Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fighting the Battle for my Family

Have you ever had one of those aha moments? I've been having those a lot lately and I think it is due to the fact that I am really trying to pursue and listen to God's plan not only for myself, but for my family. I don't always hear it clearly and there are many times I completely miss the boat, but at the depths of my heart I do desire to have a family that is centered on glorifying God and He honors that. Sunday after church we came home and my husband immediately went to sleep (he had pulled a night shift the night before). This left just Avery and me with the day to ourselves. I'm in my third trimester and stay exhausted. I ended up keeping the TV on all day. I've been feeling pretty bad about that since I know it is not optimum parenting, but just excused it with the side effects of being so pregnant. Everyone lets their three year old watch a days worth of Curious George sometimes, right? And then this morning it hit me. That is how the enemy is slowly making his way into my home right now. Not by blaring, takeover attempts, but subtle maneuvering. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with my toddler watching TV, but I'm seeing how many times I actually bow out of parenting due to my own excuses. And the same goes for my marriage. Here are just some of the excuses our family has used in the last month:

I'm too tired (this one of course from me)

I'll plan a date night for next week or the next at the latest.

We will start our family devotions tomorrow.

Our routine will be back to normal after this new baby comes.

Satan is so subtle, you don't even realize he is creeping into your family. Thank God for prayer and His word or else I could probably continue like this for another year without taking notice. My eyes are beginning to be opened to this insane war going on all around us and especially in our homes. If there is a breakdown of our home, then guess what is next to go? Our children and our outside ministry to those around us. Since I came from a broken home, you would think I would be extra vigilant, but I can take things for granted. I don't want to confuse comfortable complacency for abundant, thriving life. As the woman of the house, I am on the front lines in this war. My husband is the head, but I set the tone for all of our hearts. If I drop the ball, we are all going to fall. I have important responsibilities in my home that I cannot forget or look the other way on. Winning the war starts in my own house, at my own dinner table. My children are not going to go out there and change the world for Christ if it's not modeled for them. Those are pretty big marching orders, but good news is that I don't have to fight this battle alone. I know I couldn't even if I tried. In my own strength, I am not strong enough, but in God's strength "I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall." I have a victorious God who goes before me and is willing to give me everything I need to fight for my family.

Monday, January 26, 2015

When you struggle to lay those burdens down

Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

It can be incredibly hard for me to take that verse to heart and lay my burdens down. I didn't grow up sharing my emotions or getting a chance to be vulnerable with safe people. It was the opposite. I learned early to bottle it all in and keep performing until you basically crashed. I still struggle with that today. I try to do it all, run myself ragged and then meltdown. And pregnancy doesn't seem to be helping with this character weakness at all. I had grandiose visions of being able to maintain everything at a super human rate. I knew I would be the one who could get up early every day for her quiet time, work part time, be a great mother, spend time with my husband, cook, clean and keep my body in excellent shape. I'm thirty weeks in now and my body has lost all its tone, my house is a mess, my dog smells disgusting, and I can't recall the last date night I had. And none of those are big problems that won't eventually go away, I just have a hard time accepting where I'm at and allowing God to minister to me there. I fail to get up early for my quiet time and spend the rest of the day wallowing in guilt and shame. It is killing my flesh that I can't perform right now, but it's doing something wonderful for my heart. I'm seeing how self-protective I am even in my relationship with Christ. How much I base my value on my works instead of faith. And that one of my biggest strongholds is still believing those lies that God loves me less when I can't do everything perfectly.

These are some areas that I want to deal with so I can get to a place where I trust Christ with every part of myself. Not just the part that's performing. Where I can sit in comfortable silence basking in His presence or talk to Him like I would my best friend. I'm still learning what a relationship with God looks like on a day to day intimate basis, but I am loving the journey and am incredibly thankful that He has given me the privilege of being on it. I am also thankful that He has brought me to a place where I can admit that I don't have it all together in any area and that it's okay to be where I'm at. I know God isn't going to leave me there.

Friday, January 23, 2015

29 weeks

 
The color black has become my best friend. I am still loving popcorn, oranges, any fresh veggies and of course potato chips (because those never get old to me). I am not loving these varicose veins I have on the back of my legs. They are itchy and painful.
 
I have seriously got to get to work on this girl's nursery. I haven't started decorating at all. I got my first shipment of her stuff in this week and I was super excited.
 
 
 
I love the brand aden & anais. Those were my favorite blankets and I can't wait to try this swaddle blanket by them. 
 
 
Avery has been hilarious this week. It's amazing how much personality is coming out now. She has been having some diva meltdowns lately. My favorite things she told me this week were:
 
*The moon and Jesus would keep us safe
*That I could pet her stuffed pony because she bought it
 
We spent a ton of time outside because the weather was absolutely beautiful. When it started getting bad again, Jared decided to entertain her by playing soccer with her and Georgia inside our house. Surprisingly, nothing was broken. It's supposed to rain this weekend so we are planning on some movie nights!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Recycling our toddler's toys

After Christmas ended, Avery's room looked like a toy store had exploded in there. There were toys everywhere and she wasn't even playing with them. I think she was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff. I kept it out for the last couple weeks, but after watching her wander around trying to figure out what to play with this weekend I decided it was time to get back to our normal routine with toys.

Since Avery was old enough to play with toys, we have been doing what I like to call "recycling" her toys. We aren't into buying new toys every week so to keep her from getting bored, I normally keep about 50 percent of her toys up somewhere and switch them out every couple weeks. This delights her. And we are big fans of it too. It keeps her interested and narrows down her playing field so that items actually get played with. I also believe it has helped her keep a grateful heart instead of one that is consistently asking for more stuff. She has learned to play with less and really appreciates it when I buy her something new.

Now that she is three I let her get in there with me and pick out the toys she is really wanting to play with at the moment. Things like her kitchen and art supplies stay out all the time. The items like her princess castles and toy airplanes are the ones I switch out. We spent this last weekend organizing and deciding which toys were staying down and which ones were going up.

I use the storage bins from The Container Store to put most of her toys away.

Avery helped picked out the ones she wanted to play with for the week.

Her toy box looked much better after the purge. Now if we could only squeeze her many stuffed animals in there.
 
I love finding ways to save money and keep my toddler happy and entertained!

Surrender

Such a simple word to say and a hard thing to do. Over the past month or so, I've realized how much of my life I haven't surrendered to Christ. I've turned over the areas of my life that I consider easy and don't concern myself with too much, but the things that are near to my heart like my family, children, dreams, health...those I have clung to with closed fists. I think because of what I experienced growing up, I have always had a fear that everything will collapse around me the minute I loosen my grip. In my childhood home, the worst case scenarios were pretty much a guarantee to happen. Which is why I cling so tightly now to my life and the people in it. I'm living out my dream and the thought of handing it over to God and saying do whatever you want with my life scares the heck out of me.

Of course this is completely faulty thinking because Jesus says that whoever loses their life for His sake will find it (Matthew 10:39). If I want to truly live an abudnant, worry free life I have to lay everything down at the feet of Jesus. My husband, children, dreams, goals, finances, health...it all has to be handed over. And that is absolutely terrifying for a control freak like myself. It's like I have a memory problem where I forget that even in my worst case scenarios in my childhood home, God was still working for my good!!! And the same in the difficulties I've experienced in the last couple years- God has brought an incredible amount of good out of them too. So much so that I wouldn't even go back and change them if I could. When I'm not surrendered, I try to look into the future and I don't remember that God's grace will be there then. It doesn't run out, but I only have access to it on a day to day basis. That's why I have to focus on surrendering one day at a time instead of getting ahead of myself. And to me thats all my fear is- envisioning the future without God in it.

The amazing thing is when I am surrendered and lay it all down at the altar of God I am filled with a peace I have never known before. All my striving ceases and I am content with where God has me in the moment. As soon as I pick something back up, peace leaves and anxiety rules in my heart and mind. That's why this battle is one I know is worth the fight. If I am ever going to be effective for God's kingdom, I have to surrender all I am and all I have.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Finished Girl's Closet

We finally got Avery's big girl closet finished this weekend. It has been great for keeping her books, bows, and puzzles organized. I love the added look it gives her room.

 
 
 
I spent under 100 dollars on this project. Since I already had the bookshelf and extra can of paint, I only spent money on the closet rods and hamper. Such a fun project that makes Avery's room a bit more put together. Now all we need is some polka dots on the walls!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Week I had to Eat Carrot Cake

This week was full of rain and bad weather, but we found ways to entertain ourselves. I've been ordering stuff to finish up Avery's room so we keep having empty boxes and nothing is more fun than making a rocket ship out of a cardboard box.

 
Jared is about to blast her off in this picture. We have been trying really hard to eat clean, healthy food lately which means I've been trying to cook a lot at home. Avery loves to help out and wants to cook with me every night.
 
 
We had left over carrot cake from the holiday which I do not like. Jared was trying to get me to try a bite one night and in the middle of me telling him no, Avery informed me that the rule around our house was that we had to try something once. She was right of course so I found myself having to take a pretty big bite of carrot cake. Still not a fan.
 
Along with cooking more, we've been looking for healthier restaurant options too. Our city just got a Jason's Deli which we tried this week. I loved the salad bar. Everything was super fresh and there were lots of toppings to choose from.
 
 
Avery also tried chopsticks for the first time at our favorite local sushi restaurant, Takosushi. She refused to try to the sushi, but found them very helpful while eating her French fries.
 
 
Since we were stuck inside most afternoons, we had plenty of time to get creative.
 
 
Avery made us Lego cell phones.

 
And decorated the high chair we had out for a night of babysitting our niece.
 
 
She also decided she was a big sister with super powers. Who now apologizes for making me "fwustrated" as she calls it.
 
The weeks are flying by and pretty soon, her little sister will actually be there. Can't believe this week marked my 28th week. I feel good, but am having an awful time with my the veins in my legs. I didn't have that issue with Avery, so it's pretty new and uncomfortable to me. If that's the worst thing that happens to me for this entire pregnancy, I will take it!