Tough Lesson Learned

For all of you parents who are hating the attitudes and the meltdowns that the first few weeks of school bring, please just know that you are not alone!  Just as I mentioned in this post last year, starting school has always been hard for Preston and now we have added Lilly Katherine to the mix.  Praise the LORD Preston has been much better this week.  I guess by third grade he has finally figured out that he HAS to read and it’s not my fault that he has to read!  I should also mention that he still LOVES his reading nook and reading pillow and he uses them everyday!  If you need an idea to motivate your little ones to read, something like this AND this may really help.

I have to say that what is frustrating me the most about my kids lately is that they absolutely WILL NOT OBEY!  I feel like I speak another language or maybe they all have hearing problems!  I catch myself screaming the Rush Hour line “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?!?” all too often!  They are driving me crazy with disobedience and “delayed” obedience!  You know the old “I was gonna do it, but I was just…”

I find that I am spending WAY TOO MUCH time and effort repeating myself, not being heard, and in turn punishing them.  Not fun!

Anyway, I need to make a little confession that I am no better than my maniacs!  I am one of them!  I have learned a VERY valuable lesson this week and I really feel like it’s one we all need to hear…or maybe I just need to put it in writing so my head knowledge becomes heart knowledge.

Over the last few months I have been convicted that my eyeballs are glued to my phone WAY too much!  I am not talking about texting and calling people.  Of course I text and call, and I will continue to do so.  I am talking about my fun apps like Words with Friends (which I love) and houzz, and Facebook, and stinkin’ Pinterest!  I have way too many fun things to look at on my phone…and I can justify each one of them.

Words with Friends keeps my brain sharp, and few things in my life do that right now.

houzz gives me design ideas for free so I don’t have to buy any home magazines…not like I really ever did that anyway.

Facebook is my connection to the outside world and allows me to interact with people that are taller than 3 feet!  I am a social person and it is a fun way to connect with people.  Plus, it is very entertaining in the middle of the night when you are up 37 times nursing a newborn!

Pinterest is a down-right obsession, and I can easily convince myself it will make me a better wife, mom, cook, cleaner, cake decorator, crafter, etc… as soon as I actually do all the things I pin!

Well, I have felt the Lord nudging me to get my eyes off of my phone and spend time with my babies.  They are young.  They are home.  They are wanting to play with me…and I am playing Words with Friends (and enjoying it!)  Lilly Katherine’s precious Sunday School teacher says (about her grown children) that she would give up all her worldly possessions to spend just one day with her sons as little kids again.  WOW!  I know I will one day look back and wish that I had spent more quality PLAY time with these maniacs!

Sometimes the kids play with my phone or beg to play on my computer.  I recognize when they have been on my phone too long and quickly remove it from their sticky little hands, and then wipe the screen off because I swear kids hands secrete something awful onto iPhones!  I do not love for them to play on my phone, and I rarely let them play on the computer…for many reasons.  I strictly limit their time with technology, but I do not hold myself to the same standards.  Why?  I have no good answer.  This is a classic “Do as I say, not as I do” way of parenting and it is not wise or effective!

Then I pinned something a few weeks ago that said “If you’re too busy to read your Bible or pray, then you are much busier than the Lord intended you to be!” and I was again convicted because this summer a Quiet Time with my Bible was darn near impossible!  However, I could have read my Bible app just as easily as I could have searched for chore charts (that I will never make) on Pinterest!

Also a few weeks ago I realized that I didn’t have an iPhone as I nursed Preston, Lilly Katherine, and AnnaLeigh.  Whatever did I do without Facebook and Pinterest as I sat alone, in a quiet dark room, feeding my babies in the middle of the night?

Oh, I remember…

I PRAYED FOR THEM!

I sang to them!

I looked at THEM, not at a glowing screen!  I looked at their sweet little faces and stroked their little heads!  I kissed their sweet hands and kissed their tiny little fingers!  I thanked the Lord for the opportunity to be the mother of such a precious gift!  Have I done that with sweet Georgia?  NO!  My iPhone and all my “fun” apps have been just as imperative as a burp cloth when I sit down to feed her.

Knowing that the tugging at my heart for this certain conviction was getting stronger, what did I do?  Did I listen?  Did I act?  Was the Lord screaming “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”  Of course he was!

However I continued to ignore his request, just like a 3 year old maniac I know, and I justified my obsession and the stronghold in my life…a dumb phone!

That brings me to last Thursday…

My phone was so slow as I was trying to take this picture of our last day of summer.

I knew my phone was slow because my phone was full of pictures and videos and also because it had not been updated since, well, ever!  I am not sure I had ever updated my phone in almost 2 years.  Genius!  I know.  There are reasons, but I’ll spare you the technical details.

As I slept Friday morning, Brad was on the phone with AT&T trying to backup my phone so he could update it.  Somehow in the process, my dear husband restored my phone to factory settings.  That’s right!  Back to an empty, straight from the store, iPhone!

Because of my computer situation, we could not restore it to a previous backup because there WERE NO previous backups!

I was DEVASTATED!!!  I literally cried all day long!  I was angry and sad and mad, and I was not very fun to be around.  He had not only erased all of my contacts, my apps, my songs, my settings, but also all of my pictures, and all of my videos…the birth of my baby, Georgia’s first bath, the kids bathing her, my dying grandmother holding Georgia and talking to her, Lilly Katherine learning to ride a bike, and a million more!

After I got over the initial shock and devastation, I realized that I had asked for this!  I knew almost immediately that this was a result of my total disobedience from what the Holy Spirit was placing on my heart.  Why hadn’t I just obeyed?!?  I should have put the phone down! I deserved this and He needed to make this painful enough to get my attention!

The people at Apple said there was nothing we could do.  I went to stores that specialize in helping dummies like me, and they couldn’t help me.  My “computer geek” dad worked on my phone and my computer all weekend, and recovered absolutely nothing.  I tried to restore it with a previous backup from November, in an effort to recover some of my pics and videos, and as it turned out the backup never completed in November, so I could not even get that.

In the midst of all of this, I decided the Lord wanted my attention and I started by just reading the Psalm and the Proverb that corresponded to the day.  This is my go-to when I don’t know what to read for my quiet time.  So on August 29, I read Psalm 29 and Proverbs 29, and guess what I found…

Proverbs 29:1

“A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy”. NIV

or the New Living Translation says

“He who stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.”

Hmm.  Hello Lord!  Would you like to be a little more direct?

My friend asked, “So you really think the Lord erased your phone?” and my response is this…I am positive that Brad erased my phone.  I am positive that the AT&T people were of little assistance in the process. I am positive that I was EXTREMELY upset.  I am positive that the Lord used this to get my attention.  Now, if only my apps had been deleted I am sure I would have just put them back on my phone and rocked on.  By deleting EVERYTHING, I realized how dependent I am on that little piece of technical equipment and how much time I spend on it!  What happened really got my attention!

And now for the rest of the story…(and if you read those words and you don’t hear Paul Harvey saying them in your head then you are too young!)

A local cell phone store gave us the name of a forensic detective (sounds serious!) that could possibly recover any information if there was a shred of info out there.  I had very little faith since several people and computer programs were not able to recover the images and videos.  He looks through computers for the police department and attorneys in criminal investigations.  I’m sure he sees some pretty crazy stuff!

Brad took my phone and computer to him yesterday and he looked on it for a few minutes and found nothing.  He tried almost all of his tricks and nothing!  He said to Brad, I may look one more place, and he saw a file that looked rather large.  He clicked on a tiny thumbnail of an image and it was a picture of my  one week old baby girl asleep on Brad’s shoulder!  Oh my goodness!  Brad said, “That may be it!”

He opened a few more images.  He saw the video thumbnails.  HE FOUND IT!!!!  He is actually still working on it, but we are hopeful that he will be able to recover my pictures and videos, and I honestly have no idea how!  I have no idea how they got on the computer, and I have no idea how he found them.

I do know that I have learned a very important lesson, and I am forever grateful that I have those videos and pictures back.

My plan of action:

I am going to put my phone down.

However painful it is, I am not RE-loading houzz, Pinterest, and WWF back on my phone.  I do still have Facebook on my phone because I have no contacts and no email, so it is my way of communicating with many people at this time.  Yes, I am very good at justifying things!  However, if there is a little maniac standing beside me saying “Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Mama!” I know now to make that little maniac a higher priority than status updates of people I haven’t seen in 15 years!

I want to be a good example to my children.  I want to value them and let them know that I love them more than my iPhone!  I want to put the phone down and spend time with the real lives the Lord has put in my presence…that NEED me!

Join me!  Put your phone down and join me!

Have a wonderful phone free weekend! :)

-kate

“A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy”   -Prov 29:1 NIV

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Comments

  1. Mariellen says:

    WOW Kate! That was perfect. It was something that has been weighing on me as well. I needed this today. We have a wonderful long weekend coming up and I need to do the same so that I dont miss out on anymore time with my little man!

  2. Kristin Skaggs says:

    So, so good! I’ve been under the same conviction and had to delete some things off my phone. Glad they are finding your files!

  3. Scarlett Hughes says:

    Hope y’all don’t think we’re stalking your family (Chipotle) but we’re fans!!!

  4. Scarlett Hughes says:

    p.s. We, too, would give ANYTHING to have one day with our daughters as little girls again. Oh, to put one more big bow in their hair…

  5. kristiana says:

    Oh sweet Kate! Always love your transparency! I don’t even have a smartphone but I still find time to spend too much time on the phone and computer! After I read your post I saw this fb post from my preacher. Great timing!

    “Jesus removes the things that hinder us from relationship w/Him, making it a space He can move in.” – Jimmy Seibert

    love!
    K

  6. Wow, Kate. I just found your blog and clicked on this post. It was no accident. I believe that the Lord guided me right here to read your words as I too have been ignoring His prompting. I need to put the technology down and love on my kids more while I still have them at home. Thank you for sharing your heart and allowing God to use your journey with Him to encourage/convict me.

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