Today is my 39th Birthday!! And I couldn’t be happier!! I woke up yesterday morning and my mind seemed automatically focused on looking back. I found myself remembering a time, almost 20 years ago, when my views were very different from what they are today. I was 18 years old, and struggling with what I was coming to understand was not God’s plan for my life. I was attending a very liberal college at the time. I remember the first day of classes my freshmen year, the guest speaker was an androgynous male who paraded his 6’6 ft. frame around my Sociology class in 3 1/2 inch heels and full drag. For my Intro to Judaism class I was told, on day one, that when the Bible said that Adam named all of the animals, what it really meant was that he had sex with all of them! And it just got worse from there!!! My experiences were so much more than eye-opening! They were horrifying. But I managed to get decent grades, kept my scholarship, and returned for my second, and last year, the following fall. Had my first year been any different than what it was, I am convinced that my life choices would have been different as well. That first year of one horrifying, world-view impacting event after another, served a wonderful purpose in the challenging, the maturing and the development of my faith in Christ. And I would come to embrace and grieve the decisions I was going to make.
You see, I was raised like most of you. Grow up, go to college, graduate and get a good job. I had already mapped out where I would be and when. I knew where my graduate studies would take place, and when I would settle down and get married, and when I would have kids. I planned, and I planned well. And while I had been prepared to encounter a few bumps in the road. I had not prepared my heart to truly encounter God. Now, I became a Christian prior to going away to school, and my heart was genuinely committed to Christ. The onslaught of a culture that hated God, and loved sin, I thought, was only mildly upsetting. It was not until I returned for round 2 that I began to be aware of what I had lost the year before, and what I stood to lose if I stayed. Let me try to explain a little more clearly… I had been raised like most ‘Christians’; again, grow up, go to college, get a good job, then get married and have a family. Do you notice anything missing? No where in there was I encouraged to seek the Lord BEFORE doing any of those other things. Proverbs 19:21 says, “You can make many plans,but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” I never sought the Lord prior to going away to school, and no one, not my pastor or my Sunday School teachers, not my high school guidance counselor or anyone in my family, advised me to seek Him first. A lifetime of plans were made for a life that had been ransomed by God, and He was not consulted about it at all!!!! So imagine my surprise when he hijacks that life….my life….the one that Christ died to save…the one that I so willingly gave back to Him as an offerring….the life I was speaking about when I humbly bowed and told the Lord to use this life in any way He saw fit because my life belonged to Him now….Yeah, that’s the life He hijacked! Because I didnt’ t understand what I meant when I said that. Everything I had learned had taught me that once I was saved, I could live my life and God would bless what I wanted to do. I didn’t understand that because this life now belonged to Him, I needed to ask Him what He wanted me to do…and then I needed to be willing to do it….because He loved me…and gave Himself for me. Psalm 71:23 says, “I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have ransomed me,” and I did that, until the One who ransomed me actually wanted to direct the life he had ransomed.
Well, to make a long story short, the Lord used the second year I was away at school to patiently turn my heart fully towards Him. I truly wanted God more than I wanted anything else, and my faith was experiencing a full assault. Through my experiences God had allowed me to get a glimpse of what my life held if I continued to follow the course I had charted, and refused to follow where He was leading me…which was in the totally opposite direction. For those two years I was surrounded by young and old women who had drunk from the fountain of feminism, and they were sick with it and didn’t even know. Had I stayed, I am certain that the roots of feminism would have been driven deeper than they had been already. The women I was surrounded by, from administrators, professors, and most of the students all said he same thing..all had the same plans…all lived on the same timeline; they were single, had no children and had no plans of having children at least until their mid 30’s, they were driven to establish themselves in the corporate market place, the need to be financially independent was a driving force, as was the mindset that says, “I don’t need a man.” These ideologies were sown into my heart and mind not just at school, but all throughout my life. But God had different plans…His Word said different things.
As a 39-year-old woman, I can joyfully say what Romans 11:33 says; “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” Looking at my life today, I can say with certainty that had I not followed the leading of the Lord I would hae regretted it for the rest of my life. Something in me would have known what I missed!
My plan was to get married about 15 years later than I did. God’s plan was for me to marry the man who would be the absolute LOVE OF MY LIFE 15 months later. My plan was to begin having children at around 35-37 years old. Gods plan was for my first child to be born when I was 21 years old, my second when I was 23, my third when I was 25, and for us to adopt our fourth when I was 30. My plan was to pursue my education and ultimately become a judge. God’s plan was for me to pour all that I knew and was willing to learn into our four children in order to prepare them to stand for Christ in a culture that hates Him and not waver. My plan was for my husband and I to be equals in everything…in education, in earnings, in authority. God’s plan was for me to marry a man who loved Him more than He loved me…a man I could respect because of his silent refusal to be led by any one other than his Lord, and that included his headstrong and outspoken young wife…a man who every time he looks at me I know he would lay his life down for me the way our Lord laid his down for his bride. I would have missed this!!!! I would have missed them!!!!! My life would be just that…MY life. And I would have been settling for the cultures definition of fulfillment and I would have known it.
Today is my 39th Birthday! Our life is so far from perfect, but it stands at the door of amazing every day! I have no complaints….no regrets…not many things I would like a ‘do over’ on. Psalm 128:1 says, “How joyful are those who fear the LORD— all who follow his ways!” I am so glad that I chose to ‘follow His ways!” I struggled within myself for years after leaving school. I wrestled with a widespread view that a woman who stays at home is a failure. I have had people I loved and respected tell me that they were so sure my life would amount to more than just raising kids and cleaning some mans house! And it took me a while to even appreciate what the Lord had saved me from…He had saved me from myself! From my plans and a life built by my design!!!! He saved me from a life lived to meet other peoples expectations! He loved me enough to want better for me!!! And because I chose to obey Him and not the feminist voices all around me, I live the ‘better life’ that He designed. My life is full….and my joy is too!
I hope this made sense, and sounded like more than the 2am ramblings of a contented woman! 😀 I want to encourage all of you that God’s ways are so much better than our own. We can only see where we are…he can see EVERYTHING. I had no idea he loved me this much. When we disobey and do things our own way, we miss out on the tangible expressions of His love for us. He wants to shower you with all the love He has for you….don’t you want to experience that? Learn to love his ways, even when you don’t understand them. Live a life without regret! ❤
This year my wonderful husband and I will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. Last night we experienced a much-needed ‘date’ night. Our four children were spending the night with my older sister and brother-in-law, and my youngest nephew. They had been looking forward to this visit for at least two weeks, and trust me when I say, they were dropped off, and did not look back! 😀 When I woke up this morning and realized that they had not called to say goodnight, and neither did we, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. Oh, I knew they were having crazy fun. I had heard an update that involved a bonfire, sloppy joe, Oreo’s and Chips Ahoy, all topped off by Uncle Carl’s legendary Root beer Floats! (Kayla insists that NOBODY makes them better!) I imagined an all-nighter with lots of laughter, couple with a fair share of disagreements surrounding whatever video game that was being played. But we hadn’t said goodnight. As a matter of fact, I had not heard either of their voices in almost 18 hours!!!! So, I called. 😀
When I spoke to Kayla, our oldest, she was washing dishes…and sounded pleasant..(why do we enjoy chores at someones elses home more than we do at our own?) We talked for a few minutes…just long enough to give me the run down on the evenings events and to tell me that she had no idea where her little sister was. She knew she was there…somewhere. I felt better. And then Leah, our youngest, called her mom! And I smiled….. She’s a big girl, but she sounded so little on the phone. It’s funny, they seem so mature at home. and we interact with them, sometimes, as if they are so much older than they are. But then they go away, and we hear their voices, and perspective is altered.
To some of you, I may sound a little weird. My kids are not babies anymore. In the picture above, Leah was 2, Jordan was 4, Isaiah was 6, and Kayla was 7. That was 10 years ago!!! But they are still my babies. With homeschooling, I feel like I’m with them at all times, and for the most part I am. And sometimes we just need a little space or distance. Not because we don’t like each other or need a ‘break’ from each other, but so that our perspective can be readjusted. That’s what happens with a simple over-nighter. I see them more clearly. I appreciate their humor and their little idiosyncracies. And I miss them. We have such a small amount of time with them before they are gone and living the lives that, hopefully, we prepared them for. I truly want as much time with them as i can get. We are winding up our ninth year of homeschooling and I still have at least 20 years worth of stuff I want to teach them! But they’re not babies anymore …and no more am I aware of that than I am when they go away from home, even for one night, and call home! Kayla will soon be a licensed driver soon. Isaiah will be a JUNIOR in highschool next year!!!! Jordan will be a freshman in highschool next year. And my Leah will be officially JUST ONE YEAR away from being a TEENAGER!!! And they did not call to say goodnight. And I just got word from my sister that it’s looking like they want to stay another night!! Through all of this, you may be wondering why I experienced any distress about this at all? Obviously they are in great hands, right? I mean, who better to pinch hit for us than my sister and brother-in-law? And the kids are obviously having fun and doing well. So what’s the problem? MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! You’re absolutely correct!!!! THEY are just fine! But, I miss my babies. And I realize that no matter how old or big they are, they will always be my babies! Kayla will always be my first baby, Isaiah will always be my first baby boy (9lbs 2oz – 6’1 220lbs at 15), Jordan will always be my baby boy (who brought a smile to my heart after the passing of my dad just 2 months prior to his birth), and Leah will always be my last baby (the one not born of my womb but of my heart). And I love spending time with them. They are hilarious and irritating and brilliant and infuriating!!!!! ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!! And they will always be my babies.
So, while my husband is outside replacing the brakes on the car, and my kids are away, possibly for another night, I am sharing my heart with all (or just a few) of you. I am smiling as I write this. Life has so many unforseen things in store for us. In the last 2 weeks two women who I know have buried their sons. Neither one of them saw it coming. I may sound a little strange as I ramble on, but I encourage you to spend as much time with your children as possible. Are there any moms out there that understand or agree??? Maybe you have the desire to spend more time, but the demands of life won’t stop pulling at you long enough for you to be able to. Either way, wherever you find yourself, I would LOVE to hear from you!
This blog will be ongoing as it is being written by my 11 year old daughter, Leah Renee. She wants to tell her story in her own words, and I really want the involvement of my family on this blog, so you will be hearing from all of us at some point. But Leah is the first. She worked on this all day and she looked up mis-spelled words and worked diligently on grammar and punctuation. So with just a little help from me, this is Leah’s first blog post ever!!! Talking about her story openly is a big step for my little girl. …and yes, my eyes are a little watery as I get ready to post this…”
“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when
he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” ” Romans 8:15
Hi, my name is Leah.
I live with my mom, dad, my 2 brothers and my sister. My birthday is October 25, I am 11 years old, and I am adopted. When I found out I was adopted it was hard. I was nine years old and my mom and dad told me in the Summer. Today I am ok because if I was not adopted I don’t think I would know GOD. I think being adopted is a good thing and I hope you adopted too. These are pictures of me with my family.
Me and my dad.
Me and my mom.
And then me and my sister Kayla.
And me and my brothers, Isaiah and Jordan.
There are a lot of kids who don’t have a mom or dad,or brothers and sisters. You could be their mom or dad. They would be your child and part of your family forever. Children who do not have a family are put in foster care and need a mom and dad so that they can have a family for holidays and birthdays. They need a place to come home to when they grow up. Well that’s all for now. I will come back and talk to you later about adoption after I get some sleep.
See you soon!
Leah Renee White (but you can call me Leah)