Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A truck, forgiveness and the Father's heart

I had an interesting experience this morning.  As I dropped kids off at daycare today, Mary told Isaac he could keep his coat on because he needed to go out back and put away the truck he left out yesterday.  I found out that he told her he had put away. 

His face was almost disbelieving that he had to go out and do that, but then it hit him that he had lied and that Mary & I were disappointed in his choice. 

He dutifully walked around to the backyard and put the truck away and then came back inside.  His face when he came in made me want to hug him and say everything is okay, but instead I kindly, but firmly (I hope) told him to go say sorry to Mary for lying.  He buried his head in my legs and asked me to go with him.  I said I would.  He still didn't move - you could feel fear coming from him.  I quietly told him that Mary would forgive him and that he needed to say sorry.  So we went up the stairs and Isaac quietly said "Sorry", to which Mary quickly and graciously responded, "I forgive you Isaac." 

Wow, it was so hard to watch my sweet boy reap the consequences of sin.  Because we can use any other word, lying, being naughty, bad behaviour, etc., but the truth of the matter is that what he did was sin. 

After Mary said she forgave him and I was getting ready to go, I could tell Isaac was still pretty sober and somewhat hesitant to go to Mary and start the day.  I was so thankful that I had the opportunity to teach him about forgiveness in the midst of this.  I told him that when he said sorry and Mary forgave him; it means that she is no longer upset and she forgets about what he did.

He settled into the couch to read a book with Mary and the other kids and as I drove away I saw his smiling face waving at me.  That did my heart a world of good knowing that Mary did the right thing holding Isaac accountable and I did the right thing by not diminishing his behavior. . . but man it was hard!!

I continue to ponder this situation today and the emotions it envokes in me.

Does God's heart hurt as much as mine did watching Isaac reap the consequences (however small) of his sin?  Does God want to leap in and say, "No, it's okay, don't worry about it" so that we (His children) don't feel that pain of discipline, even though He know we need it?  Deuteronomy 8:5 says, "Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good."  

I don't have an answer, but I do know that I am thankful for God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  I am thankful that I have been blessed with 2 beautiful children who daily teach me more about God and challenge me.  I am thankful for Mary, who loves (disciplines), cares (corrects) and prays for our kids. 

Oh and parenting is tough. End of story.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I once was lost, but now I'm found

As I sit today at my temporary office inside a local church, I can hear infants crying (church has daycare center). 

It makes me miss my babies. 

I text Mary (beyond awesome caregiver to my kids) and ask how kids are - because I miss them and in this moment of hearing babies cry and sitting alone in a big (freezing cold) room, I question so many things.

And then I get these:

I cry, send mushy texts back for Mary to read to the kids and I ask God,

"Are you sure I am doing what I am supposed to be doing?" 

"Why have you created me the way that I am with the desires I have?"

As I struggled to gain my footing emotionally, I had the thought, I once was lost, but now I am found.

"But God, how can I be found when one minute I feel confident and sure in Your plan and my steps and the next I am fearful, unsure and feel like I have completely missed the boat.  Aren't I the textbook definition of one who is lost?"
-having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place, direction, etc.
-not used to good purpose, as opportunities, time, or labor; wasted
-being something that someone has failed to win

I look at those definitions (courtesy of dictionary.com) and I think, "yep, that's me."  But God says differently.  He says,

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders  and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  Luke 15:4-6
-to locate, attain, or obtain by search or effort
-to locate or recover (something lost or misplaced)
-to discover or perceive after consideration
-to gain or regain the use of
-equipped, outfitted, or furnished

I am not a theologian (not a surprise to many of you), but this is how I felt God spoke to me through this.  When I was lost, (astray; missing the way; bewildered as to place, direction; not used to good purpose), God came after me and searched until He FOUND (located, attained, obtained by search, effort; recovered; discovered or perceived at consideration; gained or regained use of; equipped, outfitted, furnished) ME.

I may still feel bewildered, astray and not used to good purpose, but God sees me as a discovered, equipped, furnished child that He rejoices over and shows off to His friends.

Wow.  I get choked up typing that. 

God is so good and loving and I am overwhelmed with Him and his love and presence, even here in this big empty (still freezing) temporary office.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Change anyone?


Anyone out there? 

Since it has been months since I last blogged, I am unsure how many people will still be reading. 

But if you are still reading (thank you!), there have been some awesome changes happening in our lives and I am so excited to share.  One of the small changes will be this blog - I got connected with an awesome set of sisters who run a blog design business and they are working on redesigning this blog for me.  For those of you who know me personally, you know design and anything technical are not my strong points.

Another change to this blog is that it will now serve as a window into our leap into missions. 

(Pause for dramatic effect)

Yes, missions.

The following is a portion of a letter we sent to some of our friends and family (and if you didn't get one, it wasn't because we don't consider you a friend or family. . . it is because my memory is shot lately).  I figured to save the time, energy and repetitiveness I would just copy the heart of the message for you - my blogging friends.

You probably already know about an organization called Impact World Tour (IWT). IWT provides an effective and relevant means for the local church to express Christ’s message using international performing arts and sporting groups in campaign style evangelism.  It's a ministry of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) a long standing, well respected ministry.

Did you know that only 4% of our young people attend church on a regular basis? Our hearts were stirred when we heard that, and began to look at our local schools and our community to see so many of our youth without hope.

So where does IWT fit in?

Mark & I strongly believe in the mission of IWT as they meet the challenge of sharing the Gospel in a relevant way. I began volunteering with them in February and God has opened doors for us within IWT. I have recently left my full-time employment to begin serving with IWT as a missionary (there are no paid staff) for the outreach this fall in the Red River Valley. With that tour completed, I am now working with tour events in surrounding communities such as Grand Forks, Jamestown, Watertown, Minot, Bismarck, St. Cloud, Duluth and more through 2012 and beyond.

In early October, the IWT performance teams performed at over 40 school assemblies; and in nursing homes, churches and public venues like Scheels Arena! Thousands of lives were changed as a result. 

We heard countless stories of people responding the the Gospel for the first time.  One woman had been praying for her husband for 30 years and at one of the events, he came forward and surrendered his life to God.  Another man shared how his 6 year old son responded to Christ and on the drive home told his dad, "I can't believe I get to live for Jesus, Dad!  I graduated to Jesus!"

My major responsibility was to train and equip believers to talk and pray with students at the public events. I also coordinated small groups/neighborhood centers. These will be held in homes, at coffee shops, the library etc. and will provide students with love, acceptance and teach them more about God and His plan for their lives.

This is a giant step of faith for Mark & me and our family, but one we know that God has led us to take. We covet your prayers in this season and are so thankful for our great network of family and friends who support us.

So, there you have it.  We are super excited and yet a little scared.  It is easy to say that we trust God in everything; finances, health, relationships, etc.  But we are discovering it's easier to say you trust God when you really don't, than actually trusting God because you have to! 

My goal for this blog will be to keep all of you up to date on our life in missions and what is happening with IWT. And yes, I will still post silly stories and cute pictures of our kids.  After all, I still seek delight and peace in all things and am thrilled at the journey we are embarking on. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

In a perfect world. . .

. . .I would wake up each morning when my alarm went off (not 20 minutes later), pop out of bed, feeling rested and ready to conquer the day.

. . .my kids would not whine.  Ever.

. . .someone would come in and wash my hair and fix it for me every morning, while I sipped coffee and read.

. . .I would find fullfillment in everything I'm doing and where I am at, instead of feeling like I am just going through the motions in some areas.

. . .dishes would clean themselves.

. . .and so would clothes, floors, bathrooms (especially toilets), dogs, etc.

. . .I would never obsessively worry about things I have no control over.

. . .I would not work a 8 to 5 job.

. . .my kids would never get sick, hurt, or scared.

. . .I would not care what people think of me, instead of just pretending not to care what people think and then inside being terrified that they won't like me.

This list could go on and on. And probably about more important things like salvation, world hunger, crime, etc., but for now and in my little world, this is where I am. 

I feel like we (Mark & I and family) are in a time of transition. 

What's changing you ask? 


Nothing at all except for a sense of movement in our hearts and minds. 

Towards what you ask? 

No idea. 

Not a clue. 

See how informative I am today?

All I do know is that I am remaining open to change and  trying to remain open even if that change is not what I had in mind (even though I don't have anything in mind). 


Annoyed with what I am trying to say but failing at miserably??? 

Welcome to my brain.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's raining, it's pouring. . .

Seriously, why does it have to rain this weekend?  Although I am so ready for the weekend, it doesn't kill my mood too much. 

WARNING:  Random Post

*I am working at my 2nd seasonal job at a greenhouse tomorrow and Sunday, but if the weather is crummy, I may not be working as long.  Either way, it is a fun job and although I miss the kids a ton, I still get time with them both days-just not as much as normal weekends.

*Some friends are coming to stay with us tonight.  Jason is running on a relay team for the Fargo Marathon - better him than me!  They have 2 little boys, so the kids should have a blast playing together.

*Last night we learned why having a birthday party in the evening right up until bedtime is a bad idea. . . . let's just say that after a few "I can't believe I just did that" moments in parenting, taking away a toy for today and countless times out of bed, Isaac fell asleep around 8:50pm. . . . ugh. 

We are struggling with how to deal with a few certain behaviors - whining being the main one.  Isaac is such a good kid and I have said before, I think that almost makes his bad behavior worse because we are just not used to it!  His whining in the last few weeks has reached an all time high and what has worked in the past is no longer working.  So, back to the drawing board.  He responds really well to incentives and positive praise.  Sticker charts have worked in the past for things like staying in bed and going to bed like a 'big boy', so maybe we can figure out how to use one for whining or the lack of whining.

*Went to get my stitches out today and found out my arm is infected, so 10 days of antibiotics here I come. . . . .just hoping my arm is healed by the time I have to have the excision on my back. . .if not, I do not know how I will sleep since my first one was on my left arm and the one on my back is on my back/right side.  Oh well, I am so very thankful to be catching this stuff now.

Well, that is the end of my random post - have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


At this point 3 years ago, I was in a surreal place.  I had just hit the call button and when the nurse's voice came through I said, "Um, I have a question about my son-could someone come down here?"

My son. 

Wow-saying those words for the first time the morning he was born felt so strange.  I thought the nurse would come in and say, "You don't have a son, that was just a dream!"

Of course that day and for many after I had lots and lots and lots of questions.  Should he be making those noises when he sleeps?  Should he really be spitting up this much?  Did he really have to pee on my toast and poop on my pants simultaneously our first night at home? 

But that feeling of having a son - of being a parent - still at times feels so surreal.

Especially today, on his 3rd birthday.  How am I the mom to a 3 year old little boy who is the most intelligent, kind, inquisitive, impatient boy I know? 

He amazes me everyday with the things he asks and the knowledge he absorbs.  He is independent and yet needs to know that we are there always encouraging, watching, praising him.  He is a great big brother and is so gentle with Piper - except of course when she has something he wants.

He loves to read bible stories - especially the one about "dem bones" (Ezekiel) - and he has his nightly prayer memorized.

"Dear Jesus, Thank you for Mommy, Daddy, Piper, Marley, Grandpa Paul, Grandma Liz, Grandpa Leo, Michelle, Mike, Lorrie, Samantha, Clay, Zachary, Matthew, Olivia, Gail, Ryan, Riley, Jacob, Joy, Mary, Steve, Samuel, Frederik, Samuel's Grandma & Grandpa, Ian, Khloe, Kahlea, Grace, Holly, Isabelle, Max, Isla, Levi, Amanda, Alyssa, Melissa, Cory, Harry, Maggie, Shane & Jill and everyone who loves me.  In Jesus name, Amen!"

Isaac Mark I love you more than words could ever express.  You are the delight of my heart and I pray daily that God draws you to Him and that He teaches your Daddy and me how to guide you through this life.  You are a blessing to everyone you meet.  Have a wonderful 3rd birthday, Bubba!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Did you guys ever watch that show?  I used to watch it after school. . .  and then there was another show too that I watched that had a lady cop in it. . .maybe. . .totally blanking out on the name-help anyone?  Anywho, that is a totally random thought, but it fits perfectly with my life lately.

Just a run down of where I have been, what I have been doing.  These are listed in no particular order.

1)  The Puke Fest of 2011
This event started with my lovely daughter puking up spaghetti all over her crib one Friday night. . . . and then she continued to puke. . . .one key thing to note is that earlier in the evening she had smashed her head on a hard plastic corner of a bin in the living room (yes, we had an empty, totally pointless, bin out in the living room.  Why?  Why not???).  And of course as all slightly neurotic mothers know, if a child pukes more than 2 times after hitting their head, you need to have them looked at-so a phone call was made to my parents who came over to stay with Isaac (who thankfully slept through all of this) and Mark & I were off to the ER with Piper.  Oh did I mention she puked in the van on the way to the hospital?  And then again while we were sitting in the waiting room?  And again once we got back in the room to see the sweet ER doc??  Yes, it was quite a night. 
By the time we got to the ER she had a fever, so the doctor figured it was something viral and just a coincidence that she had hit her head, but he wanted to be sure, so off to get a CT scan we went.  I will not tell you what an awful experience that was. . . .everything from me having to pin down my child to the incredibly rude, obnoxious, jerk of a CT tech guy who was 'helping' us (and yes, he did glare at me when I was unable to hold my screaming, terrified, 18 month old child perfectly still while a loud, large, scary looking machine circled around her head-my apologies you giant jerk).  If you haven't noticed, I may have some unresolved anger at that man.  But, thankfully we got it done (with Mark & I holding Piper down-yeah, I didn't sleep that night because I kept seeing her horrified face) and the tests showed she was fine.  So, we took her home and she slept on and off all night.
Cue Saturday morning. . . . Isaac spikes a temp and Piper keeps puking, so off I went to Walgreen's to fill her prescription of Zofran and we tucked in for a day of sick kids.  Little did we know that this was just the beginning. 
To make this incredibly long story and even longer week short, I will summarize by saying that I got sick Sunday and by the end of the week we (and by we I mostly mean Mark) had cleaned up more puke and diarrhea than any person should ever have to deal with.  It.Was.AWFUL.  The only one not to get sick was Mark, but we both missed a week of work.  Some people take vacations-our family gets sick.

2)  Dave Ramsey gazelle intense debt pay off.
This event has started with me getting a seasonal 2nd job.  I work at a greenhouse for about 8 weeks this summer - it is so fun!!  I love being outside and working with so many different people.  It also makes for a very, very crazy schedule and not a lot of family time.  But it is only for a season and we know that being debt free is so very important to our future.

3)  Volunteering
I have taken a pretty big volunteer role for an event that is coming to our area this fall.  This is in an area  that I used to dream about doing and so having the opportunity to do it, well, it's like God is giving me some of my dreams back.  I am sure I will be talking more about this event as it gets closer, but it is the opportunity to share the Gospel with people in a real, relevant, culturally current way.  It is bringing churches from all denominations together for one goal and purpose, setting aside theological differences for the ultimate goal of reaching people, specifically young people, with the Gospel and the love of Christ.

4)  C-word
I went to my dermatologist a month or so ago to have him check out 3 moles.  I am a moley (not sure if that is a word) person and have had moles removed before-they all check out fine, no big deal.  But, my chiropractor and an urgent care doc had both said I should get this one particular mole checked out.  So, in I went, off they came and they said they would send me a letter or call with the results.  Okay I thought and put it our of my mind.  Fast forward a few days and I get a call from dermatology.  She says we have the results and proceeds to tell me the first 2 moles are fine, but the 3rd (actually 3rd & 4th since what I thought was 1 mole was actually 2) were moderately atypical and the doctor would like you to come back in so he can do an excision.  Ummm, okay.  She said, "It's not cancer, but it could become cancer. . . or it could stay how it is forever, but we just like to be cautious."  Ummmmm, okay.  And so off I went a week later to have an excision (which I had no idea what they were going to do).  When I got to my appt., my doctor explained that if white is not cancer and black is cancer, my cells in this mole were gray.  And sometimes cells are mildly gray and sometimes cells are moderately gray.  Guess which I had? Yep. . . so he cut a big chunk out of my arm along with some healthy cells so that they could test and make sure they got everything.  He also took a sample of another mole on my back to biopsy.  This was last Friday.  I got a call yesterday (I am starting to dread phone calls from a certain phone number) and the great news is they got all the "pre-cancer" cells from my arm. . . .the not so great news is that the one on my back is moderately atypical and so I need to have another excision. . . . and I found another mole that has been changing so they will biopsy that one as well when I go in.  The doctor said the more you atypical moles you have, the closer they watch you, but it doesn't mean I am guaranteed to get cancer. 
The crazy thing about all this is that I really am at peace. . . .and most people wouldn't describe me as a calm, peaceful person in times of stress.  But I am truly resting in the Lord and understanding that He knows what is going on.  I also know that He is my Healer.

5)-8)  Garage Sale, Travel, Family Visiting, Birthday
We had a garage sale that we decided to do at the last minute-not fun to be pricing things at midnight (which is why all the baby clothes were $.50!!).  But we had a great turn out - debt be gone!!
Mark & I are going out of town tomorrow morning and the kids are staying with Grandma & Grandpa-I haven't packed a single thing and we are leaving the house at 6:15 tomorrow morning. 
Mark's sister is coming into town tonight - our house is well, less than company ready, so it's a good thing she's family!! 
And Isaac's 3rd b-day is next week. . . and I just started planning it this week. 

So. . . .that is where I have been.  Whew!