Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I was reading in the book of Peter today and read chapter 3. One verse in particular hit me. I have read this passage many times before. But for some reason this really hit home today.

1st Peter 3:1 Wives in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,... 3:6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
The last part is what stuck out to me. At first glance it does not make much sense. Why would "give way to fear" apply to submission? And I realized something. Submission is essentially trust. When you submit to your husband you are trusting him and more importantly you are trusting God. You are trusting that God will care for you. You are trusting that your husband is smart enough to take care of your family and that he is following God's voice. I know that is hard in situations where he may not be following God, but I think we are called to submit even when it does not seem right. (Except of course if what your husband is leading you to is strictly forbidden in scripture. We are never supposed to follow our husbands into sin.)

I never really understood submission until Todd and I disagreed on something major. We were attending a church. There was nothing wrong with the church. I just did not feel like that was where our family was supposed to be. For months we fought about it. I would whine and control and tell him all the reasons we should not be there. He assured me over and over that he still felt very strongly that this was where our family was supposed to be. He said he still felt God leading him there. It made no sense to me. I prayed and prayed for a heart like his, that felt committed and at home at this church. It never came. Instead I was feeling more and more unrest about it. Why was this happening? How could God be leading us in two completely opposite directions? I sought the counsel of a trusted friend who was more wise and a little further along in life. I explained what I was feeling and felt sure that she would agree with me and help me state my case to Todd. To my surprise she did agree that all of my feelings about the church were valid. She said she could see why I thought it was not a good fit for our family, but we should stay. What???? I should submit to my husband and trust God in this.

Needless to say I felt a bit perturbed. Seriously? Submit. But this was not best for our family. I prayed about what she had said and God confirmed her wisdom. Now, not only was she against me, but God too. Ok. I decided to trust God and my husband. I came to Todd one evening and told him. I said I would no longer fight him. I was committed here as long as he felt God leading us. At that moment I still felt unrest. I felt fear and uncertainty about the future of our family. But I chose to submit. I chose to trust instead of giving way to fear. I stopped controlling and grumbling and started to act as though this was our church home.

Interestingly enough, not more than two months after our talk, a huge shift happened in the direction of the church and both of us felt as though we were no longer to be there.

When I trusted God and submitted to my husband he lead our family to where we were supposed to be. And I know now that Todd was not wrong. God was leading him to keep our family there. God had our family there for a purpose. We learned many good things from being a part of that church. And I became more of the wife that God wanted me to be. I wonder how different things would have been if I would have gave way to fear. We women are very good at controlling things when we are fearful. We tend to believe that we know what is best. When we submit, even when we think that our husbands are leading us the wrong way, God will show up. Through our obedience he will become more real to us and he will show us that he really knows what is best for our family. And chances are it is not what we would have planned.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


My girls are 20 months apart. When they are 20 and 22 that will not be a big difference, but at 11 months and 2 years they can seem worlds apart. But there are moments when I catch glimpses of them in their own little world. Like for instance today in the car Elizabeth was making her sister laugh by making funny noises into a cup. For some reason this was hilarious to an 11 month old. I was watching through the rear view mirror and I could not help, but smile. These two girls were in their own world. It was like they had this secret language that only the two of them knew. I never had a sister. I always wished I did.
I was thinking last night of how when I became pregnant with claire we prayed so hard she was a boy. We already had our girl and the thought of a boy just made our family complete. Thankfully God had other plans. And as I was driving home today I could not help but thank God that we were given two girls.
As we were nearing home I was stopping at a stop light and had more than just a moment to gaze at them and I saw my two girls struggling as hard as they could to hold hands. The car seats are set just a little too far apart, but they both were doing all they could do to just touch eachother. My two precious babies, that I had prayed both times to be boys, were being sisters and girls and reaching out to love one another. That moment meant so much.
I know they will fight and they already do. I know there will be times when they cannot stand eachother, but I prayed for them while we were driving that their whole lives they would love one another and geniunely look out for the others best interest. I think they will.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Difficult people

We all have a few of them in our lives. Those people that are difficult to be around. The people that leave you exhausted simply by their mere presence. (If you are reading this you are not who I am thinking of, so don't even ask.)
I have had my fair share of times when I have responded to difficult people in ways that were less than Godly. I have gossiped, I have yelled, I have gotten angry, and I have wished bad things upon them. I read something once in Oswald Chamber's book, My Utmost for his highest, that has stuck with me. I cannot remember the quote, but essentially he said that when God places a difficult person in your life and gives you some discernment as to why, they are the way they are, that is so you can pray for them. Not so you can pass judgement or blame or gossip about them, but so you have a more clear understanding of how to pray. That was very profound to me. And it has changed the way I see difficult people now. I think it has also opened up a door of wisdom for me. God has given me more insight into the difficult relationships in my life than ever before.
Does it make the relationship easier? No. I still want to hide and walk away at times, but it does give me a little more compassion. And it keeps me from sinning by turning to God to pray for the person instead of internalizing the wounds they are giving me. James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." God has proven over and over again that he really will do what he says. He given me wisdom every time I ask Him for it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

To start the day

Elizabeth is a bit of a chatter box. Since she began talking well, she talks a lot. This was how our morning started yesterday. I woke up late to hear her calling from her bed, "Mommy, I am done with my nap." I was barely awake and very groggy. I needed to get dressed quickly because I was late for work, but I called to her, "You can get up." When she entered my room the following conversation ensued:

(To get the full idea try to imagine it fast paced and you being half asleep.)

Lizzie: You get dressed?

Me: uh huh.

Lizzie: We go to Nana's and papa's today?

Me: uh huh.

Lizzie: You wear chapstick?

Me: uh no, uh maybe, (thinking now, my lips do feel chapped) yes I am.

Lizzie: Me wear chapstick?

Me: Grunt.

Lizzie: You wear big girl panties? I don't wear big girl panties. I wear diapers.

Lizzie: Claire awake? I go see her.

Me: Not yet. (Emphatically, so as to let her know I really do not want her to wake up her sister yet.)

Lizzie: You brush your teeth? Me brush my teeth.

Me: (With mouth full of toothpaste) Downstairs. You can brush your teeth.

I love my chatterbox, but I admit I have said: "Why did I teach her to talk?"
Only when she was not around and only to the dog.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sick Days

Wednesday afternoon Claire woke up from her nap with a fever of 103. With her history of UTI's we decided to take her to Children's ER. We did and they could find nothing wrong. We ended up taking her to her ped on Thursday and they said it was Phlaringitis. But she has been miserable for two days. She has not slept well and neither have I. Her fever has gone down to about 101 now, but it is still there.

I say this to tell you about my break down and to give some insight into my brain.

Because Claire has been so demanding of my time and attention Elizabeth has not gotten very much individual attention. I could tell by her behavior that she was really needing some one on one time. So tonight after Claire went to bed Lizzie got to stay up late and help me bake Cheesecakes. She and I have baked together since she was just one years old and she really loves to help. I prepared the pans and we counted out 20 oreo cookies for the crust. We put them in the food processor and tried to start it. It was not working. I messed with the thing for 5 minutes and could not get it to work. I wanted to have Todd do it because I knew he would probably be able to figure out why it was not working, but he had to go to work for a few hours because he came home early today. I was getting more and more mad and in a moment of frustration had the following conversation with God in my head:

Me: Why in the world does this have to be so hard. We have had no time together and now this is not working. Why?

Me: I seriously want to cuss at this thing.

Me: I wish Todd were here.

(Not in my head) Lizzie: Mommy, let me help you.

Instantly something came into my mind. Little eyes have been watching my every move to see what I will do in this situation. I wanted to cry and cuss and call Todd. But that is not what I should do.

I called Lizzie over to me and said, "Hunny let's pray. You can help mommy by praying." We prayed for God to help us start the food processor. In the next moment I instantly figured out why it was not working. Total human error. The machine has all these safety mechanisms and I had put one out of wack. It worked and we spent the next half hour making cheesecakes, talking, laughing, eating the batter and then we read books and I put her to bed. We had such a fun time togther I wonder what if. What if I would have cussed and cried and not got the thing working? She would have been sad that we could not make our cheescakes and we would have missed out on that fun, but more than that she would have learned that when things suck your should react by blowing up and losing your temper. I am not sure that she will specifically remember this years from now, but I think I will. And maybe she will remember something from this moment. I pray that I can consistently teach her to turn to God in those moments. I know the many moments I have done the opposite. I pray that I can learn to consistently turn to him.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Crazy end of week/ weekend and what I learned about myself

So it is Wednesday at about 9 am. My very best friend wants to know if we want to come to play at their house. I normally would have jumped all over that chance, but I feel this urge to stay home and do laundry today. Not sure why. We decline.

It's about 10 am and I am utterly freaked out that I have lice. No real reason to believe I do. My head has been so itchy and I am just freaked out. I call my best friend and she says she will come over to check me. (Don't you love those friends.) I am so freaked out I am hyperventilating all most. I am waiting for her to arrive and trying to keep my mind occupied, as well as my kids, and the phone rings. Todd calls to tell me he has an emergency business trip to take and he is leaving either tonight or tomorrow and will be gone until Monday. Boo. My b-day is Monday and we had weekend plans, but the boss (my dad) has very kindly offered to pay for my girls and I to go too. Yeah and AHHHHH. How to be ready for a 5 day trip in less than 24 hours with two kids. My head is no longer itching. My brain is about to explode. Sheena arrives and checks my head and verdict is- NO Lice. Just a freaked out mom who has dandruff.

OK. Now move to packing, booking hotels, shopping for trip. It is lunch time and I open the cupboard. I have no idea what to fix and I really don't want to make anything. Claire likes dog food anyway. LOL. Suddenly another phone call. My mom wants to know if we want to have lunch. We still have pajamas on. Would you like to bring lunch over? Thank God for Nana. Nana arrives with lunch and Hiya. Hiya is what Lizzie affectionately calls, my brothers girlfriend, Heather. We eat lunch and then my mom has to leave. I get girls to nap and think - "It would be so nice to have help right now." The house is a wreck and I still have laundry to do and packing and shopping. I wish Todd could come home now. Then another phone call. Heather wants to know if I need help. My overactive brain almost said no. I thought I can handle this. I really don't want someone else cleaning my house. But thankfully God spoke very clearly and said, "Did you not just wish you had help?" Oh Yes I did. Ok if you don't mind helping that would be great. I make a list things to do and Heather shortly arrives. She slams through my list.

1. Clean bath.
2. Sweep/ mop floor.
3. Do dishes.
4. Clean up toys.
5. Pack.

She does everything, but pack. Oh, how I am so thankful I did not say no.

Girls wake up and she feeds them snack while I make a dozen phone calls to reserve 4 hotel rooms. (For Todd and the crew going with him.) Realize how impossible that would have been had she not been here. When Todd comes home Heather stays with the kids so we can go to the store to buy a toddler travel bed. I have been wanting one for a while and we needed it for the trip because Lizzie cannot sleep in the big bed yet.

Somehow we are packed and ready and I get in bed about 2 am. Wake back up at 7 and we on the road by 9.

We arrive in Kalamazoo and Todd is off to work. We spend the day with Heather and Todd arrives back at the hotel about 7:30. We have already had dinner, so while he eats I take the girls swimming. Interesting taking two kids who you have to hold the whole time by yourself. We decide to get out and Lizzie takes off running. She falls and cracks her head on the cement. So me in my bathing suit and kids as well drip into to hotel restaurant. I ask the hostess to look for my husband because I have a crying toddler and two wet kids. He comes out and we proceed to room. She is fine and Todd is able to resume eating.

Thursday night kids go to sleep and I try to get some rest. Friday morning Claire wakes up at 4am. Ohhh.... I try to get her back to sleep and it does not work. Todd gets up to leave for work at 6 and we turn on lights to have breakfast. I guess that is it. Lizzie gets up about 6:30. Our day goes on and thankfully Heather is there to help. Nap comes and goes and eventually bed. Yeah.

The next morning (Saturday) is better. Claire sleeps until 7 and that is much better than 4. We get up and have breakfast. We decide to go to a zoo nearby. The zoo is so fun and we actually get to feed giraffes. That was so cool..

We leave and on the way home my mom calls to say my dad collapsed and she was taking him to the hospital. We were afraid he was having a heart attack.
We communicate back and forth with her and then decide that my brother, myself, Heather and the kids will go home. I frantically pack and we leave in about an hour. I am upset, worried and drive about 85 the whole way home. Todd had called Sheena and asked her if she would watch our kids because he could not leave until later that night. She agreed and I dropped the kids off at her parents because they were having a 4th of July BBQ. I leave and go to the hospital. I cry the whole way there pretty much because I have been holding it together because of the kids. When I arrive I go see my dad and cry of course. Thankfully he is ok and did not have a heart attack. I was able to stay with him until about 9. And then came home to see the kids. He came home the next afternoon and they are still trying to figure out what caused him to collapse. But he is ok.

This whole week/ weekend has been so tiring and so long and so crazy, but it taught me a lot about myself. I usually think I can handle things on my own and in a lot of situations I can, but in all honesty there are moments I cannot and I need to ask for help. I don't like asking for help. I don't like feeling like I am putting people out or changing their plans. But there are times I need to ask for help. There are times I need to say yes when people ask me if they can help me. I need to do that more. This whole weekend would have gone a lot worse had I not had the help of those around me. I am grateful for their help, but I know it is still hard for me to ask for help. It is still hard for me to not do it on my own. I am glad that Jesus reminds me that I need help and that he is so patient with me as I continually forget that. Because in all honesty a lot of days I forget to look to Him for strength. I forget that when I am leaning on Him and abiding in Him my life is better and I can do it. But when I do it on my own and leave Him out of my plans I end up a mess and my kids and husband suffer. When I am daily looking to him for strength and seeking his help, he gives it to me and then I realize all along he has been orchestrating my circumstances to give glory to Himself. Isnt that He has been doing all along? Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sins. And us going along in our sins convinced we are doing just fine until He shows us who we really are and what our sins have really done. And then we only have two choices. We can go along and do it on our own and die in our sins or we can choose let Him take our sins and cover them. Am I so prideful to remain convinced I can do it on my own? Or will I admit I need help. I pray I continue to admit I need Him. I need help.