Sometimes I wish I knew why God chooses to heal some people and not others. But, I don't have the capacity to understand His perfect choices, so I just trust Him in the unknowing. Mostly, I think of my father when it comes to this topic. For 20 years he suffered from horrific back pain and despite decades of prayer, God did not provide relief for my father. For the last three years, I've been asking God to heal me, and just like my father, His answer thus far is "No." I honestly trust God's wisdom and the circumstances He can create through my health issues, but I'll keep praying in case He changes His mind!
In under three months, we'll be celebrating Lincoln's second birthday. I'd usually say something like, "I can't believe he's almost two." But, I can believe it. Lincoln's life has been packed full since he arrived, and it does, in fact, feel like it's almost been two years since we brought him home. If he hasn't been at a doctor's appointment, he's been traveling through some state or another, and moving from one house to the next. Thankfully, he is healthy and seems to have adjusted well to all the changes that have come his way since 2014.
On August 23, I celebrated my father's birthday just like I have for 31 years. Except this year, I celebrated without him. On March 10, we were informed by the police department that my father had passed away, making the next 365 days a year of firsts: the first year he wasn't here to honor on Father's Day, the first year I didn't buy him a gift for his birthday, and the first year I won't find him sitting around the Christmas tree. However, just because my father is no longer present with us, does not mean I cannot continue to celebrate his life. A life that was created in God's image, a life that brought forth a son and daughter, a life that loved to the end.
Gazing at the ocean where we spread my father's ashes
Even though it's only for two and half hours, four days a week, my firstborn has left the safety of my nest--and I'm not ready for it! The night before Adeline's first day of preschool, I seriously contemplated keeping her home and foregoing the whole thing. She's only three, well, almost four. Is she really ready for this? Can't I teach her what she needs to know before entering kindergarten next year? What if she comes home with unfavorable new influences? And mostly, she's mine. My little girl. Mine to care for. Mine to love. Mine to guide. Mine to discipline. Mine to influence. Can I willingly give some of this over to a stranger?
On the 15th anniversary of the falling of the towers, I sat next to my husband in church as we listened to our pastor ask these questions:
"Why did God allow this to happen?" "Is there a God?" "Where was God?" "If God is so powerful, why didn't He stop it?"
Actually we can find ourselves asking these exact questions during every trial in our life. They're not specific to 9/11. At the end of the sermon, our pastor concluded that knowing the answers usually doesn't help. It's a matter of courage to trust God. His wisdom is far beyond anything we could ever comprehend. It's up to us to move forward in an attitude of hope. But how do we find hope and trust in God after such tragedy strikes? The answer to that question filled my spirit with such power that it moved me to tears.
It's been three months since our last move, and it's time to hit the road again. Bring on military related move number nine. It's hard to fathom that I've lived in eight different houses since Tim started his Army career, but it's the truth! Here's the breakdown:
As I was perusing some blogs today, I came across an article by Matt Walsh. I recently learned about this blogger and have been captivated by his approach to moral, social, and political issues. As a woman who's aiming to love the world in a more gentle and approachable manner in order to draw others to Christ, Mr. Walsh is, how shall I say it, a tad intense and direct. But you know what? I really admire intensity and directness in a person because I'm all about getting right to the heart of a matter. And let's be honest, sometimes we need a point put bluntly before we finally get it. Even though I wouldn't choose to write about being a stay-at-home mom in this manner, Matt did. And he nailed it. Without further ado, here are my exact thoughts, in Matt Walsh's words, about being a SAHM. Sprinkle in a smidgen more love and grace and I'd wished I penned these thoughts myself.
After my recent post about my strong-willed child, I need to share with you her tenderness--and how I robbed her of the opportunity to be a blessing because I didn't take the time to slow down. This story starts a couple weeks ago, at the grocery store. Almost every time I shop, the kids are with me. Some weeks are easier than others, but both kids typically do pretty well. Sometimes it means I'm literally running through the aisles pretending the cart is a race car, but hey, you do what you have to in order to entertain and prevent a public outburst, and it's kind of fun for me too!
Have you experienced the breaking point with your strong-willed child? The one that makes you feel like a failure as a parent (even though you're not!) and leaves you begging God to show you the way? The one that makes your heart ache because you know your child doesn't want to feel this out of control? You're both aching and something needs to change. Where can you possibly find this desperately needed guidance? One place. On your knees.
Alright, I'm guilty. When I hear about something sweet that another husband does for his wife, I miiiiiight start to wish my husband would do that for me. Ladies, I know I'm not alone on this one. Often, I start thinking about the last time Tim did something romantic and get a little... ungrateful? When I begin to get a tad envious of another woman, I quickly remind myself of the reasons I fell in love with my husband and the thoughtful gestures he's done in the past. I also like to repeat Philippians 4:8--this Scripture is my daily lifesaver! It reads, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." And ladies, our husbands are praiseworthy, each in their own way.
We are currently stationed at Fort Rucker-- for the third time. Being that this post is the "Home of Aviation" and my husband is a pilot, we are bound to come back again, and again...and again. This probably won't be the last time we'll be here either. This time around we have two kids in tow and I was concerned about finding activities to keep us entertained. Luckily, we have found plenty of places and events to keep us occupied during our stint at Rucker.
I want you to think about this post as a memorial service for Al Ross. Let it be a place for us to gather in spirit. Think about the loved ones you would hug upon entering the church doors. Imagine the faces that would be next to you and found across the room. Picture the musical performers at the alter in front of you. Find a quiet time and place where you can be present with us and join me in remembering and celebrating Albert John Ross. Welcome, and thank you for coming.
Once we arrived in Alabama, it was time for another round of doctor appoints. Do they ever end?! This time, Lincoln was due for his 15 month well-check. I don't know why he entered such a terrible state, but from the second we wheeled into the clinic to the second we left, Lincoln was completely inconsolable. He literally cried for an hour and a half straight (minus about 5 minutes of peace after the nurse left, and before the doctor stepped in). I felt like an awful parent because I could not figure out how to help him. He kept trying to get down, and the instant I put him down, he cried to be picked up. The pacifier didn't soothe, the snack didn't satiate, the toys didn't entertain, and the book didn't even work! So, the doctor proceeded and and I attempted to listen while he screamed incessantly. Ugh!
As most of you know, my dad went running into the arms of Jesus a little over a week ago. (A post about my dad is on the way.) I quickly became overwhelmed with the emotions and logistics involved with the loss of a parent. When I was in the heaviest part of grieving and planning, my body felt like it had welcomed another child into the world--sheer exhaustion, endless responsibilities, unfamiliar emotions, and the fog of sleeplessness. I decided I needed some "me time" to break away. In order to regain the necessary energy to continue moving forward with my father's passing, I had to to occupy my mind with something completely unrelated.
For most of us, birthdays have always been a time of celebration with our friends and family. We can count on opening presents, eating cake, and feeling genuinely loved. We've been able to choose how to celebrate each birthday--a party, movie night, picnic at the park, fancy dinner, simple family gathering, or maybe even a vacation. It is a fun and innocent time centered around celebrating our uniqueness. Unfortunately, there's a different population in America who has yet to experience the aforementioned joy of a birthday--foster children. Thankfully, Devon Rentas has set out to change that. Through her organization, Birthday Presence, she is creating an unforgettable birthday celebration for children in the Arizona foster system. We have the AWEsome opportunity to partner alongside her foundation to provide memories that will truly last a lifetime. Move over Disney; make room for Birthday Presence.
Founder of Birthday Presence, Devon Rentas, hosting a party for foster children
Alright, we made it to Alabama. Alive, barely. Have I shared with you how much Lincoln despises the car seat?!?! On top of that, God decided it would be the perfect time to test our patience by allowing Lincoln to cut FIVE teeth while we were on the road, four of which happened to be molars. REALLY?! Like I said, alive...barely. Now with that off my chest, we really did enjoy our trip since we got to see many beloved friends and partake in some really fun moments as a family. Several times while we were driving I wished we had purchased plane tickets instead, but seeing the friends we dearly missed was absolutely worth it.
As I've come to learn, memorizing Scripture is vital--vital to happiness, vital to well-being, vital to acceptance, vital to strength, vital to courage, vital to fighting off the Enemy. There is no better tool we can equip our children with than the Word. When filled with God's wisdom, our children will be able to handle EVERY situation, knowing the Lord's will.
Growing up, Christmas meant Santa--pictures with Santa, letters to Santa, phone calls to Santa, and the anticipation of all the presents he would leave on Christmas morning. As I've grown in my faith, I want our children to first associate Christmas with the birth of Christ, but still enjoy the magical aspects of Santa Clause. With that in mind, we really didn't talk too much about the whole Santa thing during Christmas, but discussed the true meaning of the festivities, gifts, and giving at each opportunity.
And it's here. Our guy is officially one! Since the day Lincoln graced us with his presence, he's been a happy-go-lucky child. And since he could flash that golden smile he's been quite the charmer. He can be rather "spirited" as well, but I'll let him slide since he's mostly easy-going. Lincoln is such a little cuddler and has the most contagious laugh; what a blessing he has been to our family.
Well, this is the last month before my guy turns one year old! It's hard to fathom that this time last year I was still pregnant and beyond eager to meet our first son. He continues to be giggly and generally easy-going, but he's kicked up the spice factor in the last couple of weeks (hopefully just due to teething!).
I'm a military wife and stay-at-home mama earnestly seeking the Christ-like life. My desire is to help you cultivate a loving relationship with Jesus and encourage you to fulfill God's purpose for your life.