Flexibility and Feelings of Children

I have found that kids are flexible, but they have feelings. Most days, my daughter doesn’t know where we are and doesn’t care. She plays with her Nepali nanny, watches her shows, and terrorizes her brother. From any perspective, she has adjusted well.  While she doesn’t often mention missing her grandparents or friends in America, she hasn’t been unaffected by boredom and loneliness. She even worries about everyone hating her, noting how the few kids she knows shoo her away with stuck out tongues.

We can’t make kids her age materialize out of thin air. Should we get her a dog (something we swore we would NEVER do)? Send her to school? Put her in an extra-curricular class? There is no obvious solution, and due to the blockade, doing any of these things at the moment is impossible.

We can’t protect her from all the hurt in this world. While it is difficult, she needs to learn that people can be mean, but we need to love them like Jesus. “Not everyone will like you, baby, and that’s ok. We are different here. We are here to tell people about Jesus, and some people don’t like that.” She nods like she understands.

It is hard not to feel like we have stripped her of her friends and all the fun experiences in America. I flash back to weeping on the plane looking at my sweet sleeping babe. “She doesn’t even know that her little world is about to turn upside down.”

I am thankful for her flexibility, and praise God for the good days. On the trying days, I beg Him for wisdom. These missionary and mommy worlds often collide, and my daughter is found in the debris. I can shield and protect her, keep her to myself, and never let her experience this country. Or I can allow these experiences, however painful, to shape and mold her into who God wants her to be.

I pray that we can point her to Christ, and that she will trust Him with her life. For then, she will have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. For now, I pray that He will make me a good steward of her sometimes fragile feelings. To use her flexibility to her advantage to fall in love with this country and these wonderful people. To teach her to use her feelings to sympathize with the hurting and lead others to the great Comforter. I can already tell I’m gonna be on my knees a lot over this girl!

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Have you dealt with loneliness with your children?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

I Choose My Family

I have feared the deterioration and  loss of long-distance relationships. Maintaining these can be difficult and draining. Throw in a 10:45 minute time difference (weird, right?), and it seems next to impossible. God has given me the greatest friends all over the world. it is so much easier to work on maintaining these relationships than in times past. However, I can’t ignore what’s right in front of me, and God has given me the amazing gift of a family in its formative years! I can pine for my lost friendships or I can pleasure in the family I share my home with.

I don’t want my kids to remember mom as the lady who just talked to her bestie on FaceTime or watched cartoons with them iPhone ever ready while not out of the house studying language or doing ministry. My time with them is little and precious.

Sometimes, I need the encouragement that only a girlfriend in the Lord can give me. For this reason, I am so grateful for those that have made efforts to invest in our friendships. I just want to be careful to not invest in these at the expense of my family. My babies are growing so quickly. If I don’t teach them to love and serve the Lord, who will? If I don’t work hard to keep my marriage strong in the Lord, how can we ever have a fruitful ministry?

My long distance friends encourage me, and help quell the first-term loneliness while urging me to focus on the Lord. But I can’t be dependent on them to fill the emptiness. After all, they are asleep for the majority of my waking hours!

I can’t feed my family’s spiritual and emotional needs without filling myself first. Thankfully I have a Friend who doesn’t sleep (Not you, Natasha)! He speaks to me through His word and through the Holy Spirit night and day! When I am full of Him, I can better care for my family. I can see needs that only the Holy Spirit can make me aware of. If I distract myself by stretching to maintain relationships with people that are just as busy as I am, neglecting my time with the Lord and the needs in my home, I am doing a disservice to myself and the people I love most.

Some days I might use messenger all day if I didn’t have two kids climbing on my head and shoulders. Maybe I should take that as a hint. One day, I pray, Christ will fill all their emptiness, but right now they need mom spilling the love He has given her over into their tiny, precious lives.

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Have you faced the struggle between maintaining friendships and caring for your family?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

Service: Saving Me From Myself

I have found that no matter what is going on in my life or in the world around me, my family still needs me.

My son doesn’t decide not to wake up in the night because mommy is exhausted from waking up to countless aftershocks.
My daughter doesn’t forget her lengthy bedtime rituals because I feel desperately that I need to talk with my own mom .
My husband doesn’t stop needing dinner because his wife would rather cry than cook .
They all don’t stop needing my love and encouragement when I don’t feel much like giving it.

Moms don’t get sick days or sad days, or “I’d rather sit and feel sorry for myself than serve you” days which is actually kind of great! Many times my family, as needy as they can be, have pulled me out of my self-pity schlump and into service that has brought out the better in me.

God gave me this man and these little people to love. Only I can be wife and mom to these wonderful people. Just as God ordained my husband to walk our family through these trying times, He has ordained me to love it through them. The trials are great, and the needs are endless, but, thankfully God’s grace in my life is unmatched! Only through his power can I pay the grace he has given me forward, showing favor to my family, serving as a humble steward of His matchless grace.

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).

Being forced to focus outward is a gift I can’t give myself and one that saves me from myself. Though in the moment I don’t feel like giving thanks for this gift, I truly do find that I am grateful! And I hope that my family, which is so precious to me, treasures the gift I give of myself, especially during these times in which it can be difficult to graciously give.

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Have you found it difficult but rewarding to serve your family at times?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

Toddler Taught Truth

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My daughter cracks me up. Especially when she throws tantrums. I really don’t want to encourage the behavior, but seriously, it’s hard not to laugh sometimes! Am I the world’s worst mom or can somebody relate to this predicament?

I’ve figured out that I can’t give Jo something (namely a piece of candy or food) if she can’t have ALL of it. I have to hand her the entire bag of fruit snacks instead of just one at a time. I have to give her a banana whole, not chopped up. I have to hide the jumbo bag of dum-dums in order to hand her one, and I have to show her my empty pockets. I’m not kidding.

I’ve seen my poor little girl sobbing…WITH A SUCKER IN HER MOUTH. I can’t even understand how she could possibly cry with a pink lemonade treat on her tongue. Seriously, what could be the problem? Didn’t I just send her to “toddler heaven?”

Her dissatisfaction with what I have seemingly withheld from her makes her incapable of enjoying the bit she holds in her hand. What she doesn’t know is that a lot of moms don’t let their babies have candy (and those moms probably aren’t in a car with their child for several hours a week!). I don’t HAVE to give her candy at all, but still, she acts like she has been on the receiving end of some major injustice by her mother not allowing her to rot her teeth out of her head.

And it’s funny how the Lord uses these moments to teach me. A red-faced nearly-two-year-old screaming with blue lips (from the treat- not a lack of oxygen!)  and a sucker in hand. And I think it’s ridiculous but it’s not far from home.

We were a stocking short on the mantle at Christmas, so I felt lonely when surrounded by a loving family. I long for my baby boy and fail to cherish the moments with my precious little princess basking in what an incredible miracle her sweet little life truly is. I think about each holiday and birthday being the last in the States, and I am tempted to sulk instead of take in every moment. But at the same time I long to be in India, serving where God has called our family, and I don’t make the most of the ministry God has given me stateside. And it’s nothing but ridiculous. I am robbing myself of the joy of the blessings God has given me because I’d rather focus on what I feel like has been withheld from me or even taken away from me.

I don’t indulge my toddler with everything she wants or thinks she needs because I love her. The decisions I make are for her own benefit. All us parents are in agreement here (except for maybe the lady who said, “Shame on you” for giving Jo yogurt while her father and I ate ice cream). This makes perfect sense to us.

Yet, when the Father in heaven withholds or takes away, we question Him. Does He really know what He’s doing? Does He really have it all under control? Why would He not bless me in the way He blesses others, and why would He take something that is precious to me away?

Because while it may not please me, it benefits me. And you know what’s the greatest thing about that? He actually KNOWS what’s best for me, without a doubt, because He created me. He knows my inside and out and has been conscious of every moment of my life from the moment of my conception (what?!?).

And let’s be honest, I really have NO clue what’s best for Jo. I read blogs and books, I pin and ponder, I ask advice and worry around the clock. But I don’t really know what’s best for her. But, oh, I sure do try.

But he knows. And he provides, and He doesn’t have to try. Blessings and benefits flow from His wounded hands. He is incapable of producing anything but righteousness. Rightness. And everything He allows in my life is for my benefit whether I can wrap my head around that or not.

Maybe it’s the blessing of being used for His kingdom or just the sake of knowing Him more intimately. But isn’t that the greatest gift of all?

That’s all I need. You can have my blue lollipop and day of the week. Just don’t take Jo’s. Trust me on that one.

A Year in Pictures [2013]

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Discovered a pregnancy [Jan. 11]

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Sent sweet friends to India [Jan. 15]

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Had a birthday party for a very special one year old [February 21]

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“Helped” friends pack for a move to Thailand [March ?]

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Celebrated 3 years of marriage [Apr. 10]Image

Got in a car accident [Apr. 11]

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Got family pictures taken [May 10]

ImageHelped host a baby shower [May 11]

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Experienced a loss [Ezra Coleman May 15]

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Held a memorial service [May 17]

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Went to India [June 10-21]

ImageWelcomed Jo’s cousin Atlas [June 22]

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Paul served as guest speaker at Salt Run Bible Camp [July 4-8]

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Decorated a headstone [August 15]

ImageHad another birthday party for this handsome man [Oct. 10]

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Celebrated Thanksgiving in Ohio, and this is the only documentation [Nov. 28]

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Jo got stitches [Dec. 6]

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Had a wonderful Christmas with the whole fam [Dec. 25]

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Went on a special Christmas date [Dec. 26]

It’s amazing to look back on the year and see all that the Lord has done in our lives. He has been good and giving through it all, and we praise Him for His blessings. We look forward to how He will work in our lives and provide for our needs as we seek to serve Him in the New Year.

God bless,

The Taubes

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