JESUS CHRIST - MY ONLY BOAST

BLOG site of Amy R. Maxwell

I am the wife of B.J. Maxwell (married August of 1997) and mother of our three adopted children. I am blessed with the awesome privilege to care for & love my husband, invest in & love our children, and keep our home. May I steward these gifts well, for the glory and praise of Christ Jesus our precious Lord & Savior!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus . . . sweetest name I know!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The VERY Cranky Bear



I am the proud, exhausted, and often agitated mother of three. I am also the main character in one of the books my children like to read . . . “The VERY Cranky Bear”.

I never thought I would struggle with anger and frustration with my kids. For years my husband and I dreamed of having children. We were unable to conceive, but the Lord graciously gave us three beautiful, adopted children.

The Spirit has been convicting me about my need to seek God for strength. I get so frustrated because the VERY Cranky Bear seems to rear its ugly head every weekday morning. How do I stop this cycle of frustration and agitation? Each morning I wake up and tell myself, “TODAY I am going to love and enjoy my children. TODAY I will speak softly - never raising my voice. TODAY will be a productive day for the Lord. TODAY kindness, love, patience, joy, and peace will flow from my mouth and will be like sweet honeycomb to my little ones. Yes, TODAY will be glorious and victorious.” Yet before a smile can even break across my lips . . .

MOM! Abby's out of her crib and she just peed all over the floor! . . . MOM! Lydia just hit me in the head with her glass slipper . . . MOM! Byron looked at me and I don't like it! . . . Kids, why is there water all over the bathroom floor, and why are there whoppers – oh wait, why is there POOP on the carpet?? ABBY! Get your diaper back on! . . . MOM! Abby's eating the play dough and she's not sharing! . . . MOM! I got my hair stuck in a fan. HELP!!!!!! . . . Byron, you have had two hours to eat your bowl of cereal. PLEASE eat your bowl of cereal!! . . . MOM! Abby busted her lip! . . . MOM! I don't feel so good. I need to (barf) throw up . . . MOM! I got poop all over my hands when I went potty. See! Smell it!! . . . Uh, oh!!!! MOM!!! Byron just broke your picture! . . . MOM! Abby ate ALL of my lipstick! . . . MOM! Ly-ia hit me! . . . MOM! Abby won't share! . . . MOM! Byron won't share! . . . MOM! Lydia won't share!! . . . MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!


All the while, I am trying to home school, potty train, clean up breakfast, deal with a two year old that cries and screams ALL morning long (which may be from her CONSTANT staph infections, constant ear infections, the terrible twos, or perhaps it's merely her sinful nature!), answer the phone, wash clothes, remind my two year old to go potty again, straighten up the house, get everyone dressed, make beds, read books to the kids, prepare lunch, change my two year old's soaked pull-up because I forgot to remind her to go potty AGAIN because Lydia is still forgetting that “u” does not make the “yu” sound and 3-2 is not 4, make myself look presentable for Daddy when he comes home at lunch (because I haven't had time to shower and I have been wearing the same outfit for the past three days), and oh wait – I thought I forgot something! I still need to go potty myself – three hours later!!!

People tell me that I need to enjoy this age because they grow up so quickly. Indeed, there are moments with my kids that I will treasure for a lifetime. I love their sweet innocence and how they so quickly forgive and love unconditionally. I love their slobbery kisses and the out of the blue moments when they tell me that they love me. Being a mom is wonderful . . . yet, it is also difficult. Nothing is more rewarding . . . and NOTHING is more exhausting! Yet, my most profound discovery is that nothing brings out my sinfulness more than being a mom. I discover that beneath my millimeter layer of kindness, is a heart that is quick to be angry, selfish, far from self-controlled, and often far from God. You see, I know the truth that I can do nothing apart from Christ. This is not a cute saying, fit for flowery pictures to decorate your dining room. This is solid truth. I can do NOTHING apart from Christ Jesus. I cannot even love my children without Christ Jesus. Without Him, I fail miserably.

As I was reading to the kids this morning from Lydia's Bible study book, I was convicted. The Spirit had already been convicting me of my need for help from Christ alone. Last night during congregational prayer, I found myself praying and asking God for help because I know that I fail (often) as a wife, mother, and friend. As much as I want to love and serve my family and others, my love for self often saturates my motives. This rotten flesh!

Today we were reading about Samuel and Saul (I Samuel 8 – 10:27).
Saul's kingdom was not a joy to him but a burden, because he did not know how to take care of it. And he would not go to God for help, or take advice from Samuel, the wise old prophet who had made him king. Samuel loved Saul, and was bitterly disappointed that this first Hebrew king should forget God and think only of having his own way. King Saul did not have peace and joy in his life because he tried to fight God's enemies in his own strength. (Studying God's Word, Christian Liberty Press)


For weeks I have been fighting God's enemies (selfishness, anger, pride, joylessness, etc.) with MY own strength. Weekday mornings weighed heavy because I lacked peace and joy in my heart. My children had become a burden, instead of a joy, because I (myself) do not know how to take care of them – or perhaps, rightly love them. I was trampling a foot the very gifts that God had given to us . . . He had heard our cries and opened our womb, and yet I found myself looking at them as a trial instead of a bountiful blessing. Forgive me, Father.

Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes. I am a sinful and selfish mom, wife, daughter, and friend. I pray that I will be like Christ in all that I do. Help me to be patient, joyful, loving, full of peace, faithful, gentle, self-controlled, kind, and good. Thank you for all the wonderful, special moments I have with my children. Thank you for giving me the awesome task of training my children. Help me to be a reflection of Christ Jesus. I pray for your help, especially on the weekday mornings when I feel like everything is out of control and I am tempted to raise my voice and bark out my frustrations. Remind me, Spirit, to seek Christ in all that I do because a part from Him I can do nothing . . . And thank you, Lord, for the Fruit of the Spirit chant that my children and I have learned together - otherwise, I fear I would have never remembered all the fruits mentioned above!

Come Lord Jesus, come!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Abigail's Prayer

Father, thank you for filling our quiver. Thank you that You are bigger than hysterectomies. We asked, and it was given to us. We sought, and we found. We knocked, and it was open to us. (Matthew 7:7) We sought Your will and Your grace in regards to having more children. You answered and You blessed. “Come and hear, all who fear God and I will tell of what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth and He was extolled with my tongue. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer nor His loving kindness from me.” (Psalm 66:16,17,20)

Thank you for our beautiful baby girl, Abigail Faith. And just as her namesake (David's wife, Abigail) I pray that she will be a woman of good understanding and intelligence (I Samuel 25:3). But above all, I pray that she would be known among the women for her steadfastness and faith. May You alone be her rock and her salvation.

Father, I pray that You would begin a work in Abby that will produce fruits of faithfulness, goodness, self-control, love, peace, joy, and kindness. Put within her heart a desire for the greater gifts – that of hope, faith and love. I pray that You would open her heart at an early age. May she embrace and love Christ and His bride, the church. May she serve faithfully. May she love with all gentleness and patience. Place within her heart the desire to be obedient, kind, and loving. Help her to love Jesus more than anything in this world.

If it is Your will for her to marry, I pray that You would help BJ and I to teach her what it means to be a respectful and submissive helper. I pray that I will model for her what it means to have a gentle and quiet spirit. I pray that BJ will model the endearing love of Christ. May You find a suitable husband for her that will love and protect her as Christ loves and protects His church. Help BJ and I to graciously give Abby to her husband when it is time for her to cleave to him. Help us to love, respect, uplift, and honor her marriage.

Father, use her hands for ministry. Give her strength and courage to serve faithfully. Open her ears to hear the Word. Fill her with wisdom and discernment. Fill her mouth with words that edify and encourage. Use her passion and energy to proclaim the new life that is found only in Christ Jesus. Give her the gift of hospitality for Your glory. May she always hide Your Word in her heart. Control her tongue so that she will not dishonor You in gossip or slander. Keep her heart free from bitterness.

Help Abby to understand and rejoice in what You have done in bringing her into our family. I pray that she will embrace Your will. May You use her as a loving, forgiving, and gracious witness of the gospel to her birth family when it is Your will to reunite them.

Gracious Father, may Your will be done. Glorify Yourself in our precious daughter, Abigail Faith.

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak . . . Daddy is weak . . . Mommy is weak . . . Abby is weak, but HE is strong . . . Yes, Jesus loves me!”

(BJ has literally sung this song to Abby every night before bedtime. She LOVES this song . . . So much so, that whenever she gets fussy or mad, Byron and Lydia automatically start singing this song to her and it instantly calms her down. Beautiful!)

Byron's Prayer

Father, thank you for filling our quiver. Thank you that You are bigger than hysterectomies. We asked, and it was given to us. We sought, and we found. We knocked, and it was open to us (Matthew 7:7). We sought Your will and Your grace in regards to having more children. You answered and You blessed. “Come and hear, all who fear God and I will tell of what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth and He was extolled with my tongue. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer nor His loving kindness from me.” (Psalm 66:16,17,20)

Thank you for our beautiful son. To Byron we have given our family names. Yet, I pray that of all names, he will bear the name of Christ. Open his heart. Teach him Your ways. Use him for Your kingdom. I pray that Byron would be strong and courageous and that he would dance before You with all his might. Help him to model justice and righteousness (II Samuel 8:14-15). When Byron's heart strays, when he becomes intoxicated with sin and does what is evil, help him to repent. Help him to trust and obey Your Word. May he find great wisdom from the words of Paul, Solomon, David, Peter, and the many other men that You have used to proclaim Your righteousness. May the Psalms fill his soul with great encouragement and steadfastness. And above all may He love Christ more and more every day as He meditates on the Word. May Christ be Byron's greatest gain.

I pray that You would give Byron men of faith to surround and encourage him. Provide for him a godly friend, that You would knit their souls to one another, as David and Jonathan (I Samuel 18:1). May this friend always provide love, accountability, and encouragement in the gospel. May they encourage one another to love their wives and boldly proclaim and live out the gospel. Help BJ to model Christ to Byron. May Byron see the fruits of salvation lived out in our home. Give him a humble heart, that he would seek his heavenly and earthly fathers for wisdom, instruction, and knowledge.

Help Byron to understand and rejoice in what You have done in bringing him into our family. I pray that He will embrace Your will. May You use him as a loving, forgiving, and gracious witness of the gospel to his birth family when it is Your will to reunite them.

Father, use his hands to work hard for his family. Invest his mind in the Word. Give him a humble heart. Fill his mouth with words that edify and proclaim the good news of Christ's redeeming work. Save him at an early age. Help us to model and teach him that his trials and sufferings are for his good and Your glory. Give him great courage. Use him for Your glory and for the kingdom.

Gracious Father, may Your will be done. Glorify Yourself in our precious son, Byron Dacus.

“God is so good. God is so good. God is so good. He's so good to me.”

(This was the first song we taught Byron. However, he wanted NOTHING to do with singing, especially anything about God or Jesus. But now, we can't stop the little guy from singing! And he is always the first to want to pray. AMAZING! God is amazing . . . and so very GOOD!)

Lydia's Prayer

Father, thank You for answering our prayers for a child. Though our womb was barren, You blessed us. “My heart exults in the Lord because I rejoice in Your salvation. There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God” (I Samuel 2:1-2). I pray that we will steward this gift well. May Lydia love Jesus more than anything in this world. And as her namesake (Lydia in Acts 16), may You open her heart so that she can worship You.

Father, I pray that You would produce within Lydia fruits of faithfulness, goodness, self-control, love, peace, joy, and kindness. Put within her heart a desire for the greater gifts – that of hope, faith and love. I pray that You would open her heart at an early age. May she embrace and love Christ and His bride, the church. May she serve faithfully. May she love with all gentleness and patience. May she model for her younger siblings what it means to be obedient, kind, and loving.

Help Lydia to understand and rejoice in what You have done in bringing her into our family. Help her to embrace Your will. May she always carry great love and respect for the difficult, selfless decision that was made by her birth family.

If it is Your will for her to marry, I pray that You would help BJ and I to teach her what it means to be a respectful and submissive helper. I pray that I will model for her what it means to have a gentle and quiet spirit. I pray that BJ will model the endearing love of Christ. May You find a suitable husband for her that will love and protect her as Christ loves and protects His church. Help BJ and I to graciously give Lydia to her husband when it is time for her to cleave to him. Help us to love, respect, uplift, and honor her marriage.

Father, use her hands for ministry. Give her strength and courage to persevere in service. Open her ears to hear the Word. Fill her with wisdom and discernment. Fill her mouth with words that edify and encourage. Use her passion and energy to proclaim the new life that is found only in Christ Jesus. Use her curiosity and love for cooking to serve not only her family but also those who are poor and hungry. Give her the gift of hospitality for Your glory. May she always hide Your Word in her heart. Control her tongue so that she will not dishonor You in gossip or slander. Keep her heart free from bitterness, by filling it with Your love!

Gracious Father, may Your will be done. Glorify Yourself in our precious daughter, Lydia Grace.

“Mightier than mountains, You live among the weak. Ruler eternal and lover to me. Jesus, name above all!”

(This was Lydia's lullaby song. I pray that she will always love the sweet, powerful name of Jesus.)