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I love life! I love the multifaceted things about it and about God.  I love to enjoy each day to it's fullest. I love my boys and I love change!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I love having a teenager!

I was at the salon the other day and a nice guy was cutting my hair and we ended up talking about having teenagers.  He mentioned that he didn't know what that was like yet, but he wasn't looking forward to it.  I started talking about how much I was enjoying this new stage with my son becoming a teenager, and how I actually loved having a teenager.  He kept cutting, and had a quizzical look on his face as he said:
"I have never heard anyone say that before?"

So that's what brought on my blogging for today.

I think God must have put that into my DNA but I love to challenge the thinking of anything. Not in a negative way or trying to make someone wrong, I seriously just enjoy dissecting, mulling over, turning upside down, looking at every angle of every situation or statement made.  I am sure this annoys some people, and I am not trying to annoy you, but I seriously enjoy this process of finding out where someone is coming from, how they see the world, and how I see the world, leading  to always wondering God's perspective.  I have also learned to keep quiet in this process within myself, unless it seems helpful or encouraging.  So my intention in this blog is always to encourage a new thought process, not to say yours is wrong.

I love seeing all his diff styles he tries






As Daniel (my 13 1/2 yr old) has started to grow into the young man that he is becoming, I have seriously enjoyed the process of watching his maturity, his mistakes, his learning, his wisdom, and his new thought processes.  It is so enjoyable to see him try out this new life as he makes new friends, finds his niche, tries new things, and just experiments with life as he goes. I have felt such peace and reassurance as I know that my husband and I are in this together.  There are times that I know I am overreacting as a mom and I check in with Ruslan to make sure Daniel isn't being too daring, too harsh, too mean, too risky, too independent, isn't pushing the limits too much etc...Ruslan is there to reassure me that he is only a boy, and a teenager.  I love the trust we have built and are still building as we entrust Daniel with more and see his responsibility strengthen his foundation, and we entrust more to him.  A few keys that we have found extremely helpful in this process are the following:

Not getting upset when I want to experiment with more photos :)


Be transparent/honest

I have learned that I myself have to be completely honest and real with my feelings and and let Daniel know when I get my feelings hurt by him.  We have to admit when we hurt him and apologize for stepping on his toes, or making a decision without finding out his heart on it first.  Also we have had to make it VERY clear how important honesty is on his behalf.  If we can't trust his word then we can't trust him to be away from us, because we can't see what he's doing all the time.  He has learned to value this trust and keep that bridge strong, he wants privileges, and above all he truly wants us to be proud of him.  
It's not always easy to be honest about when I get my feelings hurt or when I need to be strong on an issue that I know he won't like,  but I see our relationship changing and maturing.  As he becomes a friend to us in some ways and we with him, he always knows we are still the Parents and he may not always agree with our decision but he too has to trust us and our heart for his best.  We have to tell him when his joking with us crosses the line, or when it's perfectly appropriate.  

 

Trust him/ equip him - know that he WILL make mistakes

 I was so excited when I asked the Lord a few years ago, "OK Lord what is my role as Mama, with Daniel now as he is shifting from training and discipline?"
I immediately heard the Holy Spirit say, "Equipping."
I was thrilled, my spirit got excited, I knew this would be a fun stage. I love to equip people, and part of that is beginning to trust them and entrust them with things to grow and learn in.  I don't have to be so involved in training and discipline so much but listening, coming alongside, offering suggestions, correcting critiquing (occasionally, but mostly encouraging), hearing how he processes, listening to his thoughts and ideas on how to handle situations, guiding him with his ideas, admitting that I don't have all the answers but have a lot of experience to share.  Enjoying who he becomes.  Knowing that Ruslan and I have a strong relationship and that in itself is a HUGE safe haven for Daniel to learn and grow from.

Be involved/be interested in what he's interested in his life
I love watching him in his new world.  We all remember the day he decided to go long boarding for the first time in our neighborhood about a year and a half ago, and suddenly he befriended half the neighborhood. :)
 He is learning how to be a peer, how to serve others and consider them as people, how to help his friends in their struggles with life, how to make wise decisions in the midst of pressure from friends to do things he knows aren't the right choice for him, how to stand up for his beliefs and morals.  Ruslan and I love asking Daniel how his time was with his friends and just listening to how their time is spent, the silly things they do, the not so wise things they sometimes try (and we make clear boundaries again), and we know he probably doesn't tell us every single thing but we trust his heart and he wants to do what is right and good, he wants God's best for his life when it all comes down to thinking that through.


Connect him to God/live that example

I know without a doubt God's got Daniel's back. I also know that Daniel without a doubt knows who God is.  We have taught about God our whole lives, but not only that he has seen God be a reality in our lives.  He has learned to hear God for himself and spend time with Him to make Him a priority.  I am not saying he does this all the time, but he knows that's what he wants, God has revealed Himself to Daniel and spoken personally to him about his life.  That is something only God can do and I am thankful that we could lead him in that direction to find God.  Daniel knows he can always come to us for questions about God and seeing our example of daily living in communication with the living Holy Spirit.  This bring so much peace to my life and heart as a Mama. 

I love seeing him interact with his lil sister, seeing him play piano


Listen

This in itself can be one of the MOST valuable tools of all next to God of course.  So many times I get myself in trouble with just spouting out my way of seeing things with what I think Daniel means
and then half way through I think about the fact that I didn't even ask any clarifying questions or where he was coming from, or if he has more information.  I have to be a safe place for him to process out loud, with out coming in like a sledge hammer with my ways of doing things or seeing things.  Especially because we are the complete opposite in relating to people.  I have no problem with verbal processing, boldness and openness and saying what I really feel (in love of course) he on the other hand is a peace maker and is very pensive about how he makes someone feel, he wants people to feel safe and loved and cared for (which is an incredible gift), I even learn from him now in some things, it's such a beautiful exchange and growth that happens as we too as parents are vulnerable and real, but still knowing our place as the final authority and having more wisdom in experience and years than this new teenager (even if at first he forgets this :)).



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Am I a good Mom?

Am I a good Mom?






 
I have been a "Mama" now for 13 1/2 years! Wow! Just writing that feels like an accomplishment in itself, I feel like patting myself on the back right now simply thinking of all those sleepless nights, all that nursing, changing diapers, dealing with tempers, potty training four times, dealing with owies, thankfully no broken bones,  loving my children through everything, my children loving me through all of my mistakes, the power of grace and forgiveness, cooking ALL those meals, doing all those never ending dishes! WOW! I am suddenly feeling better about my beginning question. And I still have years and years to go!
Wow Mom (Lynn), I still sit in awe and wonder at how you did this 10 times????


One thing that I have recognized is that this unnerving unrelenting question always comes back to poke at me, daring me to question myself.  Maybe I am not a good Mom, maybe I am failing? What if I thought I was doing OK but come to find out, I really am ruining my children and their future, and not teaching them enough about God, or how to be successful in this life?
I start to get that sinking feeling inside of pure failure, and total hopelessness... discouragement.  Then I start being really grumpy with my whole family as if I can't do good enough anyway, might as well prove that it's true, I have no idea how to be the perfect Mom, I don't know all the answers, I don't know how to "train them in the way they should go aggggg!!!!!!!!!"
Then I remember... and I head to my room to be alone withe Lord.
"Father, am I failing as a Mom am I doing anything right? Are my children going to grow up and forget who You are?  Will they be successful and live out their dreams, are they smart enough through homeschooling to be successful at real jobs and find careers that they will thrive in?"


"Daddy, what is the lie I am believing right now?"
"That it's all up to you."
I begin crying, then sobbing, releasing all the pressure back on the shoulders of the One who bore it all for me, for my children, for this whole entire world!
"Oh Father, how silly I can be, thinking I could have all the answers, all the perfect ways to raise up my children, I can't even think what to make for dinner sometimes, and you even help me with that.  Thank you that you have always been so faithful to me, and always there for us, thank you that I have my amazing husband and best friend, Ruslan who helps to remind me as well that I am not failing, that I am forgivable in my mistakes, that I will make more mistakes and it's still OK."

"My perfect love casts out ALL fear"
More sobs.
"Oh My God, My perfect, perfect God, thank YOU that your love is perfect and without conditions, that your love can bring perfect peace to even the biggest issues in life.  I release the fears and the lies that I am supposed to be perfect and have all the answers regarding my children.  Thank you for all the amazing people in my life who are willing to come alongside our family and love us and for our church who also helps train my children in the way they should go too.  That you are bringing mentors alongside my older son to train him in things I don't even have talent for.  I love your ways oh God, you've got my back don't you? I am no alone.  Thank you for my Mom who pioneered the way for me to also homeschool and feel that we can do that, thank you for my sister who home schools her daughter and has home schooled her boys through high school and gives me advice and wisdom...I am not alone.  Thank you for technology and people who are willing to put tutorials out there for those of us who are wanting to learn more in areas we aren't trained in yet or even gifted in."
I love that saying: "It takes a village to raise a child"
I LOVE that I AM NOT ALONE in this! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What if we've had it all backwards with our lives?

What if we are supposed to raise our children and be there for our children and THEN pursue our "career" after the children have grown? Or to intentionally find things to make a living that involve our children?

Joel and his Papa




 


Now I know this might sound ridiculous to some and especially for some who have waited til a lot later to have children, but what if there's truth in this?

my hot rugged man working from home

Love his availability for coffee dates!

I have thought a lot about the state that we are in right now as our family has grown and years have passed and Ruslan has off and on wondered why he isn't still successful in the standards of this society.  He doesn't have the career that he imagined he would at this age (37) the money or the house that he pictured as a matter of fact we are still renting.  Each time we approach the subject it seems that God is continually pointing to the faithfulness of my husband, the great success he has had in being there for our children, in becoming the most amazing father husband ever (in our lives)!  I only see great fruit from the fact that Ruslan never got tied up or caught up in being at work all the time or studying for his degree so long he missed out on the children.

Melt my heart moments of Papa and Daughter

 

I know this might be touchy for some, and I am NOT saying that those things are wrong, not at all.  I am just wondering WHEN those things are actually supposed to come into play in a person's life who wants to have children and a family, a husband, or a wife.  I have seen the fruit of our children's lives as they have had total access to their parents and availability and openness to talk and discuss life with them.  My heart has exploded with the joy and deep satisfaction of watching my husband be interested in my teenage sons life, asking him every time he returns from time with friends, "How'd it go? What are your friends up to lately (knowing their names) truly finding interest in what Daniel does and what he's into.  I have seen the security in our teenager knowing that he is loved always, and protected, held accountable taught about the consequences of his decisions, heard, and that he is known.  

Watching my 2 year old daughter be able to climb up on Daddy's lap being welcomed every time and applauded as she comes in saying "woot Papa, woot!"(Look! Look!) As he adoringly gasps with pleasure at her new outfit I just put on her.


As we are considering the prospect of Ruslan working outside the home asking the children what their thoughts are, each one asking:

 "Does that mean Papa would be gone everyday?" (Joel`6 yrs)

"It's OK we don't need him to work somewhere else, because we have enough money, I really like Papa being home everyday." (Ian 10 yrs)

"I really like being able to visit with Papa everyday whenever I want to." (Daniel 13 yrs)

 

I am starting to hear a very clear message here.

I think it's in the heart of every child to have access to their parents, not to have the big house the beautiful car, the fun "things" without the parents being available.

I realize we have to make a living to raise a family, but I think there's more to it than that.

Our children need us. They desperately need us.  I just don't want us to fall into the trap of the "norm of society" that we are to sacrifice our children for our career.

Love his hands with hers

 

I honestly wonder if we aren't supposed to sacrifice our career and success for our children, or find things that make us still available to them, until they have come out of their very tender, mold-able, easily influenced state. I don't even know how that would look fully. But it's something I have really been pondering. I have seen the beautiful fruit in the security and solidness of our children as both my husband and I have been SO extremely blessed to have been able to be stay at home parents for the last 8 years (myself all of their lives-amazingly enough).

All I know is that I remember after getting married and seeing that my husband had to go to work everyday from 8-5, as I stayed home alone waiting for our son to bloom and grow inside my belly, I thought: 

"This is not what I signed up for! God I don't want to just be hone alone and not have my husband except for a few hours in the evening and weekends? I want more than this. I know it might sound ridiculous and impossible God, but I want my husband home, and I want him to be available to our children as they come into our lives."

I see that God heard my cry and He's willing to work with anyone who cries out for more, He makes a way where there seems to be NO WAY. Wow Lord God you are so faithful, thank you!

 

Don't be afraid to ask for the impossible, He wants to show you that with Him all things are possible, how awesome is that! Don't be afraid to think outside the "norm" of life and the cycles or ruts we've gotten caught up into, we may not even recognize that we are stuck in some things. Don't be afraid to ask for more than you have.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

"Yeah, I would have done that differently..."

I recently have thought about how far I've come in my understanding of relationships and being real with who I am.  As a child growing up, the underlying tone of my father and most the adults in religious settings was "just obey and don't ask questions." Show good behavior, just do the right thing.  I don't know if it was just religious settings but that's where I felt it the most, personally.  Being a pretty "good girl" all my life, I knew the exact things to do and not say to keep peace with all people.

 It hadn't occurred to me that I was sacrificing who I really was, to please others.  It sorta snuck up on me.  I was watching a show in about 2004 called "Starting Over" and the life coach was trying to tell this woman that she wasn't genuine.  The girl was very insulted and was trying to prove that she was "doing" everything that the coach was requiring and didn't understand why she was saying that about being genuine.  The coach tried to describe it further, and finally she said, "You know those thoughts or opinions you have that you keep inside when someone is speaking, or acting, and you keep to yourself? That is what you genuinely feel and you need to be letting those out."

What??? Wow!  I think I am not fully genuine.  I thought as I watched.  From that moment on I gave permission to the Holy Spirit to help me find out who I really was.  I started asking Him to help me stretch in speaking out some of those things I actually think.

I remember a good example of how I used to be.  A friend of ours was sort of rhetorically saying, "I just can't seem to get the hard water stains off of the glass of my show doors."
As I listened to everything that she had tried, and hadn't been successful with, I thought, "That's weird that she doesn't know about vinegar." But didn't even think for a moment to speak out my suggestion.
Instead felt proud that I had already figured that out, and looked down on her for not knowing that yet.

I am embarrassed to even admit this as I write it, but, that's where I was.



I know that the biggest part of my growing up believing I should just obey and respect others, silenced me because I didn't want to ever be wrong, or out of line.  Fear of man became more of a power in me than who I really was.  I didn't know I could ask questions, or offer my opinion or advice, and it only furthered the gap between myself and relationship with others. I could never understand why people never got very close to me.  I had friends, but they never seemed to go as deeply as I would have liked.  Or I looked down on them because they didn't seem to want to be real, as I was so easily doing (strange deception).

All that to say, thank God He didn't leave me that way.  He called me out of my cocoon and showed me it was a safer place than I thought to be real and open and honest with others.  I have learned to ask questions, to not assume so many things. To learn from others.  To not have to have all the answers on my own.  To get more information, and come to a more realistic conclusion, including the person on my overall picture of who they were.  It has been so freeing and exhilarating to not always think the worst or take so personally things that are most often misunderstandings, to give someone the benefit of the doubt. 

I am enjoying, getting to be who I really am.  It's so much less stressful, and when I do make a mistake it feels so much more feasible to fix my mistakes instead of running, or wanting to blame someone else.  I get to be a grown up and own up to my imperfections. It feels wonderful.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

You are NOT alone in this world


I painted many pictures in 2006-2008 and this one was representing the tears of Father God over the aborted babies through out the years.  My heart is to put these in a children's book someday speaking to children of their call in life, their inheritance, and living in the fulness of God's glory on this earth...

 

Anyway I haven't finished all the paintings, but I  rotate displaying them on our easel in the kitchen and a few days ago as I was looking at this one, I felt the Lord really highlighting the womb.

I feel that in this year we are going to see a lot of "babies" born, and I am not only speaking in the natural.  I have already been experiencing the Lord answering prayers and the breaking into of promises.  Also that He is taking a lot of us deeper into complete healing and wholeness. Not just outward, not just spiritual, but ALL AROUND wholeness.  It's strange how we can go so long partially living.   Either I have been too spiritual, not even considering the physical, then too physical thinking or hoping that something in reality could fulfill my spiritual longing.  But those donuts just don't quite cut it, when it come to the in-satiating hunger of my spirit, longing for the depths of God's love.  I am also SUPER excited to see the Holy Spirit literally leading people back to times in the WOMB where lies were believed and false identities were shoved upon them.  His powerful truth penetrates the lies and new bridges of truth are replaced into the brain, even new molds are formed to take in the new found truths.  I love my God He is so incredible!!  I also believe it's a time of being real, allowing others in IN THE MIDST of hard times, struggles, temptations, addictions, deceptions, not waiting until these things are overcome on our own, but welcoming in the troops (family, friends, church family) to stand with us, and sometimes for us. WE ARE NOT ALONE.


I literally was taken back, in a time of ministry, to a clear picture of myself in the womb.  I was that tiny little fetus and I felt rejected. I could feel the symptoms in my spirit, and for some reason I thought I wasn't welcomed. It turns out in reality at that time my Mother, who completely loved me and was joyful to be carrying her 4th child, DID NOT want to be in labor that day, she even fought the labor as it's intensity gripped her body.  She ended up hemorrhaging afterwards because of not wanting it to be happening, and not working WITH her body, but against it.  The Lord revealed to her what had happened and she repented for not partnering with His timing and agreeing with what her body was telling her.  So I as this little newborn came out FIGHTING! I literally could feel the the emotions as the Lord showed me that time (because I couldn't remember it on my own as newborn) and I felt that I needed to PROVE I was worth being present, and I was coming "whether you like it or not." So I broke agreement with the lie that I always need to fight for my place, for my voice, for my worth...and then for the exciting part I asked Father God what He thought of me in the womb.  I immediately saw me in the womb but separate from teh body, just round and surrounded floating inside, and the Lord was so delighted in me he was showing me off,  and this is the funny part he was spinning me around on His fingertip like a basketball, so excited for my arrival!!  That day I got set free from rejection, it was AMAZING!

I really love this song, I can hear the Lord's heart in it. (disclaimer, I don't know a ton about any of his work or if he's a clean DJ, but this song is beautiful and from the heart)

"I Am your shadow" 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHEe9AtVGLM

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