Wednesday, July 15, 2015

God's Blessings Part 1

I'm going to be honest for a minute here.

Being a mom is hard.

Way harder than I ever imagined.  When I thought of being a stay at home mom, I though of baking cookies with my kids and playing games together.  Going for nice walks to the park.  Playdates with friends.  Easy naptimes and family fun Fridays where we all sit around the TV and watch a movie together.

All of these are nice things.  And all can be reality, just not as perfectly as I had imagined.  My boys love to bake with me, but it always winds up in a mess and everyone is fighting over the best spot on the step ladder.  Don't even get me started on walking to the park.  What should take 10 minutes takes at least a half hour because we have to stop every 5 steps to pick up a stone or look at the ant walking in the street or we're fighting over who is going to push the stroller.  Needless to say, being a mom is not easy.

But lately I have discovered that because things weren't going my way parenting was even harder.  I had a hard time finding the joy.  The constant interruptions to my day were a nuisance.  I was being selfish.  I was focusing on how my kids poky-ness (that is totally a word) was messing with my schedule.  They were happy and content playing with trains, but I wanted to bake cookies.  Micah wanted me to sit down and do a puzzle with him but I wanted to read my book.  My day was focused around me.  I was more worried about what I wanted to do than I was about my children.  And it was robbing me of my joy.  I was passing on snuggles and tickles and laughs because it didn't fit into my plans for the day.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am constantly reading.  Lately, my books have centered around being a Godly mom.  Someone who points her children to Jesus.  One common theme the books have is giving up your own selfish desires.  When we become moms, we lay down ourselves for the sake of our children.  I'm not talking about never doing anything for ourselves.  I believe that is wrong on so many levels.  But it means our focus is on our kids.  We have them home for such a short time.  We only get so many snuggles and tickles before their too big and too cool for them anymore.

When we first started getting all the details of our move and found out that Brad would actually be away from home longer we both had our doubts.  Brad knows I am a person who needs my time everyday.  I need time to read and be alone or I can become very grumpy.  His new schedule would make this very hard.  But, still, we prayed about it and decided if this is what God is calling us to, He will change my heart and get me through this time.

And let me tell you, He has done just that!  With encouragement from the books I have been reading, I have found more joy in my children and home in the three weeks that we have been here than in the three months before.  I wake up every morning and spend time in Scripture.  Sometimes it's a half hour, sometimes its five minutes, but I am starting the day focused on Him, and he, in turn, gives me the grace to focus on my children.  Yes, I am tired at the end of the day, but I am truly enjoying playing with my kids.  Going to the park with them.  Building them tracks.  I'm more intentional about disciplining them, taking the time to point them to God's Word to help direct their behavior.  We're listening to music together, reading piles and piles of books.  And yes, even cooking together.

Don't get me wrong, I have always loved my children.  I have always loved being a mom and I would not trade it for anything in the world.  It's just that my focus was more on the playdates and naptime then the actual hard work of mothering.

But already I am experiencing one of the blessings of God because we were obedient to God's call to come here to New Mexico.  I am sad for all of the joy that I missed out on and I don't even want to think what it would be like if we had not followed God's call to come here.  Now, I am eager to see what other blessings He has in store for us.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


When this whole journey to New Mexico started, I kind of felt like I was just following my husband's lead.  He's never before felt God speak to him so clearly, and I have never before seen him lead our family so strongly.  So I knew I had to follow him.  We've had many conversations about this journey.  We've gone through many reason why God has brought us here.  To help us become financially free?  So that we could volunteer at Rehoboth School?  To live a simpler life?  To grow closer together as a family?  So that I could start a mom's group?  Does it have to do with people Brad will serve at work?  For the boys?

I still have no idea why God has brought us here.  Maybe all of these reasons have some validity.  Maybe none of them.  But I can already tell you this move has changed my life.  I have honestly seen this move as more about Brad.  Or the boys.  It doesn't have much to do with me.  I'm just along for the ride.  But I am discovering that I am so wrong.  I thought that picking up my life and moving 1500 miles away from everyone I know was good enough.  I thought I had done a good thing.  God was proud of me for trusting Him in this and now everything is going to fall into place.  I would love for it to work out like that, and maybe it will, but my job is not over. 

God doesn't look at my obedience and trust in moving here and say, "Way to go, Amanda!  You passed the test.  Now everything else in life will go exactly as you want it."  No, moving here was only the beginning of my surrender. 

Ever since we got here a week ago, I've been wrestling with God.  I have felt him telling me there is more.  More than I can even imagine.  But I have to surrender.  Everything.  I have to surrender all that I have been clinging so tightly to.  My security.  My comfort.  My things.  I have to be willing to give him anything he wants.  That doesn't mean he's going to take it all away from me, but until I surrender completely to Him, I will not be able to experience the full blessing that He wants to give me. 

But the truth is I'm not ready for that yet.  I still want to hold on to my comfort.  My security.  I like watching TV at night or having a closet full of clothes.  And so we wrestle.  I know what I have to do, but I don't want to.  But the funny thing is, I can't run away from Him.  He is everywhere.  Turning my heart toward Him so that soon I have nowhere else to go but to Him. 

I started reading Anything by Jennie Allen before we left.  I had seen it recommended on a blog I read and it sounded like it fit with what I was going through.  In the beginning, the book was not what I expected, but it quickly was exactly what I needed.  A book about surrendering it all to God so that He can do more than you could ever imagine.  So that He can fill you so completely it won't matter what you're going through because you have Jesus.  I am undone by this book.  It has spoken to me like no book I've ever read has.  I'm not ready for surrender, but this book was a gift from God, pushing me in that direction.  I want to give Him my all.  I want to surrender everything so that he can have anything he wants.  And I know the time will come soon when I will be able to say that and honestly mean it.  And I cannot wait to see what it is for.  To see what work He is going to do. 

Maybe this journey is really about me and surrendering completely to God.  Maybe he had to bring me 1500 miles away from everything and everyone I know so that He could capture my heart.