Monday, June 17, 2013

Let Grace Reign Down

Moms, can we offer up our grace to one another?  Can it be our rally call?  Our anthem?  Our tears and plea?  Grace to the mother!

Maybe because I am my own worst enemy that I often feel a deep sting when I'm on the receiving end of condemnation in my parenting walk.  And I have seen the damage it does.  From the new mom still learning to the seasoned mom that felt she should have known better.

For the majority of us moms, we do all we can and are all we know to be.  We belong to MOPS, MIT and other play groups.  We had a collection of books from Raising up Boys to Managers of our Homes.  Our days are filled with one decision after another that carosels around our kiddos.  And we all lay down at the end of the day tired and replaying moments of our day that we wish weren't going down in the record book.  We all have bad moments, make less than stellar choices, have meltdowns and wish we could push the "do-over" button.  Let us offer as much grace to other moms as the Lord offers to us.  He comforts us as we share our tears and dissapointments.  Let us offer encouragement and a kind word to that mother that has the crying child in the grocery store or the one playing limp noodle so he cannot be picked up and carried to the car graciously.

We do not know all that the Lord plans for us.  We might have some amazing kids.  Today.  But there are no guarantees.  We may have some really challenging kids.  Today.  But the Lord is faithful to finish a good work.  I have seen faithful families produce unfaithful children.  Amazing children from the spawn hellion.  And a mix of the good, bad and ugly all from one family. 

When we are tempted to think we are doing something so right that others should glean from our wisdom and take notes, let us remember that satan tries to destroy some of us by way of increase (Matthew 13:22).  And when we are tempted to think are so failing at this parenting thing and everyone else does it better, let us remember that satan tries to destroy some of us by way of decrease (Luke 13:16).  If we've had a bad week, we need the encouragment and if we've had a great day, reach out to another mom that we know needs that overflow from you.

Do I have one very difficult child because it was a surprise to the Lord?  No.  He knew the very DNA to this little redheaded spitfire before I knew he existed.  The Lord knew I had it in me even if that requires some growing on my part.  Going thru the fire refines.  The Lord also knew that I have it in me that if I had all compliant wonderful easy children, that I would probably go around gloating at my skills and asking if anyone wanted my autograph.   

The next time we are tempted to judge and disgrace another momma, remember that she is just as tired, just as worn, just as desperate to make good choices for her brood as we are.  We do not know all that goes on behind a single status update and behind closed doors. 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Weary Moms Unite

Oh sweet mommas.  I have had you on my heart.  You fellow weary travelers on the parenting and potty road.  I have so much to say and so little left to offer.  Big dreams and tiny slivers of time.  Lysa Terkeurst in her book, "Unglued" has a phrase that I repeat often.  "Imperfect Progress".  I am that mom that has 6 kids and homeschools in a town that doesn't.  We are the misfit toys.  And as you other moms of many know, so often just the fact that we are skilled at multiplying and have a calling to homeschool, lands us on that invisible platform that others seem to think we must have it all together, that our kids must be so obedient, that our lives must be organized and beautiful.  I have come so that others may have hope. 

Once I started being completely transparent, I found freedom and deep friendships.  And the weight, OH THE WEIGHT, that lifted.  That was no longer there for ME to feel constantly defeated.

Our bookshelves are filled with enough trees instructing me how to manage my home, shepherd my kids, have a clean house daily, and a holy marriage. Of course I want our house to mimic Better Homes and Gardens.  But the reality is, that is not my bent.  Is housekeeping my gifting?  Depends.  Are you comparing me to what you see on Hoarders or in House Beautiful.  Of course I want polite, sibling loving kids.  The reality is my boys are those boys.  The ones that came home today with a giant snake, have machetes, hunt, wrestle, smell like wet dogs and have to be told to change their stinkin underwear.  The reality is, I struggle with attitudes in my kids.  Of course I want to be meek and gentle, but the reality is I wished we lived in New Jersey because then I would blend in and just be considered loud and telling it how it is, not yelling.  Of course I want my husband to be the spiritual leader and be called to teach classes at homeschool conventions on "how to support your wife in all she does".  The reality is, my husband is a good man, loves God.  Doesn't know Peter from Paul nor is he even remotely aware of where his bible was last located.  So I continue to strive towards that imperfect progress. 

 After our 5th baby, we just wanted to be closer to family, bless their hearts, and my dad was diagnosed with leukemia around the same time.  So that brought on the move.  We moved away from a town we loved and friends we adored and a business that was going into it's eighth year. I had so many grand plans for the house, the life, the homeschool group we would create, making up time for all the years I had lost with siblings and their families.  But the reality was, our 1st house option didn't work out, we lived with my parents in tight quarters almost a year until a home opened across the street.  We moved back in to their house a year later to buy it as my dad is now too ill to work and my mom has a full time job caring for him.  Even after raising her kids, she now is weary again.  I was at my peak of all time weariness.  2 babies 11 months apart.  One with a plethora of ear problems.  I have no homeschool connections with friends of same aged kids.  We have been forced to tear down what was once our identity formed by titles and appointments on the calendar and rebuild it on the rock in the wilderness.  Baby steps towards progress. 

We are gaining strength and stamina.  Keeping our weakness to ourselves makes it stronger.  Exposing our weakness, makes us stronger.  We are brought thru the refining fires to make progress.  We are brought thru struggles to reach out a hand and tell other moms, you can do this.  Just one more step.  Just one foot in front of the other.  I have been there.

I love the new movement of exposing the not so super super moms.  Admitting and embracing the weary mom that is all of us at different times.  The years of giving, sacrificing, loving, living with our hearts on our sleeves, having kids that yell in the grocery when you finally make it after being out of bread for two days.  Being sick and no one waiting on you hand and foot.  Being a referee just one time to many.  Trying to jump over the invisible goal bar that we set too high to even reach.  All those things make a spirit tired.  You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with being tired in this season of life.  Focus on just this day, what are you going to do today to make strides towards your imperfect progress?  We were created to need more and that more is Christ.  As we are empty He is the one that can fill us, care for us, love us.  He is holding out a hand to us and saying, just one more step, don't quit, I am here.


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