Blinded by Grace

One mom, blinded by God's dazzling grace as she mothers, home schools, and tries to live by faith

Call me crazy… Young Living Oils

I have a confession to make.  My husband thinks I’m crazy.  Like, all the time.  He thinks I have crazy ideas.  Like making my own toothpaste.  Or that vitamins help people get better.  Now before you go thinking I’m super crunchy, I’m not! I wear deodorant- and it’s not even homemade (yet!)! I don’t have dreads and my family doesn’t eat only organic.  I dye my hair with regular ol’ box color, not henna.  I even use super junko make up.

But I was raised in a more naturally minded family.  My mom doesn’t really believe in medicine other than plain aspirin.  So, before I was a mom, I was a massage therapist.  And when I became a Christian, I rejected a lot of the ideas I had before.  I started to look at things from a Christian vs. new age perspective.  And a lot of the things I believed fell into a more new age category and got rejected.  Among these were essential oils.

And then I read the Trim Healthy Mama recipe for Singing Canary.  It calls for an optional 4-8 drops of therapeutic grade lemon oil.  Recently, a friend that I admire and who has an amazing inspiring walk with Jesus, started talking about essential oils in passing.  Then another mom I know, who was my midwife’s assistant, started talking about it and I know she is a believer as well.  So what was all the fuss about?

My friend recommended the blogs GranolaMom4God and Naturally His by Jodi McKenna.  Jodi does such a good job laying it all out, in my opinion.  Plants were made by God, of that I, personally, have no doubt.  God created the oils in the plants and these oils do certain things.  Ok, I was there, I was with it.  But here is what BLEW MY MIND: essential oils are in the Bible! Think Samuel anointing David as king.  I guess I’d always skipped that part or assumed it was olive oil or something… Who knows what I was thinking.  This was crazy! Where did I get this idea that essential oils were new age stuff?  Maybe because they had noticed the healing, the traditions of essential oils and embraced it.  Essential oils and their healing properties became so ingrained in my mind with that new age thing, I never even stopped to think about where the plants come from!  It’s time to redeem God’s creation from the idea that it belongs to “mother earth” and the new agers!

So my husband ordered me the Everyday Essentials distributor kit.  Pretty much because I like to have everything I possibly can and this was the cheapest way to go about that. 🙂  We’ve had it for less than a week but my children request certain ones and gather around when I get my kit out.  My husband is even becoming a believer.  Next post, I will tell you more about how my family is using our oils but for now, here is a handy dandy infographic, just for you, used with permission from Naturally His.  If you pray about it and decide to order something, I would appreciate if you used my distributor number as I get a little kickback… I think.  I dunno because I’m not using Young Living for the kickback but for my family’s health! Anyway, my number is 1522428.

Click on Image to download:

OilThing

 

Spicy, Loud and Exciting: My Family

I thought it might be nice to introduce my family to those of you who don’t know us personally.  First of all, you can read the basics on my About page. But, maybe you want to know more about us? Maybe not, but I’m going to pretend like that was a resounding yes! 🙂

We have 4 children: 3 boys and a girl.  We are a spicy family.  Seriously, read that blog post by Jen Hatmaker.  It describes my family perfectly.  We are loud and wild.  We sing, we dance, we yell and we have PERSONALITY.  We break things on accident.  Even my seven year old reads in crazy voices.  I get asked how I can live in all the wildness but it’s so exciting in my house.  And always more so when Daddy gets home.  I told my children today to smile for a group photo on a field trip.  We stood on the end just in case there were shenanigans.  There were.  If I were the yearbook editor, I would crop us out.

Don’t believe me? Take a look.  Before you do, I want to point out that these are our GOOD pictures, not the ones I thought about deleting.  What about the bad ones you ask? In those, they were all moving fast so they are just blurs. These were all taken in the past week.  And in all of them I told my children to smile nice.  Yes, bad grammar, but it is what I said.

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My husband and I met in high school.  At the time I worked in the local family owned video store.  Apparently, he had noticed me months before but I hadn’t noticed him, to be honest.  One night, I was putting away movies and this guy, tall and blonde, with the WORST haircut I’d ever seen- imagine a blonde Julius Caesar- asked me to help him find a movie for his mom.  What a line! Then he asked me out the next night.  Poor guy, worked up all this courage and I said no! But, in my defense, I had plans to go to a birthday party the next day.  He was so devastated, I quickly told him I would go out with him the following day.  He was not my type but so sweet and respectful, so amazingly funny, I totally fell for him!  Now, he is exactly my type and I thank God for him daily.  That’s not the end of the story but I’ll tell you the rest another day.

So that’s us, in all our spicy splendor! And if you think that’s crazy, I will try to get a video of Pumpernickel screeching in new kitten, little girl excitement.

Is your family spicy or sweet?

Giving Up Sorrow for Grace

839Yesterday was my husband’s ten year reunion for high school. We were small town high school sweethearts so I wanted to go but we could neither afford it nor did we have a desire to leave our children overnight. However, it was the perfect opportunity for the enemy to start whispering in my ear. I only wish I hadn’t listened, though I am so grateful for what the Lord showed me instead.  You see, I remember very well who I was in high school. Yesterday, probably better than normal with the little reminders that kept cropping up from seemingly nowhere. I was fun, vibrant, outgoing. I was in charge, knew what I wanted, how to get it, willing to work for it, determined to never be a doormat.

I was always doing something and had big dreams. I was very involved in school, yearbook, sports, even ASB at one point. I wanted to be a lawyer, go to a good college, live in NYC, travel around the world.If I go married and had children, which was a huge if since I didn’t want them, it would be MUCH later in my life. I pretty much imagined my life would be like a movie. I mean, what non-believing teenager doesn’t? I wasn’t raised in a Christian home and the values of family, home and submission were not instilled in me. I was, I am ashamed to say, openly promiscuous until I met my husband. And to me, it wasn’t a big deal at the time. I had even had an abortion when I was a teen, which I still regret to this day.

Nowadays, my idea of sparkling conversation involve diapers and what’s growing in my garden. I have four children and am a stay at home mother, training, teaching, cooking and cleaning my days away. What’s that compared to being a lawyer, helping others, living a big life, traveling? How can I deal with the common issues of bickering, floors that never stay clean, laundry that never stays tidy and folded, and food that always needs cooking when I was supposed to be so much more than this? What would all those other people think of me: submissive; the Jesus freak; not even having finished college; home schooling; still staying in our small town and buying a house there in which to raise a family? Was this really what I wanted to show people? Never mind the fact that a lot of them know what we are doing and who we are thanks to social media. For some reason, actually seeing them made a big difference.

My husband could see I was working up to a huge outburst so he took the children to the park. I decided to make dinner and clean the house before home school started today.

Yet another thing that separated me from who I used to be: home schooling. I loved school, was always the teacher’s pet and got great grades without even trying. Still feeling down and defeated, I put on my favorite worship CD and started to chop veggies for the supper I was making. Ironically, I was making stew because I sure was stewing about the life I had wanted. The life I had intended to have. The life I had given up for this one.

Suddenly, the peace of the Lord fell upon me in a powerful way. The Lord says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

I was right! I had given up the life I had wanted and intended for this one. And yes, it is filled with messes, bickering and irritations. But it is filled with joy, laughter, hugs, kisses and peace. I don’t want to be a lawyer, a law enforcer. I want to be a grace enforcer and I get to be that to my children everyday. I don’t want to miss a moment of my children’s learning and I don’t have to.

While diapers aren’t always a good topic of conversation, there is nothing wrong with finding joy in the fruit of the land that the Lord has brought us into. And that the land is in a small town where we grew up is all that much better. We can go to the exact place my husband and I met to show our children. We can continue our legacy where it started. Why would I want to live in the city surrounded by man’s creation and glory when I can live in this small town surrounded by God’s creation?Am I a freak for wearing skirts more often than most or purposely donning femininity as a reminder to be sweet and feminine and submit to my husband  or am I an obedient child of God doing my best to bring joy and peace into my home by following God’s calling on my life?Best of all, I get to give up my dreams in favor of the Lord’s dream for me. What a trade! I give up on something that would have undoubtedly brought me sorrow for something that invariably brings me joy. And I get to help three little men, a tiny lady, and my grown man to grow into the Lord’s dreams for them, which is the most rewarding and demanding job I could have ever dreamed about.

Truly, God’s Word is true in Jer 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

The above story was written by me and originally published in the April 2012 edition of Above Rubies Magazine. You can request your free subscription to this encouraging magazine at aboverubies.org 

A Letter to My Daughter

On the day you were born, my noble lily, the Lord changed everything.  You see, little girl, as wonderful and miraculous as you are, labor with you may have been the most challenging for me physically thus far.  You were posterior and, in my opinion, not at all ready to leave your cozy little nest to face the world, even though God said otherwise.

I started having contractions on Monday, the day before your due date, not intense but they never went away.  Then, on Thursday around noon, the contractions changed.  This was the real thing but far apart and long: 10 minutes apart and 2 minutes long.  Until the very end, that never changed.  It was hard waiting, wondering how long this labor would be since typical signs of progress were missing.  At one point I sat on the ball and leaned into Daddy’s lap to take a nap and cry because I felt discouraged and beaten down.  I wanted to hold you.  I missed your brothers.  It was their first night ever away from home and my heart was breaking. And then…

Well, then I saw the verse I had written in red marker on the mirror to encourage me during labor: Psalm 13:5, 6, “I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  When I wrote the verse, I was taken with how bountifully the Lord had- and continues to- dealt with me, offering mercy and grace; salvation beyond my understanding that makes my heart break and the tears run endlessly; that He has taken me- a sinner, filth in rags, unfit for anything good and holy- and cleansed me, sanctified me with the Blood of the Lamb and then made me the vessel He has chosen to bring you into this world- precious, beloved before birth. 

But, in that moment, I saw the part about singing, trusting, rejoicing.  Could I rejoice? In pain, in exhaustion, in fear, in confusion, in seemingly endless waves, could I rejoice, trust, sing? How could I not when He hung on a tree for me and faced the weight of my sins? So I sang, silently, in the depths of my soul with more conviction than ever before: “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art, how great Thou art!”  And He changed everything.

You see, God had already made me a promise that He would break the gates of bronze and the bars of iron to give me the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of the secret place.  He would do this in order to show that He is the Lord and there is no other (Is. 45:3, 5).  He was just waiting for me to sing praise to Him, to trust Him and to rejoice in Him.  And that, my darling girl, is the point of the curse: to teach us in the dark wilderness of pain and doubt to trust, to rejoice and to sing.

Within thirty minutes, you were born.  Because after 28 hours of self-reliance, I remembered Who controls everything and then I gave all my burdens to Him.  And then, I was reminded of how bountifully He has dealt with me, because, my joy and my crown, you were in here, in my arms, screaming louder than any newborn I’ve ever heard.  And He changed everything again because you were perfect.

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This birth was attended by Marianne Manley and her wonderful assistant Cristina. You can find her website here

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