{Bloom} Where You’re Planted

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One of my sweet friends, Tracy Hales, posted this meme on her Facebook wall today. Needless to say, it could not have come at a move perfect time.

As a part-time Campus Pastor, full-time mom of two, and a full time wife, at times I feel like my ministry opportunities are not as well versed as they used to me. This past weekend a few of my very good friends hoped on different planes to Haiti to go minister and serve. [Envious does not shine enough light on the emotions I was feeling]. I wanted to go, but having a four month old at home and a job that keeps me extremely busy this time of year, would not allow for me to travel. Not to mention all the typical household chores and projects that need to be done. I have spent my time praying for Luke 101 and the team traveling with them expecting God to do great things through their ministry efforts, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling with not being on Haitian soil with them.

Yesterday, as I was driving to my in-laws, my conversation with God was interrupted by my three year old son, Z. At the first initial question, I was slightly annoyed, because I sharing my heart with the Lord about my disappointment and discouragement of not being in Haiti and feeling like I was failing in areas of ministry. As my son began to speak, God revealed some important truths to me.

Z asked me, “Momma, why did Adam and Eve disobey God?” [To be honest, my mind was disheveled by his, rather, large question]. I grabbed the rearview mirror, pulling it down, so I could look at him as I spoke… “Son, satan tricked her into thinking God did not care about her. He made her think God was keeping her from doing something that would make her better and smarter.” (Can I just say that trying to talk serious topic with my son concerning the Bible is extremely intimidating). As I watched his little three year old mind work by the inquisitive look on his face I knew he was really trying to process what I was saying. A few minutes later, he said, “Momma?” “Yes, son.” I replied. “Was Eve just being selfish?” he asked. “Yeah, I suppose she was. She wasn’t thinking about the affect of her actions on herself or other people,” I said. Then Z said, “God told her not to eat that fruit; that apple. She did it any way though. That was not very smart!”

I took that moment to explain to my sweet curious boy that we ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s love, but that is why we need Jesus. I explained it ore simple terms how we are “not very smart” on even our best days. I asked him if Daddy and I ever ask him to do something and he disobeys us? He quickly responded with, “When you told me not to jump on the couch and I did it any way? Then I hit my head.” “Yes, exactly like that! I wasn’t telling you that to keep you from having fun, but because I knew the dangers that come from jumping on the couch. You could have gotten hurt, and you did. It is the same way with God and Eve. God knew what was on that tree could hurt her, and she disobeyed him anyway,” I said. He quickly interrupted exclaimed, “Then she got hurt forever.” Ha! Yeap!

As I continued driving, I watched him mull over those words and his little big thoughts. God reminded me right then that even though I am not in Haiti doing ministry… MY MINISTRY IS HERE! My boys are my ministry and through them I will leave my legacy. I have an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on this world through the men of character and integrity they become. Through our discussions about the Bible and our Creator, I may possibly assist my sons in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their classmates, friends, teammates, and their precious children.

I felt color filling my pale fall face and tears swelling in my eyes as the Lord brought me back to reality and gave me a lesson in humility. I am doing ministry… every single day! I do ministry from the time my children wake up until they go to bed. From tiny life lessons about seasons changing, those tender prayers he prays every night for the same couple for almost a year and God answers in a HUGE way, from moments where I want to pull my hair out when my [three]nager thinks he knows more than me and tap dances on my last nerve, those precious thirty minutes he climbs in bed to cuddle with me before we start our day, the interrupted bath or potty breaks, the sweet glimpses of his gentleness and love for his brother, or even those billions of “why” questions that sometimes get exhausting… those are teachable moments… ministry moments! From how I reaction, from the words I speak [LIFE or death], from how I communicate my emotions, or even the looks I give… they are all moments for me to minister to my children.

I pray multiple times a day, asking God not to let me screw my children up. Asking for opportunities to share Jesus with my boys and teach them how to be honest, kind, and respectable young men. I am teaching them what to look for in a future wife (by how I treat their dad) and a future mother to their children (by how I treat them). I have my work cut out for me and my focus is needed right where it is. My ministry is here! For now, every minute of every day, this is my ministry and I am working hard on leaving a legacy. I will {BLOOM} where God has planted me. I will take it seriously and realize it’s importance.

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Parenthood Continues

Parenthood is the most rewarding and life-altering experience. There are many twist and turns along the way.

As a mom, I think you always want your family to be put together, rather than falling a part at the seams. You try to make your children look presentable, even though you know by the time you get to where you are going, juice will be all over their “trendy” clothes, they will look like they have bed-head, (even though you spent 10 minutes wrestling them to get their hair into a cute style), the snack, Motts gummies, (with no red dye, because other moms tell you to be cautious) will most likely be stuck to the crotch of their shorts. When go to pull your toddler out of the car, you find yourself wondering why you even bothered. Oh, I forgot to mention the song your child begged to listen to ten times before you reached your destination? (“Ring Of Fire,” “I’m Gonna Be Me,” “Anywhere With You,” and “Buy Me A Boat” to name a few). We see you, momma. You are not alone!

I am learning every moment, of every day, that to be a parent, and not lose your sanity, you must have a sense of humor.  If not, you are like an accountant without knowledge or understanding of math.  You will have a miserable existence and fail epically trying to reach your goal. Granted, with accounting, you could quit and find a new job…that is not how it should work with parenthood. 

Lately, I have been trying to make the most of our beautiful chaos at home. My three year old has had quite a change with his new baby brother entering the world. Uninterrupted time does not come as frequently as it once did, not with Baby J’s needs having to be met and nap times becoming shorter and less frequent. Big Z has been a champ with wanting to help out with his little brother, but I know the transition has not been the easiest.  My husband and I work hard to make sure both of our boys get plenty of our time and attention, but with Z still being a toddler, he tends to want momma a little more. {I am enjoying it while I can}. 

As a momma, struggling with wanting to be the perfect wife and mom, I tend to be spend time picking up after the kiddos, finding time to clean, doing laundry (separate load of course, because the boys clothes are washed in Dreft), figuring out ways to increase my BM supply, pumping, and washing endless amounts of bottles. That doesn’t include time with the hubs, the boys, “self” time (what is that, again?), working, or trying to make dinner.  However, all that said, time with my fellas comes first! 

For some time now, we have been teaching Z how to pick up his toys, sort laundry, and sometimes he tries to help us sweep the kitchen. For the past three weeks, he has been asking to help wash dishes. As most moms know, your time throughout the day is very valuable; lots to do with not enough hours in the day.  My thoughts exactly!

My sweet boy always wants to help… and I am, at times, reluctantly appreciative. Last night, I found myself getting frustrated, as my son sat on the edge of the counter, with his little feet dangling into the stainless steel sink in our kitchen. I was washing the dishes and he was rinsing the soap off each dish I handed him. As the dishes I had washed piled up on his side of the sink, he would pick up a bottle and ask, “Do you see any soap?” In my mind, I would think, Yes, I see soap! It is covered in soap. You haven’t even started rinsing it yet. Then I would calmly answer, “Yes, buddy! I see some soap.”  He would begin to fill the bottle with water, then dump it into the sink, which would splash up, and cover his little burgandy umbro shorts. I would remind him to be careful and not get water all over the place to which he would respond, “It’s okay? Sometimes, it just happens?” “Yes, son, sometimes it just happens.” I would reply to him as he was still rinsing.  Then he would hold up the bottle again and say, “Do you see any soap?” “No, buddy, I don’t! You did a great job!”


  
{All pictures were taken this morning}.


  
One thing about our son is he is independent and strong-willed. I was already done washing all the dishes and he was still taking his time rinsing the cumulating pile on his side. I found myself wanting to rush him, to say, “Hurry, Z! You have to go to bed soon,” or “Let me help you, buddy, so we can hurry up and get done.” Instead, of crushing my big helper’s spirit, I watched him rinse each bottle, nipple, top, and extras, soaking his new soccer shorts, and sometimes accidentally spilling water onto the floor, with encouraging words like “Man, that looks awesome,” “How did you get so good at rinsing?” “You are momma’s big helper,” and so on.


  

~ He was pleased with his work this morning and thanked me for letting him help. ~ Jasper watched us this morning. ~

  

  
My sons need me. My sons need me to be their biggest cheerleader, coach, encourager, teacher, and trainer. They need to know I am so proud of them. They need to know I value them, if and when no one else seems to. They need to know they are both loved unconditionally. They need to know that every thing else can wait when it comes to quality time with them.

As momma, I need to remember to always have a sense of humor. I need to remember how my momma waited on me for all kinds of nuances I brought to the table. I need to remember to encourage and support them. I need to remember to not take life too seriously. I really need to remember to slow down and enjoy every moment with my boys. I need to remember I am their inner voice. I need to remember they will gauge the type woman they marry based on me (what am I showing them). I need to show them Jesus’ unconditional love and how it is patient and perfect! I need to love the mess out of them, every day, in new ways!

I don’t get this right all the time… I am sure I never will, but hopefully, through God’s sufficient grace and love, my boys won’t be too screwed up. 🙂  I am praying for myself as well as other moms out there doing their best and striving for even better. Don’t give up, momma! You aren’t alone… (and I don’t mean because your kid is in the bathroom with you saying, “Momma! Momma!” as you read this). 😀

—thoughts from a new mom of two—

Go Tell It On The Mountains

As I sit here with my iTunes on shuffle and my daydreaming of Haiti… it is only fitting that “Go Tell It On The Mountains” would be begin to play.  Immediately, my mind was swept up in the memories of sharing the story of Jesus’ birth.  To the faces of children caressed in their mother’s arms as they listened.  The faces of children, who’d come with friends or peers to heard about this man named, “Jesus.”

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It made me think of the word “Ayiti” and it’s meaning.  “Ayiti” means “land of mountains,” and what a beautiful land it is.  I have been blessed to go to Haiti six times and lead five teams in sharing the story of Jesus in the land of mountains.  My heart yearns to share more of about Jesus in the “mountains” and “everywhere.”

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There is a longing in my soul to “Go Tell It On The Mountains” to those who have never heard… to those who need to hear of a divine love that offers us grace, restoration, and truth… His name is JESUS!

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Mwen manke Ayiti anpil!

a word can change everything…”mommy!”

Last night I received a phone call from Sarah’s mom.  I had just finished a softball game with Bethany Christian and was pretty pumped about our win.  We were going to eat with the team, so I figured I would return the call after dinner.  During dinner I sent my mom a text message about going on vacation and she replied with, “Did Susan call you?”  I sent her message back telling her that she had called, but that I hadn’t have a chance to call her, but I was planning to once I was done with dinner.  She sent a text message back that said “as soon as possible.”

After that text I told Nick we needed to go, because I needed to return the call.  As soon as we got into the truck, I went ahead and made the phone call.  [At the moment, several things were running through my head… she scored a goal in soccer, she won an award, she was calling to wish me a happy belated birthday, she was really sick, or maybe the impossible, but I quickly put the impossible out of my head].  Sarah’s mom answered the phone with her usual sweet greeting [with Sarah in the background saying, “you said I could tell her”], and told me that Sarah had something she wanted to tell me.  Sarah was quick to take the phone and the next thing to be said to me was from Sarah’s sweet voice, “Hey Mommy!”  [I couldn’t breathe.  I felt like someone has just sucked all the air out of me.  A million things were running through my head, so the only thing I could do was say, “Hey Sarah.”  Then she giggled and said it again, “Hey Mommy!  Mom and dad told me tonight that you are my mom.”  She was so happy!!!  I had no clue how to act or what to say.  I could hardly breathe for goodness’ sake.

I told Sarah I was so excited that I was about to start crying to which she replied, “I know, right?!?!”  [too much like me].  I asked Sarah how they told her and she said, “Mom promised me that the next time Dad was with us they would tell me who my mom was.  I had been asking for a while.  So Mom told me, ‘you know her.’  I replied, ‘I do?”  Then momma said, ‘your mom is Mrs. Ronda.’  I couldn’t believe it.”

I then asked her what she thought about all of this information she had just been given and she said, “When they told me I was so excited and shocked that I leaned back in my chair and just thinking about you being my mom felt like I was falling into clouds.”  [I had the biggest lump in my throat as I was trying to do everything, but cry].  I started laughing and told her how glad I was that she was soooo excited.  Then she asked me, “Is Nick excited about too?”  I reassured her that he was very excited [which was easy to see with his giant smile].  We both talked about the next time we would see one another and how we would do much better about talking on a regular basis now that it wouldn’t be so hard.  Then Sarah told me her mom wanted to talk to me again.  They explained how excited she was and how she told them that “they would always be her mommy and daddy and that she loved them, but she was very excited about finally having two moms.”  She also told me that she couldn’t have seen it going any better than it had and I explained that I totally agreed.

I told them how thankful I was for them and their love for her.  I told them that I couldn’t have picked better parents for her and that I knew that God had His hand in all of it.  I also reassured her that Nick and I only wanted to partner with them in loving her and teaching her about the Lord.  I reminded her that we saw them as her parents, not us, and we would respect their wishes always.  I made sure she knew we only had her best interest at heart and that we were overjoyed by the news we had received.  Wish a promise of a visit as quickly as possible and me thanking them repeatedly, we were close to ending our conversation, so she asked Sarah if she had anything she wanted to tell me before we got off the phone.

Sarah, as quickly as before, took the phone from her mom and said to me, “I love you Momma.  Good night Momma!  I love you, Momma!  Bye Mom.”  [still in shock] I told her, “You have given me the best news possible.  I love you too Sarah.  Good night.”

I could hardly breathe when I hung up the phone with her.  I am pretty sure my feet weren’t touching the ground… my brain wasn’t really working [actually it was in overdrive].  I sent a text message to my mom that said “HOLY COW,” as I explained my conversation with Sarah to Nick, Megan, and Adam.  [Nick had already called his mom and Megan had already text hers].  It was crazy.  Then I finally called my mom.  She already knew because Sarah had called her after they called me and couldn’t reach me.

Sarah told my mom, “Ronda is my mom.  Nick is my dad.  You are my grandma.  Mr. Ronnie is my grandpa.  Russell is my Uncle. Kristopher, Zachary, Zaylee are my cousins.”  Mom said she seemed super excited when she talked to them.  Mom and dad were completely overjoyed as well.

The whole situation with Sarah’s adoption and her knowledge of the situation has turned out to be a total God thing.  To Him be all the glory!  There is no way that it would have turned out this perfectly without His hands all over this.  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for her and me over the years.  They were truly heard.  Thank you!!!  Please continue to pray as we all transition… especially for Nick and I as we transition into a more permanent role in her life.  I love ya’ll!!!!

Ps. Sorry this is soooo rushed and probably jumbled, but I wanted to hurry up and get it out. :]

Children… square peg in a round hole?

Nick and I have been talking about children… scary, huh?  We both know we want children and we don’t want to wait much longer (Lord knows I am not getting any younger).  Children change your life so much… instead of everything being about you, everything is about the child.  Nick and I are not use to that… we do what we want, when we want, however we want.  That won’t be happening once children are thrown into the mix.  We had a long talk on Monday night about the fact that there are still several things that I want to do before we have children and how much harder those things will be to do when we have children to think about.  I feel very overwhelmed with anxiety when I think about all of these things and I don’t want the thought of children to be a source of anxiety for either one of us.

I really think that Nick will be an amazing father and that together we will make a good team when it comes to parenting… it is all just very overwhelming and scary.  I guess the idea of children right now compared to all the things that I still want to do just seems like trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.  I will keep praying because I know that the Lord will show us when is the right time (I still have a lot of weight to lose before hand as well).

thoughts… just a bunch of thoughts.