Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We can learn from our critics- either because what they're saying is true or because of the way we respond when it isn't.

I am definitely someone who cares what others think. I consider that a flaw in myself. I really need to work on that, for more reasons than one. Sometimes I wish I could be one of those girls that really speaks her mind, one who passionately articulates what she's got to say so that there is no question about what is on her heart. But then again, I also take pride in being able to stay somewhat quiet and keep some things to myself... or do I?
I am very bad about taking about a person or persons when they are not listening. I will only talk about these people with other trusted people, but still nonetheless, it's not a nice thing to do. I also openly write something on Facebook about any given peeve (and there's a lot of peeves!) that normally is directed at someone in particular, knowing full well that they will not know it is directed toward them or will not see it. Do I do this to avoid confrontation, yet get my point across as a hint to others... "Hey, don't you go making the same mistake that guy did or you'll be sorry! " What a coward I am!
I got a big ol taste of my own medicine this weekend. I heard through the grapevine that some family members had been saying not-so-nice things about me when I was not present. Wow. Ouch ouch ouch. As I discussed the situation with aforementioned trusted people, I realized that I wasn't so much hurt by the things they said (although to be honest, those things were difficult to swallow) but I was upset with myself for trusting these people... trusting that even though we live different lifestyles they still loved me, trusting that even though I am a transparent person- and I knowingly  share a ton about myself publicly- that they do not hold those things against me as a person, trusting that they understand that I am a real person who wears her heart on her  sleeve and I am not putting on some show for the people of Facebook to stick up on a pedestal and worship. I am upset at my gullible self. I feel like I've been maintaining a stupid childlike faith in people, thinking that if they say nice things to me and smile at me and ask about me, they must genuinely care about me; they're not just trying to find out information about me to pass along to others in order to scoff at me.
I've done some heavy duty reflecting since hearing about this incident and decided that there are some people who are better a part of my life without Facebook, so I've quietly deleted & blocked some. There's no sense in stirring up trouble, as I am guilty of the same hurtful crime. Part of me hopes that I will be asked about this, so I might have an opportunity to respectfully explain myself. Part of me wants no confrontation at all.
The whole of me wants to change this nasty habit of mine... I am not a New Year's resolution person, but this year I am making an exception. No more saying nasty things about anyone, even if I am positive they will not hear of it. God hears it- I must keep that in mind. My children hear it occasionally- it is not fair to alter their perception of people based on my own personal feelings.
I will be praying for guidance for myself to break this horrible habit.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I have no idea what to call this.

I am having surgery on Friday. Thirty five weeks pregnant and having surgery. Words can not describe how scared I am. I am scared to death of surgery anyway- not to mention being pregnant. I hate the idea of my body being incredibly vulnerable in someone else's hands. Scares me so.

So the pre-op nurse called me on Friday to discuss my medical history and medications and all. One of the questions she asked me was whether or not I had ever considered harming myself or others. I lied and said, "Of course I've never had thoughts like that!" Makes me wonder how many people tell that lie. The next morning I hear about the football player who killed himself and his girlfriend. I feel like I'm the only person who may understand how he was feeling. More disturbing to me than those thoughts are other people saying such nasty things about him. No it wasn't right and no I don't condone such loss of self control. I've never killed anyone or myself, obviously, but I have done stupid things while in a seemingly alternative state of mind, only to step away from the situation and think, "OH MY GOD! WHAT HAVE I DONE?!"

I'm not trying to make anyone see it my way. Nobody's opinion is more right than another. Our feelings just are. But what is so difficult about putting ourselves in another person's shoes? Maybe I am too quick to forgive... I don't know. My heart aches for not only that entire situation but for the people who are so inconsiderate about the hearts of others. What a broken world we live in.

By the way, I know when to step away from a mentally dangerous situation. I would appreciate love and prayer concerning my thoughts and feelings that I so willfully post for public eyes- it's so important for people to know that they are not alone in this world. If they don't believe God is there for them (and He is) I want them to know that I am.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Babies & Idlers

I've had many people ask about whether or not this should be my last baby.  It is said out of love and with my best interest in mind but frankly, it's a remark that is out of line.
I do not take this lightly on either side of the spectrum: I know this pregnancy has been hard on me physically and mentally. I am the one who is pregnant, after all. I know babies cost money. We've got three children. I know there are other starving children in the world. We do what we can to help those children as well.
I know that in some peoples' eyes, I am still a child myself. I will always be your "baby". However, let's be honest with one another. No matter my age, a true fact is that I do not share the same worldview with my family nor many of my friends. I love you all, you know I do, but your reasons for doing things you do and my reasons for doing things I do differ considerably.
I hurt badly. Every single day. Besides my sweet baby Brecken bump, there really is no other obvious physical "change" in me that would be a sign to bystanders indicating a reason for me to be in such pain. I understand that it could be difficult for others to remember that. I believe I have accepted more easily than others that I will be in this pain for the duration of my pregnancy.  There are so many awesome, awesome reasons for this pain and suffering though! God's glory. A beautiful child to build up His kingdom. A beautiful child to build up our hearts. This baby has a purpose for his life. Besides all of those facts, I tell myself multiple times daily that this pain, both physical and mental, will never EVER compare to the pain Jesus suffered unjustly on for me.
Truly, my only choice is to rejoice in my suffering! Because not only am I using this suffering to glorify our precious Lord but I am being given yet another gift of a source of such joy and happiness in my life! No human deserves such miracles in their lives. I've got four. FOUR. Thank you, God!
I am a nearly-twenty-six-year-old child of God. I don't know everything in the world. I realize that I've got plenty of spiritual growing up to do, but I am an adult. As with everything else that I've ever been through, there will be incredible lessons to learn in hindsight. I trust that my Father is leading me to where He wants me to go. I do my very best to obey Him.  He's leading you, too.....

"... they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not."  1 Timothy 5:13

Pregnant with Brighton Jude

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yeah, I'm depressed. Yes, I'll be fine.

I think I have decided that my depression has been largely contributing to my physical pain. This is so unbelievably frustrating. I can't find it in myself to brush my teeth everyday, I go two or three days at a time without bathing. I eat what is convenient, and let's face it, usually convenience doesn't mean healthy. I constantly tell myself I have no friends, that nobody cares about me, nobody wants to be around me, I am just an eye sore, a lame person with nothing in common with anyone. How dare I talk about myself like that! But most days, that's how I feel. I can barely get through school with the kids each day. Which truthfully doesn't worry me too much, except that I have set my own standards high and now I can not reach them. So in my eyes, I am failing at homeschooling. Even though I do feel like I am failing at homeschooling (for the time being), I feel like I will be giving them an even greater disadvantage if I put them in public school.
I have had several suicidal thoughts today. I keep telling myself how stupid I am for thinking that. I know it is stupid. And really, thankfully, I am not THAT bad off. Truly, I'm not. But the thoughts are there. I already feel like I am not here anyway, so really what's the difference? Last night, I prayed that God would allow me to have this baby early. Like, now. Need I go on? Why am I so damn selfish all of a sudden? I am struggling, Friends.

How's that for a random blog post? Sigh. This too shall pass. Like it always has.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Coming soon!

I posted our announcement photo on Facebook last night.  The kind comments and thoughts overwhelmed my heart.  Yeah, yeah. I got teary eyed.  So what?  :)

On Friday night, we told the kids we had a surprise for them.  When we told them to guess what it was, they said, "The fireworks are coming HERE?!"  Riiiiight.  (Lansing Daze was this weekend and there was a fireworks show.)

"No, my children, no.  Mommy has a baby in her tummy!"  Their reply?  "Oh." [pause; eyes move to my barely-pudged-belly.] "Well, can we still go see the fireworks?"  Sigh.  Daddy says, "Yes, let's go."  And off they go.  Meanwhile, Brighton (aka #3) climbs up into my lap as if he can sense the beginning of the end of his babyhood.  (Little does he know kids remain their mama's babies until the end of time!)

Not exactly the reaction I was expecting from Carson (#1) and Peyton (#2).  I suppose to a 7 and 5 year old, fireworks would be more exciting than a poppy seed sized sibling.  However, the next morning, Carson did ask if I really do have a baby in my belly.  When I said, "Yes", he told me that he's been praying for a baby sister for Peyton.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love this kid's heart?  He is so awesome.

The knowing of what a blessing children are to this world is inexplicable.  They deserve the utmost respect yet receive so little of it.  I try my best to respect them just as much as I would respect anyone else.  It's easier said than done- the insane secular world regards children as such a burden, a hindrance.  I don't feel that I've ever viewed children as such, but I do know that I have very often wondered what on earth was wrong with me for loving every child so.  My love for children was so weird to some people.  Little do they know what they're missing out on.  Sigh.  It's really too bad.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
Psalm 127:3-5

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Holy Spirit speaks to me in sarcasm.

It takes me awhile to post on something that I know I want to post on.  I am usually sure I will eventually do it.  It's almost like I have to let my passion sink in... compose my thoughts, shall we say?

A couple weeks ago, I attended a worship service at a minimum security Lansing prison through the Beauty for Ashes ministry.  Read my lips!  I'll tell you what.  It opened my eyes to new kinds of hearts.

I only live a few minutes from the prison so I didn't have much time to chicken out.  I told one of the ladies who was volunteering with me that all day I was making myself extra aware of any sign telling me that I shouldn't go that night.  Well about 30 minutes before I was to leave, I was praying and reading my Bible and just happened upon this verse in Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound...
Isaiah 61:1

Right.  Like I was seriously going to ignore THAT.  Pffft!

That was the Holy Spirit tossing His hands in the air while saying, "Helllllooo, Casey!  Get in your huge awesome blue van and GO TO PRISON."

Fine. Fine. O-KAY.  I'll GO.  (That was cheerful obedience, btw.)
*insert nervous laugh.*

The whole aspect of the ministry is just simply amazing.  The thickness of the atmosphere there is so lightened by the Holy Spirit.  GOD IS ALIVE.

It was just like any other worship service.  Started with music from a group of men who were inmates with musical knowledge.  They played instruments and sand beautiful songs.  Songs I hear on the radio every day, but coming from the hearts of outwardly hurting people... they just sounds different, ya know?  They feel different.

The sermon was preached from a baby Christian- just like myself.  He went in with my group; had on plain ol jeans & a tshirt with arms covered in tattoos.  (Not negatively judging the tattoos... just admitting that I was surprised by them.  Please talk to me if that offends you!!)  He never alluded to the fact that he was preaching that night.  Someone got up to welcome him and he hopped on up to that podium and ROCKED IT.  This fellow had spent twelve years in prison himself.  He had to have been the most humble person I've ever seen.  He really spoke his heart.  What a blessing he must have been to those inmates.  He was a blessing to ME.  It really knocked me down a notch.. but in a good way.  I mean, I don't think I thought of myself as "better" than anyone else, but after being in the prison I started realizing that I DID think I was better.  WHAAAATs up with THAT?!  What on earth makes me better than ANYONE else?  Um, nothing.

When I got home, I just couldn't stop thinking about how badly I felt for being judgmental.  Not only that night but throughout my whole life.  Yes, there are some dangerous people out there.  But every person still has a heart.  I had been suckered in to worldly  viewpoints.  I spent so very many years feeling like such a weirdo (okay, I know I'm a still weirdo.  I digress...) because I felt sorry for people when I shouldn't have* (says the secular world) but I now view that as God working in and through me to help me become more Christlike.

I still think every person deserves to be heard.  Every person still deserves a hug and can still be forgiven by our God through repentance.  I firmly believe that.

If anyone is interested in serving with me for Beauty for Ashes, get with me.  It's a rewarding experience.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Homeschooling is the BEST road God has ever led me down in my life awesome.  This past week, I had my first tearful experience when my sweet seven (and a half!) year old son, Carson, revealed that he truly did understand what the 'ones place' and the 'tens place' is when learning place value.  Carson can also correctly use the < and > signs.

I just learned the meanings of those signs, like, two years ago.  <-- truth.

I love spending so much time with my kids.  I continuously pray for opportunities to show them patience.  There is always room for more improvement, but I can see so clearly the difference a cool headed Mama and a hot headed Mama make.  When I do lose my cool, I am quick to apologize, quick to ask for forgiveness and I never leave a situation without a hug and a smile, from both of us.

We all hold one another accountable.  I've given the kids permission to respectfully let me know if I am being perceived by them as impatient or irritable.  I'll tell you what, that's a really good way to calm down quickly, if you've got it in your mind to use such instruction from your children in that way.

Carson came to me the other day and said, "Mama, I did something stupid.  I spilled all of the chocolate milk powder."  He had such a disheartened look on his face.  His sweet eyes were very much on the verge of tears.  That spilled chocolate milk powder really did my heart a lot of good when the Holy Spirit inside me allowed me to view this situation as an opportunity to be patient with Carson.  His look said it all: he expected me to just tear him apart.  That was a heartbreaking realization.   

What it all boils down to is fully understanding that while children are smaller, their little hearts feel, their little ears hear and their little eyes see EVERYTHING YOU DO AND SAY.

I admit that some days we don't get to math or reading or spelling.  But every day, without fail, we study Character Training.  I view my role of building my children's character as more important than teaching them any other subject.

Although it is a tough job, I am so grateful to God (and to my husband) for allowing me the opportunity to be the primary influence in my children's lives.  I try very hard to constantly be consciously aware of my tone, actions and words.  I pray every day for God to place His presence within me so that I might outwardly shine His light for not only those who are lost, but for those whom I have been gifted to train up in the way they should go.