Home is…where I’m trapped. Right?

Two nights ago my husband asked the most random question: “When is the last time you wrote on your blog?” It’s been about two months, I shamefully admitted. “You should write something soon.” I don’t think he knows how encouraging those words were nor how motivating, so here I write…

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid who dreamed about the future? I don’t. Haha. I think I spend too much time thinking about the “what if’s” that my father always told me to stop worrying about. But there was a time for each of us when we dreamed and schemed about what we wanted to be when we grew up.

I have vivid memories of being with other kids and pretending to be a school teacher. I was the oldest at the in-home daycare my brother and I attended for several years, so I was always the teacher. Sometimes we’d play house, and I was always the mom. Do those early role-playing years have any indication of what I truly wanted for my future? I dunno, but here I stand a wife of 10 years, a mom of eight years, and having done teacher-esque duties of various kinds for more time than that. Yet what happens when we have exactly what we want? Often times we forget to have gratitude; we become greedy for more or maybe want to push away the awesomeness of blessings that we’ve been given.

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I’m really grateful for the flexibility that homeschooling brings. They can sit wherever is most comfortable and still get work done. I don’t feel trapped when this happens.

Two weeks ago I realized that that so often I feel trapped within my own home. There are always toys all over the floor (and seriously, how did that Lego brick get in there?!?), always laundry piles to be done, always dirty dishes, and there is always dirt on the floor. There are always arguments to dispel, hearts to correct and encourage, boo-boos to kiss, and hugs to give (more so, it seems, when I already feel especially over-touched for the day). And since I also homeschool and own my own home-based business, those “still need to be done” list items spill over into other categories. There is always something.

Recently, by God’s incredible grace, I have been getting up earlier to focus my heart and mind on having a new and different attitude, and I’m seeing changes, albeit small ones. Last week I had one of those days where absolutely nothing went as I wanted or planned and the frustration and anger soaked every word I spoke. After 33 years of life, 10 years of marriage, and 8 years of parenting, why on earth would I be crazy foolish enough to expect most things to go the way that I planned them to go? Ha! Some days it seems there are constant tantrums, arguments, why’s, and stop-touching-me’s…even from this mama. So today, I want to be especially focused and intentional in my prayers and thoughts so that no matter what comes my way I will not let my attitude be determined by my circumstances but rather by truths that I know.

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His favorite spot in the house. I love that he yells for his brothers from the window. He doesn’t feel trapped here. Why should I?

Praise God that in His grace and crazy awesome kindness He granted the desires of my heart. I think all the time, “There’s no way I should be a mother. I’m terrible at this!” yet God reminds me that I’m not to do anything in my own strength but in His. (Philippians 4:13) That goes for any title I hold: wife, teacher, boss-lady, homemaker, etc.

I’m so thankful that I remember dreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up (not sure I’m a grown up yet, but whatever), because it gives me greater joy each time my sons tell me what they want to be. The best part is that what they want to be changes about every two weeks when they get excited about some new topic or finding. Their aspirations challenge me and excited me. I can’t wait to see what they do!

I’m thankful that my husband and children still love me. Of course they love you, Ashley, how could they not?! I can just imagine folks saying that in response. My friend, we are all wicked, and sometimes that wickedness is so great that we are surprised that anyone could love us and keep us around. My husband is one of the most patient people I have ever met in my life, and God put us together knowing that I would need that from him. My sons love me with a crazy big love, and when I confess whatever sin to my children that I’ve committed against them and ask their forgiveness my 6yo often says, “I will always forgive you, Momma.” Is your heart melted? Jesus’ grace right there in the words of a child.

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Getting out of the house even for just a walk seems to relieve so much tension! I struggle to remember this. Don’t make yourself feel trapped.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to stop and be renewed. Days like yesterday cannot determine the attitude of my heart today other than to give me a fervor of focus on the Word of God and prayer as I get ready to greet the day ahead of me. So this morning while praying, the Spirit of God reminded me of this:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV)

I’m glad the Apostle Paul wrote this. I have a tendency to get stuck in the muck of “Woe is me. I suck because yesterday was a sucky day and I sinned a lot and I suck and I can’t pick myself up and keep going today.” So then I have to force myself to remember this:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV)

Indeed. I will hope in the Lord God. He will renew me day by day whether I am in my home or outside of it. Oh, and I’m learning to get out of the house every. single. day. for some amount of time to maintain sanity. Sounds simple, right? I’ve got three kids and one on the way…there’s nothing simple about getting everyone out the door for anything, but getting out of our home for a little bit every day seems to bring refreshment to all of us! So forward we go!

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