Editor's Note: I wrote this on time but forgot to post it...so in case you're wondering, here's what I loved and learned in June. :) Tune in tomorrow for a monthly reflection on July!
June has been the sweetest month I’ve had in a long time. I saw so much answered prayer that I’m still just shocked at the grace in it all. So here are my reflections!
-May ended and June began with a bang: I was six weeks pregnant and all three kids had tummy issues for a week. Lots of snuggling happened all day long, and for several nights in a row Stephen and I would wake up at 2 am so he could throw up. Afterwards we would replenish his body with Cheezits and his spirit with laughter. Believe it or not, slowing down for that week and simply being there for my kids gave us all joy and richer relationships. I’ve been trying to pull back and slow down a lot more lately, and it’s been very freeing. I’m really grateful for how God sovereignly leads us.
-Piper (age 3) is proving to be an excellent older sister. She and Evangeline (age 1) love to hold hands while walking around the house, and I don’t even know how many hours they've spent each week simply sitting in closets and piling up pillows. Evangeline is fiercely independent, but when her sister is leading she will gladly follow. It’s so precious. And it makes both of them have better behavior, which is nice. “Large-family logistics” are the real deal, man.
-The kids and I listened to an audiobook about Mary McLeod Bethune, the incredibly inspiring African-American woman who has did tremendous work in education, social justice, and racial reconciliation. When the kids learned that only decades ago, children with dark-colored skin couldn’t go to the same schools as white kids or even get a library card, they couldn’t believe it. They were furious. We were able to have some really good conversations about how racism still exists today—and some of our friends even experience it—and God hates it so very much. It’s incredible that a five-year-old can be more angered by racism and injustice than a 55-year-old. I need to beg God that He uses my kids as part of the solution, even now.
-Another benefit to my nausea slowing our lives down is my husband and I have started taking more time to enjoy a couple quick episodes of Parks and Rec at the end of the day. Sitting on a couch and watching TV doesn’t sound like it requires discipline, but for my hyper-productive husband it does, and I’m really grateful for the times we’ve had eating frozen grapes or drinking pomegranate juice and giggling together at a funny show.
Things I Learned:
-One day I made my own butter, garlic butter, and buttermilk, and though it was extremely satisfying to feel like a homesteading pioneer for a couple hours, I soon learned that it’s one of those things that is certainly not worth the effort, ha!
-One of my children broke my Apple Watch. It’s not merely a cracked screen but destroyed, so I’m pretty sure this was an intentional crime since the child in question was very angry at the time of the incident. The watch was a Christmas present and has no warranty, and there’s no way I can get it fixed for less than $150 (which I will not pay), so I no longer own an Apple Watch. I’m okay with that, but it’s difficult figuring out how to parent in this situation. I want my kids to learn to make restitution when they harm people or break items. I want them to make things right when they’ve done things wrong. But $150! How could a preschool-age child ever do enough extra chores to raise $150? It might as well be a million dollars. Thinking about my child’s plight made me consider my own insurmountable debt before God. I have directly, repeatedly, and constantly rebelled against the God who made me and has only showed love to me. My debt might as well be eternal, and, well, it is. But God, my merciful God, has sent His Son to take my debt and make restitution since I certainly couldn’t. Being a recipient of mercy is painfully humbling and yet it makes me so very free! Still not sure how to parent the child, though, ha!
-Laying out cloth napkins underneath my work surface in the kitchen makes cleanup so much easier. The little things.
-The library is an incredible resource! In my laziness I've been avoiding it, but finding new books each week is an enormous delight to the kids and me. But we attended a library-hosted yoga class for toddlers during which the yoga instructor made them all say "om" and chant something in another language, so that was...unwelcome.
-God answered some huge prayers this month. There are things I have been begging God about for four years and that have only seemed to get worse and then almost-unbearingly worse. There were situations that I couldn’t really imagine being made better. But God loves to redeem terrible things.
Jesus gives us a formula for joy in John 16:24 - "Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." Pray -> See God answer prayer -> Joy
After seeing what truly feels like a miracle happen right in front of me, my faith is so strengthened and my heart is so light. This has also been a huge encouragement to those who have been praying for me through this whole time!
Things I've Enjoyed:
-Your Story Hour audiobooks. So far we’ve learned the inspiring stories of Lottie Moon, Lillian Thrasher, Mary McLeod Bethune, and many more. Through the sound effects, good writing, and skilled voice actors, we were captivated at every turn, and whenever we’d arrive at our destination the kids and I wanted to stay in the car to finish the story! So many good conversations ensued.
-Other audiobooks! The kids and I have listened to Ribsy (brilliantly performed by Neil Patrick Harris), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (significantly better than the movie), and Encyclopedia Brown mysteries (which are aimed for elementary students but at least 75% of them stump me.)
-I really enjoy the podcast Only The Good Stuff, in which Stephen Altrogge basically talks with Christian-celebrity guests about the top 5 things they’re enjoying right now. Though the items on everyone’s lists range from tangible (candles, mystery novels, etc.) to intangible (friendship, marriage, particular scriptures, etc.), all things are intended to direct our hearts to worship God, even yummy snacks or good movies. I especially enjoyed his conversations with Jimmy Needham, Lore Wilbur, and Tim Challies.
Whelp, that was June! I hope you had a good one too!
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My name is Hope.
I'm 26, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 6, 4, 3, and squishy-baby. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
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Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today