Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Upside of Anti-Busy

 Our family has a camper because tent camping no longer suited our family size or this mommas idea of fun anymore.  We have tried since we got it to find at least one new destination each year to try.  Two years ago during our adoption of Toby we needed a little break from the busy of the adoption process and college classes so we retreated into the mountains of Virginia.  That park, Douthat State Park has proved to be one of our favorites nestled in the Allegheny Highlands and one of the original Conservation Corps VA State Parks.

It wasn't until we were at the local grocery store and only grocery store I might add that we realized we are from the "city".  The girl who waited on us asked where we were from because we clearly didn't look familiar and when we told her she said, "ooooh your from the city."  To my surprise I nodded, "ya I guess we are are." This of course got me thinking about all the differences between where we live and where we were spending this wonderful week.

We come from the land of traffic, lots of traffic and it is not uncommon to spend hours of everyday in your car.  Many families have both parents working and children in daycare.  Homes are large, payments are high and the list of activities to be involved in is endless.  We have a plethora of stores and restaurants to choose from and countless ways to spend that paycheck the tired commuter worked so hard to earn.  Now these might not all sound like bad things and I'm not condemning those who live this life.  In our area it just seems to be a way of life and it does come with it's own set of benefits.  For instance when we needed to get ready for camping we ran by the local bike shop, Batteries Plus, NTB and then Chik-fil-A for dinner all in the span of 1.5 hours completing our errands as easy as that!

The large downside to this is that people are pulled in a million directions and the drive to keep up is exhausting.  There are summer camps and fall sports, followed by piano lessons and meetings with the PTA, garden club, Karate lessons, play dates, Norwex and Thirty-One parties, after school care, swim meets and ballet practice.  I'm exhausted just reading the list and I know I might catch flack from local friends, but the truth is we are too busy.

While in that tiny town in the mountains I watched people talk to each other.  Cell phones stayed in purses and pockets.  And all of the sudden the busy we find ourselves tangled in didn't seem so appealing.

As a general rule I am anit-busy.  This does not mean to imply that I think others like being busy, they just are and don't get me wrong, I am busy too.  I am busy with child raising, laundry doing, food buying, meal cooking, homeschooling, friendship making and marriage building.  BUT my calendar is not full.

You can call me just about anytime and I'm free for a chat.  If you stop by my house you are welcome to let your kids out of the car and run wild with mine.  We can sit and have coffee or some good old southern sweet tea.  This may mean that my lesson plans for school will have to wait till the afternoon or that all that laundry in my room will remain in a heap and that perhaps instead of the fancy (LOL) meal I had planned for later, we'll just have something simple. 

"Make Your ways known to me, LORD; teach me Your paths.  
Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; 
I wait for You all day long."
Psalm 25:4-5

I will admit that my anti-busy was at first forced upon me by little ones and budgetary limits, but I will also tell you that many times I have thanked God for this very thing!  He has shown me the blessing of slowing down, of making time and of having the space in my schedule to breath Him in.  When we are so busy not only do we shut out others like family, friends and possibly spouses, but we tend to not have time for God either.  Today I pray that He may open your eyes to the blessings of being still before Him and that He give you the courage to step out of the rat race of "city" life with me.

What do ya say?  How 'bout a trip to the country?

With love,

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chosen By God and the Battle That Ensues

In our discussion today about prayer these were Levi's thoughts.....

Me:  Does God always answer our prayers exactly how we think?  When we started our adoption I asked God for a little girl.

Levi:  I'm glad God gave us a boy because I'm a HE-Man women hater!

Family:  *Hysterical laughter*

I appreciate these moments of honesty and humor in my day because though my writing may give you the impression that I am a very serious person, I am NOT.  I am sarcastic and funny and striving to never be too serious UNLESS the situation calls for it.   With that said I find my thoughts are awfully serious lately and that the lightheartedness in my spirit is just not there.

Our struggles with our "little answer to prayer" are many and they are real and they call for serious action.  Mostly I need to pray, but often I fret.  I need to be loving, but I am unkind and harsh.  I need to be forgiving, but I am reluctant.

On the outside looking in our adopted son Toby is doing quite well and he seems adjusted to family life.  Then we go and do something out of the ordinary like go camping or have a sleepover with friends or go out for dinner or school ends for the year and all normal is thrown out the window.  After reading this blog post about a heart of stone I felt a little less crazy.  We are not alone in this struggle and perhaps the things I thought were the real struggle are only symptoms to the REAL struggle.

Unlike the blog post I mentioned no vision has been cast for what future lays ahead for my son.  He may not be destined to be a speaker to nations or even to a small crowd.  This does not change the truth that God has called him to be his own.  I can be bold in making this claim because God choose our family to adopt him.  God choose a flawed, but saved family to adopt Toby therefore I make the bold claim that Toby too has been chosen by God to be HIS child.

Now this is what the LORD says-the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine." Isaiah 43:1

It is this truth that stands at odds with what the Liar of all Liars (John 8:44) would want to happen.  He is a destroyer of families, a liar and the lord of death.  His name is Satan and he has no claim on my son, but this does not stop him from trying.  A battle is going on for the heart of my son.  If he is given the opportunity to lie or tell the truth he will more than likely lie.  If he has to obey or disobey, he will likely disobey.  You may be thinking that is not all too different than your child and that may be true.  I can see a difference in my other children's disobedience.  I have one who is stubborn and determined that he is right no matter what I have said.  I have one who lacks self control and therefore struggles to obey.  I have one who is 3(enough said).  He is a blog post to himself!  Then there is Toby he seems to not even understand himself why he lies or why he will not listen.  He beats his fists against his forehead and clenches his eyes shut and will not tell me why.  He chooses to be by himself rather than the family.  He will play with strangers, but not his own brothers.  He can be affectionate towards those he sees from time to time, but not his own parents.  So much of this goes unseen and yet the battle rages on.

There is a battle going on for his heart. And so I hold onto these promises from God.....

Everyone the Father gives Me[Jesus], and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.  
John 6:37   

 "If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples.  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.  John 8:31b-32

For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.  Acts 2:39

These words I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  Repeat them to your children.  Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down an when you get up.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 

......and I teach them to my children both adopted and biological.  I hold onto them because they are the very life I breath.  I am tired and I am struggling, but of this I am sure, God will win this battle for ALL my children.

With love,