The walls were closing in around me yesterday morning. 
My mind and heart were full, of things that weren’t really things to talk about to anyone but God.
I was [very wrongly] becoming short-tempered and snappy at my children.
Monday morning was one such morning.

I needed a change of scenery. I needed to get my mind off myself and the things that were overwhelmingly mountainous.
I needed to get outside of my four walls, go to the ocean and gaze at the Bigness of God.

We may live in a very small town that doesn’t have perks, but being near the coast has many perks.
Including being able to pack up last minute and taking spontaneous trips to the ocean.
Monday was one such day.

It was THE perfect beach day.
Up north they may be wearing snazzy boots and wrapping cold fingers around Pumpkin Spice lattes.
But I was at the ocean, digging my toes in the sand and enjoying 85 degree sunshine.
There was wave-jumping with the girls, holding a blinking Hudson in the bright sun,
talking to the senior citizens that strolled the beach and stopped with chat.
I guess a mom by herself with three kids looks like she needs someone to talk to. :)

And my very deepest core was refreshed in the BIGNESS of my God.

Looking at the ocean, gazing as far as I could see, I was amazed all over again that He created it with simply a WORD.

Holding sand in my hand, the grains trickling down as in an hourglass,  and the sand innumerable in such a small handful,
and yet He knows the number of ALL the grains of sand on all the seashores of the world!

The answer rang true in the depths of my heart as I sat there.

As my children delighted in His creation, laughing and shouting and running in their pink tutus.

As I pondered the wildness of the ocean ~ of how men try to tame many things on earth, but the ocean is untouchable.
It’s God’s territory. The deepest part 7 miles deep? My mind can’t even fathom that.
How the moon causes the tides, how there is nothing to change the rising and falling,
how He created it all to function so perfectly… so wildly.

 

 

And my heart of hearts said, “You ARE Big enough, God. You are BIG enough.”

Not that my “things” are suddenly gone. They don’t – poof – disappear into thin air (unfortunately).
They are as real and as difficult as ever.
But I know in my heart of hearts that God is Bigger.

And yet in that Bigness, far beyond what I can even comprehend, He cares. Cares. About ME. 
One person in billions. He’s Gentle.

This morning I was looking for the verses about Him thinking of me, and was moved nearly to tears.

“How precious also are your thoughts toward me, O God.
How vast is the sum of them!
If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand!
When I awake, could I count to the end, I would still be with You!

[Psalm 139:17-18]

Whatever is big today, in my life, in yours, know that He IS Bigger!

________________________________________________________________

Since these pictures were taken on Zoe’s birthday [two months ago :)]
and I never did a post on her, I’ll add that little bit in as well.

Turning FIVE was a big deal this summer!
Birthdays are so anticipated at that age, the countdown is on for weeks!
Months, actually. :)
While mommy is saying, “Oh, just stay little! Please just stay little!”

If at all possible, we like to DO something together as a family on birthdays,
rather than making a big deal with gifts.
There are a few gifts, because it wouldn’t seem complete without them,
but making memories together is the big deal.

Zoe chose to spend the day at the ocean together, 
and as her birthday fell on a Saturday, it worked out splendidly.

On the birthday morning she went out for breakfast with Daddy.
It’s tradition – you get a date with Daddy on a birthday.

Then we had a little party at home, just the 5 of us.
She loves princess things, and picked out a cake.
The picture made me gasp in fear when I saw it, because how on earth could an amateur make it?
But I attempted it, and I may never attempt another one in my life. :)

The leaning-tower-of-pisa castle cake

 

 

The day got later and later, and at 2:30 after the date and party we STILL hadn’t even left for the ocean.
I knew it would mean a super short time by the ocean, 
and so we spontaneously made it an overnighter.
You know, make it a family weekend instead of just a day. :)
It was the best decision, and a wonderful time.

Zoe’ Grace, meaning “Empowering Strength and Life of God,”
truly does bring so much life into our family.

She is the most thoughtful one of the two girls, constantly thinking and pondering.
She has a ready giggle too, and has the wildest imagination.
When the two girls get to playing, we have our very own radio drama.
It is so entertaining, but she gets a sheepish grin if she realizes we were listening in.

She’s quite the fashionista, loving to chose her own outfits.
And let me tell ya, they are one-of-a-kind. Brights and patterns being in high demand.
We finally reached a happy medium:
at home, she can wear whatever she wants;
when we go away, she wears whatever *I* want. :)

She’s a super cleaner-upper, and the rooms can go from tornado-just-came-through
to looking as though I was the one that picked everything up.



She is so merciful, nearly reaching tears thinking of someone who is hurt.
We talk about natural disasters in other countries,
of orphans, of children who were abandoned by family.
Her eyes will widen and deepen with sorrow until I could almost fall in them.

Once after we were talking about orphans, she stated,
“God picked me to go to them. When I’m bigger, I’m going to go take care of them.”
She also has plans of a husband and large family (8 children) assisting her.
Or sometimes “my husband will watch our kids while I help the poor children.”
In all seriousness, she is planning to be a missionary.

Once, after Ben talking to them about Heaven the night before,
she came to me near tears, saying she wants to go to Heaven.
“Sweetie, if you love and obey Jesus, you will!” I assured her.
I quickly discovered she did not mean just sometime in the future.
She wanted to go soon; NOW in fact.
She followed me around the house, begging me to let her go!
And I would say, “Sweetie! God knows when it’s time! Don’t worry!”
Finally she said, “Mommy! But I want to go NOW! I want to go when I’m little so I can sit on Jesus’ lap!
Can you please pray and ask Jesus if I can go now?” almost crying.

I stared at her and burst into tears myself.
Don’t you hear of these kinds of things just before a tragedy??
What if this is a premonition??
I stopped everything, leaned down and hugged her tight.
“No, Sweetie. I can’t pray that. But even if you’re big, you can still sit on Jesus’ lap,” I assured her.
We talked some more, about God knowing the best time, and how we have to trust Him.
Me more than her, I’m sure!!

Zoe is very conscious of hearing the voice of God, and will sometimes tell me of the struggle.
Satan was telling me to be mean to Olivia, but I said, “No! I will not listen to you! I listen to GOD!”

She is PRECIOUS.
Yes, she has times of disobedience, of willfulness, of the wickedness of Adam in her.
But even as a little child, her heart is so turned toward the things of God.

I am overwhelmed with joy at the privilege of parenting her.
And sometimes I’m incredibly sobered at the responsibility of pointing her soul toward God.
I can’t make any decisions for her, but I can point her toward Jesus.

She will also call me out. One day I was extremely exasperated with Olivia
and spoke very harshly to her, to put it mildly.
Zoe spoke up, actually crying, even though it was not to her that I talked,
“I don’t like it when you talk like that to my sister! You weren’t talking nicely!”

And God uses my own children teach me and refine me.

A few quotes:
~ In the car one day,
“Can you turn the air conditioner down, please? It’s blowing FURIOUSLY in my face.”

~ She lives in the south, this is true. When devastated about something or other,
“That just broke my heart!”

When she and I were going around the yard killing fire ants,
Here look!! There’s a whole FLEET of them!”
saying later that’s what Curious George says.

~”I’m not always going to be a mopper,” as she grabbed a mop and started cleaning, 
in all kinds of dressed-up, regal finery. 
I’m going to marry a prince! And tonight is the ball game!”
A Redneck Cinderella, for sure.

~”Did you know that when I have children, you and daddy are going to be their GRANDPA AND GRANDMA!?”
Please, child. You’re just FOUR. Don’t call me Grandma yet.

~ One day when we were saying what we’re thankful for:
I’m thankful that satan is ‘ccomplished. ”Complished’ means that Jesus is stronger than satan.
…and I’m thankful for my Bible, because I read it and it tells me about God,
cuz I don’t love satan, only Jesus. The Bible says, “You are my Shield, and You are my Rod,
and You are my Road…” God is doing a work in my heart… I’m thankful for the Ten Commandments
so I can obey God…”

Saying goodbye to her little pink bunny blanket that she had since one month old, and slept with every night.
I expected a very emotional, tearful goodbye, but it was very jovial:
Goodbye! Nice sleeping with you for a long time!”

Last autumn, at the first glimpse of changing leaves on the trees,
It looks like they have red skirts on, and they twirl!!”

 

 

Zoe Grace, it’s a delight to be your mommy!

~ clarita

 

 

24 thoughts on “The Ocean and a Birthday Girl

  1. Anonymous

    Clarita, what a beautiful post!
    Give Zoe a hug for me, whether or not she can think of exactly who I even am … it’s amazing what a 5-year-old just taught me about God.

  2. ABAHM

    Of my, oh my, what a heart your girl has. So, precious. You and your daughter have blessed me today, when I too am feeling the weight of things here on earth. So good to be reminded that He is greater, and DOES care for me. Ps. 139 is perfect! And Happy Birthday to Zoe! Tell her I climb into Jesus lap all the time when I talk to him, and I am a grandma! And the quotes gave me chuckles of joy.

  3. lwstutz

    Children are such a gift. They constantly convict their mommy’s and daddy’s with their sweet, innocent comments.

    Love the spontaneous ocean adventure, makes me sad that we live SO fAR away from the water….

    Little girls.grow.up.so.fast. I know. I have 2 here at my house. My oldest ‘measures’ herself against me every day. she just can’t wait to be as tall as me, and she’s only 6!

  4. Jabber_wock

    So many things to comment on here.
    “Redneck Cinderella” made me laugh. Zoe is growing up so fast! And I’m trying to believe that the day will come when my daughter can clean up her own toys. :)
    Olivia’s dimple is pure sweetness.
    I’m so glad you got a day at the beach and that it was rejuvenating and faith-building. I might need to make something like that happen around here.
    Blessings on your Wednesday!

  5. richlyblest

    Zoe is very close to Kierra’s age– I just love all the things that they come up with!!

    Kierra talks about heaven a lot, wanting to go there to be with her sister. I don’t know if you read my post on FB last week about a conversation we had were she wanted to go to heaven NOW? Yesterday she came down crying when she was supposed to be taking a nap, because she’s afraid her sister will be too grown up when we go to heaven to see her, and she wants her to be tiny so we can hold her. She had a l-o-n-g prayer begging Jesus to keep Lauren little for us to hold. I don’t know what to tell her. I kinda hope, too, that’s she’s still a baby when we get there, but I don’t know how that works.

    Did you make those party hats? They scream “Clarita”, so I am thinking you did :)

  6. aSeriesofFortunateEvents

    Can I just say i totally get your paranoia about her saying she wants to be with Jesus now! but, at the same time, how wonderful. awesome. blessing. that your baby girl loves Jesus. what a lesson we can learn from this!!

    Clarita you have the sweetest family. I hope and pray that whatever difficulties you have, that you’ve found some Peace and are successfully remembering every day that God is bigger, just like He showed you this day!

    much love.
    And happy Birthday to you and your sweet girl!

  7. inanorchard

    “I’m going to marry a prince and tonight is going to be a ball game!”… that one cracked me up! Where do their little minds come up with such things? :)

    Sometimes completely getting away is just what the soul needs. Last Tuesday was so overwhelming for me so I packed up the kids and we spent the day at the library, got ice cream and wandered around the Tractor Supply Store. Somehow it put things into perspective :)

    The birthday cake and hats turned out darling! And the birthday girl is just beautiful :)

  8. appalolly

    I LOVED your perspective and thoughts about the ocean and the greatness of God.  And how wise of you to go there when you were feeling overwhelmed.  Sometimes, when feeling buried by life, it is difficult to even make the move to get away like that!  And oh, my, your daughter!! I loved all of the quotes and hearing all about your special princess. I can tell her Mama is raising her right!

  9. FOREVERLANE

    You inspire me so much with your heart for God and how your sorrow over your impatience with your children and wanting to talk to the Lord and get a picture of His greatness once again . . . motivated you to get out and do something about it. Um, it’s been that kind of day for me today, so reading this in this moment is encouraging me greatly. Love you and OH, I am THRILLED that you might actually spare a moment of your time to stop in and see me {and my house}. Come right over!!

  10. decembecaravan

    Clarita- What a joy to discover your blog! I saw the article about you in the set apart girl magazine and was so encouraged! :) You and your family (I have been greatly encouraged by Ervina’s writings as well!) have a beautiful gift for drawing people closer to the heart of our Heavenly Father! :) Thank you so much for sharing your writings! :) This post truly inspired me to remember how BIG our precious Lord is! Thank you again! :)

    Rebecca :)

    p.s.- Your precious daughter’s comments… WHAT FAITH!! Truly a childlike faith inspires us all to crawl up on our Heavenly Father’s lap! :)

  11. lifeisadance

    @decembecaravan – Rebecca! It is so nice to meet you!  I followed you to your blog :) and what a testimony your story is to our Father! Thank you for your kind words… it truly is the grace of Jesus alone that sustains me and makes me anything I am! If it were not for Him I’d be absolutely and completely hopeless! Many blessings to you! ♥

  12. lifeisadance

    @lwstutz – Ahh, you have two little girls as well! How FUN! I just love it, and hope mine will always be great friends. :) And yes, they grow up altogether too fast. This is the stage that I absolutely wish to FREEZE and just place on hold for years! It’s just beyond precious!

  13. lifeisadance

    @Jabber_wock – Your comments are so encouraging. :) And I like that you’re from the south so you can “get” some of the little redneck things. :) Not that you’re redneck!! But you know what I mean. Right?! :)

  14. lifeisadance

    @richlyblest – I didn’t read your post on facebook about Kierra! That is so precious she wants to go to heaven too! It sounds like she and Zoe would be good friends. :) I’m sure having a little sister waiting for her there makes heaven all the more real to Kierra… It must melt your heart when you hear her missing the sister she never even really knew – somehow she feels the ache of what should have been.♥

    I did make the party hats – they are so fun and so easy. :)

  15. lifeisadance

    @inanorchard – “Last Tuesday was so overwhelming for me so I packed up the kids and we spent the day at the library, got ice cream and wandered around the Tractor Supply Store. Somehow it put things into perspective :)” yes yes! I so get that. :) Most times turning outward instead of inward just puts a new better perspective on life! :)

  16. grace_to_be

    oh, happy birthday to your beautiful zoe!!
    and trust me.. i’d much rather be sitting by you on that warm beach than wearing snazzy boots and wrapping my fingers around pumpkin spice latte’s!! ;))

    such wonderful, full of happy pictures!
    love you friend~

  17. mytoesareblue

    i love the things she says, especially about her relationship with God. that is so beautiful. out of the mouths of children so much truth comes. sometimes it amazes me at the different way they view our world…the freshness and honesty they have, that hasn’t been tainted by years of perhaps being disheartened that growing up leads too. sometimes when i’m hanging out with my friends kids and they say something it just touches me to the core…when i realize that i’ve lost the gleam in my eye and that way of seeing.

    i love the beach pictures…what glorious little girls, playing in tutus at the beach. and the date with daddy what an important time.a nd that cake looks fabulous.

    you are soooo dear to me Miss Clarita. love you

  18. lifeisadance

    @mytoesareblue – i know exactly what you mean about looking at the freshness and honesty of a child and realizing that i have lost some of that in my own life! the innocence through which they view life is so precious, and so much how it should be! and yet, it’s so hard to have those really hard knocks and still maintain that childlike view at the world… and YOU are such a dear, janel! ♥

  19. shellElynn

    I cannot tell you how much I needed to read that first part about re-discovering the “bigness of God”. Thank-you so much for sharing that. And what a dear, sweet Zoe you have. I’m sure you are enjoying her immensely.:)

    Blessings–

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