Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Our Family Needed Corrie

Six girls. In a row. Wow.

When the ultrasound revealed we would be blessed with our sixth daughter in the summer of 1999, I began letting go of the idea of ever having a son. Contentment in this area was a hard lesson for me. We had already surrendered our family planning to the Lord, but this was somehow different.

Growing up, I had always been more comfortable hanging out with the boys. There was little drama involved and far less gossiping. Plus males seemed highly less offendable than most girls I knew. My best buddies were guys. So what on earth was I doing raising all these girls??? The Lord surely has a delightful sense of humor.

One of my favorite aspects of parenting is watching each child's personality emerge. Corrie Beth was her very own person from the beginning! She began showing her preferences at an early age and I believe it began with shoes. If she didn't like the shoes I had put on her, she would remove them when I wasn't looking. Then she began hiding them. At first I thought it was a coincidence. After all toddlers don't really do such things; do they?!

Then when she was two she began having melt-downs while I dressed her. She hadn't yet begun speaking (she never spoke before she was three years old!), but would babble and point to the dress I had put on her. She didn't like her clothes! Believing this to just be a "willfulness" issue, I explained that this is the dress God had provided and she would be wearing it today. She was also insistent that I change her clothes anytime she soiled her outfit. She would come to me with a frown face, pointing to a dirty spot on her dress, take my hand and lead me to her closet! What on earth?!

Today Corrie is fifteen years old. And now I get it. Those years of discontentment and pouting, along with incessant outfit changes finally make sense to me. She wasn't trying to be difficult. Or willful. She just has her own sense of style.

Our sixth daughter brings so much joy and care to our home! Some qualities that Corrie Beth demonstrates that truly bless this mom of a super-busy household, are her servant's heart and organizational skills coupled with diligence. She looks for opportunities to serve others and cleans and organizes like a professional. She sticks with a job till it is finished.

Corrie is also an aspiring interior decorator! Reading books from the library, gleaning ideas online and experimenting with various fabrics and designs, she decorates with a sense of style and flair unlike any of the other girls. For birthdays this year, she has presented a few sisters with a unique gift: cleaning, organizing, and decorating their space!

These are just a few of the reasons I am thankful the Lord saw fit to send us six daughters in a row.

To celebrate August birthdays (mine, Corrie's and Kissy's), Emily funded a trip to IKEA, an antique mall, and Jungle Jim's in Ohio. Here are a few pictures from our trip:

We were delighted to learn that IKEA is only 2 hours away!
Corrie and her treasures. She was looking for items with which to decorate her room.
Emily and MacKenzie: "Shopped till they dropped".
Outside Jungle Jim's

In Jungle Jim's.
Corrie's efforts in IKEA shopping paid off. Here's how her bedroom area looks:

Corrie completely decorated this area herself. The green bookshelves were constructed by Isaac and painted by Corrie.

She was unable to get the green polka-dotted comforter from IKEA, as they were out of stock. That is her next plan.

Happy 15th birthday Corrie Beth!


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Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Dark Secret I Kept from Her

She discovered my testimony of Salvation in a Word document on the computer. It never occurred to her to ask if it was something she should read or not, after all, it was right there in plain sight. Without hesitation, she opened the file. And discovered the truth.

Her own mother had plotted to take her life before she was born.

I found MacKenzie that day sitting there staring at the computer with tears streaming down her face. When I looked at the screen and saw that she had not only been enlightened about our past, but had learned the dark secret about the scheduled abortion, a lump formed in my throat and words failed me. "I'm sorry" seemed vain and empty; so out of place.

What goes through an eleven year old child's mind at such a moment? Why did she not want me? Did she love the other children more than she loved me? What's wrong with me? I wrapped her in my arms, entering into this moment with her. I would allow her to share the pain in her heart--pain that I had inflicted by choices made in the past--without making excuses or brushing off her feelings. Accepting responsibility for my thoughts and actions of a decade ago, I braced myself for the worst.

She could easily choose to sink into the pit of self pity. No one would blame her for that.

I wasn't prepared for her response.

"God has a special purpose for my life, Mommy. I know that now." She began wiping away the tears, as the wounds were being mended by Jesus, the only One Who could heal the broken heart of my precious daughter.

A few years before this conversation our family had attended an evangelistic Way of the Master workshop. Kissy (as we've called her since she was a baby) was very interested in learning how to share her faith and whenever we visited playgrounds, she would befriend children then gather them round to tell them Bible stories. She shared the Gospel with two little girls who received Christ that summer! We began to refer to her as "Our Playground Evangelist".

For her eleventh birthday she asked her daddy to take her to the local mall. This doesn't appear to be an unusual request for a girl her age, until you consider the underlying motive. Kissy had no interest in shopping or hanging out with friends. She wanted to go for the express purpose of sharing the Gospel with others at the mall! After that experience, she would attend festivals with me (I was at that time a Pampered Chef consultant) to witness to people that I would be intimidated to speak to. Her compassion is both inspiring for the rest of us as well as convicting.

I remember at one festival, soon after discovering my testimony, Kissy had given an "Intelligence Test" to an older "hippie-type" lady dressed in an Indian costume. At the conclusion of the test, when she asked the woman if she would like to invite Jesus to be Lord of her her life, the lady laughed and scoffed at Kissy. This was the first time it had happened to her and she was hurt by the incident. We discussed it briefly and I watched her lay down her clipboard, giving into the defeat. As she took off, I called her back. "If you walk away from this now, you might never witness to another person again. Don't let the enemy win! God has a special purpose for your life," I reminded her, smiling as I handed her the clipboard. "Just one more time, baby girl!"

She reluctantly walked off and I sent up a "flare prayer" as I watched her go.

About a half hour later, a woman came to my booth. "Excuse me; is that your daughter over there?" She pointed to Kissy. "Yes, she is." The lady came closer. My two friends and I were just sitting over there watching all these young people here today and were very discouraged by their language and their actions. We were actually discussing how there is no hope for this new generation when your daughter approached us, asking if we would like to take some test." She went on to tell me how delightful their conversation was and that MacKenzie had the warmest heart and sweetest smile. "I just wanted to come over here to say 'thank you!'. Thank you for raising this child the way you have. We need more parents like you in this world!" She patted my arm and I noticed tears in her eyes as she walked away.

Seventeen years ago today the Lord blessed us with this precious baby girl. Kissy is a delightful young lady, with her compassionate heart, positive attitude and fun sense of humor. Besides evangelizing, she also enjoys writing fiction stories, poems, songs, and parodies. Her two best friends are her younger sister Corrie and her bff Aubrie. She is also a wonderful big sister to three younger brothers.

Happy birthday Kissy!


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