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Finding God Everyday Now Found Blog

Whew…Yesterday is Gone

Yesterday was one of those ugly, in-the-trenches mom days. Hours spent in the car shuffling around town to all the places we needed to be. A long wait at the doctor’s office with two kids and a baby in tow. Feeling well-covered in all the fluids that babies make (I’ll leave that one there…). Two kids with questions that seemed never to end and a baby who just wouldn’t sleep…at all. And it seemed that everything that possibly could go wrong did.

Some of the thoughts that passed through my head included:

I don’t know if I can make it…

If I hear “Mom!” one more time, I swear….

It would feel so great to throw the remote straight at the TV right now…or punch a wall…

I’m failing…

You know? One of “those” days. Just. Barely. Hanging. On.

Then, this morning, my alarm went off early, as it does on Wednesdays so I can go write. But I was confused. In all the mess of yesterday, I’d completely forgotten that today would be a new day, with new hopes and new happenings. I could get up, grab a cup of coffee and spend some time doing something I love, soaking in grace and the fresh mercies that come with every morning.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Here’s the problem with those problem days…When we allow ourselves to be defined by our fears, our feelings, our failures, rather than be defined by the Father. The problem isn’t that the difficult days come. We were told that they would.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12

It’s not strange to have a difficult day where everything feels upended. But what will we do with those days? What truths will emerge from those fiery trials? Here are a few truths I walked away with after yesterday:

My God is incredibly gracious and forgiving. Without Him, I am utterly lost.

My husband is my hero. (Thanks, babe, for listening to me vent, dropping everything to pick up the kids from class, picking up dinner, checking on the baby when he started to cry, handling the moments of discipline the evening brought, tossing in some laundry, and still managing to put up some drywall in our current room under renovation…all after coming home from your own long day at work.)

My kiddos have amazing brains and hearts that want to help. All their questions just reveal the depths of their inquisitiveness and the honor I have of guiding them into wisdom and knowledge.

Showers wash away the ickiness on my skin and mercy washes away the ickiness in my soul. Pretty simple. I just need to choose to grab that shower when I have a free moment and receive the mercy handed to me at every moment.

So, what will your day hold? What has it already been like? And what truths will you carry away from it?

Will you choose to be defined by the fears that attack? Or the feelings that shift? Or the failing moments? Or will you, rather, be defined today by the Father who’s standing right by your side, hands full of forgiveness and grace just for you?

photo via Pixabay

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Finding God Everyday Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

What Names Are You Calling Your Children

A friend of mine is mama to three wonderful sons. I’m sure they’re quite human, with flaws and weaknesses. But I only know that because they have pulses beating. From my friend’s mouth comes life spoken over these sons of hers. She may be younger than me, but she’s a mama-mentor to me especially on those difficult days when it’s hard to see the amazing in my children.

She has names for her sons that call them into their identity, like “The Strong One” and “Lil Warrior.” I’ve never heard her complain about her sons. I’ve only ever heard her speak of her prides and joys with genuine pride and joy. These names she calls them by not only lift them up, but they call out identity from within.

So, when God spoke to my heart last month, giving me new names for my family members, I was thrilled! I was at a women’s conference and it was during worship on Friday night when I heard Him speak. And He spoke newness and life and identity. He gave me new names that I was now tasked with speaking over my family members.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:17

When bedtime comes for the little ones, I’m usually more than ready for it. But that night was different. I gathered my brood on the living room floor…me, with bubbling-over excitement and a sense of urgency…them with a look of confusion on their faces. And life tumbled from my lips.

My daughter, I declared, is called “The Worshiper.” It’s fitting for this little girl who can sing praises for hours with hands lifted. It’s a challenge, calling her to focus on the blessings all around, thanking the One responsible for giving.

My son, “Servant Leader”…in that order. He loves to serve and he loves to lead. This name puts in focus the reality that in order to be a leader worthy of being followed, he must first be a servant. Then, those he serves will know that he leads with their best in mind rather than according to his own agenda.

My husband received his name, “The Tackler,” which is hugely appropriate for this football fan. But, football aside, here stands a man of God who moves forward in fearless obedience to God, ready and willing to tackle any challenge before him. Here is a man who can be trusted with immense tasks because he first trusts God to equip him.

Then there was me: “Water Walker.” Of late, songs like Oceans and You Make Me Brave have spoken vibrantly to my soul, calling me out beyond the safety of the shore and into the unknown. Whether the waters are choppy due to storms or calm in the mundaneness, walking across them is miracle. God is calling me out to walk over the impossible situations, be they stormy or mundane…and to see the miraculous in every moment.

What about you? Do you have names for your children? Your husband? Yourself? Are they names full of life or are they, honestly, full of death?

In the recent weeks since being given these names, there have been some tough mommy moments, where my kids’ behavior hasn’t aligned with who they are. This reminder is where I go; what I speak over them again and again.

To the son demanding his own way, “Who are you, son?” “I’m the Servant Leader.” A shift occurs…

To the daughter beginning to whine…. “Who are you, daughter?” “The Worshiper.” A new perspective…

To my own soul, when I feel pulled down under the weight of impossible things, “Who am I?” Water Walker…taking miracle-steps through storms and mundane alike.

God has a new name for you too. One that speaks to who you are, how He sees you. Would you stop today and ask Him? What does He declare over your children? How does He see your husband? Who does He say you are? And…will you agree with Him?

[This post first appeared at Next Level Mama.]

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10 ways to apply 10 minutes inTENtionally!

 

Are you inTENtional in your relationships with your children? Beneath the weight of living and day-to-day responsibilities, it’s so easy to stay in survival mode. We think it’s too hard…we aren’t doing enough…WE aren’t enough. But God always is. When we partner with Him in raising these kiddos He’s entrusted to us, when we put aside time on purpose, we can live inTENtionally. Check out my latest ebook, The inTENtional Mama, a quick-read where the inspirational meets the practical day-to-day. You’ll be blessed, uplifted, inspired, and equipped to become an inTENtional Mama! [Available where ebooks are sold!]

 

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Finding God Everyday Now Found Blog

You’re a Good Mom (Even When Your Heart Lies)

Portrait

When I was still in the throes of brand-new motherhood, with my first-born just a few months old, I felt defeated.  Too little sleep…too many emotions…too much I didn’t know.

Steve was working ridiculous hours back then, from home.  So, he was there, but he wasn’t.  It was a difficult balance, especially as we lived in a 600-sq-ft guest house while we saved up for a home of our own.

I spent much of my time doubting my motherly abilities.  What right did I have to guide this little life?  Who was I anyway?  I felt like a terrible mom.

And, one day, when I drove several miles with my son not properly locked in his car seat, the supposed validity of these inward thoughts rang through.  What if something had happened??

The day after that less-than-stellar car-seat incident, I was pulling out of the awkwardly shaped driveway, my son, safe and secure in the back.  And the moment was actually quiet.  Quiet enough for God to poke through the dismal direction of my thoughts.  He simply told me His thoughts, “You’re a good mom!”

What?!  Did I just imagine that?  Just seconds before I’d been reprimanding myself for my failures of the day before.  And then, God had the audacity to tell me I’m a good mom?  Well, yes…that’s exactly what He said.  He knew the doubts raging in my heart.  He knew the failure I felt.  And He knew the reminder I needed.

He still knows.  And He still reminds me.  Sometimes the reminders come in those brief, quiet moments when God and I are having a morning chat.  But, usually He tells me directly through the lips of my children.  When my son comes up and squeezes the breath out of me with his strong six-year-old arms, I hear God speaking through his words, “You’re my best momma ever!”  I feel the warmth of God’s embrace, His acceptance when my son gives me one of his candies and says it’s because I’m doing such a good job taking care of him and I deserve a treat.  Those words are sweeter than any candy ever could be.

Your failure yesterday does not define who you are in God’s eyes!  Take a minute and listen for the words He is constantly speaking over you…words of life and encouragement and purpose and freedom.

 

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Where the inspirational meets day-to-day mama-hood!

Are you inTENtional in your relationships with your children? Beneath the weight of living and day-to-day responsibilities, it’s so easy to stay in survival mode. We think it’s too hard…we aren’t doing enough…WE aren’t enough. But God always is. When we partner with Him in raising these kiddos He’s entrusted to us, when we put aside time on purpose, we can live inTENtionally. Check out my latest ebook, The inTENtional Mama, a quick-read where the inspirational meets the practical day-to-day. You’ll be blessed, uplifted, inspired, and equipped to become an inTENtional Mama! [Available where ebooks are sold!]

 

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Finding God Everyday Now Found Blog

When I’m Not Enough…He Is

SuperMom Action Figure - the transformation

Yesterday was one of those days in my land of mommy-hood…struggling to make it through the day…frustrated at the seemingly constant need for redirection, melt-down diffusion, and overall discipline.  After these many moments with my son, when bedtime came for the kids, I was amazed when he skipped over to me with a smile and asked me to tuck him in.  I figured after the day we’d had that he would much prefer Daddy to do the honors tonight.  But, no.  He wanted me!  He held my hand all the way to his room…cuddled under the covers…turned over to give me a huge, squeezy hug and a sweet little-boy kiss.  Before I closed his door, he said, “I love you, Mommy!”

So many things in life right now are great…exciting…fresh…wonderful.  But then there’s that one glaring area of parenting where I find myself of late feeling like I’m failing, just trying to make it through the day.  And it stings especially because tomorrow celebrates all of us “moms”!

A little while after getting him to bed, I was getting myself ready to sleep too and this realization came to me: “I am not enough!”  But this time, it wasn’t the condemning voice of the enemy that I heard.  It was me…realizing that my “not enough” added to God’s “more than enough” is plenty!  And instead of feeling the brooding sense of failure, I felt a spark of hope.  I don’t HAVE to be enough, because He is!

I don’t have to be super-mom.  I don’t have to have all the answers.  I don’t have to conjure up the strength to do this thing called motherhood.  I am not enough so that I can lean on the One Who is!

I also don’t have to believe the lies that tell me I’m failing when my kids disobey or that my voice doesn’t matter when they don’t listen.  Because reality is that I am succeeding and my voice makes a HUGE impact in my kids’ lives!  When I tell my son how proud I am of him, he beams! When I tell my daughter how beautiful she is, inside and out, she smothers me with hugs!  To them, I’m the best mom in the world!  (Taking a humble moment to really believe that myself!)

I can trust in my kids who actually want me around, even after having been with me all day, every day.  And tomorrow, when the “Happy Mother’s Day” sayings abound, I don’t have to feel condemnation in my “not enough”.  I can remember my God Who is. 

Are you a mom struggling to see the fruit of your labors?  Don’t believe the lies that you’re a failure.  You’re not!  You are the best mom in the world to those kiddos you love and give yourself to every day!  And God will make up every area of “not enough” you have with His “more than enough”.  

 

InTENtionality-cover-w-impr
…where the inspirational meets your practical day-to-day mama-hood…”

 

Are you inTENtional in your relationships with your children? Beneath the weight of living and day-to-day responsibilities, it’s so easy to stay in survival mode. We think it’s too hard…we aren’t doing enough…WE aren’t enough. But God always is. When we partner with Him in raising these kiddos He’s entrusted to us, when we put aside time on purpose, we can live inTENtionally. Check out my latest ebook, The inTENtional Mama, a quick-read where the inspirational meets the practical day-to-day. You’ll be blessed, uplifted, inspired, and equipped to become an inTENtional Mama! [Available where ebooks are sold!]

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo source

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Finding God Everyday Now Found Blog

An Honored Position

I came across this snippet of thought a few months back, from the time nearly four years ago when I had a two-year-old and an almost one-year-old keeping me very busy. Now, I’m still busy, in a different sort of way. Those two are older, but still have their definite needs. And now, with adding home school and fostering to the mix you get the idea that life just keeps expanding for us.

When I found this piece, I printed a copy and stuck it on my fridge, on the side right next to the stove where I spend plenty of time preparing food for this ever-expanding family. It is a daily reminder of the why behind my chosen profession. Despite the lack of glamour in my day-to-day, and in the midst of those “about-to-pull-my-hair-out-if-you-ask-me-one-more-question” moments, this helps me refocus on the beauty of this season of motherhood. It helps to recall that mine is not a place of drudgery, but rather one lived while sensing the beauty of each moment.

Enjoy! And, if you’re a mom, I pray you are encouraged!

“An Honored Position”

I am a wiper of runny noses, a tucker-inner come bed-time. I am an expert at the sensitive variances of my baby’s cries. And I am a linguist specialist in the realm of toddler-translation. I am the changer of sheets, the administrator of medicine, the chauffeur  and entertainer. I am the maker of the food and the cleaner of the messes.

When the world is frightening or painful, I am the one they run to for comfort in a reassuring hug. When a mighty accomplishment is made, I am available for a cheer and a high-five. Every step is precious to me. Every smile and clap of the hands. Every acquired word and every ounce gained.

I am a witness to each little life. For every bit of progress made, I am there. I am the one with ears straining to translate the subtle movements heard over the monitor. I am the one policing television intake and protecting their world. I am the teacher, introducing these babes to the world around them. I am Mom.

Now, many see this role as less than a dime-a-dozen, for, after all, there have been billions of mothers throughout the expanse of time. But one thing that makes my role unique from every other and privileged above all else is that I am the only one entrusted to be Mom to these two precious souls (and any future children we will have).

Sure, there are days that are tiresome. Even now, I type with one hand, while my other arm keeps my baby in my lap. My days, and nights for that matter, are no longer my own. For two-and-a-half years, I was either pregnant or nursing; my stretch marks are my battle wounds. My body’s purpose was primarily to pour into another’s livelihood. Every bite I ate was calculated, every medicine carefully chosen. But would I ever trade it, this role, this position in life? Never, ever, ever. (May 5, 2009)