Friday, January 29, 2016

What I Believe to be True about Women

Why am I writing? What is the purpose of my writing? Why does it feel so urgent for me to write?


Because I am a woman who seeks purpose, who seeks hope, who seeks to see new life, who seeks to understand connection, community and truth.

This is what I believe to be true about women. We feel deeply because we are created with these gigantic hearts that are in need of deep love and are in need to be in deep love with our creator, our spouse, our children, our calling and our church.

This is what I believe to be true about women. We are caregivers, we are nurturers, we are protectors, we are warriors, we are fighters, we are strong and we are real. We are first responders, we are cheerleaders, we are guardians, we are bravery and tenacity and honesty wrapped into one mighty daughter of the King.

This is what I believe to be true about women. We are created to CREATE. We are artists. We co-create life when we birth our babies, we create connection when we engage with other women, we create community when we step out of our homes, we create rhythm and song and melody that sings of our Creator.

This is what I believe to be true about women. We are workers. Workers in the home, caring for our young, in blood, sweat and tears and stained and torn knees, we keep our homes together, bonded, strong and holy . We are workers in the world with kingdom purpose. We have been knit together with unique skills and abilities that are fit for specific needs- within our families, our communities, our churches and our world. We are workers.

You there- single Mom, stay at home Mom, Working Mom, Work from Home Mom, Divorced Mom, Mom struggling with depression, addiction, hopelessness, you are ON PURPOSE- all of you, every part, every piece of your story, your wounds, your victories, your movements, all have meaning because of Him.

I write because I have a Holy God who lives in me that wants to speak words to hearts of women.

I am redeemed by the death of my Savior Jesus Christ and I am able to write, walk, live, love, laugh, grieve, dance, shout, pray, sing and rest WELL- because of Him.

It is my sweet pleasure to journey with all of you...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Working Mom Meets Snowstorm

So for many of you who live near the East Coast, you have also been stuck inside and playing outside due to a crazy blizzard.

I'm pretty sure Baltimore broke a record of 30 inches!

And now some of you working moms, rock the stay-at-home routine really well. When you have opportunities to be home all day with your children, you come alive. Then there are others like me, who tend to get a little stressed out , slightly overwhelmed at all of the opportunities for unstructured chaos, delightful fun.

In the past, during snowstorms, I tend to get extremely  maybe slightly anxious. I like schedules and routines, having space for alone time, and being physically active. Enter a snowstorm which renders me to being indoors – at least at first when the storm is raging, interrupting all of my usual routines and schedules and typically allows me very little space for alone time and I can get a little psycho I embrace it with open arms.

Sometimes I really wish I was not so high maintenance :-) so I've been working on asking the Lord to help me to be more intentional about letting things go and doing things differently and being uncomfortable. I've been trying to hold back when I feel the need to control, to allow spontaneity and fun more room in my life, to stay in the moment versus constantly evaluating the time in my day and how I am using it and although it's challenging – it is also very freeing.

I have to share, that I am super excited about how I handled the snowstorm this year. The way that I handled it – or should I say the way that the Holy Spirit handled me and I listened, and has shown me how much I have grown in the past year.

You know sometimes you just need to be reminded that you are moving forward.

And as a mom, you have these incredible little creatures in your life that if you pay attention and every now and then let them take the lead on things, you will find yourself in moments of rich life-giving joy.

Sometimes you need to just let your kids lick the cake batter out of the bowl right near the computer, your Bible, the nail polish, and crayons and realize that this life you have is absolutely amazing :-)

Sometimes you need to get creative and build racing tracks in your small house and laugh as your child squeals in delight with each and every car that goes zooming down that track and realize that sometimes doing the same thing over and over again is worth it when it makes someone else happy.

Sometimes you need to take a chore like doing laundry, one that you usually try to get done as quickly as possible, and make it a game. You need to play "laundry cashier" and have each and every item of clothing scanned, checked and approved by your three-year-old. And you need to remember that sometimes slowing things down allows for fun and joyful new learning to occur.


 

Sometimes you just need to pull out the twister mat, watch your kids twist and turn, fall down and laugh and well- who cannot help but love twister :-) It's so good to be able to laugh at yourself and children have an amazing way of teaching us that.
 
So I guess you could say that during this snow storm, the Lord gave me some awesome opportunities to be intentional with my children – by seeing them through different eyes, noticing the goodness and joy in the simple things and letting go of what is not important.
 
Love you all!
 
Liz

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Struggling with Working Outside the Home?


This is a very challenging post to write...  

 For me personally, although I have struggled with working outside the home and I have had moments of great tension/stress, I have never felt that I was doing something against God's will and I never felt like my work was keeping the from being the wife and mother that I wanted to be.  

 I also happen to have a very flexible job and a very understanding employer. I consider myself very blessed. 

 I know that there are many of you out there who do not want to work outside the home and struggle with this tremendously. You have a fiercely strong desire to be home with your children and every day is a tremendous struggle for you. 

 You may work for an employer who shows no empathy for your role as a mother. You may have a husband who works very hard and you don't want to make him feel guilty by complaining. There are so many different scenarios that a mother who works outside the home can be in.

 This post is not intended to answer all of your questions and believe me that it comes from a place of simply wanting to encourage and support as much as possible. I am assuming that the advice that I have, most of you have already been seeking out – because I know you are strong women of God.  

 But even if there is one lady out there who finds something in this post, helpful, it will be worth it. 

 If you are truly struggling with being a CWM and feel that working is preventing you from fulfilling your calling in your home and as a mother, pay attention to these feelings.  Ask yourself the following questions:

1.    How is my marriage? Am I able to nurture, support and grow closer to my husband right now?

2.   How are my children? Are they growing in their faith? Are their needs being met? Am I able to give them the attention they need?

 
3.   How is my home? Am I able to manage the basics (with the help of my husband) such as finances, food, organization, scheduling?

You may be struggling in these areas and may need some strategies to strengthen things- or you may need to re-evaluate your role as a working Mom.
 
My thoughts-

1.    Pray about it. Fast and pray for a few weeks. Pick a day/week and fast and ask the Lord for clarification.

2.   Talk to your husband and glean his perspective on the above questions and concerns.

3.   Map out the areas of weakness and struggle together and work together to determine possible solutions and ways to make sure needs are being met.

4.   Consider alternatives at your workplace.

5.   Pray about meeting with your boss and softening his/her heart.

6.   Request options; working from home, replacing a weekday with a weekend day to have time to do things at home (maybe hubby can take over on a Saturday morning while you work), express to your boss your desire to be a good Mom and also be an excellent employee.  

7.   Think about your support system and how you can reach out for help. Remember that you are not alone. The body of Christ is designed to work together. Seek out people who can support you as a working Mom- you never know until you ask. Don’t isolate and assume people will judge you or think less of you. Pair up with a stay at home Mom and ask for prayer and support.

 
Remember: God knows your heart and wants to support you.  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and need and then trust, wait and remained grounded in  the Word.  

 If you are struggling with working outside the home- comment below and ask for prayer. Let's support each other!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Working Moms- God Sees You

Working Moms- God Sees You
*a revised post from my What I Think God Has to Say to Christian Working Mamas

Jesus , throughout His ministry saw people and He sees you too...

He sees you...

He sees you at 5:30am when you are struggling to get out of bed and get your family ready for the day.
He sees you packing lunches and prepping breakfast and dinner and thinking about your sweet children upstairs still asleep, hoping that you are doing the right thing by working.
He sees you and the care you take packing backpacks and leaving notes in lunches because you are hoping that note will feel like a gigantic hug from a Mama who misses her kiddos during the day.
He sees you at work, looking at pictures on your desk, on your phone and laughing to yourself at the latest antics of your little ones.

     
He sees you picking up your kids, that first hour being tense- you wishing everything could just go perfectly, and them transitioning and feeling out of sorts and you wanting to get homework done, dinner made and when you snap at your kiddos-
He sees you feeling like a failure.
He sees you stopping and hugging them, putting down the burnt dinner and pulling out the cereal and playing Legos in your work clothes and He says- "Atta girl! You know what's most important!"
       
He sees you staring at them while they sleep, loving them so fiercely and deeply.
He sees you at church on Sunday, staring at the bulletin and seeing that you can't make the women's bible studies because they are during the day and how you don't want to go to an evening study anyways because every night belongs to those babies.
He sees you staring at piles of laundry and wanting to cry.
He sees you feeling alone a lot and wanting more connections.

He sees you wanting to enjoy each moment with your kids but also needing friends and some time for yourself.
He sees your sacrifice.
He sees you and He is proud of you!   As proud of you as you are when your 6 year old hits a home run, or when your 3 year old starts to dress himself.
He is proud of your hard work, the details you put into your homemaking, and the ways in which you try to live for Him  in the workplace.
He is proud of you for watching your finances and budgeting and looking for ways to save money so that one day you can reduce your hours.
He is proud of you for working late some nights so that you can attend a field trip or earn extra money for school shopping.
       
He  wants you to know, to REALLY KNOW- that He has created these children with YOU in mind.  YOU are EXACTLY what they need!
Never put yourself down for what you can/cannot do for these babies, but remember that He  will fill in the gaps with His Holy Spirit and He will find people to help you when you cannot be there.
Your job is to help them see that the relationship that you have with God is most important.
Your job is to let them watch you depend on Him , so that they can see that: you love Jesus, you need Jesus and that- Jesus is always faithful to you.
And when they look back, they will remember how much you loved Him and loved them in every crazy, quiet, frustrating, and joyful moment.
They will remember the prayers before leaving the house, the bible stories in the car, the lessons on forgiveness after a frustrating conversation, the Jesus Love Me's being sung over their sleepy bodies as they drift off at night...
       

They will see these things and they will want to know Him more and that is all that matters dear Working Mama-Daughter of the King-Precious Child of Mine.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Morning Mayhem Moments

Just some ramblings about my life...not sure why I want to share but maybe someone will relate or learn something or laugh at me and that would be cool too- if it makes them realize they are not alone in this crazy working Mama business...


So- I wake up around 6:30am- the goal is 5:30am- the goal is not being met/HAS not been met in many months. When I do get up at 5:30am- my life runs fairly smoothly and the other days- well- we survive by the grace of God, lots of coffee and my mad abilities to multi-task, yell and act like a drill sergeant calmly organize my family and gently instruct them in the way they should go.


I grab clothes- somedays I decide I'd rather wear jeans because I know it is going to take at least 3 hours before I feel like being super professional. Thankfully I have a casual work environment. Other days I want to dress up because maybe I haven't showered in three days (I know- EWW)  and I have been wearing frumpy clothes and acting like I am 7 for several days (meaning- whiny and irritable) and I need to be reminded that I actually CAN be grown-up and act professionally...
THEN- I grab hubby's clothes to iron. Some weeks I breathe a sigh of relief when I see he has taken his clothes to the cleaners and I can skip the 30 minute process of trying to iron his clothes perfectly- because I am a perfectionist and he works at a bank and I want my man to look GOOD.

The dog is freaking out and needs to get out so I let him out and 2 seconds later he is scratching like crazy and I am getting him food and water so that he can then lean up against the clothes I am ironing with his slobbery lips:)

I hit the coffee on and my ironing skills improve dramatically as the caffeine hits the system. I try to stop and sip about every 3-4 movements of the iron to keep myself going.

Around this time, most mornings I hear a little bottom thumping down the steps and my little guy walks into the playroom/ironing/printer/dog crate/bike shed room where I am and he plops down on his beanbag chair. He is usually sucking his thumb and dragging his blanky and he sweetly watches me iron and I sing to him or we just chill in silence...

Some mornings I stop the ironing and just sit with him until he is ready to watch a show or come watch me iron. He likes to snuggle so that is top priority.  Now some mornings, I have to admit that he asks me for cold cheese pizza for breakfast and I let him eat it. Just thought I'd throw that one out there- he is by far- the pickiest eater in our home and somedays- well- cold pizza sound just as good as healthy oatmeal and fruit. I know I've lost my reasoning a bit- it will come back some day- right?! :)

Next I hear the loud thumping of my big guy- coming down the steps like he is ready to fight an army. "Mom! Did you make me breakfast yet?!" Now we get into the daily discussion of him getting his own breakfast (which he is getting better at)- 50% of the time I try to have some fruit, yogurt  and/or his bowl, cereal and milk out and the other 50% of the time, he drags the kitchen chair over and gets the cereal off the top of the fridge and pours way too much cereal into his bowl, leaving milk splashes and Lucky Charms everywhere...


I try to get him to stop and hug me before he does anything else- usually he obliges:)



Next I race up the stairs while the two boys lovingly fight over TV shows and eat and I yell- "Make sure you pray first!" so that I can feel like I am a good Christian mother. I take a shower, and about halfway through my little sweet guy knocks on the door and asks if he can sit and "help" me get ready. I cherish these moments- seriously- he sits in his little Handy Manny underwear and gives me instructions- "Mommy- you need to put that powder on first. The you need to color your eyes- wait, let me do that." Oh- and THAT is really interesting:)

My big guy is now dressed, has eaten, watched a show and is on the prowl for something to bring to school to show his buddies or to show during share-time. Which mean he is yelling for me to help him find a tiny Lego particle that I am supposed to know exactly where he left:) Many days I wander back in the house while the car is running for that Ninjago sword or new Pokemon card.

Typically in between all of this I make two PB and J sandwiches, one for breakfast and one for lunch, throw some fruit in a bag, refill my travel coffee mug, water bottle and usually remember to put my shoes on- although the other day I only wore one sock all day.

My kiddos get in the car, after tripping over the mess in the front of the house...
and after bouncing on our mini-trampoline about 6 times and after I ask them 3 times to get in the car now "please get in the car my sweet angels it's time for school now". My big guy almost always walks out of the house without his coat or backpack, seriously- this is an everyday occurrence and my little guy still wants to be carried to the car because he all of a sudden "feels sick" and I stumble out of the house with my gigantic purse, my laptop, my 3 year old, and his Diego backpack and I almost kill myself just trying to walk to the car.

These boys are the light of my life, and all of their little antics and all of the crazy chaos of the mornings make me smile. I pray over them both on the way to drop them off and I say the same thing everyday. And even after all that cray-cray in the house, they are quiet and they close their eyes and they say- Amen. My big guy still walks around the car to give me a kiss through my rolled down window and my little guy and I have the same conversation- "How much does Mommy love you?" "Big, Big" "And?" "To the moon and back." "Does Mommy think about you and pray for you all day?" "Yes." "Are you gonna have an awesome day today?" "Yes Mommy." Somedays I get lucky and these monkeys even hug each other goodbye.

Then I drive off, swig down some more coffee and pray my way into my workday. I seriously adore those morning mayhem moments...I would not trade any of it. It is messy and it is chaotic, but it is fun, and silly and real life. And we stay grounded in Jesus no matter what because I make sure of it. I will never stop making sure Jesus is number one even in the Morning Mayhem Moments. Do I do it perfectly, never, but I do it and  He makes up the rest for all of my foibles, mix-ups and craziness.




Somedays there are no clean clothes, but my big guy finds something dirty, throws it on and smiles away as if he is dressed to the nine. My three year old sleeps in his undies but insists on wearing his best jammies to his babysitter's house and it is hilarious.

There it is- a little glimpse. I want to hear more about your life...it is magical, and it is insanity and it is delight, am I right?

Lots of Love!

Liz