Not Something you do, but Someone you Raise

someone you raise

Remembering back to my early years of being a mom, it’s still incredibly vivid just how lonely and overwhelming my days (and nights… can I get an amen?) tended to be. I had an overabundance of hormones and emotions, and not nearly enough sleep to balance them all…unfortunately for both myself…and my husband.

And so often in the midst of those dark monotonous days, I found myself wondering if just maybe God had made a major mistake in allowing me to be a mother after all. I had all these expectations and hopes imagining what motherhood and marriage would look like, and what I was experiencing most certainly didn’t seem to match up to any of them. And so, it was in that place of comparison, loneliness, self-pity and sleep deprivation that I found myself desperately needing to find a purpose and a connection beyond my husband and children.

And so began the birth of my blogging and YouTube career.

Now, I don’t for a moment regret the decision to start my blog or YouTube channel, for it was in choosing to share the “Me Too” moments of my life (and most especially the ones shared back with me) that helped in healing from the postpartum angst, anxiety, and struggles I found myself struggling to get out of.

Yet, as it would happen, it was in the midst of seeking to find my purpose on those pages and platforms that God was truly able to open my eyes and heart to the platform I was already being gifted to grow.

The one he’d blessed me with at home.

It wasn’t a realization that came easy though, and in those years (and still to the second I write this post and beyond) I have had to face some tough truths about my selfishness and desires. But having that giant mirror held up to my heart truly ended up being the best thing that could ever have happened to me. Because as I slowly began to look up from the mirror and take notice of what I had always deemed so important, I realized none of it any longer held the same appeal.

And while the seed had long been planted, it’s really only been in these last few years, and especially in these last two of our homeschooling journey, that I have come to truly appreciate that before all else, it is the family God has blessed me with, that is my greatest purpose of all.

I assure you this perspective definitely becomes clearer once you and your babies are consistently sleeping through the night! I also assure you there are days even with a lot of sleep and older children, that this perspective is a bit harder to call to mind and believe. Thankfully God’s truth doesn’t change based on our emotions or circumstances!

And while I still long to have purpose and connection outside the home, it’s no longer to fill an empty void. Because now I realize that anything I’m blessed with beyond my family, is simply just an overflow of abundance. A blessing to be sure, but never one that comes before the two little souls that stand before me each and every day.

I  know the years of being a mother can at times be overwhelming, lonely, thankless and tiring. And I know that in those years, we long to be used for a purpose, to live with intention, and to make a difference somewhere…somehow…

But the truth, the reassuring comforting truth is…

God has given us a purpose.

He has asked us to live with intention.

And in staying faithful to what he’s called us to, we will absolutely be making a difference in little lives each and every second of the day.

For there is truly no greater platform that you will ever build or be responsible for, than the one he has blessed you with right there in your home.

Blessings,

Summer Saldana

How to Write Books with Babies In Your Lap (Giveaway)

via Worth James Goddard on flickr

You don’t.

You don’t write books with babies in your lap, you don’t even check your email because four boys are honking your nose and pulling at your hair and coffee spills all over the overdue bills on your desk and you wonder again, why you said Yes.

Why you said you’d take in your friend’s two children when she called saying she couldn’t do it anymore, she couldn’t be a mom anymore. And rather than see that one-year-old and three-year-old go into the foster system you said you’d take them in, in addition to your six-month-old and his two-year-old brother.

Because some things are more important than sleep. Or a hot cup of coffee. Or that novel you’ve just been contracted to write because of course, you finally got a contract right after you took the boys in. Because God cares more about the least of these and he’ll reward you for it, too.

But it doesn’t feel like a reward. Especially when one of the boys forgets to lock the gate behind him and your six month old tumbles down the stairs in his walker and you grab him, weeping, you run with him to the office and close the door and hold your baby close to you and sob to God, I can’t do this.

Rock your baby and sobbing, and then somehow, God reminds you that you can. And you rise, open the door, turn on some music for the boys in the living room and they run dancing around the coffee table.

The story only gets written because you hire a nanny–a Dutch girl from your hamlet who makes homemade pasta noodles and laughs with all of her upper body and brings crafts to do with the boys. She brings her keyboard and songs fill the insides of your walls and she makes you mugs of tea and you call her Angel.

But even as the characters begin to form on the screen in your Word document, even as the plot thickens and you try to avoid those excessive adverbs and cliche descriptions, you hear the boys laughing outside the office door.

And you miss them. Your house is full of children but they’re no longer climbing all over you, they’re climbing all over somebody else, and you wonder if they aren’t the greatest story your life is writing?

These four boys whose noses and legs never stop running, who never get enough stories at bedtime, who always want more songs and more snuggles and more glasses of milk and more of you.

boys in the corn

All you’ve ever wanted is to be a published author and now you have the chance and you can’t help thinking, this isn’t what life is about.

It’s incredible to be able to make up stories but it’s even more incredible to live them. To hear the words tumbling from your child’s mouth as he talks about his favorite blue flashlight as you lie beside him in his bunk-bed. “Some flashlights are small, and some are big, and some are tiny and some are huge,” he says as he slips his hand into yours there in the dark.

Catherine Wallace writes, “Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”

Yes, I write books, but I don’t make a living from them. I make a living from being a mother and a wife, from nurturing life and love through the main characters of my story: the Dutch-German man I fell in love with back in Bible School, the one who converts his car to run off vegetable oil, who cans his own salsa and snowboards mountains. Who hikes up his pajama pants and dances for me in the middle of the living room, who throws his boys on the bed and eats their tummies, who downloads Parenthood for me and goes geocaching with me and kisses me like he means it.

And the two Filipino boys who now only visit us once a month because they’re back with their mama, and she thanks me every week for saving her life last year, and my biological sons–the ones I wasn’t supposed to be able to have–who make me feel famous every time I enter a room. Who squish my cheeks together in their dimpled hands and say, “I lah you Mama.”

This, friends–this is the story worth telling. The one we’re in.

novel ad

I am honored to be giving away my debut novel, A Promise in Pieces--which releases this month–today to you friends… it’s about a woman like me, named Clara, who loves passionately while struggling to believe she is loved.

From the back cover: “It’s been more than 50 years since Clara cared for injured WWII soldiers in the Women’s Army Corp. Fifty years since she promised to deliver a dying soldier’s last wish. And 50 years since that soldier’s young widow gave her the baby quilt—a grief-ridden gift that would provide hope to countless newborns in the years to come. On her way to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Clara decides it’s time to share her story. But when the trip doesn’t go as planned, Clara wonders if anyone will learn the great significance of the quilt—and the promise stitched inside it.”

If you want to win one of two copies, just leave a comment below and we’ll choose two winners within the week. Otherwise, you can download a free chapter and purchase the novel HERE.

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

Using God’s Word to Correct in Your Family

Using God's Word to Correct in Your Family

Reboot.
Or maybe boot camp.
Something of a control-alt-delete sequence is how this parenting class has felt for me.

My husband and his friend have been leading a parenting class at our church.
As couples, we led a similar class about 5 years ago and it’s not that I’d forgotten everything or that any of the material has been actually new.
But it has been a good reminder–
Of what our deepest goals are for our children.

We pray for true heart change and not just outward external obedience.
We want them to know and love the Lord and live for Him.
We desire close relationships and connection with each on of them.
And we need God’s Word to permeate every aspect of our interaction with them.

I’ve been thinking about how easy it is, in the heat of the moment,
when I’m digging half-melted-Disney-princess-plastic-dolls-shoes out of the heater vent for the second time…
To forget that my words, my response, needs to flow from God’s words of grace and it also needs to be rooted in His call to obedience.

His “children obey your parents in the Lord…that it may go well with you” (Eph. 6:1-3) is the foundation for my response, not irritation at the inconvenience.

So, I’ve been thinking about ways to get back to the basics of letting the Bible be the foundation for the discipline and training of our children.

Here are some ways you can start using God’s Word to correct in your family.

1) We need to go back and teach or re-teach biblical foundations.

The everyday talk of biblical concepts comes fairly naturally to both my husband and me, but especially with our youngest, we need to go back to some of the basics of parent/child relationships.

At a time before correction is needed, we need to sit down and explain God’s desire for children to obey their parents.  We need to pull out our Bibles and read through some key verses about correction and training.
A couple of good ones to start with are: Eph. 6: 1-3, Col. 3:20, and Hebrews 12.

We need to redefine obedience.  In our family, our definition is obeying– quickly, completely, and with a good attitude.

2) As a family, we need to memorize verses that will be helpful.

If there is a particular area where we, or our children are struggling, we need to find and memorize Bible verses that apply.
Instead of merely telling our children to “get along” or “stop fighting” we need to let God’s Word speak into our relationships.
Lately we’ve been struggling with self-discipline, so you can find this verse in various places around our house.

2 Tim Collage2

3) We need to use actual verses in correction and training–

Instead of telling our 4-year-old to “stop whining” we need to be prepared to take our children to Phil. 2:14 where God says to “do all things without grumbling or disputing” or to walk our child through the Exodus story where God reprimanded the Israelites for grumbling against the Lord (Exodus 16).

One of the best resources I’ve found to help me quickly find verses is the Child Training Bible.
Over the years, it has also helped me to create my own little symbols that I put next to verses that relate to a particular subject or topic.

Here’s an example from Proverbs where I’ve used “PC” to note any verse that relates to a parent-child relationship and “HW” to note those that relate to marriage or husband-wife relationships.  The odd scribble-ish-mess-symbol is my attempt at a “fire” which is what I put next to verses that have to do with the tongue or words.
This has just been a helpful way for me to prepare ahead of time so that I can quickly locate a verse when I need to share it with a child (or with myself).

bible verses
4) We need to weave God’s words and truth into everyday life.

Whether it’s watching a movie, checking the weather, reading a book, listening to music, taking a walk, or driving to swim team practice– we need to “talk freely and naturally about God” with our children.

My husband and I both really appreciate John Younts’ book, Everyday Talk, for its emphasis on using “ordinary conversations to show (our) kids the goodness and wisdom of God”.

We need to pray each morning that we will look for and notice opportunities to mesh God’s words in the Bible with moment by moment life.
Even something as simple as cutting open a pear that looks beautiful on the outside, but is rotten within can bear witness to God’s Truth.

pears

5) We need to pray God’s Word for our children.

There are so many resources available to help us pray for our children.  My friend Brooke has a new book specifically about Praying for Boys and this past post from The Better Mom has free printable prayer cards.
I love Jodie Berndt’s book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children. In the forward to Berndt’s book, Fern Nichols writes:

“I believe the greatest influence a mom can have in the life of her child is through prayer. As she stands in the gap for her beloved child, the Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth hears and answers her prayers…When we pray the promises of God for our children, our faith increases because we are praying back the very words of God.”

It can also be as simple as just picking a passage from God’s Word to start praying this very day.  A great one to start with is Eph. 1: 15-19:

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…”

We know that the Bible is living and active, able to determine motives, correct, and change hearts.
I want to move back towards using God’s Words vs. my own words when it comes to correcting and training our kiddos.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite resources or ways that you have used God’s word in parenting your children.

Love,
Kara at The Chuppies

Overcoming Anger With Eternity

Overcoming Anger with Eternity

Eternity changes everything.
I’ve written in the past about why I don’t want our children to feel at home here.
Because–
I want their true home to be in Heaven.

But…
I’ve also come to realize that when I lose my temper and the anger rises,
And especially when I start to see a pattern of quick-to-annoyance-why-can’t-they-all-just-do-what-they’re-told-and-quit-dropping-full-cups-of-yogurt-on-clean-tables–
It is usually because of two things:

1) I’ve allowed idols to creep in.
If you missed my friend Ruth’s post at The Better Mom from a couple of weeks ago, please take time to read it.

2) I’m suffering from eternity amnesia.
Whether I say it or not, I’m living like Heaven isn’t real.
As if my current state of laundry piles, runny noses, bills, and stringy gum stuck in hair is–
All there is.
I have forgotten eternity and the promises of forever that I have in Christ.

“I often lived as an eternity amnesiac.
I, too, often lived with the unrealistic expectations and functional hopelessness that always results when you tell yourself that this life you have right here, right now,is all there is …
This present life is not all there is.
There is a forever on the other side of this life.
Eternity is not a mystical creation of overly spiritual people.
Forever is a reality …
Living in this present world is designed by God to produce three things in me–
longing, readiness, and hope.”
~ Paul Tripp, Forever (pages 12, 13, 14, & 35)

So how does remembering Heaven change things?

How does it help a mama who is about to lose it because–
There is a popsicle stick stuck to the corner of the couch, he forgot to mention signing “us” up to bring cupcakes for the class party, there wasn’t a trash bag in the garbage can when they scraped the breakfast plates, and someone used a stamp pad to wallpaper her sister’s room?

Focusing on eternity reminds me that:

1) Life is not all about (me).
“(I) am not in the center of my world now, and (I) won’t be then.  What makes eternity wonderful is that God is restored to His rightful place at the center of all things.”

2) (My) heart will only  be satisfied when it finds its satisfaction in God.
“In eternity (I) will no longer search horizontally for what (I) will only find vertically.”
~Paul Tripp, Forever (pg. 76)

I lived a whole chunk of my life not really thinking much about Heaven.
But then our daughter Selah died.
And I needed to focus on eternity.
And while it brought comfort as I thought about the future joy of seeing her again, learning about and thinking about Heaven did so much more than that because:

Heaven changes everything.
It shifts our dreams, our goals, our direction.
It affects our pain, our sorrow, our fears.
Heaven gives us hope.

Heaven moves us to invest in what will endure–
Forever.
Heaven gives us courage to sacrifice for what will last–
Forever.

Heaven reminds us of what is truly important.
Especially, when I’m tempted, as a mama, to unleash the flood gates of anger.
Heaven calls me to patience, as I remember the patient grace that God offers me daily.

“When circumstances rise to levels of importance way beyond their actual importance, they exercise more control over us than they should … The resurrection of Jesus and the hope of forever give us a sense of priority and proportion.” ~Paul Tripp, Forever (pg. 87)

“Peace is found only in knowing that this world is meant to prepare us for the next and that the temporary pleasures and pains of this world are not our final address. When we live knowing that the God of grace will lift us out of this broken world and is now readying us for the world to come, we can face difficult without wanting to give up and experience pleasure without becoming addicted to it. We live with hope in our heart, eyes to the future, and hands holding this present world loosely.”
~ Paul Tripp, Forever (pg. 37)

Heaven reminds me that this world is broken.
That I should not be surprised when I face frustrations and failures in myself or even in those I love best.
But that there is hope because–

Jesus said,

“And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself,
that where I am you may also be.”
~John 14:3

And I want to live–
To really live in such a way that when I reach Heaven I will say:

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here.”
~C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

“Our citizenship is in Heaven,
and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
~Philippians 3:20

Practical Ideas for Renewing an Eternal Perspective:

–Do a Bible search on verses that relate to Heaven and find creative ways to display them around the house. 

–Ask God to remind you of Heaven throughout the day, especially when you feel tempted to lash out in anger.

–Read any/all of Randy Alcorn’s books about Heaven.  Heaven for Kids is probably our favorite.

–Read Paul Tripp’s book– Forever  and/or Joni Eareckson Tada’s book– Heaven.

–Begin every morning thanking God that “we are looking forward to a new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” ~2 Peter 3:13

Overcoming anger with eternity perspective makes it all worth it!

His for eternity,

Kara @The Chuppies

*photo source– my dear friend Anne-Marie

This post is part of the month-long challenge From Grouchy…To Great.  Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

From Grouchy…To Great

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...