Cookie? Banana? Cookie? Banana? Anyone else struggle with that late night snack decision? You know, when it is 10:30 and time to brush teeth and go to sleep and you all the sudden feel those hunger pains and think, "Should I eat the left over cookie? Or should I eat a banana... " The cookie wins every time! One of the main reasons I don't make cookies very often. ;)
We have been crazy busy this summer just keeping up with the day-to-day and checking off our summer bucket list. Although I could drum up some homeschooling fun list, or share our healthy, go-to Stewart Snacks, (which I probably will at some point) my heart is just aching to be real and transparent with you guys. Apparently, that is not highly recommended in the blogging world if you want to "build your blog" — but I struggle every day, every single day with what I should do to please the people, what I should do according to the blogging experts, what is "safe" and what God actually has put on my heart.
As the saying goes,
"The heart wants what the heart wants. There is no logic."
Which feels like the story of my life. I WANT THE COOKIE! How many people turn down that chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven?! I want to bring you posts everyone can enjoy, but more than that, I want to share what God puts on my heart.
I have never been a rule breaker in my life. However, if I am given a set of instructions whether it is on how to play a game or how to put together a bike, it makes me want to crawl out of my skin. Recipes! Ugh, following recipes does the same thing to my brain and in that moment I am so thankful that God placed this stubborn girl in a family without rules while growing up because I would be a completely different person if it were the other way around.
30 has brought out a ton of reflection, and when I think about one of my biggest struggles in my adult life this far, it is the need for control. Ew. That has been a hard thing to admit and speak out loud.
You see, this has been an annoying hindrance in every aspect of my life. Marriage, kids, homeschooling, putting together events or kids birthday parties, you name it. However, my relationship with Christ has been one of breaking those chains and barriers that are holding me back from what He wants to do in and through me, one of which is through this blog and He has made that crystal clear. Even though Christ called me to do this, I still wanted to have the control. I still wanted to follow the rules that the blogger experts tell me I should follow. Make lists, make pin-able posts and on and on (you can read them for yourself, there is a ton of advice on Pinterest if you are interested). I (big emphasis) want to keep it safe and likable for everyone.
But I don't want the control anymore. I want Christ to fill my heart in EVERY part of my life. I need the Holy Spirit to pour out so heavily on me so that I can pour out grace, love, peace, patience (Lord, more of this every day please) kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control into my marriage, into my kids and into our homeschool and community. Something I continue to learn is, being in control does not create a controlled environment.
One day, Jude and I were doing our lesson and we typically start out with a story from the bible that is provided in our curriculum. I did not grow up knowing bible stories and as I have tried to read them as an adult, I would get confused and only make it through half the story. So to say I am not fluent in Old Testament is an understatement. Reading the stories and talking about them this past year of schooling taught me SO much more than I could have imagined. I will never stop being amazed at the ways the Lord can change and grow someone. Anyway, we were given the story of Moses and the burning bush found in Exodus. Here is a Brecap:
God appears to Moses in a BURNING bush and tells Moses he wants him to go to the King of Egypt and rescue the slaves and just walk away with them into the land God has prepared for them. To which Moses replies, "Who am I to go to the King and lead your people out of Egypt? And what if everyone refuses to listen to my message and no one really believes you sent me?" God proceeds to tell him that He will be with him and gives him tools of miracles at his finger tips. He tells him (and shows him) that he will turn his walking stick into a snake and back. He has Moses stick his hand inside his shirt and turns his hand white as snow and then normal again. He tells him to get water from the Nile river and it will be turned to blood. Even after all of that, Moses not so nonchalantly says, "I have never been a good speaker..." I mean, he is pulling out every excuse possible and you can see how uncomfortable this made him and how much he really did not want to do what God was asking him. God reminds Moses that He alone is the one who restores eye sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf and that He alone will give Moses the words to say. And Moses still tries to get out of it and begs for God to send someone else. God could have struck him dead on the spot, and at this point he was stinking irritated (if this were one of my children I guarantee I would not have had this much patience or grace) but he showed mercy to Moses and told him he would send his brother Aaron with him since he was a good speaker.
You guys, my heart was SO heavy — I could relate so much to Moses. Here I had been telling God no for almost a year when it was very clear what he wanted me to do. I came to him with every excuse under the sun. It became really uncomfortable, but He wanted me uncomfortable and challenged to step out into obedience.
Every step of obedience toward where Christ has called me is another step toward being free and more joyful to be the wife, mom and friend I am supposed to be. When I listen to Christ's still small voice, and speak his promises into my life, I feel renewed and refreshed as God's word comes alive in my heart. I feel like I can tackle a new day of necessary demanding requests from my small kids and the juggling act it takes to manage homeschooling, chores, appointments and activities. When I am renewed on a daily basis guess who gets to reap those benefits? My husband, my kids, my family and friends. Maybe even you.
When I am obedient, and step out into uncomfortable situations, I can model what that looks like to my kids.
So while I pretty much broke all the blogging "rules" and revealed the ugly sides of me without a 5 step plan on how you can get great results in your every day adventures with kids and homeschooling, (which I believe is a very personal journey that looks different for everyone) I hope that you take away one thing.
"Seek first His Kingdom and all these things will be given to you". (Luke 12:31)
If you want to experience joy, love, peace, faithfulness, growth and so much more, run to the only one who can pour those very things into your soul so that you can have an overflow to the ones who are dependent on seeing those attributes lived out. This is what makes our homes a happy little mess. We can lay it all out to the only one who can truly wash our "mess" and make it clean. The only one who can turn our mundane chores, to-do lists and constant needs of our precious children into joy. This is my heart.
If you want to know how to survive and enjoy being a stay at home mom:
Give control back to the only one who truly has it in the first place.
The other day my husband Josh had said something about how I truly just seem happier in the last month. To be completely honest, the sun helps A LOT, but I know that as terrified as I was to throw out this blog for anyone to read, I did it out of obedience to the Lord's calling. The moment you step out in faith and let go of some of that control, the peace and joy that fills you is undeniable.
**Friends, as I finish editing this post, the news has been on in the background of the horrific shooting that took place in Orlando and it makes my heart hurt. Orlando is so dear to us and to hear and see all the details of the shooting makes my heart ache for all who were involved or have a loved one who was involved in this tragedy. Please join me in prayer as we pray for Orlando to come together in love and peace during this time.**