Monday, June 29, 2015

Good news for all the Moms out there who feel inadequate! (guest post-Hannah Kallio)


Ever Feel Inadequate as a Mom? Here's (Surprising) Good News:

There are many schools of thought in motherhood, but at some point we all feel we aren't doing enough for our kids. Sometimes you even feel who you are isn't enough.  And lots of experts try to reassure you that you are enough.

I'm not one of them.


Before I explain why this is really good news for both you and your kids, let me explain how I know it's true.


Why You're not Enough
Since becoming a mom almost 15 years ago, I've spent about 97% of my time with my children. I nurse every baby until they're over two. I read to them for hours every day. I prepare each meal from scratch using organic whole foods. But before you write me off as an annoying supermom, you need to know one more detail about my mothering:

It's not enough.

If I read for three hours, my children were disappointed it wasn't four. If I set the baby down after holding her for five hours, she wanted to be held longer. If I gave them two snacks every day, they wanted three.

Our kids were bottomless pits of demand. They were never satisfied. They needed an adult to say "enough" because it wasn't in their vocabulary.

It isn't just me. The Bible confirms this observation, and says none of us was enough.

Why it's Good News
Like I said earlier, this is good news, for you and your kids. It provides you with daily opportunities to point them to the only One who is enough. When they feel the need to call out to Him, He'll answer.

Admitting you aren't enough will remind you to call out to Him more, and He'll answer you too. I noticed a major shift in our family when I stopped pretending I was enough. Admitting it didn't just take the pressure off me, it was a relief for everyone.

What You Can Do
Shift your focus from satisfying everyone to listening to everyone. When I try to protect my kids from disappointment, they're often disappointed. When I stop trying to fix it and truly listen, let them
express their feelings, and point them to God, they experience more peace. It's no longer about my ego, it's about each child developing a vibrant relationship with the only parent who will ever be enough.

Now it's time for action: If this post was helpful to you, please share it with another mom.  And for bonus points, take a moment to affirm another woman as a mother. Point out a specific way she blesses her family.

Who can you encourage and affirm as a mom today?

Hannah Kallio helps women recognize God's voice in their lives, so they can experience more of His peace and do more of what matters. She's a wife, mom of five, and Certified Christian Coach. Check out her blog for more encouragement for moms at hannahkallio.org
 

She developed a simple process to help busy moms get more out of their quiet time (even if you're not a morning person!) 
Download your free PDF at: http://hannahkallio.org/this-is-for-you/ .
 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Beauty and Gift of Grief

I love deep and I love messy and I love inappropriately for today's standards:) Picture the big sloppy kisses from a big messy dog that gets on people's nerves and that can be me. I an overly interested in how people feel, I want to be close to people way too soon in relationships, I feel people's pain and I want to take it away, I have always been this way and sometimes feel like I am just one big love sucker-upper. Not always a good thing, but it can be a God-thing as well...

I want to cry when people tell me their stories, I want to hug people I just met and I want to never,ever, EVER have my loved ones feel unloved, hurt, left-out, unappreciated, unnoticed. People are hurting, I can feel it almost as soon as I meet them. I am very sensitive and I believe that God has made me that way ON PURPOSE.  HOWEVER- life happens and my crazy-nutty-over-the-top ways of loving people have been extinguished and squashed out and humiliated so many times over the years that I can admit- that even as a Jesus girl- there have been some tightly shut places that have gotten pretty dusty over the years...

I can say ALOT about love in my words and actions, but my feelings have been well-guarded for quite some time. It's CRAZY CRAZINESS, but I have a confession to make- I have not cried a deep, good, messy cry in at least three years (the last time was the birth of my now three year old). My Mom used to tell me that crying was my way of relieving stress and that it was okay for me to cry- but somehow I stopped allowing myself to "go there".

At that time (when my Mom told me this, which by the way- was one of the BEST things she could have EVER told me), I seriously used to cry on a weekly basis...for real- when my husband married me he had no idea what he was getting into! He has been SO GOOD for me in that sense, allowing me to cry but then making me laugh so I can move on. I have cried tears for hours on end over past hurts, over relational wounds, when I see homeless people, when I watch movies, and sometimes for no apparent reason at all. Thank the Lord for anti-depressants- that is all I have to say:) Yes- I don't mind "going there"- we can discuss that another time if you'd like...:)

But over the years...truth be told- I have shut down a bit- maybe some of it was good- I had to be a Mom, maintain a FT job, keep things "together" to a point, but I have been given a gift recently that I am just so thankful for.

My father-in-law Eddie, passed away and my heart broke into a million pieces for the first time in three years...but my broken heart, became a softer heart and a more open heart-once again- to love and be loved...and I was drawn closer to God...

Being face to face with death and grief and all that encompasses has been something I did not expect- a gift for a hardened heart...a space to pause and weep and mourn and feel and heal. The last conversation I had with Eddie we talked about our Savior and how real He is and Eddie was filled with a deep excitement that one day He could experience just being in the presence of Jesus and then...a few days later...he was gone. I cannot put into words how much it meant to me that God allowed me that conversation with Eddie before he died.

And as we walked through two different memorial services, the boarded up places in my heart were bust open and oh what a sweet, sweet gift it was for me...

Thank you Eddie- for your life, legacy and for taking the time to share you heart with me right before you left this world. You gave me more than you know.





Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grace- Because I am Forever Learning What this Means


In the slow, steady rhythm of LIFE, the Spirit MOVES in and through and all around to give me peace, hope and joy. When I am close to God, I am loved so deeply and intimately, that He and I are one and my soul is full.

In the fast, rushing rhythm of BUSY, my Flesh MOVES in and controls, demands, manipulates all around to give me anxiety, fear and frustration. When I am far from God, I am lonely and isolated and my soul is empty.

Why would I choose to EVER move at the pace of SELF versus the PACE of GRACE? The PACE of GRACE is a PLACE where I REPLACE all that is NOT HIM with all that IS HIM and I TRACE the JOY and RELEASE the SAD.

The PACE OF GRACE is a PLACE where I can LIVE, AIDE and GROW, where I am SEEN, KNOWN and LOVED through the eyes of a HOLY GOD because of the BLOOD OF A PRECIOUS SAVIOR. In HIM, I can live in a PLACE of GRACE.

The PACE OF GRACE turns away from offenses and turns towards forgiveness, The FACE of GRACE is one of gentle, loving-kindness where nail-scarred hands HOLD TIGHT and KEEP STILL the desire to rush and move away towards the NOTHING that makes me think I am SOMETHING.

GRACE is all I HAVE and all I NEED and all I MUST GIVE. I want to pour OUT GRACE like a waterfall, never ending, powerful and strong. GRACE is STRONG, STRONG ENOUGH to beat down all SIN, all PAIN, all SHAME. GRACE ERASES...and I am MADE CLEAN OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

I want my WORDS to OOZE out GRACE with every syllable, phrase and sentence. For wounded souls to find that there is A GOD whose GRACE IS SUFFICIENT AND WHOSE POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS.

ACCEPTING GRACE means I am what I am and I will be WHAT HE MAKES OF ME as I completely SURRENDER TO HIS EMBRACE.

THE EMBRACE OF GRACE IS THE PLACE OF SALVATION, REDEMPTION AND ABUNDANT LIFE.



Monday, June 1, 2015

What You Had to Say About Being a Working Mom



It has been a few months since my post...
What I Think God Has to Say to Working Mamas and to my complete shock, the post went viral, had approximately 800,000 hits and there was a conversation on this blog including approximately 160 comments. Some comments were tough to take in, but thankfully this community handled them well.

Most were amazingly encouraging! For those of you who need some encouragement- I want to share some of my favorite comments

to re-energize you in your role as a Christian Working Mama.

 I continue in my belief that women who work outside the home and who are Christians are just like any other mother; they struggle, they love being a Mom, they question themselves and they love the Lord. Working plays a factor in their lives and they need support, encouragement and perspective.

 I am also a firm believer that all Moms are working Moms and my blog is not intended to EVER divide but to unite Mamas.

 I am a firm believer that we need each other and belong to each other and I LOVED these comments and am sharing them again! (I underlined some of my favorite quotes...)

 Here they are:


   "...But the universal truth, that common invisible thread that connects all mothers , isn't altered by where we spend our weekdays. Is who we are dictated by whether we watch "Sesame Street" every morning and worry that we should be doing more, or plan million dollar mergers and worry that we should be doing less? Mothers. We're exhausted and fierce and courageous and frightened and proud and embarrassed and overjoyed and slightly hysterical and so much more.  We are blessed with the most awe inspiring and terrific responsibility imaginable and we need each other. As another sister commented, we DO need to build each other up. There are plenty waiting to take us down...ourselves included. They will know we are His disciples by our love. "

"...there is not just one way to be there for your family. Just like there is not just one way or one place to serve God. A loving mom is a loving mom. My mom was at home part of the time, working or going to university at other times. I'm glad and proud of her choices in each instance."

"...One thing I have learned through the years is that we, as women, need to respect the decisions each other makes. Each mom in each family has a different path to take, and hopefully is being led by the Holy Spirit. We need to encourage each other along the journey because life is difficult and as moms, we all share a common bond. Let's lift each other up and encourage one another to be the very best we can be for ourselves and our families!"

 ".... what you said is so true Elizabeth! These kids with the working mom see the woman who trusts God for every ounce of energy and the one who realizes that two hours of Settlers of Catan and having them pitch in to help with laundry may be the better life lesson right now. I still pine for the days when I got to manage our home full time. But I love the special presence of God in the struggle of today. God's joy to you! Thanks for sharing with us."

"The Bible nowhere forbids a woman from working outside the home. However, the Bible does teach what a woman’s priorities are to be. If working outside the home causes a woman to neglect her children and husband, then it is wrong for that woman to work outside the home. If a Christian woman can work outside the home and still provide a loving, caring environment for her children and husband, then it is perfectly acceptable for her to work outside the home. With those principles in mind, there is freedom in Christ."

"In the day to day world, I do find myself being lost at time, falling through the cracks per say. This spoke to my heart BC this is my struggle, I won't share it with others for fear of judgment and negativity. I cried tears of wow this said it all. I feel more open and know that maybe I am not alone when the day comes to a close...I pray for all moms going the extra mile and being selfless. I pray for strength and peace of mind that we are on the right path."

"Thank you so much for this!! I need this just at this time. As a wife, a mother of 4 very involved active kids and full time employee, I get so overwhelmed at times....and I feel like this. Thank you for reminding me that this is the life God has given me...just this way, it is Because of HIM I make it through 8 hours of work, followed by basketball/baseball games, homework, dinner, prayer and rest. And your right HE has put certain people in my life to help me out....making it known that this is all HIM. Again thank you!!"

*One of my favorites*

From...Retired kindergarten teacher & mother
"I have taught school for 30 years; mostly in kindergarten. In my experience I observed my best students were the ones who were loved, given encouragement, & taught respect, kindness, & self discipline. It didn't matter if the parents were both working, were single parents, or were stay at home  mothers. Even the students who were in before & after school care did great if their parents were loving. I also taught students from all 3 backgrounds who were disrespectful, unkind to others, & had no self discipline. Just my opinion, but loving parents interested in their children's lives were the key to  successful caring children. I did note that the most successful students usually had some kind of Christian background, but not always. So advice from an old retired teacher, just love your little ones, show an interest in what they do. If you have to work, then work, just make sure your child is in loving safe hands when you can't be with them. Also, again, my opinion take your children to church somewhere. Most churches will help you teach respect, kindness, & self discipline."



Hope these encourage you!

Liz