FIVE

Naptime

When I wrote my last post, I had every intention of getting back into blogging regularly and being more consistent.  While my intentions were noble, I entered into a season in which naps (for myself) were non-negotiable.  In the past several months, I have been able to get all four of my boys to nap at the same time, only by the grace of God! While the oldest usually only rests for about 30-45 minutes, it’s enough time for me to get a quick cat-nap in and reset for the remainder of the day.

Let me tell you about the horrible mom-guilt I dealt with early on!  I allowed the enemy to convince me I was being lazy, that I didn’t deserve to take naps, that I should be folding laundry or cooking dinner, that my house wasn’t clean enough for me to take a half hour break for myself.  Early on, I wasn’t even able to fall asleep most days because of the guilt.

But in the midst of it all, I just felt I needed to rest.  Before the New Year, I was challenged by a friend and colleague to choose a word or phrase to focus on for the year.  I prayed about it and God very clearly gave me the phrase, “Be Still.”  I can’t count the number of times this phrase and passage from Psalms, “Be still, and know that I am God,” has been spoken to me since January (46:10).  I’ve heard it in sermons, talked about it in the moms group I’m in, read it in books, meditated on it in devotionals, and more.  My husband and sons gave me a necklace for my birthday with the words, “Be Still,” to help remind me to practice this discipline consistently.

So if God was asking me to nap, who was I to deny His will for me?! J I began saying a quick and simple prayer before lying down each afternoon asking God to give me the rest I needed and to restore me for the remainder of the day.  What a difference this made!  The guilt was lifted and I began feeling freed from that bondage.  Not only that, I was able to be a better mom and wife in the afternoons and evenings because I was refreshed and rested.

Another One on the Way

God knows exactly what we need when we need it, right? Right around the time that I began to nap without mom-guilt, I began feeling nauseous and having very specific cravings.  I knew right away that it could only mean one thing- I was pregnant with Baby Turner #5! God knew my body needed these naps!

I shared the news with my husband, but we waited until my 12-week ultrasound to share with our sons so that we could show them the pictures and they could hear the recording of the baby’s heartbeat.  They, of course, were ecstatic knowing they’re going to be welcoming another brother or sister to the family.

We could not be more excited to be growing our family and we love when others share in our joy and excitement!  We feel so blessed to be given another precious gift to raise in our home, and are humbled by God’s goodness and grace.  But can I be honest?  My husband and I are having a more difficult time sharing the news this time around than we have in the past.  And as I’ve processed it, I think it stems from many places.

My Hesitations

One, I am so aware of those around me suffering from infertility.  I have family and close friends who have struggled trying to have a baby and have received either a “no” or a “not yet” from God.  I pray for these families all the time and grieve with them because it’s just not fair.  And I know that every time I post a picture of an ultrasound and announce a pregnancy, they experience pain.  Not because they don’t feel joy for us or because they are jealous, but because they long to experience this for themselves.  I will never know what that feels like, and I hate knowing that this is what they go through time and time again. This is also so true for those who have lost children, in or out of the womb. I cannot imagine your pain!

Two, when you share news such as a pregnancy, you realize very quickly that many people do not have filters!  And before I go on, let me admit that I know in my heart of hearts that most people say things with good intentions and do not mean to come across as rude or disrespectful.  In fact, I’m sure I’ve made comments to people as well that came across to them as brash.  That being said, we’ve heard everything from “leave that women alone!” (said to my husband) to, “don’t you guys have a TV in your house?” I get it.  Five children is a lot in this day and age (especially in California), and people genuinely wonder how you can afford it, why you have them so close together, and when you’re going to be done having kids.  But my answer to all of this is God! And I don’t feel I owe any more of an explanation than that J

Third, because every person you tell immediately wonders if you’re, “hoping for a girl.”  And you know what? I’m not even sure.  On the one hand, I’d love to know what it’s like to have a daughter and experience that special bond.  But on the other hand, I adore my boys and I’ve always pictured myself with sons.  Again, we lean into God and trust that He knows exactly who our family needs.  Will we love spoiling a little sister? Absolutely!  But will we feel like something is missing if we have another boy? Absolutely not!  In fact, we’ll be thrilled to have a baby brother to love on and pass all the clothes and toys on down to J

His Work

But here’s the thing.  While it’s tough to share our news for the reasons mentioned above, it’s news we can’t keep to ourselves because this is God’s work, not our own, and we celebrate in the joy of His new creation.  Our baby is a child of God!  We thank him for what He’s doing in our lives and praise Him for the precious baby He is growing in me!  What a miracle it is!

So as I gave up my nap to write this today, I continue to be reminded to “Be still, and know that I am God.”  I am reminded that just like He created the baby growing inside of me, He created me.  I am reminded that I need not only physical rest, but also spiritual rest to be still and be in His presence.  And I am reminded that He is God and He shares in our joys and our sorrows.

I pray that those who experience the pain of infertility or infant loss find strength and hope in the Lord.  I pray that He gives me grace to respond in love to the un-filtered, yet well-meaning comments.  And I pray that the Lord gives my husband and me the grace, wisdom, and discernment necessary to raise another precious child to be a mighty warrior for Him.

Let’s raise His Mighty Warriors TOGETHER!

Entering the Fight

Hello again!  I’ve been on a hiatus for a while because my computer crashed a few months ago.  I finally found some time to take it in for a diagnostic check, but it had completely died on me.  Luckily, they were able save all my files and transfer them onto my husband’s computer, but now I’m learning to adjust to using a Mac instead of my trusty old Acer 🙂

I’ve been missing writing, but I’ve also realized that finding time to write is becoming more and more difficult.  With a one year-old who is climbing on everything and has discovered that there’s water in the toilet, and three other boys vying for my attention, I’m exhausted when the day is done.  But I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while so hopefully the boys will cooperate and take good naps.

One of my first posts, When the Nest is Attacked, was about spiritual attacks on our home and family.  I loved writing this post because it made me really consider where the attacks were coming from and how I needed to fight them.

Currently, a spiritual attack we are fighting in our home is one against selfishness and excess. Between celebrating a few birthdays and Christmas in the past couple months, our boys grew accustomed to receiving a lot of gifts and participating in fun activities.  We had family visit from out of town, we were able to do fun things as a family over Christmas break, and there were lots of presents. While these were all fun and good things that I’m happy my sons were able to experience, it’s been tough to go into January and get back into a routine.  It’s also been tough to teach young kids to have grateful hearts for all they’ve been given without continuing to expect more.

A while back I read a devotion about spiritual attacks.  I liked the point it made that we must acknowledge the attack so that we can enter into the fight.  It made me think, do I get frustrated and discouraged by these attacks, but fail to fight back?  Do I find myself becoming lazy instead of preparing for and entering into the battle? I think too often, that’s exactly what I do!  And that’s exactly what the enemy wants.  He wants us to become discouraged, hopeless, and worried about what’s going wrong in our lives.  He wants us to give up and just accept that this is what our life amounts to at this time.

But let’s be honest, that’s all garbage! Because when we choose to acknowledge the spiritual attack for what it is, we don’t give it power over us.  We don’t believe the lies or allow it to determine the end of the story. No, we choose to enter into the fight by focusing on the light instead of the darkness and by arming ourselves with the full armor of God.  We choose to enter into the ring believing with full confidence that God has already won this battle so we have nothing to fear! And it’s not only acknowledging that we are IN a fight, but also recognizing WHO it is against. We’re not in a battle against flesh and blood! It’s not a battle against our children, our spouse, or even ourselves. It is a battle against the enemy and one that we need to fight immediately!

In my case, it took me shaking off the frustration with my sons because of their attitudes of discontentment and selfishness and instead using it as a teaching moment.  It took patience from me as I put myself in their shoes and realized they are still learning about holidays and seasons of the year. It took humility on my part to turn to God and ask for help in my moments of discouragement.  It’s not easy, but these conversations with God are so much more fruitful than being torn down by the enemy’s lies!  And the peace it brings is unexplainable as we allow God to fight these battles for us!

It’s been nice to get some of my thoughts out again and hopefully it won’t be too long before I post some more. Enjoy your day with those around you and be encouraged!

Let’s raise His Mighty Warriors TOGETHER!

Are We There Yet?

The Ride

“Are we there yet,” especially when spoken in a whiny, impatient voice, often gets on a parent’s very last nerve.  We all want to be there already, right?!?  If it was up to me, I’d be able to snap my fingers and we’d magically be teleported to whatever our destination might be.  No traffic.  No long car rides.  No messy car snacks.  I don’t want to be sitting in a car with my children any more than they do.  But if we want to get to our destination, we have to buckle up and enjoy the ride the best we can.

I’ve noticed that I often ask myself, “are we there yet?” when trying to navigate through a particular season.  More often than not, it’s in regards to wondering when a difficult phase one of my boys is going through will be over.  When will we finally move past this?  When will he finally learn to do that on his own?  At what age can I expect him to…?  I’m always looking ahead to when things might be a little easier.

Changing Seasons

But what I’ve come to realize is that as soon as one phase is ending, another one begins.  It makes sense knowing that there’s not a break in between Spring and Summer and more often than not, one season does not just abruptly stop for a new season to  begin (unless you live somewhere like Wisconsin where winter seems to slap you in the face before you even see it coming).  Seasons flow into each other.  Temperatures gradually increase or decrease, flowers slowly bloom in Spring, leaves slowly change colors in fall, and suddenly the look of everything around you is different.

When our five year-old started kindergarten last month, we found ourselves in a new season with our 3 ½ year-old son now being the oldest at home every morning.  I had been so focused on sending our oldest to kindergarten that I forgot about how this change would affect the other boys at home.  It’s changed the way our sons play together while big brother is gone, it’s changed their responsibilities, and it’s changed the sibling dynamics.

It’s been wonderful in so many ways to watch the younger ones step-up in the absence of their brother!  But there have also been some challenges.  I’ve been recognizing new aspects of their personalities come out and trying to adjust how I parent to each of them.  I’ve had to ease up some of my expectations because they aren’t able to help me in the same ways my oldest was able to when he was home.

Becoming the Student

Personally, I find myself in a new season as well.  I’m trying to intentionally be a student of each of my children.  I’m constantly trying to find what makes each of them feel encouraged and empowered.  I’m learning what frustrates them and trying to avoid the things that exasperate them.  I’m working to find ways to help them overcome their obstacles and find solutions to their problems.  But wow, this is tough work!  It takes intentionality, patience, and desire.  Some days I’m lacking in those areas and find it easier to just parent them how I want to parent them.  And those days are rough because I quickly learn that my way is not what they need.

God’s Design

It’s a beautiful thing that God designed each of my boys so differently.  And I’m humbled that he chose me to be their mommy.  But He doesn’t reveal to me their unique personalities just to impress me.  He allows me to see what makes each of them tick and then equips me to love on each of them the way they best receive it.  And in the moments when I choose to listen, He tells me just what each of my boys needs to hear throughout the day.  These are the days I live for!  These are the days when I choose to not be lazy or wish away a particular season.  Instead, I embrace where we are in the moment and be the mommy God designed me to be for my boys. These days are so worth it, easy or not!

So while it’d be nice to have a break in between challenging seasons of life, maybe it’s better to breathe through it and cultivate a growth mindset in the areas God is calling us to mature.  Maybe it’s better to find ways to make the ride fun by singing, dancing, and playing through it so that our, “are we there yet?” turns into “we’re already there?”  Because before we know it, we’re going to stop and look around only to realize that everything looks a little different.

Let’s raise His Mighty Warriors TOGETHER!

Covering Our Students in Prayer

Back to school season is upon us.  For some parents, this has been a long time coming, while for others like myself, the thought of a new school year makes us feel sick to our stomach.

School started for us last Monday. My husband has been back full-time at the high school and my oldest began Kindergarten.  While it’s been nice getting back into a routine, it’s sad that summer seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye!

So how did Kindergarten drop-off go?  Well, the first day was perfect.  We went as a family to see our oldest off.  He was excited and didn’t shed a tear (I can’t say the same was true of myself).  When I went to pick him up that day, he ran over to me and shouted, “school is fun!”  This was music to my ears, but was it too good to be true?  Well, kind of.  The days since then have, overall, gone well.  He’s shed some tears at drop-off but later tells me that he stops crying after “one minute.”  I’ve asked him who or what  makes him feel better after my husband or I say goodbye.  Some days, he tells me Jesus makes him feel better and it melts my heart!  Other days, he tells me he feels better when he starts singing “Uptown Funk” to himself.  Whatever works, right?!

It’s been tough on me sending him to new school this year, but I’ve found so much peace in prayer.  Each morning, my husband and I pray with our son.  I pray with him before he leaves, and my husband prays with him in the car as they drive to school.  I also pray for him throughout the day and have shared with our son that whenever I think about him during the day, I say a prayer that he’s having fun and learning new things.  He loves hearing this!

As we dive into this new school year, I wanted to share some of the prayers I pray over my son:

  • I pray for his safety and the safety of all those who work at and attend the school.
  • I pray for peace among the students.
  • I pray for him to have confidence to make new friends.
  • I pray he has the courage to try new things and learn from his mistakes.
  • I pray he experiences joy in learning.
  • I pray he is diligent in his work and has the desire to focus.
  • I pray he is obedient to his teacher and others in authority.
  • I pray he is able to discern what is of the Lord and what is not of the Lord and that he has the will to choose what is right.
  • I pray that he glorifies the Lord in his words, actions, and thoughts.
  • I pray that he sees those who are scared, lonely, or sad and encourages them.
  • I pray that he is kind to others and that others are kind to him.
  • I pray that he knows his identity in the Lord and is not concerned about what others think of him.
  • I pray he stands up for those who are being bullied.
  • I pray he respects and appreciates others and their cultures, beliefs, and traditions.
  • I pray that he remains enthusiastic in his faith and that his belief never wavers.
  • I pray that he senses the presence of the Lord with him throughout the day.
  • I pray that he puts on the full Armor of God each morning: the belt of truth, the chest plate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit (from Ephesians 6:10-20).

In addition to these prayers for my son, I pray daily for the school, for the other students, and for the administration and staff.  I don’t have a specific prayer memorized and there are mornings when I forget to include a couple of these in my prayer.  However, I know that it gives me peace to have these words in my heart throughout the morning as my son is at school.  And I trust that these words will be imprinted on my son’s heart as he hears them repeatedly.

There are so many other things we can be specifically praying over our children for.  Let me know if there’s a prayer you include for your children.

For all of you who will be sending your children back to school in the coming days and weeks, please know my prayers are with you and your kids.  No matter if your children attend private, public, or homeschool, let’s cover them and those around them throughout the year!  They may not be in our hands during the school day, but we can take heart knowing that they are always in the precious hands of our Father!

Let’s raise His mighty warriors TOGETHER!