Thursday, December 15, 2016

The struggle gets real over soup

When I had one child I made her baby food and monitored what she ate at all times. Heck, I did not allow her refined sugar until after she was one.But I distinctly remember a day in horrible Chicago traffic when Abishai was only a few months old and was screaming. I told his sisters to try to amuse him. He stopped crying and we had a peaceful drive home. Once we got home and I reached back to get him out of his carseat I saw that his entire face was black and he had a big smile. I freaked out and asked Evy "what happened?" To which she quickly responded "we gave him an oreo we found on the floor." It was at that moment I think I realized my resistance was futile (and did I mention a quiet car ride home?). Some where between 2 and 3 kids I gave up this battle and the only 2 foods Abishai eats without a fight are 1. chicken nuggets & 2. lolipops. Mostly I am #overit and pick my battles but we do fight the good fight for dinner most nights and he even ate kale the other day!! (this video is a glimpse of that good fight and I CAN NOT stop laughing). We would like to dedicate this video to all the mamas & papas holding it down when the struggle gets real in #toddlerland #keepinitreal

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

when nothing is wasted....

I am an over-sharer who can’t share much about a lot going on in our home and honestly I struggle to process everything with the daily onslaught of life. So when people ask “how is it going?” I try to smile and give a one sentence answer that makes sense to someone who is not living in this reality of in between-ness that we have for over a year now.  I try to avoid bursting into tears at the school ice cream social because that is just awkward for everyone. I answer that it is hard and good which is true and let the unspoken words stay in my soul.  I smile at everyone and acknowledge it has been an adjustment, it is harder and better than we thought, and we all move on.  

But even as I smile to others I grumble to Him about SO many of the THINGS: the adjustment, the fighting, the jealously, the constant battle for attention and position (and this is so much more real when someone moves in and it feels to your 5 year old heart that she is taking your Mama & Papa away from you).  And the guilt that comes when I realize that is happening some days because after the struggles and all the emotions I have little left.  The constant pushing us away and then pulling us close.  The lack of support that was promised.  The confusion and expectations and emotions. 
And I am so amazingly incompetent at dealing with it all.
There is chaos for sure.
 And we choose it. 
And what I am learning is this is about me needing Him, needing to hear and sense His presence, not when things calm down or become more clear but right now in the mess. 

Some days I am barely managing and groping towards to-do lists scribbled down on my hand or the backs of papers from school that should have been read last week. But I do not need to just hold on, to just wait it out. I need to extend my blistered, grasping fingers towards Him and just BE. Be yucky, be ugly, be great, be humble, be prideful, be unsure, be confused, be fearful, be content, be worried, be at peace, be desperate, be bold.  Because I vacillate between these on the daily. They are all part of my journey.

Friends, this recent day at court was different. 
This day I felt His presence in a way I was becoming afraid to ask for.  

And I must speak it to remind myself that nothing is wasted.  There was a picture God gave me in the middle of the night about something being "shaken loose" and I pressed into that , I prayed, I begged for some movement.  I hoped and showed up (some days THAT is all we have to do).  There were moments I still doubted anything I felt was real. I realized my own sinfulness as he sat next to me and I felt my judgement and unforgiveness rise up.  But I pressed in when God checked me.  I took a leap and I started a conversation and took a different posture. I saw what He can do in us and through us. I was able to see that He did in fact shake a lot her case but mostly in me. Not much has changed really but I sense a new way forward.  

I say “nothing is wasted” often- to others engaged in good, hard work, to my kids, and mostly to myself. I think I repeat it it so often because I so want to believe it. Will I believe this when the end of the story does not turn out the way I had envisioned all along?  Because if you are telling the story from the end looking back it is easier to make it tidy, to tuck the rough and raw edges in and make them seem less jagged. But what about when there is no clear outcome, when things are left undone and messy? Will I believe it then? Will I proclaim it in circumstances that defy it? Will I really choose to trust in Jesus who hung on a cross and was defeated by all worldly, seen, and obvious standards? Our world declares that death is final and all pain is unwanted. If I try hard enough and stay busy enough I can avoid these uncomfortable areas. But being vulnerable means risk and the ability to live in this tension of being courageous enough to hope while also completely trusting that God is in control. God is speaking to me even while we wait on His final word in this all. I am having to give over my fears, not day by day but sometimes moment by moment when I see the name on the caller id, when I need to chose to be for people that are wounded and have wounded, when I have to answer the unanswerable questions about her future, when I have to help our kids learn to live at peace when they sense the war for their hearts.  We are finding His Love and Hope speaks into these places.  The blending of our stories- hers and ours and trusting that BOTH will never be the same and that truly nothing is wasted. 

God’s truth often comes to me when I am brave enough to speak His words to others but mostly to myself.  Some days I can believe I am just too tired to extend grace yet again just to have it pushed aside.  But the kind of GRACE that changes us is always costly.  It costs Jesus His life to extend it to me on a daily basis. Yet I often want to clench my fist around it and like a toddler, to claim it, and refuse to share.  He is gently unfolding my fingers and reminding me I can extend what I did not earn in the first place to others because it can change all of us, in both the giving and receiving because  if we practice that enough it becomes unclear who is giving and who is receiving.    

I remember the story of the 3 dudes with the weird names who were thrown into a fiery furnace from when I was a kid.  Back in the day I mostly thought it was cool that God did "magic" and allowed them to walk away safely from that fire.  I thought they were bold and because of their bravery God saved them.  But as I read it now I see something else in this story....  
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3

The boldness and fearlessness and willingness to count the cost in saying "and EVEN IF He doesn't" requires knowing God and trusting that He really is good. This was spoken BEFORE they knew the outcome. I can speak it too. Even if they die, even if the cost is higher than I could imagine, even if .......... happens He is a loving and faithful Father.  Hope is still worth this all. Not because we know the outcome but because we know the Father who cares for us.  I am choosing hope friends and I am believing that nothing is wasted. And I am asking Him to help me walk in that.
Peace to you, 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Family Camp Adventures

I have been a COMPLETE and TOTAL blog slacker but this crazy life continues to not allow much time for sharing stories here. And also summer means these 4 little will never leave :) I have also been really busy with Hawa Images which is exciting!!
I wanted to share some images from our annual Family Camp vacay with the fam. We were so blessed to be able to spend time with family & friends that are family. We absolutely love this place and it did not disappoint once again. Here are some of our adventures....
family camp obligatory selfie- everyone headed to camp always posts and we love this tradition!

It was a fabulous week and our kids adored our family helpers. Highlights this year: Our sweet girl trying the tree climb and (and so many new things) and overcoming fears, Evy passed the swimming in the deep end test for the first time, Abishai LOVED the horse rides and got his first chance to select canteen treats (a clear highlight for this sweet lovin' boy, Joy and Titus joining us and traveling there and back, Abishai trying the bungee trampoline and flying so high, Anni taking arena lessons and a trail ride, Evy's magic show at the talent show, special prayer time, Jason and I trying the Leap of Faith high ropes course together, the annual J vs Rox archery showdown (ummm...I won thsi year y'all! bragging right adn trash talking begin now),  late night talked through laughter and tears,& extended time with dear family.  As we pulled away from camp with crying kids I asked "What was the best part of camp?" to which Evy replied through sobs "ALL OF IT!" This time away from daily life is such a blessing!!