Friday, July 22, 2016

On Large Family Differences and Happy Birthday, Shiloh!

Before we had so many children I didn't understand how moms of big families could intimately know and care for a lot of kids.  I remember once saying something critical of a mom who had four kids. At the time my own two were such a handful and since I didn't know how I could possibly be a good mom to twice that many kids, it made me feel better to think she was off her rocker. Yes, her children were probably suffering, I mused.

How time and perspective changes our thinking, thanks be to God. And now I have five times as many children as I had back then. I am thankful to say that I do know each of these ten people very, very well.  Each day I cry out for grace to love them well.  I fail a lot.  Sometimes I cry from exhaustion.  Sometimes I'm perplexed on decisions I face.  But the Lord has been and will remain faithful.

Contrary to some opinions of super-sized families, each one of our children are unique in their own way. They are not little cookie-cutters and they are more than just "one of the Moore kids." They share a similar genetic make-up and the same last name, but I cherish their many God-given differences because it makes them who they are. The walls of our home contain photos of each child, alone. It reminds me to see them as individuals, to thank God for their uniqueness and to ask Him to give them grace during the particular trials he has ordained for their lives.

Today we celebrated Shiloh's sixth birthday. A few things about this precious boy I love so much, that set him apart from his siblings are:

  • Shiloh is our 7th child and youngest son. He weighed almost eleven pounds when he was born, a quick 12 minutes after I stepped into the birth center!
  • Shiloh is timid, often quiet, and he is imaginative. He plays pretend by himself a lot and loves to dress up like a cowboy.
  • He still gets in bed with us during the night sometimes.
  • He is reading small words and short stories and learning to tie his shoes.
  • He loves gummy worms!
  • He plays more with Serenity (just 19months younger) rather than his brothers.
  • Shiloh has been riding a bike without training wheels since he was three!
  • He sits beside me at the supper table and rests his hand on my arm.
  • He still takes naps!
  • He picks flowers and collects special rocks he finds and gives them as gifts.
  • He loves his play-tools and wants to "fix" things around the house.
  • Shiloh loves to copy-cat anything Kevin does, even does his best to dress like him. He loves to go anywhere daddy goes no matter how much you tell him, "this isn't going to be any fun."
  • This time last year Shiloh was recovering from mono, one of the worst illnesses to hit our home (and somehow, no one else contracted it!) I praise God for bringing him through that ordeal.

We thank God for giving us Shiloh to raise up. He brings us joy each day and I especially cherish these fleeting days that are left of little boyhood.  Happy Birthday, my sweet Shiloh!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When You Want to Do Something About This Trainwreck

This morning the littles and I were reading from a children's devotional book about the conversion of an old sailor named Covey, who lived back in the 19th century.  After a long, hard life some of his last words to his minister were:

"Oh my dear minister, after I die, please preach a sermon for a poor sailor?  Tell others, especially sailors, who are as wicked as I was, that poor, blaspheming Covey found mercy with God through faith in the blood of Christ.  Tell them that if I found mercy, no one who seeks it need despair. Be earnest and plead with them. May the Lord grant that my wicked neighbors and fellow sailors may find mercy as well as Covey."

When I was finished reading I asked Serenity (4) to tell me what it was that Covey asked the minister to do. As she took a deep breath the rest of us prepared to settle in for awhile, as Renny usually enjoys taking her time on the floor during a narration. But today her deep breath just resulted in a little stuttering as her mouth caught up to all her thoughts, and then she said simply, "He wanted the minister to tell the gospel to other sailors."


I find it interesting and gloriously wonderful that she used the word "gospel," when the story never used that term.  It tells me that key words like mercy, faith, and blood- of- Christ, prompted her to use it.  One might argue that Serenity doesn't understand the gospel, she has simply heard the terminology enough to begin using the word correctly. To which I say, "To God be the glory." Someone else has said that the gospel is simple enough for a child to wade into and deep enough that the oldest saint will never plummet its depths.

Children have an amazing capacity to hear things and remember them.  What goes into a child's mind, goes into lock down.  This should both encourage and terrify us.

Critical Confusion

Raising children in the simplest of times is an overwhelming task, and these are not simple times.  There is so much confusion it's a wonder we aren't worse off than we are. So many voices from the media are competing, giving contradictory messages, shaping our family life whether we realize it or not. And our schedules are so hectic, and life is moving at such a pace, that we don't seem to have enough time with our children. When we do have time with them we're not even sure what to do with it.

Many of us feel engulfed in the overwhelming number of controversies, violence, and gross immorality of our country, and we want to do something about it.  I often feel so helpless and yes, tempted to fear for the future of my children. But God is not hindered by these things.  He is sovereign over all things in Heaven and on the earth. None of what is happening is outside of his control and his purposes will not be thwarted.

The need of this hour is the clarity and wisdom of the Word of God.  The Bible is for every generation and culture, males and females and all nationalities.  Parents need biblical knowledge, along with wisdom and understanding in how to apply it, and we need to pass it on to another generation. We must put aside lesser things that consume our mind and time, and obey the command of Ephesians 6:4 to bring up our children in the

discipline (providing structure, restraint and correction)
and instruction (developing the mind and heart to think biblically about all the aspects of life)
of the Lord.

This is the call to action. Teach your children the truth.  Help them understand the hope of the gospel and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and be an example living in light of it.  It isn't a quick fix for this multi-layered mess that our country is in (aren't we thankful that we're only pilgrims passing through here?), but it is the answer for the future. 

Enter the marathon of raising up the next generation. Applying band-aids hasn't worked and will not work.  The foundations are destroyed and we must rebuild.

There is hope to be found but it will come by repentance and revival of individuals and families and churches. Lace up your work-boots and get busy on the basics. Foundational truths. Return to the old paths.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Elizabeth Prentiss: Joyfully Embracing Motherhood and Suffering

It had been an especially difficult morning at home with my little people. There were at least five reasons why the day should be dubbed as unrecoverable, and it wasn't even 9 a.m. By this time I had broken up a few fights, corrected children who needed to re-do chores, and begun nursing the baby when my toddler notified me she needed a diaper change. Immediately.

I suppressed a sigh. I was getting nowhere fast on my to-do list, and feelings of discouragement threatened me. As I mentally revisited my priorities as a wife and mother, I reflected on my recent readings about the life of Elizabeth Prentiss.

Today I'm contributing at Revive Our Hearts, as we continue a series on 25 Women Who Impacted the World for Christ.  Head over there to continue reading.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

A Few Reasons to Love Daddy

The more kindness and love a father shows his children, the more effective will be his rebukes. And it takes a lot of effort, especially when you're tired after a long day, to give kindness and love to a child. I'm thankful Kevin knows this. There are many ways to provoke a child to anger but I think giving out lots of discipline, in the absence of a loving relationship, has got to be near the top.

(Selah, 2, trying to get away from him as he reads to us after supper.)

Children take time (and often, blood, sweat and tears). They aren't here to make us look good and we don't collect them as if they're a fun hobby. They are people created in the image of God to bring Him glory. I'm thankful Kevin knows this too. He looks with eternal eyes past the temporary work of this life. He doesn't change as many diapers or wipe as many noses as I do, but he does worse things, like shopping for car insurance and weed eating and waiting up for teenagers and spraying wasp nests where the kids play. Every day, he is faithful to us in details that aren't glamorous and that no one cares about but us.

(June, 2000)

(November, 2015)

But the thing I could go on and on about, is that Kevin has welcomed each of our ten children (as well as the one in Heaven), with joy and love, no matter if they were somewhat expected, or completely unexpected. He has opened his heart and arms to them all. He serves, teaches, cares for, protects and provides for Sharlotte (6months) as much as he has Shelbi (20). He is often spread thin, but he handles the pressure with grace. Except when he doesn't, and then he isn't too proud to ask for our forgiveness. We give God praise for our leader and we're thankful for a special day to say it.

We love you, Kevin. Happy Father's Day!

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Weekend Links

Happy Friday, Friends!

Here are some articles that fired me up lately. 

On Family Discipleship

A tough question that kids ask and that many of us may bumble over:

On Motherhood

  • "So one morning I drew a line. I will see Jesus in this. I cannot be the annoyed and tedious person that I keep running into.  I will, whatever it takes, see Him. So I sat down in my pajamas too late to be in pajamas, and the baby was playing on a blanket  in just his diaper, the breakfast dishes were out to play still, and you could see the remains of the blowout carnage waiting to go down to the laundry room for stain treatment."  Continue reading:  Come Down

  • "Imagine if you and I awoke each day thinking accurately that our real work is mothering. Not only that, but imagine if we were honest about the job description and consciously surrendered to the cost of love. What if we went into the day anticipating all of the hard work?" Read: A Game-Changing Perspective of Motherhood

My friend Lauren lets us take a laugh at her expense.  But most of us have been in a situation similar to this at some point, if you are caring for little ones. The moments where chaos reins and you are tempted to have a mommy meltdown because of it:

On Gender Issues and Social Engineering

Attempting to follow the logic in all this transgender nonsense results in, well, nonsense.  Kevin DeYoung tries it:

  • "They have your comfort and safety in mind. They do! In fact, they want all their “guests” to be comfortable in their own skin. That’s why they’re allowing any grown man who “feels” like a woman to follow your 10 yr old right into their bathrooms. That guy has feelings! Don’t you care? Come one! Have a heart!"  Read: Target's Guest Policy is About More Than Bathrooms

  • "Things have changed, dear parents. The way we live has to change. Christianity is about to become the most radical mission we were ever a part of, if we’re doing it right. We aren’t culture warriors anymore–the culture is lost and we aren’t getting it back. But, our children are still ours. And, I propose that it’s going to take some radical reform in our homes in order to lead them in Christ’s way."  Read: What  #GiveElsaAGirlfriend Really Means

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Friday, May 6, 2016

A Mother's Love

I love that there is a day set aside to honor God's gift of mothers. It's a big, life-long job.  In fact it is probably the most influential job a person can have. And it is a work that must be rooted in the love of God.

All of  Scripture points to the ultimate conclusion that our Father loves us.  He loved us all the way to the cross.  And when we are firmly rooted in the knowledge of this love it allows us to overflow with love for our children and others. If we are not experiencing the love of God in our lives we will eventually run out of natural affection for the kids.  Sleepless nights, bad attitudes and overcrowded schedules can dry up our reserves very quickly.

But God's love refreshes our hearts and guides us into loving our children well.  When we receive the abundant love of Christ, we are free to pursue others with love.  We are free to give back what we have already received.  God pursued us with His love when we were enemies of His grace.  We were dead in our trespasses and enslaved to our own passions and pleasure yet His love sought us out.

Once the Holy Spirit awakens our hearts, we come to Christ. Then we can extend practical love, patience and kindness to our children when they fail because we remember that God first extended His grace to us.  We can bear with their faults because we realize how patiently God has borne our faults.  We can give new mercy to our children every morning with a clean slate, because we know how often God has wiped our own slate clean. When we reflect on the many ways God has shown love to us, especially through the Cross, it spurs us on to love our children in tangible ways.

Imitators of God

I love listening to my Serenity (4), playing pretend with her siblings or dolls. Very often when she speaks and I hear my own voice and even my mannerisms are imitated. In his letter to the Ephesians Paul said, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Just as "dearly loved children" will imitate the ones who love them (their parents), we can, as image-bearers, reflect the love God gives us.  Though it will be imperfect, to increasingly reflect the love of Jesus to our kids, is our hope.

There are people in my life with such inviting dispositions that I believe even strangers would know at once, that they are Christians.  Their homes are warmly inviting and hospitable and strangers are drawn to their loving warmth. By the Spirit's work in our lives, our love will increasingly grow to resemble the love of Christ.

Faithful Tilling

The love of a mother can till the soil of a child's heart. She can be the one to make soft, fertile ground where the gospel takes root!  A mother who gives her love diligently, thoughtfully, and joyfully, is equipping her children with a firm foundation for the rest of their lives.  Her love is a key tool in God's hand to prepare her children to understand and accept His love for them. When Paul wrote to Titus to instruct the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands and children, he did so because God uses the love of a wife and mother to build up and influence the family.

Deeds That Strengthen and Secure

Today I was chatting with  my sister at the park when her toddler fell off the bench and whacked his head. She stopped what she was doing and helped him to his feet and dried his tears and gave him a hug.  This is what Mamas do. These quiet acts of service and tender words of affection and daily hugs are strengthening and securing your children.  These little acts performed day after day give them a solid place to rest, no matter the age or the type of hurt (teens, anyone?). We want to love in both word and deed, guiding them to the love of God.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Cor. 13:1-3

Be encouraged, Mamas, that loving your children is foundational to their lives. May God give us grace to love them well.  May our warmest affection, welcoming smiles and gentle care, overflow from God's love being established in our own hearts.

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Blogosphere, I'm Coming For You.

Hello Friends!  I am still here.  My heart's desire is to rejoin this community of Christian women in the blogosphere.  But here in Texas we don't get down to business without saying our howdys first.  We edge into things and hang around on the front porch until the mosquitoes start to bite, before we say anything substantial.

So just know that, by the grace of God, I am still standing.  Sharlotte has left IUGR in the dust, praise Jesus.  My young adults are all young adulting.  They insist on continuing in that. But our homeschooling academics have started to wind down, and I hope that will leave a spare moment from time to time, to pursue infrequently dabble in writing again.  And if not, just know that our mega sized family is still alive and well and doing our best to love Jesus and eachother and bloom where we are planted.

Much love to you all, and I hope to see you soon with a real blog post :)

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