I Choose My Family — November 7, 2015

I Choose My Family

I have feared the deterioration and  loss of long-distance relationships. Maintaining these can be difficult and draining. Throw in a 10:45 minute time difference (weird, right?), and it seems next to impossible. God has given me the greatest friends all over the world. it is so much easier to work on maintaining these relationships than in times past. However, I can’t ignore what’s right in front of me, and God has given me the amazing gift of a family in its formative years! I can pine for my lost friendships or I can pleasure in the family I share my home with.

I don’t want my kids to remember mom as the lady who just talked to her bestie on FaceTime or watched cartoons with them iPhone ever ready while not out of the house studying language or doing ministry. My time with them is little and precious.

Sometimes, I need the encouragement that only a girlfriend in the Lord can give me. For this reason, I am so grateful for those that have made efforts to invest in our friendships. I just want to be careful to not invest in these at the expense of my family. My babies are growing so quickly. If I don’t teach them to love and serve the Lord, who will? If I don’t work hard to keep my marriage strong in the Lord, how can we ever have a fruitful ministry?

My long distance friends encourage me, and help quell the first-term loneliness while urging me to focus on the Lord. But I can’t be dependent on them to fill the emptiness. After all, they are asleep for the majority of my waking hours!

I can’t feed my family’s spiritual and emotional needs without filling myself first. Thankfully I have a Friend who doesn’t sleep (Not you, Natasha)! He speaks to me through His word and through the Holy Spirit night and day! When I am full of Him, I can better care for my family. I can see needs that only the Holy Spirit can make me aware of. If I distract myself by stretching to maintain relationships with people that are just as busy as I am, neglecting my time with the Lord and the needs in my home, I am doing a disservice to myself and the people I love most.

Some days I might use messenger all day if I didn’t have two kids climbing on my head and shoulders. Maybe I should take that as a hint. One day, I pray, Christ will fill all their emptiness, but right now they need mom spilling the love He has given her over into their tiny, precious lives.

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Have you faced the struggle between maintaining friendships and caring for your family?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

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Service: Saving Me From Myself — November 4, 2015

Service: Saving Me From Myself

I have found that no matter what is going on in my life or in the world around me, my family still needs me.

My son doesn’t decide not to wake up in the night because mommy is exhausted from waking up to countless aftershocks.
My daughter doesn’t forget her lengthy bedtime rituals because I feel desperately that I need to talk with my own mom .
My husband doesn’t stop needing dinner because his wife would rather cry than cook .
They all don’t stop needing my love and encouragement when I don’t feel much like giving it.

Moms don’t get sick days or sad days, or “I’d rather sit and feel sorry for myself than serve you” days which is actually kind of great! Many times my family, as needy as they can be, have pulled me out of my self-pity schlump and into service that has brought out the better in me.

God gave me this man and these little people to love. Only I can be wife and mom to these wonderful people. Just as God ordained my husband to walk our family through these trying times, He has ordained me to love it through them. The trials are great, and the needs are endless, but, thankfully God’s grace in my life is unmatched! Only through his power can I pay the grace he has given me forward, showing favor to my family, serving as a humble steward of His matchless grace.

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).

Being forced to focus outward is a gift I can’t give myself and one that saves me from myself. Though in the moment I don’t feel like giving thanks for this gift, I truly do find that I am grateful! And I hope that my family, which is so precious to me, treasures the gift I give of myself, especially during these times in which it can be difficult to graciously give.

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Have you found it difficult but rewarding to serve your family at times?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

Our Longest Trip Yet — March 27, 2014

Our Longest Trip Yet

Last Sunday night/Monday morning, we made our longest journey of deputation! We traveled from Fort Myers, FL (waaaaay down there!) to Kent, OH (pretty far up there!). We had church in Fort Myers on Sunday night (that last night of a round-robin missions conference-4 churches in 1) and had to be at a missions conference meeting on Monday night in Kent, so we left right after the Sunday evening service just before 8 pm. We traveled through the night, taking turns driving, and taking turns sleeping, until we arrived in Kent at about 3 pm. Jolynn and I crashed for a few hours at the hotel, and Daddy went to get our car worked on. That crazy marathon of a trip did quite the number on our little Dodge Caravan!

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(Yes, I know it says the trip should take 19 hours, and it only took us a little over 18, but our GPS always gives us a shorter ETA than does Google maps.) All 5 churches were so sweet to us; I can’t say I wish we wouldn’t have gone to either. In fact, Fort Myers was a bit of a vacation for us, which is wonderful since Paul and I had not been on once since our honeymoon. We took Jo to the beach two different days. She loved the sand but not so much the water!

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We enjoyed our time with all of these church families, and even got to visit with a precious man of God that had hosted us when we had a meeting at one of our now-supporting churches in Kent. We were spoiled, Jo was loved on, and Paul got to preach to his heart’s content! At the church in Kent (Ravenna, actually) we even got to help the church put together and ship 20,000 John and Romans! What a blessing!

We have one more crazy trip planned next month during which we will have to travel 12 hours from a Saturday evening missions conference meeting to a Sunday morning meeting. Whenever Paul announces to me that he has such a trip planned, he says, “You’re gonna hate me.” Well, I’m not super excited about making this kind of trip, but I definitely don’t hate him yet!

He says he needs to fire “whoever makes his schedule,” which of course always makes me chuckle because he’s the one who makes his schedule! In all honesty, I truly admire him for spending all those hours making phone calls and setting up our meetings. I know it’s not an easy job and he always does the best he can do by our family. We haven’t made many long trips and have only been to 13 states (3 of which we have only been to once!).

I’m thankful for the hours he puts in and for how he considers the needs and feelings of our family. Though things don’t always work out perfectly, he always takes control and gets us through them- doing the brunt of the driving, filling up the gas tank 4 times, letting us stop in a drive-thru at 4 am for breakfast, etc. It’s these times I sit back and admire his faithfulness, his patience, and his thoughtfulness. So, really, I wouldn’t trade these moments during these all-night drives for anything. But I would take a few extra hours of sleep!

Toddler Taught Truth — February 12, 2014

Toddler Taught Truth

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My daughter cracks me up. Especially when she throws tantrums. I really don’t want to encourage the behavior, but seriously, it’s hard not to laugh sometimes! Am I the world’s worst mom or can somebody relate to this predicament?

I’ve figured out that I can’t give Jo something (namely a piece of candy or food) if she can’t have ALL of it. I have to hand her the entire bag of fruit snacks instead of just one at a time. I have to give her a banana whole, not chopped up. I have to hide the jumbo bag of dum-dums in order to hand her one, and I have to show her my empty pockets. I’m not kidding.

I’ve seen my poor little girl sobbing…WITH A SUCKER IN HER MOUTH. I can’t even understand how she could possibly cry with a pink lemonade treat on her tongue. Seriously, what could be the problem? Didn’t I just send her to “toddler heaven?”

Her dissatisfaction with what I have seemingly withheld from her makes her incapable of enjoying the bit she holds in her hand. What she doesn’t know is that a lot of moms don’t let their babies have candy (and those moms probably aren’t in a car with their child for several hours a week!). I don’t HAVE to give her candy at all, but still, she acts like she has been on the receiving end of some major injustice by her mother not allowing her to rot her teeth out of her head.

And it’s funny how the Lord uses these moments to teach me. A red-faced nearly-two-year-old screaming with blue lips (from the treat- not a lack of oxygen!)  and a sucker in hand. And I think it’s ridiculous but it’s not far from home.

We were a stocking short on the mantle at Christmas, so I felt lonely when surrounded by a loving family. I long for my baby boy and fail to cherish the moments with my precious little princess basking in what an incredible miracle her sweet little life truly is. I think about each holiday and birthday being the last in the States, and I am tempted to sulk instead of take in every moment. But at the same time I long to be in India, serving where God has called our family, and I don’t make the most of the ministry God has given me stateside. And it’s nothing but ridiculous. I am robbing myself of the joy of the blessings God has given me because I’d rather focus on what I feel like has been withheld from me or even taken away from me.

I don’t indulge my toddler with everything she wants or thinks she needs because I love her. The decisions I make are for her own benefit. All us parents are in agreement here (except for maybe the lady who said, “Shame on you” for giving Jo yogurt while her father and I ate ice cream). This makes perfect sense to us.

Yet, when the Father in heaven withholds or takes away, we question Him. Does He really know what He’s doing? Does He really have it all under control? Why would He not bless me in the way He blesses others, and why would He take something that is precious to me away?

Because while it may not please me, it benefits me. And you know what’s the greatest thing about that? He actually KNOWS what’s best for me, without a doubt, because He created me. He knows my inside and out and has been conscious of every moment of my life from the moment of my conception (what?!?).

And let’s be honest, I really have NO clue what’s best for Jo. I read blogs and books, I pin and ponder, I ask advice and worry around the clock. But I don’t really know what’s best for her. But, oh, I sure do try.

But he knows. And he provides, and He doesn’t have to try. Blessings and benefits flow from His wounded hands. He is incapable of producing anything but righteousness. Rightness. And everything He allows in my life is for my benefit whether I can wrap my head around that or not.

Maybe it’s the blessing of being used for His kingdom or just the sake of knowing Him more intimately. But isn’t that the greatest gift of all?

That’s all I need. You can have my blue lollipop and day of the week. Just don’t take Jo’s. Trust me on that one.

Our Travel Essentials — February 10, 2014

Our Travel Essentials

As missionaries on deputation, we spend LOTS of time in the car! Boredom strikes quickly, and we get a little antsy. Things can get pretty intense at times…especially with a little one in tow. Here are just a few of the things that make our life on the road just a little bit more enjoyable for everyone!

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Magna-doodle! This thing has revolutionized our travel! It’s a good thing my Grandma ignored the age recommendations and bought this for Jo for Christmas! She will play with it for upwards of 30 minutes without complaint! She has recently been reporting to be drawing apples and “Barney.” Only one of these looks like the real deal.

ImageMusic! We love this Praise Baby collection to help Jo fall asleep. She also loves to sing and dance to Cedarmont Kids, Elmo, and Barney. Mommy and Daddy don’t really mind…usually. In fact, we can often be found singing along. We are in the car A LOT, okay? We were given a Spotify subscription for Christmas a couple of years in a row, and it has been a huge help on the road! Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Taube!

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Snacks! Daddy and I try not to snack too much in the car. Otherwise, this statement can be heard often: “Am I just eating because I’m bored?” Jo, of course, needs snacks throughout the day and likes the following: raisins, granola bars, juice boxes, cereal, and popcorn. Also, these are GREAT (especially when I’m feeling like a lousy mom).

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DVD player! For when we get really desperate, a DVD player comes very much in handy! We were given a small one from a sweet family at our home church during our first month on deputation. It is the perfect size for Jo to hold in her lap and also fits between Mommy and Daddy’s armrests when we feel like her eyes are on stimulation overload. Jo’s favorite movies are Elmo in Grouchland and The Little People: Discovering Friendship (the free one that came with a play set!).

I love that all of these things have been given to us since we started the deputation journey. Of course, the snack supply is often replenished, but we regularly have gift cards to help us do so. It’s so awesome to think of all the ways our wonderful family, friends, and churches give to meet our needs and make our life on the road as a family go a little more smoothly. Traveling as a family can of course be tiring, but we are so grateful for the opportunities we get to present our ministry to India and for all of the extra time we get to spend together!

Our Two Homes — February 6, 2014

Our Two Homes

This may just be another post that sits in my “dashboard” scheduled for some day long down the road before which it will be sent to the trash. I put a lot of pressure on my posts, but I’m just going to start sharing about all the little things about our life on the road and journey to India.

One of the biggest blessings for us on deputation has been our second home in Ohio. And, I guess I should clarify; we don’t own two homes. We don’t even own one! We rent one in Georgia and stay with family in Ohio.

We try to schedule our meetings within a 5 hour radius of each of our “two homes.” This has allowed us to generally be either at home with our little family or in Ohio with our extended family. Not a lot of hotel-staying or prophet-chamber…ing. We appreciate all of the churches who have “put us up” (don’t you love missionary terms?) and families who have welcomed us into their homes, but there really is no place like home!

We’re just so lucky we have two!

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Our Ohio Home (photo credit: Jake Taube)
A Year in Pictures [2013] — January 11, 2014

A Year in Pictures [2013]

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Discovered a pregnancy [Jan. 11]

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Sent sweet friends to India [Jan. 15]

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Had a birthday party for a very special one year old [February 21]

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“Helped” friends pack for a move to Thailand [March ?]

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Celebrated 3 years of marriage [Apr. 10]Image

Got in a car accident [Apr. 11]

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Got family pictures taken [May 10]

ImageHelped host a baby shower [May 11]

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Experienced a loss [Ezra Coleman May 15]

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Held a memorial service [May 17]

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Went to India [June 10-21]

ImageWelcomed Jo’s cousin Atlas [June 22]

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Paul served as guest speaker at Salt Run Bible Camp [July 4-8]

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Decorated a headstone [August 15]

ImageHad another birthday party for this handsome man [Oct. 10]

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Celebrated Thanksgiving in Ohio, and this is the only documentation [Nov. 28]

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Jo got stitches [Dec. 6]

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Had a wonderful Christmas with the whole fam [Dec. 25]

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Went on a special Christmas date [Dec. 26]

It’s amazing to look back on the year and see all that the Lord has done in our lives. He has been good and giving through it all, and we praise Him for His blessings. We look forward to how He will work in our lives and provide for our needs as we seek to serve Him in the New Year.

God bless,

The Taubes

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A Haphazard Christmas — December 10, 2013

A Haphazard Christmas

We are thankful for time at home this year to be able to set up a Christmas tree and have a little family celebration at home before heading back to our family’s homes in Ohio. Last year, we were home only a few days and did not deem it worth it to set up a tree only to enjoy it for a few short days (all while fighting the tiny hands that would inevitably pull everything off).

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Last week, Paul went about the task of locating our Christmas tree in storage which we share with another family and some training center students. Monday, we had no luck as our neighbor Jeff was unable to get into the attic to look there. We looked around the other places in storage, and made cookies instead. We would wait until the next day when he could help us. Tuesday, we discovered that it wasn’t in the attic and wasn’t anywhere else either! Disappointed, we turned off the Christmas music we had hoped would set the Christmas mood, and we watched a movie together as a family.

I, of course, was disappointed. Jolynn had a fun time “helping” set up the tree at her Grandma Sue’s, and I wanted to experience that at our home, too. This also will be the last Christmas in our own home in the States until we return from India on furlough as we will either be leaving for the field or spending the last few months of deputation with family at this time next year.

Desperately, I contacted the ladies of our team to see if anyone happened to have an extra Christmas tree lying around! Thankfully, my friend Heather’s family had decided to go with a real tree this year and had their fake tree in storage. She graciously allowed us to borrow it along with some lights.  Colored outdoor lights, but lights nonetheless! Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

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We had previously had a themed tree with everything being silver, gold, and bronze. But since our lovely outdoor lights were colored, we scrambled to find some other ornaments. We had an Our First Christmas ornament, Jolynn’s first Christmas ornament, a ridiculously huge globe ornament, and some wonderfully tacky ornaments from my friend Krista! I also found a hook and hung up Ezra’s little hat he wore in the hospital, and we stuck Jo’s holiday stuffed toys in the tree and her first Christmas hat on top! We filled in the rest with silver balls and stood back to look at our creation.

And it was UGLY. But it was ours. We created it together, and we loved it! After all, we know what Christmas is really about- celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, or as Jolynn calls him, “bee-bee.” We are hoping to teach her his name by Christmas!

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This will certainly be a Christmas we will always remember! What makes this holiday season memorable for your family?

 

Choosing Thankfulness — November 27, 2013

Choosing Thankfulness

Wow, looks like me and my friend Kelli were thinking the same thing today–even shared one of the same verses! I didn’t see hers until my draft was finished. Anyway.She says it much better than me here

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Thanksgiving, for me, this year is totally different than any other turkey day I have celebrated previously. Prior to this year, I had never experienced any truly HARD circumstances in my life. God had been incredibly gracious to not have allowed me to see financial hardship, death, health problems, or any kind of trauma in my bubble-wrapped life. It was easy to give thanks of a truly blessed, whole heart.

But this past year, all of that changed. Deputation rocked my scheduled, secured world. A car accident shook it to its core, and the loss of our second child then shattered what was left. After the loss, health issues remain along with a plethora of questions that won’t be answered this side of heaven. How do I give thanks from a burdened, broken heart?

In my Bible reading, I have been studying much about the life of the apostle Paul. This missionary was no stranger to hardship. In fact, it was much more a part of his lifestyle than ease was to mine. He was beaten, tortured, imprisoned, and left to die on several occasions. Yet, he CHOSE to be thankful in the midst of these unthinkable circumstances. He said, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I would much rather if that verse had said, “In most things give thanks.” That would be much easier to swallow, but my God has a different, more perfect will for my life. And He wants me to give thanks, because He knows, in doing so, I have chosen the better. Is it the harder option? Absolutely! And I don’t quite see the fruit of this choice in its full extent, but I trust the Lord and His perfect will for my life.

This past year, more than ever, I have had to CHOOSE to be thankful. Naturally, it hasn’t come naturally in the midst of these tough circumstances. It hasn’t come in between waves of grief, it hasn’t come with the persistent back pain, and it hasn’t come without any prodding on my part. I have had to cultivate a heart of thankfulness. But as I prompted it out, it began to grow on its own, watered by the word and nourished by the light of the gospel.

This Thanksgiving, I will sit around the table with my family who are so precious to me. I will squeeze the sweet little babies that fill my empty arms. I will give thanks in everything. Or, at least, I will try!

Because with every day of life, God has given me a gift I don’t deserve. Beyond that, He has given me so much, done so much in my life, and filled my world with light and hope. I’m so thankful to be a child of the King, and I feel like I need a whole other blog to expound upon all the wonderful blessings for which I can give thanks to my loving Father.

God is so good!

 

Passenger Post #2- The Hero — November 14, 2013

Passenger Post #2- The Hero

I like riding in the passenger seat and taking care of Jo as we ride along, but on trips where we drive through the night, I love the challenge of staying awake and alert behind the wheel while my family sleeps. I’m typically one of those super helpless women who needs my husband to open every jar and fill my gas tank, but sometimes it’s fun to be the hero, and this is about the only way I can!

I love pulling into the driveway of our destination and having my husband sleepily whisper, “You’re my hero.” I climb the stairs to the bedroom in a zombie-like state, but I fall asleep with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart. Sometimes it’s nice to be the hero of the man who’s mine!

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