Beautiful Bounty

Days click by and I am so wishing there was a gadget to transfer my thoughts to paper without having to find the time to sit and type. Of course there will be soon as I can only imagine someone at Apple is working on that right now. 🙂

You see when I sit in this space I have the best time to think…

The rocking chair we used for all three boys is in this room and I love to turn on the fan and sit in the quiet while feeding Ava. She just looks up with her dreamy eyes and I am reminded that my life as a Mother of four is so good. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

Lately, I have also found that looking into Ava’s eyes makes me want to be a better person, a more knowledgeable soul and a better follower of Jesus. It’s as if God has turned on a switch in me and I love the light that is radiating through my veins.

My dialogue with God is in full swing when I make the time to sit quietly and listen. Sitting still and listening is not an easy feat for a type A doer and person who loves to accomplish much, but what I am finding in my listening is so encouraging, changing and sustaining.

Last Thursday night we went as a family to see this man perform:

Yes it is… Stephen Curtis Chapman! We absolutely love his music and his families call to help orphans. Their ministry is amazing and the tragedy they have endured as a family is nothing you would wish upon anyone, however they are such a testament to God’s great grace.  The loss has transformed their lives and I believe the loss of one little one’s life has brought medical care, safety and adoption to thousands of children who might not have had it without the formation of Maria’s Big House of Hope after the death of their daughter. Visit Show Hope to see how you can do more to impact the orphan crisis through monthly support, mobilizing your church and/or requesting aid to assist in your own adoption.

So here is where my story begins. We took our three boys to the concert but the concert began to get very late and we knew we needed to head home as it was a school night. On the way out our six year old began to come undone and by the time we all made it to the car he was in a full blown fit and freaking out.  This can be common for him but quickly everyone began to escalate and before we knew it the other kids were crying and begging our very obstinate son to just get in his car seat. It was horrendous and all I could think was that we were just trying to attend the Stephen Curtis Chapman concert with our family. Can this be for real?

We made it home and all fell into bed feeling lost and drained. Parenting can be the most thankless job in the world and I think the last few years of trying to parent Owen has definitely increased my faith as I find myself often asking God for the proper words to make my point with my children.

We then rolled into Friday and when the boys returned home from school we knew we had to deal with the event that t had taken place the night before. Shortly after everyone was home I found myself sitting in Ava’s room feeding her and begging God to show me what He needs me to say and do to be a more effective parent. God truly showed up and within a short time I called our whole family into Ava’s room for a meeting.

The words just came and I felt a bit like I was lecturing even though I tried hard to ask many questions. Bob did the same. We asked the boys why we adopted a child into our family?

We asked them what kind of family we are called to be?

We talked at great length about respect and honoring your parents even when it requires doing something you may not want to do or something that may interfere with what your personal agenda is at the time. I felt the load lift and we all made our way outside to do a family night of yard work. There were other plans looming out there but we needed to simply be, hanging with one another and working together as a family.

The weekend went on with several moments where both Bob and myself worked very hard to continue to check in, to engage more, to listen harder and to pray for the attitudes of our children.

I reread several chapters in Ted Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart and it was helpful once again for me to regroup, pass my learning along to Bob and then put it into action.

It is a book for people who have children of any age and it is full of ways to encourage your children to respect and honor parents. This weekend we discussed how honoring your parents, even when you may not want to, teaches you to honor God. We challenged them to do what they are asked without excuse, challenge or delay. It’s a tough road as we are more and more beginning to see their individual personalities creeping into the mix. They are getting so old and they want what they want when they want it. I remember those days as a child, but I also remember feeling awful when I behaved that way.

We have a big job ahead and for whatever reason this past weekend was very trying and very exhausting.

BUT in the midst of it all so many beautiful and bountiful things happened…

-We all communicated and listened more. Carter sat out back with Ava by the fire while Hayden and Owen helped cut back perennials.

-Bob and I had a long discussion about our spiritual lives and the possibility that we are being lead to attend another church ( a whole can of worms I must not dig into just yet)

-We attended soccer games, hiked with other Dads and sons from school.

-Spent more time loving on Ava and cherishing her smile and her silly fake coughs and chatter.

– We slept in on Sunday (whatever that means) and still made it to the early service.

-We completed Halloween costumes and prepared for the week.

-We visited our favorite pumpkin patch and did all things fall.

-We had an impromptu dinner with friends and the kids all planned  dance party in the basement with our Halloween strob light.

-We watched an inspiring video series called: Another World is Possible, featuring Shain Claiborne who founded the faith community of the Simple Way. Shain is radical and oh so funny. Take a peak at how he is making a difference with his DVD series on poverty. It was yet another reminder that we need to open our eyes and our hearts to those beyond our own corners of the world.

His crazy hair and insightful comments will truly make you think and of course I love what he asks others to do simply by giving their shoes.

Just a reminder of all things that make our lives so rich… The good, the bad, the difficult, the simple and the ugly. On Monday a friend reminded me that we are asked to do the very best we can each day. After all, we are never assured a tomorrow. Today I will be grateful for the bounty and the beauty that comes alongside this wild ride called parenthood!