The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

Tag: parenting

Glorious Legacy

When I think back to my growing up years, one particular image sticks in my mind: a black leather Bible, pages well-loved, cover embossed. It sat on our kitchen table, open, alongside a composition book filled with my mom’s beautiful handwriting.

I knew my mom read that Bible every day. She wrote prayers and petitions in that notebook. One day I snuck a peek in her journal, to find a poem she wrote about me, in the throes of some teenage ridiculousness. I can’t tell you the impact it made to know that my mom cried out to God on my behalf.

I wonder what my children will remember of me, when they are grown and raising my grandkids.

Will they remember my Bible open, my prayers on their behalf, my heart’s cry for them to love Jesus?

Or will they remember my face glowing from the radiance of my iPhone? My need to escape the crazy chaos that is our home?

Will they remember snuggles and sweet words, encouragement to be more like Christ?

Or will they remember my anger and impatience, my selfishness and pride?

What’s more…How will they parent my grandbabies? Will they do a good job of always getting to the heart issues, being consistent in discipline, but never disciplining in anger? Will they always remember to make Christlikeness the goal?

Or will my sinful patterns affect the way they parent, either swaying them to be too harsh or too lenient?

May God’s mercy and the power of the Holy Spirit cover our home. May He change me to be more like Him. May He protect my children and the coming generations from the sin that entangles my heart.

Despite the odds, may Christ be glorified in us.

He Mends

February, though the shortest month, can feel the longest when you live in Michigan. If it’s been a cold, snowy winter, cabin fever can really kick in during this terribly-long-though-short month.

And in 2013, February was a very hard month.

I remember standing in the driveway shoveling snow and crying, because it was just hard. Not because it was cold and snowy. But because I wanted to quit…

I was at the end of my rope emotionally with one of our kids, and spending 24/7 with that child through homeschooling and just being together was making me want to quit.

I wouldn’t say it was a clash of personalities as much as it was a battle of wills. And a collision of sin natures.

It was mom vs. child, and no one was winning.

Every day, we’d fight. The emotions would escalate. I’d yell. He’d yell. We’d both cry.

And I’d end up shoveling the driveway and daydreaming of running away to a tropical place and sipping a smoothie on a beach somewhere. Alone.

Let me just say, it’s not the healthiest place to be. But those people who tell you to “enjoy EVERY moment?” They probably aren’t living in a February like that one.

That spring and summer, I seriously considered sending him to school. I was really pondering if I should quit homeschooling. I wondered, if I continued, would I sacrifice my sanity?

I realized that I could send him to a school for 7-8 hours a day, where the teachers would have to deal with him. We wouldn’t have to work through our obvious interpersonal issues, and we’d never reach the heart of those issues. It would be “easy.”

Short-term easy, anyway.

Can I just say that I’m glad that season is over? And I’m 100% confident that my decision to keep homeschooling was the right one.

The child and I had several come-to-Jesus talks. Lots of apologizing and trying to get it right. We each had to decide to act like Jesus wants us to toward each other. And we had PLENTY of practice time throughout our days together.

Our relationship, though imperfect, is sweeter than I could have guessed two years ago.

He surprised me with this painting on Valentine’s Day. I cherish it, because it reminds me that God did a great work of grace in our relationship. He mended us.

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It begins again

Rumley Family Homeschool: Year 6, Day 1

Rumley Family Homeschool: Year 6, Day 1

The older I get, the faster life flies by. I know everyone says that. But there’s a reason everyone says it; it’s because it’s true.

So, when our homeschool year ended nigh unto Memorial Day, the whole glorious summer stretched out before us. I envisioned lazy days on the lawn, reading The Secret Garden to the children and eating picnics in the sun. We would fill our days with trips to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Lake Michigan and my parents’ house.

And here we are, on the very first day of the next school year, and all I can remember of the summer months is painting the living room / kitchen / dining room. And coordinating and enjoying Base Camp. I know there was more, but that is all I can remember in my current state of delirium.

I am now a teacher of four students: 5th grade, 3rd grade, 2nd grade, and kindergarten. I’ve never taught four ages before, so that’s a bit overwhelming. The scheduling of this thing called school is trickier. The amount of curriculum has increased. The older kids will not only have more schoolwork to do for themselves, but they’ll be helping me educate the youngers.

I’m just holding on for dear life until all four of them are fluent readers, and then I expect the load to lighten. I celebrate the fact that I don’t have to wipe their tooshies when they use the bathroom anymore; the next step to independence (theirs) and freedom (mine) is for them to be able to read their own stinking math worksheets. 🙂

Our first day didn’t start out quite as I’d planned…I had a late night last night getting ready for our educational debut, instead of going early to bed. I set my alarm for 7am, but was awoken by a barfing child at 6am. I got up to read God’s Word after she fell back asleep, and did read a chapter…and promptly fell asleep in the chair until at least 9am.

Welp, if that’s not a sign of how the year is about to go, I don’t know what is. But I repeat, I am hanging on to the Rock of Ages, and not letting go until my kiddos are God-fearing, Jesus-serving, well-educated, funny, fun, productive members of the church. Ah, scratch that, I won’t be able to let Him go anytime after that either. I’m in it for the long haul.

So here we are, standing at the edge of a new year. Every time I turn around, my kids are learning new things and getting taller and more mature. Why don’t more people talk about how FUN parenting is? Sure, it’s a lot of work, but these little people are just so dadgum delighful.

Now, dear readers, have YOU started school yet? Have your children barfed lately? Did you paint your kitchen this summer? These are all things I would like to have answers to. Tell me!

When Mother’s Day Is Detrimental

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This holiday has been celebrated in the US for a little more than a century (since 1908), and I know mothers around the nation really appreciate being applauded and recognized for countless hours of selfless care for their families.

We all know motherhood is hard. It’s never-ending. Even when the kiddos go to bed, I’m still on duty, my senses just alert enough all night to hear a child’s cry. I suppose that even when my littles are grown and live in different houses with families of their own, I will still spend my nights with my mother-heart a little bit alert. I want to live my life in prayer for these kids.

Motherhood is sanctifying. My sin is glaringly obvious when I see that same sin in my children. Encouraging them to get rid of sin starts with my own commitment to denying sin. (Which is, of course, only successful through the work of the Holy Spirit.) I often think that it’s an awfully good thing that God blessed us with babies so quickly after our marriage, because I hate to think how stubborn and selfish I’d be if I hadn’t started this sanctifying process so young. God had His work cut out for him, to really get ahold of my me-centered heart. (And as you’ll see below, that me-centeredness still creeps up more often than I’d like!)

Motherhood is also SO rewarding. After birthing these gigantic children, I had the reward of nursing them for almost a year (6 months for J). I have the reward of snuggles, hugs, tickles, and laughs. I put the work in as a homeschool mom, and get the reward of seeing the “lightbulb moments,” like when they start reading fluently or suddenly understand a concept we’ve been discussing. I get the reward of seeing the Scripture they’ve memorized be applied in real life. I have had the greatest reward: watching all four of our kids recognize their need for a Savior, and asking Jesus to be Lord of their lives.

These are the things that are recognized on Mother’s Day. I think it’s a healthy thing for dads and kids to try to understand the mothers in their lives. It’s good to treat them like a queen for the day, and thank them for all they do.

But while I love the rewards and accolades, I really pour my heart into parenting so that God might be glorified.

One of our favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

I had to remind myself of that whenever I looked at Facebook or Instagram yesterday. There was picture upon picture upon status upon status of people praising their mothers and doing sweet things for them. And that ugly thing called envy reared its head. Jealousy – it’s not a pretty sight.

I was looking for human reward instead of God’s glory.

My sweet family bought me lunch, and sat around the table talking about “what they love about mommy,” and we planted my “gift” a week or so ago (5 beautiful red lilies).

Why wasn’t I content with all of that sweetness, knowing that my family appreciates me?

Why did I feel as if my day wasn’t enough because I didn’t receive {insert any Facebook status here}?

Sin. That’s all, friends. When I was supposed to be celebrating the gift of motherhood, I was internally acting like a selfish, spoiled brat. That’s just lovely, isn’t it?

Mother’s Day (or any day) becomes detrimental when I start comparing my experience to yours. You know the old saying, “Comparison kills contentment?” TRUE. STATEMENT.

The highlight of my day yesterday was a family bike ride to a park, a walk in the woods, and playing “Sprinkler Baseball” in the front yard. It was relaxing and fun and stressful and hilarious.

Maybe you read a book in your hammock or went out to coffee by yourself or played roller derby. Whatever your day looked like, if God was glorified, it was a successful Mother’s Day. It doesn’t matter what anyone else received. The day you experienced was a gift in itself.

Heart-Melting Moments

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For as mischievous and naughty as he can be, Jaden can sure be sweet, too.

We were sitting on his bed today, snuggling, and he looked up at me and said, “Do you know I’m going to love you forever?”

I’m going to love you forever, too, Buddy.

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