Friday, July 23, 2010

in the trenches

First I want to say thank you to all of you who left a comment yesterday.  One of my love languages or needs in life you might say is "Words of Affirmation".  Especially as a Mother!  My husband knows after nine years that if he doesn't let me know I am doing a good job, I will crumble fast.  He cleverly fit it into our family prayer last night as he prayed.  He went on and on thanking God for his wife and for my role as a mother.  I was GUSHING.  Even better, the kids heard him saying all of those things.  Needless to say, your comments yesterday blessed me more than you can ever imagine.  Thank you for taking the time to not just read my long blog post but to also comment.  Encouragement and affirmation from other Moms is what every Mom needs.  Thank you for bringing life to me through your words.

Now for a glimpse into what's going on in my day!  Well, I am in the trenches.  My rib cage, back and feet hurt more than they ever have in the other three pregnancies.  Sleep each night is becoming more and more difficult to accomplish and because I have never been at this point of pregnancy during the Summer, my legs, feet and ankles are swelling.  I've never swelled.  All three of the other kids were due in January so where I am at right now is usually where I am at in October.  July and October in Texas is night and day.  BUT, I do not complain.  I hurt and I am uncomfortable but I am still smiling because the life I am carrying inside of me is such a miracle.  I truly believed I was done having children after my third was born.  It thrills me to know that the Lord did this! He was the one who gave me this desire all over again.  As difficult as it is sometimes to feel the way I do physically, I pray that this is not my last pregnancy.  Family members reading this may be rolling their eyes now at the thought of us not being done but oh well.  It's the Lord who grows our family and He delights in our GROWTH!

Psalm 127:3-5 (The Message)

3-5 Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.    

The other thing going on today is Ezekiel and Josiah fighting.  Ezekiel is the typical little brother.  He longs to irritate his older brother and he does it quite well.  Josiah can be sitting down playing with legos or using a particular crayon and Ezekiel will run up, grab it and run off giggling hysterically.  Of course this sends Josiah into a HUGE whirlwind.  Josiah was playing his Nintendo ds the other day and Ezekiel decided to grab the stylus (the pen) and throw it into the trash.  We don't know why Ezekiel does these things and even though Jeremy and I often chuckle about it behind closed doors, it is a frustration to deal with each time.  Josiah often resorts to pushing him down or getting physical.  Which leads me to this morning.  Josiah slapped him on the back.  Because of Josiah hitting and causing the three year old to cry, I then had to address Josiah's reaction instead of what his little brother had done.  Ten minutes earlier I had been in Josiah's room talking to him about ways he can deal with Zekeey.  

"First, try talking to him.  Ask him to stop and see what happens."  (You can imagine Josiah's reaction to this one.)

"Second, move away from him."

"If nothing else works, come and tell me without screaming.  Remain calm and tell me what is happening."

Ten minutes later I hear a slap and Ezekiel screaming.  Josiah runs into the bathroom (where I am TRYING to have a moment if you know what I mean) and says "I know we just talked about this but the enemy is causing me to do this."  It really is the power of the Holy Spirit to help mothers keep a straight face when things come out of our children's mouth like this because I wanted to burst.  My seven year old has already learned to blame the devil! HA! Because I was in the middle of using the restroom, I sat there and prayed.  "Okay Lord, I know that we are to love our children like Jesus loved the disciples.  I know that Jesus even referred to his disciples as "Little Children" and even though I can approach this with love and grace, I still have to give consequences.  What do I do?"  And please know I have not peppered this with "holier than thou" talk to make you think I respond like this in all situations.  This is NEW ladies!  I am just responding to what the Lord is doing in my life.  This is a victory for me to STOP and PRAY before handling screaming the situation.  

Then it came to me!  Josiah likes to write, he likes to use markers and pens so now is the perfect time to introduce him to journaling.   Feeling thankful for my school supply obsession, I grabbed a brand new spiral from the stash, chose a marker and went into Josiah's room where he was waiting.  I asked him to write about how it feels when his brother does these things and how he can handle it better next time.  I then told him I knew how frustrating it was and that Ezekiel would also have consequences but I needed him to trust me to handle it instead of slapping. He loved the idea and the house became silent again.  Thank you Jesus!

So in the trenches we are but we are all learning and growing together!  Even though it was a chaotic moment and the peace in my home was compromised, we still experienced victory!  As Moms we should be sharing our victories!  Instead of complaining about not getting a break or how tired we are, let's talk about the victories!  After an incredibly calm grocery store trip yesterday, I was bursting with joy! I called my Mom to say "Guess what? I told Zeke NO in the store to something he wanted and he replied with okay maybe next time!!!  Mom, it's a victory!"  She KNOWS we have been working on this with Ezekiel for MONTHS! Before we went into the store I told the kids that other children and parents would be looking at them and that when they saw calm children, they saw Jesus too. And I am sure the two guys getting into their car in the HEB parking lot as I held hands in the suburban with the kids and prayed for a calm grocery store trip thought I was nuts but it WORKED!  It was a victory!

Charles Spurgeon has a quote that says "Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties."  Well this morning I thought about changing it for the Mom!  So here is my version.  "Many Moms owe the grandeur of their lives to the screaming, fit throwing children in the grocery cart."  

Those grocery store trips produce a determined fire within Moms.  We know we can never say, "I'm never taking the kids to the store again!"  Sure we can say it! I said it!  But we know that when we stay at home, homeschool and have husbands who work their tails off, we don't have that option.  The grocery store becomes a place where every Mom gets to practice the word "No" over and over again.  What comes after the "No" is what produces the FIRE! It just so happens that my FIRE, the Holy Spirit FIRE, anointed that cart and those kids were AWESOME yesterday!  

It's mornings like today and grocery store trips like yesterday that remind me that we have an important job every single day as we disciple these children.  It's something we may do over and over and over and over and over again but eventually, they do get it!  And when they DO get it, we should celebrate!!  Oh and last night when my husband said "What has happened? Ezekiel is like a different kid!", I couldn't help but giggle.  "It's the Lord babe! It's all that praying we have been doing.  It works!"

Celebrating in the trenches,


(don't have time to go back and edit this so excuse any grammatical nightmares!)


Kelly said...

Love this! You are so right, we should be celebrating the victories instead of bemoaning the hard moments. God inhabits our praise, and I truly believe that as we give Him praise for helping us out in our Mommy moments He blesses and honors our efforts.

(I also loved this because the sibling rivalry almost makes me lose my mind, and I am so encouraged by this to make the effort to stop and pray instead of just reacting. I think sometimes when we have to keep repeating our efforts to train our children we can become complacent... which is exactly what Satan wants. He doesn't want us to be vigilant in our faith.)
Love your last line "Celebrating in the trenches"! That would be a great blog name:-) Hugs Friend! Have a great weekend with your family.

Kimberly said...

Amanda, I have read your blog every now and then for the last year or so. In some of those posts, you explained a little bit about your background and I have been able to relate with you as I have some similarities in mine. More recently as I have read your entries I have just been on the verge of tears. I think it's because I see God changing the course of a legacy as He chooses to intervene in our lives. I think back to my childhood and had God not intervened I would be raising my children the same as I was raised and I would be continuing a painful cycle. Instead, I (and you) have experienced God's saving GRACE! By this grace, we can change how we parent with His enabling. It is so exciting! I love reading about how you prayerfully interact with your kids and make beautiful memories with them, giving them a wonderful, God centered legacy. :)

Very happy for your family because of what God has done and what He continues to do.


Amey said...

Hey friend, I am loving your blog and missing keeping up with you on fb. I need your e-mail addy. Can you e-mail it to me? hosea214@yahoo.

Love you! Amey

Paula said...

It took me awhile to comment...sorry...busy weekend. I want to say I know Zeke's personality all to well. Not that I understand, but I know it!! My husband and his family are JUST LIKE that and I think Carmyn does too. Then I am like Josiah. Like WHY??? Why are you bothering me? I am innocently sitting here. I think you are being very wise in teaching Josiah how to temper his reaction along with Zeke learning that it is not always funny. The consequence will be worse than the thrill of the laughter. I know you can do. Tempering without changing who God created!!!! LOve you friend!!

Amanda said...

Kimberly, thank you so much for your comment. It means so much that you would take the time to share this with me. Furthermore, you are on target! So true about what God has done! It is amazing how he has redeemed the past and continues to do so!

You bless me!