Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Glimpses of Life as One of a Dozen

People often give me the doubtful, questioning, even speechless eyes when I tell them I live with a family of eleven—with me that makes a dozen of us under a roof, doing life together that all the glory might belong to the Lord.

Now, I just expect the hesitant, you are crazy eyes. But it really doesn't bother me much anymore—I just smile and joyfully explain to them how crazy life is and that I wouldn't change it for a thing. The truth of that statement has become much more true (if that even makes sense!) as the days, weeks, and months continue to pass. I cannot imagine life being any different. The flip of the calendar has in fact, taught me to love and cherish this family of eleven more then I ever could have imagined.

Over the past several weeks, there have been little GLIMPSES, little moments where I see God's perfect plan continue to be affirmed right where I am at, in the little house on the dirt road.

Like when I get home from work and a little guy runs up to me and leans in real close as he begins to tell me He accepted Christ today and I erupt with joy and praise. Or when we go around the table to affirm seven year old little one on his birthday, and he begins weeping as I tell him what a tender heart he has and how he loves people wholeheartedly. Or when the girls talk openly about the doubts and realities of life in a fallen world. Or when they get excited about something coming up and tell me I have to be there—I have to experience it with them. Or when baby boy runs into my arms when I get home from work (which has happened ONCE, making it one of these glimpses!). Or when Kevin cooks breakfast for me before I have to leave for work. Or when the boys asked specifically that I would come into their room to tell them goodnight. Or when Michelle takes me to run errands with her, even though it takes twice as long since I never stop talking. Or when I can unload the dishwasher without asking where anything goes (a rare occurrence, since things continue to move around). Or when I get to read a book to the babies as we cuddle before bed—when they will sit in my lap for JUST A minute. Or when I am trusted to drive nine precious lives in the big white van solo. Or when my friend's husband begins referring to me as "Courtney McCollum" because I was running a little bit late to meet them somewhere...I am STILL trying to figure what he's talking about??

In a large family, it is easy to get caught up in just trying to make it from one moment to the next...get everyone busy on an activity so you can get dinner going so you can get everyone to stop the activity to wash up so everyone can gather around the big wood table so we can actually hold hands without passing along dirt and snot so we can beg Jesus to sustain us, to help us speak kindly, to help us obey without anyone complaining of germs passing along through the grips shared among us all so that we can serve up a meal so everyone gets enough so we can be excused to get boys to bed and clean the kitchen so we can breathe for a few minutes so we can have more breathe to laugh at the craziness of the day so we can have even more breathe to process the trials of life so we can fall asleep with peace of mind to the quietness of nine little ones sleeping all so we have the energy to wake and do it all over again tomorrow.

Yes, this is reality. But somewhere in-between the washing up and the prayers, comes the GLIMPSE. Somewhere after the food before the last dish is put up, comes another GLIMPSE. To what exactly does this glimpse allow you to see into? The GLIMPSE allows me to see Jesus at work in these little hearts and minds. The GLIMPSE reminds me of my need for His grace, His love, His selflessness amidst it all. Through the GLIMPSE, the Spirit speaks to my weary soul and I joyfully press on.

The GLIMPSE is why I wouldn't change my life for anything, even if you look at me with those eyes.

The GLIMPSE challenges me to see Christ in all of His glory, to just get a glimpse of what He is doing here on earth reminds me of the eternity that awaits—that the challenges and suffering here on this fallen earth are worth enduring, for the glory that is to be revealed simply does not compare.

What GLIMPSE has He given you today?


Birthday Affirmation times—testify to Jesus' work in each heart

Dutch Puff—simply because it is my favorite "large family" food

Exploring nature—I see the Lord in a different way in the country 

Little brother good night hugs & goodbye waves in the morning—ahhhh love.

Late night kitchen talks with K and M—I would honestly pay for these moments and the Truth and life that is breathed into my inner place during these times. 

Reading in the chair that rocks—a comfort, I think, my favorite spot.

Ramblenising and deep conversation with sisters {after} bedtime of course—made even better when K stomps his foot on floor above, making me break into giggles. 

Mowing the grass on Saturdays—being able to serve and improve at making perfectly straight lines across the yard, no OCD though. 

Family Dinners—you just have to be there.

Washing dishes—it is my job and I enjoy it.

Kevin teaching—I always learn too.
Experiencing peace as I watch chaos unfold—sounds crazy, but it happens daily.

Cuddles from the babies—a rare and precious occurrence these days!

Rides in the van—made even better when everyone breaks into a song and I start looking for cameras because I fell as though I am on a reality TV show

Learning to shoot a gun—one of my frirst glimpses, actually, sweet moment.

Helping Michelle cook—learning from her in the kitchen, learning to be a wife and mom.

When eleven (perfect) voices break into song during family worship time—add in the piano and guitar for kicks—I see Jesus. 

Driving on the country roads with windows down—and music blasting.

Michelle chopping my hair off—a tangible shedding of a whole lot of my insides. 

Little boys getting into my makeup—something I always wished I could experience growing up, as odd as that sounds. 

Being able to share my clothes and jewelry—or simply have it stolen :)

Watching old movies with the girls—who find joy in all of my firsts...including the movie we are watching.

My first time on the 4-Wheeler—when Kevin took off with me on it & got the death stare from mom

When Kevin (completely jokingly) refers to Michelle as "Woman"—with a capital W!

The way this family welcomes and loves on my international friends—incredible testimony to Christ's love for each of us. 

Coming home to squirrels hanging in my closet in place of the lightbulb—and the payback that came as a result.

Sharing a room with sisters for a season—another dream come true, learned lots too.

Birthday Pancakes—the best. 

The fact that using a dozen eggs a day has become somewhat normal—wrong I think!

Going anywhere with the whole family—I find joy in being with them all.

Taking communion as a family—one of my sweetest memories.

Finding pets in the wild and attempting to domesticate them—until they die, anyways.

Building a chicken house—and the fact that it hasn't been touched in months.

Driving the big white van—and not crashing.

Little brother goodnights—nothing better. 

The heart of this family to love me as one of their own—in so many tangible and unspoken ways

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds, for you KNOW that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. ---James 1:2-3

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