Yes, I know, it has been a while. I have a ton of updates to do on here but, I wanted to take a few minutes and write a little encouragement post. Over the last 3 years, Jeremy and I have brought five new people into this world, the most recent were our twin boys on December 3rd 2013. Robert and Leo came early and needed to be in the NICU because they were so small. Considering they arrived seven weeks before their due date, they figured out how to eat, breath and stay warm very quickly and were able to come home days before Christmas! What an incredible act of grace from the Lord! So, here we are still living with my in-laws, four adults living with one preschooler, two toddlers, and two infants. How in the world do we not go crazy? Well, some days we do. At least I do. I haven’t been able to do things the way everyone else would, that is for sure! I have been told by some really sweet friends that I am a “super-mom” but the truth is that it is only by God’s grace that I get through each day. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I wake up in the morning desperately waiting for the day to end – at least not everyday. It is by God’s strength that I wake up looking forward to listening to my husband, comforting my children, and growing my new baby boys. I want to be specific here. There are many days when I have had about three hours of sleep the night before and I am only coerced out of bed by the vision of my Keurig making that precious first cup of coffee. I rush downstairs without a thought or word to the Lord about my day. Before I know it, it is 10am and I am drained by the first round of “Share with your sister”, “Go sit in time out”, “If you don’t stop screaming…”. Already, I feel like I have failed as I see that same feeling reflected back in my three-year-old’s tear-filled eyes. Now, I know I haven’t FAILED in the sense that we are all flawed and perfection will not come this side of heaven but, I have fallen short. Am I too hard on myself? Maybe, but I know God wants me to be to my children as He is to us. I know God has a standard He wants me to strive for despite my sin nature.
Galatians 5:16-26 “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil [scream at your kids], which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants [remain calm and loving]. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, HOSTILITY, QUARRELING, jealousy, OUTBURSTS OF ANGER, SELFISH AMBITION, DISSENSION, DIVISION, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that ANYONE LIVING THAT SORT OF LIFE WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
But [BUT!!] the Holy Spirit produces this kind for fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in EVERY PART of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
I wrote a couple of my personal notes in there and capitalized the particular sin areas I struggle with daily. I know we aren’t perfect but, it certainly seems like God is calling us to what seems like perfection. I mean, who doesn’t get angry and yell? Who doesn’t go out and have a little to much to drink sometimes? We all need to blow off steam, right? Who doesn’t watch that romance movie with the racy sex scene starring the hottest new actor? It is all in good fun and who ONLY looks at their wife or husband that way? We are only human. What mother DOESN’T yell at their kids every once in a while? It seems from reading this passage that it is not only possible to avoid these things but, what God desires for our lives. As the loving Father, He wants to give us our inheritance: His Kingdom. This scripture says that we won’t inherit His Kingdom if we continue to sin in these areas. That fact scares the crap out of me because I am pretty full of my own flesh when left alone!
I have been trying for years to force myself to exhibit the Fruits of the Holy Spirit without actually having any interaction with Him. I feel pretty silly just reading over that last sentence! For instance, I would wake up and say to myself “Today I am going to be kind, patient, and gentle with my husband because if I love him AND if I really am a Christian then I should be able to do this.” Then, my husband would wake up overly tired and completely unable to communicate a simple thought due to his exhaustion; before I knew it, I would be rolling my eyes in frustration over our inability to come up with a plan for that day. Why was it so hard for me to be patient? Was it because I was such a “great communicator” and my husband just needs to get it together? Was it because we are both working on such little sleep and it is expected that I wouldn’t be able to be kind and gentle? No! Look at Peter and the other Christ-followers in Acts Chapter 5. After being jailed and flogged they left the Jewish court rejoicing because they were counted worthy of being disgraced for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom. At times, communication between Jeremy and I can feel like flogging (for both of us) but, it is nothing compared to the price the early apostles paid to simply believe in Christ. They were able to do this because of the constant relationship they maintained with God through the Holy Spirit. They spent time with God just like Moses did in the desert (remember the tent and Moses’ glowing face?).
Alright. How do I have time to be with Jesus every day when I am constantly feeding, changing, time-outing, listening, and cuddling someone? I really don’t have much time at all. Jeremy doesn’t either for that matter. After many failed attempts to have these amazingly intense quiet times we figured out that God doesn’t need that much time at all! You see, I need a ton of time to feel connected to others because (I know this is a surprise) I am not perfect! Everyday I wish I had two hours just to sit and listen and cuddle with my husband. If I could have half of my day be time just hanging out with Jeremy, it would be heaven on earth! God is different though. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a two hour quiet time with Him everyday (I would settle for 30 minutes a day) but, it just isn’t realistic within the life He gave me. So, Jeremy and I asked, what if we just stopped trying to force the issue? We stopped trying to carve out this really long period of time. We stopped trying to do a consuming Bible study daily. What we do now is try to use the little five minutes before the kids wake up, when we gulp down our coffee, to just sing a few worship songs to the love of our lives. We carry our Bibles (or iPad) with us around the house and read a verse at a time. We watch a sermon with our earbuds in while we do our middle-of-the-night feedings. One of my favorite activities is watching a Beth Moore study around the breakfast table with my three little girls. I love to hear my three year old say “Good Morning Ms. Beth!” as she hears the Word from such a great teacher! It doesn’t matter that I have to pause it 10 times to instruct my two year old not to throw food at Ms. Beth while she is talking about King David. I am getting time with my God and He sees it. I usually can’t do any of the homework to any given video study but, I am doing what I can. When I am in His presence and invite His Spirit in, then I can go the day without yelling at my kids or able to listen to my husband’s incoherent near comatose sentences or face my sin with His power. After all, trying to live in the Spirit without actually spending any time with Him is like trying to lose weight without even leaving the bed in the morning. It just makes no sense!
I encourage everyone to just take a little time to sit with Jesus everyday. He promises us that His Holy Spirit will give us power over our sin. I have found that God doesn’t lie, His Word is always true. This life I am living is crazy-hard! Five kids under three is so far beyond what I can manage. I am so thankful that I stink at this stuff so much because you get to see God’s power and not my own.
Now, get to a Bible or worship CD or online sermon and get some Holy Spirit power flowing through you! It isn’t about learning a great lesson, just about spending time with the One who is in love with you!
A little picture of the family!