Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Matthew's Baptism

These are in reverse order for some reason... but you get the picture!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Day to Remember

Last night, Ephraim surprised me during his bedtime prayers by asking Jesus to help him be a better person. He is 5 1/2 and not extremely mature even compared to typical 5-year-olds. I told him that was a good thing to pray for and that it was a tiny step towards eventually asking Jesus to save him. He surprised me again by saying he wanted to ask Jesus to save him right then.

I thought for a moment. Nathan was saved on New Year's Eve the year he was 5; and I couldn't help comparing the boys. Nathan had been adamant about asking Jesus into his heart, but I was reluctant because of his age. Truthfully, I tried to talk him out of it, saying, "Nathan, you don't have to do this until you're ready;" to which he replied "Mommy, I am ready... why won't you just let me do this?" Nathan prayed the sinner's prayer and knew & believed everything he was supposed to believe; but I worried because of his age. In hindsight, I see now that his salvation was real... he was one way before salvation and a different way afterwards.

Now, almost 3 years to the day later (December 27th this time); I had another 5-year-old asking me the same question. I compared Ephraim's maturity level with Nathan's at the same age, and sighed. "Ephraim, let's think and talk about this for a few days... and if you are really sure you are ready and if I'm really sure you understand what it means to ask Jesus to save you... well, I'll help you pray the prayer on New Year's Eve, just like Nathan did."

This was not good enough for Ephraim. He could not sleep; and could not let go of the idea of asking Jesus to save him right then. It was as if Someone had taken hold of him...

I thought again about how it turned out with Nathan... about how in hindsight I can see the reality of his conversion and the Truth of Jesus living inside of him. As I considered Ephraim's eagerness to be saved by God... to commit to making Jesus the Lord of his life... I thought, "Who am I to stand in the way of this?"

So, I helped him.

I have adopted and adapted (though definitely DID NOT invent it!) a simplified method of explaining salvation to very young children: the ABC method.

A: Admit you are a sinner.
B: Believe Jesus is God's son and that Jesus died on the cross for you and that Jesus rose again on the 3rd day.
C: Confess/Commit to make Jesus the Lord (boss) of your life.

Also important: to love Jesus and to understand he is the bridge to God; that without Him none of us can get to God; and that he became the bridge by taking our punishment for us when He died on the cross. One of Matthew's friends said, "It's kind of like Jesus took our spanking for us."

There's more, of course... a lifetime more to learn about Jesus... but that is about as much as a 5-year-old can comprehend... for now...

We will wait to have Ephraim Baptized (unless he insists) to give him a chance to really learn about the Person living in his heart and to give him a chance to grow old enough to remember the day he obeys Christ's first request be being Baptized. This will also give us a chance to see Ephraim's salvation story unfold... and allow Ephraim to be old enough to be able to say, "This is what I was like before Jesus saved me... and this is how I changed..."

What a night!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Mother's Treasures

My boys are growing up. We have a great, rowdy time together... but sometimes they surprise me still with the sweet love that exists only between mothers and their boys.

I treasure these moments! So often, I am forgotten as a mother of boys... our church celebrates mothers and daughters... fathers and daughters... fathers and sons... only my role has never been acknowledged... and although I laugh and say I don't care... I sometimes secretly do care...

My boys made up for it this month. I wouldn't trade being the mother of boys for any other honor...

Matthew began my sweet remembrance. Ephraim had to decorate a paper Christmas tree for school; and I dug out some old beads to use as jeweled lights. While Ephraim and I worked, Matthew mysteriously disappeared. About an hour later, Matthew brought me a hand-made paper envelope decorated with a Christmas tree he had drawn. I opened it, and found a bracelet made from jewels and string. My heart leaped, and images of so many hand-made gifts from Matthew over the years flew through my mind. He has always had such a sweet desire to make things for me... and I was so surprised and happy when my 11-year-old boy gave me one more bracelet he made himself... a remnant of his younger days.

Nathan was the second to pull at my heart strings. He went to the "Secret Santa" shop with enough money to buy gifts for everyone in the family. He was so excited when he got home, and wanted all of us to open our gifts right away! I relented, because I didn't want to dampen his excitement. I oohed and aaahed over his gift to me; as did the rest of the family with their gifts. Then, Nathan suprised me by saying, "I got you something else, Mommy." I was even more touched that he got me two gifts... and then he said the same thing three more times! I was so honored to be showered with so many gifts from my 8-year-old boy.

Ephraim... well, Ephraim is still my baby. He gives me moments every day, and I know I must hold onto them because he is growing up so fast! My favorite moments with him are at night; when he is lying in his bed and we are talking about his day. He is still willing to give me kisses, and I store them in my heart.

I am grateful beyond measure for my boys and their love.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The 2-bite Rule and Other Things that are Gone with the Wind...

We went to Thanksgiving dinner at our church (pot-luck) tonight; and I packed a sack lunch for Ephraim before we went. I thoroughly enjoyed eating about a tablespoon-sized serving of all of the vegetable casseroles I never cook at home... but Ephraim would not have been into it.

More than a few people passed our table and laughed as they observed Ephraim eating his Blueberry poptarts. One well-meaning soul told me she had used a "two bite" rule with her kids; and that it really worked.

I, too, had a successful run with the "two bite" rule... with my oldest two boys. They were required to take two bites of everything on their plates; and then they were allowed to eat enough of whatever we were having that they liked to get full. Now that I think of it, I believe the idea of the "two bite" rule came from the very same person who suggested it to me tonight. I must admit, it worked like a charm for years.

That, however, was before Ephraim.

I used to think parents could and should prevail in any battle of wills. However, having ideas of how to raise children and having actual children living in your home needing to be raised are two entirely different matters! I have found it possible to win every battle of wills with a couple of exceptions:
  • They will potty-train when they want to, and not a moment sooner.
  • If they determine not to put a food item in their mouths, you actually cannot force the matter. In some cases, the food will rot before they eat it! And two bites? Not if they've set their resolve against it. You can pry their mouths open and shove the food inside... but you cannot make them swallow it!

I never thought I would stoop this low... but I eventually compromised with Ephraim on my "two-bite" rule. I have deceived myself into thinking I have maintained the spirit of "Mommy is the boss" by saying, "Okay, Ephraim. You don't have to eat it, but you MUST taste it. Just touch it with your tongue."

Gone are the days when Matthew believed Nutrigrain bars were candy bars (see, I was better at nutrition at one point in my life!) Gone are the days of the "two bite" rule. The new motto: "Just touch it to your tongue!"


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Conversing with a 5-year-old

I am in the shower; but Ephraim absolutely MUST talk to me right now!

Ephraim: Mommy, we're (unintelligible) tomatoes!

Mommy: What?

Ephraim: We're (throwing???) tomatoes!

Mommy: You're throwing tomatoes?

Ephraim: NO! We're growing tomatoes!

Mommy: Are you growing tomatoes in your classroom?

Ephraim: No.

Mommy: Who is growing tomatoes?

Ephraim (shrugs): Nobody is.

Mommy (turns off the shower and looks at Ephraim through crack in the glass door, completely bewildered: Ephraim, what on earth are you talking about?

Ephraim: Nobody is growing tomatoes. I think the rain is doing it. They're growing on our yard!

Mommy: Oh...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

3 Boys and a Wedding

Charles' cousin got married last night at a beautiful plantation in South Georgia. Everything was perfect, from the Spanish Moss hanging from the big oak trees to the gentle, cool breeze (instead of the usual sweltering heat!) As the bride completed her triumphant march down the isle to meet her groom; the organ completed with a resounding chord.

In the immediate silence that followed the ending note from the organ, my youngest child let out a belch that would have put most grown men to shame.

My two oldest boys and two of their female cousins burst into uncontrollable giggles. And, unfortunately, so did I.
I buried my face in Ephraim's neck and tried to muster the evil eye. I cut my eyes at Matthew and Nathan and whispered "SHHHH..." giving them my sternest mother's look. They gained control of themselves as I stared straight ahead... and then lost it again when I buried my head in Ephraim's neck again and began shaking with laughter.

I had to walk away with Ephraim. Why is it so hard to quit laughing when it is MOST important you do so?

Ephraim and I spent the ceremony far from earshot, beside a fence, looking for cows and horses.