To Everything There Is A Season

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

A blog about raising a young family and keeping Christ at the center of it.

The Cyrs

The Cyrs
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Time to tell the Whole Story

You know the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words"? That's true sometimes. Sometimes it isn't though. How many times do we see a picture that someone posts on social media and make decisions and assumptions based on that one photo? Sometimes our assertions are correct but there is also a big part of the story that a picture doesn't give you. A picture is a glimpse, a moment, a second into someone's life. It's not the whole story.
I was talking with a friend the other day and what she told me had me laughing and thinking, "oh man, does everyone think that?"

 I posted this picture a few months ago:

This is us at Olive Garden. We look happy don't we? Some might even think it's pretty amazing that we have this many little ones in a restaurant and we're all happy. Some even think that this picture is a good summation of our trip out to eat. It's not. What you don't see in this picture is me and Emma. Emma is in my arms as I take the photo one-handed. I am wrestling her little arm down to keep her from knocking the phone out of my hand so I can get one picture of my family at a restaurant. Emma never left my arms for this meal. What this picture doesn't tell you is that she screamed for 15 mins because she did not want to be in her car seat but she was still too little at the time this picture was taken to be in a high chair. So I held her. The whole time. I didn't even eat my meal. We boxed it up and I ate at 9 pm after all the kids were in bed. I stood for this whole meal, while holding Emma walking around the table cutting up food, helping the waitresses get the food to the right kid and refill waters. Ben was also just as busy with another baby needing his attention and answering endless questions from the older kids. Now, knowing all this you are probably wondering why I even posted a picture. I posted this picture because I was so proud of us for actually being out in a restaurant with all the kids and the only issue we were having was Emma being fussy (no big news there...she has been fussy from the start!). This was the first time we had eaten out in a restaurant since Emma was born. It was a huge undertaking for us and I was really amazed it was going as well as it was...and to some it likely appeared it wasn't going that great at all. I was exhausted and my arms ached and Ben was tired but the kids had a great time. None of them had ever been to Olive Garden before and it's now their favorite restaurant.

Don't get me wrong. We have children who generally do very well in restaurants, which is the only reason we attempted it in the first place. My point is that not every trip out can be predicted when you have kids, and especially so when babies are involved. There are times things go flawlessly and then there are times nothing seems to go right and everyone is acting up. That is what you call life with kids. We do have certain expectations of our kids and we correct consistently behaviors we do not want to see them exhibiting but we do that at home...not at the restaurant. Even kids who are taught well misbehave though so if you see a family out in a restaurant and the kids are acting up don't be quick to judge them. We can never know the big picture. Even parents who are teaching their kids well have kids who act up sometimes. In those times the parents need our love and compassion not our judgment and criticism. Just like a picture doesn't give you the whole story, a 1/2 hr in a restaurant watching another family also doesn't give you the whole story.

Then again...some pictures need no explanation:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Time to be Reminded

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches
 in glory by Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:19

The kids and I have been reading a great book together over the summer. I like to have a book or two I read aloud with the kids every summer and this year we are reading, Ten Boys Who Changed the World by Irene Howat. It contains stories of 10 different Christian men and gives a brief synopsis of their life, starting from when they were children. The kids have really loved this book and learning about these different Christian men. At the end of each chapter there is a section that makes you think about how you can apply the testimony of these men to your own life and how we can learn from them. Today we did George Mueller. His autobiography is one of my favorite books and his life story is one that has profoundly impacted Ben and I. His testimony of trusting and relying on God is so powerful. There is a quote by George Mueller that says, "No captain, my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life". I love this quote and try to apply it to my own life and the situations I face.

George Mueller never saw any obstacle as too big for God. He never relied on man to provide for his needs. He always took every request directly to God and trusted fully that God would provide. God provided in miraculous ways for George Mueller and the thousands of orphans he housed and cared for. Never was he indebted to any man and never did he ask for or solicit funds for the work God was asking him to do. He only let God know of his need and waited on Him to provide. It's such an incredible testimony of the kind of dependence we are supposed to have on God. In the chapter we read today one paragraph reads (GM is speaking to a friend),

"What we do is this. We get down on our knees and we tell the Lord all about it, and he has never, ever failed to answer our prayers. We receive gifts of food, and material for clothes. Some people arrive at the door and give us pennies, others come with hundreds of pounds. Over the years we've run the homes we've been given in money or kind over a million pounds. And remember, we've never asked for a penny."

What an amazing testimony! They cared for thousands of orphans and never did any of them go hungry or need anything. After I finished reading I couldn't help but think of how God has worked the same way in our family. We are asked so often how we afford the children we have. It sounds too simple to some when we tell them it's because God provides but truly that is it. God has provided for every single need. I realize the cost of living today is very different than the cost of living was in George Mueller's time but when you are going to the God who "owns the cattle on a thousand hills" for your needs, you can be sure there is no need too great or a price too high.

If God could provide for the thousands of children in George Mueller's orphanages, he can certainly provide for our family regardless of it's size. He doesn't need the state or government to do it for him either. He just needs us to have faith and believe he will, "supply all our needs" in His time. Reading that chapter today really spoke to my heart and reminded me to stop trying to rely on myself and to humble myself before God. I am ashamed at how often I need this reminder. It was a time to also talk with the kids think about how God has provided for our family and to thank Him for all he does. It is a wonderful testimony to our kids when they see Ben and I trusting God to provide for our needs. When they hear us praying that God would provide something and then observe us waiting on Him to do just that. Its important to us that our kids see us trusting God with everything. I just pray that we would remain faithful and never forget to give thanks and glory to God for all that we have. I am also challenged once again to live by faith...the way George Mueller lived.

If you've never read his life story you should consider it! If you are looking for a book to read with your kids I recommend the one I mentioned above. Every chapter, every life we've read about has left us with a challenge and something to think about!