Thursday, September 25, 2008

Joys of Parenting

So, in the midst of the chaos, God has given us glimpses of some of the joys of parenting. Gary and I were talking about how sometimes, especially now, when things are so busy and we're so tired, it can be easy to just go through the motions and do our practical parenting duties- like feeding,clothing, bathing, etc- and slack off in others- like discipline- and miss out on the blessings of parenting. 

One of the things that is a lot of hard work, but that I'm really enjoying, is the time of home school with Bekah. She just finished reading Charlotte's Web last week, so we had Brenna and Taylor over this past Friday night for a sleep over celebration party. We watched the "real" movie Charlotte's Web, made spider cookies, ate ice cream with spider sprinkles, and made friendship books. It was fun. Bekah had wanted to see the movie, but in our house growing up the rule was- you don't get to see the movie til you read the book. So, we've implemented that in our house too. It was a real motivation for Bekah. She read a chapter a day til it was done and was so pumped up about the celebration. Fun thing was, Taylor was reading it too. Oh, and by the way- doing Charlotte's Web during the fall is PERFECT. Lots of spider stuff out for Halloween.

The other night I was really tired by the end of the day, just from the regular duties of life. I sat in the bathroom while the three girls were all in the bathtub, and got to enjoy the three of them being very silly. We just laughed at them, and I thanked God for our beautiful girls that have a carefree life, are healthy, and are free to just be kids.

After bath time, we gathered in the living room for family worship time. I sat there and thanked God through tears for the reminder of why we do the hard things with our kids, even when we're as exhausted as we are. We were singing the Doxology, and all three of them were swaying back and forth, singing, or at least attempting to, clapping hands with smiles on their faces. I was so thankful for that little reminder, cause there are moments when in my flesh, I'd like to skip on the discipline cause I'm so tired and do I really have to deal with that AGAIN???...or skip on family worship time cause I'm too tired and just want them to go to sleep and have a moment of quiet...or skip on spending that extra moment and effort to explain to Bekah what she just asked about...etc. I was thankful for the reminder that God gives the strength to die to myself and do the better thing for the glory of God, the good of others- and for our joy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Home Matters...both of them

Well, today is the official opening day of our second store, Home Matters, in West Plains. It is very exciting! We're so thankful to the Lord for this opportunity to serve Him with another store. It's already been a source of provision for some families and it has been an opportunity for us to be loved on by His church as so many of our friends have helped us in getting the store up and going. 
Home matters...well, this has been the main matter going on in this home. The store, that is. We have had some very trying times these last couple of months, but the huge stress factors have been within the last few weeks. Until you've done it, I don't think you can prepare for what it entails to open a store. I mean, it seems pretty simple, but there's so much paperwork, so many decisions to make, things to take care of, PLUS having to stock the store. So within the Hirsch home, this has pretty much consumed our every waking moment...besides maintaining the store we already have.
So last week we had my sister Tiffany and her boyfriend (how weird is that?!) Daniel here for the week as evacuees from Hurricane Ike. Everyone in Houston was front on our minds in the midst of that. My brother Jonathan stayed in Houston with his girlfriend Christina and her grandmother. I was very concerned about them. Then, a close family friend had quadruple bypass surgery. And we were told that my in-laws divorce was officially in process, with papers being served on Wednesday. It was almost too much in the midst of being very pregnant, caring for 3 children, and home schooling while opening a new store. At one point, I told God-and Gary- if one more person requires anything else of me, I am going to lose it. It was all we could do just to "keep up." Physically and emotionally drained. 
Thankfully, my husband has been protecting his family and we've been careful to plan a late night of work with the next day more low key. And yesterday was a WONDERFUL Sabbath day, full of nothingness. We got to rest, physically, and then worship with our fellowship, and then prepare for the next week and plan out the next month.
Oh yeah, and we're moving to West Plains and having a baby next month. Talk about overload! That's why I haven't even thought about the move yet. How can I? I was getting so tired of everyone asking when we're moving. It makes me want to cry. It's like, I can't even go there yet. I'm just trying to maintain, let alone think about the next thing. But, now we're there. The store is open. We can now move, or at least think about it.  :) So yeah, that's our next couple of weeks- packing up and moving to West Plains. God has provided a great house for us through friends who are in Australia for a year working and needed someone to live in their house while they're gone for the year. So we get to move to West Plains and make life simpler instead of driving back and forth every day. Yeah! Can I tell you how excited I am that I will be able to do my grocery shopping without making a day trip of it?! Praise the Lord!!!
And then we'll have our fourth baby girl. I am so not prepared mentally or practically. This poor child. I'm asking God to get me ready for labor and sleepless nights. Maybe He already has. :)   I so need to get some warm clothes for her. We have most baby necessities, being that she'll be the fourth girl, but this poor child will not be able to wear any of her sister's clothing. They were all born in the warmer months. Dern. We may have to find some cute clothes for her to wear. Shopping therapy?!  Hhhmmm....
Well, so there you have it. The Hirsch family's last few months. If you think of it, say a prayer for us. We so want to glorify God's name in the midst of it all. He's the only reason we're still all in one piece so far!  He is so good to us.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11...and Other Things...How Quickly We Forget

It is amazing to me how such monumental things happen, like 9/11, things that completely shake our world, change it forever, and we forget. Just like that. We go on like it never happened. Unless, of course, the affect it had on us was very personal. I am struck with how very self centered we are, myself included...and how very immediate we are. Like people who think- it was 7 years ago, get over it. Seven years doesn't bring back the dead.

What happened 7 years ago today was horrendous. The evidence of evil in the heart of man. Not just specific men. EVERY man/woman. In all of us. These are the things we are capable of without God as ruler of our hearts. 

And now, 7 years later, most of us didn't even think about it. We were busy with our day, getting our list done. Unless you lost someone in it and the affects are so close to home that it still makes your heart ache.

I don't want to forget. I want to ache with those who are hurting. I want to mourn for the reality of sin and what that makes us capable of. I want to hurt with the hurting who are still trying to overcome unforgiveness. 

Not just 9/11. I want to remember others who may have gone through other hurts that I may or may not have experienced for myself. To know that they have been affected by something and it has changed them dramatically. Haven't we all been through something that has come close to devastating us? The loss of someone close, maybe a husband/wife, or a child; enduring abuse of any kind; the heartache of betrayal; the pain of watching someone you love hurt deeply. 

I know what it is to be healed by The Healer through things that could have crippled me in this life. I know the Peace that comes in only Christ. I want others to know the Hope that is found in Him that makes it possible to go on another day. I want to love people. Genuinely. Deeply.

God, grant your people a love for you that pours out on others. Help us to love each other. To hurt with, to take on each other's burdens, to share in this life, to remember. And to point to You, our only source of Hope.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Better is One Day?!

Gary and I are reading through Psalms together...well, not together, just simutaneously for our daily helps with accountability and to be able to talk about it together. Anyway, so today is Psalm 84. Just read verses 1 & 2:

"How LOVELY is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul LONGS, yes FAINTS
for the courts of the LORD;
to the living God."

Most of us have sung these words to the Passion song, Better is One Day. I remember how much this Psalm, and consequently, the song (since it is almost word for word), meant to me at the time it came out. God used it to burn that truth on my heart. Talk about conviction. I was single at the time and used to think about- better is one day in your courts than a thousand husbands. Yeah, that was my idol at the time. I wanted a man. Well, not just any man, a Godly, loving, worth it man. And continually God was reminding me that He is better. That is He worth more.

And today, I have that man. I have a wonderful, Godly husband. And today I can still read these words and sing that song with the same conviction, putting the most valuable thing to me on this earth on the altar. But this morning, in this season, the words of the first two verses are what stings, what we've been wrestling with, what we've been questioning in the "church" these days. 

Who can say these words and really MEAN IT?!  I mean, really. I'm all about being truthful. Brutally honest. God is truth. I want God. Thus, I have to be real. And real is this- on most days, at most times, I CANNOT say in complete, full, naked truth that my soul LONGS and FAINTS for the presence of God, that my HEART and my FLESH sing for joy to Him. Most days, I'm longing for a beer, and fainting for lack of sleep. Most days my heart and my flesh want to put someone in their place. Reality check. I need Jesus! Yes, I'm saved. I "have" Jesus. I am regenerate. I have tasted and seen, experienced His goodness, and cannot go back. The blinders have been taken off, by the grace of God, I can see. And like it says in Colossians 2- as I have  received, I must walk. TODAY, as I "do life", I still cling to the grace of God to change my heart and keep me from just being a "do gooder" and religious phony. I hate those. Don't you? I can't stand people who use God and religion as a crutch. You know what I mean. They don't really want God, they want everything else He gives. Unfortunately, many times, that means I'm not liking myself. 

So, today, pray with me that God would continue to pour out His grace and make us so in love with HIM. That His value would be so treasured in our hearts, that even if for just a moment today, we would long, faint for Him. That'd we'd so desire Him, we'd be overwhelmed with joy and just have to sing in spontaneous praise, regardless of the sound.  :)  I so want to do this life for His glory, but not with some religious, stuffy purposefulness. Yes, there's times that we have to be disciplined- which that too is a grace of God. Tools of grace. I'm not going to stop having my daily readings just cause I don't "feel" like it. But He is God. He deserves SO much more than just our religious duty. He is so WORTH our affections. Join me in asking Him to help us see Him as He is so that we'll really, really, genuinely LOVE HIM- with heart, soul, mind, and strength. The all encompassing. Funny, how we can't even obey the "greatest commandment" without Him. He's so about His glory. And that just proves how worth it He is. What an amazing God!