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Other mothers babies…

August 26, 2014

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There I sat. On the couch with a pint sized diaper made for the naked baby doll sitting next to me. As I tried to figure out exactly how all the pieces fit I thought…

“Seriously. I do not have the time or the energy for someone else’s baby.”

And right there, on the couch, with a half dressed baby doll in my lap, my eyes welled up and I started to cry. It was as if I was looking at myself in a mirror and the only thing I could see was my own selfishness, and it was ugly.

Not only do I have the time and the energy for someone else’s baby, at this particular moment in my life, it is my calling.

 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:22-27)

 

I actually want to care for someone else’s baby.

I want to say encouraging words to the single mom at the grocery store whose baby is crying. I want to say yes to the neighbor who needs an extra set of hands. I want to give respite to the weary parent who just needs a few hours on her own.

I want to take that crying baby and bounce him up and down the aisle of the grocery store. I want to invite that child in to enjoy their time at my home. I want to provide refreshment and a meal to that little one so they can return home calm and peaceful.

I will say yes when the opportunity arises.

And I will care for babies I have never met or held. I will pray for that friends second cousin who is struggling through her pregnancy. I will encourage the women around me to reach out and love just one baby that isn’t theirs (will you?). I will give so that one mamas baby will survive.

 

I will finish dressing this baby doll. And when I hand it to my sweet 2.5 year old I will smile and tell her that her baby is all clean and dressed and ready to be loved.

Maybe one day, she will love someone else’s babies too.

 

 

Linking this week with Unforced Rhythms

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Between silence and yelling…

August 7, 2014

Summer

It’s amazing to me how my mom moments lend themselves to Jesus moments…

Over the last year I took part in a “no yell challenge”. I received daily encouragement from a website and took great care in really speaking to my children lovingly. And then summer came…

More kids at home for greater lengths of time. Add in the one child who is very black and white and another who sees the world as a series of differently shaded rainbows and wow, just wow.

Confession; my tongue and tone have gotten the best of me this summer. I’ve grown tired of sibling bickering, sweat induced whining and sounds of the summertime blues. The grating sound of temporarily unsatisfied children surrounds me, creeps in and eventually I lose my cool.

As a pretty black and white thinker myself I have always seen 2 options when I hit boiling.

Option A would be to yell, which I do not think helps 99% of situations (except maybe when your tiny 2.5yr old thinks running in the road to see her friend who just pulled up would be fun…please alert your child of their surroundings and possible danger in that moment!)

Option B would be to say nothing, which sounds calm until you realize you’ve been quiet but your insides are in knots. For weeks I have tried so hard to say nothing. Walk away. Don’t respond. Count to 10. Take deep breaths. Whatever I could do to keep it together. And while it worked I would eventually hit a wall, lose it a little, have to ask my kids for forgiveness and then I would start the whole process again. (I’m a glutton for punishment!)

When I yell, I dismantle an environment of conversation, correction and learning. When I say nothing, I do the exact same thing. In saying nothing I haven’t dealt with my child, I haven’t managed my own feelings well and whatever the issue, it is still festering.

So what is Option C? Work it out. Confront the child (or children). Express how I am feeling and what I am thinking. Try and solve the problem together.

Option C is SO HARD. If the child is argumentative talking things out could take a long time and a lot of patience. Tapping in to my child’s empathy for how I might think or feel takes just the right language. And problem solving, ha! that seems nearly impossible.

Option C is exactly what both my kids and I need. They need to see me have the patience and self control to confront them. This is how they will learn to confront others. They need to hear that I have feelings and thoughts and expectations. This is how they will begin to understand what it means to live alongside others. They need to problem solve, even if that means making suggestions but eventually giving in and doing things my way (I am still the responsible adult after all!). This is how they will learn to work with authority.

So often this is how God deals with us too. He demonstrates through His Son and His Spirit how we should live. He expresses to us through the Word and His Spirit what He desires from us. He beckons us to come to Him and work things out, even when that means we yield to His ways over ours because He is still God after all.

As God demonstrates His love for me, so I commit to demonstrating love for my children.

It is work. Exhausting, frustrating, never ending, work. Yet, it is in the work that I meet God and am reminded how deeply, affectionately and patiently He loves me.

Take the plunge. Whatever hard parenting thing you need to do, do it. God is waiting for you there.

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Summer bleeds into fall…

August 4, 2014


I all the sudden feel like summer is bleeding into fall and while I knew it was coming I am just now noticing.

In just 3.5 short weeks we will be back on the school schedule. In just 4.5 more weeks my lovely community of moms will reconvene and I will find a new rhythm of study and prayer. In just 5.5 weeks I may not even remember what summer felt like.

This changing season has snuck up on me. I feel like this is also reflective of my personal life.

In the first 6 months of this year we have welcomed a new member to our family, I have stepped down from 2 jobs, my husbands schedule has shifted and our life rhythm has changed.

I am just now noticing our change of pace. More accurately I am just now yielding to our change of pace.

It is impossible to keep up the same tempo of work and not working, 4 kids instead of 3 and every other weekend with all of us home instead of spending all my weekends as a single parent.

I recently sat in church and listened to a sermon that spoke deeply about Ecclesiastes, the meaning of life and the beauty of God. Seasons.

Life happens in seasons.

When the seasons change we have two choices: See the change and move with it, ignore the change and fight against it.

I think I have unconsciously been fighting against the changing season.

Without thinking I have been holding tightly to what was.  I have tried to hold on to the working me. The commitment to being available and in the know and on call. The professional me that dresses for the job I want, schedules the children rigidly and constantly keeps on task in order to accomplish everything. I have tried to do with 4 kids what I did with 3. (While not impossible I don’t recommend this, babies need rest!) And then I wonder why I am tired, drained, unable to see the joy. Swimming against the current is hard work.

I see the summer ending and the fall on the horizon and am now choosing to move with the change.

I know deep down I can not do it all. It is obvious that I am no longer working outside my home and our family has grown by one. All of the sudden I am ready to embrace all that this season has to offer. I am putting on yoga pants and mowing the lawn at midday rest time. We are sitting on the porch swing just a few minutes past bedtime as we look for the moon. Deep breaths replace deep sighs and I begin to see joy around me.

I see God peeling away my former self and calling forth a new part of who I am created to be.

As this season comes I can’t claim to have it all figured out. I don’t have a big goal that will signify my arrival or completion of this season, I’m not even entirely sure what to expect. All I know is that I feel it.

Today I sit in grace. Change is coming. Watchful, attentive, willing to move with the season, not against it.

 

 

Linking today with Unforced Rhythms.

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When Life is Hard…

July 28, 2014

shattered

The song lyrics “never gonna get it” keep floating through my mind. It is exactly how I feel about my relationship with my son at the moment.

I was texting with a friend this week and we were asking each other how do we overcome the days when we just can’t seem to pull it together.

At the end of a long week I’ve wondered if I’m even capable of being a good mom to my kids. (Rest assured that deep down I think I can but it sure is hard to have confidence in the hard moments.)

Sitting in church on Sunday I was just listening. The lyrics of the songs, the reading of the Psalms, the proclamation of scripture.

Truth. We have to live lives permeated with truth. And not just the pretty, beautiful truths but the ugly, hard ones too.

 

This past week was a week of hard truths.

    • It is true that I have a child who struggles with the daily simplicities of life.

 

    • It is true that those struggles affect our whole family.

 

    • It is true that my physical body is hurting and exhausted.

 

    • It is true that this season of my life is hard.

 

And I mourn.

    • I am sad for my child who struggles and deeply wish I could make it easier.

 

    • I am sad for the siblings, knowing they didn’t choose this family or these struggles.

 

    • I am sad for me. When the idyllic motherhood I imagined is crashing down around me, my mom heart hurts.

 

    • I am sad for my family and the things that will never be.

 

 

Truth in the difficult. My hard days and my mourning in this season are real. This is where I meet God.

I’ve spent so much time praying amidst my tears, filling my days with the words of scripture and unburdening myself to the One who carries us all.

And it is still hard and I still mourn.

And this is Grace. This is the beauty of being in relationship with the God of the universe.

In the deepest darkest parts of my humanity God continues to love me unconditionally and in that same place I see Him and am thankful for who He is and what He does in the world.

We can not change our humanity. Our hard days are hard and our sad days are sad.

The beauty in the darkness is we know we won’t stay  here. New days will come. Mourning can be turned to dancing. Humanity will one day be restored to perfect beauty.

This is grace. This is God. This is me seeing the whole truth on a hard day.

 

*If you are in the midst of hard days can I encourage you? Walk through today. Be honest in the difficult but don’t lose hope. God is in the midst of your humanity today and still loves you deeply.

 

 

 

 

Linking up with Unforced Rhythms.

 

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Confession…

June 30, 2014

bed
Today I just couldn’t do it.

I got up, got everyone in motion and still just didn’t have it in me. When everyone was in a safe, still place I went and laid in my already made bed.

In the dark. In the quiet.

In a moment of divine intervention I just started confessing.

I confess I don’t have the desire to take on today, I really just want to do my own thing. I confess that one more day on this schedule with my oldest child just seems more than I can stand. I confess that I am a little weary of changing diapers and doing laundry. and playing dutiful housewife when the only thing I want to be sorting through are my own thoughts. I confess that today I can’t see beyond myself even though I really want to.

What do we do when we feel defeated and the race hasn’t even started? Hide? Yell? Ignore? Or maybe we question our worth or our calling?

But maybe instead of falling down that dark spiral of defeat we find a way out. Locate the weight and try something new. Can I suggest the practice of confession?

Confession doesn’t have to be in the ancient language of the mystics that sounds more like poetry than sin slaying. It doesn’t have to be to a priest or your best girlfriend. Your confession doesn’t require a rehearsal or an outline.

You only need 2 things for confession. You and the Truth.

That morning underneath my once neatly fluffed pillow as my kids ate their yogurt I took the truth, spoke it aloud and laid it in Jesus midst.

It wasn’t a pretty truth but God already knew that. It wasn’t even followed by lightning bolts or audible voices.

In those few imperfect moments I didn’t all the sudden want to change but I felt peace that I could change.

Confession had been given. Grace had been sought. Peace had been received.

I walked out of my room back into to my current rhythm as mom of 4 and the peace of God presided.

Next time you encounter that moment where life just seems too much find a quiet corner and confess. Cast your burdens and your cares. The God who sees you, knows you and loves you encounters you there, in the darkest moments, and promises light.

Peace be with you.

 

 

Linking up today with Unforced Rhythms

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Getting to the “Amen”

June 23, 2014

Norah and Flowers

Our 2.5 year old just makes me laugh. Most of the time she walks around talking gibberish, incomplete thoughts and throwing in the word “Frozen” every couple sentences.

Recently at dinner I asked for a volunteer to pray over our meal and she volunteered. Wanting to give our children every opportunity, especially when they are this enthusiastic, we joined hands and waited…

“Thank you God.”
Amen

I giggled to myself a little at her very enthusiastic (read: loud) “amen” . Okay then. Not a bad first attempt. Short and sweet. We will take it!

Later as I was cleaning up I drifted back to that moment. Who knew my 2.5 year old had such developed theology.

At the end of the day when we sit down together she had it all right.

Thank you God. Yes!

Indeed! We made it through the day. We are all in once piece (a small feat when there are 4 children under 7!). We had an amazing meal before us. We had enjoyed the good moments, endured the hard moments and offered and received forgiveness in the bad moments.

Life is not perfect but we have so much to be thankful for. What more is there?

A strong AMEN!

Amen: Truly; It is so.

It is true and it is so. We are thankful. I am thankful.

Not to many days from now I will remind my daughter of this prayer. I will tell her she was right. I will implore her to not lose her hope and her conviction. I will encourage her to number her gifts of thankfulness and never forget. I will tell her it is okay to simply be thankful and get to the Amen!

Today. Simply be thankful and let it be so.

 

Linking with Unforced Rhythms

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When the answer is simple

June 16, 2014

David Campbell Dove

It was Pentecost Sunday. As I sat surrounded by 150 other people we were encouraged to pray our words aloud, into the open. After a few moments and some beautiful prayers there was a voice. Quivering, simple, sure. “Thank you for Jesus.”

That was all. “Thank you for Jesus.”

The light bulb of my heart filled me from top to bottom. YES! Thank you for Jesus.

I thought about this man all day. I do not know who he was or what his intent but the simplicity of his prayer brought joy to me for days.

We so often make life complicated. My analytical personality makes my own mind spin constantly down one rabbit hole into the next.

Yet, Thank you for Jesus.

In the many years this man must have lived what had he experienced? In his current aged state what may be ailing him or troubling him?

Yet, “Thank you for Jesus” was all he said.

He’s right. The world is a complicated place. Humans are complicated beings. Life is a complicated rhythm.

Yet, Thank you for Jesus.

Jesus. Almighty. Perfecter of Faith. Bread of Life. Counselor. Deliverer. Holy. Light of the World. Prince of Peace. Redeemer.

Yes, Thank you for Jesus!

In these complicated times the answer is simple and eternally profound. Jesus.

Yes, thank you for Jesus.

 

 

Linking with Unforced Rhythms

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