Where He Leads

Since having children nearly 7 years ago, I am still learning to be content with the daily activities that are necessary to make a loving home go round-n-round. It has been a long journey to arrive at a “respectable” level of contentment. Along the way, I’ve had my faithful supporter, guide, comforter and friend, Jesus in me. My “Jesus-with-skin-on” has come in the form of many – first of course, being my husband, who I’ve learned has much greater insight than I’ve previously given him credit for! Becoming a Mom has been gloriously wonderful and at the same time, rock hard!
My learning contentment has meant I’ve had to lay aside my envy. Along this journey these past 7 years – 2 precious boys later, I’ve seen beautiful Mothers around me spinning plates so beautifully. Weaving a web of personal creativity. Serving others. And yet my Heavenly Father, for me, has set the boundary lines close in. The writing and speaking I dream of doing to encourage and uplift women to the heart of God is just that – a dream. For now, the boundaries are set in. When He gives me the “YES!” I’ll move – but not until then. I know His will and plan are perfect. I’ve had many years to practice trusting Him.
So when He had me and the kids enroll into Bible Study Fellowship this year to study Isaiah, I was stunned by the peace He gave me while sitting in intro that morning. The peace He gave I’ve described as almost touchable. Wild peace from Him. And as I began to get into the study, it didn’t take Him long to speak to a heart longing to hear more from Him. He gave me an assignment.
In response to one of the pointed questions of “what specific situations of oppression and injustice could you work to resolve?” My response was to “encourage and invest in the lives of young moms who are overwhelmed by being a mom (single) – speaking Truth into their lives.” He continued to point me in a direction – His direction. And before long, I found myself in volunteer training for Hannah House, a maternity home for pregnant women, 13-29. It had just moved it’s 20+ year ministry from Glenrose, Tx to East Texas and was in need of volunteers. I had no idea where I fit in until I wrote on my training card “willing to talk about a day in the life of a Mom.” To which the director replied, “GREAT! We had moms in Glenrose that would have a girl come in their home once a week to see what it’s really like to be a mom.” Well, I was just thinking about giving a talk about the ins and outs of my day, but no, Heavenly Father had a different plan – to open my home to these beautiful pregnant women – speaking Truth into their lives and loving on them through my family.
To date we’ve had girls the past three Friday mornings. It has been a joy to host these women. To pray for them. My boys have embraced each one; prayed for each one. They have had the blessing of doing a little bit of each thing we do, between chore time, reading time, watching me teach as we “do school”, cooking. They’ve seen me discipline each child – the not so fun, but necessary part of parenting. We’ve loved on them and shared a meal with them. And my two little evangelists have both asked each girl “Do you know Jesus?” Wow. I would have never dreamed. As I described to several friends of mine, He’s placed me out of my comfort zone and in a very vulnerable place. But HE is here with us, making Himself known to those who are hurting. And we are blessed.
Are you interested in writing or speaking to women and leading them to the heart of God? If your heart is to serve women and lead them to the Heavenly Father, check out the She Speaks Conference. I’m going to! Maybe I’ll see you there!

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God in Me!

So this is how it went down.  Boys were up at 6:30 this morning (I’d been awake since 4:30; made them stay in there room until 7am and I’d had my coffee.  This morning was BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), which is usually on Wednesday, but holiday week pushed it up a day.  These are generally easy mornings for us as the boys LOVE going to BSF as well as I.  They are tired when we depart from BSF, we pick up lunch, come home and they have to finish cleaning their room and doing their kitchen chore.   They generally eat and play outside while I veg inside for a bit before it’s time to come in.  Rest time is a MUST on BSF days.  At present, school is not a priority on this day, unless we squeeze some in after rest time. 

SO, it’s rest time in our house.  I can tell I’ve got some tired boys on my hands.  I’m tired but I’m not melting yet, although ready for MY nap!  Oldest starts getting grumpy and mouthy while we’re trying to put his bed back together (linen washing day) and by the time he’s snuggled under the covers he’s said “I’m tired of you” and something else I can’t remember…..but hurtful and unnecessary, nonetheless. 

I’ve been meditating on the Love Chapter in 1 Corinthians 13 – back to the basics is what I like to call it.  I’ve been reading it each morning and usually stick around “Love is patient.  Love is kind.  It is not easily angered. ”  Today I added on “Love is not self-seeking.”  So, basically, love is self-less.  Anyhow.  I continue to thank God for His Spirit in ME that I can be patient, kind and not easily angered – and thank you for the opportunties you (God) continue to present that allow HE and I to walk that out – mainly in my home! 

So today, as my ears heard these unkind words from my child, instead of being “easily angered” as I had been in the past, and could have responded differently (’cause I’m human and sensed those things rising and about to bubble forth), I walked away and recalled God’s word that I’d been meditating on – walked back in his room and gently touched him, told him I loved him and to have a good rest with a smile, and asked if I could give him a hug, which he declined…until youngest wanted a hug – and then he was ready for one 🙂 

As I came into the kitchen, I realized I’d just experienced God’s transforming grace in ME.  And rejoiced.  And wrote it down in my journal, thanking Him for His goodness to make me into His instrument of love to my children.  It wasn’t difficult.  It was HIM.  And my boy experienced HIM.  And for that, I exhault HIM and bless HIS Name.

Stone Sunday Chronicles – Last week!

Today began early as we were scheduled to serve as MVP (most valuable parent) in Saw’s class today. It began with Tony and I working together to throw a pork loin roast into the oven. Fortunately (albeit grudgingly) I am learning to bathe the night before so there’s only makeup and hair to contend with. Easy breakfast with farmers cheese (tvorog), honey, granola and banana. Sammy would love a return of my “famous Sunday muffins” but he and I are going to have to make it a routine to mix the dry ingredients the night before.

Way before we had kids, Tony and I were involved in a large Sunday school class where everyone was having kids before us. I loved that class and the people in it and was very passionate about encouraging others in their relationship with Christ. One of the members had twins at one point – and then “fell of the face of the earth.” And I remember it making me sad that she no longer attended our class, or church, that I knew of. Perhaps to make it more challenging, I think her husband worked on Sundays. And although our class visited and encouraged her, nothing changed. However, believing that a parent, as a Believer, had the greatest responsibility of leading their child to faith in Christ, and in my opinion, worshipping with other believers is a part of the process of teaching them to live out God’s Word, could not understand her absence and rememember thinking “God didn’t give you those babies for you to drop out of church!” Well, this was my simple prayer when I got home and was changing clothes “Thank you Father, for helping us to work through the challenges of GETTING to church! Thank for for the tenacity and perseverance it often takes on a Sunday morning to not give up and to keep moving us (especially 2 small people!) forward so that we can live out our faith by worshipping with other Believers.” Because believe me, I encountered some small, yet viable opportunities this morning to throw my hands up in the air and say “FORGET IT! IT’s TOO HARD!”

Our time was well spent in worship (didn’t get there for song, only message). Pastor is still preaching on 2 Corinthians and giving/money. It’s been a great series. Tony is PUMPED about starting Dave Ramsey’s course in a few weeks.

Our next tour of duty was changed – we were to be MVP’s in Sawyer’s class (a breeze) but were asked before worship if we could switch to Sammy’s class. My response: I’m not prayed up for that! That class is 30+ strong. But we were willing – and always will be, to step in where we’re needed. Sammy was NOT happy about Momma being in his class, but Dad is the fun man of the two of us and was able to win him over by playing a game of “ball” in the fish tank (no fish or water) and this won him over easily. They divide the boys and girls up after getting started and we were in charge of sharing about Jesus being in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, how hard it must have been for him and how He made the right decisions to lean on/into Father during this testing. We made a 80 link chain yellow/black, representing day and night. My Sammy was a great help. I don’t know who was the rowdiest, the girls or boys. But both groups LOVED my husband. This is how it always is. Our previous next door neighbors had a daugther – she saw me more than Tony (he was working nights at the time), but she ALWAYS remembered his name and would ask about him – and then say “What’s your name again?” Anyhow, we survived 30+ kindergartener’s and were glad to get home!

Since I’m finishing this post a week late, I can’t remember much past that! But there were a few things I thought worth reading. Maybe a sentence or two.

Teaching my kids to pray

My greatest responsibility as a parent is teaching our children how to have a living faith in the One True God through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a joy and privilege to share Him with them. Daily we have this opportunity to seek Him together wherever we find ourselves. And usually, by the time the kids and I find ourselves in the schoolroom, that’s the first thing we do! Sammy has begun to lead us in prayer before our school time and it is so sweet to hear.

Wednesday night we found ourselves at church. Tony and I will be taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace study and Sammy is in Mission Friends, while Sawyer has his own pre-school activities. Sammy is learning a verse a week for his class. He earns coins when he says his verse and every two weeks they go “shopping” at the “store.” He loves it!

But this Wednesday night was a stormy night for East Texas. We listened to the weather reports on the way there and felt it was safe to continue. Although, honestly, the North area gets more activity than we do where we live, so I would have turned around if it had just been me and the kids. But my Love was with us and I trust him, so we headed on to church and got everyone in their places.

Fifteen minutes into our intro video the sirens go off, so we hustle to the main building (we were in a portable) and make sure our kids are good; they are hustling Saw’s class (with windows) to an inner classroom. Tony’s making pc’s to the PD to get the status on the possible tornado. I’m making pc’s to check on and alert neighbors. Finally, we’re given the all-clear, only to watch another 15 minutes of the video and have the kids dismissed. So we had to leave and pick up sweet kiddos.

Before leaving T wants to know the status of storms so we don’t head off into one. Sure enough, there’s a strong cell moving from South Tyler that has spawned a tornado. So we make our way to a local car wash and pull in for safe keeping. This safe keeping lasts at least an hour before the storm has passed over our area and it’s safe to return home.

When we get to the car wash, my oldest is a bit scared and crying and his baby brother says “God is with us, Bubba.” Wow. Divine music to my heart! This reminder (along with a homeopathic Hypericum) and holding Mom’s hand, is helpful to calming my dear Sammy. The kids did GREAT waiting patiently in the car. We’re studying the letter “R” this week, so Sammy and I did some “I spy and “R”” with some junkmail left in the car. We talked about their crafts they made in their class. Sang “I’ve been working on the Railroad” (part of our studying the letter “r”). Made a phone call to check on our parents. And they ate my church mints by two’s – I guess I should have used that as a math lesson!

But to keep this Momma calm, I began to pray. And as I began to pray, my right hand began to move as if sweeping over the area the storm was passing and I asked Father to weaken the storm. So I had my kids join in and practice praying with me, asking Father to weaken the storm. Sammy also prayed for those who were in the storm and had damage, as we had heard reports earlier of folks trapped in their homes from a tornado farther East. Finally, probaby by bribing Saw with some mints, he said a prayer for our home repeating after me. Even Daddy had joined in. This brought peace to my heart, regardless of how Father would choose to answer that prayer. But more importantly, it continues to further my children’s education in praying to Father, about the big and the little things in life, because He cares for us.

We were able to rejoice as a family when we returned home that everything was in tact and our home, neighbors, and family were safe! Thank you Father! Now our hearts prayer is for those who did receive damage and have been displaced from their homes. May they know Father’s love for them in the midst of their loss and my He provide their needs abundantly.

Still worshipping….and waiting

The last 2 Sundays have found us late to church. Last week: Tony got called out on the way to church; had to turn around so he could get his work vehicle and we went on to church, so no singing, just Pastor’s message. At 8:30am. We had MVP (most valuable parent) responsibilites in Sawyer’s class. This week, Tony received several calls during the night (I was already awake, anyway) and was awake well until 6am. I awoke at 7:54am. Fortunately, I didn’t turn into a crazy momma. But we were late and missed the music – again. Yet still, I found myself wishing Pastor would hurry through his points ’cause of my dear Sammy who seemed to have ants in his pants! I can see he and I need to do a bit of role play – I think this would help him. And yet, I think he is quite “normal.” I was getting a bit nervous when Pastor was still on his first point – so I looked down and saw he only had 2 points! This was good news. Ugh. I need to learn how to function better. However, rejoicing that my Sammy enjoyed “children’s church” which has a bit many kids in it and is loud – 2 things that doesn’t always go well for him. We had extended session today (voluteer help in pre-school) so this was were he had to be.

So I’m still worshipping. And waiting. Waiting for my Sammy to learn to sit still-er and for me to turn into that warm and fuzzy curled up cat (see previous post on Worshipping with One Eye Open). And perhaps by that time (grinning), Sawyer Wayne will have joined us! And although he is still boy, I rejoice that he is not so busy 🙂

I hope to post my Christmas blog soon with photos and how Father has been at work in my heart this Christmas season through several songs. He is so worth our adoration and praise. Oh, how I love Him and am utterly entralled by His wonderful love for me!

Moppin’ Monday

Earlier this year I laid out a schedule for me to get a few cleaning things done each day. This worked for a bit, but then somehow….somethin’ happened; I’m not so sure what. So then my house wasn’t getting cleaned. Really. Before family came over for whatever, I’d do a “I can live with this and not be embarassed cleaning.”

So I decided to press my Heavenly Father about the issue of mopping.  That’s right.  I talked to Him about WHEN to mop my kitchen floor.  It was beginning to get a second film on it.  When Chad was living with us I told him “If you’re gonna come to the kitchen table – be sure to wear your shoes!” 

So I offered up to him my schedule of cleaning, which I don’t think I had done.  “Father, when do we get to mop?  If I’m to go by my schedule, this just ain’t gettin’ done!”  Mopping was scheduled on Friday along with trash take-out.  Somehow, for the past SEVERAL months, I just don’t get around to moppin’ on Fridays.  Back in my work-away-from-home days, I considered Friday a day of play – even though I was still working!  I’ve carried that theory on into my work-at-home schedule.  Friday’s are for fun.  Isn’t that what “F” stands for?? 

So, He quickly answered – Mop on Monday.  Change sheets (which had been on Monday) on Friday.  That was  His answer.  That simple.  Really.

And it worked!  I got to mop last Monday and I am pumped about moppin’ again tomorrow!  And this time it won’t take me but a bit, since last Monday I had to do some prep work to get the really stuck-on stuff up.  Yes.  It was that bad.

But what was funny about last week, was that although my cleaning got done, I somehow didn’t start a load of clothes everyday.  So I was stuck this weekend (with a little help from husband – who had his own task of installing a new garbage disposal and cleaning up the nasty waterslide from all the rain we’d had) washing clothes and hope to be done and everything in it’s place by tomorrow morning. 

The other interesting thing about this whole cleaning issue has been my continued questioning of Father about when I get to do my household work AND homeschool.  How does that go together?  Well, I’m trustin’ Him to make it happen!

Kerthunk, and other such things

There are few things I watch on TV throughout the week.  Who has time when you’ve got 2 kiddos?  So for me, the TV is low, oh, so low on the priority scale.  I used to be a TODAY show fan (in the days of Katie Curic) – gave that up 4 years ago.  And probably about a year or two ago I gave up watching the 5:30 world news. 

But I am an American Idol fan.  Except I don’t vote.  So I guess it doesn’t matter to me that much!  Yet, “Kerthunk” was my response when the winner was announced tonight.  I could.not.believe. Adam did not win.  Could. Not.  Kerthunk.  Big let down.  I don’t care how nice that Kris fella is – hands down, Adam is a better vocalist.  Bummer.

 This week seems to have been a busy week.  Tomorrow we will be home except for a playdate at the Spray Park here in town.  It looks like Friday we’ll be gardening at a ML friend’s home – several of us are planting this and that in her garden.  I’m enjoying our organic produce, but would like to learn and teach my children the art of gardening.  Saturday we are celebrating mine and Dad Stone’s birthday by eating lunch out.

Yesterday was my birthday and it was a breeze turning 42 🙂  Had a leisurely breakfast at IHOP with my boys, then we ran a few “stop and drop/pick-up” errands.  After nap time Sammy, Saw Wayne and I made strawberry cupcakes.  Sw actually got to help out this time.  I really love baking with my boys – but I do need to learn to chill out a bit more!  My mom came over and brought us BBQ and the kids lunchables.  Then I put the cupcakes in a heart shaped pan and put candles in them – Sammy began singing so sweetly all by himself the Happy Birthday song.  They were so sweet to me all day – loving on me.  Saw Wayne, my quiet one, would just come lean his head on me, pat or rub my arm – his way of telling me he loves me.  My Love wrote a sweet card from him and the boys.  And I get to pick out a new camp chair – love those camp chairs.

Several years ago (probably about 8 or so, now), I began to experience “Happy Birthday” gifts from my Heavenly Father.  I’ll never forget the first one – it was on a Sunday morning and I was in Sunday school.  A friend was teaching in Genesis and how they enjoyed the fellowship of God in the Garden.  And how God enjoyed them.  And I got it.  God enjoys me – walking and talking with me.  I truely got it – and received it. 

Ever since then, I’ve looked for Him on my birthday.  A few years ago I thought He didn’t “show up” and was disappointed….until I realized He had shown up in a unique way.  What I remember yesterday in that morning stage of trying to wake up, but not wanting to was that God is GLAD that He made me.  GLAD.  G.L.A.D.  SO GLAD.  He takes great delight in  His creation.  I was grateful for that.  And then He showed up again.  This time to confirm a promise He’d given years ago.  He’s so funny.  I journaled about this personal matter in my journal – part of me wanted to think what I experienced was mere coincidence.  But He wouldn’t have it.  No.  So all I can say is He is faithful – and He will do it.