Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Comptons!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!! 
Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Y'all! You are so wonderful! Your encouragement, your honesty, and just the fact that you would take the time to read my words. Holy smokes.

Admitting that I struggle with insecurity has been so freeing for me. It started with conversations with a few friends and then I decided I may as well go "public" on here. Seriously, I'm so thankful that it was encouraging to some of you, because just bringing my struggle into the light has helped me

My wonderful friend, Kayla, has continued the insecurity conversation over at her blog. She talked about losing ourselves. Her thoughts are one piece of the direction my thoughts have been going. So, instead of reinventing the wheel, I'll just suggest you head over to her blog and read her words. They are honest and real and, well, you'll see why I count Kayla as a huge gift from the Lord. 

In response to my blog, I had two women recommend that I check out Brene Brown. Brown is a professor at the University of Houston who studies shame and vulnerability, particularly in women. I know I won't do justice to her research in just a few short words here. But, here's a short summary of one of her presentations: 

Brown found a correlation between a feeling of worthiness and the ability to be vulnerable. Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging know they are worthy. Those who know their worth are free to be vulnerable with who they really are. Vulnerability is what allows us a connection with other people in a real way. Connection is a result of authenticity: being willing to let go of who we think we should be in order to be who we really are. So, the thing that keeps us out of connection with others is the fear that we are not worthy of connection.  See the cycle? 

The idea is to let ourselves be seen. To love with our whole hearts, even though there is no guarantee. A willingness to tell our stories. Brown shared that courage has its root word in Latin, meaning to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. It means the courage to be imperfect. In Brown's words, believing that what makes us vulnerable, makes us beautiful. 

I don't know if Brown is a follower of Jesus or not. But, her research confirms how the Gospel changes everything. Because Jesus died on the cross for me, I can know my true worth. I can know that I was worth giving up his throne, living a sinless life in a terribly broken world, and dying a horrendous and excruciating death by crucifiction. I can know I belong to Jesus and that He sees me as righteous. My worth is not found in my library fines, my messy house, my forgetfulness or my impatience. I am no longer defined by my past or present sin or my flaws. I'm also not defined by my career (or lack thereof), my marriage, my friendships or my parenting. 

I am free to be defined solely by my relationship with Jesus. When I'm defined in that way, I'm safe. I'm hidden in the shadow of his wings. My life has been hidden away with Jesus. With my life hidden safe in Jesus, I'm free to be vulnerable. I'm free to admit my flaws and my sin rather than covering them up with a pretty facade. And in doing that, I discover that those "ugly" places are often what bring true beauty. They demonstrate the places that God is strong in my weakness. 

Therefore, vulnerability seems to be the key to becoming secure.The apostle John said "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:7). To be in the light requires vulnerability, bringing our hurt, pain and sin into the light where it can be seen by the Lord  and others. For some of us, at first, being vulnerable takes stepping out in faith and testing the water to see what happens when we walk in the light. 

Sometimes vulnerability is uncomfortable and unnatural at first. It might even be scary and painful. This past week, I have felt like my blood and guts were all over the floor as I was sharing with two dear friends about some hurt I realized I had held on to for almost 20 years! Last weekend, at a church women's breakfast I had a nagging fear that my friends don't really like me. What in the world? Where did that come from? 

Driving home from breakfast, the Lord brought to mind three instances in high school and college where I felt betrayed by girls who I thought were good friends. Girls who had schemed against me, girls who just didn't like me, girls who turned on me, girls who said they were my friend and then told others that they didn't really like me. Ugh. I had never shared with anyone about those hurts. It hit me I had been afraid that if I shared with new friends about those old hurts, they would see me as "damaged" or that they would wonder if there really was something "wrong" with me.  So, I had stuffed all of that. And, without really "thinking" about it, I had lived with a tape of thoughts in the back of my head which said over and over again that I couldn't trust that anyone really liked me. And, that no one really likes me. 

Last Saturday, I found myself in tears on the phone to a good friend laying all of this out. God is SO good. He brought me to a place where I knew more of my worth IN HIM so that I was more okay with vulnerability before He brought these things up for me. Before He refined me in this area, He first made me willing to talk and share and open up to friends. 

Praise Jesus!!! What had been hidden for so long in my heart was brought into the light. The lies that I had believed about my worth, or lack there of, were exposed. And, I grew in true fellowship with the girls I shared with, and I grew in fellowship with the Lord. Just like He promised would happen in 1 John 1. And, I found myself free. Free from the lies I had believed. Free to talk about it. Free to write about it here on the interwebs for all of you to read. 

There is a song by Kendall Payne, and the lyrics are below. It beautifully lays out life with Jesus and it just keeps speaking to my heart as the Lord is rooting out insecurities in my life. In particular the last stanza. It is just.so.good. Sometimes the Lord cuts deep to set us free. But, if you trust him and let Him open you up to vulnerability, He is so good to keep His promises.

Don't stop your crying on my account

A frightening lion, no doubt
He's not safe, no he's not safe
Are you tempted now to run away?
The King above all Kings is coming down
But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good
I know you're thirsty, the water is free
But I should warn you, it costs everything
Well, He's not fair, no He's not fair
When He fixes what's beyond repair
And graces everyone that don't deserve
No one knows Him whom eyes never seen
No, I don't know Him but He knows me
He knows me, He knows me
Lay down your layers, shed off your skin
But without His incision, you can't enter in
He cuts deep, yeah He cuts deep
When the risk is great and the talk is cheap
But never leaves a wounded one behind

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Insecurity . . .

Ugh. This is a post that I am not necessarily excited to post. It is bare bones, raw and real. There are a lot of not-so-easy things that I have been willing to admit to you, my real-life friends and interweb friends. But, this one... this one is one of the hardest. This little blogpost has been sitting here almost finished for awhile now. And at the prompting of a dear friend today, I'm (finally) hitting the "publish" button.

Deep breath . . . here goes nothing . . .

I struggle with insecurity. In otherwords, I'm insecure.

That is a scary thing to type: I'm insecure. Shhhhh . . . It is a dirty word in today's society, one that we don't want to mention except for maybe in a whisper. To our closest friends. Every fiber of my being screams at me, "don't admit it! don't let anyone know!" I want you to think I'm confident, sure of myself and secure in who I am. What are you going to think of me if you know I'm insecure? Really, ladies . . . Who wants to say those words out loud: I.Am.Insecure.?

[Ironically, it is my insecurity that has prevented me from putting these words out into cyberspace earlier. Partially because, sometimes, I care too much about what you (whoever you are) think of me. And, ugh, I don't want anyone to know I'm insecure. But, I also don't want you to think that everything I do comes from my insecurity. Not everything I do is rooted in that part of me!]

I know the adage - that I need find my security in Jesus. The "answer" to fixing insecurity. And this is where some of the shame sets in. Christian women's books say it in a hundred different ways: Be secure in Jesus. My head hears those words. My heart hears them too. Thankfully I can give praise to Jesus that He has me as a work-in-progress, slowly giving me more and more true security in Him - the only security that is really secure. Sometimes, though, I get stuck. I struggle with how to get there on a practical level? How do I go from insecure to secure in Jesus? Why can't I just BE secure in Jesus with the flip of a switch?

My insecurity sneaks up on me. Sometimes it is almost nonexistent. Other times it is stifling. For a long time, I didn't know what it was. I remember seeing Beth Moore's book, So Long Insecurity, on a bookstore shelf. And I thought, what is that? Insecurity? But it shows up. It's one of those "you'll know it when you see it" kind of things. In retrospect, it took root when I was really young. And then showed up during my super awkward middle school years. I felt it with the sting of high school girls' cruelty. And it evolves. When the scale doesn't say the exact number I wish it did. When other moms get together to do something that I was a part of one year, but only found out about through photos on Facebook the next. When I walk into a group of (public school) moms who are utterly adorable. When my marriage fell apart. When people close to me question my life choices and my motives. And, I wonder if there is something wrong with who I am. Am I flawed? Is there something in my core that is just not up to par?

So, I have searched for security. It has evolved with me as I have grown up. I have looked for security everywhere and in everything. In leadership at Bible study. In my education. In food. And then, ironically, in a number on the scale. In being in the right sorority. In law school, in my grades. In relationships. In my career. In skinny jeans and boots. In hair color and the right make-up. Being the perfect wife. Searching Christian women's books for a formula on how I "should" live as a wife and mom. In having well-behaved children. In friendships. In my marriage. In homeschool. Searching for the right path that will fit like a key unlocking the door to finally just being secure in who I am.

Talking with a good friend last week, she described it as manifesting itself in being like a chameleon. Such a perfect description. Finding myself changing, sometimes a little and sometimes more than I'd like to admit, in order to "fit in." Wanting you to like me. Wanting to be validated in who I am and what I'm doing.

Wasn't this supposed to be left behind with the angst of teenage-dom? By 35, shouldn't I be comfortable in my skin?

But I'm not. And, I'm beginning to realize that a lot of other women aren't either. Providentially, I've had several similar conversations in the last few weeks with other women. Women who are beautiful and smart and seem to have it all together. Women you'd never pick out of a crowd as women who feel less than secure. But, we've dared to admit to one another that we are ... wait for it ... insecure. That it has a hold on us. It can strangle the life out of us. It steals our joy. It steals our true selves. It steals what Jesus wants for us. Just when we think we have it under control, it pops up again when we least expect it.

So I'm starting the conversation with you, friends. Right here, right now. Out in the open, in a public way. Putting myself out there because I know I'm not the only one. I can't be. Nothing new under the sun, right? And I've learned that identifying stuff in my heart, and dealing with it, and being honest with others about it is good and healing and builds friendships and community and tears down shame. So, there it is. Take it or leave it. But, my door is open, ladies.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hope Spoken

In five months I am getting on an airplane to Dallas, Texas, with two good friends. We are going to the Hope Spoken conference with 250 other women. So, to start the fun early, the gals running the event are hosting a link-up so we can all get to know each other through our blogs. Woohoo! Here goes . . . 

Hi!! My name is Jocelyn. I live with my sweet husband, Eric, and four kids in Salem, Oregon. Eric and I both grew up here in Salem and have always lived in the Pacific Northwest. We went to high school and college together, but never dated until we were 25. In another life, I was a corporate lawyer and then a law school administrator. Haha. It's hard to even imagine anymore. These days I'm a stay at home/homeschool mom to my hilarious crew: three boys and a girl ages 8, 6, 2 and 7 months. 

I think that what I'm hoping to take away from Hope Spoken and the thing that I'm nervous about are all wrapped up in the same thing. Almost three years ago, my world was rocked when my marriage hit rock bottom. Jesus has been so good to us and redeemed our marriage from the pit. Even though I knew Jesus before our mess, I feel like now I can say that I really know Him. After that, I didn't want to present ourselves as this perfect family anymore. I wanted other people, especially women, to know God for themselves. I wanted to boast in my weakness that they might see His Glory. Writing my little blog has grown out of this desire in my heart. And God has blessed me hugely in my little world as He has used my desire to be real (through my blog and also life in general) to make my friendships deeper, turn acquaintances into real friends, and to give me opportunities to minster in ways I never could have before.

As soon as I heard about Hope Spoken, I knew I had to go. I'm super nervous about leaving my youngest baby, who will turn one just a few weeks before the conference. But, I know the Lord has something for me during this weekend. I'm excited to see what exactly it is . . . I know that He wants me to share my story to give hope to others. But that also makes me nervous!  Hope Spoken is probably the best place to gain courage to share our story and my own weakness more boldly! Wondering how many times during the weekend I'm going to cry (yikes - I hate crying in public . . .  I am NOT a pretty crier. Think red nose and splotchy face.) and also what exactly He is going to do in my heart while i'm there. I'm waiting with expectation to see who and what He is planning on using to change me. 

So, I'm also supposed to share something fun/random about myself. I hate this question. Ummm . . . random. I love Oregon Ducks football. Like, really love it. And, also, I never ever thought I would be a homeschool mom. Ever. I remember being in a Bible study with a girl who decided to start homeschooling several years ago. When she said she was going to homeschool I immediately thought, "Oh . . . I really liked you. I mean, I thought you were so normal. You are going to homeschool? You're one of those people?" And now I homeschool. Heh heh. I am planning to run my first half-marathon this year. I passionately love baking cookies and old Amy Grant music. Okay . . . now I'm rambling. 

Looking forward to meeting all of you, ladies. If you are here from the link-up, Hi!!!! Say hi and leave a comment :)  xoxo. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Maui . . .

Hey-o!!  I mean, Aloha, people!! We are in Hawaii on vacay!!!  Woohoo!!!! My ever-fabulous, wonderful in-laws have taken our little fam along with them to Maui. Which means vacation on the beach, fun at the pool, oh and we had lots of help at the airport! Praise Jesus! We were still a spectacle, but 4 adults with 4 kids is a lot easier than 2 adults with 4 kids!

It's morning naptime for Morrow, my sweet vampire baby who decided that maybe the sun is okay if he is in 2 inches of water in the kiddie pool with his brother.

So, I've gotten to catch up on the Word and a few of my fave blogger's encouraging words.

Even here on vacation, I find that my sin is always right there with me. Roman 7:21 rings true, even here in paradise. So, I loved my interweb friend, Jami Nato's, words this morning on my computer.  If you struggle with your sin nature, and don't we all, read her post. It's so good. So encouraging.  Click on the link in that last sentence. Or find the link to her blog in the side bar: Hello From the Natos.

Have an aloha day!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Persevere in His Grace

I just walked in from outside. And I was overcome with how much I love this time of year. especially this year. Maybe that sounds surprising after I wrote in my last post about struggling with postpartum depression again. But, as I walked in the house tonight, I caught myself thinking about how thankful I am for this life, my husband, kids in beanie hats, the fresh clean fall air in the rain, Duck football, the zoo in the rain, a warm home, changing leaves, boots with skinny jeans, kids crawling into cozy beds when it is dark outside, cocoa and apple cider donuts, piles of pumpkins at the grocery store, and a sweet, fat baby who oozes joy and fell asleep nursing tonight (which never happens!). As I caught myself in these thoughts, I knew. I knew that the depression is lifting, that I will be okay again.

Thankfully, my depression has been improving, slowly but surely, over the past couple of months. And, strange as it sounds, the change in the weather back to rain is helping. Summer with a baby is more difficult in some ways. Morrow is a super easy baby, but he weighs 23 pounds at 6 months old (yes, you read that right). Lugging him around in the summertime heat was exhausting. And, I swear, his sweet baby self is a vampire of some sort. He does not love the sunlight or the heat, at all. So, life is a little easier inside. Where he can crawl like a maniac, not have to endure his siblings' swimming lessons, and everyone is inside to play with him.

It's funny, the way that God provides the little things to accomplish, in His timing, what seems impossible, like overcoming depression when it's dark and heavy. It is not always a miraculous overnight healing! But, He gives us what we need to keep on going. When it's really hard, He gives us everything we need to persevere. 

A common saying is that "God never gives you more than you can handle." Have you ever had anyone say to you, "Wow, you must be really strong, or God wouldn't have given you all of that. He knew you were strong enough to handle that." The truth is . . . those sayings are just not true. Search the Scriptures and there is absolutely no verse which says those words. Look at 1 Corinthians 10:13, the verse people have derived this saying from. That verse has everything to do with temptation, and nothing to do with suffering.

What God does say about suffering is evident in 2 Corinthians 12. I've had my Bible open to this chapter on my kitchen counter for most of this week.  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Weakness allows the power of Christ to rest upon me. So, like Paul, "I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, my trials, my hardships, the calamities in my life...For when I am weak, then I am strong." And not strong because of how awesome I am. Instead, I am strong because these places of brokenness are where God does everything.

Autumn brings the routine of school and activities back to our home. One of my children dreads the spelling portion of school. He is an amazing reader and you will often find him with his nose in a book. Yet spelling is just a struggle. This week, I was so thankful that we are at home together so that I can use the opportunity to point him to Jesus. Maybe it is hard to directly relate Jesus to spelling. But, it is simple to relate Jesus to hardships and trials. And to an elementary-school-aged mind, struggling to spell is a real trial that has to be faced every weekday.

As he was in tears and so desiring to give up, the Holy Spirit urged me to get out God's Word and see what He had to say. We found James 1:2-3: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.

After a small argument discussion about the word "mature" -- requiring a dictionary to prove that Mommy did know that mature really does mean "being fully grown" and does not mean "small for your age" -- this kiddo fidgeted with the carpet and (I think) listened while I talked about steadfastness, and persevering, and the ways the Lord might use this trial to prepare them for something even harder.

Did he hear me? I hope so. Maybe a word here or there. A snippet of truth that filtered in. Maybe the truth that they can do ALL things through Jesus. That Jesus loves them even when they hate spelling and want to quit.  But really, really, the words were for me too. Isaiah 55:11 says "... so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose. and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." The Lord had something that He wanted His Word to accomplish in me as well.

I don't want y'all to be worried, thinking I am still at rock bottom. I can finally say that, most of the time, I am doing great! But the days when depression sneaks up on me, it often manifests itself in an intense desire to give up. To feel like this mothering/marriage/homemaking/homeschool gig is beyond me. That I am just not cut out for this. I just want to sit down in a pile of tears and wonder how I am supposed to do this. I found myself telling my husband that you know, there are so many things I am better at! I am better at academics, at lawyering, at being out in the world and I just want to go do what I know I'm really good at.

As the words were spilling out of my mouth to my husband, the words I had just spoken to my child about spelling started coming to mind. That the Lord is using the hard, the challenging things, to produce perseverance in us. And that the perseverance leads to us becoming mature and complete, so that we are lacking in nothing. And that when perseverance seems hard, we can still do it because we can do all things through Jesus who gives us strength.

The Lord wants me to persevere, not to run toward what is easy by human standards. And he promises maturity from it and completion, and that then I will lack nothing . . . and isn't that what I really want in the end?

At the same time, the Lord does not just leave me on my own. He does not leave me to pull myself up by my bootstraps and put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to persevere. A well-known verse is Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God." "Be still" can also be translated, "cease striving." And, I know the Lord is saying to me, "press in to Me. Yes, this is too hard for you. Yes, there are things that you are better at than what I've called you to. But, can you believe that my grace is sufficient? Can you believe that my grace is enough? Do you believe that it is enough for the places where you feel inadequate? Do you believe that it is enough for the times when you don't know what to do? Do you believe it is enough when you make a mistake, when you just flat out screw-up again, when you are acutely aware of your sinful nature?

He says that I can do all things through Him. That He strengthens me. That I can do all things through Him. Even those things that I feel incapable of. Even when I really want to collapse into a heap of tears. Even those things that are hard. And, when I am tired.

He says persevere. I will strengthen you. Cease striving. Believe that My Grace is sufficient. Boast in your weakness, instead of wishing you could do the things that are your natural strengths. My power will rest upon you. I will do in you every thing that I call you to do. Persevere. I will do the work and you will gain maturity and completion. Grace upon grace. Undeserved blessing.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A New Season

Why, hello there, blog of mine . . . Let's see . . . it's been over three months since I last wrote. Definitely not because I don't have a desire to write. I have no less than five blogposts started on here that I've never finished. And there are thoughts tumbling around in my head that just need to be spit out onto paper.

So . . . I figured I may as well just start. Just start writing again and whatever I get out, I get out. It may not be pretty and some of it may be incoherent. It may be all over the place. But that is just kind of where I'm at right now in life, going in a bunch of different directions all at the same time. Trusting Jesus that He will lead in each of those directions and walking by faith in what He has set before me.

Morrow has reached the six month mark. Hard to believe we've been living with this sweet little guy for half-a-year. He sits, he army crawls (and could beat out any other baby in a race), he has two teeth, he eats solid food. He does not sleep through the night . . . but who really cares when he is so jolly all day long? Seriously . . . we could just eat him up.
My other three babes continue to grow, which is so rude. They just won't stop, no matter how many times I ask them to stay little. 

But, there is something delightful about starting another year of school at home with them. Except that it makes my laundry look like this:

Oh wait, who am I kidding. My laundry room looks like that most of the time. Oops. 

The past three months have been full. And, have brought good and bad, joy and heartache. I think many of my blogposts I haven't finished because they haven't felt 100% real. You see, this is my second time around of having gross, awful postpartum depression. No matter how badly I wanted to escape it, sneak by without having it "catch" me, I just couldn't avoid it. It crept up on me, and eventually I had to admit what I was dealing with and then face it head on.  I want to talk about it and admit it, because I hate that I felt shame that I was struggling with it. Because I know that if I struggled with shame over it, there must be other women who struggle with shame over it, not wanting to admit to it.  I guess I just wanted to be "better" than having postpartum depression. When I was really in the midst of it, I didn't want anyone to know that I wasn't "supermom/superwife/superwoman/superfriend."
But enough of that!! I say no more! No more of believing the lie that perfection is what we should be showing the world. It is in my weakness that Jesus gets the glory, so I will boast of it all the more.
(2 Corinthians 12)

It is good for me to real on here, because it frees me from any delusion that I might have about being super-anything. And the more I'm real and honest about my struggles, the more I see my need for a Savior. Which forces me to the only Savior I have, which is Jesus. You see, any delusion I have about being super-anything just keeps me self-dependent. And the Lord keeps shouting at me that He doesn't want me to be self-dependent. He wants me to be wholly dependent on Him.

Last week in my Bible study, one of the questions was what positive and/or negative feelings do you have about the word "saved?" Saved. It means that I need to be saved from something. And normally if we are being saved from something it isn't something good. Right? So I really resent the word saved sometimes. Because well, in needing to be saved, I am not self-sufficient and I have to let go of the smoke and mirrors that would allow me to believe otherwise!

Okay ... I hear little people stirring and the baby in my lap is done with just sitting here. So I am going to hit publish on this post and let it mark a new season of writing for me. It may mean half finished posts where I stop mid-thought. Posts that are to be continued . . . but I would love it if you stick with me.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy Three Months, Morrow!

Morrow Isaiah is three months old today. It's more exciting for the other five people in this house than it is for him! We all love having him as part of our family and we are finding joy everyday in watching him grow and change.

Given the meaning of Morrow's name, I thought that Spurgeon's Morning by Morning devotion from yesterday was fitting to celebrate Morrow's three months.  The scripture reads "The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad." (Psalm 126:3). And Spurgeon expounds, "In looking back it would be wrong to deny that we have been in the Slough of Despond and have crept along the Valley of Humiliation, but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been through them safely and profitably; we have not remained in them, thanks to our Almighty Helper and Leader who has brought us out to a place of abundance." 

God brought us out of the sorrow of night and into the joy of the morning. He brought us out of the "slough" and the "valley" to a place of abundance.  A morning and an abundance which include this sweet babe (and his siblings, of course). 

GROW! And grow some more. It seems to be the theme with this "little" guy. Morrow weighed in this morning at 18 lbs 7 oz.  Last month, at his two month check-up, his height was off the charts. He is wearing 6-9 month clothes most of the time, but I can still squeeze him into a 3-6 month outfit if I'm desperate for a clean outfit!

We love having this chubby baby. He laughs and smiles the whole time he is awake, which still isn't very often. But there is something about a laughing fat baby that is so jolly. Morrow likes to eat and sleep, a lot. His favorite activity after those is bath time or watching his siblings - he is definitely well entertained around here.

The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dancing Their Hearts Out

Another year of dance class has wrapped up for both Marshall, Eliza and . . . Eric! (I'll explain). I was so proud of ALL of my dancers!

Our 2013 dance recital was held last weekend at the Elsinore Theatre. This year, Eliza decided to try Irish dance in lieu of ballet and jazz. Eliza had a great year dancing. She loves her teacher, Miss Holly. And her class was the sweetest group of eight little girls, ages 4-6. They learned Irish-T, partner swaps and jigs. For little girls, there are some definite draws to Irish dance including the lace-up shoes (gillies) and the massive wig of curly hair. I wish I could say that I created all those curls myself. We moms from Eliza's class got our stories straight, and agreed that, if anyone asked, the answer was it took 3.5 hours to do the girls hair.

The opposite of Eliza, Marshall gave up Irish dance to take ballet, jazz and hip hop. There were two other little boys in his class . . . he only wants to take dance if there are other boys in his class! Let me tell you, Marshall has some serious rhythm. He was invited to be in the opening performance of the recital this year, as well as the finale. He was a dinosaur in the opening, and a newsie in the finale. His weekly dance class performed together as fireflies. It all adds up to a lot of costume changes! And, since I was toting a 2 month old baby around, Eric took on the duties of a "stage dad," making sure all those costume changes happened on time. He's a pro!

The newsie performance is where Eric jumped in with his own dancing skills. As it turned out, each newsboy needed an adult family member to dance with them as a pirate. Convenient that Eric has that huge beard! He was the perfect pirate, and was a great sport about learning a hip hop dance that he performed on stage with Marshall. It's a great memory that neither of them will ever forget! And, there may or may not be a DVD viewing party at our house in a few weeks when we get the DVD of the whole performance . . . popcorn and Milk Duds provided!

Friday, May 24, 2013

He Does It Again

So, God showed up again. Not that I'm surprised. Well, maybe I am a little bit. In my humanness, I forget just how faithful He is.  Since I've already admitted that I'm a Christian music dork, I'll just say that whenever God shows up again (and again and again . . . ) it reminds me of these old Point of Grace lyrics:

You do it again, You do it again 
You speak to me just like a friend 
You always seem to show up right on time 
You do it again, I guess you know when 
My heart needs to hear your voice 
I'm so forgetful, that's why I'm thankful 
You do it again 

Sometimes I find myself wondering how in the world I am expected to know how to train up these children in the Lord. Where's the manual? Can't there just be a formula of x+y=z when it comes to raising little people? Even after reading "the best" parenting books I find myself stumped. What can I expect from them? What is just "kid behavior" that I need to let go of? How many activities are too many? What do I do about the quarreling? What do I do about the temper tantrums? Who gets the toy that they are fighting over? How do I discipline without causing shame?

More often than not, my confidence in my mom-skills is lacking. But, that's because I'm looking for my confidence in the wrong place. I'm looking for my confidence in myself, not in Jesus. I desperately want to be independent. I want to parent, be a wife, homemaker, friend and follower of Jesus by myself.  When it comes right down to it, I'm like my two-year-old who is determined to not hold my hand when we walk down the street, and who wants to do everything on his own so that he can proudly show me that he did it all by himself.

That's just not life following Jesus, not what He desires for us anyway. So, Jesus doesn't let me succeed on my own and in my own strength. He shows me that I require grace, and lots of it. As the amazing Paul David Tripp says in his book, Broken Down House:

Trying to live independent of the daily intervention of God and others is like trying to bake a cake in a washing machine. That washing machine is a wonderful creation, but it was never designed to do what you are asking it to do. All you will end up with is a soapy batter, a dirty machine, and a badly dented pan. Productive living is always rooted in a humble sense of personal neediness. This neediness only comes when you begin to understand and accept what the Bible has to say about sin, and daily reach out for the help that can only be found through the Lord Jesus Christ. 

This morning I was not feeling ready to face a day in the life of a stay at home homeschooling mom to four children. I felt grumpy and irritated and like I was going to just drag through the hours of this day. Then the Lord showed me something in Judges. Yes, Judges, of all books. God called Gideon to save the nation of Israel from the Midianites. Gideon's response is, "Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." (Judges 6:15) Gideon was feeling his weakness. He looked at himself and his position in the world, and it didn't look too promising. 

But God knew Gideon's position and he still wanted Gideon to save Israel. He knew Gideon's personal neediness and it's just what the Lord wanted in a servant. Remember, productive living is always rooted in a humble sense of personal neediness. The Lord said to Gideon, "But I will be with you . . ." (Judges 6:16). Then as Gideon headed into battle, God trimmed Gideon's army down from 32,000 soldiers to just 300. Thirty-two thousand soldiers was just too many. "The Lord said to Gideon, 'The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.''" (Judges 7:2).

Do you know how often I say to the Lord, "How can I raise these children? How can I be a 'good wife?' How can I be the woman you've called me to be?" And His response is always, "I know your downfalls, But I will be with you." To Him, my personal neediness - my sin, my shortcomings, my humanness - are essential because realizing my sin is what will cause me to reach out for the help that I will only find in Jesus.

It seems that adding a fourth child to our home has just magnified my sin! I feel like it has magnified all of the reasons that tumble around in my head that make me want to shout to the Lord, "don't you see this job is too big for me?" Don't you see who I am? How do you expect me to give You to this family?" But, I think adding Morrow was like the Lord cutting down Gideon's army from 32,000 to just 300. He gives me much to handle lest I would ever boast over Him saying "my own hand" has accomplished anything. God's desire is not for me to be like my independent two year old. He doesn't want me coming to Him to say, look what I did ALL BY MYSELF!' He doesn't want me boasting over Him. He desires to be with me in my daily work. And He desires to use my daily work for His Glory.  

Truly, truly, is there anything better than that? Is there anything better than having the Lord take my daily grind - my mess, my struggle and my ordinary life - and turn it into a display of His Splendor? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Life Goes On

In the midst of newborn craziness, life goes on. A few Saturdays back, our mission group took over a bowling alley for the most chaotic bowling experience you've ever seen. Kids far outnumbered adults.

After bowling, we moved the party to Dairy Queen where our kids laughed and laughed and ate ice cream way too close to bedtime and sang Taylor Swift songs a little too loud.

We are so blessed by these people - even the Beaver fans!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What's in a Name: Morrow Isaiah Edition

Four weeks ago, our hearts were bursting with joy as we welcomed baby Morrow Isaiah into the world and into our family. Joy. Pure joy. When we were walking through some of our darkest days, I clung to God's promises with every ounce of my soul. One of those promises is found in Psalm 30:5 that "weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes in the morning." In the midst of many tears, I was trusting Jesus that joy was truly going to come.

Another way of saying "morning" is "morrow," as found in one of our all time favorite devotionals, Charles Spurgeon's classic "Morning and Evening." The morning devotional for May 13 is based on Psalm 30:5 and beautifully explains our heart in choosing Morrow's name:

Christian! If thou art in a night of trial, think of the morrow; cheer up thy heart with the thought of the coming of thy Lord. Be patient, for

"Lo! He comes with clouds descending." 

Be patient! The Husbandman waits until He reaps His harvest. Be patient; for you know who has said, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be." If you are never so wretched now, remember

"A few more rolling suns, at most,
Will land thee on fair Canaan's coast."

Thy head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it shall wear a starry crown ere long; thy hand may be filled with cares-it shall sweep the strings of the harp of heaven soon. Thy garments may be soiled with dust now; they shall be white by-and-by. Wait a little longer. Ah! how despicable our troubles and trials will seem when we look back upon them! Looking at them here in the prospect, they seem immense; but when we get to heaven we shall then

"With transporting joys recount,
The labours of our feet."

Our trials will then seem light and momentary afflictions. Let us go on boldly; if the night be never so dark, the morning cometh, which is more than they can say who are shut up in the darkness of hell. Do you know what it is thus to live on the future-to live on expectation-to antedate heaven? Happy believer, to have so sure, so comforting a hope. It may be all dark now, but it will soon be light; it may be all trial now, but it will soon be all happiness. What matters it though "weeping may endure for a night," when "joy cometh in the morning?"

During my "night," I was in the midst of the Bible Study Fellowship study of Isaiah. Isaiah's beautiful prophecy, full of God's promises to His people, carried me through dark hours and breathed new life into my downcast soul. Further, Isaiah means "God saves," and God Himself saved us from the night. We could think of no better middle name for Morrow than the name of God's faithful servant, Isaiah. Welcome Baby Morrow. Sweet baby, you are a tangible expression to us of Jesus's salvation, redemption and joy.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

We Made It

Tomorrow marks four weeks since we welcomed Morrow into our family. Wow. I had intended to blog more. Just so that I'd have some way to document our life with four kids, to be able to look back on someday when the delirium of sleep deprivation has worn off. But, the days have flown by in a seemingly endless series of that three-hour cycle. Eat. Awake. Sleep. The last four weeks have seemed like an eternity. And yet, at the same time, they have seemed like just one day.

My house looks like a tornado hit it. A tornado named Jameson who blows through while I'm stuck on the couch feeding a baby, unable to stop his path of destruction. Did you know that in a matter of 15 minutes, a two-year-old can open a cupboard, pull out every board game we own, and dump out every single piece into one big pile. He can also pull out every DVD case. Or every book. Or every toy in the toy bin. Phew. 

Jameson eating cheese on the floor surrounded by the pots and pans he pulled out

I also have no less than four loads of laundry to fold. I have two loads of folded laundry that need to be put away. I have another load of clothes that needs to be washed. And a load of sheets that need to be washed after a certain newborn pooped on our bed in the middle of the night, in the two seconds that a diaper was not secured. 

My kids' suitcase, that they took to their grandparents' house while I was in the hospital, is still sitting at the bottom of the stairs. Half-full. Don't trip on it as you walk into our house. I systematically empty it when I need clothes for them and we happen to be downstairs. 

There is a stack of thank you notes that need to be written. There is a box of baby announcements that need to be addressed and stuffed into envelopes. There are newborn baby pictures that need to be ordered. (Sorry Daveen - I promise I'll get to it). 

Seriously. It's wild. And, I don't know when all of it is going to get done. 

But, everyone is happy. Oh .... we had our share of tears this week - the kids' and mine. I've snapped and apologized. There have been a few rough moments. A few temper tantrums. Everyone has had to adjust. But!! We made it through our first week without Eric being home. And we didn't just scrape by. God showed up with abundant blessing throughout the whole week. 

Jameson on the carousel with Gram today to celebrate that we made it through the week! 

Sweet Eliza refuses to ride on a horse that moves, so she continues to ride on this little one every time we go!

Both of my younger boys are asleep at the same time (a blessing in itself). My older two are having "quiet time." And, I could sleep. Or I could take care of something off that list I just rattled off. But, I really need to stop and build an altar. Like Jacob did in Genesis. In Genesis 32, Jacob was afraid of his brother, Esau. Many years before, Jacob had deceived Esau and stolen his birthright and his blessing.  Because of Esau's anger, Jacob had been forced to flee his home. Now, returning home, Jacob feared what Esau would do to him. In his distress, Jacob called out to God for help, and reminded God of the promises He had made to Jacob. And God showed up and changed Esau's heart toward Jacob. So, Jacob built an altar to "the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone." (Genesis 35:3)

Last week, I was terrified at the prospect of being at home by myself with four kids. I'm not sure what exactly I thought was going to happen. Maybe I was afraid of kids melting down. Maybe I was afraid of me melting down. Or the house burning down? I don't know. But I was distressed. And I was crying a lot. So, I called out to God in my distress and recalled the promises that God has made to me in Scripture. 

God showed up. He answered me in my distress. And He proved He will continue to be with me wherever I go. Even into my first week as a mom on my own with four kids. Now I feel like I need to stop and make a written "altar" to who He is. 

Over the past couple of years, the Lord has impressed on my heart to be honest, to be an open book with my life. To be transparent - a word that used to scare the heck out of me. On Sunday, our first week back at church with Morrow, I didn't even try to hide my tears at church. I figured, if I cry then I cry. If I have to admit that I'm freaked out, then I'll admit it. When people have asked how I'm doing, I've been honest (a novel idea) and said I am good, we love this baby, but I am crying a lot. 

Transparency has been a huge blessing. Because Monday morning, I had friends, friends and more friends getting in touch to say that they were praying for my week. One friend dropped off some treats on my doorstep. Others left a voicemail checking in. My mother-in-law took Eliza to dance class for me. And my sister-in-law took Marshall to Bible study. In the midst of the hectic pace that four kids brings, I didn't feel so alone. Even though I didn't have time to chat with everyone  anyone or to even text everyone back, it was comforting knowing that I had community around me who knew how I was really doing. God showed up through the community of believers that He has built around our family.

Also on Sunday morning, as I told a friend that I'm struggling some, she mentioned a book that she had been reading, My Name is Hope: Anxiety, Depression, and Life after Melancholy, written by John Mark Comer (the pastor of Solid Rock Church in Portland). I downloaded it to my Kindle and started reading it on Sunday night, in the dark quiet of late night baby feeding. 

God used John Mark's description of taking every thought captive to speak to me. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we are to "take every thought captive to obey Christ." I've heard those words so many times. But, I needed those words to fall afresh on me this week so I would apply them once again, now to my life as a new mom of four.  At 9:00 am, when I started to worry about how I was going to make it to 5:00pm, I shut down those worries. I focused on the task at hand instead. I asked the Lord to be with me right in that moment. Dealing with a temper tantrum, helping Marshall with math, changing a diaper, feeding a baby, being the referee in the older kids' argument. (Maybe all of the above at the same time?). And I had peace. I loved these words from John Mark's book: "The reality is God is your Father. You are his child. You will be okay. You just need to trust him." 

You are his child. You will be okay. Those two sentences have come to mind often through the craziness all week. 

Praise Jesus for reminding me that prayer and the Word meant that peace could guard my heart. Peace was not the absence of conflict of this week. Rather, I had "complete peace right in the middle of the chaos and the noise and the traffic of life." (Quote from John Mark's book). Peace and joy that came only by plodding through the day, by God's grace, with prayer and the Word. Just as the Israelites had just enough manna to get through each day - no more and no less - God provided enough of whatever I needed just to get through each moment. And, you know, it led to a harvest of abundant joy. 

So, the laundry and the mess and the tasks have waited while I've written this down today. But, memories fade, and I want to remember that this week God proved Himself to be the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

We Welcome with Joy . . .

We welcomed baby Morrow Isaiah Compton to our family at 8:39am on March 10, 2013.

Morrow tipped the baby scales at 9 lbs, 4 oz and was 21.5 inches long. We were shocked at how big he was! He was my easiest c-section. Quickest, least painful spinal. Fastest surgery. One sweet baby. More to come soon (or as sleep and four kiddos allow!) . . .

Monday, March 4, 2013

Life Lately

Hmm . . . So, I had my traditional pre-baby pedicure a few days ago . . . which leads me to say that there is some amount of awesomeness to having c-sections. Including knowing when to schedule my pedicure. All of these reasons for loving c-sections will make you think I'm really shallow. But, there has to be a silver lining to having major surgery, so here goes  . . .  it is so easy to schedule childcare for my other kids, I can wear make-up in my pictures and it doesn't all run down my face like it does during labor, I can get my hair cut, colored, and blown-out the day before. Oh, and I don't have to go through labor again - which is a serious bonus because all of my children have had gigantic heads. There I said it.

But, back to the pedicure . . . My sweet friend, Debbie, has been doing my nails and pedicures since I was in college. Back when I had a job, zero children, and extra time and money on my hands to do such things. It used to be a twice a month event for Debbie and I when we could catch up. I think she knew everything about my life. It hardly ever happens anymore, but Debbie was still kind enough to work on her usual day off to give me a pedicure on a day I had a baby-sitter.

And, Debbie asks why I hardly ever blog anymore! Because, she says, she loved my blog. Well, I guess the answer is that I'm tired? I was so sick at the beginning of this pregnancy that something had to give, and most of the time that something was writing and keeping track of the events of our crazy life. I just fell out of the habit of writing and recording our memories on a regular basis. It's probably time to start recording again, since I am having another baby in a matter of days. Crazy when the countdown goes from months, to weeks to days. Thanks for the motivation Debbie (and the fabulous pedicure!)

So, what have we been doing as we countdown the days?

Baby laundry . . . which made us realize how all of our friends and family have blessed us abundantly over the past seven years. We have more newborn and 0-3 month sized outfits than we know what to do with. And, all of them still look brand new. There is nothing like the smell of Dreft!

Soaking up every last minute with these three kiddos, before we have four:

Eric's been busy gaining local celebrity status with his beard. In case you missed it, his beard was even sought after for a photo shoot with a local photographer, Will Bragg. I never knew a beard could gain a person so much attention!

Marshall went to his first Duck basketball game with Eric (thanks for the tickets Uncle Mike and Aunt Janie). Eric and Marshall saw Mike Bellotti in the Club. Marshall said "Mike Who?" He's definitely a Chip Kelley-era kid.  Marshall's highlights were definitely having Sprite and Red Vines in the same evening:

And, we'll leave you with this one of sweet Jameson. This might be a foretaste of things to come with this guy. His teenage years might be trouble: