Finding my Calling 

I am drowning in a sea of stuff. My life, if measured by possessions is one full of blessing and wealth. We have every thing we need plus everything another family could need. 

Over the Christmas break I have been having play dates with friends who live out of town and are home for the holidays. It has been a great opportunity to catch up and let our children reunite once again. One particular play date we had scheduled had me excited with great anticipation. This amazing friend of mine and her family have been living and working in a country really close to my heart. Her husband has been working in Haiti and the original plan was that she along with their 3 children (8,4,and 1) would join him and find ways to serve their community around them while home schooling their kids. Plans changed. Life went crazy and living in such an unstable country with unstable surroundings became too much for a family with such young children. Although her husband continues his work, my friend and her children had to find a safe haven just a short flight away. United together on the weekends her husband continues his work while she provides a better environment for her children to grow and thrive.

During my wonderful visit with my friend she poured her heart out to me all while being sensitive to the fact that we were having this conversation in my nice beautiful home, while my lawyer husband was at work and I complained about laundry, keeping my house clean, and the cost of private school. As she and her children drove away from our mutually wonderful play date my mind could not stop turning the same thoughts around and around in my head. I wanted to take all the presents I had got my kids and send them to Haiti. I wanted to invite all those children who have no home or family into mine. I wanted to sell our house and move to Haiti and buy a building where I would love and cuddle and teach and nourish those children who had no home. Then I promptly felt like a North American self righteous idiot. Who do I think I am? 

Do I really think I would be successful in my super hero pursuits to save the children of Haiti? So I sat down with a pen and paper and tried to figure out what I could do about this unrest in my heart. Feeling this way does not just come from no where. I have always said that if I had not met my husband at such a young age and fell head over heals in love then I would be living over seas teaching and caring for children. God had other plans. He knows me better so I put my trust in him and pursued the life of many blessings he put before me. All along the way I have been holding onto it lightly secretly hoping he would call me to drop it all and go. Go where, I have no idea. Ever since grade 11 when I went and worked in a small village in Guatemala building a school and running kids camps I knew this was not just a 2 week ordeal for me. I found a calling on my life that brought be great confidence in who I was in Christ as well as what my talents were. Working with children. Compassion, love, and empathy. These were all attributes of my personality that shone brightly as I worked along my team mates to serve the small village we were so blessed to visit. 

My husband and I sat down after great prompting and begging from me so we could discuss the calling that has always been on my heart. My husband is amazing for me for so many reason. The most important one is he is not driven by emotions. Which makes us a great match. Passion can be a great motivator for getting things done and having a clear head can make sure that you make smart decisions. So we put our two unique ways of dealing with decision making together and we forged out a plan. A lot of it needs to be prayed about and there is a great hope that we will live 70 more years but with that being said my heart is calming down. The passion is still there but it is not burning a hole through my heart. Clearly thinking and planning out our future with the calling God has on our lives is such a freeing feeling. Knowing that God is going to be our plan maker make me feel confident in my future. God has big plans for my family and when I once thought it was all about me doing Gods will, God has shown me that His plan is bigger and involves two little children and one beautiful man who is supposed to be by my side. With my teammates at my side and God as our guide I know now that I have an unstoppable team. 

Why I even try and control anything is still a wonder. I will just never learn.

-lioness

 

The Truth Behind all the Magic

Children make Christmas so much more enjoyable. My children’s reaction to the magic of christmas is contagious and at one point actually had me believing once again. As young parents, our oldest just turned 4, we are navigating our way through the christmas chaos and magic one step at a time.

We never actually decided how we would explain Santa to our children, before we had the chance, our son interrupted me making myself a cup of tea with the question I wanted to avoid for just a few more christmases. “Is Santa Real?” You see, my husband and I have always prided ourselves on not lying to our children and providing them with age appropriate answers to their one million questions a minute. This method sometimes just results in us declaring “Quiet time” or putting them to bed at 530pm. I am marvelled by how many questions two small human beings can come up with in just under a minute.

We have been trying to emphasize different attributes about christmas. We made cookies for our neighbors and hand made christmas cards to deliver to their door steps. My children have been earning money for choirs and I made them use their money to buy gifts for each other. We made christmas boxes to give to children who will not receive presents this year. we collected food to give to the food bank. and we sponsored a family who needed help financially this christmas. Our children were watching. Our children were having a hand in helping. We made sure to emphasize that we were doing it because God has given us so much that we need to use it to bless others. We often talk about that Christmas is about baby Jesus and the promise and gift He is to us. But of course Santa is more interesting to a 2 and 4 year old. Jesus wants us  to GIVE things where Santa gives US things. Our plan was to focus on Jesus and skim past Santa. But children talk. Children ask questions.

In a perfect world where our children would only talk when we wanted them to and not when I am exhausted or at inappropriate times such as shopping behind someone in the grocery checkout aisle who is a little over weight or has purple hair, heaven help me if it is both. Of course they do talk. They do ask questions loudly and I do my very best to ignore the facial expressions of disgust or disapproval from the many onlookers and answer my children with pure honesty and respect. My children will one day be grown and I do not want to have to re-explain everything to them because I made up pretend answers for them.  Now, back to Christmas.

Is Santa Real? I approached this subject carefully for two basic reasons.

  1. I do not want my children to ruin christmas for other children and families. (We have all seen Miracle on 34th street. )
  2. I want them to believe in Magic. I grew up actually thinking I could fly and I had a dream that I could on a weekly basis. I still do sometimes. Believing in the unknown and mystery of life can be an amazing tool for a child. It helps them be creative and push boundaries. I want that for my children.

So, how did I answer?

I put my tea down (I am use to drinking it cold anyways) and I sat down with my son and looked him in the eye. I told him that the story of Santa Claus was real. I said that the North pole is real and very cold. Then I waited. I waited for him to ask more about santa. He didn’t. Instead he gave me an opportunity to do something I have been waiting to do. He asked me if Jesus was real. This I knew how to answer. Instead of focusing on Santa claus I got to share with my son the amazing TRUE story of a Great King who came in the form of a small baby to save the whole world. The best super hero around. I told the story with great excitement and mystery. He hung on every word.

He jumped off my lap with great excitement and ran off to play with his toys and back to the same old pretend stories of cars smashing into other cars and having to be towed away by his favorite tow truck. I went back to my kitchen to get my ice tea and drank it with great satisfaction. I may have bought myself another year.

I probably could have handled it better if my husband and I had prepared better for this moment but we were caught off guard by the awesomeness that is Age 4. Last year he had no idea and didn’t care at all about santa. We actually went and got pictures with Santa because both kids were begging to and were so excited to talk to him. I have never watched as many christmas movies before in my life. My kids are so excited about Christmas. I should have seen this coming. Both my children have come to the conclusion that the santas they see in the parades, movies, and malls are all fake santas and that only the real santa comes on christmas eve. This came as a pleasant surprise to me as they were watching
“Buddy the Elf” and it is stated that they are all fake santas. My two year old now runs around yelling Fake Fake Fake at the mall. oh the joys. Pray for me when that little monkey turns 4.

For now the magic remains and the Truth has been stated. What better results could I have hoped for?

From my Family to yours, I Wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I pray you find the Truth behind all the Magic. I hope you find joy in the Real Story of the sweet little Christ Child who came to show us how to live and then save us from all our sin. Hold your family close and take long moments of cuddles.

-Lioness

 

A slap in the Face from Mary.

Today I started my day grumpy. You know when even before your eyes open you have a headache and find your family annoying. When I was finally convinced to open my eyes it was at my daughter’s request to wipe her brothers bum. As I groggily found my way to the bathroom to aid my son in what seems like my life calling, my husband calls out from our closet asking me where his socks are. Oh this is going to be a good day. I chase my daughter around tripping on laundry baskets, trying to convince her to let me put an elastic in her crazy hair and some clothes on her little naked body. I sit on our bed and try and take a moment to regroup and start my day over. As I am in the middle of convincing myself that it is all my own doing and my own attitude, my husband asks me if I have checked my email. Arg, I am trying to find some peace here! I grab my phone and find myself reading a super discouraging email that only brought me deeper into my funk. Only 10 minutes awake and I already want to go to bed.

This morning of events is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence around here as we go about our daily lives. Marriage, children and Family are huge blessings but also huge responsibility and have great impacts on our daily lives. There is so much Joy but Joy doesn’t wipe my sons bum or untangle my daughters hair. It certainly doesn’t do my laundry or make dinner.

I helped my husband get out the door to work in one piece and as my children sat eating their breakfast I found myself with some stolen alone time. I sat down at my table and opened my bible. It’s the First day of December and I have been looking forward to starting my Advent Devotional Series which will lead me through to Christmas day. The Verse for Today was Isaiah 9 :2-7

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

God used this verse in a different way this morning to speak directly to my situation. He reminded me that He had been planning on saving the World for a very long time. He had a plan from the very first time it all went wrong. He was going to send His son to earth to show us how to live and then sacrifice Him so we CAN LIVE with Him in eternity. He had a plan. It took hundreds of Years to fulfill but it was all fulfilled.

As I sat and wrote out my prayer request to the God who has all things already planned out, I thought about what God’s own Mother would have been praying about. What were her prayer requests as she prepared to raise and love and nurture and deliver the Son of God! oh how my list seemed so selfish and unnecessary. I know that God loves me. I know that God wants me to have the desires of my heart, but am I searching for the same thing? Am I searching to have the desires of God’s Heart for me?

The Theme of today’s verse was “Light”. Am I being a good Light? Does my prayer request list represent fully my mission here on earth? Or am I just consumed with making my life “perfect”. As I stared at my list and started to slowly cross things off that I knew God was already working on, I felt my view changing. I know he won’t leave me. I started to change the wording of things and as I changed the list I felt my heart slowly changing as well. By being God focused my list turned from a “Christmas wish list” to a powerful example of How God is going to Show up! A testimony. He will of course take care of my daily needs. He promises that in Matthew 6:28.  So why dont I move on and getting deeper with what God wants for my life.

I Picture Mary’s Prayer Requests to look something like this.

  1. Prepare my heart to raise the Son of God
  2. Help me to not worry about where I will deliver my baby.
  3. Help me to have answers to Your Son’s questions
  4. Help me to let go of my Son and surrender MY will and let Your will be done in my life and in His.
  5. Keep Him safe as He shares your love with the world.
  6. Prepare people to Hear Your Son’s Message of Hope and Love.
  7. Humble me to take no credit and direct it all to YOU.
  8. Place me in the shadows so Your will WILL be done.

My list did not look so selfless the first time around. Not even the second time around. But I am going to have a little Grace for myself as I find my way.

Just like I have learned that Loving my husband is a daily choice, So is loving God and following His plan for my life. I did not just make a one time decision it is a daily thing. It is something that I should be reminded of each time I need to make an important decision.  Sometimes an annoying email or a bad sleep will change my attitude but putting it into perspective should help bring it all back to where my heart is following the maker of the Universe.

I do not mean to belittle the emotions that come with taking care of my family and running a household as well as being a wife and a friend, a sister and a daughter. Those are all important and nothing that a good “Girl’s night Therapy” doesn’t help solve. But when my prayer list only consists of things that God has already promised to take care of, I am only sounding like a spoiled toddler who keeps asking for the same thing after their parents have already answered “Yes”.  Finding God’s Heart for my Life and recognizing that He has already planned a perfect plan for my life is something that I am trying to remember daily. Focusing on the Big Picture and giving my problems to Jesus but not dwelling on them is my new motto. Dwelling on the Truths and not the problems, letting the problems go. That is going to be tough for me. But I really believe that is what will benefit me in the End.

So my children are now crawling all over me and I need to end this post.

-lion

p.s don’t ever tell your 2 year old that you have a headache. Now she is going around whining that she has a headache. arrr… I will show you what a headache really is little princess!!  I already need to re-read this post.