Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Community and Anchor Points- Finding Grace in the Tension of being a Christian Working Mama


Sometimes being a CWM hurts- like gut-deep hurting. Like- I feel it in my soul. Sometimes-I feel like I am running on a treadmill that is going nowhere, while my kids skip by with me and I am grasping for them and I want so desperately for someone to say to me- "Liz, you are okay. It is okay that you work full-time. Your kids are awesome. They know you love them. You teach them about Christ.

You share with them about your job and how God is there in it. You are a good Mom, you are a good Mom, YOU.ARE.A.GOOD.MOM."

I hurt in my heart some days because I feel like I am never enough. Never
enough in my job, never enough at home, never enough at church. I have God-sized dreams that are about to explode in me and I have a schedule that says- YOU.HAVE.NO.TIME. Sometimes I feel trapped in this season and I wonder- just as my friend says to me over coffee last weekend- "Is it really God's design for me to be a working Mom?" And I cannot confidently answer her right away, because that is the little question that haunts me as well.

We look at each other and smile because although we struggle, we are both strong in Christ and we move on in our conversation- knowing that it is okay to have these questions and also okay to not have the answers. We talk about how funny our boys are, how much joy they bring us, how we are trying to make the most of our mornings, evening and weekend Mommy time but sometimes feel like we are drowning. BUT- we keep laughing, encouraging and sharing what is in our hearts. We look into each other's eyes and SEE each other and LOVE each other and ACCEPT each other- JUST.AS.WE.ARE. I leave feeling full and ready to tackle the sink full of dishes, the boys waiting up for me, the lunches to be packed and the work to plan for.

I come home and my little guy says- "Yay! Mommy is home! I am SO HAPPY!" My six year old tackles me with his gangly legs and almost knocks me over and says- "Mommy- can I have some Skittles! Are you gonna read to us? I want to show you what I made while you were gone!" And there it is- that message I need to hear- "You. Are. A. Good. Mother"- right there in those little boys and their welcoming arms.

And that night- my 6 year old wants to hear more of my "client stories" (I work with people with disabilities and he likes to learn about them) and then they both want to learn the Lord's prayer and even though it is almost 10pm and I have let bedtime stretch WAY too late, I am at peace in my world and my role.
And- IN.GOD'S.DESIGN for me at this moment. God answered that question for me in that moment. And when the house was quiet and I was still prepping for the week- I felt peace and joy and it was enough for that moment.

Ladies- we cannot give up on each other. We need each other. In community and in the body of Christ, THIS is where we can find the grace we need to handle this tension of working and mothering.

And- we need to look for what I am going to call Anchor Points. Moments in our days, where we see clearly or CHOOSE to see God's fingerprints, love and reassurance. We need to BANK our emotions and our peace of mind on those moments and FRAME them with thanksgiving and praising God- these are moments to worship and we can build little altars where we die to the lies that we are not enough, IN. THESE. MOMENTS.

And we can look back and we can see the beautiful masterpiece that God is skillfully and mysteriously painting on our lives as CWM's. Being a Mother and Working- these two can cause some tension- but let's stay connected in the Body of Christ and let's Look for and Honor those Anchor Points where God reminds us that He is here and enough and let's Worship God and Glorify God IN THOSE MOMENTS...

I love you ladies! Don't be discouraged!

And just in case you need something to make you smile- check out this little ham:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What kind of warrior will you be?

That's what you are! Did you know that?
You are a warrior and you are a fighter.
You may not have known it, until the day you had that precious, squirming, babe in your bosom, and even in that moment, you were terrified and felt weak, incapable, unable, fearful....and then the battle began- through sleepless nights, temper tantrums (yours and theirs), tough discussions, difficulties in realized that this would not be easy, you realized that being a Mama is some TOUGH STUFF and it would require some HEAVY DUTY you had to decide-
What kind of warrior will you be?

I have learned a lot about being a warrior from my son Lincoln.

My son Lincoln is a wrestler...
And he is not in love with this sport and neither am I. In fact, more times than not- he actually cries his way through the matches.  I have to force myself to watch. At one point I told myself, - "Liz, if he is going to be brave enough to go out there, you have to be brave enough to watch..."
And it kills me- every time.  I have watched him struggle and fight his way through his own fears and I have struggled right there along with him- heart breaking, wanting to tell him to quit, to give up...

...but my amazing husband has helped Lincoln and I to keep the course and I have learned so much from this experience.

My son- he has a brave heart, but he also has fears and self-doubt. I see that in him out there on that wrestling mat and I see it in myself everyday. If we are honest with yourselves, we all fight this battle... Maybe that is why my heart beats all the faster as I see him fight and it breaks all the more when I see him give up. But in all of it- I see my husband who has never left Lincoln's side, coaching him through the highs and the lows.

The hardest moments are when my husband talks to Lincoln after he has obviously given up. He is tough, but he is loving and he is encouraging. He believes in his son and he wants to use wrestling to shape him. And I respect that and I struggle with it and I love it all at the same time.

And as I watch him in this sport, which is something I never would have chosen for him to do, I am being grown up in a new way, as a Mom and as a Jesus Girl.

I am seeing that being a warrior is my calling. Not that I am to live a life of constant battle, but that I am to be ready, mentally and spiritually for the battles that come my way and that come to my children. I need to listen to my coach, I need to believe in who He has made me to be and I need to NEVER.GIVE.UP.

...and YOU OUT THERE- did you know that you are a warrior? Think about know those moments- when your child falls down, your child's peer calls him a name, your child acts up and you start to see yourself in him/her, you see him/her afraid of something new...and you kneel down, you pray and you fight for your child.
You want MORE for your child, you want him/her to THRIVE and you fight for this- in prayer, in discipline, in tears...
You put on your boxing gloves and you stand up tall and you say to the
Enemy- "Get out. Leave my son/daughter alone. You have no place in his/her life.
I will stand here and I will NOT let you come near him/her."

You get worn out and then you remember your partner, your Jesus-partner who holds those boxing glove clad hands up for you when you get tired, who stops you when you want to fight too hard and shows you how He will help your child fight for himself when he is ready, who holds you when you fall apart from the weariness of the battle.

But don't ever think for one moment- that you are weak, that you are incapable, that you are unable and even though you may FEEL fearful, don't claim that as your identity.

Move forward, step by step through and over and on top of that fear until it is demolished in the name of Christ Jesus.

Do this for yourself over and over again and for your children over and over again and you and they will be the MIGHTY CONQUERORS that God has called them to be.

NOTHING can separate you from His love dear Mama's and NOTHING can separate your child from His love dear Mama's.

And remember- that as much as those sweet babies need your love, they need His all the MORE.

You keep showing up and standing up and praying up and praising up and moving UP.

And when you cannot move UP any longer, remember that He will ALWAYS reach down and PULL YOU UP.
And you will do the same for your babies.

Even if you have to cry your way through the battles as my little brave warrior does, don't quit, don't give up- and listen to your coach. He will push you at times, but he will always love you through the fear and move you forward into the BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF.

I dedicate this blog post to my husband who has once again, in an unexpected way- given me a glimpse of how God loves me. I am so proud of the father and man that you are Aaron Jones.