Monday, August 25, 2014

How Dare You Judge my Calling

School starts in our area this week. On my news feeds there will be tons of sweet pics of kiddies going to school. Some will be in new clothes heading off to public school. Others will be in cute uniforms heading to private school. Some will be heading to their dining rooms for homeschooling and others will be in co-ops around town.

A few years ago God called us to homeschool: something I never intended to do or ever gave any thought to! But, nonetheless, we were called and we obeyed and we have loved this calling!

We don’t have to look further than Facebook to see so many opinions and judgments across the board about how we should educate our children. Some of the opinions of others are hurtful and so full of judgment.

There are so many throwing daggers and it makes me sad.

There are many who constantly put down homeschoolers and then there are the homeschooling families that tear down those who choose to send their kids to public school! And it’s just ugly and wrong across the board.

So many are judging and in essence, comparing themselves and their choices to others.

God has called each of us to different paths and just because I have been called to stay at home with my children and educate them here at home does not make me crazy or better or holier!

I was called to motherhood by His grace and love.
I was called to stay at home with my children, which was such a great desire of my heart and something I had prayed for as far as I can remember.
I was called to homeschool our children. I didn’t pray for that one! But I am in awe that He would allow me to do so.

None of these callings make me better or greater.
I am not proud of any of these callings because honestly, I didn't choose them. I was called to them and I am blessed to be able to walk in such callings.
I’m especially not proud of these callings because honestly, I’m not good at any of them.

I wanted to be a mom and stay home, but I never knew how unbelievably hard it would be. I didn’t know how tiring and lonely and tiring and crazy and tiring it would be!

I love homeschooling, but it too is so hard and tiring and it pulls me in crazy ways that I was not prepared for at all.

Motherhood is hard no matter how He has called you to walk this journey.

Going to work and being away from your kids for so many hours is hard.

Building relationships with your kids and finding time to be intentional with them when they have been at school for eight hours is hard.

Taking your kids to school and trusting that they are safe and cared for while they are away from you…that’s hard.

Coming home after work to clean and cook and do homework and trying to spend time with your kids is hard.

Having your kids with you all day long and praying you are doing a good job teaching them is hard.

Trying to figure out school and life and mixing the two is hard.

IT’S ALL HARD. Every decision. Every part of this journey, no matter what you are called to is gonna be hard. Of course there are positives and negatives to every choice. There are easy and difficult aspects to all of it, but over all, the journey is long and sometimes arduous and the last thing we need is for someone who isn’t walking our walk to judge and condemn us!

I truly believe that God calls each of us to do this mothering thing differently; not just for our children’s sake, but mostly for our own sakes.

Why does God call us to so many different paths?

1. In each of our callings there is vulnerability and we must learn to depend on Him rather than ourselves.

2. In each calling He is teaching us and growing us.

3. He desires that we surrender to Him daily and seek him daily for more of him so we can walk out these callings relying completely on Him alone. He has given us the grace and mercy and strength to carry all He has called you to, to completion.

4. He is teaching you that HE makes you enough for whatever He calls you to. The gifts He has given you are exactly what He needs of you in all your callings. No one else will do for what He has planned and purposed you to do.  

Who are we to judge and compare each others callings? How dare we be so bold and audacious to say what we do is better or braver or harder?

God didn’t call me to walk your walk. He didn’t call me to raise your kids or care for your husband or build your home. He called me to my kids, my husband and my home. My walk is nothing like yours and my calling is not like your calling, so how can I compare them? How can I look down on what God has called you to?

I was not called to place my children in public school in this season.
I was not called to work outside the home in this season.
He doesn’t need me in those places right now.
He has called me to be home.

And it’s hard. And I love it. And it brings me to my knees. And it overwhelms me. And it makes me dependent on him. And it makes me vulnerable. And we thrive because He is blessing our faithfulness to His calling upon our lives.

I struggle with these callings…I do. It’s not easy to homeschool my kids. I think about putting them in school often because I’m afraid that I’m not good enough and because it takes so much of me; but, it makes me press into him and depend on Him in ways that I’m not sure I would if they were in school.

He knows what I need to rely on Him and He will call me to those things because ultimately, He desires that I am completely devoted to him. That’s why He calls me to motherhood, to working at home and to homeschooling and that is why He calls you to your callings.

He may have called you to raise strong willed children. He may have called you to raise timid children. He may have called you to raise an autistic child or a child with special needs. He may have called you to raise a child who has a strong temper. He may have called you to place your child in public school. He may have called you to be a teacher’s aid or PTA President. He may have called you to teach other children that are not your own. He may have called you to a school that needs your gifts and talents. He may have called your child to have a teacher this year who is difficult and unkind. He may have called you to homeschool.

He has called you for a reason and for certain seasons and it’s not for you to boast.
He calls you so that you can depend on Him, trust Him and lean upon Him.   

I urge you friends, let us stop comparing and judging each other, but instead let’s build each other up, encouraging one another to fulfill each of the callings in our lives. There is solidarity in the calling of motherhood, so let us stand firm and hold each other up as we walk this journey together and by doing so, may we raise a generation that is stronger and more devoted to God.  

You are His Beloved, 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Prayers and Printables for the First day of School

No matter how old I get there is something exciting about Back to School!

I think in our minds eye we feel the approaching of fall (despite the 100 degree temps!), we smell the scent of lysol and new crayons and Elmer's glue and we can hear the sharpening of bright yellow pencils! 

Perhaps its our desire for structure and routine that we miss so much at the end of summer. Nonetheless, the long days of summer are about to end and the shuffling of papers and school work are approaching. 

We homeschool our children, yet they anticipate the first day of school in many of the same ways. They have new pencil cases and crayons, a new school outfit, pencils needing to be sharpened, new notebooks to doodle on and lots of new books to look through in anticipation of all that they will learn during the year. 

I love it! Maybe it's the teacher in me...Maybe it's the love of learning new things! 

And whether we homeschool or send our kids to public or private the end of the day, the emotions are all the same. The anticipation, the worry, the fears, the hope and dreams are all the same on the first day of school. Whether you are teaching or overseeing; whether you are waving good bye at a bus stop or dropping them off in carpool. Whether you gather your kids together around the dining room table or send them off one by matter what our choice for education is, each of us are doing what we hope and pray is best for our kids and nothing else matters.

Raising children is hard. Choosing their education is hard. Figuring out what curriculum and which classes they should take and hoping for a great teacher that will love them and hoping that you, as their teacher aren't messing them up...that's all scary and uncertain! 

We have all been called to do a very important and significant task: to raise intelligent, loving children who have the potential to become intelligent and loving world changers and kingdom chasers. No matter what road God has called you to walk with your children, be that homeschooling, private or public schooling, each of our walks are unlike any other, and so, we must surrender every aspect of our children's lives to God, their Father, and ask Him for guidance and wisdom to do our best in whatever journey He has called us to. 

This is what I am praying for during this school year for all of us parents, our students and every teacher.  

  •  I am praying for the fruits of the spirit to abound in every parent, student and teacher. 
For love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. As a mom and as a teacher to my little brood...I desperately need all of those! How wonderful would it be if our schools and families would walk in each of those fruits throughout the year!
  • I am praying for Light to outshine the darkness. 
That those who represent the light of the world will shine so bright that the lights will penetrate the corners and crevices of darkness and that this year there will be a source of light that will prevail above whatever comes against it.
  • I am praying for the Gospel message of hope to be poured out for every ear that is willing to hear. 
We are living in difficult times, but we serve a good God and my prayer is that my family and yours will be the voice of hope crying out in the wilderness to all those who are desperate to hear its message.

Friends, its time for us to come together, without judgement or pride, and fall on our knees in prayer for our children, our community leaders and our world. We must fall on our knees daily and pray for Christ's love to abound wherever we go, so that our lives will pierce the heart of darkness that is infiltrating our world. 

If our calling is to raise kingdom chasers, we must first start that chase and not stop running until our feet are worn from bringing the good news to all people. 

May this be our BEST year yet! 

I am praying for all your sweet families, dear friends. And with all that, I want to bless you with some free Back to School Printables!!! 

So...For the 2014-2015 School Year, here are some super fun Chalkboard Prints you can download because School Rocks! Because it isn't the first day of school without first day of school pics! I love seeing everyones pics of their sweet babes in their new clothes with their grade signs! So here you are...some cute signs ready to Print and go! Love it! Plus, its such a great way to see how much your kids have grown through the years...makes this momma hurt some too! Here's a peek and I have all grades included! 

Also, for you homeschool mama's, I added an "Our School Rules" Printable! 

And for all of us, even though I know many of us are ready for the crazy summer days to end and the sometimes crazier, though more routine days of school to is a fun "Days Until Summer Vacation" Printable! 

Click here for the Grade/Rules Printables (its a larger file so opening may take a minute) and Here for the Days until Summer Printable (I plan to laminate this one so I can write/erase the number daily!) Enjoy! 

You are His Beloved, 

Don't miss a post! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pride, Control and the Desire for a Refined Confidence.

I'm writing over at My Freshly Brewed Life today about having refined confidence...not pride, but real confidence that is perfected by the God of all creation. Come and join me! 

I use to have confidence.
Confidence in which I could walk into a room, lift my head and be proud of who I was. Confidence in the things I did. I was good at school. I had my life planned out at an early age. I knew what I wanted and I knew what I needed to do to get it.
Confidence: “a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances” (Merriam-Webster).
Through the years the confidence has waned. That girl who was self-reliant and so sure of herself has flittered away some (and I believe she took her waist size with her!)
Maybe it never really was confidence. Maybe it was pride.
A lot of it was continue reading click here.

You are His Beloved, 

Lots of Good Change is coming to Beautiful Craziness!
Don't miss out! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Good Change is Coming!

I am so excited to let you know about some of the great things that are happening over here at Beautiful Craziness! 

Summer is almost is about to resume in a few weeks and once we all get into a nice routine Beautiful Craziness will be launching on its own domain! WOOHOO!!!!

I am so excited about this! God has opened some awesome doors and brought about some divine appointments and I am in awe of all He has done so far in this beautiful, crazy venture! 

I'll be posting a few more times from blogger, but will be changing over officially on September 8th! And with the launch of the new site I am going to have a ton of giveaways, a new series on Being a Generational Christian and lots more! 

My prayer is that the site will be more user friendly and will just bring so much glory to God! 

I promise, you are going to love it!

Don't miss out and SUBSCRIBE today!!! 
And be sure to Like the Beautiful Craziness Facebook page too! 
It's gonna be crazy and beautiful and oh so good! You don't want to miss it! 

You are His Beloved, 

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Hope of my World and Prayer for the Saints

I woke up this morning to a night of disturbing dreams.

In my dream my family and I were confined in our home that wasn't our home. We huddled together quietly in a corner, hiding from something or someone. It was like a scene from The Pianist or Schindler’s List. It was quiet, and we weren't doing much of anything, but there was fear all around.

My husband made his way to the window to look out…I woke up.

It was about 4 o'clock in the morning. I could see the fan over our bed and hear the soft snoring of my husband next to me. I put my hand on his back and steadied my breathing.

It was a dream. It was just a nightmare.
My children were safe, upstairs in their beds. Our home was perfect and warm and nothing stirred outside, for in my world, all were still sleeping on this summer night.

I fell back to sleep, praying for rest and peace.

In another room I huddle my children close to me. Covering them in prayers and holding them tightly. I was overcome with fear, yet an unspeakable sense of peace.

I didn't know where my husband was.

I knew there was a foreboding and terror in our midst of this nightmare.

All of a sudden, my children were taken away and I was being held.
I was praying and I saw each of their faces flash before me.

I woke up.

It was morning.

My husband was in the shower getting ready for a regular Monday. My son was watching PBS on TV and the baby had toddled down and sat next to her brother with her thumb in her mouth and blanket over her little legs.

For a minute, in my dreams, the persecution was real in my life.
It was terrifying.
I still feel that terror in the pit of my stomach.

In my world, I have no idea what persecution looks like.
In my world, I am safe and don’t worry about terror or my children being stolen from me or my husband being murdered in front of me.
In my world, our life will likely continue in this way because I just happen to have been born in the land of the free.

There are so many right now who are living my nightmare.
I see their faces and their terror and I cry for them and hurt and am praying for them and I think, ‘Oh my God I don’t know what is happening to this world?’

In my world, I am safe, my children are safe, and my husband is safe.
In my world, we worry about dinner and chauffeuring the kids and being intentional with our lives and marriages.
In my world, I worry about curriculum choices and whether or not my kids are too spoiled.

In my world, I don’t worry about persecution or going to church or praying 
or reading my bible.
In my world, I don’t think about others not having bibles or being able to go to church.
In my world, I have a bible for every room and access to more translations on every ipad and smartphone and computer in the house.
In my world, I can break bread with friends and encourage other believers without fear of being jailed or caught.

Outside of my world there is that world.
That world of fear.
That world of persecution.
That world of terror.
That world of not having enough or anything.
That world of the unsafe.

It’s all around my world.

In the south mothers are sacrificing their children to terrorizing trains in hope of this American dream that is depicted over screens across the world.
In the east, mothers are carrying their dead children as they run away from their homes through deserts in search for hope and salvation.

When I was a girl I didn’t ever do anything un-safe. My brother would try anything and he would come home with bumps and bruise and scrapes and scars.
Not me.
I have one scar on my leg…from shaving. That’s it.
I did not put myself in harms way ever.
I like safe.
I like my world.

I’m scared of that world.
I wish I could pretend that world didn't exist.
I wish I could ignore that world.
And I have tried my best to do so.
I don’t watch the news and I have no news feeds on my Facebook or twitter.
But I can’t get away from that world.
That world is real and it cries out to me.
That world haunts my dreams.

It cries out for prayer. Deep, meaningful, gut wrenching prayer.
It cries out for Jesus. Our savior. Our hope. Our deliverer.

In my dreams I see the faces of children scared and hungry and dying in the desert.
In my dreams I see the bodies of families being laid down one by one, lifeless and gone.

So today I’m praying.
I’m praying for my world. The Whole world.
I’m praying for those cries of the saints that are perfuming the altar of God right now.
I’m praying for the tears of the saints that are pouring over their dead and dying children knowing that God will wipe away all their tears 
and there will be no more death or sorrow or pain.
I’m praying for the fear.
I’m praying for the innocent.
I’m praying for those of us watching and praying and wondering what can that world possibly be like and would we be brave enough to stand in the face of persecution.
I’m praying for those of us watching and praying for courage no matter where we find ourselves today.
I’m praying for deliverance.

I am reminded of Rich Mullins song of long ago…

"My Deliver is coming – My Deliver is standing by
He will never break his promise- He has written it upon the sky.
My Deliverer is coming- my Deliver is standing by…
I will never doubt His promise though I doubt my heart, I doubt my eyes
My Deliverer is coming – My Deliver is standing by
He will never break His promise
Though the stars should break faith with the sky.
My Deliverer is coming- my Deliver is standing by…

And I will remain in the hope that one day ‘Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is LORD (Romans 14:11)."

Pray with me today for the world.
Pray with me for the mothers and the cries in the desert.
Pray with me.  

You are His Beloved, 

Don't miss a post! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How To say Yes to your Children who still want You

“Mommy will you watch me play Mine craft?
I inwardly groaned. The most boring game to play, let alone watch on the face of the planet!! I wanted to think of an excuse…think of one, heck, I had a billion things to do that beat out watching my son build this virtual building that gets randomly ruined by dragons or something.
No matter how many times he tries to explain it to me, I have no idea the purpose of this game.

But, he's my son and he wants to spend time with me and he's almost 9 and what if I say no and he figures out I don’t want to play this game and he never asks me to watch him play again?

“Yeah, baby, I’ll watch for a little while.”
“Yay! Thanks mommy.”

He’s still little in many ways.
But he is so big.
And he still wants me.
And it hurts.

“Mommy will you play Barbie with me? I know you are busy, but will you play with me. I’ll help you clean the dishes later?”
Her words tear at me. I’m about to break into tiny pieces, because my girl is bargaining with me for just a little bit of time. 

Yes, mommy’s busy. 
I’m always busy. 
You know it; you've heard me say it over and over again. And in that you have come to understand in your own precious head that therefore, mommy is too busy to play Barbies.

I smile down at her through my hidden tears and say yes, because 'God, what’s the point of being with my children day in and day out if I don’t take advantage of the time you have given me and put aside all the to do’s and just simply sit and watch and play and party with Barbie?'

Her face lights up at my yes and she gathers her dolls and we sit and play and pretend.
She makes me laugh and I tell her I love playing with her.
She hugs me and says, “Thank you for playing with me mommy. I know you have a lot to do, but I love when you play with me.”

She notices everything. 

She is sensitive and bright and see’s all my shortcomings and truths and it scares me to no end because I can’t hide any of my mess from her observant blue eyes.

I reply, “Baby, all I have to do can wait. I will play with you anytime.”
She hugs me and goes on her way.

Does she believe me?
Do I believe me?

“Mommy hold me. Mama sit,” she says. I oblige, for just a second. She cradles herself in my lap, my 'no longer baby, but not quite a big girl.' Her dingy pink blanket in her arms and her thumb in her mouth, she places her head on my chest and we watch Elmo. A text comes in, I pick up my phone to read it, push send and then see an email notification. I click the mail tab and she takes the phone and says, “No phone mama,” and puts the phone down. 

She’s right. The email can wait because she’s no longer a baby, but not quite a big girl and will only be so for another minute more.

She wants me. All of me.
And she’s worth all of me.
Everything else can wait.

They want me now. They need me now. 
It’s hard because I’m not use to being needed and wanted so much and so strongly and all the time.

It goes against my introverted ways.
It goes against my selfish wants.

I close my eyes and I see these babies in my arms. These tiny, precious children who cried for me to fill their tummies in the night and who toddled toward me with arms wide opened every time I returned home. Small ones who constantly asked for one more story before bed and one more minute before I kissed them goodnight.

And they still need me…but its slowly starting to wane.

Part of me is thrilled. They serve their own breakfast cereal and put away dishes and tie shoes and shower and dress…

This season is almost over. 
Babyhood and toddlerhood are almost gone. 
Those days that were long and sleepless are mostly done.
In its stead I find half grown children who need me less, but want me still.

So I’m going to give in to this new season.
I’m resolved to do so, because we know time doesn't wait.
And I can’t wait or slow down or blink, because it too will be over soon.

I will say yes more. I will play. I will watch. I will read. I will sit. I will wait. I will love. I will be present.
I want to say yes. 
I have to say yes. 
I want to put aside all the need to’s and got to’s and be present in my children’s lives.

Parenting is hard. There are days when you are pulled and stretched. There are days when you don’t think you can handle the little people constantly needing, asking, touching, whining and wanting.

One of the most difficult challenges I have faced in this parenting journey is saying yes.

There are so many factors involved and so many decisions to be made regarding your children and many times I find myself saying no when I should say yes and many times my answers are based not on what is best for my children, but on my own selfish desires. 

But I want to say yes. 
I have to say yes. 

How will I say yes more?

1. I’ll say yes when it’s more inconvenient. I’ll say yes when it takes too much time. I’ll say yes to art projects that will be more of a mess than anything else. I'll say yes to playing outside when it’s 100 degrees. I’ll say yes to watching a video game and barbies and Elmo.

2. I’ll say yes and let go of all excuses. Yes, because so what if there is laundry to do and so what if it looks like rain and so what if that only makes for more laundry! It’s just clothes and they are just kids for so long.

3. I’ll say yes even when I don’t feel like it. They are worth it, no matter how tired or stressed or busy. And tonight, more than likely, no one will wake up and I will be able to rest well because those days are slowly passing away.

I will take hold of these days now. I’m finally figuring out that time does fly and kids do grow up and seasons shift and change. It's a fact and it's true and it hurts.

But, they still want me.

Sometimes you need to say yes more than no. Sometimes yes makes a huge difference and that yes to playing Skylanders, even though it bores the daylights out of you, softens a heart and connects you and yours.

“Mommy can I have chocolate milk?” she asks in one of her daddy’s shirts with hair still wet from her bath.
“No, its time for bed.”
She walks away dissapointed.

Why didn't I say yes?

I get her My Little Pony cup and pour in a little milk and a bit of chocolate and stir.
I take it to my bedroom where her daddy is brushing her wet curls.
I hand her the cup and she looks up at me delighted and says, “But I thought you said no.”
“I did, but I love you, so I said yes instead.”

You are His Beloved, 

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