I am so excited to announce that I am now a mommy of five!!!
Shaylee Carmen Brodrecht was born on October 19th at 9:55pm. At a wonderful 9lbs. It was such an incredible experience only being 2hrs long. I was in shock at how fast she came. Adam and I we were still in the fun high fiving giggling stage when she came, not expecting that at all. But, she decided it was time. It was so cool, I was still aware and enjoying every moment when she came. I now look back amazed at how perfect of a memory it now is. Shaylee is 18 days old now and time seems to still be flying by.
Today I decided to go through the baby clothes that I haven't sorted out yet from all the other girls and my heart was being tugged on. So many little sleepers and outfits. I remember putting them on all of the other girls, just looking at the tiny little pieces filled me with so many emotions. My babies are becoming big girls. Sigh. I am now starting understand what so many mothers have said time and time again about looking back and be amazed at how fast time went by. I was remembering Leanna's incredible baby giggle and furrowed brow. I remembered kissing Cadence's lovely chin. Rayne's first bath and her distinct "ehh" and Kassia's constant smiles. The list goes on and on with all the wonderful memories and stories that I want to remember for a lifetime.
Being a mom is so full of emotions. I pray that the time I have with my girls is a direct reflection of the perfect experience of the birth of our last little pudding in pink. I pray that we are aware and enjoying every moment. That when the girls are all grown up we will look back amazed, still being in a high fiving, giggling stage. Right now it seems like a romantic notion that that will be the case. But so far God has answered my prayers with each experience that I am purposeful to leave in Gods hands. I choose to see every "labour pain" as a step closer to seeing the beautiful birth of five young ladies who have a strong character, deep convictions and life long passions.
I love being a mom.
What are some of your memories? Prayers for your kids?
Last night was Twenty20 for Adam and I. (Young adults at our church Koinonia Christian Fellowship) Our Pastor and his wife spoke a message called "Growing Pains" that was a raw testimonial with incredible insights. (In a couple days it should be up on the website www.kcf.org/resources/messages check it out.) Since last night I have been continuing to run the parts of the message through my head to the point where I just feel like I need to write it out in order to really let it sink in. So thank you Paul and Susan for being willing to be real. True leadership isn't showing everyone how on top of life and perfect your response's are.. but being a testimony of how God can work through us when our desire is to serve him and others in the best (sometimes not so graceful) way that we can.
You know it's hard to say where to start... So I guess I just... will.... this is what hit me...
Know what you are about. What is your purpose? What do you stand for in life?
It's a humbling moment when you listen to two people who are incredibly passionate talk to a group with such a conviction of what God has called them to be, (NOT DO) but be. What a awe inspiring force to see God work in their lives because they have taken the time to rawly work it out.
Now to state a few of the cliche's just as a precursor... life is a journey and we are all at different stages and different areas of growth in our life and I acknowledge that. But unless we choose to push through the awkwardness and work things out in our mind and in our lives...we will never grow more than our comfortability will allow. So here is my uncomfortability... because I strive to grow and learn more about myself and my reason for God placing me here in this place and time.
So I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I would like to say that I am a passionate person... that I have strong convictions and a strong belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit... that I am a faithful friend... and a good mom. To be honest though... those are the easy things to spurt out with out much conviction. Which brings up the point again..... who am I really? What has God called me to be?
Know what you are about. What is your purpose? What do you stand for in life?
I am a wife. I am committed and passionate to support and love on my husband. I desire to show him that I am beside him consistently, not just when it is easy. I am willing to respect and to follow his leading because I know his heart and desire is to follow God and to love on me and our family. I am committed to bring up awkward conversations and confrontations in order to get better at this thing called marriage. I am PASSIONATE to be an a example of a marriage that works and that is exciting and wonderful and not perfect. :) But in the not perfect it can be incredible also. Hmmmm.... as I am writing... I am realizing that I am totally stirred up about marriage. I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT MARRIAGE and doing it right. (and the learning of how to do it right!!!!)
I am a mom. I am committed and passionate to raise up my girls in the season that God has given me, to see them become incredibly purposeful adults who's lives radiate with love for others in whatever way God has gifted them. I want to see them bold and confident. I desire for God's love to shine through them making them beautiful on the outside and also beautiful to the core. I desire for their lives to be an incredible testimony. I am passionate about raising them to be launched from our home out to be truly great women in the world, in their homes and in their career......As I am writing this.. I am feeling... very young... unseasoned, new. (which.. is probably because all my girls are still under the age of 6) So my convictions come out of the need to continue to learn desperately and grow in how to become a mom who is able to raise my girls in a way that has an incredible outcome. I choose to be vulnerable in order to become better at parenting.
...as I am working things out in my mind I am realizing that I am PASSIONATE about transitions... which is why I think love serving in Twenty20. I love being able to help those just exiting high school... and into either college or university, career or marriage. I love the fact that during transitions times can be moments of raw humility that can bring incredible insight and change to become amazing people. I love being able to be a part of that anyway that I can.
.... WOW... there is still so much I can continue on about... and I am going to... but I am still a mom... at home... and my moment of reflection is coming to an end and we are heading into lunch time... LOL.
.... I encourage anyone who is reading to ask yourself those three points and to truly take the time to reflect and come to a conclusion. (which I am still doing... obviously.. can't wait to spend some time with Adam to chat about this stuff too.) We all want to make a difference in this world. But without the clarity of knowing who you are and what you stand for... it's hard to reach our full potential. We can choose to try to figure it out on our own or we can go to God and ask him to stir our lives to find out what our passions are. God has a greater plan for our lives than we can even create in ourselves.
As a mom I have so many moments where I sit back and just listen to the wonder that God has blessed me with. My children. And in that moment I am amazed at how many things God can show me about real life and his heart for HIS children.
Today I am listening to my girls play in the back room. Their little voices masked in all sorts of different characters makes me giggle and enjoy them even more. They are such happy little girls. I love that the greatest challenges that they need to face right now is deciding how to treat each other with kindness, to share and to include each other in what they are doing.
Being their mom, I try to take the opportunities that I can to teach them in moments of either silly or deliberate choice or unfortunately sad or heartbreaking situation, to make the best decision to handle each problem. No matter what has happened my heart is to be there for them and help them get through it, whether or not it was created by their own demise. The challenge for me as a mom is to allow those moments where they have made a bad decision effect them in a negative way(which creates a positive outcome) in order to learn from the experience and not just remove them from it. I want them to become radiant women who learn with grace through all circumstances.
I love that God does that for us all the time. That he doesn't just merly remove us from circumstances but gives us the grace and ability to go through it in order to learn and become a better person. To become someone who shines with a "joy" even though things seem to be difficult.
As I am reflecting through the years of moments where God has allowed me to go through something, I am realizing how different each out come is depending on where my heart has been positioned to react out of. In a bad decision I have chosen to harden my heart and unfortunately I have found myself in that same lesson again and again until I have humbled myself and allowed God to challenge my motives and actions. I am also reminded of hard experience where I have chosen to be negative and had a unbelievably hard time getting through it. Then another heartbreaking time when I just relaxed and allowed the Holy Spirit to move in my life and it end up being one of the most beautiful experiences of God's love and grace on my life that I have ever had up to this point.
Life truly is unpredictable. And we all make silly decisions at times. I am reminded in this moment of looking at a practical example, how important it is to be prepared to react in humility, grace and joy in all situations. Just like I am trying teaching my children to do. The more I read about how to be a good parent the more I realize that the #1 thing to do is to set the example by my actions. Show them how to live and how to react by how I live and react.
So it has been quite a while since I have written last. It just goes to show that life can spin around and become quite the circus act sometimes. I love being involved, active and a part of things, so I would never say that I don't like being busy. But one thing that I am beginning to learn more and more is how much when you get into the swing of life you forget to cherish the moments and seemingly unordinary daily wonders. I am now 34 weeks pregnant. Around 6 more to go. I can't believe where the time has gone. My oldest Leanna has just lost her first tooth. Cadence continues to amaze me with her dramatic creativity in all aspects of life. Rayne.. wow.. sparkles with innocence and is going into JK this year... can you believe it. And Kassia... who is the baby of the family for the time being is showing signs of heading toward being three... potty trained (almost) and full of fun and fantastic stories to tell the whole family, expression, voices and all. Now taking into consideration that my veins are pumping hormones through my body at the speed of light it feels like. I am finding myself overwhelmed in needing to slow down and take each moment for the treasure that it is. Every smile from the girls, every giggle and every call of their little voices for mom, should trigger a instinctive reaction from the depths of my heart to connect with them, when the opportunity arises. That is my desire. I want to be there, present and available to cherish my girls and show them how to cherish each other. Where does the patience and calm come from to literally slow down my body and MIND, and trigger the connection with my girls and to stop and take time to enjoy the last portion of this pregnancy? Peace! Even just the word calms my spirit and feeds my soul and seems to put me in the proper mind space. God wants to lavish his over flowing peace on all of us, so that no matter what is on our schedule or circumstances that we are going through, we are able to be thankful and enjoy those things that matter most to us. My prayer now is for a peace. A peace of mind, spirit and body in order to enjoy every moment being a mom.
I am really enjoying life. I am tired. A little overwhelmed with tasks at hand. I am working hard but struggling at times to be a good mom and a good wife. I am desiring to get more into the word and learn more from what God has placed in my hands as a tool. All that and I am truly enjoying life. Why? Because I am enjoying the journey. I love that I am learning and growing and seeing myself get better and also fail with the purpose of falling forward and learning from those mistakes.
The purpose of saying all that is not to ooze my joy... but to encourage myself to keep on pressing on (as P.Paul would say) I love that my life isn't perfect. That I make mistakes, that I have people in my life to challenge me and push me to be a better person. I am learning to be teachable, to be humble and open to hearing correction and criticism. Man I hate it... but it's weird because in the midst of hearing what I don't want to hear I am at peace knowing it's for the better. That through those awkward conversations I am given the opportunity to become a better person, a better friend a better mom and a better wife.
I love that God is surrounding me with people who are different then me. Who have different points of view, personalities, giftings. I love that they are smarter than me and are able to give me tools to do life better. I love that the people God is surrounding me with are exampling how to be open and humble and exampling how to do something with challenging confrontation. I love that the people in my life care enough about me to confront me on things and inquire before taking offence. (Thanks Ryan for that line)I love that God has given me a place in other peoples lives to be able to be an encouragement. So that I can be given the opportunity to sew into others and not just be a receiver.
I am thankful. I am thankful to be able to have the ability to persevere through trial and also stay focused and aligned with Gods will when things are good. I am thankful to be able to be given the opportunity to choose a positive attitude when things are hard. Also to be given the opportunity to choose to be humble and to lay down my pride when things are going well.
I am sitting here giggling to myself because of the fact that writing this is now making me accountable to staying in line with my own word. Which makes me wonder what God has in store.. Good and challenging. :)
Well praise the Lord I am learning. And will continue to grow and mature as long as I keep my guard down enough to allow it to happen. And that is my prayer for me.
This morning I had the pleasure of having a Jehovah Witness at my door. By pleasure I mean that he was a lovely older gentle man who is doing what he believes is the right thing to do. Although his speech was obviously practiced and a well seasoned sermonette. He did get me to think about something. Deception and mass manipulation. He talked about a few different examples of "christian" groups that supported mass destruction of the human race in the name of God. He called them uninformed. I called them deceived.
As a child I was raised christian and was taught christian ways of living. I feel blessed to have been raised in such a way that made it fairly easy for me to come to a personal decision to choose to believe in Jesus Christ and to follow God's ways taught in the bible. Now looking back I think it was the freedom to choose that is what made me go through my journey of starting a personal relationship with God.
With four going on five kids I am going through the motions of how to teach them to have the freedom to choose God, without manipulation. God made us in the beginning to have the ability to live in freedom. The freedom to choose how we are going to live life. Without freedom, we would never have the ability to choose God... we would only be walking zombies with weirdo smiles on our faces. (that might have been a little extreme but you know what I mean) I want my kids to know that they ultimately have the freedom to do what they come to believe is right. Everything in my flesh wants to fight that and say... NO believe what I believe that's that. My job as a parent is not to unleash fury on my children and to say OBEY or else you get it. It is to raise them in an atmosphere that encourages discipleship. A place to learn to find out the whys behind the what's. To build up a internal gauge that guides them on their own to do the right thing. So why is it that everything in me wants to fight to have the dictatorship over my kids?
Fear! Fear that the "world" will get them, that they will make bad decisions, that they won't listen to me when I want them to. In 1John 4:18 it says that "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment." What does that mean? I LOVE my kids. God LOVES us. If that is true then our love should be as far away from fear as possible.
When do we know that God is not in something? Or a part of a movement or religion? FEAR. If it takes scaring the pants off of us in order for us to listen. God is not part of it. So how do we know when God is a part of something? It moves us to action, to compassion to renual of relationships, connection, to love on others. My desire is to have my children not to fear me but to have such an overflowing love from me that they when in desperate situations or bad decisions, are moved to action, to connect with me because I am a safe place to go to. (Now just for a small precursor that doesn't mean to teach my kids that there are no consequence's to poor decisions, but to teach them life truths. Don't clean your room = loss of a privilege, which of course in adulthood it equals, don't do your work = loss of a job.)
If I really believe what I am living out is truth. Then I don't need to fear for my children. If I teach them how to learn to steward their own freedom. Also to teach them what I know out of my own personal conviction WITH the understanding behind it. They will come to believe what is the truth, without me needing to shove fear and manipulation at them.
Wow... all that from a Jehovah's witness. God bless them. I pray that their eyes will be opened to the love that drives out all fear.
Well it's lunch time.
I pray you all have a fantastic day. I am challenging myself today to live out the discipleship of my children instead of the fear based parenting.
So I am so excited and pumped to get back into the swing of things and continue to implement what I have been learning in the last couple years about parenting. Some stuff has been lived and learned, some has been information from other parents, but allot of refining I have gotten has been a few really awesome parenting books. My sister-in-law about 4years ago started passing on some material and I just loved it. It started a spiral of reading about parenting. I am not usually a big reader. Or at least I thought, but something that hits my core... well I can't help but chewing on it and working it out in my life. I love how much God has revealed to me through these books. I have read a few but there have been three that have really impacted my life and have been continually sifting me and keeping my head in check.
Not the first book that I have read but I think one of my favorites is definitely"Loving Our Kids On Purpose. Making a heart to heart connection." by Danny Silk. It's written in such a personal life learned way, that is very easy to read and(I felt) instantly applicable to your life. To try to condense it, there are a few different themes or concept that Danny touches on, or that I got directly out of the book. The first is that we as parents have the responsibility to show our kids the direct example of God's love. That we are no longer showing our children the punishment of "sins" but the discipline or better the discipleship of learning how to steward the freedom that God has given us. We are to allow our children to have the freedom to learn lessons in the safety of our leadership when it is not life threatening and before any decisions that have detrimental effects on their future. Just as God's greatest desire is to stay connected to our heart and for us to choose to stay connected to His heart, we want to as parents example the consistent connection with them that builds in the kids the desire to then want to stay connected with us. Without guilt, condemnation or lack of grace for lessons that they WILL need to learn and go through in order to become fantastically functioning Godly adults. This totally doesn't quite give the book justice but you get the idea.
One of the first more traditional workbooks that I read and went through was "Entrusted With A Child's Heart" By Besty Corning. Now it's been a while since I pulled this one out but I just love this book because of the fact it was VERYBiblically based. I should say this work book, helps you go through so many concepts that on a daily basis naturally you wouldn't think to far into. Some of the topics that the book dives deep into are: Laying a biblical foundation of faith, Establishing authority, Creating order in your home, Building strong character in your kids, Encouraging good relationships, Dealing with manipulation and rebellion and Fostering spiritual disciplines. Allot to digest but sooo awesome to start you down the path of purposeful parenting.
Finally one of the most solid teaching books I have read is "Grace Based Parenting" by Dr. Tim Kimmel. Tim teaches you also that we need to mirror the heart of God for our children. He focuses on the big picture of "grace based parenting", a need to focus on their inner needs, creating an atmosphere of grace, building character into their hearts and aiming them at true greatness. He talks about how every person is functioning off of three driving inner needs 1. A secure love, 2. a significant purpose and 3. a strong hope. He shows us how to parent in a way makes it natural for our children to be filled in those areas in a Godly healthy way, through our example. This one was not the easiest read I found but definitely worth it to really get the why's and the how's behind our well intentioned parenting.
Well I hope that this has helped someone out there. :) There is so much excellentresources that we have at our fingertips.
If anyone has anymore books that they have really enjoyed or heard of please pass them on. I am on the look out to continue to learn more.
PS. here are the sites the three books that I was talking about.
I am sure, I am not the only one that when I comes to being in a conversation where I feel like I am being challenged that it can be one of the hardest thing to just relax into and allow God to work. Well last night was one of those nights for me. I was at a girls craft night. (If you don't go to one or have a weekly time to get together with other women, I encourage you to do so... awesome!) Five of us ladies got into quite a few different conversations about parenting.
I am in such a raw place in parenting right now where pretty much a good portion of the day I think to myself... "man I feel like a crappy mom." Now I know that I have been in a short season of the joys of first trimester (x2 due to the miscarriage in Dec.) and that the cloud of exhaustion will lift at some point. But I still feel... again RAW.
It seems that in times of weakness when you feel a lack of confidence in an area where you are usually confident, God sends you another reminder that it takes more than just functioning on your own will and understanding of how to do things. I know God is not a cruel God.. goes against His very nature. But sometimes it's like... really now.. when I feel like everything is in chaos? WHY? Well here's my personal reminder. Life rarely works well on pushing through things with your head buried in the sand. Barreling through with either a stubborn determination or ommitance of personal choice in a circumstance or stage. So yes I guess it sometimes takes the place of humility for God to get your attention.
HUMILITY... yup that is where I am at.
Back to the challenging conversation. I don't think it was necessarily specific details or opinions on a topic. It was more of a reminder of how much I HATE the idea of coasting... but here I am in the middle of coasting through such vital development stages of my kids. UGH!! I hate having to admit that! GROSS!
Here's what I know. I hate coasting. I am coasting. I need to do something about it. I am going to do something about it. I am going to go back again to the drawing board. Not at the same starting point but at a new point with more wisdom, more support and more tools to do life well. To parent well.
Not that I ever feel like I will have "arrived" at any point, I sit here thankful. Thankful that I see God working in my life and through others speaking into my life. I know I am a good mom and I am truly working hard at being a better mom. I am also sooo thankful to be surrounded by good moms who are working hard at being better moms.
Day by day, step by step. God will help me to do this thing called motherhood well.
I have a laundry room full of laundry. A sink full of dishes and a house that is completely trashed.
But in it all I have four girls that are happy.
The older three are playing house and the littlest one is trying my bra on for size. (It looks more like a football players shoulderpads. I'll have to explain later what it is for.) The sound of their little voices are truly a wonder. I love it. Although I wish I had the magic answer with how to have both. To have a perfectly clean house and happy contented children.
I have heard so many times from so many different seasoned moms. "You'll never remember the clean/dirty house, you'll only remember the treasured times with your kids." I totally 100% believe that is true. Then how do I keep my mind in check. I wan't to be a good steward of the home that God has given me and also the amazing childen that he has entrusted me with. Where is the balance?
As I am sitting here I am being challenged. Being a good steward of our time. There it is. I remember saying to another mom at a shower a while ago. That I think we all have more time then we give ourselves credit for having. Am I really that busy? When I look at my life is it really that full of stuff that I can't change or do anything about? It's all about choice and where we spend our time. hmmm.... and now... I am signing off. :) I have some kiddies to pay attention to and a house to steward.
I love the idea of getting out thoughts and expressing feelings and being real. I am not sure if this is something I will keep doing or whether it will just be for a time. But I know that I love reading about real peoples lives and the challenges that come from different stages of life and different experiences. I love being encouraged and challenged at the same time.... I also enjoy writing. So I am challenging myself to try something new. I told a friend of mine fairly resently when she started her own blog that I wasn't brave enough to do so myself. Now whether ready or not here I go. YAY!! FUN!!