Am I Getting This Parenting Thing Right, Lord?

As a mom of two children under the age of 2, I often wonder,

“Am I getting this right?”

I am constantly seeking the Lord for guidance on raising my girls. He leads me to scriptures, He leads me to other couples with children, to books, and best of all, He uses the Holy Spirit to speak to me. 

A few days ago, the Lord showed me that YES…yes, I am doing it right. To not be anxious and to seek His righteousness and all would fall in order. 

I had a livestream feed of our revival services playing through the computer beside the recliner. The worship leader was singing while I was giving Anna, my youngest, her bottle. Abby walked up to the screen and without being prompted, started worshipping.

My 20 month old. Praying (in her own babble, but in my heart I knew it was fire!) and worshipping God with her hands raised!

What does this mean for me as a parent?

Everything.

She has been paying attention to her daddy and I. She sees us engaged in worship both at church and at home. She hears us praying. She is following our example. 

Thank you Lord for this confirmation! It is my desire to raise her and Anna to have hearts that burn for the Lord. I long to see them take the vow of a Nazarite, crying out for His glory with nothing else satisfying their hunger for God.

I know that I get some things wrong and am constantly growing and learning this whole parenting thing. BUT I also know that I am doing a lot of things right!

Start off children the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

What “aha” or confirmations have you received as a parent?

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Nearness

Last week, I wrote this post and put it on Facebook. It was birthed from a place of urgency from the Lord. It was also a timely word and for me, one of the greatest revelation moments I have ever had. I’d like to share it here.

I have never written such a long post but I felt the Lord pressing me to share this.

This morning has been exhausting and frustrating. I had 5 hours of interrupted sleep last night, Abby has been throwing tantrums and Anna has been extremely fussy. After being up for an hour, I already felt like a failure. 

We went about our morning and loaded the girls up for a youth event. As soon as we arrived, things kept going downhill. Abby started throwing the fit of her life and I became overwhelmed with not knowing what to do. It is so out of the norm for her. Meanwhile, Anna was becoming increasingly agitated in my absence as I was dealing with Abby. I finally looked at Kaleb and told him he would just have to drop us back off at the house and I would just have to miss out. As we walked out to the van with two crying children, I felt so low. Kaleb was awesome, as always. He affirmed me to the point where I was actually believing him – haha. I agreed to drive the van around the parking lot to get our tired, cranky girls to sleep while he finished a meeting. 

And there God met with me.

He whispered one word to me: “Nearness”. Then I lost it.

He showed me a picture of Anna – how she is not content with just being in the same room with me. If she knows that I am there, she does whatever it takes to get my attention. She cries out, reaches for me and stays persistent. The moment I pick her up, she grips me with all of her strength and brings her body and face in as close as possible. She showers me with affection. It is a violent love.

And that is how our Father is with us. He is always present, but it’s not enough for Him. He is violently pursuing us and persistently getting our attention. He longs to be near us and intimate with us. Many times, I feel like Jesus is in the room with us when we feel “alone”, yet we sabotage ourselves and feel distant because we won’t accept His love. We’re not answering. So let Him love on you! Let Him grip you tight and saturate you with affection and grace. He is a Father and that’s what a father does.

So as I’m circling the parking lot in a big red van, just feeling overwhelmed with my Father’s love, I look back and make eye contact with Abby. She smiles at me, sighs and drifts off to sleep in contentment. She is near me and her world is back in order.

The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways. I allowed Him to use a temper tantrum for the history books as an opportunity for Him to teach me more about His character. He certainly is a good Father. I’ll bring this long post to a close with this scripture:

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8

Shots, Snuggles, and Sing-A-Longs

Today was my “official” first day as a stay at home mama. And let me tell you…

It was perfect.

If things were still the same and I were still in the classroom, today would have been the first day of school. I would’ve met my new students, spent the day “laying down the law” and setting the tone for the year, only to come home exhausted and already thinking about tomorrow. Working full time really drained me, especially last year. I’d come  home to two babies and would go through the same routine night after night. We’d play for an hour, eat dinner, do baths and then it was bedtime. Yet, I still couldn’t shut my teacher-brain off and was always stressing about my job. I just felt like I was never giving them 100% of me at any given time and it took a toll on me. And because of that, I felt like I had little patience with my children. I was so exhausted and stressed that it truly was difficult for me to stop, slow down and understand them. 

But today was different.

Our day started off with check-ups at the doctor that included those dreaded shots for both ladies. It’s almost as if Abby knew what was coming. Haha. She hid behind my legs while we were in the room. Anna though, she has no idea what was coming! She was laughing and babbling so much that it broke my heart to know that her joyful demeanor was about to be rudely interrupted. They both took it like champs though! And they both cried when the other was getting shots. They just love each other.

Abby with her “brave girl” lollipop!

Both girls fell asleep on the way home and stayed asleep when we got there. I started preparing for a lethargic day…again, those darn shots are a doozy. The low fevers started setting in and I guessed right – today was going to be a sing-a-long day. Neither girl was interested in playing. At any given point during the day, I was rocking one or both girls. 

I’ll never turn down snuggle time.

By 7:00, both girls were asleep. They were so relaxed from both the side effects of their shots and Tylenol. 

So how was today different?

For the first time, I felt 100% there for them. I was completely invested in them with nothing else on my mind. When they got fussy, my first reaction wasn’t annoyance. It was understanding. When Abby got pushy with me at one point, I was able to prevent a tantrum. 

And here’s the best part:

My girls needed their mommy for snuggles and love today and I was there to give it. It’s such a big deal to me. I know that I am nowhere near being a perfect mom, but for me, making this transition has made me a better one. 

I’m so thankful that the Lord has called me back into my home for this season. He doesn’t forget or ignore the desires of our heart, especially when those desires are aligned with His.

“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

How has the Lord fulfilled the desires of your heart?

Why I Will Always Speak Highly Of My Husband.

A couple of days ago, I was riding in the car with Kaleb. He’s just been doing some incredible things in his life lately but I could tell he was exhausted. While he was driving, I put my hand on his shoulder and just began praising him. “I’m so proud of you,” was the first thing out of my mouth. After I affirmed him, he looked over and genuinely appreciated the gesture and his whole demeanor changed.

The Lord then spoke to me and laid this topic on my heart. I would not consider myself a relationship expert, but I do keep certain things in mind and practice them daily to build up my marriage rather than tear it down. One of those things is giving constant affirmation and saying “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” out loud to my husband.

Now I am all for the 5 love languages but I feel like those are extra ways to tell your spouse that you love them. Because honestly, nothing says “I love you” like actually saying “I love you.”

Kaleb is my absolute best friend and even though we may have our disagreements, at the end of the day, he is the person I want to hang out with over anyone else. I intend to keep it this way and something I can guarantee to make this happen is to always speak highly of him. I do this to him personally, in conversations with family and friends, and in my own mind.

So here are 4 reasons why I always speak highly of my spouse:

1. What you say out loud, you are speaking into existence.

You are declaring the identity of your spouse with the words that you speak about them. I want Kaleb to be a man of God, a husband that supports me, a leader of my household, a good father to my children, and a person of integrity. If I am in a conversation where he becomes the topic, these are the things I convey. It’s not doing anyone any kind of good if I ramble about how he never does the laundry (Just an example…Kaleb actually did the laundry for 2 whole years while I was pregnant because he didn’t want me going up and down the stairs!) or the times that I am frustrated with him. In your marriage vows, you promised to lift them up but more importantly, promised to uphold them and keep them accountable with their relationship with God. How are you going to maintain that promise if you are speaking slander over their life?

2. Your thoughts towards your spouse become naturally negative.

Practice becomes habit. Habit becomes a way of life. When you speak negative things over your spouse, you start to believe them. It’s poisonous. Don’t do this to your marriage. Satan only has power when he comes into agreement with man. When you are not uplifting your spouse, you’re inviting satan in. And that is dangerous if, by this point, you have trained your mind to think a certain way about your spouse.

It all starts with coming home after a long, exhausting day of work and finding that the dishes are still sitting there from this morning. You think, ‘My husband could have taken care of those.’ But nothing is said to him and you do the dishes with an attitude, yet he has no idea that you are upset with him for this. Instead you go about your evening and send your friend a message about how you are unappreciated and your spouse never helps out. The next morning, he goes straight to the sink and puts his dirty dishes in, kisses you good-bye and leaves. You don’t even acknowledge his loving gesture. You think, ‘Are you kidding me?! Why didn’t he just wash those?’ All day long you are fuming. He still has no idea. After some time, it’s no longer even about the dishes. It becomes continuous negativity and criticism of their actions and character because you have trained yourself to have this way of thinking.

3. It’s gossip…and gossip travels.

Never, not once, in my marriage have I ever called my mom or dad to vent about a disagreement that Kaleb and I are having. Kaleb has never done this with his parents either. Why? Because eventually we talk through our feelings, work through, and get over that disagreement. But our moms are not a part of that conversation and resolution. They are left on the sidelines with harsh feelings towards our spouse. This is so dangerous and I see it so often. It’s a difficult cycle to break because now a third person is in your marriage that shouldn’t be there because you invited them.

You and your spouse are married to each other. Don’t let anyone else enter into your marriage! Your frustrations aren’t anyone else’s business. You don’t need people to take ‘your side’. Figure it out together. While you may justify your actions as “venting”, you could not be more wrong. You have just invited that person into your marriage. You are now allowing them to view your spouse in a way they should not. And if you think that this bit of information will stay between the two of you, it absolutely will not. Even if this friend does not say a word, the information will be on their face. You have placed them against your spouse and their face is going to say it all.

4. It hurts your relationship with the Father.

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:22-27

God created man and woman to be a team. He literally created the woman from man’s body. They are a part of each other. When you are not edifying your spouse, you are also speaking against the Father. How are you going to witness to a coworker when you are bashing your spouse during lunch break? How are you going to grow in any potential giftings of the Spirit when you are talking down to your spouse at home? That’s not the way that the Father loves. This love you try to portray to the community becomes invalid if the love of the Father is not evident in the home. After God, we are called to love our spouse next. Not our children, not our parents, not your Sunday School students, not your ministry, not your mission field. If any of these are before your spouse, your growth and revelation moments will be stunted. That is not something that I want to mess with.

 

This post is not meant to discourage or tear down anyone. I love my Father and the beautiful way that He has intended for marriage to be designed. This is a fight against the enemy for trying to infiltrate what God has created. Remember this – Satan does NOT have authority. That was taken care of on the cross. It’s what he desires more than anything and since he can’t have it, he tries to find his way into your life through darkness and sin.

I challenge you today to make it a point to only think positive thoughts about your spouse. Then tell them! Even if your first thought is, “Man, why on earth did he try to cram his garbage on top of the trashcan again!”, change it to, “Oh man, but when I ask him to take out the trash, I can’t wait to see him flex his muscles in the process.” 😉

Today, I do not leave you with a question, but a task! Affirm your spouse at least 3 times and tell me about it!

 

 

New Beginnings.

What an exciting chapter my family is moving into! God is moving and speaking, circumstances are changing in our favor and doors are flying up at a crazy awesome pace. The Lord is faithful and always follows through with His promises.

He receives all of the credit for this incredible season we are entering into. A few months ago, the Lord gave us three words: “Buy the field.” We obeyed and it has been a whirlwind ever since.

So now we have a lot of “new” happening in our lives.

The first is obvious – the name and theme of this blog. A few days ago, the Lord spoke to me about writing. He told me that He wants to see more of it from me. I was taken aback because I do not claim to be anywhere near professional or qualified. But, I can say that I have always enjoyed writing – it’s therapeutic and the easiest way for me to use my voice. I remember in 2nd grade, we had an assignment where we named a career we wanted when we grew up. While most 8 year olds write things like moviestar, fireman, or astronaut, I chose to write down “author”. Of course, this response changed throughout the years but some reason, that memory has stuck with me. God recently told me that I was speaking prophetically over my life at that time. Wow.

So presently, in regards to this blog, He has instructed me to change the course and it is my desire to be obedient. I originally started this on a whim, as a means of a creative outlet that would satisfy a need to do something out of the norm. I still plan to write about DIY projects that I do, but it will not be the main focus. My focus is on revelation moments from God, my family and our everyday lives.

Hence the new name, Compassed Love.

The word ‘compass‘ has always had a special significance in my life. It is a symbol that Kaleb and I use in our marriage used to represent “Where you go, I go.” We have found this to be true in where God has called us to live, in supporting each others passions and ideas and sticking it out together in any type of situation. There are several meanings to the word “compassed” that relate to the direction of this blog:

  • “Embraced; surrounded; obtained”
  • “A circular course”
  • “Stretch; reach; extend”

When you add the word ‘love’ to the end of each of these definitions, I feel like it describes my relationship with the Father. His love is constantly embracing and surrounding me. Our relationship grows as I love Him back – it’s a circular love that never ends. We are reaching out for each other, pursuing each others presence and company. Compassed love.

This is the love I choose to model in my family. The Father is the best teacher and role model for love, so why would I try it any other way?

Our second “new” is my new job. I now have the privilege and honor of being called back into my home to raise my children. They are the greatest ministry that I will ever have and Kaleb and I were determined to make this transition happen. We long to raise up hearts that burn for the Lord and that are sensitive to the Spirit. These years, while they are young, are foundationally crucial. And what they say is true – they really are only little once. I don’t want to look back with regret that we didn’t try to make this happen. Yes, it can be scary with our financial situation changing but the Lord spoke clearly to me about this when Kaleb and I fasted and prayed over this decision. He said, “Take the step and I will provide.” What a step of faith! Being the realist that I am, this was risky because I like to see how it works out on paper first. But the Lord is good. We took the step and He has already been coming through for us.

He does not fail or fall short with His promises.

So here’s to new beginnings for our family! We are excited about this chapter of life that we are stepping into.

Welcome to Compassed Love.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.'” Lamentations 3: 22-24

How has the Lord changed your life and increased your faith by taking a step of faith?

I “Lien” Not On My Own Understanding.

Well.

In the last week, some news about the house we are buying unfolded and it didn’t end with “good news”. When we found out, all we did was laugh. I mean, this is the third time this has happened and each house that we’ve gone through has had something crazy go wrong with the process. This time, we found out there is a lien on the house (Get the title? 😉 ) that would keep us from reselling it for like 30 years…maybe. And of course, there’s more to it but the bottom line is, we are no longer buying this house.

Back to square one. For the fourth time. (To preface, this is not a discouraging post!)

Even the lawyer involved said that this situation was extremely rare. It only happens every 100,000 houses that are sold.

Our first thoughts were, “Wow. This has to be God.” Yes, you read that right. The last few times this has happened, we have been discouraged and frankly, upset. But this time was different. God’s presence swooped in the moment we looked at each other and realized that the pursuit of this house was over and we both had a strange feeling.

Relief.

I can’t even pinpoint why. I wasn’t stressed or nervous about this house at all. In fact, I have felt excited about it since we started the process. It had to be God. To know that He has our backs and is taking care of us…what relief!

And what’s more amazing is realizing that He has something better for us. We’re just expecting something incredible that we could have never even imagined. He is working things out for our good because that’s His nature. I’ve tried to stress about this situation (because that, unfortunately, is MY nature) but I can’t! Kaleb and I are excited for how He is going to show off for us.

What’s more incredible is that some other things immediately started coming together the day that we found out about this house. God proved to us in that very moment that He has not, will not, and will never leave or forsake our family. What reassurance.

All I can be is open and candid about our house-hunting situation…and anything else in our lives for that matter. My hope is that someone reads this and realizes that things are not hopeless. What we could allow to bring us down has actually revealed a part of God’s character to us – and that is worth it all. We are by no means perfect. Had I started this blogging adventure a year ago, I would have had different feelings for sure. I have learned so much through this process. But one thing I know for sure is that He is not going to leave us to be homeless. 🙂

So here we go again! Back to the drawing board. And I can’t wait to see the home that God has chosen for us!

What “good lessons” have you learned in hard situations?

 

Inspired.

We’re getting closer and closer to closing on our house. Yay! In the meantime, I have decorated the entire house on Pinterest. Ha. But for real…I love dreaming and casting vision for our new home. I can’t wait to get in there and get creative.

My projects are still kind of on hold. The husband, the girls, and I have been battling this upper respiratory crud for TWO MONTHS now. I was literally angry a few days ago because I have had this lingering cough and sinus pressure for forever. And I especially hate to see the babies with it. Grr. So the priority the last couple of weeks has been staying in and getting well.

We’re also still in revival! Praise God! We’re right in the midst of what has been called the “Appalachian Awakening” and an awakening it truly is. We’ve only just seen a taste of what is to come and it’s exciting to see the Lord’s will unfold in this region. What has been labeled a place of hopelessness for so long is now becoming a place of restoration that people are flocking to. WOW!

In the meantime, I have been researching (AKA…Pinteresting) décor ideas for the house. Here are some pictures that have inspired me.

27 Comfy Farmhouse Living Room Designs To Steal | DigsDigs Love the coffee table color:

This is the exact look I envision for our living room. What makes this even greater is the fact that our living room has large, open windows like this picture. I love all of these neutral colors. The only thing I might would change is the color of the sofa since we have a toddler 😉

DIY Home Decor - Love these farmhouse decor ideas at the36thavenue.com ...So much inspiration!:

This is a great decorative area. I actually have many of these types of items already – I’m just keeping an eye out for a similar table to repurpose. Piece of cake.

Cedar + Slate + Copper Custom cabinetry painted floor-to-ceiling in glossy Frasier fir green displays an elegant woodsy feel. Leaded glass-paneled doors and almost-black slate sinks and countertops complement the blue undertones of this favorite evergreen. Gleaming copper pots shine like streams of sunlight through a thick canopy.:

During my maternity leave this year, my husband and I binge-watched the entire series of Parenthood. One, it was a GREAT show. You can’t help but fall in love with the family and wish that you were a part of it. Two, they had a GREAT kitchen. The color scheme and glass cabinets in this picture are similar. We decided that we needed to have a kitchen that looked like this…and that we should definitely have at least 4 kids. Ha. Half-way there! (The other half will not be happening for a while…this mama’s body needs a break!)

before&after builder basic.:

I actually think it’s important to put “decorating the bathroom” toward the top of the to-do list. It’s not only a room that you use multiple times a day, but it’s a room that guests will also see that truly reflects your personal, private life. Ha. However, I’m not one to spend a ton of money on this room. I think this picture reflects my personal style to a tee. It’s stylish, yet simple. AND functional. Seriously, I don’t know who is able to have a bathroom without closets, cabinets, and drawers…

While I am a huge fan of the farmhouse look, I’d say that I probably won’t follow it accurately. I would actually describe my style more as “Garage Sale Chic”…I like finding neat knick-knacks to incorporate into my décor. But I am finding myself drawn to farmhouse style knick-knacks like pails, metal tins, twine, baskets, windows, etc.

I can’t wait to start scavenging antique shops, thrift stores, and yard sales. I’ve picked up a couple of things here and there but space is our enemy right now since we’re in transition. But the DAY we get the keys to the house, you can bet I’ll be making some purchases! We’ll have the storage space 😉

Kaleb and I are so blessed to be in the position that we are in right now. Buying a house, making incredible ministry connections, opportunities coming available that will greatly benefit our family…the list goes on. We have a good, good Father. He has been providing for us and loving on our little family.

How would you describe your décor style? And are you making it happen?