Modeling Mondays: Series on Teaching Children to Live a Godly Life

As a new mom, I had a lot of worries for bringing children into this world. How could I be a good mom to them? I was clueless how to even raise a child for Christ, and honestly, still am quite often. Really… my children are 4 and 3… so I have much more to learn, but I have learned a lot in the last 4 years.

I want my children to grow up learning to love God and relying on the Holy Spirit. I want them to see an example they can live by. An example of parents who are living a Christ-like life. 

It is my job to teach and train my kids in the way they should go. My job to make sure they know how to live a godly life. What a godly life looks like. Why a godly life is important. Why we serve our God and love Him. What He has done for us and wants us to continue to do for them.

Living a Christian life isn’t always easy, but it comes with great reward.

I want my children to know about His sacrifice. To know His reward for us. To know what God did and why He did it when He sent Jesus. To know what Jesus did for us.

MY job.

Wow! What great responsibility God has given us as parents. He expects us to teach them what they need to know. Especially when they are too young to learn it themselves.

God is showing me these things each and every day. The Holy Spirit reminds me that they are learning from me. My choices. My words. My actions. Where my time and energy is spent. How I react to certain things.

I take the responsibility quite heavily. And I fail daily. Guess what?! We all do. We all fall short.

So should we give up? Give up on being patient with our children? Give up showing them love and compassion when they fail? Give up on teaching them even when we set a bad example sometimes?

Do we want God to give up on us? I DON’T!

I am learning to be new everyday. I have to pick up my cross everyday. I have to teach my children the same.

So join me if you’d like. As I seek out what God wants for me and my family. How I can best learn and then teach them.

Over the next several Mondays I am prayerfully exploring how God wants us to teach our children. I am praying about how I can MODEL to my children a godly life; as I have prayed just about everyday for at least the last 4 years.

These posts will include many things we have already been implementing in our home, and many ways we want to improve and grow.

Here is a list of topics we will cover:

  • 3 Ways to Teach Children to Pray

  • Teaching Children to Memorize Scripture in 4 Easy Steps

  • 4 Steps to Help Children Have Daily Devotions

  • 3 Ways to Teach/Model Worshiping God

  • Teaching Children to Love as Christ Loves Us

What do you think? Are you excited about this series? I look forward to you adding what has worked for you in these areas! 

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Dear Judgmental Homeschool Mom

When James and I were dating he mentioned he would like his children to be homeschooled. By this point we were already planning our wedding, so I knew he meant he wanted me to homeschool our children. I laughed.

I am a public school teacher! I loved my high school years. Why would I homeschool?!?! They would miss out on so many important things like prom, sports, theater, graduation, etc. etc. etc. Besides… those people are generally weird, unsocial, awkward around people, etc. etc. etc.

My husband was homeschooled :). Obviously he was the exception to this rule. 

James is amazing and knew he needed to just let the issue go! We didn’t fight about it. He didn’t judge me. He just said ok and supported me in my decision. Something he does so well and in so many ways in our marriage! 

I feel certain he must have prayed about it often because God began changing my heart. While many people, over the years, have assumed that my in-laws have “changed me,” they are wrong.

God. Changed. Me. 

He spoke to me. He gave me a love for my children and being home with them. He laid on my heart their education and how I should raise them to serve and love Him. 

Not to mention… I was a PUBLIC SCHOOL teacher! I saw what was happening in that system. I saw how the teachers were being treated, and in turn how the students were being treated. I DID NOT want my children in that system. *If you choose to send your kids to public school, that is your choice. I would recommend being involved and knowing what your kids are learning, but I will NOT tell you what to do with your children… in turn… please don’t tell me what to do with mine :-). 

Moving along… Once I made the decision to homeschool my children you can imagine I got plenty of advice ;-). Mostly unsolicited, as most advice is, but I smiled, took what I felt God wanted me to, and moved on.

I had a friend tell me about the year she tried homeschooling. She was fed up with the public school system, and heartbroken at the things other kids were teaching her children. You know? They weren’t sheltered and that’s a good thing right? Ok! I will try to keep my snide remarks to a minimum haha! That is for a whole other discussion. Anyways, she began to homeschool.

It. was. Hard! 

She was frustrated. Overwhelmed. Crying. She surrounded herself with co-op groups. And guess what happened… She was told God made us to homeschool. All moms should homeschool and that is how we are created. 

Think about it (especially you homeschool moms… me included), she was frustrated, overwhelmed, and crying. She thought, “There is NO WAY I can do this.” And she was “encouraged” with… you were made to do this. Naturally, this came across that she was a failure. If she “couldn’t” do this, but God created her to do this, then something must be wrong with her. So she quit.

I cannot help but wonder, what if she had been nurtured instead? What if she had been loved where she was and encouraged to seek out how to make homeschooling work for her? What if someone had said, “It was hard for me at first too. I still have hard days. But we are here for each other. We can work together.” 

Last year I attended a homeschool convention that offered classes and a book fair. I LOVED it! So many people with so many ways to “do” homeschooling. I have TONS of options to “do” homeschooling the way that works for ME and MY FAMILY and how God leads us! 

You know what else I found, people who think their way it the only way to homeschool. 

I see this as a lose lose situation. If we encourage people to choose to homeschool over other school options, we need to be helping them find the way that works for them. Does that mean every homeschool option is good. NO WAY! But does that mean if it isn’t done the way you do then it is wrong? Absolutely not either! 

And so it begins. People are already upset and judging me on my homeschool ways. I expected this and I know it will continue to happen.

Some think the earlier you start the better. Some think the least amount of planning the better. Some plan to the tee. Everything should be done at home with only your family. You need to join a co-op. Schools that work with homeschooling so they have a little of both. And on and on and on and on. Did I mention how you do it in YOUR OWN HOME matters to some? Where you sit to teach and learn. It is just silly! 

To the homeschool mom: No matter how long you have been homeschooling, encourage one another. Support one another. Help each other. Let’s put aside our opinions over trivial things and instead praise God for how He is going to move through the process. Maybe we think certain methods are best… and maybe they are… for OUR family… but each family is different. God may need to show someone else something that He didn’t need to show you. I am sure you are trying to help. Aren’t we all? But you never know how difficult the homeschool idea is to one person. Whether it is a confused mom taking her kids out of the public school, or the mom who taught public school and is doing what she does best, or the mom who was homeschooled herself and thinks she cannot live up to the expectations set before her, we all have different journeys. I am enjoying the journey God has put me on and I must focus on Him and what he wants for me and MY family. You should do the same.

*Obviously if someone ASKS for your opinion on the best curriculum or homeschool method or whatever, then they asked for it. I would still encourage you to offer it in a kind way and try to avoid a judgmental tone. Or write your own blog post :-). 

To the non-homeschool mom: This post was not written for you. So do not take it as a personal attack at you for not homeschooling. That is on you. I have to do what I know I need to do for my family and what God has called me to do. Maybe you can find something else through this post. Or even learn to judge the homeschool mom less. Pray God would show you what to take from it. That’s what I like to do. 

My Prayer:

God, thank You so much for the ways you have changed me over the years. I am not the person I was. I am becoming the person You want me to be. Thank You for providing for our family and giving me the strength to trust You when I quit my job to stay home. Thank You for a husband who supports me and also lovingly lets me make my own choices while praying the Holy Spirit guides me the way I should go. 

Forgive me for also showing judgment on others. Oftentimes I do not even realize it. Holy Spirit, put me in check when I begin to let MY opinions and advice get in the way of things You are doing in someone. Forgive me for not always showing love the way You show love.

God, I ask You to give me wisdom in my words. That they would be Your words not mine. When people come to me for help and guidance, that I would always point them to You. That I would always seek You to speak through and to me in all situations. Lead me in the right direction as I begin to prepare my home for our homeschooling years. Put people in my life who will encourage me to find the way best for me and my family, while still encompassed by Your love and direction. 

I surrender my homeschool years to You. I offer up my children to You. I yield before You that it may not be about me but about You in everything I do. I love You and praise You for all You have done and are going to do. 

I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

Amen.

2 Kids and Counting (Prayerfully)

I hate gas!

No joke. This was what I said to my husband last night laying in bed.

You know the kind. The kind that rumbles in your tummy but not like usual. The kind that feels like a baby moving around in your belly. Kicking and rolling. Playing around.

This stupid gas. Always gives me a slight shimmer of hope that maybe I’m pregnant and I’ve just been bleeding every month for fun.

My heart longs for that feeling again! I ache to feel the movement of a baby inside me again. Although, I will admit, I’ve told God I would be ok to be one of those moms who “didn’t know I was pregnant” and I suddenly had a baby.

I must insert here… My heart aches hard for my friends who have this same longing but cannot get pregnant and have never been pregnant. I cannot fully imagine the longing and hurt they have. I am blessed to have experienced this, and I know I should just be grateful for my two precious boys, but it still hurts. Let’s just say it like it is… This sucks! For both of us.

Shortly after James and I got married, we decided we no longer agreed with the way many (most really) birth control methods worked, and we did not like the side effects I was having. We started natural family planning. We’ve always known we wanted a large family. Six. Or more 😉 if God so chooses. After Conner was born we kind of went back on natural family planning, always knowing we would be ecstatic any and every time we got pregnant. Planned or not. Bring on the babies God.

Elias was pretty well planned. Well of course except his arrival ;-)!

And then the miscarriages started.

My sweet Hope.

And Jonah.

And then Shiloh.

And precious Grace.

My prayer…

God we give all our children to You! You know our hearts desires. May they line up with Your will.

It is hard to understand why. James and I want children; Your blessings! We try not to take this area in our own hands, while so many others cry in anger at being pregnant.

God continue to strengthen and renew us daily. Continue to give us the peace only You can. Thank You for being a big God who can take my anger. Who can handle my fears. Who can calm my storms. And thank You for Your promises. Thank You for all SIX of my children. And thank You for all future children we will be blessed with. May we continue to do Your work. And continue to spread Your Word. Use us in anyway You can. Even in our heartaches. Thank You God for loving us and taking care of us. We love You. Amen.

SUCCESS! Our Children Stayed The Entire Sunday Service

A modern Western worship team leading a contem...

 

Have you read Touch Topic: Seeing Children as a Blessing, Even in Sunday Service and Touchy Topic: Training Children in Worship?

 

Last Sunday was our third Sunday bringing the boys in service. I was a little nervous we would be “starting over,” since we had missed service the week before due to illness.

 

After Sunday School, I went to get the boys from their classes. Conner ran ahead as I got Elias. When I made it into the sanctuary, Conner was already at our seats waiting on the sill of the frosted windows. I was relieved he remembered and seemed excited! Elias joined him happily!

 

As we had the week before, they were not allowed into their backpacks during praise and worship. They did great! In our arms, in the chairs, in my purse, dancing, clapping, on the bench. At one point I caught Elias dancing in front of me with his hand in the air like someone he was watching! LOVED it! Tried to catch a picture but he moved on too quick.

 

I did have to walk out with Elias twice. Once during praise and worship, and the other during announcements or service… I can’t remember. We walked out and I told him he could not yell out when we were supposed to be sitting quietly. I wanted to make it clear it was not just because we are in a church service because I want this to carry over for weddings, funerals, graduations, and other quiet events we may attend.

 

Once praise and worship ends, James and I usually rush to pass out our attendance notebooks during announcements. James was going to stay with the boys while I did it this week, but Conner wanted to come. I thought, “Well of course!” Serving together in our church is such a blessing, and I desperately want my children to learn to serve in the ministry and not resent it for taking their parents away.

 

So Conner and I went over to get the notebooks. I carried them for him to give to the first person in each row. He was a bit abrupt hitting their arm with it, but almost everyone had a wonderful smile when they turned to see a sweet THREE year old serving in his church!

 

I can just imagine… how different would our church look if everyone was teaching their children, at a young age, to start serving and worshiping together. Ahhhh 🙂

 

CALM DOWN… I am NOT condemning you for not bring your children in service, just a sweet thought of what could be if we all did…

 

After we sat down to listen to announcements, Ne (knee as the boys call her), came to join us for the service. Ne, aka Tina, is like a second mom to both James and I. She loves our kids as her own grand kids! AND, she is conveniently a HUGE supporter of bringing the boys in service. James has to leave us a lot during service, so I sat on one end and Ne set on the opposite side. Elias was in her lap much of the service. He was (mostly) quiet and Conner did well in his own seat, until about 10-15 minutes before service was over. Conner began to beg to go to the nursery.

 

We are soooo close! I am not going to take them to nursery now! We are almost through service! We CAN do this!

 

How about a snack? Good thinking! Too bad I forgot to bring some. Fortunately, I know that the nursery always has snacks for the kids.

 

I told Conner I would get him a snack. He began to loudly get angry and demand to go to the nursery. Well, surely we all know by now, he was certainly NOT going to the nursery now. Then he would know all he had to do was get loud and angry. I whispered in his ear that he was staying in service with or without a snack, and if he would like a snack then he needed to stop throwing a fit. It worked! Whew!

 

Ran to the nursery and brought the snacks in. WOO HOO! They were both happy and sat the remaining time during service, even after finishing their snack.

 

So, to sum up. How did it all go down? Praise and worship – offered nothing to distract them and conveniently a louder time so they don’t have to be completely hush-hush, meet and greet – Conner asks to go see his Wednesday night teacher, so we let them go say hello to people, announcements – began getting the backpacks out and let Conner serve with me, service – backpacks and snacks!

 

We made it through to the very end!!! I was ecstatic! Loving this and feeling so much closer to my kids and God in the process!

 

Did you decide to transition your kids into service after they were in children’s church? If so, share what worked for you? Are you thinking about? What’s holding you back?

 

Out of the Closet

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Overwhelmed! With LOTS of laundry!!!! And piles of mess!

We are between homes right now so we are living out of suitcases. Elias, my sweet Elias, or Conner, my sweet Conner (we still aren’t sure which one or both), decided it would be fun to throw all of the boys clothes out of their suitcase and all over the bedroom. Fun.

I was not pleased! And to top it off, they have WAY too many clothes!!!

It is time to minimize.

I’ve read and heard so many positives of having less clothes. I mean really. We do laundry at least 2-3 times a week and there are only 7 days in a week. So Monday, while I was waiting for my husband to get home for our appointment, I made a plan and went for it.

I searched what others suggested as far as how many clothes a person and kid needs. I used two sources. One was from Living On A Dime and the other was The Purposeful Mom.

Then I made my own plan. Here is what I decided was best for our family:

Kids
7 casual, can get messy shirt
4 nice shirts
5 long sleeve
3 jeans/casual pants
2 nice pants
5 shorts (we live in Texas and they go outside a lot!)
3 pjs
2 jackets at most (maybe a super heavy for traveling to cold places and a lighter one for Texas lol)

Adults
7 short sleeve nice
7 short sleeve button up (especially good when I’m a nursing mom)
7 three-quarter sleeve
7 long sleeve nice
7 tanks
7 casual dresses
4 church dresses
7 skirts (probably could do less but I have a lot and they are all so different lol… I know! I still have room to learn)
3 capris
3 shorts
3 pants

And away I went. The boys clothes turned out to be the easiest part. Although it wasn’t super easy to clean their clothes out, since they have a lot of cute clothes that were given to them, but I did it! And the suitcase looked soooo much better!

Don’t worry, the clothes are being donated to a good friend who is about to have a baby boy!!!

Three days later and I am already loving the downsizing A LOT!! After I do laundry, the clean clothes often get stacked on top, especially right now when we are living out of suitcases. With the same clothes being on top the bottom clothes rarely get worn. Anyways, this is the drive behind cleaning out the clothes!

Today it was easy! Conner has 7 casual shirts and made deciding much easier!

Now to my clothes :-/ NOT easy.

But I wear that… Sometimes.

It will fit again someday.

Yes I do need 3 different solid black short sleeve shirts!

So I started with short sleeve shirts. Decided to split up short sleeve shirts and short sleeve button ups so I could keep more haha. Defeats the purpose I know, but I was thinking of having another baby and breast-feeding. Button ups can be convenient, although I think I have the art of nursing in almost anything down by now.

It. Was. Hard.

So after I put a few in the donate pile and started feeling overwhelmed, I said to myself, “That’s a good start!” I continued on in this same manner as I went through the rest of my closet.

Now I’m on a new quest. I’m setting out to try to wear everything I have left, to prove that I do in fact wear it. And if I don’t, it goes in the donate pile.

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For me my husband’s was easy ;-). I’ve been wanting to clean some of that out for a while lol.

But wives, be careful. I made sure to keep it out for him first and told him what I was doing to give him a “say” in some of what stayed. He was sad to see some go and kept more than I wanted, but I told him, “That was a good start!”

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Our closets are “lighter” which makes choosing easier and quicker! I’m very happy and we were able to make a great clothing donation.

Have you cleaned out your closet before and found peacefulness?

Touchy Topic: Training Children in Worship

child praying

Photo Source

I am so excited about today’s guest post. This topic has been on my mind for a few years and I am so glad Candace agreed to write it for me. Thanks Candace! 

Guest post from Candace at Sacred Mommyhood

After posting the article, Dear Parents with Young Children in Church, to my Facebook page, there was some discussion as to how to begin training your little ones to sit still during a worship service.  There was also some discussion about children’s church, and how that may be more age appropriate and beneficial for young ones.

There is not much more I can add to encourage parents to include their children in worship, as the author did a beautiful job explaining the importance of having your children in the worship service, and encouraging moms who are already doing this.

I would only add that by including our young children in worship, we’re setting the tone for life-long worshiping.  Google “statistics of young adults leaving the church”, and you’ll get article after article citing statistics as high as 91%, with many differing opinions as to why they are leaving.  My personal theory is this:  If we’re continually keeping them out of worship through infancy, adolescence, and teen years, why would we expect them in worship service when they’re adults.  We’ve already sent the message that a worship service is not important, or just boring at best.  After all, they’ve had “fun” all these years in nursery, Sunday school, and youth group.  We must remember that worship is not about us!  It’s about HIM!

In addition, families should worship together.  There is no biblical model where families separated into age-segregated groups to learn how to worship.  It was learned by being present.  So often, family members are going in all different directions throughout the week.  Then on Sunday, the children are placed in the nursery or sent off to children’s church, separating the family again.  With the cultural breakdown in families today, I can’t think of a more meaningful way to bind the family unit than to share in worship, together.

I am in no way saying that children’s church, nursery, or any other age-segregated group activity is wrong.  My heart feels for the tired, weary momma who just needs to worship and not train.  I’ve been there!  I just feel strongly that we’re sending a counter-productive message to our children about worship when Sunday after Sunday we’re ushering them out of it.  But this is definitely something each family has to think and pray about on their own.  And I know many churches these days are quite hostile to small children in service, making this decision even more difficult.

So for those of you considering including your small children in the worship service, here are some tips to help you in the training process.

You  Are Training

This is the most important aspect to keep in mind.  It is so easy to get frazzled and discouraged when your little ones are learning to sit still quietly.  Your Sundays will most likely feel like a chore rather than worship, but even this is an offer of worship to God.  Investing this time into your children is a sacrifice of praise!  This has been my life for many years!  I am perpetually in “training” mode.  But I’ve had the joy of seeing fruit.  My little ones can sit through an hour and a half service without being a distraction.

Try a Booster Seat

This may be more difficult in a pew seating arrangement (no place to secure the straps), but if your church seating consists of chairs, bring a booster seat for your older babies and toddlers.  Not only does this help them to stay put, it provides a flat surface (tray) on which to draw or rest books.  It’s also perfect for giving them Cheerios (or other snacks) to keep hunger at bay.

Provide Books, Crayons, and Paper

I know some families who feel strongly about not giving their children anything during worship, and prefer to train them without things to keep them busy.  I respect that and understand that each family will need to approach this according to their standards.

We, however, don’t have a problem with allowing our little ones to look at books or doodle while learning to be still and quiet.  Kids absorb more than we think when their little hands are busy.

Our church floor is hardwood, so we try to be selective about what we give them.  We only give our toddlers soft books since they tend to drop them more often.  And crayons make less noise on a hard surface than pens and pencils do.  So just be aware of those potential noisemakers.

Be Courteous to Those Around You

We attend a family integrated church, so all our children are with us through service.  We all expect a certain amount of noise every now and then…a baby getting fussy, something dropping, or the low murmur of a child asking mom or dad a question.  These types of noises are not distracting to us.  In fact, our pastor loves those sounds.  He understands the importance of children being present from the beginning and welcomes those sweet sounds.

But obviously, there is a point when noise will become distracting, so try to be aware of those around you and quickly remove a crying baby or noisy toddler.

If you do not attend a church where children are welcome in the worship service, you may need to be a little more vigilant when it comes to noise, but don’t let that deter you.  Try to sit closer to an exit so that you can get out quickly if necessary without distracting others.

Start Small

If you are pulling your child(ren) out of nursery or children’s church, ease them into worship service.  If you’re concerned about the length of your service, try starting with smaller chunks of time.  Twenty to thirty minutes may be all you and the child can handle at first.  Each Sunday, add five minutes or so according to the child’s ability.  If it’s an older child who has really loved children’s church, and is upset about missing out, perhaps allowing them to attend one Children’s Church a month would help ease the transition.

A Word on Babies in Worship

I have had a baby in my lap during service for the past twelve years.  Of course, I’ve had the help of my husband and older children, but essentially, my babies are with me.  I’ll often glance around while the congregation is singing, and notice the moms with babies on one hip and the hymnal in their opposite hand, and it makes me smile.  Not because I think they’re better for keeping their babies with them, or because they look cute.  But because they’re making a sacrifice.  They’re forgoing a little freedom and ease to instill something bigger from the very beginning.

Babies hear the sounds and take in the sights of “church”.  As they grow, so does their understanding of what’s happening around them.  Those babies grow into toddlers, who in most cases, already have an inherent knowledge of what to do.  It’s been modeled for them since birth!  They can sit through worship, and for the most part, be quiet.  I have seen this in my own children and those around me.  Are they perfect?  Of course not.  Do they require discipline from time to time.  Absolutely!  But the transition is much smoother than that of a toddler who has been used to happily and noisily playing in the nursery.

So whether you’re contemplating bringing your children into worship service with you, or you’re just getting started, I hope you have found encouragement here.  I understand that this can certainly be a touchy issue within the church body, but one that I pray would never cause division among believers.

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs
the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 19:14

Touchy Topic: Seeing Children as a Blessing, Even in Sunday Service

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For a while now, I’ve gone back and forth on bringing my children into church service with me. James and I have discussed it and see pros and cons for both. My husband is the Discipleship and Outreach Pastor at our church, and I’m the business administrator. We are heavily involved in our church and in the service, which makes it easier to use the nursery and children’s church.

Many people encouraged us to take the kids to the children’s church.

“It gives you a break.
You are then free to worship without worrying about your kids.
The kids are presented with the gospel on their level.
Children cannot sit still and stay quiet.”

Obviously, these are all assuming the church has a children’s service offered. Each of these reasons, at one point or another, have been the very reason we have kept our kids in children’s church and we have worshiped without them.

Others have encouraged us to bring them in with us.

“This will teach your children how to worship by watching you.
Children need to learn to sit still and be quiet.
Children are a joy and blessing. They should be with their parents to learn.”

These are the reasons I’ve thought hard about bringing them in the service with us. I’ve also read about children leaving the church when they go off to college and the links between that and children being out of the main service. Also, I am called to teach and train them in the way should go! I AM! Not anyone else. Me!

Now before you yell at me, I don’t think this means we cannot use the help of other people to teach and train our children… sometimes, BUT it is our responsibility to make sure they are taught and trained correctly. Anyways…

I long to see my children as a joy and blessing, always! Can I be honest? Do I always see them as a joy and a blessing? No 😦 But can I be honest again? Looking around at our society and the MANY influences we have around us, it’s not hard to see why this is even more difficult.

Being a mom is hard! It’s not for the faint at heart. But you know what isn’t helping? Facebook sayings like, “I’ve always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. Without kids.” And I saw this in a mom’s group!!!!! What?!? We can also see it all over our movies and television shows.

“Ugh! It’s summer. I hate having to be with my kids all summer?!
When are the kids finally going back to school?!?”

Wow… I am getting way off topic :).

Focus!

We have gone back and forth on what is right for our family. OUR family!

Do I think you should take your kids out of nursery and children’s church? Your call, not mine. Do I think the nursery and children’s church are bad for our kids? Absolutely NOT!

I have decided I want to bring my kids in more. We have Sunday School, Sunday Morning Service, occasional home groups with children’s service offered, and a Wednesday night service. They are getting PLENTY of opportunities to fellowship with other children, and to hear God’s Word on their level.

My first Sunday was on June 2, 2013.

The night before, I went to the dollar store and bought them some fun goodies for the service. I knew this would be important, especially in the transition from the nursery to the main service.

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Then I let Conner pack up his and Elias’ backpacks. I wanted to pump him up and get him excited about coming into service with us. He was so excited about his new backpack and could not wait to go into service so he could play with his new stuff.

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Now, overall this is not my goal; for him to just want to play, but I know it will help the process.

So, the first Sunday, I took them out of the nursery after Sunday school. We went into praise and worship and I immediately gave them their backpacks. They stayed 25 minutes during praise and worship with me, by myself!!! My husband was busy doing church business. Conner was on the floor coloring and Elias was in chair and my arms and did well

overall.

I did have a teaching moment too!!! Conner was standing by me at one point, and said, “Mom do like this” and bowed his head. I said, “You know what’s great about praising and worshiping God? You can do it all kinds of ways. Bowing your head, lifting your eyes, lifting your hands, singing etc.” He got so excited and smiled! Great start I’d say!!!

This last Sunday was our second week. My goal was to not give them their backpacks until after praise and worship time. My sweet husband also adjusted his schedule so he could be in there with us more. Not the whole time, but more.

Praise and worship was a mixture of kids in mine or my husband’s arms, standing in the windows swaying, or spinning around next to the chairs. We are a work in progress. I also did my best to explain to Conner that he can dance but this time is for Jesus so that is our focus.

After praise and worship, during announcements, we got the backpacks out. Elias sat in the window with his Bible (see picture above). Conner asked another awesome question! They were announcing a Missions’ Trip our church is taking in the Fall. Conner said, “I don’t know why we do this.” WHAT?! I am not fully sure he knew what he was asking, but I LOVED that he was paying attention enough to ask such an inquisitive question! AND, had he not been in service, we wouldn’t have had this amazing conversation! Another plus to kids in service.

I explained to him how important it is for us, as Christians, to help others in need, and to share the Gospel with everyone. He thought this was so cool and seemed to understand. James is hoping to take this trip if he can get off work. How great will it be if James can go and we can teach the boys how important this is?!

The boys made it through announcements and then I took them back to the nursery. 50 minutes this time!! Twice as long as last week! We probably could have made it longer, but it is new for me too and I could tell I needed to stop in order to not lose my patience. They did great, but we were starting to make a little more noise and get antsy, and service was about to start.

I look forward to continuing this journey and sharing with you how we are learning to make it work for our family. Tomorrow, I am excited to have a guest post on this discussion from Candace at Sacred Mommyhood!!

What do you think about having children in service?

Grace’s Birth Story: WARNING a Miscarriage

WARNING: This was difficult to live through and it may be hard to read. Proceed with caution.

Saturday night, May 25th, is when the blood started to appear. Just as it has every other time.

As always, I freak out. Pray. Calm down. This is normal. I am sure there is a simple explanation. Pray. OH MY GOSH! IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN. Pray. No it’s not. Trust God. Lots of people bleed during their pregnancy and have babies. Pray. I’m losing another one.

OVER and

OVER and

OVER and

OVER and

OVER AGAIN!!!

My mind won’t stop wandering.

I call the emergency line to my office. They call back quickly. She is kind. Says there a number of reasons I could be bleeding and it can be normal. She bled during all her pregnancies so she understands the paranoia. She has never had a miscarriage. Told me to watch it and what to go to the hospital for. I went to bed.

As I lay in bed, I can tell. This is really happening again.

Sunday morning, slight contractions began. It wasn’t nearly as extreme as it was with Conner and Elias, but it was much more than I had ever noticed with Hope, Jonah, and Shiloh. Bleeding was getting heavier.

I couldn’t believe how real it felt. I am having a baby. Much too early.

As the day progressed, the contractions were a little stronger, as was the bleeding. Laying around, trying to relax, the pain became strong. I felt a sharp pain and got up off the couch. It was around 2 pm. I looked at my husband as I got off the couch. Pain. A lot of pain.

As I sat on the toilet, plop. Something large (well larger than I had experienced before during a pregnancy) fell out. I jumped up before I began to pee. Something, a lot of something, was down there.

I yelled for James to bring me a long spoon and a disposable cup. Grace would not be flushed.

As I scooped up what had fallen out, I saw what appeared to be tissue. I knew this could be tested. There was also a large blood clot I believe.

And then.

I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had never seen this before. There it was. The sac. So small. The size of a grape.

Here is my Grace. She had just delivered. Far too soon.

Things were a blur. I think I was shaking. No doubt in my mind, this was my baby. Things were foggy and I was in a bit of a shock so I couldn’t see anything inside, but this was her sac for sure.

I placed everything gently in the cup and walked out of the bathroom carrying her. This time in my hands. Walking out in a daze, I asked James what I should do with her. We put the cup in a zip-lock bag and put her in the fridge. We have never had to do this before so we were clueless.

Everything was so real. I was in a bit of peaceful awe. I felt this delivery. Just as clearly as my natural birth with Elias. Wow. How amazing, yet sad. Despite the terrible situation, feeling the contractions, the delivery, holding my baby. This birth was so real. Tragic. But real.

The pain lessened quite a bit, but slight contractions still continued. Blood clots fell often and were rather big. This seemed like much more blood than before, but I think this pregnancy made it much further than the rest. This continued through Sunday and Monday. Tuesday didn’t seem as bad, but still quite a bit of blood.

Contractions started again, slightly, following my appointment Tuesday. This seemed rather odd to me since nothing should be left, but I carried on.

Late Tuesday night, I got up to go to the bathroom, and again, plop. Looking down, I was horrified. It was much larger and clearly not a blood clot. At first glance, there appeared to be a head and body. How could this be? This was much larger than the sac I had the other day, and the baby should be in the sac.

I rushed to get another spoon and cup and pull it out. As I pulled it out, shock is the only way to describe it. Horrifying. I was reminded of pictures I had seen of abortions. You know the ones? Where it doesn’t even look like a baby. I was shaking. Trembling. It was late. I was tired. I was exhausted. It had been a LONG, TOUGH several days.

I called to James to come and look. His opinions mean a lot to me and I wanted to know what he thought. He had been asleep so he was really out of it. He went to bed as I took this downstairs to put in the fridge.

The entire walk was a daze. A blur. Shaking. Trembling. Scared of the unknown. This was new to me. What was it? How could this be my baby? It was much larger and was so disfigured. Nothing like a baby with distinct features.

It was as if I was doing something wrong. I am not sure why, but I just felt sick. As if I had performed an abortion, or caused the death somehow. (No need to comment about how this is not my fault etc. etc. I know this. This is just me expressing my thoughts at the time.)

I cried as I slowly made my way up the stairs, into the room. James was waiting for me in bed. He knew I would need him now more than ever. I bawled as I told him how I felt and thinking of all the precious babies lost to abortions. He mentioned the thought that it was probably the lining from my uterus. Of course. WOW! It was large. My thoughts wandered to, “What if this has been some of the problem in the past?” (The nurse confirmed this was the lining)

I am no expert, so please don’t criticize my thoughts. These are the thoughts of a simple girl. A mom who longs for more children.

As I laid in bed, my body felt done. Relaxed. At ease. Finally. No more contractions. No more pain. Everything was passing as it should.

Wednesday morning I passed the last of the bigger clots.

Pregnancy is coming to end.

Followup Results: Miscarriage Ultrasound

Have you read I.AM.TheBoyWhoCriedWolf: Multiple Miscarriages or Dropping Off Grace: Miscarriage Follow Up?

Leaving the appointment Tuesday, I made my way down the long hall. Music was playing. Reminded me of funeral music. Kind of appropriate I guess.

As I left the office Tuesday, they told me they would call tomorrow after my ultrasound to tell me the results of everything.

Fortunately, James had the day off but he stayed in the van with the boys. Coming out of the appointment all my boys were surprisingly in the lobby. They had to go potty. It was so nice to see them!

I carried on with my day after my appointment Wednesday, but I was waiting anxiously for the phone to ring.

It didn’t.

The nurse FINALLY called today with my results. HCG levels are now at 690 and progesterone at 10.4 (I was still on the pills). My sonogram pictures came back good… as in everything has come out and the lining looks good and thin. They did notice a lot of blood clots so she told me to expect a lot more and take it easy.

I’m exhausted. Understandably.

P question

I feel drained, and I’m sure the fact that I am literally draining has a lot to do with it.

Most people won’t understand, but I do feel this is a good thing. Much more has come out now than ever before. This can be good if some of what is coming out has needed to come out for a while. Also, I believe this pregnancy made it further and better than the others, so I think we are making at least some good progress.

I am looking forward to our appointment in a few weeks and finding some answers.

God is with me. He is my strength, and my wonderful husband and two beautiful boys my medicine.