Friday, September 26, 2014

The Holy Moments of Mothering- A Letter to My Sons

Lincoln and Ben,

Every night when all is quiet, I tip toe into your room and stare at you sleeping. You are both sprawled on Lincoln's bed, stuffed animals all around... Benji- you are holding "blankie" and Lincoln- you are lying diagonal on the bed, my little contortionist. You breathe softly and I feel my heart well up in my throat. Every.Night. You take my breathe away. I look at you and I see features of myself and your Daddy and I am IN.AWE. that somehow we created such beauty.

In those quiet moments, I sometimes drop to my knees and I close my eyes to pray. My heart aches for things I should have said or should have said differently. I think about how you wanted me to lay down just for "five more minutes" and I was irritated and I think about how funny you were wrestling each other and how angry I was when you were irritated with each other and I think how much did MY irritation breed YOUR irritation and I am HUMBLED and FLAT OUT SCARED and FLAT OUR DESPERATE FOR GOD'S GRACE.

I thank God for your sweaty heads, laying in a comfy bed, in a warm house, sheltered from the storm outside and I think about the storm inside and how the Enemy is always pounding on our home, trying to soak us to the core with His lies and empty promises.

And I think about whether I should have turned off the TV and spent more time playing with you instead of trying to escape for a minute on my phone...and I remember that even Mama's need a time out and that I don't have to be perfect.

I remember how I read you the story of Moses and how God made water come from the rock and how we need to look to Jesus and not to the World and you said, "Mommy I have no idea what you are talking about, can I please watch Ninja Turtles now" but how you stopped playing Leggo's and leaned closer when I read from the Bible and how I just hold on to the promise that God is co-parenting with me and that the Holy Spirit is moving even when I think I am totally losing your attention. And I remember how Benji thanked Jesus for dying on the cross last night at bedtime and I remember that as long as I am speaking the truth, you are hearing it.

I remember to let God do the watering and growing...

I think about how you laughed when your Daddy read to you and how you jumped into His arms and I think about how God longs for us to do the same with Him because He is our Daddy.

I ask for forgiveness for my selfish moments and I inhale grace and exhale praise and I don't want to leave your room.

In the stillness I feel love and peace overflowing and thankfully that feeling is stronger than the regrets and the sorrows of the day.

I remember how you, my boys are "eternity with skin on" and how everyday I am blessed to witness real, life evidence of God's beauty in your giggles and in your strong wills, in your peace and in your fight for independence. There is God there, you are growing and longing for guidance even when you resist it. Just.Like.Your.Mama. at times...

I stand on the promises I have learned and I try to BELIEVE in these moments that the LOVE OF GOD MY FATHER is like this, BUT EVEN BIGGER. And if this Mama can love so much that it hurts and heals and burns and frees all at once that MY GOD SURELY LOVES ME SOMETHING MIGHTY. And I thank God for the mighty moments of mothering.

You, my sons, are my sweet taste of Heaven on Earth. I will never forget these moments and how HOLY IS THIS GROUND, on the floor, next to your toys, and wrappers, and diapers and dirt. I remember that the holiest of moments can happen, even among the DIRT of our lives...when we CHOOSE TO LOOK TO YOU.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When You Think Working Outside the Home is Second Best

It's funny how when I started this blog- I thought it would be all about being a working mom and then I started writing and it just became about me and what God was teaching and showing me that I felt called to share. 
That said- I wanted to share a bit about my journey as a CWM...

I was sitting with a dear friend at Panera about a year ago...she work full-time outside the home just like me. I always noticed that although she has struggles and challenges, that she appeared peaceful and confident about her role as a CWM. We were talking about various things and we had a pause in the conversation and I said to her,

"You know what? I really have not yet come to believe in my head/heart that working FT outside the home is just as good, worthy, or even on the same level, as being a stay at home Mom. I really look at myself and think I am somehow on Plan B. and not living God's best for me."

She looked at me and said something I will never forget,

"She said, 'Liz, I am a mother. I work full-time outside the home. The ground is level at the foot of the cross for myself, for the stay-at-home Mama, for all of us."

And she said it with such confidence and peace and I let it sink in. I let it sink in for months (in fact she doesn't even know that I thought about it for so long), and finally I have come to believe it and know it and live it.

Does this mean that I think working outside the home is always best for us and our kids? Absolutely not-I think it is a very personal decision that only a woman and her husband can make.

I believe that many choices we make in life (not just about work) can be wrong and influenced by our sinful nature.

But at the end of the day- there is nothing in the Bible that says that it is a sin for a women to work outside the home. No where. So if you are concerned, know that it is not sinful, and ask God to show you this truth. If you feel this is second best, that somehow you are hurting your children, neglecting them or not providing for them the way you think is best, pray, pray and pray some more for clarification. Observe them, think about how your time is spent when you are with them. Think about changes you can make, ways to be more intentional and if there is room for flexibility.

At the end of the day, as Moms, our job is to follow the Bible and we are to answer to God about our life.

So, what does the Bible say about being a Mom and what should our lives look like when we are living out GOD'S BEST:

·         Moms are to wear strength and dignity, we are to open our mouths with wisdom and teach kindness, we are to look well to the ways of our household and not be idle Proverbs 31:25-30. 
·         We are to remember that our children are a heritage from the Lord and a reward Psalm 127:3.
·         We are to train up our child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it  Proverbs 22:6.
·         We are to have a sincere faith 2 Timothy 1:5.
·         We are not to provoke our children to anger but discipline them and teach them in the instruction of the Lord Ephesians 6:4.
·         We are to teach our children diligently and talk about the Lord when we are at home, when we are walking, when we lie down and when we rise Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
·         We are to love our children, to be self-controlled, pure, busy at home, kind and submissive to our husbands Titus 2:1-15.
·         We are to teach our children and great will be their peace Isaiah 54:13 and this teaching should be like a graceful garland and pendant around their necks Proverbs 1:8-9.
·         We are to tell our children about what we have seen God do and not forget. We are to make them known to our children. We are to tell them the things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We should not hide them from our children, but tell them about the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done Deuteronomy 4:9, Psalm 78:3-7.
·         We are to choose who we will serve and declare that as for our home, we will serve the Lord Joshua 24:15.

Now, I will say sweet Mama, if working outside the home has made doing the above impossible or extremely challenging, than maybe an honest look at your situation is warranted. But if not, keep pressing on and be intentional in your mothering. And remember that the ground is level at the foot of the cross- your worth as a mother is not tied into your working status, it is tied into Christ and who He says you are.

Much love!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No more shame

I was thinking about shame last night as I went to bed and started this blog entry and after I published it, realized it was not finished...I needed to back up a bit and share some things...

This past Sunday one of our Pastors spoke about Kingdom Ground and how we need to have "soil" in our hearts that is prepared to hear God and know God more. He talked about the Parable of the Sower- Mark 4:1-20. And he talked about the soil where there are shallow roots. He talked about the Word being planted on rocky places- the person receives the Word with joy and then struggles because there are no roots.

He talked about how we need to dig up our soil and throw out those rocks so that we can plant the Word and so that it can GROW. I thought about this and realized that SHAME was one of those rocks that at times prevents the roots of God's word from growing deeper in my heart. SHAME is something that sneaks up on us and if we believe it, it can go down deep and block our intimacy with God.

I am so thankful for this message how God spoke to me and now my response.

Shame makes us feel ugly in every way possible.
It isolates us and it paralyses us.

It is also a lie- a filthy lie straight from the pit of hell. It steals our identity in Christ- who already died for whatever we are feeling ashamed of. It leads us to unbelief, to not trusting God, and we cannot go there anymore.

Shame taunts ridicules entraps us...and we need to be DONE with it.

I came across this quote and it BLEW ME AWAY...It literally stopped me in my tracks and covered me in a sense of glorious brave acceptance.

I am showing up to my life UNASHAMED and I AM TRUSTING MY GOD because HE IS A GOD TO BE TRUSTED.

And I get it- you've been hurt, people have broken your trust and it can be so hard to let God in, to let Him close, but His grace is the antidote to your shame.


God is saying this to you my sister-
"You are my gem. You are my jewel. You shine with my light because you bravely reveal your cracks.  You are never to be ashamed of your life, your past or your present mistakes and struggles because I am in it. You can move on and walk in confident assurance of who you are IN ME."

And He reminded me of one of my favorite verses:
Psalm 34:5- "Those who look to the Lord are RADIANT, their faces are never covered with shame. "


I don't know if this speaks to anyone, but it burned in my heart and I had to share.
So no more shame ladies- in the trenches of Mommy guilt, overflowing piles of laundry, impatience, whining, hurt feelings and overwhelming days, moments where we feel regrets from the past, where we think we are not good enough to approach God- we can be RADIANT as we look to Him.

Show Up For Your Life.

Don't Be Ashamed.

Be Radiant.

Be Revolutionary.
Walk in the Truth of Who You are In Him.

Click on the link below for an amazing song about showing up for your life and seeing the Glory of God shining in it!