Saturday, November 18, 2017

Restoration. (circa 2017)

I have a rare Saturday with nothing on the calendar. And you know what? I'm staying in these yoga pants, with my hair in a bun and comfy sweatshirt on for as long as possible! I logged onto my Blogger account to reread some things and I have about 20 posts in my Drafts, so I started by reading some of those. I'm glad I wrote down some memories and thoughts, even if I didn't share them with the world wide web. :) I did just post two of them. One from 2012 when I was preparing to leave Pensacola, and one when I turned 30 a year later. It's sweet to reflect on God's goodness and I'm glad I have some of those memories in writing. I don't know what's happened to me but I had forgotten about so many details - even experiences that I've had! Life gets busy and you move into new seasons and some things just escape your mind. I have always enjoyed journaling and letter writing for that reason.

So here we are, friends. 2017--and almost to the end of it. Wow. 11 months ago, I sat down with Jennie Allen's "Dream Guide" and wrote out goals and dreams for 2017 and here we are ticking down the days to a new year. In the 2012 post from today, I shared what a special season of life the boys and I had for 4 years in Pensacola. We have now been in Fairhope for 5 years. Dylan isn't the little elementary boy I wrote about and Brayden isn't in Preschool anymore. The days are long but the years sure do seem short... Dylan is in his first year of high school. HIGH SCHOOL. What in the world?? And Brayden is in 5th grade. I'm reminded with each passing day that the years with them inside the walls of our home, are limited and I need to make the most of every opportunity. I'm so thankful that I don't look back at the last 15 years with a terrible amount of regret. Early on, the Lord really impressed upon my heart, the desire to be connected and present as a family unit. I'm forever grateful for all of the laughter, joy, meals, memories, conversations and love that has been woven into who we are as a family. We are a culture more distracted than ever and it robs us of sweet time with those who matter most. I have to remember this daily. The enemy doesn't have to come in and destroy our families with huge tragedy. He can do it by slowly chipping away at it- stealing bits of time here and there, missed opportunities, missed conversations, misplaced priorities, over-commitments, over-reactions, etc. 
"Lord, keep me focused heaven-ward on things of eternal value!" 

Recently, I felt the Lord going from a gentle nudge to an undeniable command to step away from my role as Children's Director at my church. It's something I have done since living in Fairhope and it served a divine purpose for this season, both in my family and the church family, but over the last year I've felt Him whisper

"Your greatest ministry is inside of your home."

And that is Truth. We can do many good things. But even good things can distract us from the greatest thing we have been called to do within our families. 

Last year, the Lord began to do another sweet work within my heart. After spending 7 years remaining single, my heart began to desire companionship again--in the way He originally designed it. I have much to say about the benefits and necessities of singleness and how we really rob ourselves of growth and perspective by rushing into relationships but now isn't the time for that... :)

One day, as my heart and mind were doing this strange, new transformation, I was writing down some things in my journal. The Lord spoke to me through the words forming from my pen. "Beginning at 18, You spent 7 years in battle. The next 7 were spent healing- resting and renewing. But Lindsey, I'm ready to take you into a new season, one of restoration." It was a beautiful and humbling picture that we are never meant to park in one, comfortable season of life. We are meant to GROW. I'm a homebody. I like my little family and my little home and my little routine. But I can't expect to GROW that way. I cherish the season that God allowed my heart to heal. I cherish having almost 15 years with Dylan and 10 years with Brayden. The letters connected on this blog could never capture the joy and gratitude inside of my heart, for these years. I'm so deeply and eternally grateful. 

But faith, without obedience, is really not faith at all so I began to release the grip of my heart. I had to re-learn what it meant to date. I hated the idea of it, honestly. I never liked it- not in high school and especially not as a 33 year old but I was learning something through it. Gosh, the things we can learn when we are willing to just LET GO! 

Through the process of dating, the Lord was showing me that I was, in fact, worthy of love again. That not only was I worthy of it, but I was CAPABLE of it. 

He made me brave. 

And I am so thankful for that. 

A beautiful song came out at this time, called "You Make Me Brave" by Bethel Music:

"You make me brave. 
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves.
You make me brave.
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way." 


"This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9



Well, are you wondering what came of that dating journey? That's up next...

:) 

My next thirty years...(circa 2013)

Tim Mcgraw wrote a song about turning 30; How he'd live the next 30 years without many of the regrets from the previous 30. He would be a better father and husband, be healthier, and "forget all the crazy things" he'd done.

Something about a milestone birthday makes you do that. Reflect and envision...

So here we go.

Reflection:

The past decade of my life has been one of many, many ups and downs. I rang in my twenties with a 9 month old. My then-fiance was stationed in Kuwait. I'd send him letters and videos of our child and started working on wedding plans. I was in my 2nd year of college, determined to stay the course in spite of the unexpected arrival of my son. I had just come off of one of, if not THE hardest year of my life- facing an unplanned pregnancy, an adoption journey and then parenting. My twenties brought a breath of fresh air for me. I was beginning to like this new (unexpected) life. I've often said that turning 30 doesn't scare me because I've been living the life of one for 10 years now, and that's pretty much the case! College experiences were exchanged for balancing nursing, naps, studying and raising a baby.

The next few years of my twenties brought much more pain than I had hoped or imagined. When I rededicated my life to Christ after high school, I also asked God to unite my family- to give my son the best possible life- one with a mom and dad together; and what a gift God gave me in answering that. I loved my husband in a fresh, new way and was beginning to learn what that really meant- how selfless the word "love" had to be. I wasn't able to enjoy married life for long though... He would soon confess that he had been unfaithful with several women. This was a revelation that broke my heart, just broke it. This news, although not completely unexpected, was gut wrenching... Over the next few years, I would journey on the tough, ongoing road of forgiveness. I would make my own share of mistakes. I would move twice in an attempt to save my family. And I would learn what it felt like to hand over a dream so precious to my heart, and ask God to do what He saw fit with it. Sadly, that same dream wasn't handed back to me and yet, when realizing it was over, the Lord's sweet, sweet arms were once again holding me in my bed. Although a low point, this was a precious time when I was able to feel the Creator of the Universe simply...hold me.

The past 5 years since then have been a steady pathway of beauty, faithfulness and restoration. My heart has been restored. My hope has been restored. My eyes see the beauty of God's creation and people. My heart and spirit feel His constant faithfulness and provision, in my life and in my children's.

As I reflect on this decade- there are things that I never want to feel again. There are moments that I don't wish to relive. But there are also memories and lessons that I will always cherish. In my twenties, I started my precious family. I have been entrusted to love and guide these amazing children. I finished college! Whoo hoo! :) I started my career as a teacher. I saw the dedication of loyal friendships and my family. I felt the love and gift of new friendships. I learned great wisdom from amazing leaders in my church. And most of all, I became friends with my sweet, sweet Savior again. I felt Him in the midst of my pain. I felt Him in my children's hugs. I felt Him teach me new things. I felt Him show me His heart. I felt Him give me strength for each new day.

Vision

As I envision what this next decade has, I see things that can't necessarily be touched or planned for. I see lots of laughter and lots of love. I see adventure. I see prayer. I see gratitude. I see growth. I see myself learning new aspects of God's amazing character. I see new friendships. I see grace. I see wisdom.  I want to learn how to be more obedient. I want to love again. I want to be flexible more than comfortable. I want to be more Spirit-led. I want to spend quality time with my children. I want to make those dang photo albums I've been working on the past 10 years! ;-) ...I want to learn to like mowing my grass; or find someone who does. ;-) I want to minister to the children around me and share God's sweet love. I want to see more parts of His creation. I have places I want to visit and people I want to serve...I want to save more and spend less. I want to challenge myself to give away things that I may consider "mine" so I can free myself up for more that is "His."

Gratitude

Thank you to my family for showing me "the way in which I should go"...thank you for always being there for me. Thank you to my faithful friends for your laughter and love. Thank you to new friends over the past several years. Thank you to those who have offered wise counsel that helped guide many tough decisions. Thank you for the acts of kindness- the yards you've cut for me, the tables you've built, the groceries you've brought over, the car you've cleaned out, the boxes you've packed, the meals you've made, the advice you've given, the prayers you've prayed. I love you all so, so much.

My heart is full. My spirit is hopeful. My faith is strong.


Bring on the next thirty years... :-)  




Some cherished memories from this decade: 


A precious new addition to my life... William Brayden

Watching my son become a big brother...

Sweet times with Gussy before he passed away...
Sharing special times with my grandparents...


Finishing college with my support group cheering me on!

God providing all of the details for our move to Fairhope, including the purchase of our first home. It's a beautiful, cozy, gift that we love!
A sweet new addition to our family, Gracie Girl. 
The opportunity to travel to New England as a family. 

Special trips with my children...

Our time in Pensacola. The friendships we made, Dylan's wonderful school, times of worship, day trips to the beach, camping at Ft. Pickens...what a great 4 years!
4 wonderful years as a teacher at Sherwood.  Oh how we laughed and loved (just about) every day! 

Sweet time with Grandma Watt who is experiencing her treasures in Heaven, now!

I became an aunt to this brood in my twenties! Love them!
Seeing this ministry grow and reach women and children just like they did for us!

Words of affirmation and love from my students. Year after year...



Seeing this incredible personality pop out of this tiny person!
                                                         
The touch of my Appa Bulls hand in mine. What a great feeling! He is also enjoying His treasures in Heaven now. 

Getting baby love from my niece. 

Visiting the beautiful country of Hait..

Seeing God blow my mind with provision and blessing when I least expected it! 


Highlight: Seeing this amazing child be healed from terrible sickness that threatened his life. What a gift!

Goodbye Pensacola... (circa 2012)

I haven't posted on here in a while and this will be a little diversion from the usual vibe of this blog but as I exit one season of my life and enter another, I want to highlight some of the most special things (and people) that have been in my life the past 4 years here in Pensacola, Florida. I also want to relay my heart and hopes for the next few years... Sorry in advance for the sappyness that is to ensue. :-)

I will start by sharing how the boys and I ended up in Pensacola.

I graduated college in 2008 from the University of South Alabama in Mobile. I grew up in Mobile and didn't really want to leave my hometown or family and friends however, my marriage was in a really bad place that needed a drastic rescue and change. My husband and I decided we could use a fresh start outside of the town that held many memories of the past. I began applying for jobs all over Escambia and Santa Rosa County. That particular year, Escambia County held a job fair for teachers. I went and handed out my resume, one by one, to as many tables (schools) as possible, not knowing anything about any of the schools.

I was fortunate to get a call for 2 interviews in Pensacola. I loved the vibe of my first interview. It was relaxed, welcoming and casual. I wanted that job! My 2nd interview was more formal and structured with a committee but still a very kind staff. The next day, the second school called and not only offered me a position but gave me my top-pick on grade level. So, right out of college, I snagged my first "big girl" job! It felt great. I began the work of finding a place to live, finding a daycare for Brayden and trying to make plans with my husband.

My first year in Pensacola was pretty rocky. My husband never moved with us and it was just the boys and me. I was a first year teacher separated from my grade level by a few buildings. I had a very torn heart leaving Brayden every day. I missed my family and friends. And my marriage was falling to pieces. But, this was also a year of dramatic change and growth in my walk with God. Over the 2nd year here, I was moved to the same building as my grade level and got to know some of the most incredible people that will be lifelong friends! Dylan received a partial scholarship to a great private school here, we moved into an adorable home and God completely released me from the pain of my marriage.

Since then, I have formed some incredible memories here in Pensacola. I'd like to highlight some of my favorites:

Sherwood

This school will go down in the history of my career as one of my favorites. The students. The administration. The support. My grade level.... and of course, my awesomely huge, spacious, dream classroom! :-) I could not have asked for a more gracious, kind principal to teach under for these years. She, and most recently my new principal, made my first years of teaching, so comfortable and exciting.
My students have brought me the greatest joy and purpose. I can hardly imagine leaving them without feeling a certain amount of guilt and a lot of sadness. It was challenging and heart wrenching at times. But it was also hilarious and meaningful and gratifying.
My co-workers- so relaxed and encouraging and welcoming. I will so miss catching up in the lounge or the bus line, trying to figure out what the heck the new acronym is and if we really have to do it. ;-) My data clerk, reading coach, cafeteria staff, administration, custodial staff, guidance counselor... y'all all took time to listen to me, both professionally and personally. That means THE WORLD to me. I can only hope that I will be able to get that again in a staff, although those are really big shoes to fill. I call you my friends and that will never change!

My grade level- You get a shout out all on your own! Oh gosh, I just can't imagine not working with you guys anymore. God blessed me in a profound way when He gave me a job with you. I have cried with you, danced with you, cracked jokes with you, laughed with you and tried to carry burdens for you as you have, me. From my divorce to the deaths in my life recently, you all have been there for me in ways I will forever appreciate. How many people get to work right next to their dear friends every single day? I've been free to share my faith and my fears with you. I have lost my temper around you. I have laughed so hard I've cried with you. I've stolen your spoons. I've made really bad coffee. We've discussed men. kids. cellulite. budgets. data. chocolate. and even our underwear. :) I just love y'all so much. This is NOT the end of our friendship. Like it or not. You are not getting rid of me!

Harvest

I came to Pensacola not knowing a single person! My first plan was to find a church. I did a little leg work before moving and ended up visiting Harvest Pensacola. I loved the worship. The messages. The people. So, it's where we landed as a family. Some of the most special times for us was our first year here. It was a difficult time for me personally but I met some dear people during that time who counseled me, loved me and encouraged me. Dylan was baptized at Harvest and Brayden was dedicated as a baby there. Those were special, special moments for me as a Mama. :)
Also, through the church, came the opportunity for Brayden to be in the brand new church daycare. He was one of the first babies there so he had a teacher and room all to himself for most of the first year. He loved it and I took great comfort in knowing he was in a wonderful facility getting so much attention and love. He stayed until this June and it was a great place for him to be. I became good friends with the director who poured into my life and lifted my spirit many mornings and afternoons! I am very grateful for her presence in my life.

Through Harvest also came the opportunity for me to meet some people who I would share some good family time and community group time with. I have to say, I didn't get as involved with this as I would have liked. I've found that being here without a lot of "help" with two boys, made me desire A LOT of rest on my downtime. However, out of the church, came the opportunity for a friend who lived close to us, to take Dylan to school every day for me. She did this for 2 years for me and I am so grateful for that. It allowed Dylan to be in a wonderful atmosphere at Aletheia.

Which brings me to.....

Aletheia

Dylan started at Aletheia in 1st grade. It's been great for him and he has formed friendships with some incredible kids from incredible families. As a parent, you want your kids to be around good, solid kids. Well, Dylan definitely has that. These were such awesome kids. I had the privilege of having some of the boys in my home for Dylan's 8th birthday slumber party and it was so fun watching them have such a blast!
Through the school, I also got to know several moms that I just adore! Trina, Susan, Mary have been incredible friends the past few years. I haven't had enough time with them as so much of my time has been with the boys, but the times we have been able to visit and open up and spend together have been so dear to me. You ladies have made my heart so full! I love y'all a lot and thank you for loving my son and welcoming him into your homes and lives. I look forward to more visits!! This is NOT a goodbye post... I'm still only 30-45 minutes away so we'll work at staying connected with visits.

Pensacola Beach

Yep. It's getting it's own category. :) I can't believe I have lived on the Gulf Coast for 28 years and hadn't been to Pensacola Beach before moving here. That's just nuts! It has been the location of some AWESOME photos and memories for the boys and me. Whether I took a mental health day to sit alone and soak in the solitude and beauty, or packed the boys, the boards, and the cooler and spent the day down there, it's been home to some great days. I will really miss being 25 minutes from it but it'll be well worth it to drive a little farther to enjoy it.


So what's next??

Well, I'm glad you asked! ;-) 

This move to Fairhope wasn't really planned. I knew when moving here that Pensacola would probably be a "temporary home" to us and that I'd eventually like to be closer to home. Even though home was on the heart many times, I am also a creature of habit and take GREAT comfort in routine, friendships, predictability, stability, etc... so I would have been content and happy to stay in Pensacola indefinitely. However, something happened in my spirit after coming home from Haiti. It was the nudge that spurred on my efforts to look for jobs in Baldwin County. I felt such a strong sense that the boys and I needed to be growing back at People of Mars Hill (our former church). The teaching is so deep and challenging and the outreach in the community and beyond is right on with many of the personal convictions I have for my family and me. Bottom line, I have to be growing in God's plans and purposes for my life. Especially after Haiti, I felt that even more. My life wouldn't be "wasted" at all here in Pensacola, but I know it would flourish where my spirit could flourish. And not for myself but for Him! 

So with that said, I began the process of job hunting. I created a nice resume. I was honest in my interviews. I kept my options open. I tried to pray at every step. And then I sat back and said confidently that I had done my part fully and to the best of my human ability, and if anything were to happen now, it'd have to be due to God's craftmanship! Well, that's exactly what happened. Within 3 weeks, I interviewed, was offered a position, found a home and had the offer accepted. I leave for New Jersey in a week then return and pack the truck for Alabama! It's very fast moving and I am having to walk in faith, step. by. step. because to be honest, there's still a big part of my heart here in Pensacola. It's hard to move seasons in life. So hard. Like I said above, I could be perfectly content and happy in one place my whole life. But, if I want a FULL life, I have to be focused on staying open and flexible. That's where I have to walk forward in Faith... 

Some things I am looking the most forward to...

(do I even have any readers left?!? Geez, I'm long winded tonight!)

My family!

Oooh I miss being so close to y'all. I have driven to Mobile many, many, many times (per month!) but being closer will make my heart very happy. Now, I will go to the ends of the Earth if God calls me  but to be a bridge-hop away from my family and friends in Mobile and STILL be 30/45 minutes from my new friends in Pensacola, is very exciting. 

There are some people missing from this though. My Mom and Tom are in New Jersey. However, they will likely relocate after they retire so I am very eager for that day! My sister is in Atlanta and my brother is in Tuscaloosa BUT I am actively trying to convince them to move back to the Gulf Coast. It would be in everyones best interest, you guys. Come on, our children need each other!! (And Mark, it's so much harder to put Cayanne pepper in your shirts and mayonaise on your cheesecake, from so many miles away.)

People of Mars Hill

I can't wait to grow again here. This is the church that caused me to think about everything I believed and thought I believed about God. It took me from religious to Christ-focused; Rebellious to rededicated. I love the mission of the church. The acts of service. The depth of the messages. The sense of community and family atmosphere. The authentic, holistic vibe and worship. I'm very excited about this for the boys and me. :)

Sav-a-life

This ministry is so dear to my heart. I will live in Fairhope with my friend and Sav-a-life director, Susan and her husband FG. They have been sources of encouragement and support since I walked in the doors of this resource center as a scared 18 year old girl. I love the mission of this ministry and look forward to being closer so I can be part of that mission! 

My friends!

I look forward to cookouts, football gatherings, sleepovers, lunches and visits of all kinds! Love y'all so much! xoxo

My new job

As nervous as I get sometimes when I think about it, and sad when I think about leaving the great environment I have at Sherwood, I am eager and excited to get into a new room- a blank canvas! This will be a much different job than I am used to. I will be challenged as a teacher. But that's not a bad thing! I am on the early end of my career and I still have a lot to learn. I think change can be a great boost in confidence and experience. It will stretch me and force me out of my comfort zone. 

New memories with the boys...

Evenings at Fairhope Pier, picnics in the park, drives to the beach, ice cream shop visits, trips to Malbis, etc.... there are great days ahead for us and I am looking forward to creating many more beautiful memories together, both planned and unplanned! 

*******

I'm not sure I actually have anyone who has read this far but if you have, thank you! :)

I hope I was able to capture my gratitude and heart for the memories and friendships here in Pensacola.

I hope I was able to also share with you my vision for our families future and the purpose of this move. 

No matter what we do, no matter where we live, I want to live a life of love and praise and contentment and joy. I understand I can do that anywhere because so much of those things are a choice we can walk out daily. However, I think there are also specific times where God says, "Go", and He wants to do something in our lives that will both stretch and grow us. I wouldn't have been able to ignore or dismiss the call to "Go" much longer, even as much as my heart said, "Stay" at times. 

I look forward to sharing this upcoming season of life with you all as God opens doors that I can't even fathom! 






Monday, April 4, 2016

Books.

I won't give too much of an intro on this one but the Lord has brought me through a lot of different seasons. Throughout each of them, there have been books along the way that have provided a lot of wisdom, understanding and comfort. I wanted to share those with you here!

Have a great day!

Lindsey


Friday, March 11, 2016

Healing.

Life can be very unpredictable. You are likely either going through a trial, about to go through one or just out of one. The good news is that God has a miraculous ability to not only sustain us through pain, disappointment, hard news, huge life changes, betrayal, etc... but he actually grows us in it. When we choose to look through the lens of "What am I supposed to be learning here? How do you want me to walk through this?", we tend to see things from a much larger perspective and we invite peace, hope, joy and meaning into our lives and situations. It certainly isn't a quick process and it's often the harder way through things but the end result is worth it. Beauty from ashes.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

That's the beauty from ashes. That we would be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

It's hard to share such a vulnerable side of life: pain. We tend to shrink back and want to either deny it or hide it but I know there is purpose in sharing it. And very often the things we have gone through are actually for the benefit of other's lives, too.

To hear more of my heart on this, check out the video below.

Have a great weekend,

Lindsey


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pretty Days.

Beautiful day here in South Alabama. Absolutely perfect weather. I woke up yesterday and knew we had to do something outside. We rented a couple kayaks and cruised the Mobile Bay Delta area. Although my kids ate all the snacks in the first 30 minutes, had to pee the whole time and played bumper boats at my expense...it was still wonderful. Being a mama to boys, you have to lay aside expectations on a day like this. You can't imagine a serene, leisurely kayaking experience where everyone is quiet and peaceful. If you want that, you'll have to go alone. ;-)  I have found over the years that just as refreshing (.....ok, almost as refreshing) as those quiet, peaceful times, are the times where you laugh your way through the day so much that your cheeks hurt.

We do a lot of that.

So when you get a pretty day, relish in it! And when you get an ugly day...relish in that too because it's still another day to breathe air, experience new mercies and be with people you love.

"Time is a monster that cannot be reasoned with. It moves like a snail at our impatience and races like a gazelle when we cannot catch our breath."
 Simon Burch


Enjoy time.


Monday, February 29, 2016

"Woven"

It has been 3 years. Wow. I explain in the video below about my heart for relaunching this blog and the meaning behind its new name. I don't know exactly where it's all headed but I've felt the nudge lately to get back out "there" or... "here", rather. I'll share more about what has been happening in our family and my life lately, but to summarize- I feel like he's leading us into a new season. I want to document whatever that road looks like for us. Writing and journaling is a way for me to process the mysterious ways of God and the misunderstandings of life as well as a way to look back and see where He has connected the dots through it all. This is just another expression of that process.

About 8 months ago I got off of Facebook as I felt this "nudge" to simplify and remove clutter as well as make time for the most important things around me. I had no idea what a blessing that would be! While I have missed really major life events such as baby announcements and engagements, it's been refreshing too. (Sorry, Mom) :) If we want to glean from the Lord's wisdom, we really do have to be intentional about getting our minds and lives in a position of being a good listener and learner.

So much has been happening over the past few years, right up until today! I look forward to sharing some of those moments with you.

~Lindsey


woven:
verb
 to form by interlacing; to make a complex story or pattern from a number of interconnected elements

****

"I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then, you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ." Colossians 2:2 Msg. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

An open letter to my boys...

Dylan and Brayden,

My precious gifts. I want you to know how valuable and special you are to me. As I rub your sweet heads and backs at night, I am reminded to be THANKFUL you are with me.
The joy that you bring me cannot be adequately described. The way your hugs make me feel. The scruffy sound of your voice. The fading "Love you Mommy" as I shut your bedroom door. The kiss on my cheek as you leave for school.

You two are the most precious things I have in my life.

There is no amount of peacefulness or solitude or vacation time or rest, that can compare to the beautiful chaos of having you two with me.

Brayden- you are independent, spunky, strong willed, fearless and yet cautious; you are tender, yet tough. You will be an incredible addition to your friends lives. You will be a wonderful father, husband and fearless servant of Christ.  You are bold and full of courage and I ADORE YOU!

Dylan- you are talented at everything you seek to do. You are a born protector and encourager and leader. You are thoughtful and loving and giving and generous. You are empathetic and smart. You are charming and witty. You will be the most wonderful father and husband one day.

As I see you two grow, I become more proud of who you are.

There isn't a greater pleasure in this world than to see you two love each other. Your bond can not be broken. Do not ever let anyone come between you. You are different and unique and strong and special. Find the qualities in each other that are different and view them as strengths. Always be there for one another.

There are times I wish my house were cleaner or my car were quieter. Or that Dylan, you would finally learn to get your boxers off the bathroom floor. Or that Brayden, you would aim better. Or dress neater. Or comb your hair. Or pick up your Hot Wheels cars. Or shake the sand out of your shoes.

But these are part of what make my time with you two so...

                      wonderful. 
The dirt.          
The sandy shoes.      
The boxers.
The mismatch clothes.
Running late so Brayden can "just get one more thing!"
The towel on the bathroom floor.
The chaos in the car.
Walking around the opposite side of the grocery store, just to get the "driving cart".
The dirty smelling blankie.
The cleats you wore inside the house.......and the track of clay you brought with it.
The book bag you didn't unpack.
The dishwasher you didn't finish unloading.
The "art" on my fridge.
The smell of your watermelon shampoo.
The 8 different toothpastes I bought just to try and find one that you liked.

Arguing over the car seats....
                      and the radio
                            and the movie we're watching
                                  and the basketball game
                                       and who will be the Red Ranger
                                             and whether you can hear the "h" in "cheese"

These are the beautiful pieces that make up our lives together.


I could write a book to you boys. I could spend an entire night telling you what I love. what I need to do better, appreciate more, do differently. There isn't enough time in my life to adequately share my love with you.
There aren't enough back rubs to have.
Sunscreens to apply.
Hairs to brush.
or shoes to put on.            

An eternity as your mom, doesn't seem like enough.

If my love for you bursts through time and space and any limits, I cannot imagine how much Christ loves you.....and me.

***

Choose your friends wisely.
Choose work that you love but more importantly, choose to work faithfully, earnestly, and honestly at whatever you do.
Work at the relationships that mean the most to you.
Learn from others.
Read God's Word.
Worship Him.
Pray about everything.
Protect your families.
Guard your hearts.....and minds.....and bodies.

The "bliss" that this world can offer you will never compare to the eternal, everlasting, unending and incredible bliss of a dedicated life to Christ. No person, no job, no fun, no experience, no adventure, nothing is worth the cost of your life, your peace, your future or your family.

Trust Him in the Valley- He is working.
Trust Him in the Darkness- He is there.
Praise Him in the joys.
Listen to His Spirit in you.
Test what you hear, think, say and do against His Word. It is the source of life and will never lead you wrong.

Your understanding is finite and can only see a section at a time. His view is eternal and sees it all.

love wins. 

You can have every opportunity, every resource, all the charm and wit and adoration of humans, but if you have not loved it is meaningless. 

share
          give
                extend
                         sacrifice
                                     pour out

                                        love. 

I've wandered from my reflection of your precious childhood to a handbook for your life..... Sorry. That's what mommies do :)

Forgive me for the moments where I've not shown you love. 
Forgive me for not appreciating every moment I have with you. 
Forgive me for losing my temper or ever making you feel inadequate or less than the special creation you are.
I am sorry. 

Everything, everything, that I have gained from knowing you and loving you and raising you has enriched my life! I wouldn't ever want to walk this life without you two wonderful boys. 



Thank you for loving me. Thank you for laughing with me. (And at me.) 
Thank you for drawing in my journal. And for the Spiderman stickers on my car window. 
Thank you for insisting on pushing the cart....and convincing me to buy that stupid coconut. Then laughing at me when I broke it open and sprayed milk all over my face. 
Thank you for camping with me. 
And killing all those horrible bugs in my house. 
And for leaving your light saber on the couch. 
And for your backwards letter "d's"
Thank you for bringing the mail in for me...and helping me cut all the credit card applications up. 
Thank you for working so hard in school. 
...and making me laugh because you got a discipline note for cracking pecans in the hallway. :) Yes. I laughed. 

Thank you for letting me defend you. protect you. cuddle with you. play music with you. paint with you and love you. 

My heart is full. 

I love you forever and ever and ever and ever aaaaaallllll the way to the last star in the sky...

and back.

Mommy. 




Wednesday, March 7, 2012

End of the Spear

Update
I got an email from Jaime Saint that Steve Saint came across this post and has shared it with others. First of all, how awesome is that?! Like I said on Facebook this week, some people are star struck by celebrities, I am star struck by missionaries :) I would love to hear some feedback below in the comments section if you have the time and feel led to share something. If you have a word of encouragement or a scripture that comes to mind for our family or my son, Dylan, in particular, that would be awesome too. If you would rather send it in email you can do so at lins114@yahoo.com. Thanks for sharing in a portion of our families journey via this blog. I look so forward to sharing more as we walk the life God has called us to. 

********************

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose"
 Jim Elliot 

I just finished watching "End of the Spear"- the story of 5 missionaries who went to the jungles of South America in search of the most isolated people they could locate. After much hard work and prayer, they laid eyes on the Wadoni people- a tribe who spent their lives spearing outsiders, foreigners, other tribes and even each other. A tribe who had never heard of the true and living God, they lived in fear that the only way they could "jump the Great Boa" (cross over into paradise) was to kill their enemies. But this belief was challenged when they speared the 5 missionaries to death. The missionaries never fought back, showing "little strength"- and yet, in that moment, the tribe was able to see these men carried into heaven. Their eyes were open to the Heavenly realm for a moment. Later, the missionaries families would return to the tribe that killed their husbands and fathers, and continue the work that was begun- to share the message of Jesus Christ.

Here is their story shared through their wives:


It's so hard to wrap my mind around why these men would be "called" to do something that would end up, not only killing them, but killing them before they could even see the mission accomplished! It takes years sometimes to see why things happened the way they did. But it's in that moment, we can say confidently, "Now I see why."

This is a video of the man who murdered one of the missionaries. Now, he travels the country with the son of the very man he speared to death over 50 years ago.



I thought about showing Dylan "End of the Spear". I want him to have an accurate view of the suffering and great need in this world- but I also don't want to shatter the innocence of childhood by showing him too much, too soon. I decided that I would watch it with him and talk to him as we watched. That night, I put him to bed like I normally do. We prayed, I rubbed his back and told him how special He was. He went to sleep but about an hour later, he came to my room sobbing. I don't know if I have ever heard either of my children crying like that. At first, I thought "The images were too much and he's scared." But after talking to him, I realized that wasn't it at all.

Dylan's heart was broken. He sobbed as he tried to explain what was wrong. He said, "I just don't understand. How did they do it? How did they have that kind of courage? I want to love God like that. I want to love Him that much!" Over and over... he was inconsolable. I just rubbed his back and listened to the cries of his heart. We stayed awake for almost 2 more hours. Falling asleep together, I started quoting Jeremiah 29:11. His voice merged with my own as we recited it together. I told him that he didn't need to be scared of what God would call him to do. Still crying, he said, "That's my favorite verse, Mommy. Thank you." I told him he was so precious to me and he said, "No Mommy, you're the precious one." So sweet...

That February 4th night, my son was deeply impacted. It is such an honor to guide and lead him through his childhood and into adulthood. It's not fun to think about, but I'm already half way done parenting him. In 9 more years, he will be 18. At that point, not only do I want him to have a faith that can move mountains; that can offer himself to be used however God leads him...

...but I want that kind of faith too.

"I have no greater joy than this: to know that my children are walking in the Truth."
3 John 1:4