Friday, June 21, 2013

Our Dear Son, Isaac,

     You have been growing up so much!  We are so proud of you, and thankful for all God has brought you through and given you opportunities for!  In your 11th year you:

 went to diabetes camp in Kerrville for the first time!
First, you had SO many people to say goodbye to!

Then, you had LOTS of fun!!

You also got a new baby brother!!  Not many 11 year olds get to have that!
You love the little ones so much and are SO good with them!

You built stuff.... 
You are so good at constructing things and figuring out how things might could be made better.
You love models and have made so many amazing lego structures 
that I could include dozens of other pictures here!
You have been enjoying The Outdoor Book for Boys and made an anchor 
and even tried to make a raft because of reading that book.

Your first weld!

Photo of of you and the guys after you helped your dad plumb in a new sewer line!
Daddy paid each of you money for all of your very important help!

You had an anniversary of training Tae Kwon Do in October!  
Had lots of fun with that over the last several months too.  You are getting really good at it!
Photo taken the first time Abigail got to come back to class after healing up from her broken arm.

At your first Tournament

2nd Place in Forms!

After you both tested and got your new belts!  You are now officially a "high degree" belt!

You enjoyed various activities involved with our "My Father's World" curriculum:

Your unofficial passport


Geography Game:  You are pretty good at it!!

"Book Basket" Time

You had to have another eye surgery, but the plus was that we got to spoil 
JUST YOU a little bit beforehand!

You had another great year of piano lessons!  
You won "Most Memorized Pieces" for both the December & May recitals!

You and your teacher, Joann Snider.  She really, really loves you and thinks that you are so smart and talented.....

Your granny got to come to the recital in May!
As a side note to these pictures of you all dressed up, did you notice you GREW!?!  
Yes, we need to get you a new suit, but that one worked just fine.  
We thought you looked really sharp!

You also enjoyed all those other kinds of moments of learning 
and having fun with your family!

Game Night!
Helping Luke at his birthday party

At Lake Amistad
Planting the garden.  Your best friend, Nathan, came over for that!
At your O'ma & O'pa's Alpaca farm.  This baby was brand-new that day!
Family "Read-a-loud Time."  You boys were anticipating the ending to the Biography of Cameron Townsend.
Silly, Silly, Silly!!!

If you want to go check out last year's post that featured photos in review of your WHOLE life ;)
You can click here
Love from your Mama,

Thursday, June 13, 2013


     God deserves everything....  He deserves my heart.  He deserves my praise.  He deserves to be the focus of my adoration.  He deserves my time.  He deserves it as the first-fruit of my day and He deserves it as an offering throughout my day.

He deserves dedication..........

I wonder what it would look like if all of my resources were completely His and wrapped up with the full knowledge that His tender mercies and abounding love and grace had everything under control?  Would I live differently?  Would I love differently?  Would I even worry about things?  Would I worry about what I so unmistakably seem in charge of? ... -My children, for instance? 

I have been wrestling with something, incase you couldn't already tell!  I have been wrestling sometimes intensely over the idea that since my "being a mom" isn't really even up to me in the first place, that my children's destinies and even their ability to breathe in air aren't even up to me.  I know in my head that God is in control, but getting that in my heart has been quite a struggle for 12 years!  This blogpost, however skin-surface it may already seem, is sourced from a very personal struggle.  My thoughts have been simmering and forming words to define my emotions ever since this one, single act that I did in May.  I stood at the front of a body of believers, as I have done so many times in the past, and I fidgeted deep within as I have so often done before..... I "dedicated" my newest baby to the Lord, along with several other families who were doing the same with their babies on Mother's Day.

Daddy was working that day, so my 2nd biggest man joined me.
Somehow these baby dedication services are more mind-boggling, overwhelming, and uncomfortable to me than they are nostalgic, peaceful and exciting.  I stood there completely overwhelmed in my heart about what it really means to dedicate someone that I bore from my body.  No one else physically grew and developed and labored and delivered that child.  I DID.  ....uh-hem....  sigh....  I meant to say that God did all those things, and used me and my husband and some medical personnel to help, ....right?  In reality, I think it is very rare and seldom that any of us mothers truly do in our hearts what Hannah did with Samuel.  But then, she not only gave up her child for the Lord's sake in her heart, but she did it with an intentional sacrifice of letting loose what God had graciously given her!  If there was anything that Hannah had no doubt about, it was that her son in no way belonged to her.  Have you read her prayer lately?  I'm not talking about that verse that lots of you have even memorized, not that it isn't good too:  "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.  Therefore I have lent him to the Lord.  As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord."(I Sam. 27-28)  I'm more specifically talking about her prayer of dedication!  The one where she admits to the Lord that HE is the one who "kills and brings to life".... that HE is the one who "brings down to Sheol and raises up"... that HE makes the poor and the rich.... that HE takes the poor and needy and seats them with princes and gives them a seat of honor.  He is in control of destiny!  He is sovereign and though I cannot understand why He allows those difficult things to happen in our lives, I have to trust that His control reaches far above and beyond what I can see and comprehend.

The truth of my struggle came to a boiling point over the last week.  Two awful things in one week happened that could have meant death for two different kids.  Neither were dangerous circumstances because of gross negligence, and yet I have beat myself up for something that could have happened, but didn't.  The fact that I had full awareness that something really bad could have happened to one of MY (wink...) children, on MY watch was unbearable!  The weight of it came crashing down on me as I was laying down last night, tucked underneath my husband's sheltering arm.  I can't be everywhere.  Yes, I have six kids, and that may make keeping watch extra challenging.  But really, it doesn't matter how many kids you do or don't have..... none of us can be everywhere.  We weren't designed to be everywhere..... God didn't design us to be that way, because we don't need to be that way.   HE IS THE ONE.  HE IS EVERYWHERE.  There's a reason we can feel safe entrusting and dedicating our little ones to Him.  He watches where we do not.  He sees when we couldn't possibly see.  He saw my two year old walk across the street by himself at the park while I was putting my 4 year old's shoes on.  He didn't stop him.... He instead, sat in the middle of it and marveled at the little boy that He created to have an interest in ducks and rocks and dirt and water on the other side of the road.  He cheered that this sweet, little one is developing a healthy independence apart from his mama.  Then He listened as I tried to calmly (I said tried.... I wasn't very calm) talk to the older children on the way home about responsibility and taking care of those weaker and younger than ourselves.  Then He decided to have my boisterous, strong-willed, cut-from-a-bolt-of-tough-stuff 4-year-old sing a sweet, tender message to me when we got home.  "I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river in my soul!"  He also saw that same bull-headed 4 year old boy open that mini-van door yesterday, climb in, shut the door, and not be able to open it back up.  He watched patiently as that kid got hotter and hotter, and in more and more of a panic.  He perhaps, made sure that the little stinker got to the point where he thought, "I won't climb in the hot car anymore without big people near" before He prodded mom to come look for him.  "Where IS that boy?"  "DAVID!" ....... "DAVID!" God might have even laughed when He watched that boy that He made to be boisterous, bold, passionate, and physically-tiny-but-strong bang fiercely on the sliding door while screaming with a vengeance when his mom showed up.  Drenched, from head-to-toe with sweat, that little stinker who wouldn't have dared be quiet when he saw help coming was fine, simply because he was noticeable.  Oh, how often I have wished he wouldn't be so... noticeable.... HA!

I would be the worst person on the planet if I left this post by saying, "See, if you love God nothing bad will ever happen to you or your kids."  We all know that isn't true.  As a matter-of-fact, the source of my mommy-worries are because that isn't true. I also know that bad things happen to children.  They even happen to the children of the most protective parents on the planet.  I have my own story, if you haven't read it already.  Awful things happened to me when I was a little girl even though I had very loving parents who wanted the best protection for me.  It is just that they weren't in charge of my whole destiny.  As parents, we have a piece in how God shapes that in our kids, but we don't have charge of the whole puzzle.  If we did, it would scare us and maybe even keep us from allowing God to use our little children and grown-up-children as instruments that are truly unique to the Body of Christ.  Our oldest son has a disease that I wouldn't have wished upon him or even wished upon my worst enemy!  But somehow, his story has to include it.  Because God works everything together for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  He is not the author of sexual abuse that occurred in my life, and He doesn't take children from us in the name of cruelty.  He did not create diseases.  He is not the author of death.  He does not wish us sorrow upon sorrow nor does He wish evil upon His children.  But because He is God, He can work all things together for good!  His grace.... His tender mercies that are new every morning are steeped in His faithfulness.  (Lam. 3:22-23)

Forgive me, God, for even entertaining the possibility that I could reserve even a small portion of any one of my children for myself.  They are yours.  You have the control.  Thank you for teaching me to depend on You and Your protection.  Help me to see the greater picture and help me to be a good steward of what part I have in the lives of my children, even if I'm not allowed to shape the whole thing!  Thank You for the beautiful work that You are doing, and please welcome my children to cling to You in spite of my short-comings and failures.  You are good.  Thank you for "YOUR" babies.....