Knowing That Momma!

Ever wonder why that mom of many who calls you her friend, won’t return your phone calls? Maybe she is the friend who keeps cancelling on you after sending in her RSVP to your child’s birthday party. Does she have your child’s shoes in her home and you just can’t figure out why she won’t return them to you? Or maybe you have already hosted her and her family in your home, but she never reciprocates the offer and you just can’t figure out why. I wrote this article five years ago when I had 7 kids living in my home. As season’s change and children grow, we can easily jump to the wrong conclusion when “that family” skips church, or is inconsistent in friendship. This is from my heart, my world, but it also may be you, or someone you love.

IF YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND

 frazzled mom

Know that…

 I will disappoint you.

I don’t see every text message – sometimes my kids take my phone and read it before I see it and your message never makes it to me

I have 10,000 emails in my inbox. I scan daily for you, to see if you tried to ask me something or pass on a good deal, but if I don’t hit “reply” it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I may have seen it on my phone and haven’t yet figured out how to forward or reply from the Android. I still love you and want you to email.

When your child visits our home, If I hand them a broom, a lawn mower, or a bottle of Windex, and ask them to help us clean, it’s not so I have free help (though that is a perk to being your friend J ). I have kingdom work on the brain as they are cleaning and folding our laundry. I promise they will play way more than they fold clothes.

We have two dogs, and we don’t want any more pets.

At least not now.

If your cat has kittens and your pup has puppies, I’m happy to advertise for you and help you find them a home…just not mine. I still love you.

If you send your kids here to play and they leave shoes, jackets, or an article of clothing: I will have no idea which ones are yours or not and I cannot promise you that we will find it. There is a clothing black hole somewhere in our house. I’m not trying to take your things, I’m just overwhelmed. You are free to take anything out of my house you want to compensate.

 

My home phone is a necessary evil. I would cancel it I could, but I can’t. We never answer it, unless a kid happens to pass by. It is old, I won’t replace it. There are 160 voicemails on the phone starting from 10 months ago and now when you call and try to leave a message it says, “The mailbox is full”. I just can’t get to this, so the best way to reach me is email or texting my cell, or just knocking on my front door. If you left me a message on my home phone, I promise you I never heard it. I am not ignoring you, I still love you.

If you send your kids over to my home, they will get love and be watched carefully, however, I have teens and I can’t guarantee that there won’t be a stupid YouTube video on someone’s computer screen or a TV show with a rating you disapprove of. We do have filters on our computers.

I’m one mom, and have been outnumbered 7 times over. I depend on the Holy Spirit to watch my kids and to convict them of sin when my eyes do not catch something. I will love your kids the same.

Because so many children come in and out of my home, I sometimes forget someone is not my child and I may lecture your child or start into one of my “coaching” sessions at any given moment.

I hate chatty phone conversations, but I love you. If you need me, please call me and tell me why you need me. I am a horrible mind reader and do not know how to “read between the lines”. Just tell me, I will listen, and love you, and pray with you right there over the phone.

Please don’t call me if you are just bored and want to chit-chat. I’m not that kind of friend.

If your family invites my family over for dinner, I understand that the typical Southern courtesy is to reciprocate the offer. I REALLY want to do this. I love the IDEA of having people over. I would like to do it frequently. I’m often planning the meal I want to serve you, thinking of seating arrangements for all your kids. But somehow, my family has a calendar that I don’t always have control over and I can’t have your family over like I want. Be patient with me, I’m thinking about you.

 

If I RSVP to attend your shower, birthday party, or special event, and I do not attend barring family emergencies or unexpected hindrance.

I ask you for grace.

 

Because of the nature of our family dynamics, when you send me the invitation two weeks out, we all fully intend to come. Fatigue and work situations cannot always be forecasted and sometimes we have to back out of an RSVP. I think this is sinful, I know how hard you worked to prepare for us. I’m torn between propriety, and loving my husband and honoring him. I will make it up to you one day, I just don’t know how. Please give me grace. I’m praying for your event if we don’t show up.

I WANT you to invite me to your PARTIES, Mary Kay, Young Living, Discovery Toys, Electricity…ALL of IT! I love supporting home based businesses, the best way I support you is through promotion. I am 98% sure I won’t buy anything, even if I really love it. If you just need a warm body in the room and an enthusiastic promoter, I’m your gal. If you are trying to meet a quota, my feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t invite me.

We are a reformed Baptist family, and conservative Republicans. We talk openly about politics and religion in our home. Be forewarned.

I love to talk face to face, if you are busy like me, let’s go a walk together or have coffee or a margarita. I’m not too busy for you.

Please don’t think I’m too busy for friendship. I may be too busy to check voicemail or read all my emails, but that doesn’t mean I’m too busy for friends.   I need you and I love you.

That’s me in a nutshell.

If you still want to be my friend, I’m so BLESSED! I love YOU! Let’s do LUNCH!!!

(This is me, but it may also be you, or someone you know. Take some time today to stop by THAT mom’s home. She’ll be glad you did! )

 

-Erin

RESPECT people who find time for you in their busy schedule, but LOVE people who never look at their schedule when you need them. ~author unknown

An Easter Anthem

This beautiful voice is from my dear sister in Christ, Sara Burt. She’s a pastor’s wife, and truly A Pastor’s Glory. Enjoy this Easter Anthem.

Sara Burt

The mercy and grace bestowed upon us is overwhelming. Tucked deep in the book of Job is a verse revealing the magnitude of God’s mercy in light of our sinfulness.

“I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light” (Job 33:27–28 ESV).

In this passage, Elihu is describing a hypothetical man and his response to God’s great mercy. We relate. We see our testimony in this declaration. Our broken world reeks of sin. Our fleshly natures long to be fed with that which the world offers. We have been tempted and we have fed ourselves. We have taken the gifts of God and perverted them to fulfill our own desires. And yet we are forgiven.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great…

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The Parenting Secret Part Two


 

 

What does it LOOK like to win a child’s heart?

THE OPEN DOOR POLICY

As parents, we’ve always communicated to our kids that we have an open door policy.  It’s not just the standard, “You can tell us anything” policy, it’s more like, when they have an issue that they are processing, or a conflict with a sibling, they need to know that they can come to us and we will help them sort it out, without over-reacting.  Keeping an open door policy means that we are always asking them questions.

How am I doing as a mother or father?  What things do I do that makes you feel the most loved? How would you have handled that particular situation?  What do you think God is teaching our family right now?  Asking questions is a great way to keep those doors of communication wide open, and will keep their tender hearts coming back for more.

RESOLVING CONFLICT

Teaching our kids how to resolve conflict with one another has been one of the most effective ways to winning their hearts.  In a home where ten different personality types live, conflict is unavoidable.  We call our home, the laboratory for life and teach our sons that the way they treat their mother and sisters is the way they will one day treat their wives and daughters. Likewise to our daughters, the way they speak to their father and brothers is the way they will one day speak to their husbands and sons.

That is a sobering thought, but it’s true.

God in His grace has given us His WORD to teach us how to treat people and given us the FAMILY to practice on a daily basis.  Parents have the unique opportunity while their children live under their roof to teach, train, and mentor them in conflict resolution.

 

THE HOT SEAT

There are times when a child sins, and we have found out about it, Joey and I bring them to what we call, “The hot seat”.  The hot seat is where the offender sits, faced by both parents, and the sin is addressed. This is not the norm, we don’t implement the hot seat every time sometime disobeys, but rather, when a child reaches the age of around 12 to 16, and we believe that they need us both in order to “come clean”.  The secret to the success of the hot seat is simple.

  • Maintain a united front
  • Use scripture as your guide
  • Take all the time you need

The goal of the hot seat is confession and repentance.

Sometimes the hot seat lasts for hours, with layers upon layers of deceit and offenses needing to be uprooted.  Sometimes it only takes a few minutes.  The end result has always been, that we win their hearts and build another brick in the wall of their character.

God has given us His word to show us how to love others.  Seek to win your child’s heart and the actions will follow.

 

Sowing Seeds

You-See-Seeds-but-I-See-the-Trees

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 9:10

What seeds have you been given?

In late December of 2015 I was blessed to cross paths with the Patriot Journalist Network, where I met the founder, Mark Prasek.  As a former coach, I quickly learned that his passion is to add value to others, and whether he realizes it or not,

he is influencing the influencers.

By providing a 24/7 forum online, like-minded people who are burdened for our nation, can come together and make a difference collectively online.  During several chat room discussions with the other members, Mark set an important example.  He encouraged others to use what you have already been given.

Seeds

As I was praying for my family, church, community, and nation, the Lord pricked my heart and I thought, “What is it that I have already been given?”

The Lord has given us a home, and a large family who all love Him.

A husband who is gifted in song writing and worship leading, with a powerful life story.

Love of cooking and hosting

Years of experience planning major events from fund raisers to formal balls for our local homeschooling community.

Through a series of events and confirmations, a vision was born.  Our family began to host monthly potluck dinners followed by a sweet time of music and testimony led by my husband.

These evenings are called GATEWAY

With so many of our family members touching different circles in the community, we decided to open it up to anyone who wanted to attend and allow our kids to invite their friends.

Paul says in 2 Cor. 10:13, “But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even you.” 

You see, the Lord has given each of us an “area of influence” where we can reach out and influence others.  It may be a momma reading a bedtime story to her young children,  a college student hosting a bible study in his apartment, an educator teaching students how to write pro-life speeches,  or a data engineer creating an online forum where thousands of powerful tweets are sent out daily.

We’ve all been given something by God, and a circle of influence that He wants to use to further His kingdom.

What about you?

What are your seeds?

I encourage you today to sow YOUR seeds with VISION.

 

The Heartbeat

6:00 am.

The alarm and the toddler both wake me up.  I stumble to the coffee maker and reach for my cell phone to listen to the daily audible Bible, while loading a full dishwasher.

The morning was harried and stressful.  It was the first day back to our weekly homeschool program after a long Christmas break.  Each of my kids arise and are dressing for the day.  Still dark outside, the air was piercingly frigid.  We busily hunted for shoes, jackets, and backpacks while we frantically rushed to pack seven lunches.

7:30 am.

We arrive at our destination and start unloading the van.

As the kids make their way to chapel, I visit with other moms. So far, a normal day for us.  My reluctant toddler decides school isn’t for her today, so I’m dealing with clinging hands, trying to coax her into her room.

My class starts in a few hours, and I spend the next hours researching and going over my notes so that I can prepare to teach.

When all of a sudden, my ordinary day instantly turns extraordinary by the presence of the living God…

Through a simple text.

It is now a monumental day…

11 am

My adult daughter, pregnant with her first baby, sends me a text following her very first visit to the midwife.

“I heard the heartbeat”.

The tears began streaming down my face.

My GRANDCHILD’S heart is beating strong!

How can I put this feeling into words?

The realization that your first born child, is carrying your first born grandchild.

Pure Joy inexpressible.

By the grace of God, I’ve carried to term and delivered eight healthy children over the past 21 years.  I remember the posters on the wall of the doctor’s office where I was sitting when my husband and I heard my oldest child, Bethany’s, heartbeat for the very first time.  I remember how we celebrated and wiped away the tears because God had given us the desire of our heart.

I remember that day and I will always remember today.

This extraordinary day.

When a text told me, that new life is here.

The heartbeat means just that….a heart is alive, and beating.

My prayer is that this child’s heart beat, will inspire others to continue to beat.

…That this child will send a message on the value of human life, from their tiny home, my daughter’s womb.

“Let the little children come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matt 19:14

I wrote this story two years ago. In the summer of 2014 Temperance Chloe  was born. She was born on the one year anniversary of the passing of a very significant Pro-Life bill that had passed the Texas Legislature HB2, which my church family and friends were deeply involved with in prayer circles and in Austin the year before.  I believe the Lord will use this beautiful young life to speak to the nation about the sanctity of human life, and the value and worth of every heartbeat.

More good news!!! Today, March 22, 2016

I got another text….

“We have a strong heartbeat!”  Yes, Grandbaby #2 arrives in October!

hb2

All Creation

ALL CREATION

Words and music by Joseph P. Lichnovsky © 2015

Everywhere I look I see

Your beauty and your majesty

All creation sings the name of Christ

Every little bird and flower

Was made by God in awesome Power

Hear them singing sweetly songs of praise

All creation sings the story

Of my blessed Savior’s glory

He has done just as the word says

Christ is risen from the dead

So let every living breathing thing

Worship and adore the King

For He has planned this purpose for our lives

When we exalt the Lord alone

He will call the lost sheep home

All the newborn babes in Christ rejoice.

CHORUS

 

Strength Made Perfect

4-ways-to-turn-weaknesses-into-strength

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~2 Cor. 12:9

“Everyone has a disability. Some are just more visible than others.” ~JPL

What happens when a mom of many loses her voice completely?

What about when a pianist begins to lose her eyesight and can’t read the music?

What happens when an athlete is injured?

Or a musician loses his hearing?

What happens?

Recently I’ve been thinking about these questions because I have been battling a hard case of laryngitis. As the master scheduler running a busy bustling household, this has become more than just an inconvenience, but a major challenge. Using a pen and paper, I have discovered that I do not write near as fast as I talk! Not to mention those cute (non-reading) preschoolers having fun trying to interpret moms hand signals and facial expressions.

This past two weeks of suffering ‘muteness’ has caused me to really reflect on God’s plan in my home and marriage and all the ways God has used weaknesses to show Himself strong. It has quieted my soul, as well as my tongue.

We learn obedience through what we suffer….

Our family is no stranger to suffering. My wonderful husband of 24 years and father to our eight children was born with Cerebral Palsy which makes simple tasks like getting out of bed, putting on shoes, and walking to the car a daily challenge.

“How blessed is the man whose strength is in Him” ~Psalm 84:5

At 2.2 pounds 51 years ago, when Joey was born, the prognosis from the doctor to his parents was grim with a slim chance for survival. The news to his parents, still very raw from the loss of Joey’s twin brothers a few years earlier at only six weeks old, was almost more than they could bear.

For literally, 40 days and nights, the tiny infant lived in an incubator, while his creator ministered to his fragile body. Day by day he gained a little more strength…

Over that first year, the doctors told his parents he would never walk, never ride a bike, never go to school, and never even play a musical instrument.

But God had other plans. Strength was being perfected in weakness.

At the tender age of 3, this miracle child experienced another hardship, which would prove even more painful in so many ways.

He became a child of divorce.

His first 5 years of life were full of doctor visits and surgeries and finally, at age five, with the help of a very strong willed step-father, He learned to walk…for the very first time.

His mother decided that her son was smart, and he deserved the same chance as other kids. So she started her personal campaign to get her handicapped child admission into the public school.

He would be the very first disabled child in the school district to attend the public school.

Strength made perfect.

Public school was both a blessing and a curse. The break from the tensions of home helped him find peace, but the social pressures and school work at times became very challenging.

At the age of 8, after major surgery, he was placed in a full body cast. After every surgery he would learn to walk all over again.

The child loved sports more than anything, he secretly wanted to play baseball and would call out a memorized batting line up as he threw a tennis ball on his garage door. Loneliness became a way of life.

His German mother, who fought so hard to get her son into public school, was now on a new mission.

She would be the founder of the first and only handicapped baseball league. Joey would finally get to play. Making headline news, and finding support from local Houston Astros, Joey, along with his assigned “buddy”, would round the bases and experience the thrill of the game.

He was 11 years old.

Strength made Perfect in weakness…

But life was lonely. There were many questions.

Questions about life and God – questions his parents weren’t able to answer.

So God sent a man to their family, who gave Joey some literature about the gospel and the seed continued to grow.

Growing up, he discovered music in his loneliness, and has since been able to teach his children to embrace the silence of life, and to not be afraid of loneliness.

Strength made perfect.

As a father, he teaches them that you don’t have to be surrounded by people to find significance. It is in that very loneliness, that God becomes more real, more near. They learned that Jesus sticks closer than a brother.

He has modeled from the very beginning unconditional love and fought vigorously against a performance based love with his kids.

His natural talent as a musician was evident. During hundreds of hours of alone time, he would play his instrument. Through the sometimes lifesaving bi-monthly visits with his father, Joey began to play music professionally.

He was 15.

College at Texas A&M was not easy. He was on his own, and did not look back. Playing music for cash to get through school meant driving in to college station from Houston at 5am to make an 8 am class.

But this overcomer never quit.

With a turbulent home life, Joey poured himself into his music and playing.

In 1987, in a dirty hotel room, after a very successful gigging night, this broken man, found Jesus.

He was 23 years old.

His exact words were, “Lord, if I can’t live solely for you, just kill me now, because I don’t want to live without you.”

Growing in his Christian faith became a passion.   He served as a summer missionary in downtown Houston, as well as in Colorado. It was in April of 1989 that my life would be changed forever.

It was the day I met Joey.

Our BSU director introduced us, he said, “Joey, here is a gal I think you need to meet”.

All I could see was JESUS. His love and His light radiated from this man.

We spent many hours together talking about our mutual love for the Lord. And two and a half years later, we married. January of 1992. 23 years and 8 amazing children later, I am overwhelmed by the spirit of this man. His fearless attitude and overcoming spirit is contagious and permeates our entire home. He never makes excuses, and by example teaches us to do the same. He knows the source of his strength. He knows why we are weak…why God allows us to suffer…

to drive us to Jesus – the source of all our strength.

I have been so blessed to live with the most amazing, steady, loving, faithful, talented, visionary, passionate, and respected man over this past quarter of a century. The gifts and calling of God on his life inspire me more today than even when we first met. It is a tremendous honor and a privilege to be called his wife, to walk by his side every day. I am thankful for his love for me through all these years, and for how he has raised our kids with conviction and integrity and for modeling what it means to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, oh man, what is good, and what the Lord doth require of you, But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

 

What happens when a wife and mom of many loses her voice completely? When she is unable to speak and teach, instruct, encourage, train, mentor, love, and edify the family???

…She finally writes that blog post

His Strength is Made Perfect in our Weakness

 

 

The Parenting Secret


“Just wait till their teenagers!”

This was the common refrain we heard every weekend at the ballpark while cheering on our six year old athlete and chasing her three younger siblings around the bleachers.

I often think back at how I felt when I would hear those words: overwhelmed, fearful, confused, even sad. It was as if people were communicating to me, “One day you’ll be sorry for having all those kids!”

How sad

Here’s a newsflash

It is 17 years later….and

I’m not sorry

Recently, my husband was asked to give his #1 parenting advice.  If he could tell young parents one thing, what would it be? How does he raise such great kids? Without a second thought he spoke the most profound words…

Wait for it…

joey and cassidy

“NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES

YOU MUST WIN THEIR HEARTS.”

He went on to say that one reason why our family is working, was that when we first were married and starting a family, we made an intentional decision to win their hearts at a very young age. We would hold them as long as they needed to be held, never worrying about “spoiling” them. We would look them in the eye and listen to their side of the story, even if we already knew our answer. Our discipline would be swift and fair, always working to have the punishment fit the crime, followed by a sweet time of love and reconciliation.

We decided to make every effort to be involved in their lives, ask questions, find out how they were processing situations, love them with our lives, and introduce them one day to the source of all love. We decided to love each other in front of them first, always reminding them that daddy and mommy were here first, and love them in such a way, that no matter what they did, or where they went, they would always know the height and depth and width and breadth of our love for them.

Just like the Lord.

My husband said to me that it didn’t really matter if they followed all the rules of the home, obeyed us at home and in public, performed great in school, used nice manners, were star athletes and musicians, or even led worship with their youth group. Raising kids who ONLY follow the rules for the sake of outward appearance means that we are raising them for how they will make US look, how WE are perceived by society.

“OH look at that beautiful family!”

If parents are only concerned with how their kids behave, they may win the early battles, but by the time they turn 18 and are ready to leave on their own,

You will have lost the war.

In our home, we did not want to raise a bunch of rule followers, keepers of the law…Pharisees.

We knew that if we didn’t have their hearts, we didn’t have a thing. If they obeyed outwardly but inwardly resented or even hated us, we would have failed.

Check out the Parenting Secret Part TWO…

https://sowwithvision.com/2016/03/16/the-parenting-secret-part-two/

Let me know your thoughts!  You can follow me on Twitter @sow_with_vision