Embrace Adventure

This summer was a whirlwind, and much too short in my opinion. It was filled with many restful still moments along with many crazy busy scheduled moments. We started off the month of June with a guy’s trip to Boston, my husband, teenage son and our youngest son. I’m delighted they let me tag along! It was a great time celebrating our oldest turning thirteen this year; while exploring a new city with our boys.

That week was an adventure; as Webster’s dictionary’s second definition clarifies, an exciting or remarkable experience.”

The next week we were home with just enough time for my oldest and me to get ready for the youth mission trip to the Bahamas. That same week our daughter turned six! I knew if we didn’t celebrate her that week, it wouldn’t happen. We had plans to head to a lake house the day after we returned home from the mission trip with my niece and nephew, who were visiting from out-of-state, and my in-laws. June was definitely a full month! But it was one of those months I knew everything packed into our calendar was necessary. It was a busy time we’d prayed over and prepared for. This helped me plan for and embark on the many adventures happening in June.

However, I wasn’t prepared for the adventure smack dab in the middle of my one-week at home. This adventure I’d definitely describe using the first definition for adventure in Webster’s Dictionary: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks.”

It was Wednesday and it was packed. I had an MRI scheduled, I hurt my Achilles and needed it to be checked before we went away again. That afternoon we had a few close friends coming over to celebrate our sweet girl’s birthday and then we were heading to church. My son and I were going to meet up with our mission trip team and be prayed over before heading to the Bahamas.

As I laid in this machine, not able to move I had no idea things were going crazy outside of the mechanic tunnel. My husband got a call from our daughter’s camp that he needed to head there, immediately! She had a “moment,” and needed to be picked up. We hadn’t seen one of these “moments” in quite a while. Our sweet girl has EBD, Emotional Behavioral Disorder, and has certain challenges that can take an ordinary day and turn it into a lengthy adventure of searching for peace and calm. Reminding our daughter, she’s loved and accepted is essential during these times. Although we try to calm her down and remind her she’s loved, she struggles to accept it. She then shuts down, speaks negative words about herself, us, and those around her. These hostile, demanding, and unfortunate moments have been part of her journey since she was perfectly placed in our family. She was placed in our home when she was six months old and we were her foster family until getting the privilege of becoming her forever family.

download-3That day she got in trouble, nothing major, but then panicked and wouldn’t accept the miniscule consequence. Things escalated and she made a couple of extreme statements, she was looking for a response, and she found one! Our princess is a smart young lady and she knows how to push buttons, and that she did! She certainly struggles with the word “no.” I don’t know many people, adults or children who like being told, “no.” For our sweet girl this has always been an issue. I pray often that we will find the root of her reactions. We have seen so much growth in the past couple of years, but we also have a way to go.

As I’m processing this phone call and trying to take in what happened, my heart just broke. Our sweet girl was supposed to be headed home for her party. Do I cancel her birthday party? Do I have everyone over and hold it together? Maybe I should pull this minivan over and just cry, will that make this moment better? Isn’t it funny how other people’s “moments” can lead us right into our own “moments.”  Oh, and I had a captive upfront audience as my thirteen-year-old sat in the passenger seat taking in what was happening. Wondering if his sister was ok and watching how I’d handle this. This was an adventure I didn’t want! I didn’t want my daughter going through it and neither did I. BUT we don’t get to choose all of our adventures. Sometimes adventure appears and it changes our course, whether we are ready for it or not.

I didn’t cancel her party. My husband and I, with the help of her therapist, were able to help our princess process what she said. We tried our best to help her realize our words have consequences. This is something I still need to be reminded of an as an adult. The party went on, I might’ve not had as much time to prepare our house or decorate, but we celebrated her! It wasn’t my party but I definitely cried. And the mamas that were there with me loved me, encouraged me, and most importantly prayed for our amazing girl. Thankfully we even made it to church. It’s funny how in the midst of the crazy God Knows just what we need.

The next day my girl and I, hand in hand, both took the long walk into camp. She didn’t want to apologize, but she did. I knew she needed to go, because if she didn’t she wouldn’t ever want to return to the place she experienced such a bad day. Another part of this adventurous life is recovering after we blow it. Her coach welcomed her back and reassured us both she would have a good day. This wonderful woman isn’t just a cheer coach, she’s also a mom, and she was so encouraging to me that morning. Our girl made it through the last couple of days at camp and she performed her little heart out on the last day! She would’ve missed out on one of the best parts of her adventure that week if we let fear and shame keep her on the sidelines. She conquered her fear that week and recovered big time. We are so proud of her. IMG_7237

What a week….

I learned plenty to continue embracing on this adventure.

  1. Everyone needs a little extra help sometimes and that’s ok. We can still be adventurous while accepting help from others.
  2. Being adventurous doesn’t always mean it’s enjoyable.
  3. If we want to be brave and embrace adventure, we have to be willing to embrace all types of adventures.
  4. Not my plans, but God’s plans. (“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9)

There were more fun adventures and memories made during the rest of our summer. My son and I had an awesome time in the Bahamas together with our team. We served the community through Vacation Bible Schools, visiting a foster kids center, and work projects in the area. We also had a great time taking in the beauty and culture of the Bahamas.

We enjoyed some much-needed family time when we returned. The cousins had a fantastic time visiting with each other and their grandparents. We went tubing, roasted marshmallows, played board games, and enjoyed just hanging out!

July was much calmer, a time to exhale……

We spent July 4th with friends who are more like family. We tried to beat the heat by enjoying lots of pool time. Thankfully our sweet girl was able to get a water proof cast for her fractured ankle. Yes, even in the midst of our calm part of summer more unplanned adventures occurred. She hurt her ankle at a trampoline park and needed a cast. She handled it like a champ and both her brothers stepped-up and helped her out.

Now school is in full swing and new adventures have begun. I’m back to working full-time. Our oldest is in his last year of middle school and growing up much too fast.  Our middle is in third grade and has crossed over to the “older” side of elementary school. Our daughter is now at school with me and her brothers. This is the first year we’ve had all three children in the same place and I’m so excited! It’s been an adventurous adjustment to say the least, but we are making it. img_2947

I hope your summer was filled with fun adventures and time to be still. I pray this year we will all embrace the adventures that come our way with wisdom, hope, and joy.

 

 

Be Still….

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and I was up and out early to get a start on the day. I was headed to the grocery store as soon as they opened. We had a busy day planned and I wanted to be efficient in getting everything done. I had a mental timeline planned and was excited as I checked out of the grocery store in time to stop and pick up coffee on the way home for my mom. She was at home with my three kids and our two puppies (one who is a baby and we’ve only had him a couple of weeks). Only my youngest was up and I wanted to get back in time to start breakfast and get everyone ready for church. I even sent my mom a text while walking to the car letting her know that I was on my way home. I threw my phone, wallet, and keys on the front seat and loaded the groceries in. BAM, I shut the door and my heart sank… I had reminded myself make sure the door is unlocked before I close it. I grabbed the passenger door handle and it was locked! I walked back into Publix and asked to use the phone at the service desk. I called my husband and then my mom. No answer.  And I called them again.  Still no one answered.

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I went outside and sat on the bench to wait a few minutes before calling again. I was thankful for the kind employee who let me use the phone, thankful for the beautiful weather and even the moment of silence just to sit. I went back in about 10 minutes later and tried both phone numbers again… STILL NO ANSWER! The sweet cashier let me use her phone to send a text and tell them I was stuck at Publix. I went back out and sat on what I now called “my bench” and waited some more. The kind cashier said she will come and get me if someone responds. This time sitting on that bench I went from thankful to anxious. What if my husband was too busy at work and didn’t have his phone?  What if all the kids were up and she was into the morning chaos that three kids and our new puppy brings? How long would I sit here? Would we make it to church? We missed the previous Sunday because my youngest was sick.  We needed to make it this week. . . I NEEDED to go. But God says….“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

 

imageI reflected back on this previous week. It had been a good week! We started a new Tuesday night women’s bible study, titled – Breathe,  at our church. My husband encouraged me to go since it is only a five-week commitment. I had just finished up my last Wednesday morning bible study that ended for spring and summer. I even had an hour with my best friend to sit on the beach before picking up our kids from school. We’d planned it and went to that last study Wednesday morning with beach bags in tow. Usually I face coming to the weekend drained and wishing I had a moment to myself, but not that previous week.

 

I was even on the same page as my husband about our plans that night as he had a volunteer dinner planned at church for Sunday evening and needed my help. My husband and I have been walking together in the later evenings once the kids are settled for bed, which gives us time to talk and catch up. Our middle son is in a reading race in his class at school and was constantly reading in the prior week. What a joy it had been to hear him reading all week and seeing his love for books develop. Our oldest (who is the youngest on his baseball team and has struggled with confidence this year), hit a stand up double last Wednesday night in his game. Our youngest is still going through some difficulties, but I had a good meeting with her teacher and her therapist. There are some new things we are trying and my husband and I were able to talk and share some ways to better move forward in our parenting. My sweet girl and I even celebrated her with a treat after school one day before picking up the boys. I’m saying it was a good week! These are all the things I reflected on as I sat on that bench waiting.

So why was I so anxious about what this unplanned moment would do to our day? Why was I worried I would literally be stuck at Publix and no one would ever come for me? I could’ve even walked home. It would’ve taken awhile, but I could have done it. I realized without my phone I couldn’t reach anyone and was afraid if I walked and left it would make things further confusing if / when someone was coming to get me. I realized without my phone I couldn’t pass the time while chatting with a friend or scrolling other people’s Sunday plans to aimlessly pass the time. I even prayed if there was someone the Lord wanted me to talk to or share His Good News with that day. NOPE! He wanted me alone and attentive so he could to talk to me, even if that meant locking my keys in the car. It was just me and Jesus sitting on that bench. I had to accept there was nothing I could do. I had to stop chastising myself in my own head for forgetting to unlock the door before closing it. I had to stop worrying. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:6-7 NIV

I had to realize how not checking that one thing affected the day. I thought about how many times in a day the Lord asks me to check something and I miss it. It doesn’t always have the same immediate effect because I don’t even realize I miss it. Every morning I start my day in prayer and most days in God’s Word and ask for His direction for the day. But then I get so busy doing “my” tasks I miss opportunities. Maybe there is someone at work who needs encouragement, a friend or family member who would benefit from a text during their day, or maybe you need to sit on your “bench” and hear from the Lord to be encouraged and instructed! That day as things went on it all worked out. My husband came to the rescue and called a friend from church who could try to open my car. He took me home and there was my mom cooking bacon for breakfast, my daughter was playing with the puppies, and my boys were still sleeping. Everyone survived!

lets go on an adventure free printable artisbeautyWe went on about our day with a new adventure – getting mom’s minivan open. I had to wake the boys up and we had to jump in the car for my mom to take me back to the grocery store to meet the locksmith. We did stop on the way and made sure my mom got her a much-needed coffee.  And so did I! We made it to the parking lot, met our friend. My oldest stayed with me. As I said goodbye to my daughter, she begged to stay with mommy, and I realized in that moment, she needed some more girl time. Then I promised her right there, that afternoon we would make it happen. It took my realization that Jesus had orchestrated some much need one-on-one time with me that morning, for me to recognize that she needed some one-on-one time with me. After a few unsuccessful tries, finally his metal curved tool thingy hit the unlock button on my keys and we heard it unlock! It wouldn’t unlock the button on the door. I had to giggle at that and be thankful I threw my keys on the front seat. God knew exactly what I needed that morning – for me to sit on the bench.  And He knew exactly what was needed to open the door and continue on my day…with a bit of a different plan.

imageThis week my schedule is jam-packed. Finding time to sit for a minute will be much more difficult than last week. It’s filled with juggling my work schedule, helping out more with the kids  car-pool, to chaperoning my little guy’s field trip, and then a birthday celebration for our almost 11-year-old.  But I know in the busyness of this week, it’s even more important for me to find time to sit, be still and hear from my Savior. Praying you will do the same. I hope you had a great week last week too.  But maybe it was just OK.  Or maybe it was a terrible week. Regardless of what last week looked like for you, this is a new week! Full of new opportunities to sit, be still and be open to a change of plans.

Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.  But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:39-42

image“Heavenly Father please don’t let us miss the moments we need to just sit and hear from you this week. Protect us from the busyness, distractions and our own agendas so we don’t miss out on opportunities to share your love. Prepare us for the difficult moments this week might bring that stretch us and may they bring us closer to You. Keep our minds focused on You and not the worries that this world so often brings. Thank you for Your grace and forgiveness that we need daily! In Jesus name I pray. Amen”