Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Mommy Lie- Part Two

Now that you know about the Mommy Lie how do you walk in your calling while raising wee ones and help them step out in their calling? One thing is really taking hold of the truth that you are not going to miss out on what God is doing. I used to hear Pastor Dave (our senior pastor at CCC) give testimonies of how the Lord moving in our region. It was exhilarating to hear the testimonies. I heard people talk about praying and seeing miracles in grocery stores or while walking out in their neighborhoods. Even with the excitement came the condemnation, shame and guilt. I can tell you with 3 under the age of 3 I didn't feel much like praying in stores and the only thing I was focused on while taking walks in my neighborhood was my children not hitting each other or chasing them down the street. I remember once in Walmart with all three boys stuffed in my cart crying I just prayed asking the Lord to send someone to pray for me. Forget praying for someone else at that point.

I felt like I was missing it all and the kids were the cause of it but guess what?! I wasn't. Maybe I wasn't praying for the masses but I was praying for my kids. I was seeing my guys pray for one another. I was hearing them tell me stories about angels visiting them at night. Those my dear ladies are priceless moments!

We started early with the boys teaching them to hear God's voice. Not because I am all that and a bag of chips when it comes to holiness but because of the season of healing the Lord had me in. I knew the boys needed to hear His voice and receive healing also. Unknown to me though it was a perfect way to start them walking in their calling. We talked a lot about God's voice and what it sounds like. We prayed for one another in our house. One minute they were telling me about God's love and then very next minute they were Batman, Superman & Green Lantern defending the universe from some alien planets invassion. You know the Father told me that was OK. We began reading the Bible to them every night. Not dry and bland but dramatic and with flare. They could re-enact what we were reading or I would dramatize it for them. Use your imagination, be creative. Make God real and alive to your kids.

The other thing we did was start incorporating the boys into ministry with us. I know this began when they were a little older but we just didn't want it to be mom and dad go here and you guys go over there. We started ministering as a family in our Children's Ministry. We taught preschool and our kids helped. Even as preschoolers they helped us teach and pray. I know this sounds like a Children's Ministry plug but start ministering where your kiddos are at. You don't have to be there forever but move up through ministry opportunities with your kids.

Take your kids with you. Whenever I was asked to help at church or any where I brought the boys and gave them simple jobs to do to help me. Boys especially like to work and feel needed. Ask the Lord to show you ways in which you can incorporate your children into what you and your family love to do with the Lord. Remember though...don't put a huge expectation on them. They may only do it for 5-10 minutes and then want to play. That's OK. Flow with their attention span.

Also don't be afraid of their age. At 5 our son Rocker heard about a missions trip he wanted to go on. My husband and I thought it was impossible and a bit crazy but not God. At 5 years old Rocker and I went to a closed nation (meaning they do not openly accept Christians) and delivered God's Word. 5 years old!!!! God gave him the desire and the supernatural strength and patience to do it at age 5. He has never been the same. Age has no meaning to the Holy Spirit. Just remember to except their age and when they are done let them be done and roll with it. Working on the Prayer Team at church we have come to understand if we only pray with one person and the kids are done then we are done. I have seen the Lord time and time again move us up to another level with Him as a family. No one is left behind. Just think about it. As you move into more and more of your calling and gifting so do your kids to the point where everyone in your family is being fulfilled in Christ. You just got to love it.

I can't tell you how much I have felt fulfilled and free by grasping on to this truth. I have found peace as a mom. I am not living through my kids but neither am I excluding them from my life. We walk as one. I love the US Army's logo Army of One. I can say with all honesty that as you take hold of the truth that your children are a gift and were given at the perfect time and that you are not missing out on anything then you will begin to walk in such peace and fulfillment. You will see ministry opportunities not only open up for yourself but for you as a family and your children. My sons are 10, 9 & 7 now. These years have flown by. I know in the thick of it, it doesn't feel like these year will be over any time soon but time is fleeting and before you know it you will have ample time to have "your own ministry". Cherish your kids and the ministry you share as a family now. Let go of the Mommy Lie and grab hold of God's truth.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Mommy Lie- Part One

Matt. 25:21&23
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things."
How many times have I heard this verse used in reference to mommy-hood. Oh my goodness, too many to count. It seems like one of those all-purpose verses we like to stick on every circumstance that comes our way. You know how you have an all-purpose cleaner you can supposedly use to clean everything with but in reality the window cleaner cleans the windows the best and the oven cleaner cleans the oven the best. That's how I have come to feel about his verse. We don't know the real meaning behind the verse so we stick it on everything. It works. Try it. You can say it too your kids when they are struggling with school, you can say it to your spouse regarding work and you can say it to yourself as you raise your children. Even though it has been used in such a manner I don't believe the Holy Spirit really wants it to be so flippantly quoted.

I have heard it said so many times to moms struggling in the early years of child rearing. "If you are faithful in the little things now the Lord will give you so much more." It is being referenced to children. I don't know if it is society, western culture or and the Body at large that gives this impression to moms but it is there. The Mommy Lie consists of us believing our children are our "little" ministry endeavor now and latter the Lord will bless us with a greater ministry. That's just not true.

I used to believe this lie. I had so many people tell me, "Livin, one day you are going to have a powerful ministry. The Lord is going to work mightily through you to reach others. Be patient now as you raise your children your ministry will come." I honestly became bitter towards my children and the Lord for giving them to me. They are interrupting my plans and my ministry opportunities. Now granted I loved my kids but think about it, every time a conference came I couldn't go because of my little kids. Every time their was a ministry opportunity I couldn't do it because of my little kids. Bitterness began to creep into me even with my undying love for my children.

The Lord took many years to knock some sense into me but I finally heard the truth about the Mommy Lie. My kids are the "greater" things not the little. I do believe this verse in Matthew does speak about the Lord giving us small portions of our destinies, giftings and ministries so that we may build on to each level but this has nothing to do with children. I looked this verse forwards and backwards and upside down. This verse does not have anything to do with raising kids.

Your children are your greatest ministry. Think of it this way, what if you had a powerful ministry like Joyce Myers but your children never encountered the Lord? What if you could see miracles and signs and wonders but your children never stepped into their destinies? Would your ministry be fulfilling? My heart and the heart of my husband is to see that each and every person in our family walks in the fullness their destiny. I have found that when I stopped seeing my children as a hindrance to my ministry or calling I found rest. I wasn't rushing through life and I wasn't holding on to bitterness either. Wether you have children or not your calling will make room for you, you don't have to make room for your calling.

I have also found that we now move as a unit. I love and have loved watching my children step into their calling at very young ages. They honestly have taught me more than any preacher or conference could ever have about God.

So next time you hear "Well if you are just faithful in this right now you will be given much" in regards to your kids just tell them "No thank you." Or if you are like me "Just shut-up will you."

Since I wrote a lot today I will share with you tomorrow how to walk in your calling with young ones while training them up to walk in their callings...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Prayer Center Pillows

I felt a little like Maria on The Sound of Music except my curtains
were being turned into pillow covers instead of childrens clothes.
Any way I had a fun time taking the curtains they are hanging
in our new/updated prayer center at church and making pillow
covers for them. I found myself singing praise songs the entire
time I was cutting and sewing. They turned out soooo good.

Here they are. If you get a chance to get up to the Prayer Center you
should see it, it is amazing. This was my humble contribution and creations.
I had to laugh at the way the Lord works. The Prayer Center is decorated and designed
to represent the Lords throne room with a beautiful mural of the 4 Living Creatures.
They took these gorgeous gold curtains and hung them across the one wall with all
the windows to enclose the room. They asked if I could make pillow
covers to match. When I went to find thread to match the curtain material
I found a perfect gold. As I looked
at the spool I noticed it was titled "Throne Room Gold". God loves details.
Anyhoo, they were fun to make.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Survived Cook Forest State Park

I don't like to title posts about camping like this because I absolutely love camping but this had to be stated. Thursday morning our clan headed out to Western Pa to go camping at Cook Forest State Park. It is known for it's 300+ year old trees that were mercifully preserved by Anthony Cook a logger who set aside many acres of his best trees for conservation in the late 1800's. It is a National Natural Landmark. Some of the trees are over a 100 feet tall and one is even a record 16 feet in diameter. We were all very excited to go to this park. It all started out so great but then went terribly bad.

Day one was fine. We arrived late afternoon, set up quickly and hung around the campground. The sites were pretty tight for State Park standards but all was quiet. We had a good evening.

Day two was rainy. We hiked early in the morning and saw some amazing landscapes, deer, a lynx and beautiful native birds. We walked to the oldest part of the forest called the Cathedral and were simply amazed at it's beauty. Then we headed back after the rain began to steadily pour down. Back at the camp ground we were amazed to find it fully packed. We kept a good attitude even with some very rude obnoxious neighbors. One group just happen to be a Church group out on a Youth retreat. We also had a huge camper pull in across from us. It was odd because we were in a non-electric zone. Well wouldn't you know they pulled out this honkin' generator. It ran all day long until about 1am in the morning.

Any way, on Friday it never got above 65 degrees. The rain was cold and the air was freezing. After dinner everyone went to bed except me. I threw up the entire night. We are still at a lose to why I got so violently sick. At one point we deliberated about taking me to the hospital when I could not stop shaking uncontrollably. I just kept hanging in there and praying my boots off. My Knight sat with me in the rain, in the cold while I threw up by a tree until 4 in the morning. Finally I crawled into our tent and fell asleep for 2 hours. The funny thing was a raccoon scurried by me while I was getting sick in the middle of the night and stopped and looked at me. I must have been delirious because all I could to was laugh.

Day three was miserable but we kept going and trying to keep a positive attitude. It rained some more and never got above 65 again. I just sat under our dinning tent and read a book while the boys played in the rain and made bows and arrows out of fallen tree limbs my Knight had found. They did such a great job letting me rest. I just kept popping Pepto and praying I would not throw up any more. It was a long day.

Day four finally showed us some sun. It still was chilly only barely breaking 70 degrees or so. I grinned and bared it another morning. After a light breakfast I had enough strength to go on a hike near the river. We had to walk a little slower but it was nice to get away from vomit ground zero. There the boys played in the river and my Knight fished while I reclined on a rock. It was good until some copperheads decided they wanted my rock more.

Day five we woke up early broke down camp and headed home. In spite of all of that the boys said they had a great time and when I wasn't getting sick or run off by poisonous snakes I did enjoy it too. So here are some photos of our time at Cook Forest. I can honestly say I survived!!!!

DK on the river.

Green Arrow & Robin Hood

Don't eat these!

Rocker wanted us to kiss & take our picture!
Rocker looking for minnows & crayfish.

Fire Tower #9 that everyone climbed except me.
Too many stairs for this tired mama.

My wilderness men.

Deep in the Forest Cathedral.

The boys building on the river.

Shaggy playing on the river.

Just a wildflower I found. I love nature!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Up On The Roof Top

No, not old Saint Nick but us!! A couple of days ago
we climbed up to our roof with a telescope and looked
at the stars. It's a boy thing. Adventure, discovery,
thrills & snacks of course. Here are some shots
before it got dark.

DK wasn't happy about the idea but eventually warmed up
to it. We weren't that high. It's just a two story house.

Shaggy & Rocker were happy as clams.

Here they are awaiting the night to fall. We got the
strangest looks from our neighbors. I wonder why?

As you can see it was a mix of clouds & sky. The boys
were marveling at the moon already high in the sky.

Here my Knight is not spying on neighbor but setting the telescope up.
You have to pick a target and focus before the stars come out.
The boys loved it and want to do it again. Try it sometime. Be bold,
be daring, climb your roof tops and look at the stars.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We Had Company This Past Weekend

Meet George. He showed up this weekend in our neighbors yard
and they sent him over to ours since we had boys. They thought
the kids would get a kick out of him and they were right.

He looks almost like he's smiling. I think he likes us. We sure
fed him enough fruit.

Our other distinguished guest was our dear friends son
Winston Churchill. He is just the greatest friend for our
boys. They played with George and then went back to
playing hours of Axis & Allies. Great game if you are into
World domination. I was Mother Russia. I got my booty kicked
by Winston who was Germany. Next time though Mother Russia
won't be so merciful!!!

Both George and Winston went home Monday afternoon. Winston went
back to his beautiful family and we are not sure where George headed
off too. I think he probably had a wife and kids some where and headed
back home. The boys were trying desperately to let us keep him
but my Knight won. It was a great weekend!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Still More on THe Butterfly's

Our Butterfly story starts over here but we had some interesting things happen along this process that both my Knight and I feel are relevant to the Body of Christ at large. Originally we were not sure if all the caterpillars would make it through the metamorphosis process. One caterpillar really struggled with the cocoon process and it formed into a odd looking chrysalis. At first we thought it might have died but my Knight kept waiting and hoping.

Here is where our story continues...all the butterfly's emerged right after we broke out fast except one. Not until Sunday afternoon did we see some sign of life as the cocoon started to wiggle. Finally after a long battle out popped a butterfly, but something was wrong. The butterfly was deformed. We waited all day to see if the wings would unfurl but unfortunately one did not. We finally let the other butterfly's go as you can see here...

They were healthy and flitting around the container very happily. It was time to allow them to fully fly. Unlike the deformed one these guys took right to the sky, fulfilling their destiny as a butterfly. It was cool to watch them go.

I was able to capture one quickly with the camera as it landed near by before taking off again.

Unfortunately this guy is still in our home. It will live it's life cycle out in the butterfly cage as we give it sugar water to survive. You can see in the picture above that its one wing never formed properly. We have no idea why but we really felt the Lord was speaking to us and showing us something very vital to the Body of Christ at this time. My Knight had a word from the Lord earlier and then we both received the rest of it Sunday evening. This is what the Father spoke...

"Like these butterfly's each of my people will go through a process of transformation. It isn't a question of will you but when will you. Like these butterfly's it is necessary to your destiny and calling. You can do one of two things, either except the process and allow it to transform you into something beautiful or fight the process and risk damaging your spirit or even worse cause spiritual death. If a butterfly fights the process or tries to emerge to soon then it will be crippled or may even die. I want to release each and every one of My people to fly into all I have called you to but you must submit to My process.

Do not become bitter with Me or those around you during this process. Do not resist My process. Do not try to manipulate My process or get through it too quickly. Each of these things will bring destruction to your life spiritually. If someone fights My process too much and becomes spiritually deformed and unable to fly I still love them and take care of them but like the little butterfly I will keep it safe in My hands where it will never be released into it's full potential. My Bride is becoming the spotless bride I have called her to be but she must go through the process of transformation. Only then will she be ready for My Son's return. I want you to fly My child, My love."

As hard as things have been around here I see God's fingerprints all over my life and my family's life. The process is hard but not to torment us but to bring us to even greater freedom. I don't like the process but I see the sky before me and I want to fly. I keep looking at our little wounded butterfly and I feel so sad that it will never take off as the others did. We will take car of it until it is done it's life cycle but I so want it to be free and fly. I see the Fathers heart now. No matter how hard the process is I want us all to fly!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer Berries

Home grown from our backyard. Got to love'm!