Counting My Blessings
By Malissa Custer
We went on a great vacation recently. I ate a lot of ice cream… that may be what made it so great? The reality of getting home from vacation hit like a ton of bricks, though. I was now back in my construction project house, where everywhere I looked there was something to do. Homeschool was like starting the day with a spanking every single morning, and the dust on everything made me want to sit outside in the cold. Did I mention it is really cold here?
There was one thing I was looking forward to, though, and that was being back at my church. We went to church while we were away, but it isn’t the same as my church. My church has things that are rare to find, and should be cherished. I know, it’s not perfect, because it is made up people, but everyone is trying, which is a big part of what makes it great. When it comes to raising children, we couldn’t find a more valuable tool than what we have here.
Last week I had a conversation with a mom friend and she was discussing a meeting she had with Pastor and her husband about some parenting struggles. The advice she received was straightforward, practical and Biblical. Easy as that. What we sometimes take for granted is that we have that source readily available to us. Most churches don’t have a pastor that has successfully raised non-rebellious children who are all serving in their church. Count your blessings, and take advantage of that tool. We also have a large amount of mature church members who faithfully do what is right based on their own standards and convictions. They are always willing to chat and help a mom who is struggling to keep her head above water. Take advantage of their experience and put it to use.
Something else that I came home appreciating was our teachers. Every week, they take time out of their life to prepare a lesson to teach my children. It is an organized program that is busting at the seams with children! They are faithfully reinforcing what we are teaching at home, and putting up with our crazy maniacs. Mature Christians, teaching and helping to serve for the benefit of my children, makes me grateful. I’m also thankful that they will tell me when my children step out of line in class, so that I can correct wrong behavior and attitudes. Maybe one of the biggest things that stuck out to me as we visited these tiny, struggling churches was that the young families didn’t have any peers. At our church, we have an abundance of peers in our phase of life. Supporting each other, staying accountable to each other and having good clean fun together is so very valuable in our journey through parenthood. Most homeschoolers don’t have the opportunity to have peer groups, but our kids all do. I’m very thankful for that.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I came home grateful for my church, which I must’ve been taking for granted. I hope this will help you to reflect a little and count your blessings some. Take advantage of our church, and contribute to its success. Pray for our ministries and the people in charge of them. The biggest goal of parenting should be seeing our children saved, and then growing. We need our church’s and our Lord’s help to accomplish that goal.
Read and consider Psalm 106.
Lord, Make Tomorrow Better
By Barb Russell
6:00 AM Baby cries. Quick! Jump out of bed before the others wake up. Husband’s alarm goes off. Quick! Make husband’s breakfast and pack his lunch. Baby is screaming! 4-year-old wakes up; complains of a tummy ache. “Quick! Get to the toilet”…too late. 2-year-old comes toddling across the living room floor dragging his diaper, babbling, “piper icky.” Husband walks across the…“LOOK OUT for the”… never mind. “I’m SORRY!!” “NO, your lunch isn’t ready!!” “Yes! I know the baby is screaming!” Throw a few more things in husband’s lunch, kiss goodbye. Pick up baby. Clean the throw-up and diaper trail. “I have a headache! I don’t feel very well. DOES ANYONE CARE!! Of course not! Mothers aren’t allowed to be sick!” As I pillow my head at night, I whisper, “Lord, make tomorrow better.”
Fast forward 5 years Get husband off to work. Kids get up; do morning chores. “Yes, you have to do school today.” “Yes, you have to practice your piano.” “No, your friend can’t come over until your room is clean.” “Mommy! Tiger’s kitten is dying!! You have to DO something!!” “Can we have a picnic?” “Can we put up the trampoline?” “Tonight?! You said you’d bring treats tonight?” “Costumes? I don’t sew! You’ll have to ask Grandma.” “Oh no, it’s 5:00 already, and I haven’t started supper!” As I pillow my head at night I whisper, “Lord, make tomorrow better.”
10 more years 6:00 am- I wake up to piano playing. Brothers race for the shower; door is closed. “Who’s in there?” Sister yells, “You missed your time!” Brother yells back, “I’m going to be late for band!” “Well, you should’ve thought of that before you pushed snooze 3 times!” Dad leaves for work; storms back in the house, “Kids! Come push; I’m stuck in the driveway!” Kids get muddy; retake showers. “Come on! We HAVE to go!!” yells one sibling. “Where are my keys!” yells another. “Oh, great! Did I leave my instrument at church?!” Sibling snorts, “NOW we are really going to be late!” Son runs downstairs to check bedroom for instrument; steps in water. “Mom! There’s water in the basement again!” I yell, “Who forgot to plug in the sump pump?!!” “Hurry UP! You’re making us late!” sibling continues to announce. “I HAD to change my socks!” Kids finally leave. I start to mop up the water. Phone rings. “Mom, we’re in the ditch. The roads were so icy I couldn’t stop; three cars just barely missed us!” As I pillow my head at night I whisper, “Lord, make tomorrow better.”Add 10 more years Mornings are quiet; days uneventful. Kids come home for a visit and start to reminisce. “Remember when we would all lay out on the trampoline at night and count falling stars?” “Dad was the best story teller!” “Mom always believed in us, and let us be adventurous.” “I loved having our special weekends at Grandpa and Grandma’s.” “Airsoft wars were the best!” “Remember that funeral procession we had for my cat?” “We had so much fun going out to the ball diamond at camp and watching the Northern Lights, and showing our friends the game of Star Tipping.” “Mom and Dad always saw the good in people, and taught us to respect authority.” “I loved it when we got so much snow we could dig tall, long tunnels that we could play in.” “Remember when we visited Grandpa and Grandma in West Virginia and saw all those black snakes! And went sledding down that huge mountain?” “Hunting with Dad was so much fun!” (Oh, the stories they can tell about that!)
As I pillow my head at night I whisper, “Lord, thank you for Your Hand of protection over my children and for reminding them of the happy times! Thank you, Lord, for making tomorrow better!”
Editor’s Note- We should not fail to identify the “happy times,” NOW! Those little ones grow up so quickly!