The Love of a Parent

I’m exhausted today. I got a total of 3 1/2 hours of solid sleep. Other than that, I was up with Ethan all night. 

Note: please do not interpret this as complaining. Stuff like this was in the bold print when I signed my contract for motherhood. 

Still, last night was one where I was looking forward to to being completely alone and taking some time for just myself. The boys didn’t take a nap in the afternoon, so they were tired and would go to sleep extra early, and Roland was at church for a board meeting which would inevitably go past my bedtime. I would have the house to myself for a few hours and it would be wonderful.

It was one of those days where you get kicked in the eye, your battery won’t start, and your favorite decorative dish breaks, to name a few.

Joshua explained to me that he was using the ball to get the candy bandaids. You have to give him credit for his resourcefulness!

While I was pleased with how I mostly laughed off situations that could have potentially been really stressful, I was looking forward to my quiet evening. But I had that feeling where I knew I should not count on my quiet evening.

Both boys were in bed by the time Roland left and about 2 and a half seconds later, Ethan was waking up. It was clear he wasn’t going back to sleep, so I brought him downstairs while I did the dishes and was able to put him back to sleep after that. About an hour later, he woke up again, so I picked him up and he threw up all over the floor (and him, and a little on me too).

I didn’t brush this off with laughter, though. My heart broke to see my baby uncomfortable and not feeling well. So I made a spot for him in my bed.

This was clearly his secret plan to getting more hangout time with me. Look how happy he is to watch Gilmore Girls with me!

I did my best to comfort him in any way that I could. I just wanted to see him rest and I could not sleep until I saw that he was resting.

The whole time I was awake, though, A verse was stuck in my head — if your son asks for a piece of bread, what parent would give him a stone? How much more will your Father in heaven give you?

““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:7-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/mat.7.7-11.esv

I did not want to be awake for 2/3 of my night. Even less did I want to see my son suffer, to any degree. 

So if I, as a fleshly parent who can so often get stressed and annoyed with her kids (I can’t be the only one…) could give up the one thing I thought I deserved and looked forward to so much for my son and willingly give him what he needed from me, how much more will my perfect Heavenly Father give me?

 When I am broken and need comfort, he is the one who is with me until I finally find my rest. 
When I have any need, He is the one who supplies it. 

As a mom, what I can do is so limited in the grand scheme of things. I cannot always be there for my kids. Sometimes, all I can offer is temporary comfort in trying times. 

But my God reigns over all and is all powerful and is still willing to give me the things I ask for.

In fact, he loves me so much that he gave up his only son for ME.

I don’t think I could give up either of my sons for anything. 

“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:7-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

http://bible.com/97/1jn.4.7-10.msg

Advertisements

Trust

I’m not one of those moms who is too busy or tired to shower on a specific day. I don’t care how tired I am, or how much has to be done, I shower every day. (I do give credit to my husband here for his help in the evening so that I CAN shower!) It’s my favorite time to unwind at the end of the day. It’s my favorite place to think. 

One Friday night in the shower, my mind went to all of the medical bills that we have to pay and all the things we want to save for and student loan payments and credit card payments and wondering how to hold a job without sacrificing family time at night and without sending 2/3 of my paycheck to childcare. I was particularly stressed, and no matter how hot the water was, it did not soothe any of it. 

I got out of the shower and opened up My Utmost For His Highest (my favorite devotional book). The verse stood out right away — “come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Immediately, I prayed, I worshipped, I felt peace.

In an instant, I didn’t have the weight on my shoulders. But I still could not get the thoughts about money out of my head. I thought, “God, if we could just make $xx,000 then I wouldn’t worry.” 

That’s when I heard it. 

If you made $xx,000, you wouldn’t need to trust me.

Whenever I hear people talk about hearing God’s voice, I always wonder how they know it’s Him. I always wonder what it’s like. I always wonder how they can be sure. When I heard that, I knew it was Him. 

I’m not called to have everything together. I’m not supposed to do everything by myself. Life is definitely not perfect and there are dreams that I want to attain that I don’t know how I possibly could or would. I just have to trust, even if it means my plans will mess up. 

My year started out with this word too. On January 2, my son Ethan (who was 7 weeks old at the time) was rushed to the ER because he was sick and could not eat and was very dehydrated. It was the new year and I just wanted to spend time with my family as a whole, and my newborn baby had just been diagnosed with RSV. But the ER visit turned into a night at the hospital and then a middle-of-the-night ambulance ride to the PICU at another hospital when he was fighting for his life because he was working so hard to breathe. In all, we spent almost a week at the hospital, but it was on day 3 that I realized that I have to surrender my wants and focus on God and worship all that He is. I had to trust that this happened for a reason, that my helpless son was in the best place to get better, and that my God was in control. I had to trust that we were going to come out the other end and think “wow, I cannot believe that happened. And look how far we’ve come!”

Ethan’s very first smile on his last night in the hospital.
I knew at that moment that the timing was not a coincidence. I don’t know why my baby had to fight for his life, but I understood that 2016 started like that for a reason. I knew it would set the tone for my year. And I truly believe that the reason (or one of them) for me being there was to refocus on God and His plan for my life.

I have a plan for my life. I have a timeline for when things could/should happen, for everything to work out as ideally as possible in my human mind. But, as a friend reminded me the other day, and as I have seen in my own life, God laughs at our plans. He doesn’t laugh because they’re funny or silly, but because we’re so simple minded. We can only see so much and therefore cannot fathom all there is to go through in this life. 

There WILL be troubles, but even with what I picture to be an ideal circumstance, God has a plan for me that will blow my mind. 

His ways are higher than mine. His thoughts are higher than mine. 

I choose to trust Him. 

Birthday Party Fun

On Sunday, we celebrated Joshua’s third birthday. It was a lovely time with friends and family, and I’d like to think everything turned out as perfectly as it could, thanks to God (he controls the weather and it was gorgeous!) and loved ones (who helped with food and the set up).

excuse his face – he was tired of saying “cheese”
 


Joshua loves trains. I cannot describe to you his excitement when he sees a train or hears its whistle. He loves to play with them, watch them, draw (or ask someone to draw) them. Trains, trains, trains. So what better theme was there?

Here’s a little bit of what I did:

Theme: Trains

Colors: Red, Blue (various shades)

Fun/Entertainment: Lots of lawn games

Food: Small appetizers on tables, BBQ and salads, dessert table and candy bar 

a view from the rooftop of half of the party area
we knew that many of the guests would not be sitting the whole time, so we had a handful of small tables which had some appetizers
we added some picnic blankets (the red one is actually a shower curtain) for more casual seating. not pictured is the baby toys that we had on them for little ones
Joshua got tons of gifts! we decided to put them on a blanket instead of a table

appetizers consisted of chips/dip and cut up vegetables. I got simple white cardboard boxes from IKEA and decorated with ribbon/tape/paper to make them look like train carts. I was also able to use Joshua’s toys in the centerpieces.
I saw the “chew chew” and “chugga chugga” online somewhere and knew I had to use it! I put napkins and utensils in paper bags that I got from the dollar section at Target and made a refreshing drink from water, cucumbers, and oranges.
the food was a huge hit. there were many healthy twists on BBQ classics
I made some brownies and cupcakes (recipe coming soon!) and decided a berry fruit salad with a side of homemade whipped cream would be perfect for blending with the color scheme and providing a fresh dessert option.
Joshua’s homemade birthday cake! he wanted cupcakes but I decided a 6 inch cake would be perfect for his candles.
our lawn games! (not pictured are the cornhole boards). fun fact: the rings for the ring toss were homemade with rope and duct tape!

We had a fabulous time and were so excited to celebrate 3 years with many of our loved ones. Thank you once again to those who helped!