Would you rather trust?

path through the forestThe other day at bed, my littlest girl and I prayed a bold prayer for a contract on our home…that night.  She doubts God right now.  She doesn’t see things changing…she doesn’t see God working. We all really need something to change soon, but God doesn’t seem to be changing anything right now.

I wanted God to do something amazing that night…I’d even have taken the next day.  In fact, I thought it probably would be the following day.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.  And the “somewhat interested” response from the people who looked at my house caused my faith to wobble a bit.

See I’ve been reading a book that has encouraged me to pray big prayers so I can see God answer in big ways…and I’m all for praying big prayers…but I’m wondering if I pray big prayers for big answers, am I also praying big prayers understanding that God might not answer in a big way?  His gentle and loving answer might be something like, “Not yet.”

But I will be honest and tell you that I am tired of the “not yet” answer…and the “no” answer…I’d like a “yes”.  But even as I say that I know that some of the nos and not yets have been the very best answers to my prayers.  And I do trust Him to answer perfectly.

Argh!  But I so want to get out of this situation…when I’ve used the word “desperately” to describe something in the past I don’t believe I’ve understood it as deeply as I do now…I desperately want to be released from this place God has me and my children.  I don’t want to be here anymore.  But I also don’t want to force it and end up in a place I’ll eventually desperately not want to be either.

I’d rather trust God.

That’s huge.  Because right now, I can tell you I’ve had some conversations with God…and they haven’t all be holy.

But when given the alternative of figuring things out without Him, I’d rather trust God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

When faced with decisions and dilemmas in this life, I’d rather trust God.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Therefore for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.  Hebrews 12:11-13

When I’m trying to raise my children to love and honor Him, I’d rather trust God.

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.  Isaiah 54:13

When I’m exhausted and weary with nothing left to give, I’d rather trust God.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

When I have no idea which way to turn, I’d rather trust God.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Psalm 23:1-3

No matter how strongly I feel that I know what would be best, I’d rather trust God.

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.  2 Thessalonians 3:5

Oh, how I need my heart directed.  This has been an exceedingly difficult time…and sometimes I don’t think others can quite understand the challenges.  I don’t think I’m necessarily doing it with the grace I’d hoped, but the Lord continues to meet me where I am.  He continues to love me through my doubts, fears, and faltering faith.  He continues to be faithful.  I do trust that He will guide my family, that he is a shield about me, that he is my refuge and strength.

I do trust that He will enable me to do this life well…even when it feels anything but wonderful.

And I do trust Him for the sale of my house and the purchase of our next home.

But most importantly, I trust that He will reveal Himself to my littlest girl in just the right way at just the right time.  That I don’t need to orchestra things to convince my daughter of His love, faithfulness, and existence!  He will handle that…I just need to love on her and pray.

So tonight, as I lay my head down on my pillow, I will be praying for my children and their faith and for me to trust Him without hesitation….and for a buyer for my house!

Day 7 – Where Have All the Snow Days Gone?

birthday cupcakeI have to admit being a little disappointed that I didn’t get a call for a snow day or a two-hour delay today…it is definitely a Monday  🙂

I’m ready though and willing to start the week off well.  A little sore from my weekend of skiing – no broken bones and I didn’t fall off the ski lift!  I loved it!  Really!!

Today is my middle son Peter’s 14th birthday!  I can’t believe it!  I’ve referred to this sweet boy as my tender warrior, because he always wants to protect and defend others.  And because he cares deeply, seeks answers to tough questions, and goes above and beyond what I ask many times.  He isn’t perfect – he is an 8th grade boy after all!

One of the things this wonderful boy has desperately sought throughout the past  6 years is a godly man to be his role model.  It isn’t even a subconscious quest – he longs for fellowship with a man who will encourage him, bless him, and challenge him.  It is one of the things we left in Fredericksburg – one of the reasons this move was difficult.  He had just begun a great friendship with a man from our church – they met for coffee which Peter loved!  It couldn’t happen a lot but when it did what a blessing!  And I cannot tell you how much I appreciated this man stepping into my son’s life even for a short season.

It is one of the difficulties of being a single parent…having to be a “dad” to our sons, or a “mom” to our daughters.  I know single fathers who struggle with knowing how to parent their daughters – it is so different from their sons.  And I’ve had the same difficulties with my sons.  It is just hard to do a job you really weren’t made to do.

I believe this is a wonderful place where the body of Christ can step in and do amazing things to help single parents.  Many churches really do it well!  It is difficult though…I know.

I have prayed for 6 years for someone to encourage my daughter. God did not provide it, so I must trust that all that she needed He provided in a different way.  That’s another part of single parenting…of parenting…that is difficult.  Trusting when things don’t go the way we are “certain” they should.

There is a verse in Isaiah that I know I have written about on this blog before because it is one of the verse I cling to for comfort.

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.  Isaiah 54:13

Isn’t that beautiful!  Once again God says to us, “I have this.”  Even this…even this parenting thing that feels like such a heavy burden at times.  God has it.  And not only will  HE teach our children but HE will give them peace.

What makes this verse even more profound are the verses leading up to it.  They speak to parents being in tough places.  Please bear with me as I share them:

O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony and lay your foundations with sapphires.  

I will make your pinnacles of agate, and your gates of carbuncles, and all your walls of precious stones.”  Isaiah 54:11-12

And even before those:  For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.  Isaiah 54:5

God really does have it all covered.  You and I have learned that things might not look the way we envisioned them, but God still holds it all in the palm of His hand…including our sweet children.  I trust Him with them.

And I trust Him with me…He is my husband and my Redeemer.  God! The God of the whole earth has made me promises in His word!  And those promises ring true always and forever.  He uses words like “shall” and “will” not “might” and “maybe”.  He knows where we are, all storm-tossed and hurt, and He promises to establish us in beautiful places.

It’s easy to imagine that that means it will happen here, but I believe this is another opportunity for us to have an eternal perspective…to understand that in this world we will have trouble! Jesus promises that, but He always promises the brightest of futures.

Sometimes in the yuck or busyness of the day I forget about what lies ahead. I can only see the next step, but God has established the path.  It leads right where He wants it to and the destination is glorious!

Today I’m going to celebrate 14 years of the privilege of parenting a fantastic young man and I’m going to take time to pray BIG prayers for him.  And again, I will be placing my boy in the hands of his Father…remembering that our Father will provide all that he needs to grow into a man after God’s own heart.

And this week, as I have so often forgotten to do, I’m going to pray for each of my children to love the Lord their God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength.  I’m going to pray that God will love and bless my children through me.  And that He will give me discernment to know how to encourage each of them.

And maybe that He will let me know when to step back, get on my knees, and let Him handle it…well, that’s probably all the time, isn’t it? 🙂

 

Do You Welcome Inconvenience?….me neither.

cheer photo

Sometimes being a single mom is so inconvenient.

The other night – a school night – when I should have been rocking little ones to sleep, we were just finding our seats at the varsity basketball game where my oldest daughter was cheering.

I love watching my daughter cheer…she rocks at it!  But it’s just no fun having to drag everyone out in order to do it.  It’s exhausting and I can’t help but think about how late the night is going to be and how early and fussy the morning is going to be.

On that particularly day we only had a bit of time after school before I had a piano lesson so I fed everyone a super early dinner.  I knew after the lesson we would have to bust a move to get my daughter to the game an hour early.  Unfortunately for the rest of us that meant we were going to be at the game REALLY early…it’s hard enough to entertain my two little nuts during the game much less for an extra hour. 

Honestly, I’m so busy messing with them I miss most of my daughter’s cheering.  But I really just want her to know that I care and I’m always gonna be there for her…no matter how inconvenient!

I can’t tell you how envious I am sometimes of the other moms.  That night a bunch of moms were discussing the upcoming cheer competition trip they will all be going on as chaperones.  I so want to be able to do that… it’s just so difficult to ask friends to take my kids.  I don’t want to ask too often.   Actually those opportunities are not the things that bother me the most…it’s the little shopping trips that my daughter goes on with friends and their moms, the lunch dates, the dress shopping, the get-togethers I just can’t make because I don’t have a built-in babysitter. 

I feel like I’m missing so much.  I know that I’m not.  I know that we really do have a wonderful life.  I know that God provides so many opportunities for me and my daughter to bond.  I really am blessed that she and I have such a great relationship.  I know that is unique. 

This is yet another one of those situations that isn’t ideal – another situation that makes it pretty in my face that things aren’t the way they should be.  But is anything truly ideal?  We live in a fallen world.  When sin came in, ideal went out. 

I’ve been thinking lately about how God still has a great plan for my family.  It isn’t a future plan, it’s a now plan.  A now plan for today…for dealing with missed opportunities, late nights and difficult days.  A now plan for opportunities to connect with my children.  I have the precious opportunity to connect every night with my littlest daughter while I rock her and we sing songs together.   I have sweet moments with my 6 year old daughter while I brush and braid her hair —between the yowling!  She can get some serious knots!  My 11-year old son still loves our time reading together every day.  I do too.  My teenage daughter and I have wonderful spontaneous talks about everything and anything.   We also like to stay up late together watching taped episodes of our favorite shows. 

It sounds funny to say but there is a camaraderie my children and I share that is beautiful.  I think it’s having walked a difficult path together and finding that we really are doing okay.  I also think there are many things about our relationship that wouldn’t necessarily have been the case were I not a single mom – not all those things are great, but most are very good – the opportunity for late night talks and time with each child just to be and talk and read and rock and sing.  I know that being a single mom also means there isn’t a good buffer between me and my children when I really need a break.  I know that my children don’t have a clear understanding of how a husband and wife team works – I wish they did because that is a lovely thing God designed for blessing and security for them.

I know that God loves us just as much as if we were a two-parent family.  He wasn’t surprised by our situation… He has a plan for us to be blessed in this place.  The blessings might appear a little different; the opportunities to bond might not come in big extravagant ways but rather the exquisite small daily ways.

Looking back at that game, I see that God really did bless me with little moments.  We were able to drop my cheerleader off and run and grab Slurpees – which is always hit.  I’m partial to coca-cola Slurpees.  It was also fun to have one to give my daughter at half-time.  My little girls enjoyed playing with the big kids – watching my children be happy is always a blessing.  My son and I were able to visit a bit and that is very cool.  I also had the opportunity to talk to a teacher and be encouraged about one of my children.  That was worth the price of admission!

I’m thinking maybe if I went into situations – no matter how inconvenient – with an expectation of what God might do to encourage and bless me, I’d find that He really does do it an awful lot!