Tag Archive | Family

Enjoying the Process

Life is such a funny thing.  You think you have it all figured out and then  it goes and changes on you.  I am certainly glad God knows what He is doing because often times I haven’t got a clue!  I don’t think that God keeps me in the dark to be cruel or watch me squirm (ok, sometimes I do think that is exactly why He does it – but it isn’t true!!)

God knows me inside and out better than I know myself and He knows exactly what I would do if He told me all the plans ahead of time.  I would map out the quickest route to my end destination, skip from step A straight to Z and wind up in a big mess waaaaay over my head with no idea what to do or how to trust Him.  I am an instant gratification type person (aren’t most of us?) and I simply do not have the patience to trudge through several years of “preparation time” before finally reaching my final goal.  I want that goal and I want it now!!

The problem with that is this; with out trials there is no testing of our faith.  With no testing there is no chance to learn to trust in God or stand firm in times of trouble or testimonies and memories of Gods favor and help for us to fall back on when it gets tough.  If I had all the information of what God has planned for me and ran with it, skipping all the tough, painful and VITAL hardships and “barriers” in my way I would wind up neck-deep in trouble with none of the tools I need to dig myself out.

I could get frustrated, angry even, at how things are going right now but I am starting to learn to just TRUST Him and enjoy the process.

I have moved 3 times in the last 4 months and I am about to move AGAIN! The first time I moved I had no choice, the place I had lived for a year was being over run with mold.  I was left living with my sweet dad and step mom with no idea what to do next.  I truly felt lost and questioned everything I had decided was from the Lord.  I was near despair and full-blown depression after just a month.  I finally cried out to God and asked Him to move me closer to the goal.  I couldn’t stretch any further I needed Him to move me forward in His plans.

Quickly after this prayer I was finally able to find an apartment I could afford and I thought, “YES! This is where the Lord wants me to do foster care. I am just starting to get on my feet, I can’t expect to have my farm right away.  I will just continue helping friends with their gardens and wait to get any animals – this is God’s good will.”  I got a two bedroom knowing ahead of time that the second room was for someone else (the foster kids) and E.v.e. would be staying with me in my room.  Only I didn’t get foster kids – my precious sister Lambchop came and lived with me before her big missions trip.  “Okay,” I think to myself, “this is good.  This will work.  She will live in the second room and I will start to foster once she leaves. It could be just a month or two or it could be a year that she lives with me but we will learn so much from each other and THIS is the good will of God.”

A friend of hers gave her a bunch of wonderful furniture and our little tiny apartment gets filled with lovely things that make it feel like a home.  My sweet sister left after a month for her missions trip and left all her things behind for me to care for.  Now I have an apartment that is cozy and inviting and NOW I am ready to foster.  I have a lease for a year so this is where we will stay.  THIS is the good will of God.  I began the process right away and like my last post stated I scheduled my home study.  As the day approached I became more and more confident that I was going to pass with flying colors and be fostering within months.  However, I also became increasingly aware of the dangers lurking in my apartment complex.

By the time my homestudy appointment came around I had encountered enough crime that I was not comfortable where I was living any more.  My lovely little home felt more like a very thin cocoon protecting me from circling vultures.  I know that God can and does protect us from harm but this felt like unnecessary endangerment.  I explained it to a friend this way – Just because I believe God will protect me from danger doesn’t mean I should walk down the middle of the free way – and that is what living at this apartment very quickly began to feel like.

The week of my home study I got a call from someone who will stay anonymous.  He and his wife were moving to a new home and they were offering to give me there three bedroom brick home to foster in! It still had a mortgage but it’s payments were the same I was paying in rent!  I began to get very excited!   I had my home study at the apartment the day after I prayerfully decided I would accept the offer of the house.  The case worker said the apartment would work for foster care but the prospect of a house would be better.  I would have to wait to apply to be a foster parent till I was in the house but then it should be a very quick process. “Okay God, I see where this is going.  I got the apartment to experience living on my own and to be blessed with this free furniture until I can afford to buy my own, plus all the other priceless lessons I learned here and now you are taking me to this new house to do foster care.  I can have a little garden and a couple of chickens and a dog – it’s not the farm I would like but it’s better than the apartment, maybe THIS is the good will of God.”

So, where I am now is in the middle of the third move.  My story has almost caught up to present time.  Everything that has happened so far was very quick.  Things changed from one week to the next but now for the rest of my story things are changing from one DAY to the next and in some cases one HOUR to the next.  Talk about whip-lash!

I couldn’t have the house until June but didn’t want to stay in the apartment between now and then so I took up a couch surfing existence.  I would stay with one friend when I knew I was going to need to be on that side of town the next day and I would stay with my dad when I knew I would need to be on his side of town the next day.  It worked for a week and I slowly started moving things over to the house I would be living in soon.  As I am typing this MOST of my belongings are still in the apartment I no longer live in but still pay rent for – talk about super expensive storage unit!! With everything happening so quickly I just haven’t been able to know where to move my things to so there they sit.

I knew that I was going to have to replace of couple of the windows before I could do foster care in the house.  (DSS is very strict about their window requirements!) I figured when I got a loan from the bank to buy the loan from the current owners I would just tack on a couple extra thousand dollars to cover the cost of replacing them.  Well, upon further inspection I realized that I would need to replace ALL the windows in the 3 bedrooms.  It wouldn’t be such a big deal except the house is brick.  Very expensive to install larger windows into.  As I did the math and went through all my options I suddenly realized – this isn’t going to work.  The Bible says that the blessings of God carry no sorrow but this house was going to cause me plenty of sorrow.  I was going to have to go much, MUCH further into debt than I had originally thought and the payments were going to be higher than I thought.  Also, because of a clause we found in the current owners loan they couldn’t actually sell me the property for 3 more years.  In the end it was going to take a lot longer to be able to foster than I felt like I could handle.

So then I am left with the disappointment of realizing all the plans I had made for that house (in the few short days I thought I would get to live there) were all gone.  By now though I am used to things of this nature happening so I was able to quickly recover and try to figure out what to do next. That is the wonderful blessing of previous trials!!! I have already figured out that if one thing doesn’t work start looking for what is next – don’t waste time freaking out!!

I had already decided I could not stay in the apartment any longer but didn’t have anywhere else to go.  Just an hour later my sweet dad and step mom stopped by my apartment.  (I was sitting in the disheveled, messy living room with random bits of missing furniture feeling very lost and frustrated…..basically I was pouting)

They had talked amongst themselves and wanted to know if I would like to move waaaaaaaay out into the country to live on their property and foster there.  They had a little double wide trailer that was vacant and there was 6 acres of land on which I could garden to my heart’s content and have any animals I would like as long as I took care of them.  Visions of chickens, goats, rabbits and a lush garden instantly danced in my mind.

It was like the sun started to shine again.  “ok ok ok THIS is the good will of God!”  I don’t know how long I will get to enjoy this opportunity.  I may never even get to move in but I have decided I am going to just trust God and enjoy the process.  I have had so much FUN the last couple of days doing TONS of research about different animals that are suitable for a small family farm and how to care for them.  I can now tell you just about anything you would like to know about raising goats, chickens, rabbits and even how to raise fish in a barrel just to name a few!  I have also found loads of wonderful ideas about how to build the various stalls and such that I would need to care for these animals for very cheap (FREE in a lot of cases) I don’t know if I will get to use all this information at this new location I will be moving to soon or if it just another stepping stone preparing me for something maybe even better but I am not going to waste my time worrying about it.

I can’t help but laugh at myself as I realize that all these things have been the good will of God.  I kept feeling like I had failed or heard wrong or missed something but I never did.  Every step of the way I am being guided along the journey.  Like a silly sheep I keep stopping to nibble at the few parched weeds along the path thinking “this must be where we are going, I guess this is all I have to eat” not realizing the Shepherd is trying to get me down the road to the pasture full of lush, delicious grasses.  I keep trying to stop and put down roots but all this is just the journey to the destination.

I guess in all this I am just trying to say that I have decided to not care about tomorrow, I am going to let God take care of that.  I am just going to worry about today and trying to use each “today” to get me one step closer to my two simple dreams – 1. A self-sustaining family farm located anywhere God would like to put it 2. filled with wounded children I have the honor of showing the love of God.

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About “Life”

This is where all the Misc. stuff ends up!  Stories about my daughters funny antics, events in my life and random thoughts that don’t fit in my other categories. Like this picture for example of my Sweet Dad and Little E.v.e. dressed up as a king and princess….priceless! ❤ (and no her hair isn’t really greasy – she had just gotten out of the bath)

 

“Me” Time? Wha??

I have been a mom for 3 years, 2 weeks, and 2 days.  If you add up all the times I have gone to the store with out her, dropped her off for music lessons or gone out to coffee with friends I have spent maaaaybe a total of 7 full days with out my daughter with me….SEVEN out of 1,111 days!!!!  We spend every moment of the day together.   Most days I am lucky if I get to go pee alone! 

Now, I love being a mom.   I love it so much in fact that most days I can’t think of a single thing I would rather be doing than spending time with my little E.v.e.  but I think it is time for us to make some changes.  E.v.e. is getting older.  She is totally willing and able to go long stretches of time with out me and she really needs to have that opportunity so that she can define herself and become more independent.   To be honest, I really need to develop those things in myself as well.  We have reached a turning point in our mother-daughter relationship where if we don’t both allow ourselves and each other to be defined as two separate people we run the risk of forming a co-dependant relationship.  I am not just ‘E.v.e.’s mom’ I am me too and as much as I love being ‘E.v.e.’s mom’ I need to learn how to enjoy being just me again. 

I have no shortage of supply when it comes to people willing to watch her for me.  The problem is I have no idea what to do with myself!  I laid awake last night for nearly 2 hours trying to think of something – anything – that I could do for myself so that we could both have some time away from each other and I got nothing. Zero. Zilch.  Nada. 

I can’t remember the last time I did something just for myself that I really enjoyed aside from painting and crafts and stuff but I just don’t have the money for that.  I gotta figure out what I like to do!! Sheesh – 26 years old and no clue how to spend my ‘me time’!!

Graduation Day

Thanks to the bold, quick-thinking actions of a dear friend today I was finally able to see what she had known for some time now.  E.v.e. is no longer the precious, innocent little lamb that always tells the truth. She has officially graduated into being a little girl and has discovered her amazing talent of manipulation. 

E.v.e. screamed, pointed blame – someone hit her – the accused child begrudgingly admits he did – he is sent to his room for a spanking – E.v.e. runs to momma for comfort – I stroke her hair and realizing she is not hurt say ‘he just hurt your feelings didn’t he?’ – E.v.e. buries her face in my leg eliciting more comfort – I go back to making breakfast.

Sadly, no flags went up.  No realization of what just transpired. I have cozy feeling of being a comforting mom, E.v.e. is happy once again and starts to go off to play.  Just thinking about it now that I understand what really happened in those few short minutes makes my stomach turn.  I am sickened by my own actions!

I can’t even begin to describe the range of emotions I felt as my friend kneeled down to my daughters level and began to talk to her in a hushed, commanding tone of voice.  E.v.e. froze and hung her head – she knew this lady meant business!  First, my precious friend asks what her son had done to E.v.e. “He hit you where? On your foot? It looks fine to me. (E.v.e. was wearing shoes -.- why didn’t I catch that??)You weren’t really hurt were you?  You just wanted to get him in trouble.  That is called manipulation and that is very wrong.  Now, he is going to have to get a spanking for hitting you because hitting is wrong too but you knew he didn’t hurt you and still wanted to get him in trouble didn’t you?”  And then, to my great sorrow, my little lamb turned into a little snake right before my eyes as she nodded her head yes. 

I was filled with an overwhelming rush of emotions – guilt, embarrassment, sadness, gratitude, remorse and understanding – my child had just intentionally gotten one of her friends in trouble for really no reason and I had fallen for it hook, line and sinker!  She was mad and used me to retaliate against someone she felt had wronged her.  I had coddled my child and allowed her to act like a brat.

In that moment I realized she is no longer my little baby, she is my little girl.  I awkwardly sat at the dinning room table as my friend went to administer punishment to her son.  She was being a good mom.  Yes, her son was wronged – he hadn’t really hurt E.v.e. but instead of coddling him in return she punished him for the action he knew was wrong. You don’t hit your friends even a little. 

I don’t know that I would have done the right thing if I were in her shoes.  If someone had gotten my child in trouble on purpose for something so little I would have gone back to that room and had a ‘talk’ with her.  I would have reminded her that hitting was wrong and maybe even apologized for her friend being so mean and trying to get her in trouble and might have even told her to forgive her friend.  I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have spanked her because she would have been very quick to emphasize the fact that she had been wronged so should be let off the hook.  *blech* excuse me while I throw up a little!  I do have to be fair to myself though, a few months ago there would have been no hesitation on my part. I would have marched her right back to the bedroom and spanked her butt! It is only recently that my daughter has acquired her manipulation skills and started trying to argue and reason with me. Since then I have allowed my child manipulate me into the very kind of mom I swore I would never be!  I coddle her, I let her off the hook when she makes a good argument about why she should be, I let her whining wear me down to the point of submission just so I don’t have to hear her ask me ‘whyyyyyyyyy?’ one more time. 

As I waited for my friend to come back from being an awesome mom I knew I had to say something.  I swallowed my pride that initially wanted me to pretend like nothing had happened or like somehow it had been my friends job to do and say what she had done and so didn’t require any mention of it on my part.  E.v.e. came and stood beside me and I could see her remorse all over her face.  She knew she had done wrong.  She even winced when she heard the “swack” sound from the back room and looked up at me with her sad, sweet face.  “What you did to your friend was very wrong sweety.  You owe him an apology. He got a spanking because of how you acted. Do you understand that?”  She nodded and hung her head.  There could be no denying it.  I, too, had wronged her friend. 

When my friend came back down the hall I tried my best to stammer out any sort of thing I could say to let her know I understood.  I can’t even really remember what I said other than that I guess I get manipulated a lot because I just did NOT see it.  I was totally blind to it and had no excuse other than I don’t know how to recognize it or correct it.

As she was walking out the door to go to work I realized two things – first, I admire and respect her more than most women I know and second, I have a LOT more left to learn.  Gone are the days of simple discipline.  I now have to sift through a cloud of manipulation to get to the truth of a situation and train my daughter how to respond in a godly way rather than responding out of the flesh and human instinct to manipulate a situation to her benefit.

 E.v.e. wasn’t the only one that graduated today.  I did too.

– Nichole

Love, thank you for such a wonderful friend that isn’t willing to let me keep walking around blind.  Thank you that you gave her the strength and understanding to correct not only my child but me as well in a loving way.  Thank you for her good example in my life.  Give me eyes to recognize when my daughter – or anyone else – is manipulating me and help me to know how to correct it.  Help me to see when I am manipulating others and teach me the right way to respond.  Thank you for letting parenting come in stages and not everything all at once.  Help E.v.e. and I both learn quickly how to interact with each other in a good, godly, and healthy way that leads to us both growing more towards the women you have called us to be.