To all the Tired Momma’s Out There.

She moves with automaticity,

an art form in its own right.

She’ll work all day after a

somewhat sleepless night.

She’s up with the kids,

or just right before.

She wants to have everything perfect

before they rush out the door.

She irons clothes, packs lunches

and writes sweet little notes.

She helps tiny fingers zip up their coats.

She bends down to wipe chocolate

from a chubby little face.

She stoops down to tie a ragged shoe lace.

She will kiss them good-bye and they will be on their way

and she will dive into her jam-packed day.

She knows all to well what this day will hold.

Dishes to wash and laundry to fold.

Then there’s grocery shopping that’s economical

and healthy to eat,

followed by errands to run and a teacher to meet.

She hasn’t even glanced in the mirror today,

and if she did she would be discouraged from

seeing that her hair is getting gray.

Her wrinkles are creeping in and she

feels so very plain,

yet she puts a smile on her face

you won’t here her complain.

Her sighs slip out unintentionally and

surprise her a bit.

She laughs at herself, knowing

she doesn’t have time for a hissy fit.

She momentarily wishes for

a moment’s peace and perhaps even quiet.

But she pushes that feeling down deep

and instead tries to hide it.

The kids will be home soon and

she knows full well,

they will have homework to do,

and a thousand words to spell.

She will help with addition and read

the little ones books,

then she will have baths to give

and dinner to cook.

She’s unappreciated by most and

usually doesn’t mind

but tonight she has emotions

of a different kind.

She’s weary from fulfilling

the needs of others

and she feels guilty for being tired

from just being “mother”.

She wonders if God’s disappointed

because she is feeling this way

and tries to be thankful

for this ordinary day.

She longs for peace and rest

for her tired soul,

she doesn’t have to say it at all,

her Father already knows.

So she waits until her children

are sleeping peacefully in bed,

and she rushes to bow down

before Jesus and be spiritually fed.

The task of raising children

is the greatest calling one can receive

and she can do it with honor and grace,

with heavenly reprieve.

She knows her greatest legacy will be

the children she will raise,

and she will do it with joy in her heart,

a continuous song of praise.

The peace she longs for won’t be found

in a spotless house or the air of quiet.

She can’t wish it or think it,

no money can buy it.

She knows it is found by resting

in God’s Holy Spirit.

His peace is all around when

she is quiet enough to hear it.

The peace she is looking for is found

when she holds her sweet little ones,

when she is “clothed with strength and dignity

and she can laugh at the days to come”.

She rises up in prayer

in her whole armor of God.

no need to fake everything is all right

or put on a fancy facade.

God’s peace can be found amidst sticky floors

and screaming kids running in the house, down the hall

His peace IS the calm in the midst of it all.

So, she smiles to herself and thanks God for the reminder.

No matter how low she seems to get, he always seem to find her.

Testimony Tuesday but on a Sunday.

For a week and a half, I’ve had this one scripture on my mind.  I really thought it was what I was supposed to write about but while reading tonight, God put a different message in my heart.  So, let’s talk about Jesus feeding the 5,000.  I’m sure some of you reading this are already having a difficult time thinking about Jesus taking five loaves of bread and two fish from a little boy and feeding 5,000 people.  I’ll admit, that is a lot of hungry mouths.  It makes me cringe to think of feeding my 20 or so people at Thanksgiving each year.  In our human minds, it seems nearly impossible.  Some want to argue that events like this one are merely symbolic for some greater meaning because they can’t possibly fathom it actually happening.  Others use events like this to discredit the bible completely, you know, since it doesn’t seem plausible and therefore isn’t.  Me?  I choose to read the bible and believe exactly what it says.  If it says Jesus fed 5,000 people then I believe that was one happy, and full, crowd.  Who am I to put a limit on what is possible for the Almighty God?  I mean, I can’t even remember to put the clothes in the washer into the dryer.  I’m in no place to put a limit on my Creator. In my humble opinion I think it is us humans who put a limit on what God will do in our lives.  We exist on choice.  We have a choice to believe in Jesus Christ, Buddha, Allah, or nothing at all.  We have a choice to believe what God is capable of, or is not capable of, and we have a choice to exercise faith.  As I used to tell my students, and still tell my own children, while we are free to choose, we are not free from the consequences of our choices.  So, if I “put God in a box” so to speak, and don’t allow him to move freely and miraculously in my life, I will live with the less-than-miraculous consequences.  I know and speak with experience because I have been guilty of stifling God and his mighty power and I have freely enjoyed the benefits of wholly believing in his goodness, faithfulness and merciful nature.  Let me just tell you a little about what God has done for me.

There are a million and one small things I could tell you about that have happened over the years, mine and Nick’s salvation for example (because I’ll be honest, we used to enjoy being the last ones to leave the bar) but I’m going to try to condense it down to a few of my favorite moments with God that were nothing short of divine intervention.

About a year after our middle child was born I found myself surrounded in darkness at every turn and completely overwhelmed in one of the scariest situations in my life.  I have never, even to this day, talked about it with anyone but God.  It’s deeply personal to me and it’s only because I feel led to share with someone who might need to hear that there is a way out of the condemnation and fear that I am even discussing it now. I can’t describe the feelings that overcame me but it was as if I had the blackest, darkest spirits in hell smothering me and I was consumed with an unwelcome fear and dread.  It was much worse than what I would describe as depression and yet not suicidal, although I did find myself consumed with death and dying.  It’s hard to even type that from where I stand today.  I had been pressing in closer to Jesus and was maturing as a Christian but yet here I was, with these feelings.  I heard Joyce Meyer say one day, “new level, new devil” and I immediately knew I was under a spiritual attack.  (ha! I know some of you science-y people are reading this and thinking, ‘no, you were depressed’ but I’m telling you it was much deeper than that).  I did what the bible instructs us to do.  I fasted and prayed.  I gave up food completely for two days and prayed that God would lift this feeling from me.  Each time I would be struck with fear or dread, i would sing whatever hymnal came to mind and praise the Lord without ceasing.  When Wednesday night finally came around, I ran to the alter to be prayed for.  My bible tells me to let the elders of the church pray and anoint you with oil and that is just what I did.  I even remember what i was wearing.  As soon as my pastor laid hands on me, I fell to the floor, slain in the spirit.  Now, I know I’ve probably got some eye-brow raising but that’s okay.  I’m here to tell you that spirit of darkness broke off of me and I was delivered completely from it.  Never again did I feel, nor have I felt, that dreadful and consuming spirit.  Chris Tomlin sings a song that says, “my chains are gone, i’ve been set free, my God my savior has rescued me…” well, that is what happened to me on that day.  My fear was replaced with the joy of the Lord. Testimony 1.

Fast forward a few years and Nick and I made a series of decisions without consulting God.  We up and moved to Tennessee.  Nick was traveling all the time, I had no friends, no family and three small babies.  Every church we went to was as dead as a door nail. Ugh.  After a few months, I convinced Nick that we would all be happier if we moved back home to our family and our church.  Because he is awesome, he agreed.  We rented the house in Tennessee for a year, not quite sure we didn’t want to keep it.  Ultimately we decided we were going to put it up for sale and buy a house in Kentucky.  We fasted, again, and prayed before we put it on the market.  We knew it would be a long shot since it was in an up-and-coming community that a buyer could custom build a house in.  Eight days after being put on the market, a buyer bought it with CASH.  Just like that.  Testimony 2.

Three years ago, I began having blurred, cloudy vision.  I would be in a room and it would appear as if everything in the room was foggy, only no one else saw it.  This got me concerned so I went to the eye doctor.  The eye doctor did some tests and told me I had significant optical nerve damage and was on the fast track to having full-blown glaucoma.  He began aggressively treating it but cautioned me to educate myself on it because there was no cure.  I’d be lying if I said this news didn’t rock me to my core.  Once I realized that glaucoma ultimately leads to blindness, I couldn’t look at my babies without sobbing.  I mean I cried ugly cries for like a week.  I know it doesn’t always lead to blindness but in my mind, I was going to go blind.  I was reading my bible and found a scripture in Acts that spoke directly to my heart.  Peter was going up to the gate called Beautiful and a lame beggar was asking for money.  Peter says, “silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” The scripture moved me so much that I claimed it as my own.  When I was afraid, i would hold my hand over my eyes and repeat the scripture except I would say, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I can see.”  I made an appointment with a glaucoma specialist and you guessed it: fasted and prayed.  For three weeks, I claimed healing over my eye through that scripture and prayer.  I happen to believe that the bible is a living document that I can freely use for my life at the expense of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection.  And for that, I am so thankful.  I also went and was prayed for by my pastor and other’s in my church and was slain in the spirit for the only other time to date. I believe I received a full healing at that moment.  Nick was out of town so I took my mom to the eye doctor with me.  He ran all the same tests that the previous doctor has used but he couldn’t understand why I was there.  He looked at me and said that I had, ‘textbook perfect’ eyes and no sign of glaucoma.  I wept and explained to him what had happened.  He looked at me like I had antlers growing out of my forehead as I told him of my miracle but I told him, nonetheless.  I told the ladies at the checkout, I told my barista at Starbucks, I told anyone and everyone who would listen.  My eyes were healed because I made a choice to stand FIRM on the word of God.  I did not put a limit on what God could do and he proved limitless, just like always.  Testimony 3.

Okay, last one.  I promise.  As many of you know, I was not very content my last year of work.  I loved my co-workers and my students but I was exhausted and felt guilty for how little I had leftover to give my husband and kiddos.  I guess you could say I was emotionally spent.  I remember thinking, Lord, this can’t be what you mean when you say you want us to be filled with joy.  The life I was living was hurried and mentally exhausting, I was cranky and worn out.  In November we began praying that God would make a way for me to stay home if that was in his will for our lives.  We had some land in Jeffersonville that we didn’t really need so we decided to put it up for sale.  We didn’t need to sell it so it was kind of one of those go-big-or-go-home situations with the price.  I remember standing in my classroom on the last day of school thinking, “okay, Lord, my mission field is at school and this is where you must want me” when the realtor called.  A couple from Colorado had bought it for FULL ASKING price.  They thought it was a bargain because land in CO is so expensive.  Huh.  I hurried and typed up my resignation and that was that.  Well, when Nick and I sat down to re-work the budget for one income, we couldn’t believe what we found.  We used the profit to pay off some big bills and when we added up our monthly saving from the debt elimination, it equaled my salary after taxes right down to the dollar!!!  Now, go ahead naysayer and tell me that wasn’t a God thing.  Testimony 4.

God is good, ya’ll.  Don’t put him on a shelf or limit what he can do in your life.  I told you all these things not to highlight me and what I did (because let me tell you, for every one thing I do right, I do about 10 wrong so yeah…) but to show you what God can and will do when you stand on his word and have faith that he can do what he says he can do. Nick and I definitely don’t deserve any of the things he has done for us because we are sinful and faulted, but we trust God to do what his word says he will.  That is literally all it takes. And the t-shirts are right, ya’ll do need Jesus.

Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.  

 

Zip it. Zip it Real Good.

“Be careful little mouth of what you say, be careful little mouth of what you say.  For the Father up above is looking down with love so be careful little mouth of what you say.”

It seemed innocent enough at the time.  I didn’t mean any malice or ill-will.  In fact, I wasn’t even angry; mostly bored.  Late last week, after Nick left to take the kids to school, I called my sister.  We chatted for a minute about our long to-do lists but then I started telling her about this, that and the other that was driving me crazy about ole’ hubbyicious.  She listened, chimed in occasionally and we hung up.  I honestly never thought another thing about it.  I wrangled the smallest fry into his clothes, Nick came home to pick us up and we left to take aforementioned small fry to preschool.  I was riding shotgun singing along with K-Love like I didn’t have a care in the world when it happened.  My precious little baby pipes up from the back seat and says, “um, dad?  Mom was talking about you on the phone to Gigi when you were gone.”  DANG.  Where is the eject button in this truck anyway??  I’ve not had a near death experience but I’d imagine it goes something like what happened to my heart at that moment.  Like, at the risk of sounding to ridiculous, I am not ashamed to tell you I considered just tucking and rolling from the moving vehicle.  What?  It seemed like a viable option at the time.  I also envisioned pretending to choke on the protein bar I was eating, forcing myself into an uncontrollable coughing fit or just throwing my phone to Luke in hopes that it would be a giant distraction. But no.  Instead I sat there, holding my breath to see how this was gonna pan out.  Little bit goes on to tell daddy word for stinkin word what I said to my sister on the phone.  And I thought the little turd was watching Spongebob.  I hadn’t said anything that was marriage-ending so that was good 🙂  but still.  You all.  I was so ashamed.  I felt like I had betrayed this precious man who loves me despite the fact that I never get up on time, always make us late, continue to keep a filthy car despite his utter annoyance with it, and the list goes on.  Thankfully, he wasn’t to mad and only fussed a little because I have ‘diarrhea of the mouth’.  I, on the other hand, have continued to think about the conversation and the impact my mouth has on those around me.

I have grown up singing the old song, “be careful little mouth of what you say” and have now taught it to our children.  Well, my little mouth says a WHOLE l0t from day to day.  Right in front of those little ones I am trying to teach to be kind and Christ-like with their words.  From my high horse I’d tell you that I never talk about anyone or any situation at all, let alone in front of my kids, but I like to stay down here in humbleville these days.  And the truth is, I do talk.  No, I’m not calling anyone cruel names or being all-Malificient vicious but I talk, nonetheless.  Maybe someone annoyed me at the grocery store or maybe I am unhappy with a choice that a family member has made.  Perhaps someone has gotten under my skin and I can make a joke about it to someone else (although I am not particularly funny, this is something I do more than I care to admit.) And dog-gone-it if I don’t just open my yapper and talk right in front of my children.  Yes, I usually think they are occupied with something else but Luke is living proof that they actually can listen and do something else at the same time.  Sad face.  It is one thing to do something sinful in front of adults but quite another to do in front of children.  As their momma, they are watching me to see what I am doing.  Like it or not, I have been teaching my children that as long as you do it in ‘fun’ or behind closed doors, it is okay to express your disdain with someone else.  Well, that is enough to make me want to puke.

Now, what about the listener?  My little sister, the one who should (hopefully and perhaps) look up to me, is also hearing me talk ill about someone.  She is a married woman too, you know.  So, let’s think about this.  I called her before 8AM and began to complain about an absolutely fine fella and set the tone for her day.  Not only did my negative attitude toward my husband affect her, it had the potential to affect her marriage as well.  What if she began fixating on the fault in her spouse, like I was so selfishly doing with mine?  I think that’s what they call the trickle down effect.  And it’s alive and well.  Satan loves the trickle down effect.  He wants us to find fault in others, spread negative attitudes like the plague and become so entangled in our own selfish worlds so that we are preoccupied with everything but Jesus.  Idolatry at its finest.

Finally, there is the one whom my soul loves that I have hurt with my careless words.  In Genesis, God makes it clear that the two are to become one flesh. I have no choice, then, but to believe that when you hurt your spouse you are also hurting yourself.  No, I didn’t say anything horrible, just the usual wife-like complaints, but I still spoke of it in front of our child.  His child.  I, without intending to, planted a little seed about what marriage should look like.  If I continue down that road, I would be watering that little seed until he has his own opinions, the wrong opinions, about how a wife should treat her husband.   And you know what?  One day that little fry will be a husband, as will my other son.  I want them to learn to be Godly in all their ways and yet, here I am, the mouth of the south, talking about their daddy.  Ephesians 4:29 says this:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

God makes it pretty clear that not only are we not to talk about someone else but we must say things that are helpful to the listeners around us.  We have to continually be watching and paying attention to our surroundings, constantly aware of the needs of others.  My children need a Godly mother to show my daughter how to be a wife and to teach my sons what to look for in one.  My sister needs a Godly mentor and example.  My husband needs a Godly wife who lifts him up and supports his walk with the Lord.  I have made a new commitment to be all those things, and more, to those around me.  Not only that, but if your mouth needs a zipper like mine did, I encourage you to heed God’s word and say goodbye to the gross, unGodly habit of careless talk, too.  My prayer is that I can be so consumed with Christ that it is contagious 🙂

Queen of Everything…Except Not Really.

Sometimes God can jump right out of the pages of the Bible and smack me right upside the head.  I guess it’s that way with any great piece of literature-the pages seem to spring to life as you read them.  Most every night, after the kiddos have surrendered to sleep and the husband has gone into his nightly coma-on-the-couch, I snuggle in with my bible and my journal and read.  If I’m being truthful, sometimes I read my bible out of obligation to God.  I want to please him, be obedient to him and grow closer to him and the natural progression in that relationship is to read and seek him out.  Sometimes though, I shamefully treat it like a daunting task that must be done rather than something that I get to do.  Emotions are wonky like that.  I’ll admit that on those nights, I usually read a chapter or so and then head off to bed without much deep thought….and even more shamefully, I feel like I’ve clocked in my hours as a “good and dutiful Christian”.   OY.  Other nights though, I begin reading and the sweet holy spirit speaks directly to my heart. I mean, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times I’m sure, but emotions are so weird.  If my mood is holier-than-thou and I think I’m doing God a favor by reading HIS word, I am surprised when I go to bed and don’t feel like the bible had any message for me…..BUT when I read it with an open and eager heart and mind, the precious Holy Spirit moves and changes me.  It is never him that is changing the situation, no, it all falls back on me.  My willingness.  My attitude.  My eagerness.  My humbleness.  So, the other night I was reading in Samuel and I had one of those so called, “come to Jesus” meetings but actually with Jesus.  It was intense, to say the least.  Here was the scripture that has had me thinking for the past few days:

2 Samuel 22:28  To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.  You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.

Yikes.  Let that sink in for a minute.  It had me all kinds of wild.  It made me look in my own self-righteous mirror and ask, “What am I to you, Lord?”  I always think about what God is to me and what he can do/has done for me, but rarely do I truly meditate on what I am to him.  So, I got to thinking.  Am I faithful, blameless or pure?  Do I humble myself to others?  And I’m not talking about the kind of humble that makes you be-nice-to-the-bill-collector-when-they-call-even-though-you-secretly-want-to-scream-at-them humble.  (what?  Like a bill collector has never called you before.  pffftt.) I’m talking about the wash-the-feet-of-the-homeless-orphan-widow kind of humble.  That night, in my own reflection I saw faithful and blameless.  After all, I am faithful in checking my facebook seven million times a day, faithful in spending far to much time shopping online and even faithful in ensuring that our schedules are so busy that we rarely have time to just sit and relax.  I am blameless.  That’s right.  I rarely take the blame for my own mistakes, even when I know I should because I have been known to be a little stubborn and proud.  I will blamelessly cast it elsewhere and blamelessly accept my position as queen of everything. Somehow I don’t think that is the kind of faithful and blameless King David was referring to.  Needless to say, I went to sleep feeling like a failure of a Christian and maybe even a fake.  My heart was heavy and my sorrow profound.

Since that night, my thoughts have lingered back to that scripture.  I knew I wanted to write about it but was embarrassed to admit all the aforementioned things about myself…so I pondered and prayed.  I’ll admit, I’ve been pretty down on myself these past few days, wondering how I could possibly contribute to the kingdom of Heaven and what God thinks of me.  BUT OH GOD!  Like literally.  He is so awesome and good to me.  Tonight, while driving home, the kids were chattering about their day and I was only about half-way listening when Ava says, “mom, so-and-so at school was talking about being rich.  I told them that I’m rich with God and Jesus.  I don’t even care what they think of me because God and Jesus make me rich.”  whoa.  She is 7 and she gets it.  She ‘gets’ what some grown men and women long and search for but never find. I told her how super proud I was of her and we talked for a few minutes about her convo at school.  Then later tonight, in a quiet moment, the Lord gently reminded me of just how my baby girl knew such a profound thing.  It’s because everyday, without fail, we speak of Jesus in this house.  Of his love, his mercy, his faithfulness and his goodness.  I speak of Jesus FAITHFULLY.  We pray each morning on the way to school, at every meal, and before they go to sleep.   I may not be pure in all my actions each day but my heart is pure when I tell my sweet children about the love I have for the one who gave it all on an old rugged cross.  I may not be blameless to the naked eye but because I believe that my sins were the final nail in his precious body, I can ask for forgiveness, experience true repentance and stand BLAMELESS before my God.  These thoughts came flooding in, just as quickly as I could think them.  But, if you know God like I do, that should be no surprise.  Even though I am faulty and sinful to the naked eye, God loves me so much that he reminds me what he sees in me.  Yes, I do need to delete the facebook app from my phone, yes, I should probably quit turning into the Incredible Hulk every time on of my children leaves a toy (or five million) out in the living room but thankfully he sees more in me than my sins. And here’s a spoiler alert, I’ve read the whole book and he loves YOU that much, too. In Samuel, a few verses down, its says, “As for God, his way is perfect.  The Lord’s word is flawless, he shields ALL who take refuge in him for who is God besides the Lord?  And who is the rock except our God?”  

Thanks God, for always being my shield.

My Cup……

You know, some moments in life are fantastic and refreshing to the soul but then other moments, well they can be life DRAINING.  I’ve been thinking alot about my symbolic cup and what fills it up and what makes it POP a gasket, as my nanny would say. In the spirit of honestly let me share with you some cup emptying moments that have happened to me recently.

So, I’m usually full of ridiculous antics but I’m like 99% sure tonight I reached a new low.  As you may or may not know, my house has been stricken with illness.  Like seriously.  Every member of my family probably could have qualified for quarantine at some point.  It’s been a rough few weeks on this ole gal.  And (yes, I know I just started a perfectly good sentence with the word and.  At some point in life, you reach an age that you get to start a sentence with whatever word you want.  I’m that age.) and anyway, to top it all off, my precious husband has been working out in the middle of the ocean so he has been spared the infectious- yet loving- snotting, sneezing, vomitting, coughing, gagging, crying kids.  Lucky dog.  I usually don’t get sick but a couple weekends ago, my body gave in to the sickness.  I went to see the doctor first thing Monday morning and he gave me a shot of antibiotics, a prescription for more antibiotics and bam!  I thought I would be better.  Well, truthfully, I did get better for a minute but then, because I am a crazy lunatic, I quit taking the antibiotics. They were making my heart have palpitations.  Judge if you want.  Whatever.  I ain’t even gonna lie; I am a self-diagnosing hypochondriac.  So yeah.  This week rolls around and i’m sicker than I’ve ever been.  Those little guys in the mucinex commercials have set up shop in my face and chest but are refusing to pack up and leave.  Never having time to be sick, I packed up my little ones and we made it through Christmas yesterday even though it was hard.  I had a crying 10 year old who is old enough to understand that his daddy works hard to give us the life we have but yet is still not old enough to understand why daddy had to miss Christmas.  The other two were grouchy all day; I’m guessing because they couldn’t articulate what Jack was expressing through tears.  I did all the things in my mom “hat” and comforted their little spirits as best as I could all whilst sneezing, coughing, peeing on myself from said coughing and basically, you know, just dying.  Jack fell onto a basketball goal and busted up his elbow pretty bad, my youngest child was screaming like someone in a scene from the Exorcist and then someone at a family dinner made me want to break out the crazy and open-handed smack her for talking ill of my screaming child (what?  Christians want to smack people too.  He knows my heart so I might as well say it.  I didn’t actually do it so see, he’s working in me!)  All of these moments, as each one of them went down, were draining my cup.  Little by little, my fighting spirit was being drained.  I was replacing it with an overwhelmed, tired, sickly woman who wanted nothing more than a nap and to be left alone.  Fast forward to tonight…to my new low.  I wound up taking Jack to the ER for his banged up elbow because of the lingering thought, and consequent momma guilt, of a broken bone.  I let him lay in my lap while we waited on X-rays and I tried not to cough and sneeze all over him.  I did anyway.  I coughed, once again, until I peed my pants.  Let me just say this: if you are a dude and are reading this, you better thank the women in your life who have birthed your children.  Peeing ones self is most definitely the least awesome thing for a grown woman to do.  Ah. I digress.  Anyway, after my coughing fit I got up and was walking around the room and then I saw it.  It was the oxygen thing that nurses use.  I decided I didn’t have time to be sick, but since I was pretty sure I was dying, I would just put it on for a minute and check my oxygen levels.  That would surely give me the reassurance that I needed to press through the illness.  Welp, I put it on and then kept it on, hysterical over how my heart rate would get crazy high each time I coughed.  In my fleeting panic over my impending heart attack from such a high heart rate, I realized, ever so painfully, that my cup was officially dry.  I knew I needed some time alone with my Jesus because the only thing that fills a dry cup is a drink from the spring of living water!

Tonight, as I prayed and wrote in my journal, I began to think back on the past few days and look specifically for the good.  The moments that replenished my soul, even if it was just a little.  I thought I would share the top 4 things that I have found to be cup-filling, just in case other momma’s out there run a little dry sometimes, too.  And also because I have had way to much cough medicine and want to type. 🙂

  1.  Just a little talk with Jesus.  That old hymn was right, “let us have a little talk with Jesus, tell him all about our troubles…” Talking to Jesus like he is my best friend is what keeps me sane.  I don’t know how non-believers do it without a true, life-giving, merciful friend to carry the weight of their problems.  I’ve come to realize that I make my own life far to difficult by worry.  It only gives me premature wrinkles.  God says he will bear our burdens and I believe him.  Hebrews 13:6 So we will say with confidence, “the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
  2. Uninterrupted time in his word.  I hate to get up early but I will stay up all night just to have time to read, and think, about God’s word.  The bible is my ace-in-the-hole for life.  It always tells me just what my desperate, and often failing, soul needs to hear.  It’s crazy the way the Lord works.  No matter what issues I’m having, when I open his word, it always meets my needs.  Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
  3. My precious husband.  This one can be tricky because if you aren’t careful, marriage can drain your cup.  It’s kind of hilarious they way it works actually.  You find this person you are madly in love with and then you make little people who puke on you, poop on you, cry nonstop and that’s just the beginning.  Of course life gets a little stressful!!  When my husband fills my cup, it’s because I have made a choice to ask him how he is, and then really listen, or to watch him in awe while he plays with our kids, sometimes I think about what a selfless man he truly is by sacrificing so much and asking nothing in return and sometimes it’s just noticing how cute his butt really is in those Levi’s.  When I approach Nick with an open heart and attitude, I never, ever leave empty.  He is, afterall, the man I chose to spend forever with and I think he is pretty incredible.  I’ve just got to hush all the noise and focus on the one my soul loves. Proverbs 18:22 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.  
  4. The awe and wonder of our three babies.  Yes, they drain me at times and are most definitely the reason I have gray hair.  But, when I hear them say something about how much they love Jesus, make a funny little joke or learn something new and complex, my heart could just burst.  When I’m not playing my role of super-crazed, vegetable slingin’, tooth brushin, homework pushing mom and I just listen to them, I am truly amazed.  We created some fantastically interesting and wildy intelligent little people and that is amazing.  Why wouldn’t your cup be filled if you have little people who are incredibly entertaining and still love you unconditionally even when they’ve seen you yell and foam at the mouth over some spilled juice/missing homework/markers on the wall?  Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies at the gate.

 

The Marshmallow Test

This week I have been rather disgusting; a truly ugly version of myself.  I have snarled, complained, felt sorry for myself, and have been downright despicable.  My kids have all been sick with some crazy virus that has made them have crazy amounts of diarrhea, we are all sleep-deprived because of said virus, I’ve bleached my house until my hands feel like they could crack open, my precious husband is working and won’t be home for Christmas, the dog is missing and I’m worried about him and now I’m getting a cold.  So basically, its just another day at the office but this time, for some reason, it’s hitting me hard.  If we are being totally honest, I’ve known how ugly I’ve been but haven’t particularly had the desire to change it.  How awful is that?    I’m usually a just-keep-swimming kind of girl but with all the horrifying news that has come pouring in faster than I can process it coupled with aforementioned issues at my house, I have managed to get myself all out of sorts.  And just so we are perfectly clear, I’m as self-reflective and analytical as they come.  With each huff and puff that I exhale I am analyzing.  I give myself pep talks, I tell myself to pray, I tell myself to fast through the problem.  I know what to do but sometimes I just can’t.  Or don’t.  I’m not sure which one it is really.  I chastise myself and get angry because I feel like a first-world brat.  I sit in my nice, big house, with my healthy kids and great husband who has graciously allowed me some time off from work and yet I still get the occasional bout of sadness.  To make matters worse, I begin to criticize myself for being so unthankful. I get furiously mad at myself and initiate my self-destructive habits.  I push people away, I lose my temper when I shouldn’t and it’s just gross.  This is why I NEED Jesus.  I don’t just use him on Sunday mornings or for general conversation to make myself look like I have a perfectly adorned halo.  I need him to rescue me from myself.  I need him to pull me up and remind me that I am a child of God.  It’s always amazing to me to see the vicious cycle that I keep finding myself in.  It’s never Jesus who walks away from me. I always, albeit inadvertently, open the door to let the spirit of sadness in.  Maybe I don’t pray when I hear God gently nudging my spirit, I’ve been known to put off reading my bible just to get a little extra sleep and sometimes I get so overwhelmed with my life that I flat out forget to pray to the only one who can make even the most violent storm be still.  Other times I just get stubborn and don’t ask for help, even from God.  I am a sinner and imperfectly human.  Maybe you can relate to what I am talking about.

I could lie to you and tell you that everyday of my life I am joyful and over the moon happy but who would I be kidding?  Life is sometimes just not that way, even when we know it should be.  Emotions are weird, man.  The one thing I have learned during my journey with Christ is that no matter how i may feel at the time, I never let go of Jesus.  I press in.  Sometimes I have to pray that he will help me have the desire to pray and sometimes I just pray for him to give me faith and meet me where my faith ends.  I know that while emotions are fleeting, Jesus never fails me.  This morning I was thinking about what a total jerk I have been lately and I heard something on K-Love that spoke right to my heart.  The man was talking about kids who were given a “marshmallow test”.  The people conducting the experiment offered one marshmallow  to each child for immediate consumption or, if they waited 20 minutes, they promised them they could have two.  The experimenters followed the kids as they grew and found that the children who chose to wait for the two marshmallows trusted adults and had faith that they would do what they said they would do.  The kids who took the immediate marshmallow were not as trusting of adults.  The man then asked if we were trusting in God to do what he said he would?  Boom.  God cracked my hard shell and drew me right back in.  Just like he ALWAYS does, he rescued me.  Again.  Like seriously, for the millionth time.  I was quickly reminded of all the times God has done just what his word promises he will.  His love never, ever fails.  I may fail him, over and over again, but he is the one constant in my life that I can count on.  He is my savior and I am so in love with him.  I’m so glad he saw fit to die on that old rugged cross for my sins, and yours, because God knew I’d surely need saving.  He loves us.  He really, really does.  Even when I’m a horrible wife, even when I’m just an okay mom, and even when I am an ungrateful girl who turns away from him, he loves me.  I’m waiting on my proverbial marshmallows because no matter what may happen from day to day, I trust God to do just what he says he will do.  I hope that if you are like me and need rescued from yourself, that you will trust Jesus, too.  If he promises you marshmallows, you are going to have the best marshmallows ever.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3: 5-6

The Somewhere In-Between

Irony is ironic.  Weird.

In May of this year, I paced around my classroom anxiously administering state mandated testing to my 6th grade kiddos.  With every glance at those little tiny bubbles I could feel an ever increasing need for blood pressure medication.  My thoughts would race to moments of teaching failures throughout the year and I’d sigh.  I’d look at the little faces filling in those bubbles, watch them look at my face for any sign of approval, and I’d sigh again.  Their sweet faces would remind me of my own three babies and I’d think of how I was going to manage to leave work, pull into daycare on two wheels and practically jog into the building just to kiss those sweet cheeks I’d missed all day.  *More sighing*  I knew I was just going to rush them out the door, drive to fast to get home just so I could yell at them to get homework done, eat, bath and go to BED ALREADY.  Bed already?!  Yes, I knew, standing there in my classroom that my night at home would be miserable and I would be counting down the minutes until it was bedtime, already. And I cringed because I HATED that about myself. This time my sighs almost turned to tears.  I refocused myself, continued monitoring those precious babies in my classroom (don’t go getting yourself all offended, no testing infractions could have possibly incurred during my train wreck of thoughts.  All of those thoughts happened in about 30 seconds, thanks to my little helper, ADHD) It was in those moments of disparaging thoughts that I reached a breaking point.  I grabbed my big yellow legal pad off my desk and the words just flowed.  They were effortless, perhaps because they’d been hushed and pushed down for so long.  I penned this poem called, “The SomeWhere In Betweens” and pondered on it for days. Ultimately, it would be the driving force behind my desire to quit my teaching job to be a full time mom and wife.  So now, no judgment allowed, here is a look into what my heart felt but couldn’t articulate until that day.

The Somewhere In Between

I live in the hallelujahs, the sighs and the somewhere in-betweens,

where love always lives and can be felt,

but occasionally isn’t seen.

Where the praises and the struggles

are whispered in the same breath.

Where we are raising three little ones

and it scares us to death.

I live in-between the

“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU SPILLED JUICE ON THE CARPET

FOR THE THIRD TIME THIS WEEK!”

and the “I’m going to kiss you all over,

you’ve got sugars dripping off of your cheeks!”

My mind is in a dead sprint

of ‘rush, rush, rush, we’ve got to be fast,’

but my heart says, ‘slow down..make these moments last.’

I live with self-inflicted noise

that can only be drowned out with prayer,

to my God who never leaves me and is always right there.

I cry out to him in whispers, tears and groans,

he is my faithful rock, never leaving me alone.

Without fail he calms my often tormented spirit,

and gently reminds me his voice can be heard

when I’m still enough to hear it.

Give me courage Lord to walk away

from the expectations of this life,

and be a Godly mother and an ever present wife.

I live in the

hallelujahs,

the sighs and the somewhere in-betweens,

where I thank God he is my deliverance

and the rock upon which I lean.

And so, here I am.  I quit my job and I am a full time mom and wife.  And let me just say, wow.  It’s alot.  Like really.  I never even knew how hard it was because I was only doing it half way and in zombie mode.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still failing miserably most days but I’m trying.  And the thing is, and where the irony comes in, is that I still feel like I’m living in the in-between.  In between moments of quiet desperation where I want to curl up in the fetal position and silently cry myself to sleep and moments of immeasurable joy because I can be 100% present for those who love and need me most.  I imagined that my sweet husband would never have to search for matching socks on Sunday morning anymore, that my children would have behavior rivaling that of Jane and Michael Banks, post Mary Poppins and that I would finally get the rock hard body that I always wanted (okay, even I laughed out loud at that one).  The truth is, everyday is still a struggle.  Laundry doesn’t always get done, I have worn the same sweatshirt and jeans for like two weeks in a row and my poor husband doesn’t even ask about socks anymore.  But I love this new place I’m in and I give thanks to God for allowing me this life filled with lots of in-betweens.  I hope you’ll join me as I attempt, albeit humbly, to uplift you and your family as I blog all our little in-betweens.

Our family verse for this school year:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.