Where Revival Begins

This is not an original thought. This is something that people say and mean all the time. But this is a thought that never penetrated my heart fully until very recently.

Revival begins in me.

Revival begins in me.

We are being revived, changed, transformed, restored. We are experiencing breakthrough and victory. We are living for the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and trusting God for some big things that would be completely impossible for us to do on our own.

We are waking up with worship songs in our minds and on our lips. We are reading Scripture that is suddenly made alive and new and beautiful. We are listening and acting on His leading and WOW. Wow. Life is exciting for us as we make a re-commitment to our saviour and what He has for us. The things of this world just do not have the same pull and I am finally seeing how I am having victory over battles I’ve been fighting – or not fighting – for years. I am seeing clearly when the thorns (Matthew 13:7) and wind and waves  (Matthew 14:30) are tempting me and distracting me from my calling.

Over and over, people have said that there is something special happening in Fort St. John and someone said that we shouldn’t expect revival here to look exactly as it has in the past. I believe that it is because it is really beginning in the hearts of individuals who are full of passion for the Kingdom and His righteousness. We will not be spectators anymore and we will not walk into a building looking for revival because we know very well that it is happening within us.

 

 

Revelation, Identity, Summer, Time Flies

On time flying:

We’re halfway through August. We’ve done all our camps, aren’t going on holidays, have only a few more weeks before it will be labour day and fall birthdays and the baby is almost seven months old already. It isn’t anything new but it always shocks me a bit.

Summer or the lack thereof:

We have not had the warmest summer this year. We’ve had so much rain that the berries on my mountain ash are a different colour than in past years (rain is what I’m thanking for this change anyway), the backyard looks like a jungle and I’ve suddenly realized that every tree on my lot needs pruning (and a few that are growing into my yard from the neighbours’ as well). I’ve dunked myself in an ice cold river a few times but the last time I wondered why, as the sun wasn’t beating down on me when I came out and I shivered my way back to my cabin and a hot shower half an hour later. Today the older kids are hanging out in a tent in the backyard and hoping that maybe the forecast will change and it won’t rain tonight or tomorrow. Today it’s hot. It feels like summer. Tomorrow we have a 90% chance of more rain. No forest fires this year, though. That we can be thankful for. And we’ll hope that maybe winter will wait until the end of October again.

Identity:

This is something I’ve been wrestling with yet again but feeling like I’m on the cusp of figuring it out. I’m getting better at owning who I am and trying to learn who I am in Christ. I was singing a worship song not long ago: “All I am is yours,” it repeats in the chorus. I’ve always sang this song feeling that I was declaring all I have/am as belonging to Him. It suddenly came to me that ALL I AM is His. If everything was stripped away, I am His. Right now, I’m mother, wife, writer, etc. but at the core of me, I am His. What I have and who I am belongs to Him but being His should be my first identity.

Revelation:

We visited a nearby church a few weeks ago. Our church doesn’t meet on Sundays over the summer so we thought we would visit somewhere else every so often on Sundays.I don’t remember what it was that the worship leader said, but I spent some time waiting on God and He spoke to my heart very clearly. I had been stressing so much over weight loss lately and while I had been trying to go walking more often and eat less sugar, more vegetables, etc. the calorie counting/obsessive exercise lifestyle was reaching out more and more as a solution, even though I know how damaging it has been in the past. The word I received that Sunday morning was simple. He said, “You don’t have to lose weight for me to love you.” Ouch. I know this. I know it’s true. He doesn’t love anyone less because of their weight. But growing up, there was an undercurrent of, “thin and fit is holier, better, more Christ like.” It did its damage and I’ve had a hard time moving past it as an adult. When you start talking about this, many well-meaning believers launch into diatribes about gluttony and sloth as though those are the only reasons people might be heavier than others. After this simple word, He asked me a question. “Would you still eat well and exercise if you didn’t lose weight?” My honest answer had to be, “probably not.” I have been so focused on fitting into the mold that this culture finds appealing that I’d lost the plot on the purpose of eating a balanced diet and moving my body enough. With people around me pushing Beachbody, supplements, weight loss challenges, Keto, Paleo, etc. I had gotten distracted. Yes, I would like my body to feel better than it does right now. But I know that weight loss cannot be my focus or I will lean into obsessive behaviour. In the past, I’ve tried to take my focus off of pounds and put it on inches lost or clothing sizes changed but even that leads into obsessing. Meanwhile, I’m missing the whole point. I should eat well because I feel better when I do. Because God made my body to function best when it is in balance. I should go walking with my husband because it is good for our relationship and good for my body.

Anyway, I’m a work in progress. I ate too much sugar at camp and I’m having to adjust back to normal now that we’re home again. I need to think a bit more about what I’m eating and maybe prepping things for myself will help but the last thing I need to do is start weighing or measuring those things before I eat them, or eating only the things on a certain list of good/bad. That is dangerous territory that I know better than to walk into again.

 

 

10:43

10:43, put the baby to bed.

Finally.

And that’s it.

The day is done.

Essentially.

And what have I done today?

Ate too much of the wrong things.

Sat for too long, looking at a screen.

Window shopped on Amazon.

Called myself fat.

Felt overwhelmed.

Cried.

Promised myself better for tomorrow.

And got a little angry at the day being over.

Why is it over and I can’t change a thing?

And why do I look to tomorrow and know deep down

That it won’t be much different?

10:59.

Sixteen minutes passed and all these thoughts and fears

Are here, whether I like it or not.

I guess I’ll hope for better tomorrow

And try not to feel this way again if it isn’t any better than today.

Not That Mama

Ten minutes ago, I took Lucas into my room to change his diaper. I walked past piles of books in wire baskets, clothes that need mending, extra blankets, bins of baby things, and the list goes on. I thought about problem solving specifically in the area of all our books and learning resources. The wire baskets are typically on a long buffet type counter just outside my kitchen but birthday season is upon us and we use that counter for food during parties. It gets tiring bringing everything in and out so I leave it in our room for the summer and then put it all back again when the birthdays are done in September.

So I thought about those moms who see a mess like this and immediately set to work building shelving, re-purposing rooms or closets, hunting thrift stores and yard sales for just the right bookshelf until they fix the problem of “too many books piled all over the house.” I changed the baby’s diaper and was reminded again that I’m just not that mom. Oh, how I would love to be, really. But in this season especially, I am not. And in all honesty, I never really have been that kind of person at all. I have built a desk, spray painted countless things, applied contact paper to beautify various pieces of furniture but I’ve just never been the type to try and work and plan in order to fix the mess or clutter in my home.

What I have become is someone who ignores the mess. Every so often, it creeps into my consciousness and rubs irritatingly against my brain for a bit. But then I sigh or on a really bad day, have a cry, and move on. I tell myself that someday, when my kids are mostly grown or out of the house, I’ll get organized. Maybe I will, or maybe at the end of this intense journey of parenting many children, I will hire someone else to do the work for me. Or move into a tiny house.

 

Twelve Years

Twelve years ago, after posting thoughts here and there on MySpace (yes, I’m that old), I started my first blog. I have had a number of them, mostly because I keep trying to rebrand myself when I feel I’m getting too whiny.

I was talking to a friend who recently published a book and she mentioned using some content from her blog in her book. Not to say I’ll do that, but it did make me think about how much I’ve written and how far I’ve come – or how much I’ve stayed exactly the same. So I went to that original blog and found my very first post. It was short and to the point and I can see how much I’m the same person now, plus six additional children and a house that is three times the size but somehow feels less messy even though I’m not sure my housekeeping skills have improved.

This is it. I hope to re-read most of what I’ve written in the last twelve years, if just to see what I can learn from myself and to remind myself of how far I have come.Screenshot_2019-05-17 Life as a Housewife(3)

Stagnant

I saw an illustration today that punched me in the gut. I saw it right after I was lamenting the fact that here we are, here I am, in the same place, doing the same things, day after day. Never moving forward, stuck. And then this reminder that where we are and where we want to be aren’t always far apart.

your comfort zone

 

I will admit that it is difficult to be a person convicted of my rightful place in my home but bubbling over with dreams and goals. Do I lay those things down for good? For five years? Ten? When I will likely have babies or small children in my home for twenty more years? Even now, I took advantage of relative quiet and a burst of inspiration to write and was immediately accosted by a four year old asking for an apple and a show on the computer that I’m using. I want to be this but I need to be that. So what do I do with my time instead? I waste it. I freely admit that. I feel like I’m just supervising children all day and constantly being interrupted every time I try to do something of any importance so I fiddle around scrolling Facebook and lately, playing games on my phone or the computer. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

But there is always this feeling that the graphic above is truth. That it really isn’t very far from where I am to where I want to be so desperately. That it has more to do with stepping outside my comfort zone than it does with my daily life and its demands. Commitment is required and commitment is uncomfortable.

At present, I am faced daily with my aching and overweight body. I want to be gentle with myself, being less than four months postpartum. I want to mend my broken body the right way, rather than rush to lose weight and not actually fix anything like I’ve done in the past. But TIME and EFFORT and so many other things prevent me from digging my heels in and striving for the balance I would have to support so delicately.

I am challenged by a writing project I started recently and dozens of others I’ve started in the past, sitting in the documents folder of my desktop, waiting for inspiration and hard work. Waiting for commitment.

Two days ago, we drove into the country to drop our two oldest kids off at camp for a weekend retreat. As we drove past cattle farms and fields dotted with new calves, I talked about how much hard work farming must be; what a different lifestyle that would be. But really, all of us could stand to live in hard work because it makes rest so much sweeter. What I’m doing every day with all this idling is not rest, even when I tell myself that it is. I have stood by and watched as people around me have found an abundance in life because they chose to work hard. The hard truth is that hard work is just outside of my comfort zone. I’ve never had to work very hard for anything, if we’re being honest.

I use my “mother of many” status to excuse my behaviour. And maybe there are some things I just cannot do at this point in my life, hard work or not. But the truth is that I’m lazy most of the time and comfortable in it. But this kind of lifestyle leads only to being stagnant and that is a special kind of discomfort, an itch that cannot be scratched by anything other than hard work and commitment.

The Importance of Encouragement

I bet if you googled that title, you’d find dozens of blog posts and articles with the same name. It came to me that I wanted to write about it anyway because of something that happened a week ago that blessed me and made me realize how true this is.

I have a big family (surprise!) and we don’t shy away from taking all eight kids to various services and events with us, even though it sometimes means we miss half of a sermon or have to sit out some of the activities. Last weekend was our local missions fest, which we attend annually as long as we’re in town. Thankfully they provide childcare up to age twelve so for the small sessions, we only had the baby and the oldest kids with us.

During one of the breaks, I bumped into my kids’ Sunday School teacher, who took the time to tell me that she thinks my kids are both nurturing and responsible. This is such a sweet and specific comment to make, and I agree with it. She mentioned how they all look out for each other and take care of the little ones. Having so many boys, I am particularly blessed by comments like these, because having kind hearted sons has always been my hope.

For the evening service, we had all of them sitting with us about five rows back from the front. Mike and I were in and out a bit with Simon and Lucas and while the older kids were quiet and listening, I noticed every little sound the younger kids made and shushed them repeatedly.

After the service, a man with four kids who are older than all of ours came over to talk to me and said that he was very impressed with our kids and loved seeing us all together at events like this. He had been sitting right in front of us and said he actually enjoyed hearing little voices and feet bumping the back of his chair. He was a single father when his oldest two were young and we talked about the challenges of bringing kids to things like this but how good it was for them and even for other people to see.

From my perspective, as their mother, I noticed (and sometimes inwardly cringed) every time they didn’t listen or were too loud, but that was not the view of these two people at least, and thankfully they took the time to tell me.

All that to say, if you see people with their kids – whether there is one or ten – and you have a kind thought, share it. Even if it’s just to say, “you’re doing a good job.” It matters, and for parents in the trenches bringing up small children or teenagers, it could turn their day around.