Saturday, May 18, 2013

Grace for Moms

Earlier this evening I read this amazing little article my beautiful friend, Laine Alves (www.everydaylaine.blogspot.com) posted on Facebook. It was one of those challenging evenings for me with the boys, so of course it came at perfect timing to get my heart in check. So I just had to share it with you (and save this moment to serve as a reminder for another sure-to-come rough day):

To the mom who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mom.

To the mom who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mom.

To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mom.

To the disposable diapering mom: Wow, those things hold a lot, and it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You're a good mom.

To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You're a good mom.

To the mom who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career, you're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic. You're a good mom.

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mom.

To the mom who gave her kids a home cooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mom.

Let's be about encouraging one another as we try to be the best moms we can be. May the Lord help us each day to trust Him for the strength and guidance we need and to help us to view motherhood as a blessing, not an inconvenience.
Wow, right? What a reminder to encourage and love those beside us on this journey of motherhood. I've come to find that this season of life has been one that I've felt the most judgement from others and admittedly from my own little heart. It's such an ugly thing, it's filled with judgement and comparison, with pride and insecurity. I will do my best to put this ugliness behind me. To not allow it to reign, or even share more than a moment of my mind's attention. I choose to extend the same grace I'm in need of, while offering the same amount of confrontational love I'd expect and covet from those closest to me if they really did see my blind spot that I've been missing!



But here is what stopped me in my tracks tonight, what moved me to write... the last words of the last sentence came to me... Rewind back to the hours of five to eight o'clock this evening, I have to admit I was feeling pretty inconvenienced and not very blessed in those hours.

After laying them down, kissing their sweet heads and having a few unwinding hours to myself (leaving the housework behind, knowing I needed the rest)... I find myself in a quiet moment with my Lord, candle lit, I reach back and touch my shoulder. "Ew! What is that?" I feel a strange sticky, caked on feeling on my skin. "Oooooohhh!" I remembered holding Connor, while he was crying, with a sucker in hand... getting it all over me. In the moment, that was very inconvenient. We were in a crowd, he was crying & getting his nasty sucker all over me. But once I've gained perspective, had a moment to breath, that sticky substance on my shoulder is a reminder of how blessed I really am. Of the life I am surrounded by and celebrate!

Thank you Jesus for my sweet blessings, may I always be reminded of the life I've been given instead of comparing and being "inconvenienced". Nothing is better than the life and love You've given me!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Feelings: Fall in Line

There's not many more things in this life that control our decisions and our life course than our feelings and emotions. We all too often allow them to dictate our mood, our perception, our decisions and more. Feelings seem to guide us more than truth. Feelings do have a right place, emotions were designed by God. But ultimately, it must be Truth that guides us with our feelings following behind.  I once learned this brilliant visual, that has always stayed with me. It was shared by Alicia Britt Chole (I highly recommend you check out her website/blog at www.truthportraits.com). It's as if our lives were a train-- we typically have our feelings as the engine and the truth as the caboose. What would happen if we switched those around? Being led by truth and telling our feelings how to line up. I think we'd see a dramatic difference in the way our daily lives were lived. We'd find ourselves walking in more freedom and joy.

It reminds me of David's prayer recorded in Psalm 43, I absolutely love these words... I can see myself saying these words in my heart!
 "O my soul, why are you so overwrought? Why are you so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will hope in God again. I will believe and praise the One who saves me and is my life, My Savior and my God." (Psalm 43:5, The Voice)
Then in the version that is typically more familiar to us, I love how direct it makes his statement:
 "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (Psalm 43:5 NIV) 


I love that. Put your hope in God. I need more of that kind of self-talk. I need to take that confidence and that authority over my emotions and let truth dictate my day! I don't want to be a woman who is easily moved or shaken, my God is not. Therefore, why should I be so fickle? So when the truth vs. feelings battle wages all too subtly in my life, I will take notice-- and truth will win.

That's it right there. The key is to take notice when feelings are ruling my life. I have to take action to challenge them with truth... do they line up? Or am I feeling totally off. I will continue to do whatever it takes in my life to turn up the volume to the truth, especially in the midst of my feelings that are so opposing at times. To do this I need to be prepared-- with the truth of who I am and Whose I am. Find out what God says about you, what He promises you in His word, let Him speak to you in the midst of your chaos and confusion of emotions. I promise, He brings peace.

To be completely honest & transparent-- for three days this week, I felt overrun by "emotions" and maybe a little more. It was exhaustion, sloth-like, just down-and-out feeling. I even started to get a slight headache because of it. It hit me for hours-on-end each day for three days in a row... until I finally realized.. this is not me! This is not right. I was praying through it, but then realized I needed to speak it out, for what it was. I told Cole and had him pray with me. I truly felt instantly different, then gradually over the next few hours I was better. The last two days have been great. I'm not sure how much of what I experienced was spiritual, emotional, or physical... but I know it was not right. It was not healthy, there was no joy, there was no way this is the life God intended me... and I wouldn't allow another hour to be robbed from my life.

So whether it's a daily battle for you right now... or something you face more during challenging circumstances in life. Choose truth and you tell your feelings to fall in line!

Who I Am//Regardless of How I Feel


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You CAN Change!

Silencing the Lie: "It's too hard to change. I can't do it."  


Why? Why do we keep running back to the same old things? The same points of pain? The same thought patterns? The same lies. They always lead to same result. The result we don't want. Why? Why is it so hard to change?

"I'm scared of change," she told me. I've heard this so many times from different people. My own heart has screamed those same words. It reminds me of this quote I've heard before and it so often rings true: 
"The freedom she yearned for was scarier than the chains she was shackled by, for they were familiar, and well worn, and freedom an unknown."
Take a second and read that again. Let it sink in. Think of how it applies to a past situation in your life. Or even how it currently fits something your fighting. The fight for freedom is worth it. Most of us know that, as we've fought for it before... and won. Nothing feels better than the joy and peace found in true freedom.

The unknown territory of what's ahead, of life change, of freedom-- can be intimidating. Another lie that seems to come into play often is: "But what if I don't change? What if I can't do it? I go right back to the way I used to be? The same old things?". That's a big "what if". I say let's turn it around to: What if we really believed God's promises? What if instead of striving, we rely on God more fully and lean into Him. Because that is a fact... it might be impossible for us. It most likely is impossible if left up to our own will-power, our own strength, our own fight. Not so with Him.
"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'" (Mark 10:27 NIV)

You are not alone. As a matter of fact, if you've been trying to do it alone-- no wonder you're so disappointed. You have to walk continuously with Him and rely on Him. When things are in our own control and manipulation, when we are trying to orchestrate everything on our own and doing it in our own power, we will fail. When we ask for forgiveness, invite Him to take the lead, trust and obey Him-- we will see change.

Tomorrow is a new day. Embrace Him, embrace the full life you were created to live.
"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." (Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT)