Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Anybody ever have a day like that? From the moment your eyes open to the last goodnight kiss and "I love you" is said you are just on edge and the dominos are crashing and you feel like Epic Fail Mom because you can't handle your life or your kids and what is wrong with you?! Take a breath, soul! As Annie says, "The sun will come out tomorrow." And even if it doesn't, God's mercies will come fresh-baked and ready for you to savor. We all have days (heck, sometimes even seasons) where we are not totally on our game. Sometimes we don't even know what "our game" looks like and life is just hard. Maybe it's a phase our kids are in or maybe it's a phase we ourselves are in--and we just can't be that mom we want to be. Do you know what? We can keep the fire while ditching the guilt. It's great to have desires to be a mom who loves her kids well and lives that out daily in whatever way God has crafted it to be in you. But do you know what else is okay? Failing at that sometimes. Today I spent too much time on Facebook, stuck the kids in front of the tv so that I could cope with life, and tried my hardest not to snap each sentence out in my harshest tone. I wasn't "fun-loving mom" or "sweet-snuggly mom" or "attentive and interested mom". I was "mom who did the bare minimum and tried to smile more than I frowned". It was not awesome. But it was all I could do today. And that is okay.
I love my kids more than life itself, and most days that shows. But some days we need to let Jesus make up for the lack both in us and in our kids. We need to be kind to ourselves the way we would to a good friend, and take a long hot shower in God's grace. It may not make the day go by any quicker, but I promise you it feels a whole lot better to have an "off" day in the freedom of knowing that God will take over than in the guilt-trip of feeling like you are failing.
So to all the moms out there who had (are having) a hard day, hang in there. Take a bite of God's fresh mercy and pour an extra cup of coffee to go with it. Take a short-cut. Pray. And let God do His thing today because he is really good at doing his thing on days like this. You can try again tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
As a mama with littles, the main focus at this point in life is them. They're tiny ones still, with much dependence on yours truly to be their lunch-preparer, diaper-changer, boo-boo kisser, nap-enforcer, and primary playmate. The entirety of the day is filled with thoughts of them and attentions to their needs because that is the season of life we are in. Also, I want to be a mama who is present and so I strive to give them eye-contact and verbal interaction with regularity because I feel like those things are important for them both intellectually and emotionally (plus, let's be honest, this extrovert would go crazy if I didn't chat with them because PEOPLE--even little ones--are my favorite!)
The thing is, as much as I love being a mom and as much as I do feel with full intensity that if we are mamas it is part of the calling God has put on our life and we'd best be striving to do our very best to love those kids well because we have THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE to answer to and He is serious about making sure children are LOVED WELL and VALUED... (deep breath)...as much as all that is true, I don't think being a mom is my highest calling. And I have to tell you, I kind of wrestle with that. Because this mama bear would do anything for her cubs and there is nobody in this world I feel more responsible for than them. It is mighty hard to loosen that grip a little sometimes. Anybody else?
But the truth, when we get right down to the nitty-gritty, is that our allegiance first and foremost belongs to God. We can surely take the reigns on our own life and he's likely not going to shoot us down with a lightning bolt, but he doesn't really have to. We are fully capable of messing up the entirety of our lives--our marriages, our relationships with our children, and all the other most-important things all by ourselves, aren't we? And when we do, grace is waiting. This is true in parenting, surely, but it is true in the wholeness of our lives. Raising up our cubs is a part of the bigger calling of being a follower of Jesus.
"What does all of this this mean for my little life?" I've been wondering. I don't fully know, but I think in part it means that when I'm mothering my kids and being intentional with them I am fulfilling what God has called me to. I don't think it means I need to change what I'm doing, as much as where I'm looking. Perhaps, more than anything, my "take away" (because apparently we're at youth group right now) is that I need to keep my eyes and heart wide open in all areas of my life. For the next several years my kids will be a primary focus for me. God has given them to me as a gift and I cherish them. I want to nurture them and enjoy them and teach them how to be good and strong and brave. I want to cheer them on and boost them up. But I don't want them to grow-up thinking they are all I have eyes for. I want them to see me have eyes for Jesus. I want them to see me look outside of myself and outside of themselves and on to the many ways God has called and created us each to breath him out.
When all is said and done, I think perhaps what I am learning is that I want to be God-focused no matter what my life looks like in its current state. In the kid-centric world I am in right now, through the rebellious and rocky teenage years, and into the empty nest I will one day likely find too quiet, HE is my rock. I hope that this is the legacy I pass on to my children. Through loving them and through loving Jesus.
Monday, October 5, 2015
I don't always hear the music, though. There are days when the only music resounding in my ears is that of whiny children and my own grumpy tones. May this be the exception, more and more, as I learn the art of listening to the music around me. There is a children's book we read frequently called Giraffe's Can't Dance (by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Reese). In the book a wise cricket speaks these words, "Everything makes music if you really want it to." We live in a God-breathed world and though it is full of brokenness, at it's root is unadulterated beauty and glorious music.
Can you hear it? The sweet lullaby of a baby coo and the sharp trill of a toddler scream...both representations of the vibrancy and life within our young ones. It is easy to hear the music in a child's laugh or a teenager's heartfelt moment of authenticity but what about in a door slamming or an angry "I hate you!"? It is much more difficult to find the music in these moments, but perhaps these moments are the pause before a crescendo of opportunity. Opportunity to express love and forgiveness and grace.
The glorious melodies of heaven and earth surround us, if we but listen. May we hear the music today. And may we dance!