I'd love to be the Proverbs 31 woman who rises before her household and makes an amazing breakfast and has everybody's clothes ironed before the the sun rises, but I've inherited the lazy gene that compels the children to eat cold cereal in a cup in the car as we speed away in wrinkled school uniforms. Saturday is another story, still no amazing breakfast and no ironed clothes, but who needs perfectly pressed to run around outside and roll in the dirt anyway?
The uniqueness of this particular Saturday is that all my beautiful babies, except little man up in his crib, are snuggled in close to each other in the living room. For one breathless moment all is right for me as I gaze at my fruit and say it is good. No one fighting, or making messes, or needing advice, just resting, looking like little perfect angels and they're all mine..for now. God gave them to me for a time, and I'm trying my best to do this thing right, and if it takes me being an insomniac on the weekends for God to be able to bring it all into perspective again, so be it.
That's my Sabbath rest, that all my week's pursuits, trying to get this house to the place its supposed to be, with all of its inhabitants following hard after God day after day after day, that it all matters. It matters! Even when the house isn't perfectly clean, and somebody has a cavity, and it seems like its all mundane and cyclical and boring...it matters. They matter, I matter, and He is so worth it.
Wow, its been a long time since I last posted...Sorry about that but things kinda started spinning out of control for me. I just now feel like I've found the groove of things. The kids went back to school, at two different schools mind you, and I got a new job, and did I mention we're pastoring a new church plant, and I still occasionally remind myself that I am postpartum (that explains alot sometimes). Oh and for the past three months we've been hosting four more people in my home. The summer is gone and my four girls are sharing one room. Three of the four more people are under five years old. Now this is not a laundry list of complaints or anything, I just wanted to explain my circumstances in case you started judging me and all for not writing. So explanation given let's move on.
When I was just a girl all I was escaping with my sleep was helping out with the dishes and watching my little brother. Now I open my eyes and IT looms over my bed, hovering with insistent demands. "Don't forget to do that thing you didn't do yesterday." "Make sure you get this done today." Now I've never been one of those super mommies who wake up before the whole family and have a complete breakfast on the table before any little feet come pattering down the stairs. But I do enjoy the mornings when I can slip out to the living room and get a cup of coffee in with my devotions before a little tiny starts screaming, "I NEED breakfast!"
Earlier this week we went to a conference at Morningstar and boy was I looking forward to it. Not because I felt like God was going to be more present to me in another place, but mainly because I would be alone with Josh, God and a bunch of people who love God insanely. However, last minute we decided it would be unwise to leave the little guys at home and so they got to come along. Good idea right? I convinced daddy to get us a room where I could be a part of the conference goings-on while the kids could still be safe and quiet in the room. Win-win for everybody. Six kids and 15 years into this thing I really start feeling like I know what I'm doing every once in a while. Emari and Zion were pretty good but any time you bring a toddler and an infant to a church event is a recipe in certain disaster because no matter how "Free" the congregation is, they want to be able to hear what is going on and not over the shrieks of a baby.
So, I did a lot of walking, and feeling sorry for myself and smacking myself back into the reality that I shouldn't feel sorry for myself, because that's selfish. I mean didn't God know that I wanted to hear His voice at this conference? Why didn't He make my kids fall into a deep sleep or quiet their spirits enough so I could participate? Then it happened. I remembered that this wasn't just about me, that Josh was there too. Duh, I mean, my part of this thing meant that he got to spend uninterrupted time with God. Gee, now I felt so much better. Ok, so maybe that martyrdom helped for a moment. Then a lady caught me chasing Emari around the lobby and pushing Zion in the stroller in frustration and felt compelled by the Lord to share something. She said that she remembered being a busy mom and chasing kids around and God gave her a promise that she felt the Lord wanted to pass on to me. She said that He told her that even when I felt like I was missing something by having to care for my babies, God wasn't moving on without me. At those moments I had to get up and leave He was going to pick right back up where He left off, that I wasn't going to miss a thing. Wow, God.
I think that all mommies need to grab hold of that. It can be so frustrating to feel like there is no reason to get out of bed except to chase some kids around, try your level best to teach them stuff, and then crash into bed exhausted at the end of the day only to turn around and do it one day after another. God has a special love for the mommy. He sees you and all that you do and isn't critical of the time you don't get to spend with Him. Don't beat yourself up about it and don't look at your precious charges with contempt because you feel like they are keeping you from Him. This is only a season, and He is always there, even when you don't FEEL it.
Yesterday we went to pick up my number 1 boy at the airport after his three week adventure in Germany. His sisters didn't even complain too much when I asked them to help me clean up his room and even got all dressed up to pick him up. I didn't reallize how much they had really missed him until then. And then I was all mush again. Every time I saw one of his updates on Facebook or read a tweet or talked to him on the phone or walked into his bedroom, it was there hovering. The inevitable. He's growing up and he's gonna leave me. Don't think I'm morbid, just hear me out.
I got pregnant with Tony in High School and he changed my life completely. Everything was altered, but I paid the price and I've reaped the reward of an incredible gift, to raise this boy up. He has never stopped being a blessing to my life. I made some tough decisions in order to keep life right for us, he was my friend from the beginning, not just my kid. I kept his best interest in mind all the time. I thought there was no way that any guy would ever love me enough to actually love this little brown baby too. But I was wrong, so wrong. Just when I thought it would never happen, could never happen, God sent us a daddy, and not just an ordinary daddy, the world's best. Tailor made for mommy and little man.Joshua walked into our lives and rescued us from the statistics. And it just exploded from there. Four sisters and one little brother later we are one great big happy family. God really knew what he was doing sending this man to raise up my boy. I love looking back and seeing God's hand in our lives. Watching as He reached down from heaven and took one broken dream and fashioned an entirely new thing that He could use for His Glory. Its been one extraordinary ride and I'm so blessed to have been given the opportunity to help shape this one life that God placed into my hands. I don't think I'll ever be ready to let him fly, but I know that he's been raised to face any challenge the world may hand him and with God's help and his daddy's advice he will overcome. Thank you Joshua for being such a great father and mentor to our boy, I love you.
So, I have been having a lot of amazing and blogworthy thoughts lately, I just haven't been able to find the time to sit down and write them. However, I have been able to find the time to read other people's blogs. This just so happens to be what I have been thinking about a lot and what I know other girls have been asking me about too. Follow this link...
Should I stay and work the same job for the same pay even though I feel like God is telling me to step out in faith? Should I send my girls back to the same school or to a more convenient location on this side of town? Public, private, or homeschool? Did I make the right decision in sending Rebecca back to publc school this fall? Is Tony gonna make it in college? Can I hack it staying at home with Emari and Zion or will I flee when caged in my home with two little guys like I always do? Is Tony going to make all his connecting flights? Will he arrive safely in Germany or be hijacked or kidnapped or lost to me forever?
Sheesh, that's a lot of stupid running through someone's mind at any time but especially at 3 in the morning, ya know. Boy am I glad that I can try it again tonight and do it right this time. Since my opportunity for rest has passed me by this time around, I was up early drinking coffee again, this time to keep me awake for sure, and reading my Bible. We follow a reading plan and it never ceases to amaze me how I can have a really crappy night and then wake up to God's Words just for me. This is from today...
If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn't guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It's useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?
Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.
Besides the allusions to sleep and rest, which are obviously, not for me, I'm really thinking the whole thing about kids being amazing is great and so on point. They are a real pain in the rear, and cause mommies to stay up late and get up early worrying about them, but in the end God is rewarding me. He is building my house, if I let him, not my night time rantings. Sleepless in Fayetteville signing off...
Josh and I are learning very quickly that being pastors of a church no matter the size can be very taxing. We love it so don't take us wrong but even with our vast experience as under shepherds for 15 years, missionary work, youth pastoring techniques and just plain raising our own kids into teenage-hood, doesn't quite equip us adequately. To put it plainly, we get tired fast. I now understand why Jesus withdrew (escaped) to a solitary place and prayed. Sometimes the weight of it all becomes overwhelming. We planned a quick getaway to Moravian Falls which just so happens to have a mountain top prayer house that is truly a solitary place. But I was still a little worried that the escape wouldn't be enough. I was praying and asking God why it is so hard and His response as always made it so simple, "My yoke is easy, my burden is light." He didn't say the yoke you take upon yourself, or the burden you allow others to put on you, He said His yoke. When I was allowed the chance to look up the passage He was referring to it made everything so clear.
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Boy is that what we all need, to learn how Jesus handles the pressure. Spend time with Him, learn how he does it. Its His invitation to us to come away with Him and allow Him to teach us how to discern the necessary things from the trivial. He knows exactly what we need. I love the sound of learning the unforced rhythms of grace. It almost sounds like a dance. That's how I would like Him to see me, as a graceful dancer carrying out even the most difficult of movements with unjerking accuracy and fluidity. Don't you?
The other day I was signing on to check my email when a news story flashed across my screen. This one particularly caught my attention because it had something to do with Ms. America and the fact that she apparently tripped on her dress while crossing the stage. I quickly clicked on the button to start up the video. I had to see this. Then, if He wasn't already hovering over me, the Holy Spirit burst into the room and said, "Just, WHAT are you doing?"
NO biggie right? I just wanted to watch the pretty lady who was officially being recognized as being the prettiest lady in our whole country fall in front of everybody in the whole world on television and make a complete fool of herself. What's the big deal? Apparently, the Lord was taking a stand in my life on this particular issue. Now let me say that if you watched the little video, this is not a blog to make you feel bad. I'm just saying that for me and what I've been going through lately this was a big no-no.
In case you weren't aware of this yet, I'm a pastor's wife and, well, people treat us pretty weird. I don't consider myself anything special, but the church often puts the pastor and his family on this pedestal. We don't climb up there ourselves, there is no ladder to the platform. You must place an item there. What we also like to do is say, "Look at them, they're up there and they're not doing things right!" We are just normal people like you, the only thing that is different for us is that we bear the weight of the congregation we lead. As representatives of something bigger than us, we often times become a target for those who want to bring down that larger entity through our frailties and mistakes or just make themselves feel better by putting us down
Just for the record, if you see me trip, don't post the video on youtube. Be Christ-like enough to come over and help a sister get up and move on.
How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.
Driving away from my house yesterday God met me on the backroads to Pembroke. I was feeling lousy about leaving my girls at home again and realizing once I stepped away from the bustle of my house how very busy and demanding I can be. The thought crossed my mind that I seem to always be instructing someone or bossing somebody around. Hi, baby can you do this for me, or good morning sweet pea, go get ready for school. I hate that, I so want to just stop and enjoy my children. Taylor my little elf baby is turning seven tomorrow and I can't believe how the time flies. So much of God was wrapped up in her arrival that I can't even begin to explain in words what her life has meant to me so far. She is sweetness incarnate. Tony told me just last night how he doesn't want her to grow up and get mean, I explained that I don't think she ever will get mean but she has to grow up. Just a little side note.
So, I've been thinking how often I get wrapped up in the busyness of life and don't enjoy the moment. I do that alot. I get that way with God too and He says just stop a minute and let me hold you. Seven is meant for rest, for renewal. Just as Tay's seven reminds me of what my life was like even seven years ago and how much God has restored to us as a family the renewal He has given us. Today, take a moment and enjoy your coffee, smell its aroma, give someone you love a lingering embrace just to hang on a little longer and thank God for the experience of life and breath and rest.
Wow, so I realized that's its been a really long time since I posted a new blog. But the real reason behind my title this time is retrospect. Just today I reconnected with a friend from High School. She mentioned that it had been a long time since high school days and requested that we catch up. Now I don't know about you but its really hard for me to sum up the past 15 years, yes its been 15 years since I graduated, Class of '93 rocks! How do I squeeze all that has happened into a condensed paragraph that wouldn't bore the socks off my grandma, but yet still conveys the full meaning of my life's pursuits? Maybe I'm being a little dramatic about it, but hey its my life and my prerogative right?
Yesterday I was listening to the radio and Paul Alan's song, To Bring You Back, was playing. That song always gets me, I can hear the instrumental and it would still bring me to tears. There is a verse in there that says, "you've been trying to find your place in a world that wasn't made for you." It hit a nerve and I was pinging the rest of the afternoon. Today writing to my friend only compounded it. What have I been doing all these years? Was it worth it? How much have I done that was truly in service to my King and Master? Am I guilty of trying to find my way and carve a niche out for myself in a world I wasn't made to remain in? I guess I just mean to say that a whole lot of inward dealings began.
For those of you that know my husband and I well, you know that we have been really wrestling with God the past year. You never really win when you wrestle with Him you know, at least you don't walk away unchanged. I finally came to the conclusion that while my life has been my own, it has been at least a mild attempt to please Him while still remaining in this crazy world. My mistakes and frailties He understands and when I walk away and start to forget He pursues me. When I finally return He has no condemnation, only a welcoming embrace and a quiet word, "Been a long time hasn't it?"
On Mt. Sinai the Lord told Moses to tell the people to prepare themselves for the Lord's appearance. When He came down onto the mountain, He warned them not to touch the mountain or come near it or else they would die. Even with their preparations, He would come amongst them but they could not draw near. They witnessed His appearance in fire, smoke, thunder and the blaring of horns. He only spoke to Moses.
At pentecost in Acts, they were told to wait but God appeared without any warning and invaded each person there individually. Once more He showed up with wind, and fire. But this time it was not a mountain but a person. He filled them with His presence and they became His temples.
The Lord is saying that now He does not want us to sit back as spectators any longer taking the words of man as His words, but He desires to come upon those who wait for Him with no warning, changing their lives forever. He wants to envelope them and flow through them setting there hearts on fire with His words spoken to them specifically. No more is it to be what the pastor says about God, but what God has said and done in my life. The work of the Lord in my life is what sets me on fire to proclaim His goodness and mercy. That makes me a true witness, not a second hand source.
This Memorial Day Joshua and I headed up to Washington DC. An old friend of mine from high school was there on vacation, so I grabbed the opportunity. While not being the subject of this blog I really must mention that God is amazing in His gifts to us. I hadn't seen my friend since I was a sophomore in high school. Its been 16 years or more and out of the blue I get an email letting me know that she's coming. We went out to dinner and recalled old times. Nothing spectacular happened we just hung out and I loved it. God is so cool like that.
Anyway, so on that note we left the next morning and on a whim decided to check out the Justice House of Prayer before we left town. It just so happened that they do not meet there all the time and as we walked up to the door another girl came up and unlocked it. Josh asked her if she knew anything assuming that she was a tenant of another part of the building. She was actually on staff and had headed up to the apartment to get a bottle of water for a friend. Wow! We talked for a while and she showed us around and let us know that she had come from the Boston JHOP to help out with a 24/7 Bound for life vigil that had been going on since April. We let her know a little bit about what God was beginning to stir in our hearts and she shared a dream she had recently had. In her dream there was a ball of fire underneath America and the fire was sending shoots of flame out. As it did pillars began to drive up from the ground in various places all over the country. The ball of fire was named intimacy. We were more than amazed at this.
We left JHOP and decided to take a walk past the Supreme Court building and check out the vigil. There was one girl there with red tape on her mouth. All around her people were taking pictures, like right beside her and she didn't budge. Some people even took pictures with her. We just stood there mezmerized. What an awesome demonstration! One girl standing there against all that represents our national justice system. Life! Even recalling the picture I am brought to tears. She made me think of little David standing in defiance against Goliath.
If you have ever been to DC you can understand how enormous everything seems. Now you must believe that I am a strong patriot. I love being an American, I love my country. I get goose bumps when I hear the National Anthem and I grew up on an Air Force base where we had to stand for the Star Spangled Banner even at the movie theater. It still affects me, and when I even drive through DC I feel the same way. God Bless America! Standing there amidst all that represents our country I am reminded how small I really am in the grand scheme of things. All of history seems to rush past me in those moments.
After finally pulling ourselves away from the scene on the Supreme Court steps, we walked around the front of the capital building. I stood there once again carried away looking down the mall to the Washington monument, it was surreal. I had the overwhelming feeling of being on the deck of an enormous ship. The wind whipped around me and I looked out upon the vast sea beyond.
I remember reading recently in my devotional time that Jesus set his face to Jerusalem and was not distracted from His purpose. Just like the girl who stood alone in the face of American justice undaunted. Life goes on around us, but are we resilient in the pursuit of our purpose? Do we even know what our purpose is? Are we only passengers on this great ship or do we have a jog to do in bringing it to the destination it set out to?
Today I woke up thinking about where I’ve been and where I’m going. Lately in my devotion time I’ve been reading about the people setting up a memorial and taking the time to remember what God had done for them. They also were to teach their children these things. The other day, my kids were all converging on me in my room. We were all sitting there on my bed and the idea came out of my oldest child’s mouth that dad’s cool, but mom just isn’t. No big revelation, I know that I’m not cool. I’ve known that my whole life, but something just stung with that coming from my offspring. What is wrong with this picture? You don’t know me, you don’t know what I been through! Immediately he expressed remorse over the words, but the idea was there hovering in the room. What would I do with this? Ponder it I suppose.
Now here I am today, relishing my vacation and time away from home, yet sitting right here on the verge of my oldest son’s birthday. I can’t help but return in my mind to my personal Jordan River and say look son, these are the stones of our memorial. Every year return here yourself and maybe see them in a different light, but don’t deny them. They have made you who you are, even when you don’t realize it. Over the years add another stone to the pile and look back at what has gone before you. Our first year together the Lord brought us out of our personal Egypt and created a new life for us in North Carolina. The next year he brought us a new family, the Goodman’s, one that would forever change our lives. Next a family of our own with Daddy, the man who would usher us into our destiny together. Then a new sister and new horizons. Over the years we have served as missionaries together, suffered through the loss of a grandma and numerous family members, the birth of more sisters, broken bones, crushed but renewed dreams, and so many things it is hard to mention through the written word. Of all the things I would stand to mention is the reality of your own adoption and the family that God has blessed us with. Never forget that the life you have now is based on choices of those who have gone before you. The sacrifices made for you and your sisters, though not expressed, are very real. God saw fit to reach down from heaven and lead us to the perfect man for our little broken family. You and I could not have made the same impact on our generation had it not been for dad. Your sisters would not be here and so many things would have been different. I love it that you think he’s cool, that you have a man to look up to and admire. Thank God for him! Set up your own memorial stones and revisit them as you grow older. Don’t ever forget where God has brought you out from and the promise that He is leading you to. Happy Birthday and I love you!
Everybody around here knows I have six kids, some think I'm weird, some think I'm not and some have no opinion whatsoever. As for me, its just part of who I am, you know. I don't often think about it even when I'm calling upstairs to them, one by one and I realize how many names I have to say. Basically, its my life rolled up in a great big ball of diapers and mismatched socks and endless chores, and its wonderful and my worst nightmare, and its lovely and it sucks, and its everything I always wanted and nothing like what I signed up for. Ya know, if I don't do it, it don't get done.
I'm handling everything just fine, I'm a great juggler. I can steer away from being overwhelmed until you throw all the other things in there. That's when it gets complicated. Somebody needs counseling, homework needs to get graded, a mail out must go out, a paper needs to get written, and suddenly other people are throwing stuff into my juggling act and I get off kilter. Something has got to go and its not gonna be my babies or my man. Maybe its the laundry, or the phone call I had to return. All I know is that this show must go on and I am only one person. My primary job is to take care of my husband, my kids and my house.
Titus 2:1-6 Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid
doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into
healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so
they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at
them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be
virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone
looking down on God's Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young
men to live disciplined lives.
Thoughts like, "Did I waste my time and money on that stupid B.S. in Psychology?" run through my head all the time. Then I look at all my beautiful babies and I wonder why I couldn't have discovered this place of almost contentment before now. Homemaking seems so sublime. Being a wife is good, raising little people is totally awesome, trying to lead people through the wilderness in pursuit of our Promised land is super scary.
A couple of weeks ago during my trip back home, my sister and I went back to our old house at Travis AFB. It was so weird when we turned off the main road and discovered that the whole housing area was gone. Yep, all that was left were the trees and grass. They even removed the streets. Wow, the memories both good and bad that raced through my mind. I told my sister that that road is where God first spoke to me about what He wanted me to do with my life. I was walking down the road and praying and telling Him about how hard stuff was. He responded by telling me that the stuff I was going through He was going to turn around and use to help others. I interpreted that to mean that I was going to go to college, get a PhD and make lots of money solving other peoples problems. Funny how we do that with God's words. We try to make them work for us. A calling is different than a paid position. Yeah, its really nice to get paid for doing what you love, but not everybody has that luxury.
I sat there looking at where that old road used to be and it was so funny because the grass had grown up in the bare spot and just along the old path that used to be asphalt and sidewalk, yellow flowers had begun to grow. They curved along the same place that had been hard places. I thought I was walking along one road, God had a different view point and destination in mind. Looking at it the scenery has definitely changed from what I had expected. Its a lot prettier than it used to be and only eyes that had once seen it as a carved out road could distinguish its path. The calling has never changed and His Words still ring true. So no, I may never be Dr. Goodman, but my life can still be an encouragement for others. If I can make it through so can you. My regret is that I have fought so long to pursue one dream while never realizing that the road wasn't really as ugly and difficult as I was making it out to be. When I finally stop fighting and relax in His Presence, I can see the beauty in where I'm at right now.
Mother's Day was celebrated throughout the United States on Sunday, and being a mother of six kiddos, I was treated to breakfast in bed, the usual at our house. My Tony and Emari woke me up early with waffles and sausage by the former kissing me sweetly and the latter jumping on the bed saying "Happy Mover's Day" over and over. The other girls had all spent the night at Grandma's house so they were missed but it was nice nonetheless. As I sat there in bed enjoying my lovely breakfast I was swept back in time to my first real Mother's Day. You see I had two official days before this special one, but because this momma had done everything out of order, I was forced to wait my turn in time. Tony was already three when daddy grabbed him and had him scribble a little picture and added a translation to it that was my first Mother's Day card ever. I'll never forget it, it was epic.
My little heart didn't want to expect anything in fear of being disappointed and here they were overwhelming me with a scribble and a heart and I love you mommy. I don't even remember a gift, that doesn't matter, the boy still goes out every year and buys his mommy a card and stealthily takes it around for each sister and brother to make their mark on it. I melt as a response to their love poured out to me. They are my love embodied.
It doesn't happen that often so don't think I'm being dramatic. So I taught class and went to the beach and drove home just in time to head to the airport to catch my flight home. My little sister went with me and we hadn't visited our dad together since I was about 15. There we were, two little girls heading out to face the inevitable. Nobody could be there for us, it was just us two, like it used to be when our parents divorced and I had to make sure nothing bad happened to us. Man, the responsibility was tangible. It descended on me like a cloud.
We headed to the ICU and found him there. Things weren't as bad as we thought they would be. He was paralyzed on his right side so we had to stay to his left so he could see us and touch us. It was pretty hard not to cry, not because he looked so bad and even what had happened. It was bittersweet to stare at him for three days and see myself in him, to see his mark in my own children's faces. We left him on Wednesday and he is progressing as expected according to the doctors. Coming home was more difficult than the trip to see him. I guess I had pent up stuff that had to escape, I don't know.
I didn't cry until I came home. It still sneaks up on me and overwhelms me. Bitterness threatens to overtake my heart but I fight it with all the strength I can muster. The cloud is beginning to disperse and I keep getting this impression that this is another one of those times when God is revealing the nastiness that I hide. Feelings and disappointments that I push under the carpet or hide under the bed. Reveal and release, heal and move forward. God sees every tear, knows every heart ache, and with that knowledge I can be confident that Somebody cares. Now its up to me to catch my breath and push higher. Let's go.
Computers have been sick at my house, including the macs, and it seems somewhat like a plague. My 15th anniversary came and we celebrated by running off to the beach together and had an awesome time sans children. We were blessed by a new truck that our whole family can fit in at the same time, legally. My Tony turned 17, and got his very first car and I'm feeling so grateful to have born and almost raised such an awesome testimony of God's goodness. Spring Break came and went and we all had a completely wonderful time working outside together.
I feel so very blessed in a very unexplainable way right now. I ran inside to grab a blanket for my baby yesterday in all the hubbub to get to church in a timely manner and was completely taken off guard by a wave of teary-eyed happiness. You know that kind that catches you in the throat and takes a moment to recover from? You can't really put it into words, its the kind of breathless excitement and joy that you felt when you found out he loved you, when you held your baby in your arms for the first time, when you've been working so hard and not really seeing alot to show for it and then all of the sudden...sigh. A glimmer of hope on the horizon, the stillness of morning and the hope it affords for a new and different day. The break in the storm. The sigh of relief when you can finally drift off to sleep and rest. Yeah, that's it. Just breathe deep for a moment and bask in His goodness. Ahh.
Yesterday was Marzipan's third birthday. All year long she has been maintaining that she was 42 years old and would hold up only 1 finger to prove it. Somehow she convinced you and you moved on with the conversation. Yes, they are conversations and sometimes you feel like she's just that old too.
In my mommy archives I always pull up the memories of the day of the prospective child's birth on the anniversary of it. My perspective is slightly different than everyone else's since obviously I had a starring role in the forthcoming project. Emari's birth was pretty interesting considering she was induced two weeks early and still weighed over 9 lbs. She then proceeded to get her head out, but being endowed with her daddy's wide shoulders decided to hang out in the birth canal for a little longer. One extremely scary obstetrical procedure later and she was out, both of us bearing the battle scars but an adventure we both shared.
On deciding her name Josh and I were both a little stumped because we really thought she was gonna be "the boy." When she presented herself in the ultrasound as another addition to our girl collection, I must admit, I cried the whole way home. All of the sudden, I was in the ranks of those women of old who just couldn't produce a male heir. Stupid, I know, and so very, very shallow, but man I was sad. Not an other girl...but we decided to stop the flow of our alphabetical naming of the Goodman offspring and shake things up a bit. We also had run out of family members who have passed on to name our children after, so this time we pulled from the living to immortalize.
She's named after her Papa Emory. It means "courageous leader." Melina means honey. God told us that if He had his way her middle name would be honey because she was going to be as sweet as honey, so we went Spanish on that one. Trinity was a throw back to a name we wanted to give to Taylor her older sister but the grandparents talked us out of it.
Turns out that in my pre-delivery praying I asked the Lord that if it was at all possible for Him to be present in the delivery room in all three of His forms, I would really appreciate the extra support. Rewind to the obstetrical procedure I mentioned earlier. That included mommy having her knees rammed all the way above her shoulders by daddy on one leg and a nurse on the other, then second helpful nurse pushes down on baby belly from above, all while mommy pushes as hard as she can and Dr. Wonderful works before mentioned stuck shoulders of baby Emari to an unstuck position. The Trinity was just what I needed for that delivery, I just couldn't do it on my own. Death loomed in our delivery room, but God brought us both through. Emari has been the exclamation point for our female assortment and I wouldn't trade her for any old boy at all.
If you would have asked me years ago what gender of child I wanted I would have told you...boys, boys, boys. I babysat for a family that had four boys and I absolutely loved it. Now four girls into this thing I wouldn't trade them for anything. Their unique approaches to femininity teach me new things almost daily. However, I still love me some manchild and am sooooo glad that God finally gave me another to finish off my set. See, I know a lot about being a girl but boydom was a mysterious realm. I married a very masculine and yet sensitive man and I revel in the contradictions that those two characteristics display in our society. My man is a hopeless romantic and its amazing.
The cool thing is that somehow he's passed it on to our oldest. Yes ladies, I lost my next best valentine yesterday. There have been other women for him in the past and this is not where I place his hand into another's and quietly walk away. But, it is a milestone for us. He is beginning to look at the wooing of a woman's heart through the eyes of a man, not a boy. Part of me exults in the reality that he's been raised up to honor and adore the feminine heart, but the other part wants to seek out a quiet place and cry my eyes out, "Oh God, protect his fragile heart, don't let it be crushed to pieces by an uncaring girl." God answers me, "I think I've got this one covered, mama."
Personally, I've always had a hard time finding what it is that I can stand for. I mean, I love God and seek to do His will always, but what do I stand for? What is my "Thing?" I can't seem to find it. I homeschool some of my kids, but I also have some in Christian school and have even *gasp* sent them to public school. I have loads of kids, but I don't have everything organized and under control. I'm married to a pastor, but I don't fit the stereotype. I think I've worked really hard not to fit into a category and now I'm out here uncategorized and feeling lost and alone. I've done well to figure out what I don't want to be, now we need to move on to who I do want to be and I'm getting too old for this reinvention of myself. It's too late to say Who am I? I am who God made me. Now if I could just figure out who that is...
So that's what I keep telling myself. Over and over. Especially when I believe it the least. I'm a California girl, you guys. God chose in His Infinite Wisdom to see fit to place me in a warm climate from conception through the age of 18. At which time He then cruelly transplanted me to the South. Now, God doesn't need any defense for His actions but He did move me to Fayetteville, NC which isn't quite the Deep South. Here we have more of a strange mix of military retirees from all over the globe mixed with the descendants of the original settlers and Confederate devotees, so its a little different.
However, I was made for warmth and breezes and dry heat. I just know I was. Then you throw in the freakish blizzard like weather we have just often enough each year to shut us down for a few days. I detest it. But just recently I was compelled through some inner stirrings of the Holy Spirit to seek out my heritage and guess what? My family actually comes from right here in the great state of North Carolina! So if you really think about it California was kind of like our captivity and now I am the generation of those returned to our Promised Land. God is so cool like that, but I really wish I could get the anointing of those from my lineage who thrived here. I guess my kids will be closer to understanding that since they only know it here. Maybe they can teach me to be more adaptable.
Oh, we have a little relaxation from the chores, but its almost not worth it for the amount of cleaning we do to catch up and bring the house back to "dad" status. The excitement of his return almost blurs the weariness of preparing for it. The thing is it wouldn't be so hard if we had just kept things up while he was gone. The excitement would still be there, and we'd still be running around making sure things were perfect, but we wouldn't be so worried about things not getting done.
This morning I was thinking about this in reference to Jesus' return for His Bride. Wow, the excitement! But hey, we don't even know when the wedding day is. How are we supposed to be ready? Hmmmm. Maybe we should always be ready. No leaving things for another day, or letting things pile up. Get your chores done as they come and you won't be caught wearing you pajamas when your bridegroom shows up.
Now I think that there are jobs that us girls can do just as good as men or even better, but that doesn't mean we should. Traditional roles are what I'm all about, not because a man says a woman can't do the job, but because God made me for something specific. Being a mommy is specific, I can do things for my babies that daddy just can't and vice versa. Ministry is the same for me. However, there are times and situations that cause you to have to rise up and take a place that you aren't naturally inclined to. There are times in history when women had to step into masculine roles while the men were away, and they did it well. Yesterday was one of those days. Jess, a new hero of mine, was given last minute notice that her husband would not be leading worship the next morning. Did she shrink back, oh no! She may not have jumped at the chance, but she rose up and took her husband's place. Boy are we glad she did. Worship was amazing, the Word came forth powerfully, and overall things came off without a hitch. I'm pretty sure nobody went away saying, "I sure hope that pastor gets back soon."
I guess the point of all this is that each day I'm learning more and more about what it is that God has made me for. No, I'm not always good at it, no I don't always want to, and man I sure wish He would back off in certain areas. But all in all, I'm so honored to be living right here, right now, doing this thing, with all of you!
From the very beginning of our marriage, Josh has traveled. In the early years, I would stay at my mom's or his dad's and things were pretty peachy. Then I kind of outgrew the whole I'm-too-young-to-stay-at-home-and-take-care-of-myself excuse. Although I must add if I ever asked, the doors to both homes would be so wide open. Plus, now its kinda like, "Papa can me and my brood of kids take over and ransack your house for the week while daddy's gone?" I mean you can only push a grandparent's love so far. So I'm left to fend for myself at home with these kids of his while he's out galavanting the globe and spreading the good news and all.
Sleep, its so essential and I'm lacking it. Now I move as many of my kids into my room as possible when dad is away. Tony and Becca don't like to sleep in my room anymore. It may be due to the fact that you can't actually find a place to sleep what with various bodies strewn from the bed to the floor, but that's besides the point. I like to know if I hear a noise, that everybody is safe and sound with me. The dog and Jesus can take care of the rest, ya know. This week is the same old story. Tony and Becca in their rooms upstairs and because they are teenagers they stay up to weird hours and walk into your room unexpectedly at 2 in the morning freaking you out. Emari has a wonderful habit of waking up crying in the middle of the night, or talking in her sleep. Last night she said, "Ok dad." and I asked her why she said that and she said it was because he said, "Thank you." All that was well and fine and pretty cute but not at 3 am. Then mix in coughing fits and potty breaks and night feedings from the insatiable Zion. Sleep just isn't my friend right now.
Then in the wee hours of Tuesday morning I got up with Josh and his daddy, two of my most favoritest men of God in the whole world and rode with them to RDU to send them on their way. Whew! I prayed the whole way home and was just on fire for what was to come. I love taking care of things while Josh is off kicking enemy tail. We made a long list of stuff that needs to be accomplished, plus the list of things I like to do while the man is gone, then there's Latin class, and CCC stuff and Pursuit stuff and did I mention I'm the mother of six kids, the youngest a strapping lad of 15 weeks? So needless to say I hit the ground running.
Everybody made it to school on time that first day, and while I was a little late, I made it to staff meeting, taught my class, and went home to get some rest. Enter CHAOS. We were happy little elves on our way home from school, but upon entering the door of our humble abode all hell broke loose. Suddenly, my kids were fighting, crying, emotionally melting away. And I was operating on about 4 hours of sleep. Yelling ensued and I realized I was doing most of it at that point. Then I got the phone call about the earthquake in Haiti and the battle lines were drawn. Deep intercession fueled by utter exhaustion just filled our house. THAT is enough! My husband is gone to a scary place across the world, I'm steering this ship we call The Pursuit with the small skiff, SS Goodman attached, and now our missionary hearts were crushed by tragedy. Something is definitely going on in the heavenlies! But I know my limits and after praying what I felt was all I could pray I moved forward. We ate dinner quickly, settled in to bed, gave the two youngest to the two oldest (since they are nocturnal creatures by nature of their being in their teen years) and me and the middles slept soundly ALL NIGHT!
Day two was just as fun as day one but I was able to handle it without all the yelling and freaking out. We made it through and now I'm excited to see what Day three has in store for us. Ahoy!
The Pursuit finally kicked off our first ever 24 hour prayer from the confines of our basement. I'm loving it and I'm really surprised. Why? Because I'm a very private sort of individual and since Saturday night around 6 pm numerous individuals have been traipsing in and out of the prayer room under my house. Did I mention its right under my bedroom? Did I mention it was 24 hours a day? Did I mention I could hear my husband like he was in the same room as me while he's crying out to God downstairs? Oh, rejoice, cuz this girl is loving it. Now there are some rules and regulations set down, such as 1)The house is off limits, and 2)Don't park in my flowerbed and the like, but I am loving the atmosphere of my home right now. God's presence dwells here, but right now this week, its almost tangible. I don't want to leave.
During my prayer time I was reminded of the story of Obed-Edom. The ark of the covenant was in his house for three months and the Bible says the Lord blessed him and his entire household. How completely amazing would that be? The physical representation of the presence of God sitting right there. The reason it was left at Obed's house was because the Lord had struck down Uzzah for touching it and that really scared King David. Apparently Obed and his household knew how to properly reverence God. In fact he was from the group of Levites who were appointed to carry the ark on their shoulders. I desire to be part of a household of servants that know how to carry the Lord's presence.