Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Some Days You Just. Can. Not. (And guess what, that's okay)

 That time when you just can't even handle one more minute with your precious little babes and you skip evening teeth brushing because you might call it quits on parenting if those sweet things try to defy you one more time today. Then you see the toy-strewn family room but would rather pick all the toys up yourself in QUIET then wait while your children dawdle over their pick-up routine (I KNOW, okay. Not a good habit. But let's be honest, some days...) And then, to top all the wonder of childhood off with a cherry you skip bedtime routine and cut it down to one (short) story because MAMA IS GOING TO LOSE HER EVER-LOVING ANY MINUTE NOW so goodnight sweet thing, Jesus loves you and so do I but right now I'm out! Peace and sweet dreams and a better tomorrow.

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.

This week I am linking up with Women with Intention, Morning Motivated Mom, and Pat & Candy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Why I Don't Consider Being a Mom to be my Highest Calling

 Anybody who knows me knows that I love being a mom. Interacting with my young ones brings light to my eyes and laughter to my lips (most of the time, let's be real). I think often about how to help my kids thrive in this wacky world. I love pontificating our family's future and cooking up crazy ideas that we can do together. I love laughing at dinnertime and snuggling at night (I don't so much love waking up to their zealous joy for the day...give a girl her coffee before all that business starts, would ya?) I love the high honor of being called by God to speak life and truth and love into these baby hearts and helping them to grow. The task is crazy btw...who would pick an ordinary girl like me for such a grown-up task as this? Only God! He's crazy enough for the lot of us!

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.

This week I am linking up with Tuesday Talk, Women with Intention, A Little R&R, & Pat & Candy!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Listen to the Music

Sanity is highly overrated. When I dream about the kind of woman I want to become, it is not one who has all my t's crossed and my i's dotted. I want to be the kind of woman who dances to the music of life--even when nobody is watching. I came across a quote by Friedrich Nietzche that delights my soul. He said that "those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." I want to hear the music, don't you!? I want to be the crazy one who is dancing in delight and joy, bringing life and color to those around me even when I look flat-out crazy. I want to be the one who helps those around me to hear the music too! Because it is there beloved, it is there.

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!

Love You!