"To be...rather than to appear to be." This happens to be the state motto of North Carolina, but although I lived there for more than 10 years, I don't remember hearing this phrase until reading through a John Eldredge book several years ago. Since that time, whenever I'm fortunate enough to remember it, I'm reminded and challenged to ACTUALLY BE WHAT I PORTRAY MYSELF TO BE. And I need to be reminded and challenged...on the days my c0-workers get my best throughout the day and my family gets what's left over (or even my worst) when I get home...because it's easier to ignore Colossians 3:19, 21 (and many other parts of God's Word) at home than in public...as I'm not particularly comfortable thinking about the future without knowing exactly what's ahead (even though I claim to and desire to trust the One who does).
As is the case with so many other things right now, I'm thinking about this phrase in light of our recent adoption. Are we simply doing things to make our home run more smoothly, or are we really growing together as a family? Are we focusing on discipline for the sake of making things easier in our home, or are we consistently keeping an eye on the goal of helping our kids become what God wants them to be? Are we doing all we can to give each of our kids the time and attention s/he needs, or are we looking for shortcuts which hopefully (but not certainly) won't cause too many issues down the road? Are we simply discussing how quickly time is flying and our kids are growing up, or are we living each day with that paradigm, trying to make each day count?
Lofty goals and genuine desires that sound (and are) great but sometimes lack what's needed to back them up: our actions (or perhaps I should say "my" and not "our", since I think my wife's much better in these areas than me). Lots of questions I need to consider and lots of reminders I need God to provide (and to which I need to respond).
A good week this week...we had Silas' Lego birthday party yesterday (his birthday is Feb. 14, but that was right after we returned from Africa) and a good time was had by all. Josiah had some sickness earlier in the week but is now doing well...Silas seems to have caught something (I'm home from church with him this morning...its almost noon and he's still asleep). Samuel and Savanna are still learning more words and phrases, trying new things (yesterday we had Icee's at Sam's), and melting our hearts when we put them in bed, they ask us to lie down with them, and then they sing us "Yes, Jesus loves me" and "Things are Getting Better".
Before closing, I'll share a link to a blog post Shelly came across last night...while I can't even pretend that I actually operate with the author's mindset as consistently as I'd like to, I can certainly identify with some of the hopes and goals that she has...hope you enjoy it.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
With Si and Jos we had that parental set of "firsts" - first smiles, first steps, first foods, first words..... It's a whole new set with our adopted preschoolers, but just as exciting (and exhausting!) This month is was first ice cream cones, first Sunday School class attendance, first sentences in English (which for Savanna, was "no touch, Savanna" ... she obviously hears that a lot, and "I lov-a-yooooo" from Samuel. That makes it sound like they've really bonded with us and truly love us, but just as I was feeling quite confident they knew what they were saying, Savanna patted me on the back and said, "Good dog"....so who knows...). There have been first trips to the grocery store with 4 children (3 in the buggy...where do I actually put the groceries?....Samuel was sitting on the 1/2 gallon of whole milk unbeknownst to me and we trailed it through half the store before I realized it was busted and quickly leaking out...). First love affairs with shoes (Samuel and Savanna would wear them to bed if I would let them...Sometimes Savanna changes hers several times a day). First trip to Chuck E. Cheese (where Savanna helped herself to whatever food complete strangers had left on their tables...have I mentioned she loves to eat?)
Last week I took all four kids on what would be Savanna and Samuel's first field trip! They did an amazing job (especially since new environments usually scare them). It was to a children's museum in Albuquerque with our homeschool organization (whom I love DEARLY - and they have treated our new children like celebrities, making them feel very loved!) Samuel, Silas and Josiah attended a one hour hands-on class while Savanna and I watched a little and played a little. The funniest moment was when I realized that my 4 children were the easiest to locate in the large, crowded building. One of them is on oxygen, 2 of them were the only African-Americans there, and the oldest child had a walkie talkie that I could reach him on... That may become a place we frequent for that reason alone!
And there have been firsts for Josiah and Silas too: Josiah - first time swimming without a trach! He was cautious, but extrememly happy! Silas - other than his first trip to 3 foreign countries, he also constructed his first replica of the frozen planet Hoth (Star Wars...he lives and breathes it)....
Life is definitely not all smiles and laughter for us as we are learning to adjust to more bodies and noise, as well as getting to really know our 2 newest additions - the good and the bad! But God has faithfully sustained us so far, and as I've said before, the progress we see on a daily basis in their behavior, adjustment to new circumstances, relationships, etc. is so encouraging! Keep those prayers coming for us - we appreciate them!
posted with laughter from Shelly