Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Tired Mama's Search for Rest

I sit, eyes bleary and heart heavy as I nurse my sweet little boy. For a moment it is quiet, and my body and heart both need that moment desperately. It is only noon and it has already been a long day. I long for the sound of my husband's truck ready to rescue me, but we are not even close to that time. I ponder upon God's words written in Matthew, "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." Ah, rest. Even in the midst of days filled with crying and whining and an apparently infinite pile of needs that never quite seem to stop...I can have a heart that finds rest. The word is like honey on my tongue in those moments that the demands of motherhood feel most overwhelming.

God has given me high-maintenance babes who cry easily and often and need snuggles just about every second of their waking (and in my little guy's case, sleeping) hours.  I am quite sure this is all in answer to my own mother's prayers that I would have kids like me...payback! Through them I experience the beauty and burden of learning to love beyond myself and my own capabilities. There is no way by my own strength I could soothe an inconsolable baby for what seems like hours on end, while at the same time playing tea party with my toddler and giving her the love and attention she needs. And to do this with a joy-filled heart and words of gentleness and love while having far less sleep than this body prefers? Ha! No. Way.

But God, who purposely designed my beautiful, vibrant, high-intensity, deeply passionate children, knew that they would need more than I could give. And in my weakness He provides abundantly. It is an amazing thing, when I think about it, that every time I love on my babes it is not just my love they are receiving. They are getting a trickle of my love and an ocean of His. This brings peace to my troubled soul when I wonder how I can possibly have enough to meet all their needs. I don't. And that's okay. Because at the end of the day, God does. And He is more than capable.

Thank you God that when I have nothing left to give, I find you. On the darkest days and in the hardest moments may my heart find rest in you. 

You can find this, and other great posts linked up with Time Warp WifeMom's Morning Coffee, & We Are That Family this week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mama Lessons: Turning Jealousy into Joyfilled Learning

Mama's, I am so amazed by all you do! I mean, I have to tell you that I am often in awe of all the things you juggle, seemingly effortlessly. (For you non-mamas out there, I am often in awe of you as well, but today I am focusing on the mamas). I'm not trying to dog on myself, but sometimes I wonder if I didn't get the mama gene. I mean, I love playing with my babies and could love on them all day long...but nothing else seems to get done! And if it does, it is difficult to keep a cheerful attitude about it because it probably means I had to stay up til near midnight just to end up with a semi-clean kitchen and swept floor!

 Some mamas seem to have it all down, don't they? I watch them (not even on facebook but in real flesh-and-blood life) and think, "How does she get that all done and still have a smile!? How does she get that all done and still get to bed ever? How does she do all of this and still have time to (fill in the blank here...read, blog, paint her nails, exercise, have time with her husband, journal,  breathe, etc.) I don't know. I like to think she has a secret maid hiding in her garage...although that would be a bit creepy and I'm not sure we can be friends if you hide people in your garage.

ANYWAY, I don't know how these mamas appear to do it all effortlessly. What I do know is that all of us mamas are gifted in a variety of ways. What if, instead of being envious of other mamas or trying to find their weaknesses so we can feel better about ourselves, we knocked it all off and focused on what we can learn from each other and how we can grow together?

I have a friend who is one of those mamas I am constantly amazed by. She's a great mom to her kids, a loving wife to her man, and her house is beautifully maintained. What's more, she seems to find delight in all of these things and I almost never hear her complain about something she has to do. If I chose to, I could be envious of how it appears to all come so effortlessly to her. I could compare my kids or my spouse or my house or my whatever. But what would that do other than alienate me from this friend I love spending time with? Instead, I have chosen to see her strengths (which happen to be my weaknesses) as areas I can grow in, and her as the perfect person to help me do that! I have learned a lot about organization and planning and schedules from her. It has helped me become more efficient in my areas of weakness and not dread them so much. On the flip side, I can encourage her in the areas she feels weak in. I can give my perspective or what has worked for me in some area or other of life or parenting and she is better for it. It's a win-win! Not to mention I love just being around her and delight in her company and how sad to give that up because of my insecurity and pride!

Mamas, whether you believe it or not, you have something to offer. Right now you might only see your spit-up-stained second-day-wearing-this-shirt-in-a-row-and-I-haven't-showered self, trying to keep your sanity while you prepare dinner with a screaming baby and sinkful of unwashed dishes. It might be hard to fathom what you have to offer. But you, mama, are working hard. You are in the trenches and it can be hard to see what eternal impact you are making on anybody right. You might even fear you are making a negative impact because you just lost your temper with your toddler...again. But you are a mama I would love to spend time with! I know you have something I could learn from you because we all have something to teach and something to give. So, if you're feeling insecure or frustrated that your life doesn't look like "her" life, take a breath. It's okay. You know, if you can step out of your umbrella of insecure jealousy, you might learn something...and you might make a lifelong friend. :)

This week I am linking up with Simple Moments Stick and West Coast Mama!