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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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Small Sacrifices…

June 3, 2014

Baseball 2014

Baseball season has begun in our house.  Our oldest son plays in a park district league for 6 weeks.  This year my husband is helping out on the field with the kids when he is in town.

It really is a fun time of year for me. I find joy in watching my son play, be a part of a team and really enjoy himself.  I am also enjoying watching my husband encourage other young players and put himself out there as a role model and helper.

Recently my husband asked me if I was going to stay home during the next game and put the other 3 kids to bed since the game won’t even start til after 7pm. The thought had never crossed my mind.

And then I started to tear up.

It was the first time I realized that I may have to miss some summer baseball games. I have 3 other small kids under 4 who need love, care and attention. Their rest and wholeness is just as important to me as being present for my son.

Part of me feels sad. I want to be at the game and enjoy my sons bliss as he does, cheer him in success and comfort him in failure.

Part of me feels selfish. My other children are just as important to me, why does this occasion prompt me to perhaps test and stretch them beyond their small selves capacity so I can be where I want to be? Yet, my intentions of presence come from a place of love and love is not self seeking.

Part of me gets caught in the lies that I sometimes believe about my role as “Mom”. Why do I feel like the simple “needs” of my children are such a huge sacrifice on my part? Yet, I love them deeply and just the fact I am thinking this thought gives me hope.

As I think of these things over the dishes my thoughts wander to the Garden. That Garden. The one Jesus prayed in and sweat blood in.

That place where His sacrifice was His life. Where He was willing to give it all for His disciples. A moment where He knew His love for them and the people of the world far outweighed any experience He might have in the future.

And I am humbled. I am moved to silence. Peace overwhelms me.

What feels like a sacrifice is really a gift.

I am not sacrificing myself on the altar of motherhood but instead I am gifting myself to my small children who need rest at home. I am not sacrificing my “need” to be with my son but instead I am gifting him time, experience and memories with just his dad.

And my sacrifice is nothing compared to what has been given to me.

Lord willing my children will grow older, bed times will get later, summer baseball games will happen again. This season, this time, is short. It’s significance is small in the big story of life.

And I begin to understand. I begin to see Jesus praying and crying. The sweat becomes blood as his heart wells and overflows with the deep love He feels for His people. And ultimately, He is willing to sacrifice it all.

All the future maybes are put aside for the ultimate forever with a single life.

I am the beneficiary of that sacrifice.

Today, I see my small insignificant sacrifices and pray that all the missed games and little kid bedtimes and hard choices will point my kids to the one Gift they really need. May my life be full of small gifts that point to this garden moment. This Jesus.

 

Linking up with Unforced Rhythms

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When everything is broken…

May 19, 2014

Wilt

I never really felt loss deeply. Not ever. I had one experience growing up that hit me hard and in that moment I surrendered my life to ultimate Love.

And then it was years. Years of feeling almost nothing. I loved but  not deeply. I was sad but not heartbroken.

But now. Now I sit and read stories of children born hurting, of girls lost, of women struggling to secure the role of mom and I am moved to weeping. The sadness of it all over takes me.

I sit here and wonder why.

Why am I weeping for children I will never hold, girls I will never meet, women whose names I will never know?

And then I am reminded.  The world is broken, I am broken. We are broken.

That is why I weep.  Somewhere between my selfish 20′s and struggling 30′s I met compassion.

My soul knows the light and sees the dark and is overwhelmed. The beauty that exists alongside the pain. Both so real.

It is here I am reminded that the light will overcome the dark. That is why I weep.

 

I want to shout…

“My heart cries out for you. I see your pain.  It is real and I am sorry you are suffering. Let me cry with you.”

 

Yet, in the same breath I was to say – to beg -

“When the tears slow and your heart is soft, please let me speak light to you. Let me lend you a hand, throw you a line, lower a rope.

Let me be the voice that sees your suffering yet speaks words of life.

Let me cradle you in these dark moments so that when you dry your eyes the first thing you see is Love.”

How can I pray for your broken parts today? Leave a note below or send me an email and I will cover you in prayer today.

Linking with: Unforced Rhythms

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Lessons From My Jeweler…

May 12, 2014

Rings

I remember standing at the counter, not yet married and the jeweler saying “Now when you do get married come back and we will solder your rings together. They will be stronger and last longer.”

I never did.

Last week after mowing our lawn I looked down. My engagement ring had been flattened on the back side from the vibrations of the mower.

As my wedding rings are on their way to be rounded, cleaned and soldered together, I am left with these thoughts…

Two are stronger than one. This applies to marriage, motherhood, friendship…Jesus. My marriage can handle more when my husband and I work side by side. My kids are more responsive when I have listening ears and am working with them, not against them. Friendship reaches new depths when we go all in. My relationship with God deepens when I spend time at the feet of Jesus and not just look at the Bible on my bookshelf. To achieve the beautiful heart things in life it so very often takes two, existing next to each other, building a heart tie that binds.

Sometimes we flatten out. We get bumped and bruised on our journey as we are molded and trimmed into our true selves. It’s okay. In those moments we need to go to God, get rounded out, cleaned up and joined back together with the Jesus who loves us.

Connection is a process. I didn’t get my rings soldered together because part of me liked the thought of them being apart. I liked the idea of 2 rings instead of one, of 2 stories instead of one. Yet, our relationships bind us. We become one when we give the pieces of ourselves away to each other, but this can take time. Putting my selfish desires aside, giving myself fully and completely - even to the point of sacrificial love – that kind of intimate connection takes time.

Listen to the jeweler. Our instructions are often clear and simple. Love because I loved you. Be patient. Be still. And yet in my hurry to do my own thing my own way I ignore the simple instructions. Over time weakness sets in until total reconstruction is required.

Where are you weak today? Where do you need to connect? What piece of your heart needs reconstruction?

Might I encourage you to find some time to visit the ultimate Jeweler today…

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Linking up today with: Unforced Rhythms

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Give the Guy A Break…

May 5, 2014

As a mom have you ever had that moment where you look at your husband and think, “Why can’t you parent these kids like I do, it is not THAT hard?” Or maybe a variation of this thought such as “Really, you think a couple hours with these kids is hard?” or “I handle this [insert random child problem] just fine, why can’t you?”

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True confessions, I was thinking those exact thoughts today. After a specifically long and difficult week with the kids I was throwing a little pity party for myself thinking “My husband could never do what I do day in and day out.” (Really, I am not that perfect of a mom, someone needs a reality check!)

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks, Icould never do what HE does day in and day out either! Think about this for a moment, could you just jump in and do what your husband does every single day? I couldn’t.

My husband is an executive chef who cooks standing up for 3,000 miles at a time. First, I can’t cook to save my life so cooking for hundreds of people a day is out of the question. Second, these legs were made for chasing toddlers but I am not quite how they would do over 3,000 miles.

Sure, I have a basic knowledge of food and cooking and I’m not terribly out of shape. However, since I don’t do what he does every other week I wouldn’t be capable of waltzing in and taking over and being him.

So why is it that I think he should just walk in the front door after working multiple 16 hour days and be able to do everything I do (and we won’t even mention doing things the WAY I do them)?

Sure, he has a basic knowledge of our kids daily lives and undertakings.  He’s actually an amazing dad who helps with homework, plays catch, drives kids to dance class and baseball practices and cuddles babies in the middle of the night. He’s a great husband too who always does our grocery shopping, puts his knowledge of washing and drying clothes into regular practice and always manages to help me find some quiet time.

However, when it comes to the ins and outs and bits and pieces of the day to day lives of the 4 small wonders we live with, I am the one walking that path daily and intimately. I am the one the school contacts when a child gets hurt on the playground. I am the person who overhears the chit chat during the car pool each day. I am the adult that experiences all the early dismissals, days off and summer breaks.

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We chose this life he and I.

For him this means being on the road 175 days a year, putting his culinary degree to good use, standing up for 78,000 miles, leading his team of cooks, prep cooks and dishwashers well. It means knowing what people want, how to prepare it for them and correcting any errors that might be made. It means balancing supplies and food and menus to meet and exceed his company’s requirements and expectations.

For me this means being a single parent 175 days a year, putting my gut instinct in high gear, driving endless times to and from school and leading our crew of 4 well. It means knowing what their little bodies and minds need and how to fix a broken heart or change a childish error they have made. It means balancing different ages, stages and activities and making family time a priority to meet and exceed the expectations we have set for the community God is making us into.

Just like I can not walk in and do my husbands job I need to find the grace to understand that he can not just breeze into my current vocation either. I need to give the guy a break!

Instead of being short when he asks what our son needs to do after school, I should appreciate that he is willing to help. Instead of being frustrated that he can’t seem to remember everyone’s bed time, I need to take note of his heart to want to tuck kids in sweetly. Instead of being annoyed that watching all 4 kids for multiple hours at a time seems overwhelming to him, I should be thankful that he cares enough to try.

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Sweet friends who are in this season of staying at home like I do, give your husband a break! See the work, provisions and time he is giving to your family as the gift that it is.  Encourage him in his profession or schooling or search for employment. Tell him that you appreciate what he contributes to your family and give him some grace when it takes some time or extra energy to ease into the rhythm of family life.

Embrace the gift that is the intricate knowledge of your children’s lives.  Their favorite Lego, princess dress or must have goodnight song. Tell your husband the daily bits and pieces of home life as much as you can and encourage him to have fun and enjoy your family when he is around.

We are partners on a journey my husband and I. We want to be deeply connected and easily walking through parenthood together. In this season of life we are parenting together, we are just taking it in from different angles.

As we embrace who we are and where we are today, the greatest mark of Jesus in our midst is the grace we can give each other. Time for me to give some today…

 

Linking up today with: Unforced Rhythms

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