Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ramblings of a Working Mama

Wake up at 6:30am, the kids are on the floor, needing extra time with Mama- so many nights, there they are. Feels like one big slumber party some nights, but I try to remember it won't be that long.

We stayed up late last night talking about forming bands, new girls in school, being nicer to each other and always forgiving. I decide if today I will shower or not. Some morning I will admit that I am almost relieved that I showered the day before because that gives me a few more moments before the day gets going.

Coffee on, big son comes down the stairs in his old, stained Navy T-shirt because today is College Spirit Day and he wants to be in the military (so he can shoot people of course- Moms of boys, you know that this is a normal thing to say, other people- my son is not a psychopath, he is just fascinated with all things guns, fighting and battles), anyways, bigger son wants some eggs and turns on the TV, little son comes next and cries that he doesn't want to go to school. I remind him that it is "Pj and Pancake day!" He does not seem impressed, yet. He wraps up in blankie and sticks his head on the couch.

I make some breakfast, remind them to say "thank you" (again) and I get ready for work. I'm grateful my pants are not too wrinkly and I put on some makeup and a scarf and feel a little more grownup compared to my Christmas mitten pj's.

I work, the kids go to school. The afternoon begins. I try to begin with prayer, usually the boys are either fighting or jumping around while I pray outloud, they think it is annoying sometimes, but I don't care- it helps me refocus.

From 3pm-9pm I spend the majority of my time, breaking up arguments, teaching the same thing over and over again about "how we talk to each other", pick up clothes, toys, more clothes and toys, make food, make more food, and play as much as I can. I play basketball, try to understand Minecraft, talk about wrestlers, try to let my boys be boys and play like monkeys (which they need but drives me nutso)...

I might host a mini-playdate and serve up snacks to big boys friends who destroy my home, but make me happy as they laugh and play (and of course shoot each other with Nerf bullets that never go away), some afternoons my little guy has a play-date and he and his buddy race around the house being superheroes and I try to remind myself to breathe and I take a lot of bathroom breaks just to get away from the crazy.

The dog goes in and out and in and out. Empty dishwasher, fill dishwasher, basket to washing machine, washer to dryer, dryer to basket, fold, put away, repeat at least once/day. 

Looking for those moments (many days I forget), but thankfully I get a Holy Spirit nudge, "Hey look at that- that is just like how Jesus loves us!", "God cares about your homework, I promise. He is here with us." "Mommy needs forgiveness too, we always need to remember that we can always start over with Jesus."

Phrases and statements that I throw around in the midst of the busy and pray and hope that they stick like crazy super-natural glue to the important places in their little souls.

Stick somewhere where they can get them back and remember them when they need them again.

Stick in places where something new is happening, where new life is forming as they grow to be little men of God.

In the midst of the dishes, and backpacks, and inside out pants, and toothpaste on the sink and empty toilet paper rolls, my soul is begging...

"Please God, help me not to screw them up. Help me show them how amazing you are. Help me show them that you are way cooler than Minecraft and even Superman. Help me to learn who they are. How did you create them God? One feeds on talking and the other on constant playing- help me to have the energy to do both! And please don't let me forget to feed them your Word, always, always, always. Help me not to let them get full on this world, the lies, too much junk food, TV, screen-time, help me to reel them back in when they seem to be lulled away by the buzz and the noise. Help me to find holy moments to hold them and then give me wisdom to let them go and trust you all at the same time!"

Bedtime again, more lessons on being nice, nice words, nice actions, and then let's pray and thank God for the day. Every day. Again and again. It is my world. Work and School, the time we are apart, they are important, I pray for teachers, I email them when I have concerns, I stop by for lunchtime when I can, my work is good, I enjoy it, I work hard, it is fulfilling. And it is ALL my calling. ALL of it. But those mornings, afternoon/evenings and weekends when I am in the thick of discipling my children, those are some pretty hard, beautiful, messy, eternal moments.

I'm blessed.

Liz

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Moments of Redemption

It was a similar conversation/argument...

Me: "Lincoln- it's time to turn off the TV and get ready for church." (I'm already bracing myself for the talking back- which has become a norm lately with my 8 year old son.)

Lincoln: "In a minute Mom. Why NOW? We have time."(Thinking to myself- "stay calm Liz, ask him one more time, nicely...")

Me: "Lincoln- I am asking you to do it now, no arguing please."

Lincoln: "But Mom- I just started watching this show! You NEVER let me do ANYTHING that I want to do." (Thinking to myself- "This kid is SO dramatic. He has no respect. I am so sick of this. Why won't he just listen and do what he is asked to do?!.")

Me: Screaming now- "Lincoln, you will turn off the TV, get dressed NOW and I am SO sick of your attitude. Now STOP IT!"

Lincoln: stomps off, PUSHES through me and says- "I'm so sick of you!"

Me: Anger turning to shock- Thinking to myself-

"My son just PUSHED me. How is this happening? Why is this happening? What did I do wrong? I am a HORRIBLE mother! It has to be my fault that he is doing this."

We go to church. My son sulks in his seat in front of everyone. Also tells me he feels sick (which is actually true- we had a stomach bug running rampant in my home). So,I take him home (we live like 2 minutes from church). And I sit in the service and don't even feel worthy to be one of the leaders (I am the Women's Ministry leader).

If only everyone here had been a fly on my wall and seen what just happened in my home?

I numbly go through the motions of worship, smile politely towards people and get myself home.

I stand in the kitchen and ask myself how to handle what had happened that morning?

I prayed and then I started baking cookies.

Our Pastor had encouraged us to give out bags inviting people to church-

I took three home with me and thought that maybe we could hand them out with some cookies.

My son is still sulking but soon he gets involved in playing.

I hear his soft voice, sharing nicely with his brother, I see him smiling, and he tells me he can't wait til I'm done so he can decorate the cookies.

We take some to neighbors and it is wonderful.

We sit and talk with them and we enjoy a nice afternoon together.

Later that night, I am cleaning out a closet and I find something.

It is a poem that someone gave to me when I was pregnant with Lincoln. I read it and think.

The poem is the word Lincoln written vertically and has a statement next to each letter about how I am to act in order to help my son become the man of God he is called to be.

I showed it to Lincoln.

I told him that I loved him and would always be praying for him and that I had found this poem and will keep it out to remind me.

I took a picture of him with the poem and his sweet face just melted my heart.

We talked about what happened, he did get punished and he was not happy about the punishment.

But he softened and it was just a good, God-moment I wanted to share with all of you.

I am so thankful that I serve a God that gives me grace and redeems some of the most difficult and most ugly moments.

Being a Mama is so hard sometimes but it is always worth it:

Blessings!

Liz


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Blues? Encouragement from the Last Supper

Hey ladies!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving:) 

Maybe you did, maybe you didn't.

Maybe it was hard because of family tension, maybe it was overwhelming with planning and expectations, maybe you don't like the holidays because you are missing a loved one...

We have a God who sees it all and loves all of us, every part.

We have a God who sees our needs and our pain and He cares.

More than anything-God wants our hearts and our worship- especially in the midst of the broken times and He can use us in mighty ways in these times.



A few things I want to share to encourage us during this season from the Last Supper:

1. We need each other.

Luke 22: 14-15
"14 When the hour had come, Jesus reclined at the table with His apostles. 15 And He said to them, I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering.

Jesus chose to be with His friends before he walked into His suffering on the cross.

Sometimes during the holidays, we isolate ourselves, we pull away from others.
Sometimes, we experience loneliness and don't want others to see.
I am encouraged that Jesus chose to be with his friends on the night He knew He would be betrayed.
He wanted to dine with them.
During this season, let's open our homes to one another, let's be together.

2. Jesus understands our brokenness.

Luke 22: 16-20
16 For I tell you that I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you."

Sometimes during the holidays we are hurting.
Let's remember that Jesus understands.
He has been broken in every way possible.
He is a Savior who has been there.
During this season, when we are hurting, let us turn to our Jesus, who was broken for us.

3. Jesus offers Himself to us, to wash us clean and set us free from our sin.


John 13: 1-10
Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet



"1 It was now just before the Passover Feast, and Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the very end. 2 The evening meal was underway, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had delivered all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God. 4 So He got up from the supper, laid aside His outer garments, and wrapped a towel around His waist. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel that was around Him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “Never shall You wash my feet!” Peter told Him.
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.”
9“Then Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well.”
10 Jesus told him, “Whoever has already bathed needs only to wash his feet, and he will be completely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11For He knew who would betray Him. That is why He said, “Not all of you are clean.”


Jesus says, to be part of Him, we need to let Him wash away our sins, we need to let go of guilt, shame, the past.
Let us be like Peter and say- "Lord, wash ALL of me!".
During this season, let us be free from guilt, shame, fear and the weight of the past.
Let us remind our weary hearts that we have been set free from sin.

The Truth will Set You Free(2 John 1:4-6)
30 As Jesus spoke these things, many believed in Him. 31 So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. 
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 “We are Abraham’s descendants,” they answered. “We have never been slaves to anyone. How can You say we will be set free?”
34 Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 

36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."


4. Jesus chose to serve.


Although He knew He would be betrayed, He served and gave of Himself. Even while He waited to be broken, He washed the disciples feet.


John 13: 12-17
" 12When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His outer garments, He reclined with them again and asked, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13You call Me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, because I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example so that you should do as I have done for you. 16Truly, truly, I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

Jesus served and set an example for us.
During this season, may we wash the feet of another by giving of ourselves.


This season, may we remember:

1. We need each other.
2. If we are hurting- we have a Savior who understands our hurts and pain and has been broken.
3. If we are struggling with sin, we have an answer- He has come to wash us clean and set us free.
4. Even in the midst of our pain, we have PURPOSE. Jesus came to serve and set an example for us.

On His way to the cross, He CHOSE to serve. Let us do the same. 

And the amazing thing is- when we do this, we will experience true JOY.

Love you all!

Liz

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Made Perfect in Weakness- Best News Ever

Let me tell you something, I can be ugly.
This is no shocker to my husband who has more than a gazillion times heard that tone of criticism in my voice or sat back to observe me manipulate a situation to make myself look better and look "right".

There are so many moments throughout my weeks where I sincerely do not like myself.

I don't like my tone.
I don't like my "hurry up and go" attitude.
I don't like this battle I have with wanting to eat more than I should.
I don't like feeling like I'm not always a woman of my word- saying- "Yes" to this and "Absolutely" to that and then forgetting where to go and what commitments I have made.
I don't like wondering if my children feel loved and whether or not I am enough for my husband.
My work gets skimped over some weeks because my heart is simply stuck in a place of worry or anxiety and I cannot focus.
This is my life, and although this ugliness is heavy and hard and frustrating to me, I have learned the peace that comes in admitting that I am a failure and that I am weak.

I have learned so much over these past months since I not-purposefully took a break from the blog.
I have learned that I am more than enough and more than I ever thought I could be as a Mom, Wife, Ministry leader, Worker, etc.. while simultaneously learning that I am so much less than I ever thought I could be in all of those same areas.

How is that even possible you might wonder?

I don't know if I can eloquently explain it all but here goes some good truths I think are worthy of framing and highlighting and somehow maybe sitting with for awhile if you need them...

I can take all of these failures, admit them and find what I need to overcome them in God.

Because God is the perfect forgiver, when I am ugly, I can find forgiveness in Him.

I have alot of links in this post and I want to encourage you to check them all out. I love it when I can find all I need in Word of God and I want to prove it to you by supporting all of these things I am saying with God's Word.

When I fail as a wife to love my husband the way I need to, because God is the definition of love Himself, I can ask Him to teach me.

Because God's Word is the perfect and total truth, there is nothing I cannot find help for by reading it, studying it and making it my life's passion.

When I am rushing and anxious, I can remember to seek first His kingdom and all that I need will be added unto me. I don't need to add to my life, I need to seek Him FIRST and then HE will add to my life.

Because God says that man does not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God and that I am to hunger and thirst for righteousness and I will be filled!  I can turn away from indulging my flesh and ask instead that God help me to crave Him and find fulfillment in Him.

When I am over-scheduling myself and saying "yes" to too many people, I can remember that the most important YES I need to say is to that time in the early morning, or in my car, or on my lunch break or when I wake up in the middle of the night when God gives me space to connect with Him, to pray and to cry out. No other "Yes" is more important. I can remember that all of His promises to me are "Yes" and "Amen" and that He will always keep His promise.

Because God has chosen ME to parent my children certainly I can trust that He will equip me to be a good mother as long as I keep being willing to admit that I need Him to help me parent these precious kiddos. He was there when they were formed, there is no mistake that these children are meant for me.

When I wonder if I am enough for my husband, I can breathe a sigh of relief because no human being is EVER enough for another and I can simply ask God to get between us and be that third cord that keeps us knotted together in Christ.

Because God has got the entire, gigantic universe in His hands, I can stop and be present in each moment of my day, before work, during work, after work and in the roles I play as wife, working, mother, ministry leader and I can do all unto Him and for His glory. He is Almighty, I can rest in each moment because He is faithful to keep the world spinning. 

In Him and because of Him, I can be more than I ever thought I could be and in my flesh I can be just as much a failure and a disaster in all those areas just as easy when I turn my eyes away from my Savior.

This process, this sanctification is no joke, it is a daily battle and I don't care who you are or what your life looks like from the outside, we are all knee deep in it. If we are not knee deep in it, then we are probably not being honest with ourselves.

The amazing thing is that although I find myself bouncing back and forth within these two extremes throughout my week, I find myself doing is LESS, I find myself moving back to Him FASTER, I even find myself stopping and pausing when I am tinkering on the edge of relying in my self instead of Him and running straight back to Him before taking the plunge.  I am remembering that He is the one who promises to meet my needs. 

Knowing who God is and Knowing that my purpose is to bring Him glory, I can be honest with myself and others in admitting that it is a struggle but that when I am letting Him lead, holy cow is it an amazingly victorious and overcoming ride.

I am capable of conquering my sin in the name of Christ every day in my weakness.
I am capable of being a loving and gracious wife and mother in my weakness.
I am capable of working my job and honoring God in my work in my weakness.
I am capable of leading women in their walk with the Lord in my weakness.

His power is made perfect, when I am weakest. 

When I can admit that I have reached the end of myself, that is where I find the power to be all that God has called me to be. And it is not a burdensome journey in the way that the weight of living for self and being enslaved to sin is. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 

God's power, made perfect in weakness, that's the best news this Christian Working Mama has heard in a very long time.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Invisible Wounds- Melinda Means- Book Excerpt and Just WOW!!



"Invisible Wounds"- what does that bring to my mind? You know, I have not blogged in a very long time it seems...I have honestly wondered what it is I had to say that I have not said before.

As Christian Working Moms, we have all kinds of stuff brewing beneath the surface, sometimes related to our working Mom "stuff", sometimes not. As Moms, as women, as PEOPLE, we have been wounded. Wounded from those who professed that they loved us, wounded by illness and brokenness that won't go away, wounded by unanswered questions and what may seem like unanswered prayers.

I have been in a season of feeling like my story was not important, that is why I have been quiet on the blog. I don't know why I felt this way- maybe it was because I felt lost in the blogosphere and social media was honestly starting to become more of a chore and more of a distraction.

So I took a break and waited until God brought something into my life where I knew I needed to speak up again and this is it.

Melinda Means is someone I connected with in the past. I followed her blog and one day I sent her a Facebook message. It was one of those spontaneous acts of reaching out to someone who seemed a bit out of my league (a popular blogger and author) but also very honest and I felt like maybe she could give me some hope in a difficult situation. And you know what? She did.

She responded within minutes. She encouraged me and made an impression on my heart as someone who was sincere. I checked my email a few weeks ago and saw that she had written a book called- Invisible Wounds. The title grabbed my attention. Don't we all have wounds?

Even as redeemed believers in Christ, there are some things that just ache inside. Connecting with Melinda and being part of her launch team reminded me that I have some story left to be told in the context of a loving community of women. I am starting to open up again, more to people in my everyday world; my family, my friends, the women in the Bible Study I lead at church. And I am finding, what Melinda found- welcome arms, warrior sisters, ready to help me do battle for peace and healing. 

Want to read more about Melinda's journey and the stories of other women, just like you and I? Check it out... 


The Pain No One Sees
by Melinda Means

I think back to one of my favorite photos of my children.

Molly was three. Micah was nine months old. They look absolutely enchantingly adorable.
Everyone’s smiling and looks happy.

It’s just the perfect photo—no easy feat with little ones. But let me share the story behind this “perfect” snapshot.

I had done all the right things to prepare for the child photography experience. They both had a nap, they’d been fed, and they were dressed in the required darling matching outfits.

I was golden.

We arrived at the mall. That’s when it got interesting.

I lifted my son Micah from his car seat just as he had a diaper blowout of legendary proportions. I used every baby wipe I had and he was still a poopy mess. I was so close to photo-taking victory I could smell it (unfortunately that’s not all I could smell).

So I wrapped him in a blanket and with my daughter in tow we high tailed it through the mall parking lot to find the nearest bathroom.

On the way, my daughter tripped and fell, ripping a hole in her white tights and scraping her knee. Time to throw in the towel? Nope. This newest setback only made me more determined.

In the bathroom, we made a tragic discovery: hand dryers—no paper towels. As my daughter handed me reams of toilet paper, I went to work cleaning up my son. We finally made it to the photo studio.

The result? Adorable.

My son’s plaid outfit masked the stains (if not the smell). My daughter’s strategically placed little hand covered that wound on her knee. No one would ever guess the trauma that had gone on behind the scenes.

Looks can be deceiving, can’t they?

Just like that photo, our pain lurks beneath the surface. It’s often camouflaged by busyness, a confident demeanor, or a tough outer shell.

We hide because we think no one else will understand. Maybe we think we’re to blame. We’re afraid of rejection. We believe it makes us weak. We don’t want others to feel sorry for us. We don’t want our pain to define us.

So we nurse our pain in isolation. We live alone with our invisible wounds.

After 20 years of chronic pain and illness—mine and my son’s—I bear the scars of isolation and discouragement.

My anxiety and insecurity—always a struggle—has sometimes felt nearly unbearable. At times, it has shaken my faith to its very core.

So what do we do with our pain? Where is God in all this? I don’t have all the answers. But here’s something important that I do know: God is not afraid of our questions. He isn’t surprised or appalled by our frustrated, tear-soaked temper tantrums (I’ve had more than a few).
He just wants us to come to Him.

For years, I have looked for an outcome. Relief from my pain. I wanted healing. Period. I still do. But I’ve learned healing can look very different than what we imagine.
Hope and healing can come through telling our stories. It can materialize as God meets us and reveals Himself in the middle of our struggle. It can materialize as we see God redeem our pain.

This isn’t the path I would have chosen for myself. It isn’t the journey I would have chosen for my son, who battles cystic fibrosis.

Yet pain leads us to a deeper walk with God if we are open to gifts that we would never have received without our pain. Others receive gifts they wouldn’t have received without our pain.
God cares. He sees your struggle, sweet friend.

But He wants to do so much more than change our pain. He wants to use our pain to change us.

When our joy, freedom, and hope rest on an outcome, instead of a Person, we will ultimately be disappointed. It is not through the result—the relief of our emotional, physical, or spiritual suffering—that the most important transformation comes. It is through the relationship with Jesus.

I can say that genuinely and with complete conviction. Not because it’s what I’m supposed to say as a good Christian. Or because I’m in denial. It’s because it is what I know and have experienced to be true, particularly over this past year—the most physically, spiritually, and emotionally brutal season that I’ve ever experienced.

Your wounds may be hidden from the world, but they never escape the notice of a loving God.
Through Him, we can find hope—even while we’re hurting.

© Melinda Means. This post includes excerpts from Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re Hurting. Used with permission.

About Invisible Wounds:
So many of us walk around looking fine. Hidden beneath the surface, however, are deep, painful physical, spiritual and emotional wounds. We feel isolated in our pain. We feel guilty about the private doubts we have about God and His goodness. We live alone with our invisible wounds. 

In this book, Melinda draws from her long history with chronic illness—hers and her son’s—and also shares the stories of seven brave, beautiful women who reveal their hidden hurts. Throughout its pages, she tackles the tough spiritual questions and dark, raw emotions that accompany suffering and illuminates the path that leads to hope that heals. 





Author Bio:  

Melinda Means is a weary soul in need of refreshment from the only Source who can quench our thirst. After years of chronic pain and questioning God’s plan, she has found the joy of seeking the Healer more than the healing. She is a professional speaker and writing coach, as well as coauthor of Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family (Bethany House, 2015). Her website is melindameans.com.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Most Important Question I am Learning to Ask

Sidelines living...going through the motions...making it...surviving...holding on by a thread...

However you say it, we've all said it, sometimes we say it to each other and we laugh and we honestly just need the solidarity of knowing we are not alone in this day in and day out routine of working and mothering. 





We might feel like life has taken over and we are a bit fried and tired and DONE. So- we put on our comfy jeans, get some ice cream, meet a friend, read our favorite book, get our hair done and generally we find a way to get back to feeling full of life again...

But other times we say it so often to ourselves and to others that eventually there is an ache in our heart that cannot be ignored and a sort of desperate gripping that can only come from too long of worn out and empty and purposeless living.

No more Mama friends. Yes, we can be tired, feel overwhelmed, we got a lot going on! Everyone needs us, there are not enough hours in the day, we cannot keep up with the laundry, the kids are fighting, there is no "me" time and we just want to scream. But- we cannot lose sight of the glory of this life. Even in the midst of the chaos, the busy and the hard days grace is available and glory is a-knocking and God is HERE.




You don't have to clean it all up to find joy. You don't have to have A.B. and C. to have peace and freedom. I have been working FT, parenting two kiddos, supporting my husband's coaching and sports commitments, leading a Bible Study and I am thriving. Am I bragging? YES! But not about me, only about my amazing God. I am not thriving because I am an awesome time-manager, because I get up at 5am and workout and do my Bible Study for an hour everyday, or because I have a maid, a Nanny and a ton of resources.

I am thriving only because I have learned to ask God to show me HIS work in my life in the midst of it all. There was a time I was convinced that the only way I could live a fruitful, Spirit-filled life was to cut back my work hours or quit my job, get a gym membership, memorize Bible verses every week and A.B.C.D.... Of course there are always things we need to change and ways we need to grow and things we need to give up and people we need to say NO too; however- what I am learning is that I can find joy in this crazy working Mama life when I see God working.



When we see God working, we get excited, we have hope, we feel purposeful, we know were to focus, we know where to go, we know where to spend our time, we know what to let go of and what to run after. We are filled with praise and gratitude and humbled and in awe because God is working in our lives in spite of ourselves. He is showing up and doing what only He can do.







So ladies- may I challenge you today to ask God this question- "God what are you up to right now in my life? Help me to see it. Help me to name it. Help me to praise you for it. Help me to get excited about it. Help me to ground myself in the giddy hope of all that you are doing beneath the surface of the laundry and the deadlines, and the sports practices and the arguing and the sink full of dishes. Help me to see the hand of my Almighty God working and weaving and cultivating His glory and His spirit into my day to day. Lord- I long to see you in my life. Help me to see you. Make it clear and specific and help me to move into those moments and praise you with all that I have and be able to thrive in this working Mama life because of who YOU are."

2 Corinthians 9:8

"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

 

Liz 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Hardest Work in the World and yet...this...

Mothering...

It is truly is the hardest work I have ever been asked to do and although the rewards are greater than any paycheck I've ever received, the day in and day out job duties sometimes leave me flat out, burned out, cried out and just plain OUT of my mind. Most days if I am feeling burned out I can pinpoint where I lost my grip on truth, where I fed into some ugly lies about what I am supposed to be doing or how my mothering should look, or I see where I decided to deal with my ever-changing emotions with a bar of chocolate instead of bringing it to my God.

I can see the point where I spiraled a bit away from where I need to be. I am learning, some days I do better than others.

The hardest parts of my day are...well-every part... depending on my mood and how my kids are doing. Mornings I battle sleepy boys, one who does not want to eat breakfast EVER and is adjusting to preschool, the other tired from late night baseball and allergies that won't give up. Both boys taking out their grumpiness on each other while I look once again for jackets, shoes and papers that need to go to school.

Many mornings I forget whether or not I've taken a shower, sometimes I can't find clean clothes, sometimes I rush my boys and sometimes I am putting PB and J on the ends of the bread because I have not had time to go to the grocery store.

Afternoons I deal with the transition from working woman to Mommy and I sometimes think my head will explode with the noise after 8 hours of structured work, and other times I think my heart will explode as I watch my 8 year old tell me that he played with a new friend and then tells me that he loves me and asks if he can put my shoes away for me. I look at his eyes, his long lashes and sweet baby boy lips and hear him saying the Pledge of Allegiance as he plays and I have that sweet hurt of loving that he is growing and wanting to stop time completely. Then I have his big brother, ready to explode from jealousy over a friend getting more toys than he has and I explain about counting our blessings. He snaps at me and 10 minutes later tackles me in a bear hug, talking non-stop about the new boy in school and how he decided he wanted to make him feel welcome so he decided to play with him the entire time at recess. And again- heart about to explode...going from seeing him deal with frustration and hearing how God is working in his life.

Some nights, my boys don't go to sleep until 10pm because that hour and a half where Mommy is finally calming down is the sweetest time and it fills their little love bank up. This is when baseball is over, some days we choose a washcloth bath over a shower to save time, everyone wants to eat AGAIN, paperwork is being sorted through for school and I am snuggling up for some precious time with hubby while the boys play upstairs. We catch up on things, laugh at the boys, sometimes argue, most of the time, we just make sure the other is still in one piece:) This is some sweet time for us...

Then I wander upstairs, tripping over towels, toys and every item of clothing that has been worn that day that of course is inside out on the floor. Sometimes I get irritated, other times we read, sometimes we snap at each other AGAIN. But always we end with love.  I take a "potty break" and breathe in the quiet for those few seconds and sometimes I wonder if I am doing this whole mothering gig right and I ask God to help me.  Then, I have these moments that truly, truly keep me going- right after prayer time, I am amazed as my 8 year old asks me to play "Come Though Fount of Every Blessing" on Youtube on my phone and mentions what the worship leader said last Sunday about the part- "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love." And we talk about how we wander away from God a lot.

And I remember...the next part of the song and together we tell the Lord at the end of the craziness- "Here is my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for the courts above." And I know that I know that I know, that God is meeting me in my working mama life in ways unexpected and I can breathe deep and relax and hug my boys tightly and see the peace in their eyes and know all is well...

Liz