to the back burner over the years except for an occasional home work out video that let's be honest, usually meant sitting on the couch half way through.

Mark already had a gym membership so after lots of considering and back and forth I decided to take the plunge and join him.

Monday morning was my first day at the gym. I laced up my sneakers and headed out the door. On my drive over I felt nervous. "This is so dumb. Why do I feel like its the first day of school or something. Seriously Heather, get a grip."

I checked the kids into child care at the gym and walked over to the the equipment area and just stood there for awhile, taking it all in. I felt like a fish out of water. Seriously, I even texted Mark for some moral support!

I made it through the first day without falling off the treadmill! This was an accomplishment since my people watching was kind of in over stimulation mode with everything that was going on. (Note to self, bring headphones next time).

Today I made it back to the gym for a second time. This time for a class called Body Blast that met in the gym. Again butterflies. I felt like I was back in gym class in high school wondering if I had the right outfit! My gym class memories only continued as we started off the class with a jog around the gym. I chuckled to myself on the irony that I am now voluntarily signing myself up for this when I disliked gym class growing up, mostly because it exposed my lack of coordination.

I thought I was going to die in Body Blast but I did it and it felt good. Sore but good.
It feels good to be moving muscles that have not been used in a long time (or maybe ever) and it feels good to try something new.

I am excited to see what other new things are around the corner.

Here's to stepping into the new.

Monday, March 10, 2014

so long winter.

I have said it before and I will say it again, this has felt like the longest winter of my life. I know I am not alone in my sentiments. And today with tempatures getting close to 60 I feel like there is hope in the air that spring is around the corner.

I am thankful for what this winter has brought (however long and hard it felt at times) and the new things God has started to birth in us during this season but I am excited for spring and to see new life come forth.
Thank you God for seasons. The quiet rest of winter, the peace of a white covered world.
It's been a good one.

Goodbye Winter, Hello long awaited Spring!

"Hear the snowflakes falling. Winter's calling my name.
Silent songs she's singing. What's she trying to say?"

"Can I fall like glory to wash your year away?
All that remains was really meant to stay."

"Come and clothe me winter. I really need a change.
A silent redemption, cover me with grace."

"Hear the song of beauty, melodies and sounds
Cover you in white love, a joy you lost but now have found"

~jonathan and melissa helser

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

remember when.

My oldest children are now at the ages that I have memories of from my own childhood. I can remember being 8 and 10 years old and some of the stories from that season of my life. This is both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because I can remember some of what it felt like to be their ages, terrifying because now they may remember when Mom loses it. (Just kidding, kind of)

Anyways, last week Sarah went roller skating with one of her friends from school. As she was getting ready, a story from my childhood popped into my head of the first time I went roller skating. I was in second grade and had joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie at a small christian school in Nebraska. Our Brownie leader was a large woman who I remember stongly disliking. On our rollerskating field trip she tied a pillow around her midriff so that if she fell she would have a soft landing for her rear. I remember even at that young age being mortified by the whole thing.

 I told Sarah the story as she was tying her shoes at the kitchen table. We both laughed at the silliness of a pillow tied onto one's waist while roller skating. That story reminded me of how my days of being a Brownie came to an end. So I told Sarah this story too.

At the young age of 7 I had a very strong idea of fashion and it meant I only wore clothing that was pink and purple. This was a problem because my brownie uniform was brown, drab ugly brown. On the days we had Brownies I had to wear my uniform to school, the WHOLE day. To my second grade self this was the end of the world. According to my mother I threw a fit every week about wearing the brown jumper and white shirt with brown stripes that consisted of my uniform. Finally one morning Mom had enough, "Fine you don't want to wear the uniform than you will not be in Brownies anymore"
"Fine." I said. And that was it.
No more Brownies.

I don't even know why I was telling Sarah this story but as I finished it was like a light bulb went off. I looked at the little girl in front of me with her strong will and passionate opinions and saw myself. Sometimes I can think "Where does she get this stuff?" and "What am I doing wrong". And sometimes because we can butt heads at times I can tend to think we are so different but sharing that story and letting my mind wander back to when I was that age, I started to see a lot of similarities. Her stubborness, her creativity, her hurry to get things done, her love for her little sisters, her strong desire for freedom, her sense for what she likes, her love of beauty...these are all things she gets from me. Yes, me. 

And because of that I am the perfect mother for her. God has given her to me because I have what she needs. I have been hard on myself at times feeling like I need to be something different than I am. I have plenty of margin for growth but for some reason this story hit me. One, that I should expect nothing less than strong passionate creative children. And two that I don't want anything less. 
And yes, I am the perfect mother for them.