Thursday, April 28, 2016

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


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...


Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Many Faces of Motherhood

Brandy Hynes
I am so excited to be sharing about my journey with motherhood with a new friend- Brandy Hynes.  Brandy is a mother whose life, on the surface seems much different than mine.   Mother of six, homeschooler, living in Hawaii!  But we have made a strong connection through an amazing blog/community called Me Too Moments for Moms. 

This is a blog that has a wide variety of contributors- of course all mothers, sharing about their ups and downs and in-between moments and reading these posts is like breathing a breathe of fresh air. Hearing those words- "Me Too"- is there anything more needed most days as a mother? Brandy invited me to post in a series with three other women.  Ladies- we are stronger together- believe than and don't hold back from connecting with mothers everywhere you go. We may have different paths on this journey, but what we have in common is most important- seeking God's call and leading our children to Christ.

Here is her introduction to the series:

"Motherhood has a way of finding us in places we never thought we’d be. It sneaks into the weakest parts of our being and strangles truths that had somehow always gone unnoticed. It has us bursting for joy and wiping away tears from one moment to the next. It is perhaps the greatest appointment we will ever know and yet, it leaves our souls aching…wondering who we were before, who will be later, how we will balance it all."
 Here is the rest of The Many Faces of Motherhood-part 1.

And here is my part!

My journey as a mother is not unlike most I’m sure. It consisted of a series of stumbling, falling, getting up again, dancing, soaring, running and crying on my knees moments. I wish I could say that every move I made, I covered in prayer, sought out the best support and advice and stayed consistent in my own relationship with the Lord throughout, but that would be misleading. 

I found that the Lord found me unprepared and needy and pulled me up, nurtured me and taught me along the way, as so often He does whenever we do anything new!

Becoming a mother awakened things within my soul that I did not know were even there. Growing up in a loving, but broken family, I had much to learn about navigating the role of being a mother. My own mother provided me with an excellent example and the things I took from her continue on to this day- knowing my children, providing for their needs, giving them opportunities to grow, giving them choices, paying attention to their feelings and opinions, and more.

My sister in law told me once that when you become a mother you also begin to grieve a loss- that loss is of your identity as a child yourself. You have to move away from being needy of parenting as you become  one doing the parenting yourself. Not that you don’t need your parents, but it is different. When you become a mother you are now always thinking about yourself AND your child. There is something so terrifyingly beautiful about having a person grow within your body, giving birth and then being responsible for another life. It is enough to shake you to the core.

To read the rest-
The Many Faces of Mothering Part 2

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Needed: Girlfriends that Know my Heart

So I have to be real – I always try to be, when my heart starts to beat and the heaviness comes in my soul – I pay attention nowadays and ask God to show me what is up with me.

The truth is that I am finding myself feeling rather lonely throughout this season of my life. I think a lot of mothers feel this way. Lives become very consumed with children, household responsibilities, working, etc. All of those things are good things and they are part of our calling and responsibilities – but I think we need to pay more attention to the need that we all have for friends who really know our souls.

I can say honestly the right now I have one. We see each other maybe once a month – maybe every other month.  I don't have to keep up a smiley face for her, I'm allowed to whine, to complain about things to talk about irritations, sadness and frustrations – she doesn't give me advice, or qualify/disqualify things I'm saying, most often she just sits her coffee, nods her head and says, "me too".

Women need other women.  We don't just need women as mere acquaintances, we need women with that we can cry with, we need women who don't care if we're in a bad mood, we need women who welcome us into their hearts. It's not easy to do this. I have to admit that from time to time I tried to get closer to certain women in my life and pretty soon I find out that the depth of our friendship is only going to go so far. And I respect that because everyone is at a different place. The main reason that women don't trust other women is because they've been hurt by other women. But I think the real lie is feeling that keeping up walls and boundaries somehow keep us safe. I find that they keep me pretty lonely.

Some days I'd rather feel hurt and then work through a difficult issue with a friend, then feel nothing and not have a friend to work out difficult issues with. I need some more soul friends, heart sisters... So I'm praying that not only will God bring some of these ladies in my life, but that I would become one. Sometimes we need to make the first step. I work full time, I lead a weekly women's Bible study, I have two boys in baseball and a husband who runs a Little League – I have 1 million reasons why don't have time to sit down for a meaningful conversation with another female. But all of these reasons are total junk in light of the fact that the Lord has created me with a need for friendship, fellowship and communion with other women.

I don't know if there's anyone else out there struggling  with the same thing – but I just felt like I needed to put it out there. What can we do about this?  We need to open up, reach out, make space and take risks. This past Sunday at church I gave my testimony. It's been a long time since I've given my testimony. I've gotten to become a fairly comfortable speaker and there's been a good amount of time between my life now as a fairly strong Christian and my past hurts and struggles – I was fairly certain that I would be able to deliver a powerful spirit-filled testimony without cracking a tear.

But the truth is that – I was only a few words in and I started to cry.  It dawned on me today that a large reason that sharing my testimony filled me with so much emotion was the fact that it felt so good to be open, honest and intimate with others. I think my tears were related to my struggles and to the blessings of my testimony, but I think they also spoke very loudly about the simple fact that my heart is lonely for friendship, closeness with others.