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Nothing is My Own

I went into my son’s room today and I was jealous.  I was jealous that it is his room.  Some days I feel as though nothing is mine: not my time, my money, my body, or my things.  When I am home my time is consumed by doing for others. When I leave the house I am usually on my way to take one of my lovely children to an activity like swim, basketball, volleyball, or an appointment or to get groceries.  I have one daughter who asks for a bite of anything I am eating-before she even knows what it is.  I have another daughter who, as she gets older, is deciding that she likes my clothes and shoes better than hers, and wants to try all of my toiletries (though I get her her own).  With a nursing baby and a husband, sometimes my body doesn’t feel like my own.  It’s community property.

I have a stack of books I’d like to read but never seem to have the time to, a list of sewing projects that I’ll probably never get to, and a variety of activities in which I would like to participate.  Maybe someday-but not today.

Would I change any of it?  Some days I might think I’d like to. However, the real answer lies in what I’m doing right now. I keep stopping as I write to watch my curly-headed 10 month old explore the room and get into anything that isn’t one of his toys. He is gurgling and I am shaking my head and sighing.  But behind that sigh is a smile, and my heart fills with joy.  When my older kids return home tonight from youth group the first thing they will do is say “hi” and tell me about their evening. My younger daughter will tell me how well she did at swim class with satisfaction and excitement in her eyes (my mother-in-law graciously took her tonight because I am battling allergies and wasn’t up to it).  They will be glad I am here when they get home; and so am I.  If I have to share everything I own and everything I am with a group of people, I sure am glad it’s this group of people.

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Why I Love 19 Kids and Counting, What I Admire About Michelle Duggar, and How I Feel About the Recent Development

I’ll start by saying that of course, I don’t know Michelle Duggar personally. I know what I see on T.V. or what I’ve read online.  However, based on those experiences, she has been a source of encouragement and valuable ideas to me and my girls. What I have really liked is that she doesn’t pretend to be perfect.  She is open about her past indiscretions: her eating disorder, her lack of modesty, her physical contact before marriage.

She exhibits a grace that I admire.  She speaks gently and kindly to her children, even when correcting them.  That can be difficult to do, especially when a parent is very disappointed with a child’s behavior.  It tells me that either she is a very good actress when the cameras are rolling, or she has the love of Christ flowing through her. I choose to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe the latter.  It’s more uplifting to me.

Something else I have noticed is that though she has many children, she makes an attempt to have an individual relationship with all of them. I have noticed that I have to make a concerted effort to take the time to listen to, and give my undivided attention to my older children. Squeaky wheels tend to get the grease and babies and toddlers sure do squeak! Yet I have seen Michelle take the time to go to coffee with and engage in one-on-one conversations with her older children.  Then she has spoken in her camera interviews about how important it is to do that.

19 Kids and Counting has been a blessing to us.  The show has been a respite in a way from a lot of the other shows on T.V. that expose my children to things I would rather them not experience yet.  We have been able to sit together and enjoy a program that is actually edifying and uplifting.

Recently I have felt horrible about the comments I have seen online about the family.  I think people must forget that public figures are real people. I actually saw one commenter excuse the abhorrent comments he/she made by writing that by opening themselves up to the public they deserve and should expect any comments that are made about them.  I was looking for information on whether or not TLC was planning on cancelling the show permanently and had to quit searching because the comments and articles I was finding were literally making me nauseated.  My spirit was hurt.

I have girls, and I agree with Josh Duggar’s comment that his behavior as a teen was “inexcusable.”  However, I also agree with Mike Huckabee that it is not “unforgivable.”  I have been so thankful for God’s grace in my life. He extends it to everyone.  I wish it were easier for we imperfect people to do the same.  It’s amazing how a perfect God can show grace for even the most reprehensible of acts, but we humans, who also make numerous mistakes cannot.  I think by showing utter disdain and hatred of those who make mistakes, people believe it will show how righteous they are.  Unfortunately, what they don’t seem to understand is that the opposite is true.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/22/politics/josh-duggar-molestation-2016-conservatives/

https://www.facebook.com/duggarfamilyofficial/posts/653931128073873

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Give Me the Vomit, Please

Wow.  Parenting is hard.  No, I’m not just realizing this.  I’ve been a mom for 13 years now; but things are changing.  I’ve heard a lot of people say that the hardest years are when the kids are youngest. I’m not sure I agree with that.  Oh, I agree that it is hard in a lot of different ways when parenting very young children: lack of sleep, lack of intimacy, lack of rest in general, inability to accomplish even the most simple of tasks, cleaning up whatever bodily fluid shows itself, being responsible for every single need of another human being every waking and sleeping hour.  I have a 10 month old and I haven’t left the house completely alone in 10 months.  So, yeah, it’s hard.

However, I also have an 8 year old, an 11 year old, and a 13 year old. Boy, that’s something else.  Give me the vomit and perma-baby on the hip any day.  Things have gotten much more complicated.  “Cleaning up messes” has taken on a whole new meaning.  The issues now are becoming more about character and spiritual health.  What kind of people are they becoming? Are we pleased?  If not, what needs changed?  Are the influences in their lives leading them in a direction contrary to the moral foundation we as a family are trying to set?

I know many people think we should let our kids choose their own friends and make their own mistakes.  I agree to an extent.  However, there is a certain amount of discretion and wisdom that only comes with emotional and spiritual maturity.  Our children may not see the things we notice as potentially harmful to their physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

People say not to shelter them.  Well what the heck are parents for then?  Doesn’t God keep us in the shadow of His wing? He is our strong tower, shelter over us:  “In you I take shelter “ (Psalm 143: 9); “The Lord will be a shelter for His people” (Joel 3:16). Shelter is a good thing. Aren’t we to follow His example?

There are so many different ways to parent children.   How strict should we be in regards to what music, movies, etc. they are exposed to?  There are always going to be parents who are less strict than us, and parents who are more strict than us. And sometimes, the same parents can be super-strict in one area and appear super-lax in another. It may not make sense to an outsider, but if we discuss it with them, it makes sense to them. And, there are always going to be people who are more than happy and eager to offer their advice-whether or not it is asked for.

Thank God He has given us direction in His word.  We can definitely start from there. For less obvious decisions, we need to remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, do what we believe is right, regardless of what others around us think, and pray that God’s grace fills in the gaps.