When people meet my daughter they tend to say, "She is SO cute!" I respond, "Yes, she is. But she is also a sinner who needs the Lord because she wants her own way, all the time." "What? No way. I cant even imagine her that way. Look at her! She is so cute and soooo sweet."
At times I give examples, if I am feeling in the mood to entertain, because Ellie Ruth is #3 in my line of strong-willed, openly defiant children. Other times I just smile and nod.
And then recently, during one of her 'moments', I happened to have my camera out and clicking, so I decided to capture this shot for posterity. Look at her - even her hair is rebelling! And once again, as I have done with all of my children, I look at her in this state and think: Is this what we look like to the Lord when we don't get our way? Is this what I look like? Father, forgive me!
~ Call us mean parents, but we told our older boys last week that we will no longer buy them socks. Yes, socks. The reason is quite simple: they refuse to take care of them, so they must be replaced at a ridiculous pace, and we refuse to support their negligence any longer. They wear them outside - in the dirt, in the street, in the grass - so they are always stained and have holes in them. They leave them sitting on the floor rather than tossing them in the laundry, so Samson uses them as chew things and shreds them to bits. Seriously, guys? Come on!
Last Saturday, every able body was put to work to get the garage finished. (we converted half to be used as a school/bonus/play room) Only 250 12" carpet squares to scrub clean - how easy is THAT!
I have discovered that with a larger home comes - more cleaning! (I know, I know, you are all thinking, "Um, DUH, Michelle!" I knew a larger house would require more work, but it was the reality of DOING the work that made it all sink in. I think sweeping the wall-to-wall wood floors takes the prize for "most maintenance required.' Of course, if we did not have a dirt pile in the back yard, six children, or a dog, we would probably get away with sweeping only once a day instead of two, three four ...
Dennis let me rant and then, after I calmed down a little he said, "Michelle. My AP seniors do not know the Constitution. Micah is 5. Give him some play-do, let him use scissors, read to him, and call it a day! You are going to be just fine." Wise words. Very wise. I, of course, being who I am, was still unsettled and unsure, but he was right! We are now in the middle of year eight and I cannot believe how relaxed I am about all things "school." God equips those He calls and He certainly filled me up with the skills needed for this task, because on my own I have little to offer. But with Him? I can do anything! (Well, except for animal dissection, trigonometry, and grammar rules. I am well aware of my educational limitations!)
A few lone parrots were hanging out on our telephone wire just talking the morning away. We all went out to investigate and marvel at these creatures we have only seen caged at the zoo. But for some reason, Ellie, and Samson, were especially taken by the green birds and sat down to watch them with great fascination.
I love this photo. Samson totally alert and watching the birds with intensity, and little Ellie sitting faithfully beside him, telling him "It's otay Sanson." She cold have left him to watch alone, but instead she hunkered down beside him and shared this wonder of God's creation - together.
It was a loooong three weeks without this gate! I could not let the kids or the dog go outside without supervision since any or all of them wold bolt at the slightest provocation. I know other mothers would find great joy in sitting outside watching their cherubs run about leaping and singing freely while they play. I am not that mother. I want ALL of us to be free!
The day the workers arrived to install the gate, had anyone been watching me, they would have found the largest smile on my face and quite possibly, heard a song of joy on my lips. This gate gave us freedom, and peace of mind, and we are so, so grateful!
~ Last night was my second time to host the young adult women for our monthly study together. The topic: biblical friendship. After almost seven months of the Lord drawing me away from all leadership and even relationships, I see now what He was preparing me for in the quiet. He was preparing me for THEM! Our time together is so rich and filled with a sincere, genuine desire for growth. The Lord has given me opportunity to meet with a few of them individually, and each one has been a tremendous blessing. When you can spend 2-3 hours with another sister in Christ and walk away feeling a little lighter, a little stronger, and a little more in love with the Lord? That, my friends, is what relationships are all about. A mutual desire to "encourage one another in the faith" and "spur one another on to love and good deeds."
These young women inspire me, make me laugh, and remind me how far the Lord has brought me since I was young. It is funny, because I look at them and see them as being SO far past where I was at their age, but really? They have just as much a desire to grow and mature so they are not the same person 10 years from now. As I sat with them last night, listening to them share, watching them interact, hug and laugh, and work through personal trials, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy as I realized that this is exactly where God wants me. He is at work in this group of women. It is an honor and a privilege to be allowed into their hearts, and something I do not take lightly. These lovely, thoughtful, young women ... all with their own struggles and burdens to bear ... The Lord is letting me walk through life with them, right now, for "such a time as this." How awesome is that? I can hardly wait to see what He has in store for us!