Thursday, December 4, 2014

Top All-Time One Of My Favorite Parenting Epiphanies


I’ve done a lot FOR those little tomfoolery-filled ragamuffins.  I feed them vegetables, and soap their germs, make sure their clothes match when going to church, and generally help them avoid things that will maime them or cause certain death.  I’ve read about a thousand books out loud to them, made sure they’ve got plenty of Bible verses in their hearts, and taught them enough grammar and spelling rules that they have passed my skill level.  I cut their hair, smear cream on their rashes, and tell them to drink water when they say they have a headache.

Man alive.  I am a saint.  So many duties, dude.  So much, I do, FOR those sweet littles of mine. 


I know they are grateful.  They say I’m “the best mom in the world” after most discoveries of what’s for dinner.  They put their clean clothes on and wrap up warm in their clean beds with happy hearts.  They feel safe and loved in all that their mom does FOR THEM.

I know they will remember most of that even when they are grown.  I know they will think “how did mom do this” when they are faced with the same challenge…or they’ll probably just ask Siri.

Yet…they still want more from me. 

Tarnation.  After all I do FOR THEM. 

What more can they want?

It dawned on me a couple years into this adventure what that might be.

They love, love, love the WITH part.

They want me to be WITH THEM.

(This is not a you-are-a-terrible-mom-because-you-don’t-homeschool guilt trip.  I get very irratated when moms push their familiy’s personal convictions and callings onto other women as if it’s the higher spirtual road.  I actually want to walk up to those women and throw pie in their faces.  We good now? Okay.)

Yes, yes, I know they can’t do everything WITH me.  Even they know that.

Time WITH ME is the love language of my children. 

“Will you play Legos WITH me, Mama?”
“Will you sit WITH me while I draw, Mama?”
“Can I go WITH you on your run, Mama?”
“Can I go WITH you to the store, Mama?”
"Can you play piano WITH me even though you're not that great at it, Mama?"

I feel like I’m so cranky half the time that I have no idea why they want to be WITH me, but they really do!

I know you have a lot to do FOR THEM and honestly the day will come for you young moms that your kids can do a lot of those chores along side you so you don’t feel like you always need to run off and leave them in front of the toys or tv.

My dear sisters…

They will remember the WITH times far more than the FOR times.  The FOR THEMS are a must.  Nobody likes wearing dirty underwear.  The WITH THEMS are where the real treasure lies. 

I have found a couple of things that I have decided to turn into WITH THEMS instead of run off and turn them into ESCAPING FROM THEMS…oh I mean FOR THEMS.

Like I keep saying, I’m old now and you have to listen to me.

Have fun with the WITHS.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Those Darn Hurricane and Iceberg Women

When I was a new, fresh-faced wife I didn’t really understand a lot of marriage advice about communication.  I felt like there was two conflicting messages.

Side A: Communicate everything.  The thoughts, the feelings, the likes, the dislikes, the irratations, the I-like-to-do-it-this-ways, and the my-day-will-go-a-whole-lot-better-if-you-do-it-like-thises.  Spill your guts about it all.

Side B: Keep it all inside.  Yeah, share the positive stuff but nothing else.  Don’t complain or correct or nag.  Shut up and get over it.  All that stuff isn’t really a big deal anyway.

I would try Side A….yikes.  That didn’t go over very well.

I would try Side B….yikes again.  After a week of that I would end exploding Side A all over tarnation.  


It contains the ability to destroy a man or build him up into a strong godly leader…


DO I CARE?????????

The following is an account of a wife that chose not to care.  The story is made up but the problems are real.

Side A woman chose not to care.  She told him everything.  Positive or negative.  She destroyed his every move.  He couldn’t brush his teeth without her telling him how she would prefer he do it.  The man was slowly broken down, brick by brick until he lay defeated in ruins.  He was probabaly lying there in a very uncomfortable position because that’s how I’m picture it right now. 
She was a hurricane and she sank her ship.

Side B woman was aloof and cool.  Not expressing her oppinion.  Not interjecting.  She was a martyr and carried it with dignity and broody repose.  The man felt like a monster whatever he did.  He never knew if he was getting it right because of her constant cold shoulder.  The man was slowly destroyed.  He wallowed in his destruction.  Lots of wallowing.  She was 10% above the water and 90% below.
She was an iceburg and she sank her ship.

Hurricanes and iceburgs sink ships.  Women who don’t care sink ships. 

Then there was the Miss I Care…here’s what you gotta do.  Lean in and listen close but don’t if you just ate garlic.
You Gotta care!!!!!!!!

Every man has there own communication preferences.  You do too!  Do you like to talk about finances while the baby is screaming?  Does he like to talk about the honey-do list right when he gets off work?  Do you like to feel stupid when he talks to you?  Does he like when you make him feel stupid when you talk to him?

Please care!  Study that man!  Work your wordage so that he is blessed!

I’m not going to tell you exactly how to do that because I’m married to my man and you’re married to yours, for crying out loud!!

Look deeply into my eyes and listen….


Don’t be either or I’m going to come over there and kick your butt.  You have the freedom to kick mine.

The Word of God talks about this very thing and I’ll leave you with those perfect words…

He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. Prov 17:27-28

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.

A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart.  Prov 18:1-2

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Second Birthday Story

My testimony is titled Purity and Pride.  My Jesus story is a box containing those two things with a bow that wraps all around it with a tag that says…BUT FOR GRACE.

Phase 1: Purity Good.  Pride Bad.
My parents raised me in a home and in a church that was always covered by grace.  It’s was their heart’s desire that I would seek all things pure and I truly did.  I am told I was a naughty toddler but there is no tangible proof so that is technically hearsay.  I gave my heart to the Lord when I was about five but I don’t remember that.  That has never bothered me and I know I really was a Christian as a child.  It all became real when I turned 14.  I remember one day just knowing I wanted to give my heart to the Lord again.  I got down on my knees and rededicated my life to Jesus.  It then became my personal walk with Jesus.  It went from just obeying my parents and being a good girl to opening the Bible on my own and praying and walking with my Father.  The next 8 years were filled with a growing, serving, vital, beautiful walk with my Jesus.  I taught Sunday School, lead the girls Bible study, sang on the worship team, went on every missions trip the church had, spent four months living in Peru as a missionary.

People…I was a big deal.  I was pure…and PRIDEFUL. 

(Please, please, please understand that I am so thankful for how my youth was spent.  I hope that all those things happen for my daughter.  I hope that all of your children have a youth spent serving Jesus and living pure lives.  Bad choices leave scars.  I have so few scars that remain from a ruined youth.  I am so so thankful.)

Phase 2: Grace Makes Everyone Pure
And then a 20-year-old Navy sailor walked through the doors of Calvary Chapel Hanford.  He had scars.  His youth had all the things that my youth did not.  I had served the body of Christ is all the ways that he had not.  I had behaved and he had not. 

Grace…Jesus giving me what I don’t deserve.  Forgiveness and love when I don’t deserve either.

But for grace….I looked at that sailor and I just knew I was going to marry him.  I knew God sent me a man that would epitomize His grace.  I stood next to that man and knew that in God’s eyes we were both completely pure and completely saved and completely going to Heaven despite any bad choice or good choice we made on Earth.  It didn’t matter that we had such a different list of “Christian achievements.” 
God saved him and God saved me and we wanted to serve the Lord together.  I married him a year and a half later.  Our four children came lickitysplit.  Which is when it happened.

Phase 3:Pride Gets Ugly
I never knew parenting would make me want to sin so much.  I didn’t know toddlers could make you so angry.  I didn’t know that learning to sacrifice my whole heart for my husband was going to break me down into a puddle of tears so often.  No member of my family was trying to drive me crazy but they WERE.  My youth spent on the Christian mountain top singing to sheep (follow the King David metaphor) was now spent running from my King Saul lest I die.  My King Saul was my pride.  Why were all these little human beings needing me all the time for every little thing when I could be out there serving like back in the day?  Didn’t they know who I was?  Look at how I spent my youth.  I had “Christian Achievements”…didn’t they know I could bring down the house with my holiness?  Why were they bringing down my house with their constant mommy needs?

I spent about three years feeling sorry for myself.  I had super godly skills that were not being used.  I'm being brutally honest about the ugliness of my heart right now.  I really was in a rough place.  I really was stuck in my ugly pride.

Phase 4: Daily Purifying From Pride
One day I was reading Galatians 6…

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (verse 9)

Then I read Micah 6…

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (verse 8)

So Heavenly Father, You’re saying that I NEVER once did all of that pure stuff on my own?  You’re saying that my pure youth with all that dog gone glory was all YOU and none of me?  You’re saying that my pride is getting in the way of You daily purifying me?  You’re saying that all you really want is for me to…

Quit growing weary of doing good, be just, love mercy, walk humbly with YOU?

Phase 5: What I’m learning every day
I thought for the longest time that I was getting all my spiritual growth from serving in my church.  When all of that stopped I felt like my spiritual growth stopped.  NOT TRUE.  He was still working in my life.  He was still there.  He still wanted to use me.  It was just going to be in a different way for the rest of my life.  I found contentment in His new way of purifying me. 

Are you in your “singing to sheep phase?”  Praise God.  Stay pure.  Serve Jesus.

Are you covered in scars?  Jesus invented grace on the cross.  Ask Him into your life and He will make you as white as snow.  PURE and PERFECT.

Are you full of pride?  Realize that the only good in you is Jesus and all the bad in you comes from you, for crying out loud!

Do you feel like you’re not growing spiritually because you’re taking care of crazy hooligans all day that drive you crazy  and if only you could break free and show the world your crazy awesome Churchy skills, you would grow like nobody’s business?  No?  That’s just me?  Okay. 

But for grace…where would I be without you Jesus. 

God is so good.  Wiping away tears right now…

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review on "Julie" by Catherine Marshall

When a woman writes about a young woman who wants to be a writer, I am then a woman, who herself has always wanted to be a writer, who is then reading about a young writer which is written by a woman who herself wanted to be a writer and became one. 

You see how these stories feed my soul. 

“Julie”, written by Cathrine Marshall in the last years of her life and career, was a hot cup of earl grey tea with raw local honey to my chilly Fall evenings.  This book has become my friend.  The kind you actually keep a paperback of and treasure it next to your college copy of The Screw Tape Letters. 

Julie is a lovely, tender-hearted, sincere 18-year-old daughter of a troubled former pastor who moves his family of five to a small flood-prone town during the Great Depression.  The financial downs and spiritual lifts are centered around the local newspaper that Julie’s father publishes and the effects it has on the poor and rich.  The most perfect part about the whole story is Julie’s perfectly normal imperfection.  She is flawed and struggling with God’s realness and reachability.  She is a part of the church but is she a part of Jesus? 

I loved it.  It was sweet and warm.  Like an old Doris Day movie. 

Rachel’s Review Rating

Comforting…3 stars
Author’s style…10 stars
Read again…5 stars
Will husband read it…0 stars
Protaganist…15 stars
Antagonist… -15 stars
Did her children antagonize her while she was trying to read it…10 stars

“Sometimes I wondered how and when this dream had started.  For as far back as I could remember, the sound of words, the reading of stories, even the handling of books had not been merely a delight—it had been irresistible enchantment.” (page62)

Exactly, dear Julie.  Exactly.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Birthday Blog: That means it would be really rude if you didn't read it

I'm a grown up now.  I've been married for ten years.  I've been a parent for ten years.  My oldest child is almost ten.  I have ten fingers and ten toes.  You get the picture.  I thought I'd write a letter to my 22-year-old self.  It's going to be serious and straight forward but gentle and humorous.  It will be rebukefull and encouragefull.

Dear 22-year-old self named Rachel,

  Dang girl!  Look at your skinny little pre-pregnant self!  What was your wedding dress, a size 4?  Your daughter is going to ask you to put it on again in about five years.  It's not going to work out that great.  The fact is you think your husband thinks you're attractive now?  Just wait and see what 30 months of deployment over six years of serving in the Navy does.  Just wait and see what moving across states, bearing and raising four children, buying a house, finding renters for the house, dealing with ER visits, and bills, and broken appliances does to your attractiveness for him.  Four kids and ten years will give you some curves and he will love those curves.  John Legend songs will start playing in his head when you walk in the room.  Ten years of faithful love ALWAYS trumps skinny.  You'll see it in his eyes.  Same thing will happen to your eyes.  You'll get unconditional love juice stuck in them.

  Why are you so darn pretentious with your childbirth choices?  Why does your snobby little breath get caught in your throat when you hear about another "fallen to the epidural" birth story.  Get off your high horse!  You look ridiculous up there!  Keep your stupid feet on the ground.  If someone asks you about your childbirth choices then tell them in a nice, non-snobby way.  Childbirth does hurt, you know.  What are you one of those tall tale heroes that needs everyone to know how much pain you can stand and the great walloping undertaking that you went through yet lived to tell the tale?  Natural childbirth is beautiful indeed.  Just stop being annoying about it.

  You like to talk.  You like to talk about what works.  All wives and mothers like to talk about "what works."  Pacifiers work.  No they don't.  Dave Ramsey doesn't work.  Yes it does.  No it doesn't.  Nursing the baby to sleep works.  No it doesn't.  Yes it does.  Moms should work.  Moms should not work. You should make them eat all there food.  No you shouldn't.  Make sure you take time for yourself.  No you shouldn't, you selfish woman.  Pick up your husbands socks.  No, do not pick up that man's socks.  Get up before the kids.  Are you crazy?  Don't get up before the kids.  Read that life-changing book.  That book is stupid and people who read it are stupid.  And you're stupid.  At some point you need to shut up and just LOVE JESUS.  Loving Jesus has no DO THIS or DON'T DO THAT.  It's just reading the Word and falling in love with Him and His people.  Stop stressing out about what works and what does not work and placing yourself in the group that hangs out together only because they agree that that pointless thing works.  Don't be so discouraged by the female cries of "You're ruining your life doing that because it does not work."  YOU stop being one of those females that cry that.  You really drive me crazy when you do that.

  As far as what the Word of God has to say just shut up and let the Word of God say it.  There's a lot of unclear things that Christian women will ask you and will want to talk over.  Those unclear things really aren't important.  But Christian women might make them important.  It will exhaust you.  Try to stick to talking about what the Bible has made clear.  Life holds a lot of preferences. God's Words are more important than your words and other women's words however well-meaning they may be.  Just shut your face.  Only open it to share God's words and also for pie.  Nothing wrong with talking about preferences just don't be annoying about it.

  Your four children will drive you to your knees in exhaustion and prayer.  One day, you'll be taking a walk with your oldest and carrying on a deep spiritual conversation and you just won't mind the last ten years of exhaustion.  Those moments will come scattered all in between the exhausted ones.

  Listen, you whiney baby.  Your husband will fall short of your expectations in some way on a daily basis.  Stop whining about it.  Gosh!  I'm so tired of your whining!  Your husband is what they call a human being.  If you wanted to marry somebody perfect why didn't you marry a robot or maybe a young Sean Connery or something?  Every time your husband falls short forgive, forget, and for crying out loud stop whining.  Your husband is awesome.  Ten years will prove that over and over.

  You're going to make it kid.  You'll have curves, grays, laughs, lessons, failures, temper tantrums, tears, poop on your favorite shirt, frustrations, hot dates.  You are not as amazing as you think you are.  You're stupid a lot of the time and pridefull too.  And so annoying!  But God sees fit to pick you up every time, dust off your fanny, and give you a brand new day.  Happy birthday.  I'm going to go eat some chocolate cake and add some more curve to these 32 years.

With love and annoyance,
  32-year-old Me

P.S. You'll start a blog in about five years and change the name of it five times.