Sunday, March 13, 2011

Flowers and some take-out

I've always loved flowers. For as long as I can remember, I've always appreciated the first blooms of spring bringing cheer and new life once again. As a kid I would keep my eyes open for the first yellow flowers that grew in the forest when there was still icy mound of snow in the shaded areas and around protruding boulders and such. My mom would tell you that I'd scream in delight when I found that first bloom.

So if you don't enjoy flowers, this post is probably not for you!

I took my camera out Friday afternoon and practiced shooting in manual mode while the kids played. Learning my camera has been a slow process, but also a long-time desire.

It's been wonderful having Jon home again after a super busy week at church. One more good night's sleep and he will be all here! Several times this week my thoughts went back to when he first became involved with the conference. He was working full time, shepherding a group of 300 students, writing his thesis, etc. and I was at home with a four month old and a toddler who was not quite two. Jon was away a lot during that stage of our life, and we were still a new little family trying to find our way. I was lonely. So lonely. There was no family around and most of my friends had moved away because their time at the seminary was over. We had also recently moved, we had one car (and therefore no car for me during the day and many evenings), and my days were long. I felt ill equipped to do it all on my own, especially parent a toddler for the first time.

I know I was often temped to be bitter, to fall into a pit of self-pity. I'm sure at times I succumbed. But overall, I knew I had to grow up and be a loving supporter, often taking on more than I felt I could. Yet I think this is what stretched me and caused me to grow. It was just the way God had established it for me, training me and preparing me for a future I could not understand at that time.

In hindsight, I am thankful for those difficult years. I'm thankful for the growth in my life. So many women I come across need encouragement in this area as well, and God has equipped me to do so with understanding and sincerity. Our loving God never takes us through difficult times without a reason-- that reason always being for His glory and our good. Through it all, I have come to be so thankful for and proud of a hardworking husband.

...And I just love that man and can't wait to hang out with him this week!

(Michael gave me these flowers and I later found that he had placed them in a sundae dish. A sweet idea...)

This past week was a little difficult and we definitely had long days. Parenting was tough. The battle was exhausting. My own failures were evident.

But I am determined to be faithful in my roll as a mom if it kills me! I want to be found faithful to the very end, and I pray that my labor will bare fruit. I pray that by His grace I will persevere regardless of the circumstances, regardless of my tendency to fail. HE is mightier and I am confident that HE will be faithful to His word.

At the same time I am mindful that when correction and reproof is a constant necessity, parents must be extra careful to make opportunity to bless, encourage, and demonstrate affectionate love to their children. That was my goal for Saturday.

I wanted it to be a fun day, removed from situations that don't bring out the best character traits for a while. I tried to say "yes" as much as possible, even if it meant more work for me. I put my projects aside again because my children are more important.

Michael had the idea of setting up a take-out window and I ran with it. This was my view from the dining table.

I took pictures from the inside because it is how I see them for much of the time. In years to come, I want to remember my days as they were.

Jon had come home at this point with left over t-shirts from the conference for our kids. The camo was enough for them to come up with new games to keep them entertained and playing together until dinner. They were good and tired out by bedtime.

"But as for me, my prayer is to You,
Oh Lord, at an acceptable time;
O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness,
Answer me with Your saving truth."
Ps. 69: 13

"My soul waits in silence for God only,
For my hope is in Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us."
Ps. 62: 5-8


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