So Many Birthdays

From Christmas time until the 12th of February, we celebrate a handful of birthdays in our family. They always make me think long and hard about the years past, and the years before us. Each of the birthdays this go-round has seemed monumental. Between my hubby celebrating a big birthday, our oldest turning 18, the next two boys turning 11, little lady turning 4, and then my own birthday that heralds another year of my thirties, each of these birthdays have seemed big to me.

I remember meeting our oldest when he was just getting ready to turn 13. I always called him my instant teenager, as I only had a 4 and 5 year old at the time. We hit it off right away. Watching him grow and mature the last 6 years has been a real joy for me. He’s a smart young man and I know he has a bright future. I pray often that he would recognize God’s plan for his life and start living it.

It doesn’t seem possible that my oldest bio kid is 11 now. Time is cruel and I find myself wondering often where it went. How did 11 years of parenting pass me by so quickly? What happened to the bright eyed 5 year old boy that asked me a million questions every day? He is getting taller all the time and really starting to mature. I am thankful to be watching him grow and I know God has a plan for him.

I remember meeting my second stepson when he was just 6 years old. He came with his stepdad to pick the hubs and I up – the tow truck hubs was driving broke down out near where they live. Goodness, from the moment I saw him, I couldn’t believe how much he looked like his dad. I am thankful God put him in my life.

Little Lady turned 4 this year. Our first together baby is now as old as my youngest son was when hubby and I met each other. She is full of sass. She is assertive and she is quite the force to be reckoned with. I pray she never loses her fire, but I also pray that she learns how to rely fully on God.

My own birthday is a few days away. 31 years old. 472 months (as Mister A pointed out). I cannot believe it. I have to admit, I’ve been frustrated by the things I have yet to accomplish. One of my biggest personal goals was to have a book published BEFORE my 30th birthday. Here we are, another year past that deadline, with no book. I have an incredibly hard time forcing myself to make time to write. As a dear friend and I have discussed, it feels so…indulgent.

Well, I’m indulging this morning. Starting with this blog post, I’m giving myself permission to indulge every day. In fact, I’m going to require it of myself. If I haven’t anything worth sharing to say, then I’ll just dump a jumble of words on a new page and let my brain work through some of it’s kinks and hang ups. I have books to write people, stories that are begging to be told, advice that I must give. I cannot sit on these ideas any longer and let them fade away without seeing the paper they were meant for.

I am ready to see what comes of making this commitment to myself and to my writing. I hope you’ll read along as I blog about my progress, my hang ups, and more.

Do you need to renew a commitment to yourself or something your passionate about? Tell me about it in the comments!

My Word

In fact, it’s been 2017 for 16 days, and I’m just now writing about it. I didn’t want to set another writing resolution just to let it slip between my fingers and fade away on the list of failures. I set one resolution and I’m plugging along and planning for how to make it last for a year. Enough about that.

At church, we are encouraged to pick one word to focus on through the year. Just one word, to develop and strengthen our relationship with Christ and our character. I couldn’t decide on a word. Every word that came to mind, I was picking for someone else and for something I’d like to see someone else develop. (Yes, I know…I need to worry about my own plank and not my brother’s splinter.)

I finally got out of the way and God gave me steadfast.

I didn’t think I heard right, at first. Then a series of confirmations said, yes, steadfast is the right word. Steadfast, to remain steady, faithful.

God knew though. He knew I’d be asked to give up things that I worked my tail off for and cherished deeply. He knew I’d have to let go of something I’d always wanted. He knew the first part of the new year would come with challenges where I prayed for smooth sailing. He gave me a vision of a warrior in battle armor, standing on a hill, unwavering in the face of the enemy. He reminded me of when David faced Goliath. This isn’t just passively staying somewhere because it’s my duty.

This is battle gear on, fighting for what God gave me, and remembering that the people God gives us are worth fighting for, no matter what obstacles we face, no matter how deeply we’ve been hurt. Sometimes we have to bind up the wound while it’s still painful and go back to war.

I wish I understood why the enemy of God is strongly opposed to families and rips as them by whatever means necessary. Then again, I don’t truly wish to understand his evil schemes. I am God’s daughter. A daughter of the King of Kings. I’ve been called to a unique time and place in life and I have a role in this battle. I can’t lose heart now.

This is all so much easier to write than to live. I am working on a prayer plan (if you haven’t seen War Room, the movie, you must!) and as I write, I am deeply convicted and always reminded of how God is moving in my life. So, here is to 2017. A year that I desperately thought I needed to start and continue smoothly, that has already held heartache and goodbyes that I didn’t want to face. A year still full of promise. A year barely started. A year that I will go boldly forth as a daughter of the King, prepared to battle, steadfast.

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Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Husband and Son

 

Pictured here are my oldest son and my husband. See that hat my boy is wearing? I teared up when I saw him in a flat bill hat. I always saw myself raising country boys in wranglers, boots, and cowboys hats. I had a brief time when I lived away from town on a little piece of land, with a creek in my backyard. But that time came to an abrupt ending and our lives changed and we ended up in town, then in a bigger town, then in the city. We’ve been in the city for 4 years, and I know another 4 years will pass by before I can think too much of it. But that’s life for you, isn’t it? We don’t always get what we want or think we’ll have.

Momma would probably elbow me and wink, saying something like, “Ya shoulda married a cowboy.” I laugh at the thought but I only joke. I love the man I married, and aside from the city part, I do love our life.

What really weighed down my heart after I cried about the city boy hat was the realization that I’ve already had 10 of my 13-15 years of influence on this young man. A friend’s husband recently took their boy on an adventure with the purpose of ushering in his new season. He is a young man and it is time to change the focus of his lessons and help him develop strength of character so that he will be a bold man of God and will be equipped to lead his family one day.

I need to do the same for my young man. I need to help him really focus on God and who God wants him to be – because while his momma always envisioned him in wranglers and a cowboy hat, I think God’s vision is better for him. (And I’ll be honest, I don’t know that he was born to be a country boy.) I believe who he is in Christ is far more important that what career he picks, what house he picks, or what he spends his spare time doing.

A pastor once told me that statistically, our influence on our kids is significantly reduced between the ages of 13 & 15 years old. That in that range the influence of their peers, other leaders and teachers, media, and the culture they are part of takes over. If, by that age range, we have not established people, peers, and activities around them that point them toward Christ and help them seek His purpose and plan, it is likely they will flounder in their faith and in other areas.

I’m sure it’s not a hard & fast rule and there are exceptions, but I don’t want to hope for an exception. I want to surround my young man with the resources and people and peers that will help him build his foundation on Christ. I want him to serve God first and foremost, and build the other parts of his life in accordance with living for Christ.

As I am writing, I am also realizing that I need to be on my knees giving these goals of mine to God and really letting Him speak to my heart about how to lead this young man, how to teach him, how to guide him. God knows exactly how He knit this boy together, and He has the master plan for his life. So I commit, once again, this young man to God as I pray for his future and make intentional choices to help him grow into all God has for him.