July 08, 2014

The Best $200 We've Ever Spent

Our pool pass.  Seriously.  Every year, as summer comes, I start the guilty feeling of wanting to get a pool pass for the summer.  While we do live comfortably and every need is met, $200 is still a lot of money to us. And, of course, my mind lists all the other things, far more important things, that could be done with that amount of money: support a mission trip, help stock the food pantry, feed a starving family for a month. The list could go on.  And the guilt just builds.

Then I start thinking of all the reasons that it's OK to spend $200 for our family to enjoy the pool each summer: we survived the school year, I spend 24/7 with my kids so surely I deserve some time where they can play on their own and I can read a book, PE hours.  I could go on with that list, too.

Then I have both of these seemingly unending lists and go back and forth and just don't know what I should do.  Then I buy the pool pass, despite all the guilt.  And while I enjoy each visit, I feel guilty about each one, too, seeing the faces of those I could have chosen to help if I had given up this one luxury.

This year, however, has been different.  Something I never expected.  As you know, I have been involved in our church's Afterschool Adventures ministry with the children in the apartment complex across the street from the church.  It's frustrating, rewarding, difficult, messy, fun, and pretty much beyond words.  I think we were all ready for a small break over the summer.  I never dreamed that I would actually get the chance to see, love on, and serve these kids over the summer.  At the city pool.  But, guess what, I have.

There are three families that I have seen several times at the pool, but one boy in particular that has been there almost every day that we have been there.  We'll call him Q.  He's actually the oldest child we work with and goes to youth when we come over for Family Quest.  Bless his heart, he tries so hard, but he just doesn't know how to behave, tell the truth, or deal with anger and frustration.  He's just never been taught.  But, he's been excited to see us at the pool each time.  He'll take small breaks from hanging out with his friends to come over and chat with me.  We don't talk about anything too deep, but just the fact that he'll come talk to me is enough to make that $200 pool pass worth it.

Please continue praying for this ministry, for these precious children.  They have suffered abuse and neglect that I have a hard time even imagining happens here in the US.  They are stuck in homes that are not good for them because the proof needed for them to be removed is nearly impossible to get.  Our hands are tied in that area, but we can cover them in prayer and pour as much of God's love on them as we possibly can in the short time we have them.  We have two families now that have moved and we don't know where they are.  They are two of our most loved families, and the two families most in need of God's divine intervention to save those kids from terrible things.  Please, pray with me that God will continue to bring people into those children's lives who will show them God's love, read them His Word, and be able to point them to Him in their difficult times!

If you are interested in helping with Afterschool Adventures or adopting a family for Family Quest, we would love to talk to you!  You can send me a message or contact Jennifer Humiston.

July 07, 2014

Thankful for a #greatbigGod When I Feel Like a #failure

Oh, so many times the past few weeks I've felt like a failure.  Failure as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, human being.  So thankful that I have a loving, merciful, gracious, big God who fills in my gaps and picks me up when I fall.  Thought I would try to be humorous with my recent failures!

#momfail Remember how I said at the start of the summer I was going to work hard to teach each of the kiddos one of the household chores so that they could start doing that on a regular basis?  Hasn't happened. At all. Like, didn't even try.

#momfail Remember how I also said that I was going to be diligent about helping Ethan to be better able to finish tasks this summer?  I was going to follow him and help him focus, give him just one step at a time to work on, etc. Guess what?  That hasn't happened either.

#momfail I still have not been good about making sure my kids have time with their friends.  We spent lots of time at the pool, but usually just us, and if we were there with friends, it was purely accidental!

#wifefail #momfail #stayathomemomfail Housework.  Seriously.  I can't keep up with it.  I'd like to say that it's because it's summer and we've been out having too much fun...but...that would not be the truth.  I have just as much trouble the rest of the year when we're not outside having too much fun.  I just find other things to do that are more fun.

#teacherfail I started working on a James devotional to use with my family and put here on my website for other families to use.  That was almost 2 years ago.  I made through chapter one.  Maybe a few verses in chapter two. And that is all.  I have gotten no further.  I have made attempts, but it just isn't happening.  Good thing I don't write books.

#vacationfail I left my suitcase and E's favorite pair of pajamas behind when we left my mom's.  Tears ensued. From both of us.

#eatlesssugarfail I also recall saying I was going to start eating less sugar. But, I forgot how good sugar tastes. The scale doesn't forget how bad it is for me, though!

#teacherfail Other than buying the books we need, I've done nothing for school next year.  I've also done little to nothing to keep their brains from turning to mush over the summer.

#exercisefail I had such good intentions of exercising this summer.  Didn't happen. Except for the nights we've gotten together at church.  I'm hoping those T25 sessions make up for the myriad of other days I did nothing!

#friendfail I have spent maybe a total of 2 hours just enjoying friends this summer.  I had so wanted to spend time this summer soaking up friendships, enjoying the discussion, relishing what God was doing all around me.  Instead, I've, well, I don't even know what I did, but it wasn't spending time with friends.

#bloggingfail I had intended to blog more this summer, sharing my heart and need for helpers with our Afterschool Adventures kids.  While I have done a few blogs on them, I have yet to really feel like I've helped you all fall as much in love with them as we have.

#planningfail I had intended to have all of the Kidz Choir Fall Semester rehearsals planned and ready to go before July.  That did not happen.  I have now moved the goal to before I head to TX.  This goal may have to be moved again after next week.

#wifefail I can't even tell you the last time we had any form of date night.

Lord, help me to keep my eyes on You, not all the distractions around me.  Use these failures, and all the others, as a reminder that I am in need of Your grace and Your strength to do all that You have called me to do.  Help me to turn to You each day, as I start my day, and place that day in Your hands.  Help me to trust You with my husband, my children, my plans. Mold me and shape me to be more like You each day.  I thank you that, as THIS SONG says, the cross has already won the war!