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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Short & Sweet: Some Encouragement For Moms

Good mornin' mamas!

Just a quick stop in to offer some encouragement.

Did you wake up this morning wondering how in the WORLD you're going to make it through the day?

27,000 things on your to-do list?

Kids yelling at you?

50 breakfasts to make?

15,000 diapers to change?

Endless laundry to wash, fold and put away?

REEEE-DICULOUS amounts of email to answer?

Hair that just WON'T?

A Bible that's dusty?

A workout you need but are dreading/don't have time for?

A baby crying?

Kids fighting?

.....I've been there!

I think every morning this week, in fact.

So if you're struggling today, if you just CAN'T do it one more time...it's because YOU can't. ;)

Sure this post seems sweet and tied up with a bow while fairies dance and unicorns run through a field of daisies...but it's the Truth I'm fixing my mind on today.

I don't have a quick fix...just a verse:

"Jesus looked hard at them and said, 'No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.'" Matthew 19:26, The Message.





Monday, June 10, 2013

Do As I Say...

Go ahead and finish that for me...


...And Not As I Do."

Said the mom disciplining her son for hitting his sister while gritting her teeth and squeezing his trapezius within an inch of its life.

How many times have I swatted an arm while simultaneously saying "Jesus tells us to be kind!"

Holy double standard.

Too many times talking to my kids after they have done something wrong has turned into an exercise in self-evaluation and a look full-on into the mirror at my own hypocrisy.

Me: R, look at James 1:18-21. It says here that we should be QUICK to listen, SLOW to speak and SLOW to become angry. God doesn't want us acting out in anger and being mean to people. So...how do you think that makes God feel when you hit your brother or sister?

R (8 years old): Bad. He doesn't want me to. I should be kind.

M: That's right. It's OK to be angry, but it's how we act when we're angry that gets us in trouble sometimes.

R: Like when you throw things or yell at daddy or say swears?

*Huge, heavy blanket of shame envelopes me. *

M: Um...yes. Just like that.

And ONCE AGAIN-- lest I get all big-headed and prideful while learnin' my kids in the way of the Lord-- instead of me passing on my worldly wisdom to prune and mold my son, God is pruning and molding me. Although, I find God tends to be MUCH kinder and gentler in His delivery than I am.

He often leads me to the Truth and gives me JUST enough rope to 1) swing across the chasm from disobedience to obedience or 2) hang myself.

In the meantime, I tend to hand my kids a rope while wrapping it around their neck, driving home their sin and wielding punishment with a harsh tone all in one fell swoop.

I'm so thankful I am not the Great Almighty. The Great I Am. The Beginning and the End. Alpha and Omega.

Because frankly I suck.

I would be more like the Great Al-sucky. The Great I Ain't. The End and the End.

And this being a mom business is tough.

I don't know how God manages to both LOVE us immeasurably and discipline us fairly and justly--all while being gentle.

I walk a fine line most days between loving my kids immeasurably and wanting to send them to the moon. And I'm afraid my facial expression and my tone belie that. (Not to mention my heavy sighs, screams of frustration, and stomping feet.)

So how do I get to that place of living what I teach my kids?

I don't have it nailed down, but I have an idea. First it starts with reading the very things I tell them to read. And then making a conscious decision to take one moment at a time as far as making wise decisions.

It sounds easy enough, right?

For example. Nothing sends me into a blind rage like making lunch, asking who wants seconds and then having someone tell me EXACTLY 30 seconds AFTER I clean up and put everything away that they want more. Okay, that's a bold-faced lie. MANY things send me into a blind rage, but this scenario holds a special place in my heart.

So, I thought to myself, "Hey, Einstein, how about you LEAVE EVERYTHING OUT until after the kids leave the room and go back to whatever they were doing before the meal?"

Brilliant.

And not exactly rocket science.

So, it's the little things, That actually add up to big things.

I may not be Mother of the Year for thinking through my actions moment by moment, but my kids' trapezius's will certainly thank me.




Friday, June 7, 2013

All Aboard The {Emotional} Roller Coaster.

Keep your hands. feet and loose objects inside the car at all times.

"Loose" would apply to my sanity at this point in time.

And hello to all of you.

How are we feeling today?

Are you feeling at all like me today?

Are you having a day week month like mine?

Has your husband gone to work commando for a solid week because you can't seem to dig out of the dirty laundry mountain?

Have you worn the same clothes 2 days in a row because you just can't get anything done and a shower is at the looooong end of that list?

Have you sent the kids to a different room than you more than once "for their own safety"?

Have you awakened on more than one morning wishing you just didn't have to do it.

It being live life that day.

Have responsibilities, feed someone else, wipe other butts, discipline, referee, pick up messes, be patient, deal with people...

Oh that last one is the bane of my existence right about now.

You know man, life is hard enough without having to deal with people, isn't it?

And I know it's a smidge difficult to NOT deal with people, but sometimes...often I wish I could just run away and live in a cave.

The delicate balance of life is so fragile that one wrong move and your whole world goes topsy turvy.

And sometimes it's not even the intentional things people do that can totally wreck a day. Sometimes just people being who they are--or YOU being who YOU are--is enough. Because we're all so different and we all have such a patchwork conglomeration of ideals, and beliefs, and experiences, and perceptions, it gets messy.

I mean a 2-year-old-helping-to-bake-a-cake kind of messy.

And on top of that, when you get all manner of unkind perpetrated upon you on purpose? Well, there's just no amount of Ben & Jerry's that will salve that wound.

It's one of those really, really hideously ugly situations where you have to make some decisions:

1. Face it, Be direct. Ask if what you think is happening is happening.
2. Ignore it. Sweep it under the rug. Pretend it isn't happening and don't make a big deal of it. (and move on)
3. Ignore it. Sweep it under the rug. Pretend it isn't happening and don't make a big deal of it. (And let the anger and bitterness and resentment simmer below the surface until it blows one day.)
4. Take them by the throat, kick them in the teeth, and land a sound karate chop to their windpipe.

I tend to shy away from option 1. Simply because it's uncomfortable. And truly, I know people who would just as soon lie to your face because they also try to avoid option 1.

When I find myself in these situations, I aim high with lofty goals to handle it using Option 2. Unfortunately, my well-meaning'd intentions usually morph into Option 3. And I stuff. And I stuff. And I stuff. I'm a powder keg just waiting for a match.

And as the pressure grows in that powder keg, Option 4 starts looking very appealing.

And then I wonder where my kids get anger management issues from.

And then I argue with myself until I can't take it anymore. I blame myself. And then I blame them. And then I blame both of us. And then I blame the government (because really it's all their fault anyway.)

And then it blows over. For a while.

But it's always there. In the back of my mind. Until they do something else to tick me off and then, "Oh, Lookie there!" There it is again. Only worse because I've allowed it to fester and morph into something more. Suddently my "anger" has gone from Gizmo to a Gremlin in 2.5 seconds.

And this is exhausting, as you can imagine.

And it's not healthy.

And there is NO way we can ever avoid this situation. No matter what.

People will always, always annoy you, disappoint you, harass you, insult you, and over-all make you want to smack them about the face. (Anger issues again...)

BUT...I'm learning...I'm learning that there is only one way I can make this all manageable. There is only ONE.

And it's all about being in the Word.

The closer I am to God, the better I'll handle these times when I would just as soon pack my ish and get out of town.

Gather up my babies and my man and drive into the sunset.

No, reading the Bible alone won't do it.

BUT...reading the Bible, applying it to my life and praying for wisdom will make those times easier. (Not to be confused with EASY). Those times when people try to hurt your feelings on purpose, settle a score, be rude, act petty, lie to you, be two-faced, or whatever it is that makes you want to rip your own ears off.

This is not one of those posts where I speak to you from a place of wisdom and scholarly experience. No, Grasshopper, this is a post about stuff that I am drowning in the middle of learning myself. I am posting this more to myself than to anyone else. And I am (somewhat successfully) avoiding the urge to write AT someone(s). I learned from a man I respect very much (The Actual Pastor) that one should never write a post directed at a specific person as a way to vent and wag a finger. As much as I want to give a virtual elbow to the ribs (see...anger again), I won't.

It's not Christian-like.

It's not productive.

And largely because the people who need to hear this won't anyway.

They will continue on in their lives, business-as-usual, never seeing the carnage they leave behind. Or never caring.

And in the words of another one of my faves, Jen Hatmaker, I say Bless. Bless it all.

In all that is good and Holy in this world DON'T be "one of those people."

Don't be the kind of person I am struggling with every fiber of my being NOT to be right now...

Instead...

Care how you make other people feel.

Watch your words.

Don't play dumb when you know you're in the wrong.

Don't lash out in anger.

Do be considerate of someone's feelings.

Do pursue the truth and make an honest attempt at reconciliation.

But mostly, cling to the One who can really bind your wounds. And your hands and feet, if necessary.
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