Thursday, September 23, 2010

Look at what I "learnded" this week!

I know...I know...I know

I haven't posted about what I'm learning for a while now. And here's my problem. I HAVE NO IDEA! It seems like the last couple of weeks I've just been plagued with random thoughts and good ideas and some maybe not-so-good thoughts. Then I get sad and mad at myself and then happy. I begin to feel like I haven't learned anything and many times just feel like I'll never figure this whole thing out. What whole thing?


How do I be a woman of God giving Him glory in all that I do?

Love people whenever I possibly can.

Raise 4 children who LOVE JESUS with all their heart.(And do a much better job at this whole thing)

Love the orphan, the widow, the needy.

Live a faith that is "real" and SHARE it with others

Keep my house clean, but not in a way that makes it more important than what is truly important

Find time to daily sit with my Savior. Worshiping him, studying the Word, listening, confessing, obeying

Do the dishes, laundry, feed kids, clean up and then feed them again

Love on my husband in a way that is Godly and keeps him always wanting more :D

Prepare my heart for a weekly time to pour into newly married couples

Find friendships that build me up and challenge me and be a better friend to the friends I already have that do that

Remind myself that there is a bigger reason to live my life than JUST ME!

Find time to watch all those STUPID shows I absolutely love

Cry because I feel like I could do so much more for my King and His kingdom

Begin to dream BIG DREAMS for myself, my husband, and our family

Cry again because I seriously find myself wondering if our family is called to do something radical, but am afraid of what that looks like

Rest in the arms of my merciful Jesus who knows EXACTLY what I'm feeling

Work out so I keep my body healthy and mind sane (the shower helps too)

Try to go to bed before the next days starts and then REPEAT!

Have you been there my friends? This is my life as of lately. I want to live a life that is different and gives people a reason to ask me why it's different. But I struggle with my selfish flesh and yearn for the typical American middle class life. It would be easy for me to just throw in the towel and tell myself not to be so hard on myself and that I "do" plenty. But that feels like an easy way out. At the same time God does not want me to feel the way I do feel sometimes, like I just suck. So this week and next week and the week after that times infinity I'm going to try and give myself a break and yet keep my heart open for God to work in and move me anyway or anywhere He wants to.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Don't we just LOVE hearing that little word? It melts our heart and brings tears to our eyes. Especially when you hear it for the first time. (And if you are lucky it's their first word) But just recently hearing the words "Mama" for the first time brought tears to my eyes for a totally different reason. J-man has started calling me Mama and it warms my heart and breaks it at the same time. Just tonight at our small group he started crying and I walk over to him. He reached his little hands up in the air and called out saying "Mama....Mama". I scooped him up and sat down with him. Our small group knows our journey and there was a awkward silence in the room. I know what everyone was thinking and I was thinking the same thing. I feel so blessed to be this little boy's Mommy for right now. But it won't be forever and he could be going back to Bio Mom in a little over 2 weeks. Ever day it seems like his case changes and everyday I have to deal with feelings that I can't quite explain just yet. I love this little boy, but the reality is that even though right now to him I'm his "Mama" that's just not the case. Please pray for me friends.....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just words.....

Lately we've (and when I say "we" I mostly mean my 2 oldest children, but to be honest I needed this reminder too) been talking about our words. How words can drag someone down and make them feel bad. How words that speak truth and build each other up make someone feel good and joyful. So during lunch everyday we go around the table a couple of times and say words that life each other up. It has really been a sweet time. Here are some of the compliments that have been said....

C- Bryce, I love the way you listen to me when I'm the teacher and you are my karate student. You are doing a very good job.

B- Mama you're the best Mama cause you make me lot's of good food. And you let me have candy sometimes. (Hint Hint Mom I want some candy today)

C- Mom I love you so much because you bought me a Iron Man costume for Halloween and now no one will know who I am. And then I can get lot's of candy. (Um there's that candy thing again)

B- Connor, you're really good at riding a bike and now I get to ride your bike.

C- Alexis you are the best sister cause you are the only girl. (She really appreciated that one)

B- J-man you are so cute and love to eat.

It really has been fun and I plan on making this a tradition. I look forward to the day that I have a table full of teenagers and make them do this same exercise and let's just hope that I'm still blogging then, cause that will be funny.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Looks like I'm not the only blogger in the family....

Words from Adam.....

Two months ago, we added a foster son to our family. I can't use his name online for various reasons, so he'll be "J" for the rest of this note. J was a scared little guy when he came to our family, and we barely knew anything about his situation. We were initially told it was bad, and that he would likely be with us for a long time, possibly even ending in adoption into our family. Without getting into details, it simply doesn't look like that's the case at all anymore. It's very possible he'll be reunited with his biological mother in a month or two.

As a father of three beautiful children, I know how deep my love for them goes. It may sound trite when parents say they would do anything for their children, but it's absolutely true. Children are a gift from God, and they each possess your heart in a way that can't be adequately described in words. With that knowledge in mind, I was honestly skeptical whether I could love someone else's child like my own. Two months ago, I would have said it wasn't possible. As time went on though, J convinced me otherwise. That realization caused me to consciously try to hold back a tiny piece of my heart from him. Perhaps out of fear of being hurt when he leaves our family. Perhaps so I could still show love toward his biological mom, even when I don't like some of the decisions she makes. Whatever the reasons, I was trying to not fully love him. I can say without a doubt, I have failed in that goal.

In my heart, J is one of my children. I love him as much as I love Connor, Bryce, and Alexis. He is part of our family. Every day, I watch him grow and flourish into a confident one year old boy. I watch him fall in love with Jennifer. I watch the bonds form between him and his siblings in our family. I watch myself fall in love with him more and more.

And now, I have to start preparing to give him up, and I don't like it.

This really struck me at First Tuesday when Matt Carter challenged us to consider what was holding us back from pouring out everything we had to God. I knew immediately what my current hang-up centered on. Giving up J. I don't want to do it, because I love J. It will hurt me. It will hurt Jennifer. It will make my children sad. As I wallowed in self-pity, the Holy Spirit pierced me with an understanding that was at once painful yet beautiful.

We will likely be sending J back to his mother soon. As much as I may not want him to leave our family, the fact is, his mother does love him. He'll be returning to a fairly good home situation, especially compared to most foster care cases. I may get angry or frustrated at some of the choices that will be made for him, or due to some of the situations he'll be placed into, but he's going back to his mom. A mom that loves him, even if she has made a few bad decisions. He's not going back to an abusive situation. He's not going back to a dangerous situation. That knowledge alone is a comfort, but that's when the bomb dropped.

God willingly gave up his "J" for me. God knowingly sent his son into a world where he would be mocked, ridiculed, hurt, tortured, and ultimately killed. His son that he had developed a relationship with for an eternity, not just two or three months. His son that he loved beyond anything I can imagine. It got worse.

God gave up his son to be Sin. He didn't just give up his son, he poured out the righteous wrath and judgement that I deserved onto his son. His only child was beaten. His only child was spit upon. His only child was tortured. His only child was nailed to a cross to suffer an extremely painful death. As if that wasn't enough, his only child experienced complete and utter separation from his father when he took on sin.

All of it was done for me. All of the sacrifice, all of the pain, all of the separation; for me. That's a depth of love that defies understanding. That kind of love is fanatical. That kind of love is intense. That kind of love restores my broken relationship with God the Father. That's a beautiful reminder of God's love for me.

I wish I could say this reminder will make giving J back hurt less, but I don't think I can say that yet. It's going to hurt. It's going to break my heart. But, I can rest in the understanding that any pain I might experience pales in comparison to what God did when he gave up Jesus to a broken world. I can rest in the knowledge that my God is perfect, and that J's time in our family brought glory and renown to His name. I can be confident that God's will is being worked in our family and in J. Even more comforting is the understanding that J has a Father that loves him more than I ever could.

I may have to give J up soon, but I know God has already given up everything for him.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reading is FUNdamental

I love to read (when I have time) and I want my kiddos to learn how to love to read too. So now that the boys are getting older I've tried to find some creative ways to get reading. Here's a couple of my ideas.....

1) I encourage my older kids to read to the younger ones. J-man and Alexis love the attention and love books so it works perfectly.

2) Everyday we have "silent reading time". The boys love this time for only ONE reason (at first) which is because they get to earn TV time. So they grab books and I set the timer. They always get WAY into it once they get started.

3) I read to the boys before their quiet time every afternoon. We are currently reading the magic tree house book series. They are great books for little boys and I love that each day we go over what had happen the day before and what they think is going to happen to the main characters today. I'm amazed already at how they are starting to understand plot, cause and effect, and logic.

What things do you do to help encourage reading with your kiddos?

Friday, September 3, 2010

No words....just watch

Every time I look at my son (J-man) I'm reminded of the injustice children live with in my OWN CITY. I want to do great things! I want to stand up against what is wrong! I want to be used by God! I want to help end hunger, pain, death, the need for the word "orphan"! When I close my eyes at night I see these faces, I see my very OWN son's face. When you close your eyes what do you see? What makes you hurt? What is God stirring in your heart RIGHT NOW? Join me.....No what if's, I can't, that's hard......GOD CAN and wants to use us. We just need to be willing to say "Here am I!"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Look at what I "learnded" this week!

At the beginning of this week, I was helping my Dad unpack and was shoving a bunch of bubble paper into a box and felt a sharp stab. I lifted my hand and found a 6 inch piece of glass sticking out the top of it. I'm fine and felt pretty silly getting hurt "unpacking." But, I did hurt my hand. The "wound" is deep and it will take some time to heal. It got me thinking about the things I need God to heal. The wounds in my heart and flesh. This week I've been working on not getting angry with the boys. If there is one thing that has suffered with the addition to another kiddo in the McManus house, it's my loud voice. I wouldn't say I get "angry angry" I just get loud, because sometimes my life is loud and I feel the need to be the LOUDEST to get my way.
Today for example, I was trying to get on the phone with CPS because someone had messed up J-man's visit with his Bio Mom this week. I was frustrated and trying to make lunch while talking on the phone with CPS. The boys were fooling around at the table and making noise. I put the phone on mute looked at them with "that" Mom look and loudly exclaimed that the next one to make a peep will be in DEEP TROUBLE. After I got off the phone, I had to apologize to the boys for yelling AGAIN.
Later that day, I had some quiet time to just think, pray, and get in the Word. I felt ashamed that I had once again raised my voice. I hate doing it. And, I hate even more that some days it feels like I can't NOT do it. My sinful nature is a wound in my heart that runs deep. It will take a LONG time to heal. And, let's just be honest, some days it feels like that sin and screw ups I have will never heal.
But, I find mercy and grace in the arms of my Savior and so I try again tomorrow. And, I keep trying to learn that with Christ's help, He can heal me.
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