Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mama Monday

Today's Mama Monday is the sweet and genuine Stacy from the blog With Great Joy.
Stacy says on her blog: 

It is with great joy that I get to be a child of the King, wife to my best friend and husband, Mark, and mommy to the five beautiful children God has entrusted to us (ages 8, 6, 5, 2 and 1.)

Stacy's sweet spirit comes across beautifully in all her posts. I love glimpses into her home and I secretly wished she lived next door so her oldest daughter could be friends with my 9 year old daughter.... (and of course so Stacy and I could be neighbors and friends!!!)
She is so down-to-earth and very resourceful, always sharing "what works" for her in her home schooling days. I never feel overwhelmed with her ideas....she presents them so simply, thoughtfully and gracefully, which makes me think: "I could do this!"
I have also enjoyed even more glimpses of her days by becoming friends with her on facebook!!!
I do not know her in person, but her joy as a role as a wife and mother is evident in her words. is "With Great Joy" I bring you.....

*Greatest thing about being a mom—

When I was a young girl, all I wanted in life was to grow up and be a wife and mother.

You can imagine, then, how difficult it was when my husband and I struggled with infertility. We wondered if we would even be able to have children, and our heartache over that was almost suffocating. (Now, ten years later we have been blessed with five (!) beautiful children, but at the time we couldn't comprehend such joy in our future.)

As difficult as that season of infertility was, it has given me such perspective for these current days of motherhood. I remember well that feeling of despair and the longing to be a mother, and I am daily filled with wonder that I get to do this! What a wonderful, generous God to entrust these precious children into our care! I truly love being a mama, and the greatest thing for me is just the joy of delighting in my children. I love the things they say and do: their expressions and antics and the things they find hilarity in. I love watching each of their personalities unfold. I love getting to witness their active imaginations and hear the tales of their discoveries. I find it such a privilege to be able to be with these little persons, day in and day out.

*Hardest thing about being a mom—
Oh, there are many hard things, but the hardest is most definitely the constant unveiling of my own sin.

When I was engaged to be married or newly-married, (I can’t remember which) people would talk about how that first year or two of marriage was just the hardest; that it revealed your own sin and selfishness in a whole new way. I kept waiting for that to happen, and it never did. I could not figure out what people were talking about. Our first year was wonderful. I loved marriage and everything about it. Still do. (Which only goes to show that God has blessed me with The Most Patient Husband Ever).

It is motherhood that has done that for me more than marriage. It is this role of being a mother that has revealed the ugliness of my sin in a way I’ve never before experienced. It is motherhood that has shown me my utter selfishness, my impatience, my lack of self-control, my indifference and stubborn willfulness at times, my favoritism, my critical spirit, my astounding lack of grace... (and the list goes on and on and on). Again and again I am reminded of what a wretched sinner I am. It is being a mother that has brought me time and time again to my knees for the ugliness in my heart, and has grown me in gratefulness for the grace that is offered to me through Jesus Christ.

*Favorite blogs/websites—
Let’s see... there are a lot of blogs that I read or at least check in on occasionally, but there are two that come to mind immediately. I have read the words of these two women in particular for *years* and I continue to find inspiration and encouragement there:

Elise {A Path Made Straight}
Kendra {Preschoolers and Peace}

*How do you find balance in your life—
Prayer. Just continually seeking Him throughout my days. Little snippets of prayers offered up to Him (for strength, wisdom, help, discernment, whatever-the-case-may-be).

Also, my husband, who serves tirelessly and makes sure I get that balance. Once a week, on his day off, he pushes me out the door and tells me to go~ to take a break. And I go. But even when we’re home, together, all of us- he is continually serving and giving of himself, and it’s a huge gift to me.

*One word that describes you—
I’m never good at these types of questions. I finally settled on this one:

I chose that word because I talk with my hands, my voice gets louder when I’m excited about something, and I’m a hugger. I love to laugh, and have been known to jump up and down when I’m excited about something. I tear up easily when I’m sad or moved by something. I’m passionate and opinionated about things and have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. I love to tell and read stories, and I can be quite dramatic. (I also tend to write with lots of exclamation points, smiley faces, and italics. So bear with me. :))

*Favorite color--
That depends. If I’m choosing a game piece I always choose yellow, because it’s sunny and bright and cheery. If I’m going to wear it? I’d choose any shade in blues or greens.

Really, anything to do with my family and home. So... I love to cook and bake, which is a perk since I do a fair bit of it! I enjoy trying new recipes or taking an existing recipe and making it new by changing it up. I love homeschooling our children, and all that entails. I am a voracious reader. I journal daily and have done so for years. I like to sew, quilt, or knit in the Fall/Winter months. I like playing board games. I like to plant a garden and glean a harvest from it.

*Favorite thing to wear---
Nearly every day I wear cozy yoga-type pants and a t-shirt. (So basically: glorified pajamas. ;)) When I leave the house I do put a little more effort into my outfit, but I am most comfortable- even out of the house- in jeans and a comfy shirt or sweater.

*What the Lord has been speaking to you about lately—
This: Live simply so that you are able to give generously.
This is actually a constant refrain; a faithful message from God to me. Over and over again in my life, He brings me back to this. It’s something we (as a couple, as a family) try to be really purposeful about. Sure, there are things we’d like and we have dreams of a bigger house and some land and a small farm, but we *choose* to live here, to be content here- so that we are able to give generously, and we look for ways to increase our giving each year.

Recently I read aloud a biography of George Mueller to my kids, which inspired me on so many levels. This guy is one of my heroes. Mueller was a man of great faith, he was devoted to prayer, he sought to help those in need around him (namely the orphans in Bristol), and he lived simply but gave generously. Reading this book brought this point home to me all over again. We are so rich, and I just want to be way more concerned about giving than getting.

*What do you like best about yourself—
Another one of those challenging questions, Andrea! If you were sitting across the table from me I would so make *you* answer this, too! :)

Hm. I think what I like best about myself is that I am intentionally, continually striving for growth in my relationship with God (and-- as a result of that-- with others). I don’t EVER want to become complacent; I truly want to keep growing, keep loving Jesus more through each season of my life. I want to know His word, I want to grow more in listening to His voice, I want to grow in prayer and worship and adoration of Him. So I continue to read, to pray, to journal, to study, and to examine the practices in my life and the habits of my heart~ lining them up to Scripture so that I might know Him and obey Him as well as I possibly can.

*On a day without children I would--
What a fun question! I think as a mother of little ones it’s easy to get lost in your role. There are times I’ve tearfully said to Mark, “I feel like I’m just Mommy these days. I can’t even remember what it’s like to be Stacy anymore...” Some of that is good, in that this is my God-given role and with it come sacrifices, but I also think it’s important to keep nurturing those passions that God uniquely created in me.

So, on a Stacy-day, I would do these things: Get myself some coffee at a drive-through espresso place, l’d listen to my kind of music (loudly and singing along with it). I’d go to a bookstore and peruse the shelves. I’d head to my favorite park with my Bible and journal. I’d walk by the water. I might go shopping. I’d make time to do something creative: sew or quilt or make something. And then I’d get dressed up and go out on a dinner date with Mark and end the day by watching a movie (complete with our favorite snacks: guacamole and chips for the salty and ice cream for the sweet) with him.

Oh Stacy, that sounds dreamy! I think I'd do the same thing!{Andrea}

*Adoption is--
Adoption is... our response to God’s words to look after the fatherless. (James 1:27, Psalm 82: 3-4, Psalm 68:5).

It is also beautiful, life-changing, enriching, and wondrous. It is at the same time challenging and heart-wrenching. But it is so central to the heart of God, and we are privileged to have been able to adopt two beautiful children.

*If I could encourage a new mother, I would say--
Oh, I would want to hug her and say, “What an amazing journey you are on! Treasure it, all of it~ even the messes and the noise and the weariness~ and pray like crazy!” Also, as a new mother it is easy to be overwhelmed with what you SHOULD do (hospital vs. birthing center vs. home birth... breast feeding vs. bottle-feeding... let your baby cry it out vs rocking your baby to sleep, to name just a few). There are just so many strong opinions on both sides of every issue. I would want to encourage a new mother to not fret or be anxious about all of those things (God will lead you and your husband to what works for *your* little family) and to simply embrace the joys and wonder of it all!

*One book you would recommend to read--(besides the Bible)
Aack. It is difficult to limit myself to just one. Can I give two recommendations?

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala
This is the story of a pastor who came to shepherd a struggling congregation in the inner-city, and the ways in which-- through prayer-- God led him to reach out to the broken and hurting around him: the prostitutes, drug addicts, and the homeless, who are now members of a thriving church called The Brooklyn Tabernacle. This book, and others by Cymbala, has shaped my prayer life more than any other book outside of the Bible.

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
I read this book at a time in my life when I desperately needed to be reminded of the truths within it. Manning writes of the extravagant grace and love of our Father, that you don’t ever need to be “good enough”, nor could you never earn God’s favor- but that He simply and freely gives it because of His great love.

Thank you Stacy!!!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Thank you. Mary Brooke

Sandi said...

Love this lady too!

Elise @A Path Made Straight said...

I'm jumping up and down right now because I'm so excited to learn that Stacy jumps up and down when she's excited!!! Ahem. Me, too. :)

I love this. I love this lady, and I think you used the perfect word to describe her, Andrea- genuine.

She has blessed my life time and again through her intimate relationship with the Lord- she hears Him, and obeys. Why, just this morning I checked my inbox and found that she answered my quiet request for prayers today by writing a heartfelt prayer over email, and I just wept and felt her love and His strength breathing through her.

Thank you, Stacy, for sharing your heart here. Your children are blessed, and I have seen Mark rise up and call you blessed time and time again.

Love you!

Stacy said...

Thank you for your sweet words here about me, Andrea!

Likewise about living next-door. I'm sure our girls *and* ourselves would be good friends! :)

And, oh- Elise! Sweetest comment ever from you. (thank you, friend!)


Famaddict said...

Wow! Very heartwarming and convicting. I loved it! And maybe I'm weird, but I loved that two of my kids have the same PJ's Stacy's were wearing, and the bonnet, too! :-) ~L