Monday, January 21, 2013

Eyes that See

Mari's first two years home were filled with ups and downs.  From the early days of the language barrier to the months of attempts at gaining control, battling her understandable fear of being abandonded and navigating the muddy waters of attachment.  Pondering the unknown of just how much she really remembers and how much of "this" is normal, how much is manipulation and how much is related to early has been hard.
Harder than I expected.
And God, He sweetly but not-so-gently revealed my "stuff"...the ugly that lurked and the selfishness that disguised itself as fatigue.  He showed me that unconditional means just that.  That forgiveness was the key.  He demanded I forget and start each day anew, focusing on the little victories instead of what seemed to be big defeats.
The last 3 months have seen a turnaround in my girl, and in me.  I worried that I didn't experience that "warm fuzzy" when she entered the room.  I worried that her eyes would always be guarded and my heart would hesitate to risk being rejected by this child who so desperately needed to belong.  I feared she would not attach and that I would fail.
My prayers changed, became desperate.  The Lord brought me to the end of myself, brought me to repentance and began the process of restoration.  He surprised me and my heart responded.  I determined to start each day anew, out of obedience to Him and for the sake of her spirit.  I asked Him to love her through me, to love her as she needs to be loved and to know when to pick the battles and when to let them die where they landed.

In the last few weeks, I have been surprised by skinny arms around my neck...chapped lips pressed to mine and a little voice with a slight Ethiopian lilt saying "Mommy, I love you so much."

And her eyes...they shine with more than childish energy and playfulness.  They shine with love.  I catch her looking at me, waiting for our eyes to meet so she can gift me with a smile.  My heart sighs happily when she enters the room with a smile.  I love her.

I've always loved her.

But this is a different level of love.  A love that is more than a decision or a commitment.  It is a gift of God.
It is the fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit.

It is a miracle.

It is attachment.

It is the answer to my prayers.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wet Dawg

We have this massive and furry 110 pound bundle of German awesomeness living in our home...

I love this sweet dog.  I really do.

But this winter has been ridiculously muddy.  Our backyard is a virtual lake.  And Danny?  Well, he loves a good mud puddle.

I let him out in the mornings to do his thing and bring him right back in, wiping his muddy paws and underside off as well as I can.  I figure this time of year he can just be indoors, lazily dozing in front of the fire next to Maggie.  (She is our little old lady who does not like to get her feet wet.)

But no.

Danny is wearing a nice fur coat and he is about to have a heat stroke in our 70 degree house.  He pants and drools all over the floors and begs to be outside.

In the mud.

So outside he stays.  We bring him in at night, and I can't even begin to describe the amount of filth clinging to that dog's fur!  The next morning I can tell exactly where he slept because there is a nice, Danny-shaped dirt pile on the floor.

It is a good thing he is so sweet.

Oh, and if you are one of those who take shoes off when you come into my house, don't bother.  Really, you are better off just leaving them on.

Trust me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Melt-your-heart Moments

Tornado sirens screamed and the sky grew dark.  We gathered blankets and dogs and my school planner (I forgot my purse...go figure) and took refuge in our tornado shelter.

No, this wasn't last Spring.  It was last Sunday.
In January.

Weird, weird weather.

It was just the two younger girls and me.  Daddy and the boys were at a basketball practice.  Katie was spending the afternoon with a friend.  I watched the weather and the little swirly symbols on the map that indicated cloud rotation.  One of them was too close to our neck of the woods for my comfort.

In the eerie quiet of the shelter, with wind raging and rain beating a horizontal rhythm on the garage doors we prayed for God to protect us all, to send extra angels to be with Katie, Daddy, and the boys wherever they were.  Mari was sitting a couple of feet away, between the dogs, wrapped in her blanket.  She looked at me and said, "Mom.  I feel scared."

"It's ok to feel scared," I said.  "But we have to remember that God loves us and we can trust Him."

"Can I ask for extra angels?"

"You bet," I grinned.  "Why don't you come over here and sit by us?  It might make you feel better."

After a moment of hesitation she came, settling on the other side of Gracie.  Gracie gently pulled Mari's head down onto her lap and stroked her hair back.  She whispered, "I'm so glad I have you."

"Me too," Mari said.

I held my breath.  My heart filled to overflowing, and I thanked Him for this small moment of adversity and that it drove these sweet girls together.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


There was a bigger than usual response to my last post...which surprised and heartened me at the same time.  It it seems there are many mamas like me who need that kick in the rear...that reminder of who and WHOSE we are.   That God has and will continue to equip us to raise up these children in such a time as this.
It has blessed me to remember the fact that we are all battling for the hearts of our children, warring against this culture and the godlessness all around us.  And do you know what?

We are in this together.

Where two or three are gathered, sisters...well, that is us.  And God is here.

So let's get on our knees.  Let's pray for one another.  I would love it if you would leave a comment sharing how the women who read this little blog can pray for you.  And let's pass it on...let's start a movement of being on our knees for our children, of being willing to raise them up according to the Word of God instead of conforming to the world.  

You can share on Twitter (@fromafullheart) or here in the comments section.  

And I will start.

You can pray for me as my oldest is turning 13 soon.  He is a GREAT kid...but this is new territory for us and I will unashamedly ask for wisdom as we embark on the teen years.   I also ask for prayer for our youngest.  That she will fully attach and heal and be all that God created her to be.  Pray for her salvation.  There are still a lot of scars from the hardships of her first three years of life.  

So tell us how we can pray for you, then pass this on to someone who you feel could use a boost as well!   Let's mother our chicks with eternity in focus and do it from our knees!

Monday, January 7, 2013


There are days when mothering is just hard.
Days when I am tired and the coffee got cold in my cup despite repeated reheats in the microwave.
Days when attitudes are bad and words fail to fix them, hugs are rejected, and I worry about the future.

Do I have have what it takes to do this?
Five kids.  I begged for motherhood, waited years for the dream to be reality.  But on those days I fear I have failed...that I'm just not as good at this as I thought I would be.  I struggle with the possibility that I will be blamed for their future problems, looked upon as too hard, too harsh, too lax, too weak.

Not enough.

There is a common thread that runs through all of these thoughts.

God is nowhere to be found in them.  In fact, these statements of fear and doubt are filled with "I's."

In my own strength, I am frail and weak and a failure.

But in Him?  Now that is where the hope lies.

Jesus is where the promises are kept.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.

My husband played a sermon for me today, sandwiching our wonderful church service between Francis Chan.

Pastor Chan said something that hung onto me...that I have chewed and meditated upon all day.

It was part of a story.  He had a conversation with a man about the Lord and the man said he "guessed" he believed there was a Creator.  But as they talked about the Bible, the man ridiculed him for believing the story of Noah.  It just sounded too ridiculous to him that those animals walked two by two onto the ark...ants, termites, cows, elephants.  It was just too far-fetched for him.

Pastor Chan then said what speared me right between my doubting eyes.

"If you believe that God can CREATE the ant, then of course He can make it get on the ark!"


God is the Creator.  He created ME.  He gives me what I need for every day...the words, the hugs, the love it takes to train up these children in Him.  If he can make Man from dust, then he can raise up these children to follow Him with, without, or despite me.

Because, folks, it is not about ME.
Or you.
It is about HIM.  It is about HIS plans and purposes and we are created beings in the universe created by HIM and we have to do what He created us to do or we will be disobedient.


And if I am disobedient?  Well, He is still God and He will still accomplish His plan.  Just look at Abraham.

So, mommies, when you look at that brood of wiggly kids at your feet, when your teenager stares hard and angry into your eyes, when your son or daughter says "You can't make me," then you run straight to your Creator and let HIM do it.  He can make them do it.  Stand strong.  Be courageous.  Your enemy the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour and he wants to devour you...and your babies.

But you, in the power of Jesus, have been made strong.  WE have what it takes to do this if, and only if, we draw our strength from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.   I say this for myself as much as I want to say it for you.  We cannot back down, we cannot doubt our abilities.  There will be good days where we think we have it all figured out...that the rough spell has passed and life is smooth and aren't they so well-behaved?  Then we will have those days where kids are argumentative, angrily silent, or disobedient and we will swear we have no idea what we are doing.

BOTH of these are lies.  Don't believe them.  We need to be on our face before the Father on good days AND bad, seeking HIS will for our children, confessing our failures, repenting of anger and bitterness and selfishness.  We must love intentionally, pray like crazy, and trust God's heart for us and our children when we feel doubt rearing it's ugly head.

Trust that the God who created them can make them get on that ark.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Big Sister

This season of motherhood is often challenging, but so rewarding.  I no longer have toddlers or preschoolers but I have two tweens, a pre-tween, and two kindergarteners!

For.  The.  Love.

But in the midst of juggling all the various stages of hormonal angst that can occur in this house, I get blessed glimpses of the adults (I pray) they will become and I am encouraged.

Take Katie, for instance.

My precocious girl, my muscular swimmer and lover of all things bling.  My fashionista and sass-master.  
I swear she was 3 just five minutes ago, but I digress.

She greatly enjoys being a helper with her little sisters, especially on the mornings when we have places to go such as church or DJ's basketball games.  She lays out the outfits for the younger girls, perfectly coordinated, and plans everything down to the hair accessories the evening before.  In the morning, she happily oversees their dressing and has even learned to fix their hair...fluffing out a perfect afro with headband and giant flower or a sweet side ponytail.  

It is wonderful.

And the best part?  (Besides the fact that I can consistently fix my hair and even wear makeup again!)  The conversation and giggles I hear wafting down the stairs.

Nothing makes me happier than watching my children love each other.  
It gets me through the days when they...
well, when they fight like cats and dogs.  

Not that those days happen often.  
Ahem.  :)

Blessings to you, sweet mommies, as you train up your children today!  May you be gifted with much sweet laughter in your home! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Good vs. Best

We can fill our plates so quickly.

Church, school, dance, music, sports,

We struggle to keep up with it all and try to squeeze in a 10 minute devotional "for busy moms" if we can avoid hitting the snooze button.

We tread water and barely keep our heads afloat then lament the fatigue and dissatisfaction all this busyness brings.


Who are we trying to please?

Is this really what mothering is all about?

I would like to stand on the nearest soapbox and shout a resounding "NO!"

Sisters, we were made for better than this.  YOU were made for better!  We were not meant to go, go, go and burn the candle at both ends with no time for rest, no time for still, no time for tarrying over the word of God or sitting next to our husband with our head on his shoulder.  We have bought a lie, and it is costing our families greatly.  In slowing down, in shutting the door to too much too fast too soon, we create pockets of quiet where God can speak.

Because, if you remember, His voice is a low whisper.  (1 Kings 9:12)

I know, because I have seen it for myself.  In the past three years, the Lord has slowed us down.  Way down.  We still have busy hours...homeschooling fills our mornings and the various extracurricular activities of five children keeps our evenings full as well.  But He has blessed our family with stretches of quiet amidst busy days, with the realization that though many things appear good on the surface, many of those things are not as good as nothing.

Nothin...being everything.

Everything...being Jesus.

I want to challenge you as we begin 2013.  Instead of making a list of all the things you are going to do this year, why don't we resolve to not do it all?  Because, sisters, we can't do it all.  And we certainly must not place that burden upon our children.

Slow down.  Read the Bible with and to your children.  Play.  Look them in the eyes and hear them.  Pray with and for your babies.  Turn off the TV (or computer...or smartphone) and hunker down as a family, exploring the life that awaits in the Word of God.  Ask hard questions and have high expectations of what your children can understand.

It is obvious that, in this society, slowing down is weird.  But it is so healthy for our souls.

Mommies, pull the weeds in your garden.  Keep only what is best.  Leave room for roots to grow and your little ones to thrive.  Don't be afraid of "boredom," for boredom often breeds creativity...maybe even revelation!
Love your husband.  Submit to him.  Let Him lead if he is willing...for that is what he was created to do.  If he is not...pray for God to raise him up and be prepared to step back at a moment's notice.  Stop trying to do it all and just do what God asks you to do.  Say "yes" to the Lord and "not now" to the things that try to pull your focus off the Lover of your Soul.

Ok.  I'm done.  Stepping of the soapbox now.  :)

Happy New Year!  May we breathe in a fresh revelation of all we have in Him, and of who we are in Jesus!