Believe. Even on the Worst Days

20 Aug

Today.

Hazel and Ambrose decided they wouldn’t do their morning “High Five” – get dressed, brush your teeth and hair, make the bed, put away your jammies and empty the dishwasher.  They were starving so they needed to eat immediately.  They couldn’t possibly eat what I had just made for breakfast, they needed something different.  And actually those cherries I added as a treat for breakfast weren’t good enough, they need some cocoa powder and coconut milk to make them acceptable.  High Five took 2 hours.

Ezekiel ripped our laptop into two pieces then further dismantled it.  This is the same child who smashed the screen on our smart TV…twice.

Ambrose used his guitar as a slide and broke it in too.

The location a friend is hosting her daughter’s birthday party didn’t please Hazel, so she grumbled.  She grumbled some more when she found out what we were giving as a present.

Ambrose spit on his Bible.

I didn’t change Ezekiel’s nighttime poopy diaper until 10:30 am.

Ezekiel bit me.

Ambrose kicked Ezekiel.

Hazel screamed at Ambrose.

Ambrose stole a lemon bar from the fridge then lied about it.

Ambrose prayed to God that he wished God wouldn’t have made Mommy.

Ezekiel pulled my hair.

We missed the playdate at Ambrose’s preschool.

Kids all cried and told me I was the baddest Mommy ever and I never let them have fun.

I feel a twang of guilt.

God’s grace is sufficient for me today, and it is for you too, Momma.  Believe Him.  Rest in Him.  Jesus was perfect on your behalf.  Stop believing in yourself.  Give up false confidence or pity in yourself and embrace the humiliation of the cross.  Believe Him.  Believe He is taking care of you.  Believe He has already done for you all that needs to be done.  Mornings like this can happen, play dates can be skipped, friends can be shooed away, tonight’s crock pot dinner can be put in the oven—or we could eat cereal and eggs.  Who cares!  His grace is sufficient.

This was a real life, practical application the Lord gave me today after a painful summer of learning that all my efforts to “be enough” can only be met with despair.  Failure to believe in Christ can only result in restlessness.

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God,that you believe in him whom he has sent.”  – John 6:28-29

Ezekiel – ONE!

2 Nov

Sweet Baby EZ will soon be toddler EZ, Little Boy EZ…Buddy EZ.  We’ll need to figure out what to call him soon.

Ezekiel has taken us by surprise and is a quick, spunky ONE YEAR OLD!  This baby has been with us for an entire year.

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Learning to drive

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ONE!!!

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Entertaining himself with a squash

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Enjoying playing in the leaves

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Climbing the stairs

 

At one, Ezekiel:

*Has 6 teeth
*likes to help unload the dishwasher
*climbs the stairs
*is taking steps
*signs Daddy, all done, more.  Well, sort of.  They look more like clapping.
*Understands “don’t touch” and “hot.”
*Says “ball” “book” and “uh oh”

We made him a birthday cake made with almond flour, cocoa, honey.  He hated it and threw it all on the floor.

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This is how I feel about birthday cake

A Messy Summer

18 Sep

As summer officially comes to an end this weekend, I’m looking back and remembering all the fun we had.  It was a busy summer full of swimming, baseball, parties, running, and fostering relationships.  It was full.

Another reason to love summer is for all of the messy fun we have outdoors.

Frozen Inspired Ice Blocks.

Mix 1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup water together.  Add some liquid water colors and some glitter.  Freeze overnight.

To a squirt bottle add 1 cup vinegar and 1 tsp peppermint extract.  (I imagine Queen Elsa’s castle to smell like peppermint.)
DSC_0036 DSC_0047 DSC_0075 DSC_0086Shaving Cream in the Pool

DSC_0543 DSC_0547 DSC_0550Excavating an Ice Block

Freeze random toys in layers of water. To each layer I added some liquid water colors.  The kiddos love the striation of the ice.  We tried different methods to melt the ice (salt, sugar, licking it), but resorted to smashing it with a hammer.

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Rainbow Foam

DSC_0817 DSC_0825More baking soda and vinegar fun.

Not outside.  But messy fun nonetheless.  Frozen baking soda melted with vanilla-scented vinegar.

Not outside. But messy fun nonetheless. Frozen baking soda melted with vanilla-scented vinegar.

Ezekiel – 10 Months (Abridged)

14 Sep

So Ezekiel is 10 1/2 months now.  He spent the last several weeks with a runny nose, getting his 6th tooth, and in a grumpy mood.

EZ is an active baby.  He cruises along furniture, crawls at warped speed, and puts stuff in his mouth at the blink of an eye.

Ezekiel - 10 months

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18 Months

8 Sep

It’s been eighteen months since Dad died.  Some months the 8th passes by just being another day.  Sometimes the milestone brings another wave of grief.

Yesterday brought a new milestone of grief.  It was the first time someone visited our blog by searching for “Joe Lemsky cause of death.”  It sent shivers down my spine.  When I removed the veil of secrecy last month regarding the circumstances of dad’s death, I anticipated someone would google about it and I would provide fodder for gossip.  I knew that would happen.  I just wasn’t prepared for how I would feel.  

Today I’m reminding myself again that I am not defined by this.  My identity does not lay in this one event.  I am not a suicide survivor.  I am not left behind.  

I am beautiful and enough.  I am worth it.  I am a daughter of God.  The King.  That makes me a princess!  My identity does not lay in the grips of Satan’s lies, but in the King who gives me a hope and a future.  

A School Day

5 Sep

Sweet Baby EZ hasn’t taken a nap in a week.  Pretty sure he’s teething.  Mike calls him Baby Difficult.  

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Today I dropped Ambrose off at preschool and came back home with plans to “do school” with Hazel.  I actually planned a lesson for today.  A real, in depth lesson.  Books, crafts, and the whole shebang.  So, 9am Ezekiel goes down for his nap and will.not.sleep.  After some frustration and serious consideration “how am I ever going to teach her if we can’t get a moment to ourselves,” I was reminded that this is school.  Not school in the traditional sit-in-the-classroom-and-socialize-with-29-other-6-year-olds.  But school in the essence that she’s obtaining knowledge.  Hazel is watching to see how I respond to things and is working on her very own character development.  In stride, Baby Girl.  We’ll take this all in stride.

We both go get up Baby Difficult and Hazel just loves on him.  She counts his teeth: 6.  Remembers that she has 20 teeth.  “Momma, he has 14 more teeth to grow.  It’s not going to be fun.”  We do math in the midst of these crazy days.

So the three of us sit and snuggle down for a book.  “What is a telegraph?”  “What does solemn mean?”  “Where’s Holland?”  We do history, vocabulary, and geography in the midst of these crazy days.

Ezekiel still isn’t taking a nap, and it’s okay.  

The Shame of Suicide

14 Aug

Robin Williams’ death has suicide at center stage.  The internets are flooded with reflections on suicide prevention, whether or not suicide is selfish, how to recognize a call for help, and many other thoughts on suicide.

One thing that’s held my attention is the family of Robin.  Robin left behind a family.  This family is grieving at the loss of a best friend, a husband, a father, a funny-man, a man full of life.  This family is dealing with the publicity of his death.  This family is dealing with the aftermath of suicide in a very public forum.  They cannot hide the circumstances of his death.

I could.

You see last March, my father committed suicide and I’ve been wrapped up in the shame of it all.  My father committed suicide.  That sounds so outrageous.  Robin Williams’ death was eerily familiar.  How could such a sweet man with so much to live for take his own life?

There is such a stigma with suicide.  There is no glory in it.

Blues

If I shared the circumstances of my dad’s death with someone–be it the local coffee shop owner as I showed up at 6:15 am and uncontrollably burst into tears or a well-meaning friend–I would often be faced with “Was he depressed?”  As if a “Yes” answer would give him reason to take his life.  As if a “Yes” answer would wash away my despair and make me the selfish one for grieving his loss.  He was suffering and you couldn’t expect him to live like that forever.  

To this question I would offer a “No.  Not really.”  Much like Robin Williams he a happy man.  A smart man.  A genuine, gentle, loving man who could strike up a conversation with anyone and make him feel special.  He lived life out of the box and was spontaneous.  He was full of life, joy, and zeal.  However, there was the side of him that appeared in the days before he took his life.  A man with struggles, worries, and feelings of inadequacy and insignificance.

My shame gave the answer “No. Not really,”  It’s hard to reconcile that the man who brought me to life decided that his life was not worth living any more.  It breaks my heart.  I don’t want anyone to define my dad by his final moments.  Please don’t let that be how you remember him!

As I reflect on my shame and the shame other suicide survivors may experience I remember the story of the bleeding woman in Luke 8.  She had been hemorrhaging for 12 years and no medical treatment she sought had helped, but only left her broke.  She knew Jesus could heal her.  So one day when Jesus was surrounded with a crowd of people she approached him and touched the hem of his garment.  She was hopeful that she could touch him without anyone seeing her. Shame.  She felt shame in her ailment.  Immediately she was healed!

But then Jesus asked “Who was it that touched me?”  What would she do?  She didn’t want the attention!  She was hoping to quietly receive the healing without anyone seeing.  Jesus was addressing her shame.

Embarrassed she says “I touched you.  It was me.”  She poured out her shame in front of everyone.  Jesus responds sweetly to her “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”  

What Jesus was exposing in that moment was not her weakness and shame. What he was exposing was her faith. He wanted her faith visible so that everyone who carries a secret shame — which is every one of us — might have hope.  -Jon Bloom.

God can take the shame we feel in the aftermath of suicide and turn it into a “showcase for His grace.”

Birthday Reflections – Created for Good Works

14 Aug

Yes, my birthday was a month ago, but I thought I’d share some reflections from that day.

A birthday outing with my Sweet Ones.

A birthday outing with my Sweet Ones.

I am a cherished work of art–made to be exactly who I am.  Each character trait, each strength, each idiosyncrasy was part of my design.  

I was created to fulfill a specific work which God prepared for me before I was even born.  (Ephesians 2:10)

When we start thinking about engaging in works that God has prepared beforehand for us to participate in our eyes are taken off of ourselves and focused on what God is doing.  It’s not about me–it’s about Him!  but guess what?  He loves me so much–so so much.  I m His treasure–His inheritance.  He is letting me participate in his grand plan.  Me!!

God has prepared work for me to do before I was born–meaning I was born to fulfill these works.  My aim should not be to find something I might be good at, but to find what I’ve been created to do.  God gave me specific skills to fulfill these works in order to bring him glory.  The things I’m good at aren’t for my glory nor for making a name for myself–but to bring him glory and make His name famous. 

Somewhere in the midst of this all I will find Jesus as my satisfaction!

While Daddy’s Away…

28 Jul

Mike was out of town for a funeral this weekend.  I stayed at home with the kiddos because you never know what can happen with little ones at a funeral.  This was my first extended period with 3 children by myself and the Lord was gracious with me.  He provided me with wonderful community to have us over for dinner, help me keep my kiddos in line, and keep me company.  I loved my Saturday morning on the sidewalk watching the neighborhood kids ride their bikes.

The Lord knew I needed to quiet my heart in the evenings after putting the kiddos to bed.  He met me and reminded me of His deep love for me.  So often I look to Mike to fill this need to be loved and having him gone was just what I needed to remember that it is God who loves me perfectly and completely.  Being filled with this love I was able to lavish love on my three Littles.

Freezy goop.  1 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup water, liquid water colors.  Freeze for messy fun.

Freezy goop. 1 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup water, liquid water colors. Freeze for messy fun.

Ezekiel joined in the freezy goop fun.

Ezekiel joined in the fun.

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He’s all about sensory activities

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Love these kiddos!

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Goop

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Ezekiel – 9 Months

26 Jul

Ezekiel has been outside of the womb for as long as he was in. Crazy.

Our household has gotten a lot busier now with this guy on the move.  He’s always getting into Big Brother’s creations and Big Sister is often at Ezekiel’s aid and defense.  It’s sweet to see the three of them interact .

Can you get over how cute he is?  Baby Model

Can you get over how cute he is? Baby Model

 

Tidbits about Ezekiel-
*He is pulling himself up on the coffee table, on his crib, on the stairs.  Watch out!  This baby is mobile!
*His facial expressions have become more serious, but he still smiles whenever he makes eye contact with someone
*He’s understanding that crying gets him picked up.  And boy, does he work the tears during dinner time.
*He chases the Roomba
*Mama- First word.  He says it when I get him up in the morning.  “Ma ma ma.”

Meeting Daddy for a lunch picnic.

Meeting Daddy for a lunch picnic.

 

In his favorite hangout - the front porch.

In his favorite hangout – the front porch.

Busted

Busted

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