Full of Boys

Finding the adventure in the blues, greens and grays of life!

Learning from my Grandmothers (part 3 of 5) May 11, 2011

Filed under: Family,Remembering,Thankfulness — fullofboys @ 10:32 am
Tags: ,

I shared on Monday about my mom & yesterday about my mother in law. Today, I am going back a generation further & talking about my grandmothers! Each of my grandmothers is unique & special to me.

First up, my Granny.

Granny was my dad’s mom. She taught me most about PRAYER. My Granny was a prayer warrior you could say. She would pray for anyone but I know you prayed most for our family. She loved the Lord with every breath in her body & praised him until her passing.

My absolute favorite memories of her revolve around getting married. I have a picture that shows her & me at my wedding rehearsal. Wonder what she was doing…praying over me! She spoke words in that prayer that will forever remain in my heart. They were private & personal & the exact ones I needed to hear as a soon to be bride.  She never stopped praying for me. She would make sure to tell me how she kept me in her prayers each time I saw her…which sadly wasn’t enough.

Once I had a conversation with her about prayer. Her health had begun to decline so much that a simple sentence took minutes to complete. He thoughts would drift from near to far. But her heart remained steadfast on Christ. She told me during that conversation that she was struggling with how to pray. She said sometimes she started to pray for someone & then would forget what she said. Then, with tears in both of our eyes, we talked about how God knew the heart of each person & He knew the prayers that we swirling inside her heart.

The last time I talked with her, she was lying in a hospital bed. We both knew this would be the end. She was breathing weaker that night. The monitors screamed her body was failing & yet, she just looked peaceful. She told me how she longed to see her Father. How she could not wait to lay eyes on the face of Jesus & she was ready to go ‘home’. The next time I saw her she would unable to respond to any of us & within a few short hours we would lose the woman who had prayed so much for all of us.  I had just left the hospital to come home when my phone rang & I was told she was gone. I pulled over on the side of the road & cried tears of relief & joy & sadness. I rushed back to the hospital where my entire family had gathered. There in her room, as her body lay lifeless & her Spirit had left to find eternity in her ‘Home’ we all sang a song…to a God we knew she loved more than her life & who was welcoming her Home with a huge welcome.

I still have lots of question of what Heaven will be like when arrive there but I feel really confident that when I get there I will see my Granny & will get to spend eternity with her worshipping the same God we both love with every breath we take.

I could not talk about Granny & not talk about my Mom Mom. I know as a kid I called her that but as I grew up I somehow began to call her either Grandmother or Grandma. Thankfully, she responds to all three names.

The thing my Grandmother taught me most about was FORGIVENESS.

I have written before about my grandmother…most recently when I wished her Happy Birthday. It would be easy to read that post & feel that my Grandmother & I had a close relationship as I grew up. That would be far from the truth. I really did not care much for my Grandmother when I was younger. She was strict, she a mix of scheduled (family gatherings) & spontaneous (unannounced visits to our house when my room was not clean!). I remember one time I had to remake my bed because I did not tuck the corners the right way. It took a lot of years to understand that she was simply training us to be good wives & moms. It took even more years to understand that I wanted to be just like her & that I also wavered in the mix of schedule & spontaneous.

When I was a Junior in high school, my parents decided to pull my sister & I out of public school & homeschool us. My sister was thrilled. I was not as much. I knew even then that my Grandmother would not approve. She had been a teacher in the public school system & believed heavily in it. So, with that knowledge, my parents made the choice to simply not tell my grandparents about this new schooling. As always happens, things do all come out eventually. This time because my mother ended up in the hospital & my sister & I, being homeschooled, went to visit during the day. Who happened to be there? My Grandparents. I am pretty sure there was a heated exchange that day in the hospital room but to be honest, I can’t fully remember. What I do remember was the weeks that went by that my mother & grandmother did not talk. But then, my Grandmother did something amazing. She reached out to my mom, wrote a letter extending forgiveness, stating her hurt that she was lied to but wanting to work through it all.

She could have remained bitter. She could have stayed hurt & mad. She could have cut ties with my mom. She didn’t. Instead, she realized that forgiveness was the best option & probably the only option. Through her act of Forgiveness, I gained a Grandmother that supported me through the rest of high school. I learned to love her & treasure her. You know what? She was there, clapping loudly & eyes full of tears, when all three of us graduated high school…as homeschoolers!

 

Learning from my mom in law (part 2 of 5) May 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — fullofboys @ 12:22 pm

Yesterday I wrote about what my mom taught me.

Today, I am writing about my Mother in Law. She has taught me many things in the last 11 years. She has taught me the most about LETTING GO. I learn every day that it is a tough job to be a mom. However, there is a lesson I never knew I would need to learn: how to let go!

I married an amazing man…who loves his Mama so much. Sometimes, he calls her a saint. He says it seriously too! When I married him, I also was given the chance to gain a family. I adore my husband’s parents. They amaze me all the time how they just opened up their hearts to me when I walked into their son’s life.

As a mom of all boys, I think I understand how bittersweet that moment was for my mother in law. I hope her first thought was one of excitement but I have no idea. I do know that whatever she first thought about me, she only showed me love, acceptance & compassion. I struggle already with letting my boys ‘go’. If you are around me enough, you have probably heard me say that I think you have to start letting them go from the time they start walking. My reason…because letting go is hard & is a daily struggle.

My mother in law has shown me constantly how to let go gracefully. She is patient to be invited into our activities. She does not push or fuss. She shows respect when we need ‘family time’ & does not interfere. She calls to check on ALL of us & shows no more favor for one of us over another. But what I see her do most of all is quietly support my husband. She is probably the person that spent more hours with God praying for his heart than anyone. She is the person who will be celebrating him in everything he accomplishes & she always let me share that excitement with her. She has never competed for his attention & because of that, I think it is why she is so welcomed into his life.

I find great comfort in the fact that she will be there holding my hand years from now as I watch my son make a vow to his wife. She will be someone who will understand how I can cry tears of sadness as a chapter of life closes & how I can laugh with excitement of the journey to come all at the same time.

Thank you, Mama, for loving me like crazy, encouraging me when I can’t see clearly & for sharing my tears both from the past & what might happen in the future. I am thankful God brought me my first ‘Mama’ & even more thankful it got to be you!

 

Learning from my mom (part 1 of 5) May 9, 2011

Filed under: Family,mom — fullofboys @ 7:39 am
Tags: , ,

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was such a special time for me as I was able to host my first Mother’s Day Lunch at our house! I love to host events & parties but this seemed much more special. My mother, my mother in law & my grandmother were all here. Three women who mean a great deal to me! I wanted to take some time to write why these women, as well as a few others, are so special to me. So this week, I plan on writing a little every day…each day about a special woman in my life.

First up, my mom.

I often say that my mom has taught me more than she will ever know. What I have learned most from her is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!

I suppose most children would say they have learned that from their parents because of the way their parents love them through trials. In some ways, I believe that is part of why I learned this but it actually goes much deeper for me.

As many of you know, when I was 12 I sat in a doctor’s office & heard not only the word ‘cancer’ but I heard the doctor explain that the cancer was ravaging my mother’s body, that the original cancer had morphed into a new cancer & that both resided inside of her. I heard him say there was a chance we would lose her. I heard him describe with great sensitivity the effects of chemo & how her body would change. What I remember most what hearing him say in some type of words that we were a team.

The next few months I saw the effects of chemo in ways I never could have imagined in my youth. I think I can almost pinpoint the moment I learned about love. She was sitting on her bed & with a voice full of emotion she called for me to come into her room. I walked in to see her cheeks stained with tears & a bucket full of hair. The chemo was doing it’s best to take her down & in that moment, I felt it could succeed. I walked over to her bed, sat down & began to brush her hair. I can’t tell you how long I brushed. For me, it seemed like a lifetime. It was probably merely minutes. But I brushed her hair as soft as a could, each time removing a new clump of hair from the brush. Every stroke brought a new tear to my eye. It was a painful experience for us both.  But we were a team. We would weather whatever effect chemo brought on together. As so I brushed until no more hair would come free.

From that experience, I learned through time that we could make it through each trial given. I learned that beauty was truly only skin deep sometimes & when that beauty is compromised it brings with it a depth of emotion that is difficult to navigate. I also learned that there was beauty in the acceptance of something that seemed unimaginable. I learned to love my mother in a new way…bald! As a family, we all did. More & more, her wig lay on the bathroom counter as she would put on a ball cap & go out.

Mostly, I learned through it all how to love a mom who isn’t perfect. Who will be dealt hard hands in life. I learned to appreciate the uncertainty of the moment & realize that when as a family you choose to be a team, you can learn to love regardless of how well life goes. I learned that love is something that will go beyond the pretty dresses or even the missed curfews but will go straight to the heart of someone.

 

Wear His Name April 22, 2011

Filed under: Christ,Faith,Music — fullofboys @ 6:23 am

My hands they made you
My breath I gave you
My son he saves you
If you want to, you can wear My name
My love unending
My truth unbending
I want you to wear My name

The above are lyrics from a PFR song from the 90’s called ‘Name’. I love this song for so many reasons.

The main reason I love this song is the idea of wearing Christ’s name. A few weeks ago, we had some pretty severe storms that left a lot of trees down. When I say tree, I mean 20 foot tree uprooted and laying on the ground. Some were even taller! I happened on a Monday night. As my schedule is, tuesdays are one of the days when all my children are in school/preschool. I decided I would go volunteer to help with storm clean up.

I need to say that as much as I wanted to go serve, I was dragging my feet a little bit. Why? Because I felt I was not fit for this job. I wear heels and make up. I don’t normally care to be outside all the time. However, I traded in my heels and but on some rain boots and headed out. The feeling of ‘not being enough’ again washed over me once I arrived and I saw how people were already working.

But then I remembered this song. I wanted to wear HIS name…not mine. I wanted to reveal Christ in my actions. At the end of the day, I felt it was more important to serve and show love than feel like I could conquer a project. And guess what? Got blew me away that day. I met some incredible volunteers. Some were from my church.  Some were from other states who were here to help with the damage. Some were people who had been jaded by the church and were blown away that we were there serving. I had the chance to talk to a homeowner and explain that we were serving her not because we had to, but because we wanted to serve.

And I realized anew, wearing His name is something I want to do in my life daily. Yes, there is still lots of sin in my life. Yes, I try to please Him and sometimes fail. But through it all, I want to wear His name so that there is no doubt where I stand in my faith. Some days it is really easy to wear His name (like when you are serving with 30+ people from your church) but other days are tough (talking to parents from your children’s school or when you are in a hurry and you fuss at your kids). Regardless, wearing His name is equally important.

How do you ‘wear His name’?

 

Searching to fill voids April 20, 2011

Filed under: Christ,Faith,Family — fullofboys @ 3:15 pm

I am a city girl living a country girl’s life. This has everything to do with the man who holds my heart….my husband. He is a country boy. I knew it from the moment he came to pick me up for our first date in Wranglers & cowboy boots. I was wearing black slacks & a new button up shirt from a name brand store at the mall. Good thing our first impression was working in the heat of the Dominican Republic or we might never have gotten together. J

Ok, took a little side trip there. Let’s get back to the country life.

We currently own three steers. They arrived on a Sunday around 2pm. On that day, our steers were taken from their moms for the first time.   Heath & I watched them to make sure they were safe & felt secure in our pasture. Right next to our pasture is another pasture with several full-grown cows.

We turned our backs for a moment & they were gone! They went through the barbwire fence, down an embankment through a creek & up another embankment to get to these other cows. No, their mothers were not there but they were searching & willing to do anything to find them.

After spending some time outside trying to corral them (see, this is me living the country life), we came inside. I was tired. My body hurt. I was cold from the creek water & then it hit me: those cows do exactly what I do sometimes in my relationship with Christ.

Sometimes I am so desperate to fill a void. Maybe it is from a friendship, maybe from a hurt. Sometimes it is loneliness. Regardless, the process is the same. I spend my time pushing through the barbwire of life, willing to cut my skin to try to find something to fill the void. I try to balance up & down embankments on my own searching. I am even willing to let a replacement fill the void rather than allow God to fill me.

I suppose that is what makes faith such a journey. Once day, you feel you have it all together, know all the answers & can tackle any mountain. The next day you feel scattered, lost & the smallest hill can deter you.

In that moment, I found a odd sense of peace. I realized that God created me to long for Him. He created me to feel oneness with Him. He created me to trust Him. Yes, I still search sometimes. Yes, I still try to fill my voids. But I also long for Him. It might take me a long journey to be reminded that He truly fills me but I am humbled that he allows me to experience the joys & pains of life. The fact is, he is pursuing me, corralling me into His fold. He looks after me & provides all I need.

I need to rest in that more.

 

I can’t create faith April 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — fullofboys @ 2:46 pm

I was recently going through some of my old blog posts when I came across this one and this one.

I laughed as I read through them and thought about how even now, so much in my life was changing. But I have to admit that when I read #36 and #37 I paused and started to reflect.

36 Staying at home is way harder than working in a office
37 But I laugh more than I ever did before

Being a mom is tough. It really is the toughest job I have ever had. When the boys were little, I remember thinking to myself ‘once we are through with bottles or diapers or sippy cups or diaper bags then things would get easier. Or maybe when we were through the throwing of tantrums or toys, then it would be more peaceful’.

And is some ways, all of those things are true.

The fact is, all the baby gear has been given away now. We got rid of bottles & sippy cups only to replace them with water bottles and Gatorade. The diaper bags that were so cute with their name embroidered on them are in a closet while I drape ball bags over my shoulders now. Some days tantrums still look like they did when I had a toddler (I do still have a 4 year old) but they also look like an 8 year old who is panicked about his grade average or a 7 year old who is confused about how to spell a word.

I think maybe the toughest part of being a mom is being on display all the time. You see, it is easy to create a ‘front’ with friends and even sometimes family. But the fact is, my kids can see me at by best, my worst and far too often, in the middle. I have never tried to be perfect to my boys. I want them to see me fail. I suppose in some ways, they are the only ones I want to witness that. I just think they need to see that I do not always get it right but that I am trying.

I am learning that this most applies to faith. I can’t create faith in them. We say prayers at night. We talk about Jesus and God and stories in the Bible. We go  to church. All of those things are great…but they do not create faith.

I was a teenager when I decided to give me life to Christ. It was on a ski trip with my friend’s youth group. I knew all about God by that point. I had been in church since I was a baby. My dad was an elder. My mom sang in the choir. I had learned the catechism. I knew all the Bible stories. I wore dresses to church (and hated it!). I knew all the hymns. BUT, none of it created faith in me…let alone a relationship with Christ. It took time for me to realize that faith was more about the relationship with Christ than it was about the admission of having faith.

I can give the boys all the opportunities to give their life to Christ but what they need most from me, is to see my faith in action. They need to see when I send cards to people who are sick, they need to see when I take a meal to a new mom, they need to see that when I am fearful or scared that I pray and they need to see that even in my fears, I am trusting God. The decision to give my life to Christ came after spending years with my friend’s family. I saw them weather some pretty tough stuff and through it all they were trusting God. They lived out their faith for me…and many times to me.

So no, I can’t create faith but I am trying to be more aware of showing my boys my faith.

What do you struggle with in raising your kids?

 

My Dad’s Sun Stand Still Faith March 16, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Family — fullofboys @ 7:19 am

My Dad is about to lose his job.

There. I said it. I have been choking on those words for a week or so now.

Within the next 7 days, he will find out if he has a paycheck for another month or 3 months. After that, everything is unknown. While my father is no longer the provider of me, I still look at him as A provider. He cares so well for my mother that it blows me away. He doesn’t just provide for her financially with his job but also provides compassion, care, tenderness and love.

I spent some time talking with him on the phone last night. I felt like a little girl asking my Dad what the future might look like. He doesn’t know the specifics BUT he is absolutely confident God will provide for him. There is not one bit of doubt in his voice. This is nothing new. There have been several times growing up that I found my Dad trusting the Lord to provide. He didn’t nag or badger God, instead he simply rested in peace that God would take care of him. As my sister said the other day,  “we had the greatest example of someone trusting God to provide for our family with Dad.”

Last night, he quoted scripture to me over the phone and somehow, the miles that separated us seemed minimal. It was like we were sitting with each other, reading the Bible and taking comfort in the fact that God did not abandon us. As I wrapped up my phone call, I realized something: my Dad is a living example of a Sun Stand Still Faith.

I began reading Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick a couple weeks ago. I am loving the book. I am not through with it but right now I am simply letting God work in my heart with it. Well, work in my heart might be a nice way to say, I am learning to wrestle with the idea of being available to always bring Him glory.

One thing that keeps jumping at me in this book is that God is willing to use my ordinary life and shine extraordinarily through it. I keep wrestling with this idea because I keep wondering if it is truly possible that he can use my small town, stay at home mom, schedule busy with family activities life. After the conversation with my dad last night, I realized God can definitely use me.

God used my dad to speak to me and remind me how to give God glory. He showed me that living out faith isn’t always about being on a soapbox but more about letting God rule your heart.

The outcome of everything is still unknown.  But I am excited to see this new step of my parent’s journey. God has asked them to trust Him more times than I can count and every single time He has proved faithful…sometimes at what would have seemed like the last second to me.  I am confident my dad will still be trusting God and resting in His faithfulness no matter what the day brings.