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My two older boys are in Portland until this Wednesday visiting with grandparents and cousins. They were higher than a kite packing their own backpacks full of blankets, stuffed animals, cars and whatever else they could find in preparation for their flight back to Oregon with my mom, affectionately known as Mini. And as of an hour ago, they are having a blast!

It is crazy how quiet our house is. Like amazingly quiet. Even with a 2 year old in full force, the volume has been brought down to a level where I can actually hear myself think! And though at night my heart aches a little for Cody and B and wish they were snuggling with me on the couch or we could play another boisterous game of Uno or Dominos, I must admit this is exactly what I needed.

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We moved into our new home almost two weeks ago (yay!!) and my mom flew in that very afternoon to help us with the transition–mainly, wrangle the boys while Tyler and I tried to make our house a home. Praise the Lord for my mama because we could not have done it without her. For example, the 5 hour trip I took to Denton to have my car tested, registered, and order a Texas license–FIVE HOURS. What would I have done with all three children?! AHH!

The entire week my mom was here, daily I would apologize for how I forgot about an appointment, how I forgot where the baby’s milk cup is or where my keys were or where my ANYTHING was. Or I would be apologizing for how late and scattered I was when attempting to go anywhere. You hear me? I could not think straight. Chaos! The amazing thing was, my mom was so gracious and loving and understanding and forgiving…she’s a woman full of wisdom who has chosen to yield herself to the Lord and be able to learn from mistakes and life’s uncertainties. And because she’s been through stuff like this and has had days (maybe years :)) of scattered brain, she just loved on me. Thank you, mama.

With that said, when my mom took the big boys to Portland last week, I could not believe the sense of relief I felt. I mean, my entire body just let down. One kid?! Are you kidding me? I could climb Mount Everest with one kid! HA! And with all of this extra space in my brain I’ve had some time to reflect on the chaos of that week.

I realized that chaos comes in all forms but there are two categories we can place it: chaos from within and chaos from without. I felt nothing but chaos last week. But the Lord has shown me that it was mainly coming from inside of me. My kids were the same. They weren’t acting out–in fact, if I’m real honest they were probably better because they found old toys that had been packed away for years and really occupied themselves with their Mini. Tyler and I were not fighting, my mom and I were not at odds–it was inside of me that I found my chaos and it made my world spin. I just could not get a hold of something to keep me grounded. Ah, yes, grounded…

I didn’t take much time to find my footing that week. In the midst of so much change, manual labor and plain old lack of sleep, I didn’t come back to my Rock, to Jesus to find my footing and find rest that I so desperately yearned for. I didn’t take time to just listen to the Lord–I was doing all the talking and I was running around like a chicken with her head cut off! I just needed to slow down and sit for a couple of moments to be with Him. Such a missed opportunity! And for the most part I was blaming so much of the disorder on what was happening around me–the move, the boxes, the unpacking, the cleaning–but if I am honest, I know the chaos was inside.

The chaos without is another story. There are any number of events and situations and people and places that cause chaos around us. Dear goodness, just being human is chaotic and if you happen to be raising other humans in your home it just gets ridiculous! But though there are some circumstances we cannot change, there are those that we have the ability to control.

Us moms have been given tools and the ability to avert certain levels of disorder in our homes. The hardest part of being a mom revolves around what we can control and what we can’t. And sometimes we give in to too many situations, behaviors, events allowing them to control us rather than us take the reigns.  I’m going to break this down to a very simple, and pretty silly illustration but for me, it drives home the point. For example, moms, you cannot control when your baby goes to the bathroom. Their little bodies do not have the ability to choose when to go or not to go–they just go. And pretty much don’t even know when they are doing it! BUT we have the tools to do something about it and they are called: diapers and wipes. You just have to choose to use them. But if you do not choose to use those tools, total and utter chaos of the most horrific degree would be happening all around you at every moment of everyday as you try to remedy your baby’s bodily function. Am I right?

When my mom was here helping me with the boys it was incredible to have another set of arms and hands and a willing body to get things done. If you have more than 2 kids you understand. You’re completely outnumbered and if you’re like me, your first instinct is to pacify one or two just so you can move on to the other (or others) to help them with something. Right?! I started to notice that my mom was making Dub say please and thank you when asking for something. Now, don’t get me wrong we have taught him those things but it had gotten to the point where I would give him almost anything he wanted just to keep him from yelling at me–yikes! (Seriously, so embarrassing!) Once my mom left, Dub had taken to the disciplined use of please & thank you so much that he says it on his own and our interactions are much more balance–like I’m the adult and in control of his actions NOT him! Like it’s suppose to be. HA!  (Thanks again, mama:))

Nothing is more chaotic than a bunch of kids who get whatever they want, whenever they want it. There is no order. There is no authority. There is no respect or discipline. And really, there is no love. You see, I cannot control that he is 2 and is still a baby in most ways BUT I have control of whether or not my 2 year old says please or thank you.  And because I wasn’t choosing to do so, disorder seeped into our house. And for no good reason other than I didn’t take the time.

Take the time. There is so much chaos around us, don’t let it come from within. Ask the Lord to guide you and speak to you–and be willing to listen and obey! Spend time with Jesus and hear His truth. Spend time with Jesus–do it! Don’t let your children rule your life. Don’t let them take control when the Lord has given you tools to train them!  There somethings only God can do, but there are others He has asked us to do–like bedtime. Oh my, have a bedtime!!!!  I cannot believe the amount of families we meet that don’t have a bed time or don’t enforce it and they are some of the most worn out people we know!  That is a non-negotiable here at the Ross house.  (And comes out of the very real and practicle truth that Tyler and I cannot properly function without sleep!)  God has called us to a very specific and amazing purpose: to raise and love and train and discipline our kids. Teach them rules and enforce them. No matter how hard or tiring it is, the consequences of not doing it now are far greater than how tired you are. In fact, you are probably more tired because of the chaos than if you chose to bring order.

I needed these reminders. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness when I am so unfaithful. Praise the Lord for His strength as I am so weak. For I am incapable and full of chaos without Him!

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11