I woke up this morning to the sound of invaders in my house. When I came downstairs I found the invaders had strewn Cheerios all over the dining room table and chairs, and on the floor. They scattered my daughter's stuffed animals around the living room and left socks and other unmentionables laying around. Then they escaped out the front door, leaving it wide open so the cold November air could invade the house as well.
When I was in my office checking e-mail I think they revisited because I heard dramatic screams of, "Stop touching me!" and, "Leave me alone!" They even went upstairs and turned the lights on in my kids' bedrooms - and left them on. Although the perpetrators' voices sounded like my own kids, I know we were invaded because my children have emphatically professed their innocence in this case.
So, if you're in the Lansing, Michigan area, be on the look out for these invaders. I'm quite sure there are three of them. They sounded like two males and a female to me. It appears they will eat Cheerios and favor the Apple Cinnamon variety over Honey Nut. Chances are they are running around barefoot, yes, even in this cool weather. In fact, I think they like the cold - perhaps that's why they have an aversion to closing doors. These invaders don't appear to be dangerous, so don't be alarmed if you see them. Just offer them a toasted bagel and then send them my way to close the doors and turn off the lights.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I have been going through the book of Matthew during my quiet times. This morning I read Matthew 15: 29-39, when Jesus fed four thousand men and their families with seven loaves of bread and a couple of fish. As always, I was impressed with His compassion for the people and His graciousness in healing the crowds that came to Him. It was a little phrase in verse 32 that really stood out to me, though. "I do not want to send them away hungry."
Thinking about this statement reminded me about something I read in Kathy Troccoli's book Live Like You Mean It. One of her "celebrations of the soul" is to Stay Ripe for the Picking. That is, to be so full of God and His love that other's can recieve His love from you. Picture yourself as a tree bursting with the fruit of God's love, that is ripe and ready to be picked, and everyone around you can benefit because of God's love - alive and well in you!
I considered that statement, "I do not want to send them away hungry," and thought about the people I encounter each day. It may be my kids, my husband, my second grade girls in Sunday School, teachers at my kids' school, moms at a MOPS group, the cashier at Meijer, or a stranger in line at the post office. All of these people are hungry for the love of God, and I don't want to send them away hungry! I want to be so full of the love of God that He is bubbling up and overflowing from me. I want each person I encounter to see Him in me. My prayer is that He'll make me sensitive to the look, touch, or word of compassion that each person needs and that He'll move in me to deliver it.
May I encourage you to consider this statement with your kids, too? As they press in on you - your own small crowd - look to Jesus and know that He can take what you have (even when you don't think it's enough), bless it, and feed them. Tired and weary mother, Jesus can fill you up and use whatever you have to give, so that your children will not be hungry. Rest in Him today!
By the way...I mentioned Kathy Troccoli's book above. Well, she's coming to Trinity Church in Lansing, MI on Feb. 2 & 3, 2007. She'll be doing a concert Friday night and a conference Saturday, during which time she'll be talking about the Seven Celebrations of the Soul. Details will be available soon at www.trinitywired.com. Mark your calendar. You don't want to miss this conference!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
What did you have for dinner tonight?
It's Sunday and, in the Hossink household, that means pizza! I'm very predictable, a creature of habit. Sunday dinner consists of frozen pizza - the self-rising kind - one cheese, and one pepperoni. Except for those occassions when one of the yummier kinds is on sale. And except for the other occassions like tonight, when I go to the freezer and realize I forgot to buy pizza at the store last Monday.
The boys were going outside to play and were asking when to be home, as I was heading downstairs to get the pizzas. As I was opening my mouth to say, "Be home in half an hour," I changed my response to, "Awwww! I forgot to get pizza." I turned to go back up and muttered, "I'm such a dummy sometimes." Joshua chimed in, "Just go to Little Caesars and get the Hot & Ready pizza. I like that kind better anyway!"
I looked to the top of the stairs to see Matthew standing with his arms open towards me, and heard the most precious words. "You're not a dummy, Mom. You just forgot. Everyone does that sometimes!" Then he smothered me with hugs and kisses.
His words and love were so precious to me! Little Caesars came through for me tonight, but the best part of dinner was the grace that Matthew poured on me.
Have you had grace poured out on you?
Saturday, November 11, 2006
OK, I'm having "a moment," and I need to vent to someone who I know will understand. So, I'm turning to you. (Yes, I've already prayed!)
I laugh when I consider my last blog - how I considered the night to be so strange because it went incredibly smoothly. Tonight was much more "normal." There was arguing, complaining, procrastinating, blaming, threatening, and disobeying. Right about now, I'd like to get used to "abnormal."
I was feeling so discouraged tonight. Though I was still loving my kids, I wasn't liking them much at all. All the petty bickering and mindless complaining they were doing had me at my wits' end. I began to imagine life without them and wondered, "What if?"
"If I didn't have kids..." Wouldn't life be easier if I was alone? If there were no one at my feet saying, "That isn't fair!" If no one splashed water out of the bath tub onto the floor for me to clean up. If no one asked me to do things I don't want to do. Wouldn't life be easier then?
I just spoke to a wonderful group of ladies at a MOPS meeting last night. Tonight, as I was going through this thought process, I rememered sharing with these women about another time when I went through a similar "What if?" series. My conclusion that time was, "If I didn't have kids...I wouldn't be changing." I know God is using them to make me into the woman He wants me to be. I know there is a reason for these trials I face. I know God is good, and all this stuff is for my ultimate good.
But tonight I was feeling rotten. I just sat there thinking about how "easy" it would be if I didn't have kids, and I prayed, "Lord, please remind me how precious these children are. Remind me how much I love them. Remind me how much You love them. Remind that I am blessed to have them and to be their mother. Remind me how empty my life would be without them."
When they were finally all in bed and my husband asked me, "So, what do you want to do now?" I answered him with a simple statement, "I want to cry." And I told him about my thoughts, and I did cry.
I don't want to wish these days away. I don't want to spend my days waiting for the time when raising my children will be "easy." (My mom says that day will never come, anyway!) I want to live each day to it's fullest, and love my kids to the fullest in every day. God knows just what I need in my life to make me holy. I don't like that I struggle with my kids, but I have confidence God knows what He's doing.
I'm not the only mother who feels this way, am I? I'm not the only one who feels a little crazy sometimes, am I? - Waffling between, "These kids are driving me nuts!" and "My life wouldn't be complete without them!" Please, someone tell me I'm normal!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I've been thinking a lot today about living in God's grace, and having hope in the hard times of motherhood. Those are two of the points I'm sharing in a MOPS talk tomorrow, and I spent significant time today rehearsing that talk. Good thing - I needed to put those ideas into practice tonight!
My husband is out of town for a couple of days. Need I say more???
After repeating to myself all afternoon that I want to be refined like silver, and that I want the impurities within me to be "burned away," I should've known there would be testing tonight! It started after school with arguments about friends coming over, getting homework done, and having TV time. Hamburger Helper was on the menu for dinner (I always go easy on myself when Brian's gone!) and, although this is usually a big hit with the kids, tonight it just made the arguing drag on.
Joshua wanted pancakes! "Hamburger Helper is gross!" (Since when???) It didn't matter how much I reminded him he liked it last time. Tonight it simply wouldn't do. We got into other minor battles until Joshua thought the entire world was against him and began mumbling that, "No one even gives him what he likes to eat."
Throughout the entire process, I was praying - Asking God to help me love my kids, asking Him to help me keep self-controlled, asking Him to fill me with compassion. Somewhere in the midst of it all, God must have been working because He got me to have compassion on Joshua. Really, it had to be God, because it was so not me!
I went over to the freezer and grabbed two pancakes and popped them in the toaster. When I brought them out to the table and sat them in front of Joshua, his eyes lit up and he let out a little gasp. (What a simple thing to do to make him feel special!) I thought, "Yes! I finally did something right!"
...Until Matthew (who, moments before, had been cheering for Hamburger Helper) started to cry. Then I thought, "Ugh! I can't do anything right!" Elizabeth looked at me with compassion and said what I was thinking, "Is this why you didn't want to make something different for Joshua?" But Joshua said I just needed to give Matthew time and he'd get over it. I knew what I really needed to do was pray, and remember God is good - all the time - and ask Him to lead me through this fire.
Matthew did get over it. He even had seconds of Hamburger Helper.
After dinner the kids cleared the table, and washed and dried the dishes - all without much prodding on my part. For a moment, I wondered who these strangers were in my kitchen, and what they did with my children! But as I looked at them closely, I determined they really were my kids. Weird!
Then, Joshua and Matthew wanted to play "Tickle Wrestle." The object of this game is for them to run around me on the floor, where I am supposed to sit in one spot - keeping one "cheek" on the floor at all times - trying to catch them as they run past and tickle them until they beg for mercy. I had other things to do, but agreed to play - with joy, even - and this time wondered who the stranger was who'd invaded my body. Was that really me being unselfish? Weird!!
When it was time for bed, of course there were some problems - water all over the bathroom counter and floor, and a very un-focused child - but overall it was a peaceful bedtime. We gathered in my room to read the Bible and pray, and Joshua even begged to do some of the reading. Weird!!! Elizabeth didn't object to him reading. Weirder, still!!!!
This is where it really gets strange. They're all in bed asleep!!! Just like I told them to do!!!
Wait a minute. Is it really me who's sleeping? Is this just a dream?? Where am I???
No, I'm awake. Sitting here at my computer, smiling.
When this evening began, I was afraid for what I was going to face. I was imagining getting angry with my kids when things weren't going well - and I was not wanting that image to become reality. But I chose to live in God's grace tonight - fully depending on Him to work in and through me. Yes, I believe I was tested tonight. For once, I feel like I passed!
Now, I think I'll go over that talk one more time before I go to bed.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The kids were happy today. No school. None tomorrow, either. A four day weekend. Great - for them!
I was noticing my irritablity and impatience today, and not liking it! I was thinking, "Why do I get irritated so quickly? Why am I impatient? I don't like this!" My heart's desire is to reflect the love of Jesus to my children. I understand that I'm in a refining process right now. I understand that God is using my children to make me into the woman He wants me to be. I am confident that He is good - all the time. And I do have hope because of who He is and what He's doing. But I was quite discouraged with myself today.
Then came bed time, and I had to sing to the kids. If you've read Confessions of an Irritable Mother, you know I can't sing when I'm emotional without crying, too. And so it was tonight. I sat on the edge of Elizabeth's bed, a mess of emotion inside, and couldn't hide the tears any longer. I said, "I'm sorry, honey. I don't mean to cry in front of you." And she replied, "That's OK, Mommy. I understand. That's how I was feeling at dinner tonight." (And I recalled that she was teary at dinner - I thought it was just because she didn't like what I made!)
I hugged Elizabeth, and thanked her for understanding. Yes, she's growing up, and getting hormonal and emotional just like me. My precious little girl - no, big girl! And how sweet are those words, "I understand."