Hurry, hurry!!! That phrase is the norm in our home these days. No time to break, no time to waste. They stop what they are doing and obey. They don't yell or complain as I rush them out the door. We have no time to play.
When did this change? I recall the days my oldest and I had no hurries. We took our time, we explored the world, we used our imagination. Sure there were things to do, and we did them, but not in a rush. We had all the time to play.
Two more kids later and time always has a name; doctor, errands, events. Even as simple as get dressed and brush teeth. Hurry, hurry!!! And they obey.
Then one day God makes me be still. I hear quiet voices. No yelling, no screaming. We have something to be at, but a voice is whispering "hush". I follow the little voices I know so well. With imaginations going strong they are playing so well. I listen to the voice that begs me to slow. Time will be gone before I know it. So I am still... and I let them play away.
It is a sad thing when we can look back as mothers and see the mom we used to be and the mother we are now and long for the first to return. How I had patience for my daughter in those days. Lance and I made it our goal in raising her that we would not "hurry" her. We would not pull her from smelling the roses, or from watching the slug cross the sidewalk, or from taking an hour to eat a meal because she was telling stories in between bites. I look back at the old mother I was and ache for her to return. Is that you mommy? Are you looking back to when it was a simpler time raising your children. Do you ache for the old you to return?
As mothers we are so very hard on ourselves. We want to do it all, all the time AND be perfect doing it. Even in the recesses of our brains that nagging that we need to be 100% all the time remains. It is true we push it back there, we try our very best not to have it consume us. But just as no man is without sin, no mother is without that nagging notion she should be doing more, being more.
I look at my life now and I think if the old me... no scratch that, I don't think I KNOW. If the old mother in me saw me today it she would have turned the other way, in her head probably judging me for my unkept hair, no makeup face, and unruly children. Heck if the pre-mother me saw me she may just decide right then and there to never have kids!
But... and this is a big but; I may have let go some of our goals with Briseis and slacked in certain areas but I have grown so much from the chaos of it all. I love being a stay at home mom! Some of you know I am homeschooling them and if you don't then now you do. I love my children with every fiber of my being. I don't have to share my love with them or with Lance. My love just grew, it's such a cool concept. It grew! One of my favorite parts of being with my children is when I get to see them playing, and not just playing a game or something, but using their imaginations. It is like my own personal 10, 15, 20 minute TV show that no one, no one gets to see except me. And there is no re-runs when it comes to these moments. It is genuine and authentic. I was pondering this today actually. The kids had some laundry that needed to be put away and the dishwasher needed to be empty. But today God graced me with the memory of NOT hurrying. I could have called them in to do their chores right then and there, but instead I let them keep playing outside until they took a break to come inside for water. Mommies it was liberating! And it didn't even set me back because had I interrupted their game I can assure you the amount of time I would have dealt with complaining about stopping their game would have been the same. Furthermore, because I respected their game and didn't interrupt it, when asked to do their chores there was no whining or crying or even resistance. Oh mothers, what a breath of fresh air.
Now I am not saying there is not a time and place for our children to keep up the pace. I certainly don't want to be caught in a lightning storm and them to stop and count the seconds between it and the thunder. LOL. But I am living proof of a sad reality that new moms and maybe even some slightly older moms don't know about. It started last year. Briseis was in her first year of homeschooling and I could not keep up with decorating for the holidays, like any of them! I was so burnt out from feeling like I had just done it AND to make things worse the same thing is happening this year only it's faster! See my mom always said time would fly when I had kids. I always took that as I would look back once they were out of the house and go "man did that go by fast". NO! NO! NO! It means you will see and feel it going by that fast IN THE MOMENT! I hate it! Can I get an amen from the wise mothers out there that have already gone through this? I don't want this time to fly, I love the age my kids are right now (these are old pictures fyi, you know, when I was more patient. Ha!) and I don't want it to keep going this fast. Sadly though, according to mathematical equations of time it will only get worse because the concept of time is constantly changing. Think about it, when your first child was born did that year fly by? No, in fact it probably dragged on as you impatiently waited for the first smile, the first roll over, the first night of no waking up, the first tooth, the first word, the first EVERY THING. But now that we go into three years, seven years, twelve years time starts speeding up. Oh it is precious time, so precious and so many times we miss the time because it is literally flying by us. Do you see how important it is to stop and smell the roses mommy? Do you see how important it is to let them explore the slimy gross slug crossing the sidewalk (blah! Mothers of boys know exactly what I am talking about). Do you see how important it is to slow down at the dinner table and listen to your children without telling them to hurry up and eat? Sometimes I wish we didn't even have clocks in our home, because I am always looking at them!
As mothers it is our duty to show our children that taking our time is okay. And they NEED to see us taking our time, not hurrying. I know it is hard, I know. You can laugh at me and shake your head because your to do list is increasing as you take the time to read this blog. But tomorrow is not a guarantee and if tomorrow doesn't come and you stand before God will you regret yesterday because you were in such a hurry you didn't stop to watch your children play? I read in the Jesus Calling devotional the other day where the author called out our "TO DO LIST". Called it out, right there were I was, and lets face it you know where I was because it is the only place us mothers can go and hide for two minutes before THEY FIND US! But the to do list was called out as an idol. Oh my gosh! Slap in the face and foot in my mouth. It was right, I had made my to do list into an idol and I was teaching my children to do the same! I was teaching them to idolize being on the go as quick as possible. Whoops, thank God for his grace and for wiser moms then me pointing these things out.
We can not allow our busyness to become our idols, mothers. If this is happening to you right this moment I can assure you that is not from God but from the great Deceiver who wants you to think the list has to get done or you aren't cutting it. LIES! God smiles at you when you slow down to see his wonders because when we do we have the only faith at that moment that can stand above all others, child like faith. So say a prayer for yourself mommy. Ask the Holy Spirit to intervene on your behalf and point out the times you need to hurry and the times you simply need to let them play away. I love you mommies and I know you can do this and I love you for even just trying. We are raising up warriors and to do so I pray you know that means you, mothers, are warriors too.
Matthew 18:3-4 "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
I have decided to go out a limb with this week with an additional post. I feel God calling me to do so because there is a fire burning within me, a fire of the Holy Spirit that wont be put out until I write what is not only on my heart but on my very soul. I am praying that the title catches your attention because mommies let me tell you, for our children's very souls we can NOT "drink our coffee at room temperature". Sadly, the world may be cold to this, but worse is the lukewarm Christian which is spit from God's mouth (Rev. 3:15-16). Just as no human likes room temperature coffee that is exactly how God feels about lukewarm Christians. So get ready to choose how you want your coffee.
Matthew 18: 1-7 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And Jesus CALLED A LITTLE CHILD unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, "Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become AS LITTLE CHILDREN, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive ONE such little child in MY NAME receiveth me. BUT WHOSO SHALL OFFEND ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES WHICH BELIEVE IN ME, it would be better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. WOE TO THE WORLD BECAUSE OF OFFENSES, for it must needs be that offenses come; BUT WOE TO THAT MAN BY WHOM THE OFFENSE COMETH!"
In case you didn't get your bible reading in this week I can assure you I will have it for you today! So lets break these verses down. The disciples want to know who is above all others in heaven. Jesus tells them, the children are. This makes sense because to God we are all his children. But as we read on see what Jesus says will happen to those that offend A child as in ONE child. Some of the words for offend in the dictionary are hurt, wound, pain, injure. So we can say it this way "But whoever injures a child". The verses go on to say the person who caused it should be put to death. It also says woe to the world, woe means pretty much every sad word you can think of. Sorrow, heartbreak, despair, misery to name a few.
The bible also says, for thou hast possessed my reins: thou has covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am beautifully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knowth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was MADE IN SECRET, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in cotinuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139: 13-16
As mothers we should know that our children were humans in the womb. The very bible tells us this. Why would God cover or protect the womb if they weren't? How would the soul already know "right well" if they weren't? How could verse 15 be true, He made "me" in secret, if life didn't begin in the womb? If it wan't until after birth that human life began then it wouldn't be a secret at all would it?. And lastly, why would God, knowing the days of our lives in His book, mention it in the same verses about life in the womb?
"First Embrace" by tranished-penny.com
Psalm 139:13 - For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
Okay, I know that was deep mommies! I know you probably don't care for the KJV of the bible. But words can change as we move forward in time and I wanted to give you the closet original verbiage I could. We are in the middle of a huge battle mothers. The unborn are not getting the support they need from the places they should be getting it. This is NOT A POLITICAL stance. This is a stance on choosing life or death, choosing good or evil, choosing wrong or right. We have churches and Christian radio stations that are staying silent with this genocide. It breaks my heart that they wont stand for the ones who can't. This is a burden that a past sin will not release until things change (and praise God, because He is moving in this area thanks to people coming forward to fight against Satan and his plans). As mothers reading this page, most of you will agree with life beginning in the womb no matter the circumstances. How can we say that God works ALL things for good but then make an exception? That is NOT the Father I serve. What about you?
I want you to take a moment and remember the first time you saw your child. Now go back to the first time they had hiccups in your belly or the first time they moved and pushed against your tight but soft skin from within. Go back further to the first time you saw your child on the ultrasound ( I will never forget with Briseis she was sliding down my womb and then flipped over onto her stomach, my husband and I laughed at her already present personality). Last, go back to the moment you saw the positive pregnancy test. It was not a question of a human being but instead of the joy of knowing that was exactly what it was! That feeling was from the Holy Spirit. I believe that with all my soul. That was the Holy Spirit in me jumping up and down for the new life within me.
Now, before I go on further, and in case you haven't read my first blog. I can talk like this, I know I am right, because I killed my first child. Fear can be a powerful incentive to do something. The only force that can compete and always win against it is love. It took me giving into my fear to realize the true value of life in the womb. I didn't even acknowledge it when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Briseis. This realization came when I lost my second baby. I miscarried, and the fear I felt was worse then when I killed my first baby. It was worse because I had no control over losing him, it didn't matter what I did I could not stop my body or his from ending the pregnancy. I hope to never feel that fear again, but through fear I can now help others.
As mothers we now have an obligation to fight for the unborn. If our churches and other Christian places will not help then we are obligated. God blessed you with your children. They were created specifically for you because HE knew you were the one to care for them. But our maternal instinct goes so much deeper. Let me ask you another question. Can you stand to see any kind of suffering dealing with children? Whether it be social media or the news, whatever it is. Do you look away or shut the TV off? I do.
Deuteronomy 30:19 I CALL HEAVEN AND EARTH TO RECORD THIS DAY AGAINST YOU, THAT I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU LIFE AND DEATH, BLESSING AND CURSING; THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE, THAT BOTH THOU AND THY SEED MAY LIVE.
God has given us a choice mothers. He is calling us when lukewarm Christians stand down and cry politics, God says to CHOOSE LIFE! God is calling us to battle mothers, you can feel it in your spirit. You must rise up and fight, let your children see the fighter you are for all innocent life! If you come across a woman where fear is threatening to win the battle, love on her! Love her because love is so much more powerful than fear. Help her find a place to get all she needs, they are out there! We must fight for these woman and their babies. God holds a great army on earth if all the mothers would stand and fight for the lost through love, testimony and prayer. So now that you have decided how to take your coffee you must, for the sake of life, stand up and declare it. I like my coffee HOT!
A special thanks to those Christian facilities and churches who stand and fight for the unborn and their mothers.
A special thanks to the Tarnished-Penny for her outstanding artwork. All of the art in this series carries her signature of Christ crucifixion hidden within the pieces.
See more @ Tarnished-Penny on facebook
This mother thing can be SO hard! I was at a dear friend's house today. We were invited over to swim in their pool. My friend has not one, not two, not three but four beautiful children. To add to that they are all 6 and under, bless my friend! My friend is constantly telling me how she hates herself when she yells at her children. She will even say to them "Do you want mean mommy coming out?". I empathizes with my friend and I am sure you do too. Anyway, today we are all swimming and her husband comes home. He calmly asks her to come inside for a minute. When she comes out it is not good. My friend in the most restrained voice and disposition ask the three older children who cracked their TV screen? Have mercy! Apparently while she was trying her best to get the pool ready one of the children got mad about something and chucked a remote at the TV screen cracking it.
At this point I know my husband (regardless of company being over) would have lost it. But not my friend's husband and not her. However, when she questioned her children about who did it she was not given a straight answer. The fault was being passed around as bad as when God questioned Adam about eating the fruit. My friend knew the oldest did not do it so that left the middle two children. When neither came clean she did all she could do, she kicks them out of the pool. The oldest of the two is not happy about this and mean mommy is threatening to appear.
After a while the oldest of the "jail birds" is sent back out by his daddy. Apparently the youngest of the two has confessed his crime...he is three. My poor friend. I watch as she asks the recently pardoned child if he broke the TV one last time. With eyes downcast immediately and a crocked half smile on his lips he says no again. Bless her heart! She doubts the youngest was the culprit but what's done is done. I watch as she (and her husband) restrain their frustration and anger. Mean mommy doesn't come out this time...
I remember a while back I was doing really good at not raising my voice or losing my temper. One day, after my children apparently had invisible birds chirping in their ears really loud, I lost my cool. Mean mommy came out and I yelled a very loud command at them. It caught them so off guard they actually jumped! That is when I had my "ah ha" moment. Their Mean Mommy had grabbed their attention. At this revelation I began to understand the value of the mean mommy. She shouldn't come out all the time, not at every little issue that her children create. What are those issues? Spilled milk, rooms not picked up, forgetting shoes as they get into the car, etc. But when we as mothers are repeating ourselves over and over AND over again trying to prevent those issues from happening we need to know that it is OKAY to raise our voice, lose our temper a little. Our children need to hear our voices and respond the first time we speak not the 40th. Why, out of all the other things our children put us through is this one so important? I will tell you.
Our voices need to be heard by our children and they in return need to take action as soon as we speak. The reason for this is simple, it is because God expects the same from us. If our children wont listen to us the first time, their own parents; then they most likely will not listen to their Holy Father the first time. And listening to Him the first time is the most important thing they will do. So if mean mommy comes out, do not beat yourself up. We are doing the very best to train our children up in the way they should go. That is the best for them, just as God's way is the best for for them. By teaching them to listen to us the first time and the reward of doing so, we can then explain that by listening to God the first time will also be rewarding. You, mommy, need to be listened to the first time BECAUSE you love them and want what is best for them and if that means we have to raise our voice when they still aren't listening after the second time it is STILL because we want what is best for them. They need to jump when we raise our voice and they need to understand that we don't want to, but that we will not tolerate being ignored. They need to know there is a consequence that when they ignore us the first time and mean mommy comes out they will have to pay for that consequence.
So take a deep breath mommy! If mean mommy seems to have been out all day today put the kids down for a quite time and take a bubble bath (because bubble baths always make things better) and sit in the peace of the Lord. God is a loving God just as you are a loving mother. But there will come a time when God has asked enough times for his children to come to him and his wrath will pour out on his children that still don't listen. You, mommy, are training your children up to listen to Him the first time. Every time mean mommy comes out to remind them the importance of respecting their elders (and Our Father is by far the eldest) you are getting them BACK ON the right path. Take peace in that notion mommy, and take a piece of chocolate into that bubble bath with you .
Waking up early in the morning. Getting lunches and breakfast prepared. Next comes getting little ones dressed and if time me too. "Mommy cuddle please" comes from a small voice, but there is too much still to do.
Next up is chores for all ages, firmly telling them no playing until they're done. But then after all the nagging to get it done it is time for school. "Mommy play please" but I brush past with workbooks and such. This has to come first I say. I barely catch the hurt on their face at the rejection, but this is more important, we have a schedule to stick to.
Before I know it lunch is upon us "mommy can I help please" but I find an excuse why, once again today is just not a good day. I hurry up and tell them to eat before nap time comes. But they are having fun being kids and take so long that by the time they are finished it is time to rest.
Finally a break... except bills need to get paid and there are plans for tomorrow that need to be made. And before I know it I hear little feet coming to see me all excited. "Mommy come see please" but I'm not done with the schedule so I tell them in a sec. That second becomes two hours. Three times they come in wanting me to see but I am preparing fun for them tomorrow so I can't. Eventually they move on to a new thing.
By the time I finish it is dinner time and I am exhausted. Now come the snaps and short temper as I rush to find something for dinner. I was so busy I forgot to prepare dinner. Hot dogs it is, but since they had those two days ago they are reluctant to eat. "Mommy feed me please" but I am mad at the fact they won't just eat and the dishes are piling up and need to be done. I rush them with harsh words and once they are done get them ready for bed.
I read one a book and still have two to go, and I am so tired, but I keep going. "Mommy sing one more song please" but I don't. Still more to do and the list just keeps growing. Finally all of them are in bed. Finally the day is done. It was a good day, an accomplished day, like yesterday was, like tomorrow will be. They are growing and learning and thriving so I am doing good. For a moment I remember all the "mommy pleases" that we're asked and ignored. But I brush the guilt away. The devil whispers to me, you're busy, not bad...
Let’s face it, being a mom is the hardest job in the world. Especially in this world, where things just keep getting worse as society pulls away from their Savior more and more. When I wrote “You’re busy not bad” I cried and cried as the words of my heart spilled out. In fact every time I read it I choke up. There is so much truth in the saying “If the devil can’t make you bad he will make you busy”.
Things have gotten better since writing it, but now new things have popped up in its place. I constantly have to fight off new threats and attacks from the devil. For example, while I am writing this, or should I say trying to write this; my sweet and loving husband not only wants to be in the room tonight but also wants to talk! I have to laugh at the devil’s attack because part of me wants to tell him to get the heck out or at least stop talking to me. Can’t he see that I’m writing and it takes concentration? Hahaha, the devil is a constant thorn in my side. But I have grown since writing this excerpt. Want to know how?
This past year was brutal for me! I’m getting real with you for a second. I had prayed for 2018 to be my most joyful year yet. Well you know that old adage, “I asked God to bless me with patience, but all He is doing is giving me situations that test my patience.” Well apparently that was true for experiencing my “most joyful year yet”. God tested me, He tested me to the brink with situations where I had to seek out my joy and remember it needs to always be in the Lord. We had more illnesses and health issues than ever before and with ALL of us. We had major stress issues with the concern of my husband and his job. And homeschooling was just not happening like it had the first year.
So despite all this negativity I have been searching for, the joy of the past year that I missed while going through everything was overflowing with it. What I discovered was I found so much joy in just being with my kids in 2018 that the busy me literally died. Don’t get me wrong, I fought it tooth and nail all year long. It is only looking back now that I can see the awakening that God did in my heart. My kids learned a lot, not tangible material, but experiences. We explored the mountains of Georgia, Briseis cooked meals from around the world, their daddy taught them about the powerlines and how they worked, gymnastics was restarted, and more! All the while I got to enjoy watching them learn and seeing the wonder that they saw in things.
For a type AAA person this year was hard for me because I had to accept not being busy. Now don’t get me wrong, I was busy, but in a holy way. See there are things on this earth that are not supposed to be sinful. Food, exercise, organization, planning, schedules, hobbies, social media (ouch) are all things that God wants us to have and enjoy. The problem is that the devil gets in there and corrupts God’s gifts for us. If you eat the wrong types of food and too much of them, the devil has succeeded in taking something God wanted us to enjoy and turns it against us. The same picture can be used for being busy. Listen carefully; being busy is a GOOD THING! I’ll say it again; being busy is a good thing. It is when we become so busy in the wrong things that the devil starts to corrupt us. God wants us to live our life, every day to the fullest; but He wants us to do it in the right way and for the right reasons. Being busy because you made breakfast with the kids, then went to the beach and while there learned about jelly fish (that had washed up on shore), come home and have a water hose fight with the kids to get the sand off, followed by dinner outside while talking about bees and how they help the flowers, and lastly having your children drift off to sleep while you are singing to them. Well that is the kind of busy God wants us to have.
Our God is a loving God and tells us exactly what we need to do to be busy in a way that pleases Him. It is very simple, ready? He says to let Him order our steps for the day. Let Him guide us through his busy and you will find peace, beautiful peace. Your children will always remember the busy, but which busy? The busy that made them feel brushed off and pushed aside or the busy that was so joyful that they remember how much you did with them. So take today to ask God to order your steps and bring you a busy that will grow and strengthen your family. A busy that allows the home to feel safe and comforting at the end of the day. Chose to be busy WITH your children not just FOR them.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps ~
Here I am, sitting at my desk with that all familiar choked up feeling in my throat. I let it happen again, I let the devil pull me down again by the busyness of the world. Have you been there mommy? I can't tell you how many times I get to this point in life where I am literally saying to myself, "Christen you promised you wouldn't do this again! You promised you would back off and do a slower pace." Does that sound like you tonight dear mother? Maybe you are drowning, maybe you are starting to feel the pull, or maybe you have been able to come up for air. So why? Why do us mothers continue to go back to the broken record that will in the end drown us? Why do I keep going back? It is a hard pill to swallow and a tear is falling as I write it. For me I keep coming back to this point because ultimately I am insecure.
So why are we so insecure and why do we keep seeking out security to the point we start drowning from the busyness of our lives? Well for me I started out having insecurities. At an early age I was bullied for everything from where I lived to my name. Seriously, I once had a girl CUT MY HAIR because my name was the same as hers. Yeah. Anyway, then I got into modeling and dance. Two things that are sure to boost your security. And they did for a time, but only a time. Everything took a down hill spin when I went to a new modeling agency after completing one at another studio. They talked on an on about confidence. So when they asked us what letter (A, B, C) we thought we were. 'A' meant to start modeling to get your name out there and 'C' take some classes on modeling I took my secure self and claimed 'A". I was so confident since I had already done training and completed it. But did I get accepted as an 'A'? No, I was told I had gotten a 'C' that I needed more training, nutrition and some other "small things". I had all the confidence and training I needed, but because I was not as skinny as the other girls (I was normal just not on the low end of normal) I was told I would have to start over. Problems with insecurity you bet!
Things got better towards the end of high school, but my body was an always nagging presence that was never quite good enough for me. Then I met my husband, well boyfriend at the time. He was SO HANDSOME and wanted to be with me! Naturally my insecurity began to alter to one of security. Almost got to the point of vanity. LOL. Anyway, after we were married my husband made a mistake, "that" kind of mistake. I took the biggest hit to my security ever. I give all praise and glory to God for walking us through it and keeping us strong. It took a lot of healing but I trust him 100% again. But here in lies the problem; with my security permanently fractured and me trusting him to the fullest, anything he says that is negative I take to heart. Funny, huh? It is weird in a way, but I guess since my insecurity remains from something negative I tend to cling to the negative more, almost as a truth and that positive is an illusion. For example, my husband will come up to me and rub my arms (and I am not in the best shape of my life by far right now) and he will say how he loves my arms but I can not bring myself to believe him! He is genuine but this is the remark going on in my head, see if you can relate, "Are you kidding babe, they are humongous. You are just saying that to be nice and because you love me". Is that you mommy? Now if he comes up to me and says my body odor is kicking (and yes, I have smelt it too, thanks for the reminder) I take that to heart as truth. So now multiply that by every negative comment ANYONE says. That is a lot to be insecure about.
Now onto how we start drowning. So for me, my insecurities are already there, festering in the back of my conscience. So what do I start doing to block them out and make myself feel better? Well I start adding to my plate of course. Sounding familiar now? And let me tell you the devil is good, he doesn't just tempt me with everything at once because then it would seem like deep water. No he starts off with one small step into the shallow water. So for me this looks something like this. I am a stay at home mom with three young children who I am homeschooling. The first thing I do is add in serving at my church, after all this is not a school day and I love holding those babies. Not to bad, so I take another small step by attending our church's sisterhood meetings on Tuesdays. That is reasonable since I deserve a night off away from the house. Safe where I stand. Then I take on watching a neighbors child before and after school. How I love the praise of "You are doing amazing things for so many people including this little girl". But this step took me deeper then expected and breathing is getting hard. But hey, it's boosting my self-esteem, I am feeling secure with all these other people praising me.
However, as time goes on my anxiety increases. There seems to always be something needing attention outside my normal home life. What? Is this hitting home for you, or has it in the past? Homeschooling is a struggle and my temper is always there so my daughter, feeling the tension, is missing the fun of it. But I have no choice because in a few hours I have to pick up the neighbors child and then it's dinner and off to church. After a tedious day of school I walk out and see laundry undone, dishes piled high, bathrooms a mess ( and if you have boys you know exactly what I mean, gross!), and of course I forgot to take dinner out of the freezer. And then I walk into the boys bedrooms and I LOSE IT! Toys everywhere, drinks in the room, spills on the floor soaking into the bedding that is also on the floor. I am drowning, and it hurts, and I'm sad and feel caged in my own home. There is no time to go at a slow pace, there is no time to get lost on an outing, there is always a reason other things take first place to my home. Drowning.
I see them looking at me. Every move I make watching and learning. The pressure begins to build from anxiety to anger to rage. As their fun becomes louder and the mess becomes larger I hear that voice, "You weren't cut out for this".
As the days progress into weeks my children begin to mirror my mood. They smile less and seem on edge. Knowing their mommy's mood could change from one of fatigue to one of temper. The voice is deafening now, "You have failed! You can't do this! You will only be known as a mom! They will only remember the bad times! They will adopt your horrible seeds of doubt, rage, discouragement, hopelessness!"
I fall to my knees, tears welling up inside and flowing freely down my face. What will my children think? That I am a baby? That I am weak? That they are the reason for my tears? Ever so gently I feel little hands and little arms embrace me. Soft little kisses and whispers saying, "Mommy don't cry, we love you".
As I embrace the love radiating from these miracles I carried in my womb I allow God to speak through them. No yelling, no guilt, no reprimands, just gentle whispers of admiration.
From that point on I declare war on the devil. For what he tried to take from me. For the lies he yelled to me. I go to my knees in battle, not just for my sake but for my children. I show them how to fight with the greatest weapon we have. Prayer. I allow God to show me who I am. A mother yes, but also a warrior, a teacher, a doctor, a cook, a comforter, and above all else a servant like Christ. They watch me fight this battle. They watch me win as time goes on. Their smiles return and they are carefree around me. Their is lots of laughter in the house and dancing too!
As I tuck them into bed at night, tired from a day of serving out of love, I kiss them and as I do, breathe in their sweet childlike scent. As I close their doors a peace washes over me. I have won, I have won back my motherhood.
How I wish I could tell the mothers reading this that this excerpt is a key that once you discover it the door will always stay open. But we live in a broken world and the devil is a lion seeking, always seeking to devour. He sends his demons to make us forget lessons learned. It seems unfair, but in all reality it keeps us coming back to God.
When I wrote this excerpt I was in such a horrible place, things did improve after I wrote it. The Holy Spirit rising up in me to fight for myself and my children. But like all lessons learned, if we start to slack, if we get comfortable with the success… we lose it again. That is what happened. I prayed to God to help me fight and he did. But as things got better and I needed help in other areas I forgot to practice my new found knowledge. I forgot to strive harder to do even better for my kids and myself and became complacent and comfortable. Before I knew what hit me I was back to square one.
I have been on a spiritual journey this year and most of it has been a living nightmare of trying to break down a brick wall… no a cement wall with my head and meeting nothing but resistance. How I wish I had a photographic memory (but only for the spiritual lessons I learn, not all the rest) so that I remembered to never get comfortable where I thought my walk with Christ was. How great would that be to remember every word in the Bible, every Christ like meme, every sermon my pastor taught on?! Right now, my pastor is teaching a series titled “Things I wish Jesus had never said”. Talk about lessons that need to be remembered! These types of sermons have a lesson straight from the mouth of the Holy Spirit and it is weighted with self-evaluation of my soul, out of love, but also out of fear. Fear that as good as I think I am doing I will never come close to hitting the mark. To try and truly accept in my heart that grace is the only possible way I can get to heaven. Spiritual lessons that I want to hold onto with every fiber of my being. But I won’t, I will forget, I will have the notes in my phone and never (more than likely) go back to them when I need them.
Motherhood is so hard. Moms really do have it the hardest in life, we serve like Jesus did and we weep like God does when it comes to our children. But there is one thing (because of our broken world) that we have to endure that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit don’t have to. We have to endure that our imperfectness, our imperfect parenting, our faults and our sins will not only be seen by our children but that our children may adopt them. What a scary thought! But you know what? That is a good, no great thing; because of this imperfectness it allows God to step in and fill the gaps. It allows God to break chains that our children see when we are on our knees begging for help from Him. Begging him to take our rage away, begging him to let us see the beauty in ourselves that he sees, and begging him to help us bring our children to accept Christ.
My daughter was just baptized this past weekend. She is almost 7 and had been contemplating it for about a year now. Wow! When I was 7 I may have gone to church a handful of times but I certainly didn’t love my savior or even understand what it meant to tell the world publicly that I believed. So that is my proof right there, that despite all my short comings, all the times I fail; that by going to God where my children can see it, they are learning about Christ at such a younger age then I did and I am so proud of this new chain that has started. I already had a few people question whether my daughter was really ready to be baptized. Well, for those who know her, they know she is kind of an introvert, so to publicly declare Jesus as her savor in front of a crowd, well you can make up your own mind.
The bottom line is we are going to fail as mothers in our day to day lives. But that does not mean we will fall in the end with our kids. If we go to God constantly in prayer regardless of who is around or where we are, we can succeed at being mothers who helped bring their children to faith! Have you ever noticed that most of the bible is male based? You have Eve, Sarah, Ruth, Esther and Mary but not really too much mention of raising kids, never getting to shower uninterrupted, looking like a train wreck when you are running errands and your child has thrown up all over you, etc. But if you are slow and really read the Word you will see that majority of the men (whether good or evil) are followed by the mention of their mother. Hum, something to ponder over isn’t it? Just as in life today, mothers of the bible were mostly in the background, a one sentence mention and nothing more; but like today we are the nurturers of our children, we have the power given to us by God to help steer our children into the right direction. The mothers of the bible were always there while the kings were off being kings (fighting wars, running their kingdoms, and securing their legacy) which is what they are supposed to do, protect the family. But no matter how good or how horrible a king was, his son could end up being the complete opposite. How is that possible unless the mothers were the biggest influence on the children?
So take heart and receive strength from the One above who loves you. Motherhood is a gift not given to every woman, so cherish it, the victories and the failures because in the end, God willing, will result in being reunited with our children in heaven.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up ~
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth ~
Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it ~
Every morning it’s the same. Wake up before the sun does. Get the coffee going and the meals made before little feet with beautiful loud voices are up. After daddy leaves it time to eat while mommy goes and prays. Then comes the daily chores of getting dressed and beds made.
Some days we get going on school early and I think, “yay” we are going to make it today. But most days I look at the clock and cry because it is almost spent yet there is so much more to do.
Lunch rolls around and then quiet time. Finally a break from the day, which I need because the house is looking yet again like a disheveled mess. This is a sight I can’t stand in the least! Pardon my grinch like response. The look of it is so overwhelming to a type triple ’A’ person like me. I go to the pantry and eat away while looking at the disorganization that lingers in every room.
From that point on I am on my phone or computer trying to help others. And I want to, I want to so bad! But as I do, in the other room my children live life without me. And I will be honest there are several more times I get on my phone to take a break but with all the anger in the world it only makes things worse.
By dinner time if I’m lucky I planned something good but rush to get it done. In reality it looks like hot dogs or nuggets again. I’ll go without because the guilt from what I ate earlier still weighs on me. But who am I kidding here?! Once the kids are put to bed I’ll go back to the pantry because now the cravings kick in again.
It is the same day after day of attempting to get it right but never succeeding. Where is the sweet-spot? Why can’t I seem to grasp it? I know what I need to do yet I still don’t do it! I just want to find that sweet-spot in life where I have things balanced for more then one day. The spot where days are light and carefree but also ordered and routine. Days where I am smiling way more then crying. What is smiling again? It’s been so long since I’ve been able to hold onto it for more then a second or two. Crying is the norm that has stood by my side for almost a whole year now.
So tomorrow I will try again. Tomorrow I will wake up with expectations that it will be the day I find the sweet-spot for my routine, for my home, for my family... for me.
Finding Sweet-spot came to me a while back. That is usually how it works with these “nudges from God”. I’ll be nice and comfy, I’ll start reflecting on something and BOOM! A title will come to me and I literally have to act in that moment. Don’t tell anyone, but one of these excerpts came to me while in church service. So for the better part of my pastor’s sermon I was writing. Lucky for me it just looked like I was taking notes. And in all fairness it was what my pastor said that opened the door for God to “BOOM” me. Ha! Anyway, I have also learned the hard way that if I do not act upon the boom I will try to come back to it later and I have writers block. Even now I have a few in progress because I missed the opportune time.
Anyway, moving right along. So with sweet-spot is easy to see that I am at a place where things aren’t going “my way” aka. “great”. I know that God probably is in heaven looking at the big picture going, “Simmer down Christen”, but I can’t see that picture. Have I mentioned I am type AAA? Well if I haven’t you can see why I am struggling with life.
Life is so… messy! I am not good with messes. When my house is messy, I am messy. I don’t shower like I should, I don’t routine like I should, I don’t love like I should, I don’t do much like I should. But when my house is clean, wow it is a big difference. Everything else has a lighter feel to it. I am happier, I am healthier, life is better. Don’t smite me down God for my lack of vision after all You made me this way for a reason.
Right now every room in the house is messy. It’s slightly dirty too, but mostly messy. What deflates my bubble of motivation is I just got EVERY ROOM organized last month! Talk about slapping a person down, am I right? As a mom we spend every ounce of energy trying to please everyone else and it’s never enough or worse never appreciated. When I get our home in order and routine and no one tries to help keep it that way I will eventually throw up my hands and join in. I get to a point where I just can’t keep it up every day.
So that is where I am now. Homeschool disorganized, my health in bad shape, my home feels like a nightmare (seriously I have nightmares about things like this), my marriage is more like two roomates. When you don’t have time to love on yourself you really don’t want your spouse to even look at you let alone touch you (and that is NOT OKAY). The devil loves to put a wedge in our marriages by putting up the roommate divider. My children have a mom right now that is either frowning or crying or has a “blah” expression on her face. And none of this is okay we me!
But here is the problem. I don’t know what to do to get back to the sweet – spot of life. As I type I have canceled all my outreaching to other people. No more meetings for my mommies, no more essential oil continuing education (well that’s not entirely true. I had one already planned for next month. Then that is it.) and I’m saying no to most things. I am 100% in a rut… again and it is one of the longest I have had.
Depressing huh? Yep, it is. But this is life for all of us. We have our ups and we have are downs. Sometimes those downs are really really REALLY down. But, through all this I have stayed consistent in one thing. For almost the entire year I have been talking and meeting with my Lord in a way that looking back now has kept me going all year. I am not in the sweet-spot of life right now, or so I think. I have no routine that I can stick to for more than a couple of days, but that is okay. God is going to pull me through the waters of this time in my life. There will come a day in the near future that I will have it all together again. It may start now or it may not start for another year or so. But here is the revelation. At the beginning of this year I was hopeful that it would be my most joyful year yet. If I go off my emotions and all the negative things that were my daily life throughout the months it looks to be just the opposite. A joyless year. WRONG!
The sweet-spot in life was always there. The sweet-spot in life is the joy we find, wait for it… in God. This entire year I asked for something that God gave me. I asked for it to be full of joy and He gave it to me. The problem was my idea of joy wasn’t really joy, I wanted happiness. There is nothing in life that can steal your joy if you always remember your joy comes from the Lord. If your joy comes from you being happy, or from stuff or even from your kids then you will always be let down. Our Lord is the only true joy and now I see that. So am I still looking for sweet-spot? You bet, because right now it looks a lot different than last year, so I constantly have to be aware of it in the mist of the chaos! Because the thing about the sweet-spot is it changes as life goes on. The sweet-spot could look like organization and tidiness, it could look like living most of the days outside exploring and playing, it could look like anything. This is not a cruel joke God plays on us. No, God just knows what kind of sweet-spot we need even if it doesn’t look like how we want. So find the joy that is your current sweet-spot because it is still there mommy, waiting on you to be content in it.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus ~
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer ~