Learning patience

I will say that one thing God is teaching me right now is patience and trust. Almost 2 months ago already, Kasey and I committed to adoption and started the paperwork process. Since then we have changed our minds multiple times about the age range they make you list on the forms, # of siblings, etc. Initially we said 6-10, then lowered to 5-10, siblings 0 which now says siblings 1. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this changes again between now and final adoption day because we are willing to accept whichever children God has in mind for us. I’m sure someday I will look back at these “specifics” and laugh. And I know He has one or two in mind. Unfortunately due to house size and room #, DHS says we can accept 2 at the most so 2 will be the maximum we can take in this home at this time.

At night my mind races with thoughts about our future kids. Is anyone tucking you in at night? Has anyone ever ever prayed with you or taught you about God’s love? Do you dream about me the way I dream about you? What will you look like, act like, talk like? What are your hopes and dreams? What has happened to you to make you available for adoption? Will you allow me to love you and help you heal from your past? Are you still hopeful for a family or have you given up on finding us?

I can relate to you in that I have a parent that was unable to parent. He didn’t show me love, affection, trust, commitment or any of those core things that parents are supposed to show their children. I still have questions as I know you also will about your parents. I still have moments where I wish he could have loved the way I needed him to. I have more questions than answers. I don’t think those thoughts will ever be completely gone, but I was lucky to have another parent, my mom, to show me all of those things and more. I hope to be that person for you.

Until then, we’ll be waiting..

A letter to a father from his daughter

Last night I came across this link http://myfatherdaughter.com/what-little-girls-wish-daddies-knew/ on Facebook and could barely get through it without tearing up. There is so much truth to this article, and it amazes me that so many parents don’t realize how tremendously their actions impact their children’s lives. How many of us do and say things that our parents did? Why do we let ourselves believe that children will turn a blind eye to our “bad” behavior and only imitate the “good?”

I know that you will never read this, and even if you did, you most likely wouldn’t feel any remorse. To you, I was only a pawn in the childish game you played with my mom. This game may have given you short term gratification, but there was another person involved. There was a little person that you didn’t think about, didn’t care about, and didn’t love. When you picked me up and would toss my car seat into the car unbuckled and without a second glance, I’m sure it felt good to know that you were breaking my mom’s heart. When you brought me back two hours later smelling like an ash tray, I bet you were proud of yourself knowing my mom was a nervous wreck until I was home safe. When you told my mom she should skip her prenatal appointments and that I was “fine,” I’m sure you believed that I was, because you were a health professional after all.

When I got old enough to write and wrote you letter after letter after letter that went unanswered, I know you thought that I was “just a kid” and would never remember it later. When I later asked you why, you said you had “nothing to say.” That just blew me away. Twelve years of not hearing from you, and you had nothing to say. When you didn’t write me back, I hoped that maybe you just weren’t getting the letters. I always hoped the best about you. I thought surely you were somewhere taking care of your patients and were just busy with work and life. When you missed every birthday without a card, I hoped that maybe you just didn’t know my birthday and that you would’ve otherwise acknowledged it. My mother was too good of a person to say bad things about you, so instead of being angry with you, I was angry with her for not staying married because I didn’t know the whole story. She apologized for your lack of being there as if it were her fault. I made excuse after excuse for you in my head, for why you weren’t around. I knew that you had three other daughters and so I thought you probably had your hands full with them. Now I know that you weren’t there for them much either.

When I was 18 and tried to form a real relationship with you, once again, I was the one that was trying. I was the one driving to you. I was the one that was trying to make plans to see each other. You showed me your nice things and your nice vehicles and your nice house like I was supposed to be happy for you. Little did you realize that my heart was hardening against you every time you showed me something else that you had that we never had. Like you wanted me to know that you had more than me and had been doing so well while my mother stressed and worked so hard to keep nice clothes on us and our bills paid. Like that would make me respect you more than her. You spent half of our time together talking about my grandpa who you didn’t like, because he realized your shortcomings. He saw through your façade of wanting to be a father by coming around when you felt like it. He was in a wheelchair for crying out loud, but he protected me better than you ever knew how. He loved me better than you could’ve ever loved me had you even tried. So please don’t think that I believed a word you said about him. Every negative word that you spouted about the family members who raised me only made me more disappointed in who you were versus who I wanted you to be. You gave me enough excuses to fill a book about why you weren’t a good father, but you never apologized for it. I will always remember that. You told me you didn’t have any examples to show you how to parent, as if that’s a reason to not try.

Then a couple years ago you told me to go to hell and that “surely I could understand that.” As if I was the most ignorant person on the planet. Thank you, dad, for making me see the very blackest part of you. Now I sometimes wish that I’d never pursued you at all. It was easier when I thought you were good, kind, compassionate, and too busy for me. It was easier when I thought that maybe a small portion of you loved me.

But I will thank you for other things, because alas, you have taught me much about life. You have taught me that life is too short to waste energy and time trying to make other people be who you want them to be. You taught me to be better, so much better to my children than what you were to me. You taught me how to forgive seven times seventy times, even when it feels better to stay angry. You have taught me that children are  always watching, always learning, and always wanting to believe the best about their parents. You have taught me that children are so impressionable and that they aren’t “just kids”…. that they do grow up and remember. You have taught me to cherish the good people, because there are so many if you just look around. You have taught me that God can heal the most broken hearts, and I truly hope that He will heal yours, too. You taught me to marry someone who was a great man and also a great father, which is exactly what I did. You have taught me to soak up the moments of seeing my girls with their daddy, and to teach them how lucky they are because not every little girl gets those opportunities. You taught me to be thankful, so thankful, for the family that I had who would’ve done anything for me. Your shortcomings as a father highlighted my mother’s strengths, and as much as you might believe she’s not, she is strong and beautiful. Stronger and more loving than anyone I know.

And mother, if you’re reading this, thank you for saving the truth for when I was old enough to handle it. Thank you for not talking negatively about dad to me when I was too young for it. Thank you for telling me the good things about him so that I had that to cling to when I was younger. Thank you for telling me he was a nurse and smart and so funny. Thank you for treating me like the impressionable child that I was, and not making me grow up faster than I needed to. I can never repay you for that.

So dad, I truly, truly, wholeheartedly hope that you find some joy in this life. I hope that you go to sleep at night with a clear conscience, because you already missed so much happiness and are currently missing so much. I have the most amazing husband who loves me better than I deserve, and I have two beautiful girls that are so full of life and love that we could’ve shared with you if you’d let us. You told me you never wanted to talk to me again, and I hope you meant it, because I took you seriously. So here is my last request…forgive me for whatever grudge it is that you hold against me. Whatever grudge you’ve held against me since before I was born. And I always hope that you will allow Jesus to change your heart.

Lessons I hope my children learn from us.

There are plenty of lessons that I hope my children learn as they grow, many of which I have learned by trial and error.

1. Money is essential in this world we live in, but it really means nothing. It adds no value to your life. It adds nothing to your home besides an occasional argument probably. In our almost 5 years of marriage, kasey and I have had times where we made more money than we make now, and times where we made $600ish dollars a month. That was our only guaranteed income. Our life was simple. We had no cable tv, we didn’t eat out much, we rarely had extra money to go places. But we lived. We laughed, loved, cried, played and were generous with the little we had. We paid tithe on our meager amount. I know that God cherished that small amount of money more than He probably cherishes the money we tithe now. We gave money to our favorite radio station, KLOVE, because it really helped us through that period. We gave leftover food to our neighbors (who didn’t have much) when we had little extra for ourselves. We gave things away instead of selling them. We relied solely on God to provide for us, and I start tearing up just thinking about the simplicity of that. It was a stressful time in our lives, but it was also a beautiful time that I will always cherish. If I ever doubted that God existed before that time in our lives, I have not had a doubt of God’s existence since then. I have so many stories and “coincidences” that could only be God’s hand.

2. No matter what you do, do it well and find joy in it. Everyone’s job sucks at one time or another. That’s just reality, and being a realist, I realize that. I don’t ever wish for someone else’s job, or wish that I had done something else with my life because I know that there is no perfect job. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people who can be demanding, ugly, impatient, and downright mean at times. Nurses get to witness that on a regular basis, but I still find so much joy in the good days at work. The days where everything goes as planned, nobody gets mad at anybody, and everyone remembers why we do what we do. I’m sure that applies to every job, and I hope that my children find joy in their job and not just their paycheck.

3. Nothing can replace your relationship with God. Not your relationship with your kids, not your relationship with your husband, mom, brother, friend, etc. It just doesn’t. Even when my marriage is great and my kids are great and I have no other stressors in my life, if my relationship with God isn’t great I’m restless. I’m unsettled. I can’t find peace. I want to have a lasting, deep relationship with my children and I want them to have an amazing home life when they grow up and have families of their own, but ultimately I want them to be in love with Jesus. There is no joy that replaces that. And that joy spills over into your other relationships. Two birds one stone.🙂

4. It is ok for your future husbands to be imperfect. I think that is one lesson that nobody ever really taught me, and I had to learn on my own. If you handed me a large (and I mean large) piece of paper, I could write down for you most all of my faults. Again, I’m a realist, and I judge myself as hard as anyone else could. So why do people go into their wedding day thinking that their husband will never leave his clothes on the floor or forget to pay a bill, or whatever. Why do we expect perfection from everyone but ourselves? It was a couple years into our relationship before I realized that Kasey isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect, and our relationship will never be perfect. It will always be something that we have to put effort into. I hope that our day to day marriage life will show that to our kids. I want them to have realistic expectations of marriage and not some Hollywood picture in their mind. On their wedding day, I want them to say, “this is what I want, and I’m willing to work my whole life for it.” If God is at the center of your marriage, nothing can tear it apart.

5. Parent your own children. Don’t rely on others to do it for you so you can be elsewhere with your friends. Don’t believe the false lie that your children are “ok” and don’t need you as an active participant in their life. I believe that America is in the state that it is because somewhere in the last century, too many people stopped making their kids’ happiness and welfare a priority. Second to having a great relationship with God, the joy of seeing your children happy and content is the next best feeling. I hope my girls are married before they have kids, but I wasn’t so I can’t fully expect that of them. All I can hope is that they realize their children’s worth and never take them for granted.

 

A mother can hope.

Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Prov. 22:6.

Motherly duties

In my previous post, I talked about how much worry and stress affects my life. In saying that, I mean that I worry SO much about how to be the best mom and woman of the house. In trying to be perfect, sometimes I ruin everything. I want to throw a party at the house for a holiday, and the stress of having a spotless house ruins my mood. I want to have a great outing with the kids, and when one thing goes wrong, I get annoyed. I hate this about myself. I want to be better. I want to be calm.

Last week, Kasey and I took the kids to ride bikes around one of the Duncan lakes. Karmen decided she needed to go camping, so we told her we would try to do that next week, which is today. We had talked about Lake Arbuckle, but all the campsites were taken except for one which was handicapped.

 

So, tonight, we are “camping out” in the backyard and I’m looking forward to it as much as karmen is. My family is coming over for dinner and then after they go home we are gonna set up our tent with all of our stuff just like we are at the lake. Hopefully it will be a nice night of ghost stories and family time. Who says you need a real campsite? I’m super excited that since we will be at home, I’ll have a fan.🙂

Who was the Proverbs 31 woman?

I’m struggling lately. I’m struggling with the worry of what to feed my children, how to better serve my husband, how to “instruct my children in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not turn from it.” I am torn between the healthiest way of eating, what day to worship, what day did God really set aside for the day of rest? Do we have it all wrong? How do I raise my children so that they will learn to love others and serve without selfishness? I am reading a book now called, “Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe.”  As I was reading today, I came across this scripture quoted in the book. “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” Romans 14:22.  When you stop reading the Bible for a while as consistently as you should, its amazing all the life lessons you can learn, and it just so happens they apply to your situation or whatever you are struggling with.

 

I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I’m very far off at this point, but I’m trying. The desire is there. The motivation is there. Now I just need the selflessness that she possesses. It is insanely hard to be selfless. Also in the book Desperate, I read, “You have you personality for a reason–probably for the special work He has for you to do in this world.” Some days I feel like I will never live up to the mother I was created to be. I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never be a wife who can stand by and submit. And then I read those things and remember that God gave me this strong personality. Now I need to learn how to fulfill it.

 

Proverbs 31 starting in verse 10….

 

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.

She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.

She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.

She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.

She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.

She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.

She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.

She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of snow for her household, she makes tapestry for herself;

Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates,

When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them,

And supplies sashes for the merchants.

Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.

She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”