Sunday, February 9, 2014

"Are You Ready?"

Many people have expressed concern about whether or not we are ready for how our life is about to change. How are we going to meet everyone's needs? How are we going to school everyone? How are we going to have time as a couple or time for ourselves?

What about sibling rivalry? What about bonding? Regression of behaviors? What about kids thinking things are fair or not fair? 

Well…we are as ready as we can be. We have prepared their rooms and their closets. We have prepared our classroom and school supplies. We continue to pray for God to prepare our hearts and theirs for this transition and for God to bless it and give us all peace.

As far as all your worries…I have all those worries on my brain too. For anyone that doesn't know me well, I self-analyize CONSTANTLY and I see my flaws GLARING at me in the mirror…all my failures…I am SO insufficient….

But, I have to remind myself…to have faith. To trust in the Lord as His strength is made perfect in my weakness. 

I KNOW I will fall short, and I admit it to my kids and ask their forgiveness often. Thank God for His mercy and grace. One of the many things I have learned is that with so much going on and so many children, I NEVER get to feel like I have it all together. Instead, I am constantly on my knees and in prayer asking God for His help to get through each day. Praying for Him to give me wisdom as to how to lead my children and how to juggle it all. And, rather than seeing that as exhausting, I actually find some relief in knowing that I can't do it all…counting it a blessing that I am always reliant on the Lord for my strength and for peace….because the reality is that all good things come from the Lord. 

I also know that no matter what I say or do…even if my responses are "perfect" (which I know they aren't)…still, even if they were…that doesn't mean that the other person (my child or my husband) will hear them and receive them perfectly…because we are ALL flawed. Even if everything was completely fair (which in life there is no such thing) but even if it was….that doesn't mean that every child would view it as fair…because they all have different perspectives. Look how differently siblings remember their childhood…yet they were both there at the same time in the same situation!

When in life is anything ever really "fair?" That's why in our home, we define "fair" as everyone getting what they need. And some people need different things because God made each of us different. 

I have released myself from the expectation or even the desire to be perfect…(it has been a process and goes against my Type A personality…but God is working on me…and has given me LOTS of lessons on pride)….but I realize that if I was perfect then I wouldn't need my Savior, but I do. I need Jesus…I'm doing the best I can, but I need His help…I am admitting where I fall short and asking forgiveness. I try each day to be a better person than I was the day before..the process of sanctification…praying that God will be the center for our family…that He would be present in my heart and in the hearts of my husband and children…that grace will abound and mercy will be freely given…that we would love one another unconditionally…despite our flaws and inadequacies. 

Regarding time with each child, that is definitely a challenge with so many children. Even with six children, we have to be deliberate with spending time with each child. Thankfully, I home school which allows more time at home with the kids. But, let's be honest less kids or more time doesn't necessarily ensure that quality time is being spent with a child. 

We try to split the kids up and do different things. For example, this past weekend, Dustin took the boys to Buffalo Wild Wings for a boys night out which was the same night that Fasika had a sleepover with her girl friends, and I took Mayah and Audriana to watch "Frozen" in the theater for a special date. Now, that was a special night for each child. Most times, it is not so elaborate, but that doesn't mean that it isn't quality time. Perhaps Dustin will go fishing with some of the older kids while I make cookies with the younger kids. Or, I play a board game with the older kids while Dustin plays Uno with the younger ones....etc. You get the point.

Sometimes its working together. Dustin having one of the kids help him work on the car or the tractor or even holding tools while he mends a fence. These moments can be times of great conversations between a father and son.  Making dinner or dessert with mom is another thing we do on rotation where one of the kids gets to help make dinner. All our kids love to help with that, and they are learning how to cook while enjoying time with just mommy! In addition, there are times when a child just needs some extra attention, and we have to be astute to that as well.

We also have the kids run errands on rotation. While going to get groceries with mom or the feed store with dad all by yourself may not sound like a fun time, our kids really enjoy time with just mom or just dad to talk without any interruptions. And, it provides us with an opportunity to really listen to them and engage them in deep conversations. Of course, we also like to let them pick out a special treat or their favorite cereal too.

As for time with my husband, we have to be creative (even now). Sometimes, the kids will watch a movie, and we will sit in the "coffee shop" we set up in our house and have an "in house" date. The kids buddy up to help each other so that they don't have to interrupt our date unless there is an emergency. A couple times, we even had dinner in the schoolhouse as a date while the kids had their meal in the house. We need to make time for each other, and that doesn't always mean leaving the house and/or spending money!  On occasion, we do have my in-laws come over to help with the kids for us to go on a "go out" date which is a very special treat.

I too need alone time…albeit not as much as some people, but that just goes back to how God made each of us different. I like to get up early and have coffee and Bible time…and when I don't have it…I find myself having to consciously make the choice to not be resentful…because this is where the Lord has put me…and for me to be ungrateful or complaining would be wrong. I am to do all things joyfully without complaining (that's scriptural). I am to be thankful in all circumstances (that's scriptural). When a child wakes up before I have had my time..I know that for some reason that has happened…because God works all things for the good of those who love the Lord….maybe that child needed that time with me more than I needed alone time? Maybe that child could be a part of my prayer time?

I like to run. That is a good way for me to reenergize, and the endorphins do me good. I also stay up late at night when the kids are in bed to have alone time. I also have a Bible study I get to do with just the ladies. And, did you know I won this package at Christmas time to have 2 services at I Am Day Spa every month for the whole year! YEAH pamper me! (I had never even been to a spa before). See! That's God providing the pampering and relaxation before I even need it!

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippines 4:6-7

All that being said, I would be lying if I didn't admit that we are anxious and excited. We are relying on His grace, and we thank you for your prayers. 

1 comment:

  1. Your family, you and Dustin are simply amazing! There couldn't be much better examples of unconditional love and faith!