Monday, July 30, 2012

Messing me up

Playing Lego's on the floor with my boys.

Austin passes gas.

Ah-hah!  A teachable moment.

Me: "Oops!  Austin, say excuse me.  We need to remember to try not to do that when there are girls around (Let's face it. A house with four boys, I'm not going to be able to eliminate it all together.) It is a bad manner. Girls won't marry you if you have bad manners.  Girls want a husband who is polite and brave and hardworking.   And when you find a girl, make sure she loves Jesus with all her heart."

Jack, who had been quietly listening, speaks up:  "Well, I tried that when I was young." 

Me: "Tried what?"

Jack: "Following Jesus.  But it didn't work.  Sin kept messing me up."

Woah. woah.

Where do I even go from here?

Have we pushed him too hard that now he's discouraged?  Or is this a step in the process of learning about grace?  How do we encourage this strong boy who needs lots of correction?  Who needs to be taught patience with his brothers, taught to control his anger.  He's got so much potential.  He's so strong.  He loves knowledge. He loves justice.  He loves the weak.  We want to help him learn to control his emotions so that he will be able to be used by God.

But after a comment like that I wonder if we need to change things up or just encourage him more.

I did encourage him.  But mostly I just wanted him to know that what he was feeling was normal.  That's what the Christian life is all about.  It's about us not being able to do anything to get rid of our sin.  No matter how hard we try.  We can't beat it.  We only have one hope: Jesus.    

So I told him this:  "I know Bud.  It keeps messing me up too."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bed time toys

I couldn't locate my phone tonight (big surprise huh?)  I went up the stairs to listen while Mike called it.  I didn't hear the phone, but thought I'd drop in on the boys for a surprise visit.  I open the door to find Ty pointing a transformer's arm toward Jack while imitating 80's gun noises.  I confiscate the toy.  While discussing the value of adequate rest with Ty I hear: "Whack, whack, whack" from down below.  I bend down and take the hammer from Austin's hand.  No hammering after 7:30 for the under 3 crowd.  Next I look over at Jack who was lying peacefully in his bed.  I walk toward him, bend down and brush the hair off his face. 

"Look at him," I think, "Lying there, snuggled in, obediently resting from his full day, ready to slip off to dreamland."  They grow up so fast...  I joke with him and say: "Do you have any contraband that I need to take up?"  I knew he had no idea what I was talking about.  I mostly asked him just so I would get to use a big word. (Ya get bored of saying things like: "You want some wa-wa?" or "That's a 'no-no'" and sometimes just want to say a big word to prove to yourself that you could still do it if ever the need arose.)

But, he surprised me by softly answering: "Yes."

"What?"  I ask.

"Yes." He repeats.

"Yes what?  You DO have some contraband I need to take up?"
Jack nods.
Still surprised, I ask him what he has.
"Three cars, they are under my pillow," was his reply.
"Well, give them to me."

He handed them over.

Precious little grown-up baby boy sweetly drifting off to sleep huh?  How about con artist trying to pull the wool over his mother's eyes!

Be warned my little friend.  This Mama's on to you, and the only wool around here is going to be on the sheep you count while lying toyless in your bed.


Go to sleep.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Keep that on your prayer list.

Learning how to express love to my children --that's one of the things I'm doing right now. 

And one of the things I struggling with. 

How do I give each of these boys my undivided attention at some point during the day and still maintain the house, cook decently healthy meals and spend quality time with my husband?

I'm trying to experiment with different things to see what makes the most impact on them.  Hugs, words, special outings, little gifts, getting on the floor and playing with them.  These things take time, intentional time.

This is why there hasn't been much activity on this blog in a while.  If I write, I must stop something else that I'm doing.  Then something goes undone.  If I had more time, I would be able to give up reading novels, relaxing on the front porch or shopping.  But now, I give up either time with Mike, sleep or time with the Lord or the precious moments first thing in the morning where one of them comes down alone.  When I could hold them for a few minutes, whisper with my coffee breath words that show them love.  Words like: "I'm so glad you woke up so we can spend some time together."  Or "Good morning sweet boy!"  Or "I've been noticing how much better you are doing with ___.  Let's thank God for the way He is helping you in that area." 

(Just a heads up for you.... I hear talking coming from the bunk room, which means in a matter of minutes I will have three hungry little boys down here.  It will be nothing short of miraculous if I finish this post.   Sorry if I don't get it posted, but these little boys are my job.  I've got to put blogging beneath them.)  

A couple nights ago Mike was flying and the boys and I had a sleepover in the Dale Earnhardt Memorial Suite  (the name "guest room" just didn't have enough personality).   Jack and Austin slept on the air mattress while Ty and I snuggled into the bed.  Ty couldn't contain himself.  He scooted over close, hugged me, wrapped his legs around me and told me in a thousand words just how much he loved me and was so glad I was his mommy.  I listened to him, and 10 minutes later (when he took a breath) I told him I was so glad God had put him in our family.  I was so glad he was my son.  Then I asked him if I could pray with him and tell God thank you for him.  He nodded. 

So I began.  I thanked God for the boy.  I thanked God for the way He made Ty.  I thanked Him for giving Ty a heart that loved his brothers and his family.  I thanked God for the growth (not physical) that I'd seen in Ty.  I began to ask God to draw Ty's heart to Himself when Ty stopped me.

"Mom...."  I ignored him.  (The boy has a problem with interrupting.)  But he was persistent:   "Mom!"  He loudly whispered.

"What Ty?"

"I liked what you said about me.  I liked what you pwayed, that you love me.  I want you to keep pwaying that...  I like that you said those nice things about me...." 

He continued.  I can't remember all his exact words.  But then he said, "Mom.  I want you to keep pwaying for those things.  Just keep saying it when you pway....  Keep that on your pwayer list."

"Keep that on your prayer list?"  I laughed and wondered where he had heard that phrase.

Who knows.  But I'll do it.  I'll keep it on my prayer list and I'll remember how much words mean to Ty,  especially words spoken to his creator about how wonderfully he was made.