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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

reality of life

Those of you that encourage me to "keep it real" are going to love this post.

Most of the time I try to focus on the joy that my life brings me.

If i look at the reality of life for too long I might just shrivel up and die. ( The juggle from high school to 2 year olds is enough to take the strongest of women down! whew!) There are other times when the "ugliness" is thrown so hard and hits me RIGHT IN THE FACE that I have no choice but to acknowledge it. It is at that moment that I can think about it, process it, then move on...OR just sit in it and feel completely defeated and think "I have at LEAST 16 more years of this."

I asked Abby Akridge to go to Orlando with us last week. She is a junior in college, interning for SHOW HOPE, and has a HUGE heart for orphans. We had some great conversations about what her future holds and what her life MIGHT look like after college. She mentioned driving a fifteen passenger van and filling it with kids and desiring to just FOLLOW Christ call on her life....OH how I wish I would have had her faith at her age...WAY WISE BEYOND HER YEARS. Now I am not sure if after being with us for a week, that her heart still desires that! (ha)
The truth of the matter is...LIFE IS HARD. My sister in law has mentioned several times on this trip that she hasn't seen me much. My friends at home are always mentioning how they can never reach me. I usually am pretty good about returning texts, (lately, not so much) I use to have an answering machine, but it had gotten to the point that when I would return home, there would be 15 messages within just a few hours. I started feeling so overwhelmed at the thought of getting back to everybody that I just turned it off. I try to keep focused on keeping my children first and not being sidetracked by all of the outside forces.

It has been rainy everyday since we arrived on Sunday. This morning we woke to blue skies and a BROWN, OIL FILLED beach...aarrrgggghhhhhh! Mike decided to take the older kids to a water park and I decided to keep my 2 younger ones at the pool downstairs. I ordered a "wonder wheeler deluxe" and have been SO EXCITED to use it. It carries beach chairs, cooler, 9 beach towels, beach toys, and everything else that one desires to take out on your vacation. (It even has an extra pocket for your drink, other pockets for your room key, cell phone, etc....) Can you tell how excited I am?!?!

We get situated at the pool and Caleb starts filling the buckets full of water and throwing it on me, then rather than just throwing the water, decides to throw the whole bucket at my head..I very calmly explain that the bucket hurts and not to do that. All the while Josie is talking to an older woman sitting near by and the scowl on the woman's face looks as though she has eaten a lemon. So, I try to coax Josie away from her "new friend". I get back to my spot in the shallow
and a bucket hits me right in the head...SO I go get Caleb, sit him all alone and tell him not to get up until I give him permission. In the mean time a teenage boy approaches Caleb and asks him if he is looking for his mom and when I reply "he is in trouble for disobeying" the boy tells me that he would have NEVER guessed that I was his mom. (welcome to Gulf Shores, Alabama)

We move to the baby pool and this sweet little boy has these little plastic fish that swim in the water and you catch them with a net. Caleb decided that our WHOLE BAG of toys were no longer fun and that he wanted one of the "swimmy fish", the little boy shared for awhile and then wanted his fish back. After trying to explain to Caleb that the little boy had been so sweet to share and it was time to give his toy back, Caleb was having NO PART of it and began screaming and thrashing about. Screaming "I want to go to the sand box!" I removed him from the baby pool and headed to the sandy part of the beach that had been unaffected by the oil. He was insistent that he spray the hose (that you normally wash your sand off with) into the air and all over people passing. Several other incidences happened while on the beach but I won't continue to bore you with so many details. At this point I started quoting scripture ALOUD, and holding him very firmly on my hip. I told my sister in law that I was going upstairs to put him to bed and started back up that ramp. All the while, passing the same group of people for the THIRD time, with a screaming 2 year old in my arms. (i don't know about you, but when I see a child acting up I look not to give the child more attention for his actions...doesn't that make sense?!?) Not these people....ALL EYES....STARING!

I receive MANY emails about HIV and having children of color. I can answer all of them with truthfulness. It might encourage some people and discourage others. The MAIN point that I try to impress on people is that WE DO NOT CHOOSE OUR LIVES. If you are truly living by faith and relying on our Savior Jesus Christ, then does it really matter if it's hard? or accepted? or pleasing to others? NO, it only matters to Christ and Christ alone. So, the bottom line...who are you here to serve?

Even in these "trials of many kinds," the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ is to continue living the life that James will describe. ...James1

Obeying Jesus will mean being able to stand up in the trials of life. In contrast is the man who quickly builds his house on the top of the earth. ...Luke 6

For Jesus' sake excludes a reference to the aging process or to the normal trials of everydaylife. Paul is thinking of the hardships and troubles that he ...2 Corinthians 4

indeed, in the minds of Paul's critics to resort to the pen is to live by the .... with all its limitations, frustrations, trials and tribulations. ...2 Corinthians 10

There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for ... 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you ...1 Peter 1

Gal 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, .... Jas 1:2: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, ...

I could go on and on and on with scripture that tells us that if we are truly living a life worth living FOR Christ that there are going to be trials and hardship. (I am talking little, piddley, moment by moment trials that over time just WEAR US DOWN.)
So, I have a choice. I can live defeated, every moment of every day. OR I can rejoice that my life is difficult and I am MADE to rely on my sweet Savior each and every moment (at least for 16 more years hahaha)
So, when "wild man with a BIG temper and significant leadership qualities" wakes from his nap guess what we are going to do? YEP! you got it...we're going back down to that pool! I SHALL NOT BE DEFEATED


247mama said...

keep the faith! God is with you and He is carrying you through those struggling times! Trust also that those times happen whether you have a whole brood of children or just 2! I love reading your posts & look forward to each one!:) I spend all my time with my 2 quoting the fruits of the Spirit, over and over and over! It will sink in one day!

Ling! said...

What a beautiful post about the trials you go through! Thanks for sharing! :) I only have 1 child right now and feel I go through a lot of what you're going through, though obviously to a much lesser degree! Glad we're normal. Hehe

I am surprised they let you on the beach when there's oil coming in. I guess that's how beaches will be for awhile now, huh?

Johnson Fam said...

Great words that I needed to hear today. I've been feeling lonely and sorry for myself as mommy of 4, 2, and 4 months. You described a day in my life with own sweet Caleb, and I have been clinging to Romans 8 lately to focus my attention on the fact that I have "the same power that raised Christ from the dead" residing within me.

Thanks for your honesty and pointing us to the cross. I am encouraged today to surrender it all to Him who is able to do more than I ever asked or imagined!
Love Julie J

Unknown said...

AMEN Suzanne! Blessings and grace - Jill

Shauna said...

Thanks for keepin' it real AND keepin' on! An inspiration indeed!

Sara said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this post!

Deb said...

Thanks for sharing so truthfully today. I'm having a hard adoption day myself -- thinking of the commitment I made to a little girl with HIV in Uganda. Was I nuts?!?!? :)
Anyway, blessings on your vacation.

Jenny said...

I only have 3 and I feel like that somedays;0)
May God bless your next trip with FUN, peace and lots of LAUGHTER!

What a joy to be in HIS will!

sunny-d said...

hahaha I luv it! Thanks for reminding me THAT'S how we do it. We run to the Lord and scripture and our strength is renewed and our minds are expanded. Do we seriously get to be a part of this??!!?? woohoo :)

Goodness and Mercy Mom said...

Dear Suzanne,

Thanks so much for "keeping it real." I know there are a bunch of moms letting out a huge sigh of relief that you are human. I LOVE that you quote scripture aloud as you parent your blessing with "significant leadership skills." (I have a couple kiddos with SLS, too.)

Thank you for living by faith--surrendering all to His will and His plan. We are prayerfully considering adopting an HIV positive child. Thanks for your testimony--it has been instrumental in helping us take this leap of faith.

God Bless,

Jim and April said...

thanks so much for this!

Amy...who wanted 4. said...

This post made me smile! I can soooo relate to it.
Still sick about the oil spill....we canceled out trip to Gulf Shores this fall. :-(

John and Sarah said...

You are awesome. I want to be like you:)

Unknown said...

oh my goodness...i can feel you on this. we just returned from vacation and i'm getting ready to write my pool experiences with a multi-racial family. it brings it out for sure. also, the quoting scripture outloud with a toddler firmly on your hip? i giggled outloud! [WITH you, i hope.] it is hard. PRAISING GOD that it is hard and that may i NOT shy away from His calling because of that. longing for even more of Him and knowing that it will continue to be beautifully hard.

also? our little boy wasn't home yet when i briefly met you at your church and i had cried watching you get out of your van. your BEAUTIFUL family that looked like my family does in my heart. i told you and you said that you don't hear nice things about it very often in person. well, i'll say it again. your family is beautiful and an inspiration. THANK YOU for obeying with your life and your words here.

emily said...

How in the world could that cute boy do ANY wrong??? :)

Can't wait to see you. Pretty sure my crew will make you feel really good about yourself!

Tisra said...

"significant leadership qualities". Ha!!! Love it! I have one (or 2, or 3?) of those who are going to rock this world when they're older, but are rocking MY world now. :-)

Reading a great book now that you may want to download (free, even). It's available on the Gospel for Asia website called, "Consider Your Call" by Gisela Yohannan. Previously had read her husband's book, "Revolution in World Missions" and LOVED IT. WOW. Also free through Gospel for Asia if downloaded in PDF. Anyway, touches on some of the same themes. If you're already on the Radical journey, this will be right up your alley. :-)

Keep keeping it real.

Kristi J said...

i tell ya..the pool is my enemy...I could have written that..but the only difference is that I have to take a baby or two out screaming with a screaming 5 yr. old running behind me MAD that we have to leave, plus my two others following behind crying that we have to ALL leave the pool cause the babies won't quit screaming...then seriously..someone at the pool says, "Mam, you look like you could use a drink" I said, "thanks but I don't drink!!:)" loved this post...kristi

Rachel said...

I LOVE it! Thank you so much for your honesty! And all your scriptures--wow--how great to tackle the wear and tear of motherhood with the Word. Oh and your description of Caleb at the end---so great! Isn't it the very characteristics of our kids that test us early on as parents that become the very gifts/traits God uses for His kingdom?! Thank you for this post!

Sandee said...

I love your honesty....transparency. I have only been following your blog for a short time and have already quoted you TWICE this week! I have been doing a Ruth study and it talks about sowing....and gleaning...and refers to the verse in Psalms about sowing through our tears...and that it is not our weeping thta brings harvest but our sowing. "We can shed an ocean of tears, but no harvest will come unless we simultaneously cast our seed. This is not easy...but what we do while we're weeping makes the difference."

Blessings to you as you are sowing....even when is is not easy!

Jodi said...

now THAT'S a post I can relate to!

ally said...

Teenagers to toddlers! That was my life for more years than you know with 9 kids over a 20 yr span! I used to joke that I accidently put clearasil on my baby's bottom and desinex on my teenagers face! Anyway, with my youngest 8 years old now, I can fondly say that those were some of the best years! Teenagers and toddlers have so much in common! Thanks for sharing your struggles with everyone. It's so encouraging to other moms that they are not alone. I used to sing very loudly, "the joy of the Lord is my strength!"

mzzclaudia said...

I love your optimism and vision of his "significant leadership qualities". With God in the center of your hearts and your home, you will all survive these difficult times and glorify HIM.

Christie said...

Here's what I want to say...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

My kids are 2 and 1. And I only have two for now. Both adopted. Both strong willed. One from Africa. One from China. We are like a traveling circus everywhere we go. People stop, stare, point, approach...sometimes while my children are mid-meltdown (which is often...but I too, will not be defeated). It has taken a lot on some days just to smile and politely get through it while the on-lookers stare.

Whew. I needed this post. The humanity of it. Every mom's struggle.

Being called to this life. Answering the call.

Ok. That's what I wanted to say...

carry on. (heh)

Amy said...

Love it and I agree- IT.IS.HARD. Somedays I let myself go there... to where the old me was...having my nails done, perfect hair style, cute clothes, EASY, SIMPLE, RELAXING. But I know now, I know that while it maybe EASY and RELAXING there is SO MUCH MORE. While it IS hard my heart burst with love for my kids. We just did Disney- with 9 kids, medicine in tow (LOL). Not easy but oh the smiles were priceless. Now I need a vacation from vacation. Thanks for keeping it REAL. Love your family. Amy

wdomburg said...

Even here in New York people are sometimes thrown off by kids with a different skin tone. My wife discovered recently that the bus drivers at our kids' school were under the impression she ran a day care.

None of ours are even adopted; they're just ethnically diverse enough to vary in complexion. (Between the two of us there's English, Irish, Scottish, German, Norweigan, Panamanian, Jamaican and Puerto Rican in the mix.)

Lisa Peterson said...

Great attitude!!!! Keep the faith! I so enjoy your blog! :)

Unknown said...

Love this post, because I am so living your life. Hopey, who I love more than the air I breathe and am living daily knowing I could lose because of her fouled-up heart, is driving me nuts. She is having meltdowns with every single transition---get in the car, meltdown, get out of the car, meltdown, walk in the grocery, meltdown, etc. She thrashes her body and screams with the most horrific sound it literally startles people around us. And Charlie, he has decided he likes to play in poop. Every day, at least two times a day, I find him lathering it all over his body....AND, he has also decided to be frightfully scared of when I go to bathe him, it is such a huge task. Exhausted. Then there are the other kids that I am striving to make a priority in the middle of it all, because they really need me too. Caleb a rising freshman in high school playing every sport known to man....Lydia who seems to have been born a country music singer even though no one in our family even likes country music....and Natalie with her own struggles to overcome fetal alcohol sydrome. Overwhelmed. But, in the chaos, knowing I am exactly where the Father placed me. And I think He enjoys the fact that I am hanging on to him, knuckles white, each and every moment. Thanks for sharing....Have a blessed day!


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I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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