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Posts Tagged ‘Raising boys’

A castle is where I’d end up on days like today when we lived in Scotland. Days when the luminescent green earth called me outside for an adventure. Out to where pink-blossomed trees quivered in a gentle breeze and white fluffy clouds danced across a seamless blue sky.

As we’re sadly lacking for castles in Midwestern USA, I buckled the General, Waddlesworth, and Little Bear into the car, handed an apple to each of them, and headed off for a country drive through woods and rolling farmland in search of some Estate or Barn Sales. And did I find any? Certainly did.

I came home in possession of a light-up globe attached to a table. Some vintage curtains dotted with fishing, golf, and other manly pursuits, which I hope will one day become cushions or even a bean bag for my boys’ rooms. And books. Always books.

With my dose of sunshine and newly found treasures, and a day off from homeschooling due to my eldest being at a friend’s house, life looks good. I feel happy. Blessed.

Not so a fortnight or so ago, when I found myself tangled at the bottom of a slippery, murky, gnarly pit. 

While my morning routines got my days started and gave me focus, by afternoon my positive, cheery mummy reserves were running dangerously low. After a long school day I wanted nothing more than to curl up with a mug of chai and watch Fixer Upper. Not face the whole make dinner/eat dinner/clean up after dinner/wrestle the kids to bed routine.

But my  lack of motivation and feelings of despair came more from simply the exhaustion of raising four squirrelly little boys. It was more than the challenges of homeschooling. More than the difficulty of doing so much of it on my own since John has been working unusually long hours of late.

while I battled within the walls of my own home . . . it felt like the world around us was crumbling to pieces.

The problem was that while I battled within the walls of my own home, trying to give my children knowledge, feed them healthy meals, help them grow in faith, it felt like the world around us was crumbling to pieces. And what could a tired out mummy do about all that?

What was the point, really, in trying to make up my mind which shade of grey to paint the dining room, or doing anything else to bring loveliness to our home? Why search Pinterest for sugar-free dessert recipes? Why invest the energy in teaching the Professor about the injustices of segregation?

What, really, was the point of all my efforts, what with wars being raged, the American political scene making us all cringe (or cry!), and craziness like the recent Target bathroom/dressing room controversy leaving people up in arms.

What was happening to the world I would one day send my boys out into? 

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I was overtaken by a Spirit of Fear that left me nearly useless to the people in my life. And so one night, sitting in my bed with my pink and white polka-dot clad phone, I began to search for what God’s Word might have to say about all that.

What I found has changed my outlook 100%.

I read

 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesions 2:10

And that has made all the difference.

As I Christian, I believe that God created me, his daughter, with great forethought and care. That He chose the date and place of my birth, this exact time in history, for a reason. That He gave me these sons to raise up and prepare for the good works He has for them to do. That he gave me this husband to be my partner in life, that we can be a mutual blessing and “spur one another on to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). That he gave me this home to be a haven for my family and all who enter here.

And so you see, the daily work I do with my sons, with my home, with the people I seek to care for in my community and across the globe, they are not meaningless at all. They are vitally important to those whose lives I touch. Important in eternal ways I may never see.

Our world may seem to be spinning into chaos. Our current political candidates may not seem worthy of the title of President. But our God in control. And he IS worthy in every way. He is all-wise, all-loving, all-powerful, and always present.

And He has good works for me to do.

Avonlea x

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I’ve never had to wrestle a pair of tights onto kicking, squirming legs. Never had to untangle and braid a head of baby-fine hair. Never had to search through vacuum cleaner dust for Barbie’s other shoe.

No, these blessings have never been mine.

But also, I’ve never looked into my daughter’s wide-eyes face and caught surprising glimpses of my grandmother, sisters, mom. Never curled up with my daughter to watch Anne of Green Gables. Never got to lay into her arms my favourite childhood doll.

And probably, most probably, I never, ever will.

Because I have sons, you see.

Three of them.

And two weeks ago, in the cool, dim room at the doctor’s office, my stomach smeared with sticky gel, for the fourth time in my life I heard the words “It’s a boy,”

and with those three small words came the death of a dream.

I didn’t realize it at first.

Yes, I wanted a girl. To dress in tutus and lace, as opposed to dinosaurs and sharks. To shop with. Drink tea with. A little girl who would be like me in ways my wonderful sons could not.

But it’s taken a week

or more

to realize how much more than all that it meant to me.

Taken a week to realize the lifetime of hopes, plans, and expectations that I will have to bury along with my dreams.

When I was 13 I was given a journal. Instead of filling it with the usual teenage drama, I dedicated the book to my future relatives with love. I counted the pages, divided the book into thirds, and over the years filled the first section with photographs of myself, favourite quotes, and information about myself and my family. I planned to pass the journal on to my own daughter on her 13th birthday, and the middle section would be for her to fill out. She, in turn, was meant to give it to her daughter, my granddaughter.

I’ve always been aware of my heritage. The Brazilian side of my family. The Swedish side. And my place in the long line of women whose blood and genetics I carry in my own body. Those women who sailed to a strange new land to endure the harsh winds of a Minnesota winter. Contend with murderous Frenchmen and barn fires and drought. Or face the cramped conditions and sheer terror of being a foreigner in New York City.

I’ve heard their stories, watched the battles and triumphs that my own mother, aunts, and sisters have faced. I’ve felt my place among them. And I always thought I would one day add to that line with my own daughter.

She’d have my curls, I imagined. And when I married, I imagined those curls would be a wonderous, Scottish red. And when she was old enough, I’d tell her the stories of the women who had gone before her. The Brazilian side, the Swedish side, and now the Scottish side, too.

I’d tell her of the wonderful tapestries that God wove with the lives of these women, and paint pictures in her mind of the beautiful things she, with God’s help, would one day do.

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Now I wonder what to do. What to do with that book? Or with the box of dress-up gloves, hats, and scarves? With my American Girl doll? My Mandie book collection?

What will I do with the name? With her name. The name I’ve whispered to myself, scrawled along the margins of my journal. The name of the little girl who will never come to be?

I’ll love my fourth son. Oh, how I’ll love him.

But having a daughter, I’ve realized, was an integral part of all I hoped my life would be. Like getting married, or writing, or seeing the world. It’s hard to imagine a life without any of those things, and it’s hard to imagine my life without her.

The day after I found out, I rose early. Crept through the house, my black Bible in hand, and went to the porch. Sat there a while in the refreshing morning coolness, with the song of the birds and the breeze in the trees.

And I cried. And I asked God why. Why, when I wanted it so much? When it came so easily to others. Even others who didn’t even want their girls.

But I know, from experience, that when God’s providences are not in line with our own desires, that it’s easy to seethe. Rage. Grow bitter inside. And I know all the damage that can do.

And so I’m choosing, though it hurts and I don’t understand it, to accept God’s will for my life. Knowing, believing, though I cannot see it, that God is in the habit of making beautiful things out of dust. Of weaving together strands, which to us seem fragmented and broken, and creating pictures more lovely than we ourselves could ever dream.

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