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!
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!