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Dear Weary Mama…

 

Dear Weary Mama,

I know the kind of day you have had. Today was one of those “nice” days. One of those days when the chill of winter was finally gone from the air. There was not a cloud in the sky. The sun was shining, and the temperature just right. After a season of long, wet, cold nights, you want nothing better than to enjoy all this day has to offer.

I know what you do next. You seize the day. Plan an outing for your kids. A long nature walk. A trip to the park. Maybe a stroll through the neighborhood, and a pit stop at the local pond. You and your family need to slow down a bit. Enjoy this day. You think of how great this day will be.

Until it isn’t, Mama. Until it causes your kids to moan and groan. Complain about a walk being too long. The park too boring, and the beach spot by the pond…just too sandy!

And you, dear Mama. You become a little emotional.

So you lose it. Because all your best laid plans failed. You feel useless. Unappreciated. Disrespected. You know you need a walk, and some fresh air; but who is going to go with you? Who is making sure you are OK?

So you lose it.

And after…you instantly feel guilty. I know you feel like you failed, because maybe in your disappointment you yelled. You feel alone, dear Mama, because you worry that you are the only one who ever feels this way. That you must be the only one whose kids don’t see beyond their own needs, desires, and likes.

As a mother comforts her child, so I’ll comfort you. Isaiah 66:13

I know you feel like no one sees you. Notices the 30 times this week you have emptied and reloaded the dishwasher. Driven to pick a friend up. Made a donut trip. Picked up another stray wrapper or sock. Mopped slime and glitter from the floor. Cooked a meal no one wanted to eat, and then cleaned it up, too.

Maybe you were silent, but you really wanted to scream. Maybe you did scream, Mama. Yelled a time, or two, or three.

I bet you feel unnoticed. Unappreciated. Used. Like you will never measure up to that Proverbs 31 woman. The one whose children rise up and call her blessed.

Dear weary one-you are blessed. God sees you.

He has given you this holy calling. This all important, and yes…all encompassing task of raising tiny humans.

Who think they know better. Who at times you don’t really like. Who at other times you wonder whose family tree they sprouted from, because they don’t resemble you in spirit at all.

God sees you, Mama.

He sees you. He loves you. He calls you blessed.

He sees you in your times of happy, and your times of despair. He sees you when you feel like a parenting success, and even when you are a parenting fail.

Dear weary Mama…He sees you.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2019 in On Parenting

 

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An open letter to a young father

The picture above is me at around 22. My oldest about 3. Tomorrow that little boy will be celebrating the first birthday of his own son, at the tender age of 21.

Tonight as we settle down for Sunday dinner and celebrate this precious life on the eve of that momentous birthday, I want that little boy…now a young man to know these things.

First-I love you. Your momma will always love you. Even when life does not turn out the way I hoped it would for you. I love you.

Second-God loves you.

Let’s focus on that second one, and some of the things I wish people had said to me when I was a 19 year old unwed mother. When life had not turned out the way I planned. When my outward sin was on display for the whole world to see. When everyone had well-meaning advice, but others had a slew of opinions.

God loves you.

You are unique. I didn’t know this as a young mom. My concept of love was caught up in the world’s definition, and it told me people loved you if you did what they expected. Never took a few wrong turns. Did everything the “right” way. So I poured all that into you, desperate to make things right.

And…I messed up many times.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. 1 Timothy 4:12

God loves you. The road has turned a little. He will make it “right.” And along the way, son, you are going to make some mistakes.

Because you don’t have it figured out now. This parenting gig is a ball game like no other.  And it seems all the coaches have a different playbook. Thing is…parenting does not come with a one-size-sits-all instruction manual. No matter what age you may be. I am 40, honey…and I ain’t got it right. I need Him. Everyday. Not the opinions of the world.

Society will ALWAYS have an opinion of the perfect parent. And I am here to tell you, to break it to you-you will NEVER measure up. The perfect parent is not the one who never struggles. The perfect parent is not the one who has never had to decide between diapers and gas at the end of the month. The perfect parent is not the one who never had a child fall out of the bed, get a bruise in the center of their forehead when they were learning to walk, or whose first word was a four-letter word that was NOT “milk.”

The “perfect” parent is you. The parent God picked for your child.

You will doubt your ability to do the right thing. To guide your son. To provide for him. Daily.

You will be judged for your choices as a parent. Daily.

You will make mistakes. Guaranteed.

If you ever doubt this, just call yo momma. I’ll sort it all out for you. Because I’ve done all those things and then some.

Know this: You are his “perfect” parent. Who is loved by God. Always. Loved by your momma. Always.

Love, Your “Imperfect” Momma, but the “Perfect” Momma for You!

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2019 in On Parenting

 

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Mom: One beautiful, slimy, mess

Mom: One beautiful, slimy, mess

I have a confession when it comes to the idea of the “perfect” mom. It has to do with my kitchen. Well, let me be honest, the downstairs portion of my house. The parts of the house that people can see.

See, I have this deep hatred of slime-making. For about 4 months this summer and fall my kitchen became a slime-making factory. Which means that glue, Tide, and glitter stuck to my counter and floor for 4 solid months. It also meant that my kitchen, the first part of my house that people saw when they walked in, was a mess. My counters looked like the dough boy had taken a poo, and Tinkerbell had blessed it. The stuff just would not come up. I eventually banned the slime, so my kitchen could be “perfect” again. So people could think I had my stuff together. So they could think I knew how to take care of my household. That I was the “perfect” mom. Had a Neat. Tidy. Well organized. Spotless. Glueless. Glitterless kitchen. “Perfect.”

My outward appearance could once again measure up to the standards that others deemed appropriate. That others decided made great mom material.

Here is the thing about outward appearances: “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Since I banned slime those months ago, I have been put through some fires. Those fires have made me become more present, and more cognizant of what makes me who I am, and less worried about who others think I should be. More focused instead on who God has made me to be. It has also made me more observant of the high expectations the world places on others. The expectations that have nothing to do with what God measures.

I noticed something this weekend as I spent time with my family at the local carnival. Without spending time through the lens of my phone for once, I spent time observing those around me. In line for one of the rides was one mom whose look was unconventional. She had piercings in her ears, in her nose, in her eyebrows. Her hair was shaved on the sides, with long braids adorning the hair she decided to leave. Her child had a shaved, poofy mohawk, and she held another child in her arms. Her appearance didn’t bother me at all. What bothered me were the looks she got. She wasn’t an inattentive mom. She was lovingly sharing a snow cone with the kid she was kissing and holding in her arms. She had her other child securely beside her in a wagon. She never took her eyes off her children. She was like any mom enjoying a Friday night out with her man and their kids. What bothered me were the stares. Like she could not be a mom and look this way.

So, then I wondered, what about me? Pink hair. Nose ring. Tattoos. Mom. Grandma, too. Guess, this isn’t what we should look like.

Or what about the kids that didn’t happen to have parents there. Oh my gosh the shame. You mean they were not being helicoptered all night? You mean they were being treated like we lived in the 80s? Where in the world were those parents? No wonder they were scurrying around, hitting each other on the heads with inflatable hammers, and running around pretending to swim with donut swim tubes. It must be their lack of home training. And I must lack it too since I chuckled, and remembered being a kid. Before life got too heavy. Remembered being a kid. One who had clear boundaries at home. Who wasn’t allowed to jump on furniture. Who definitely got in trouble if I dared to hit my brother with anything, even something inflatable. But would do it every chance I got if my mom wasn’t looking.

 

But, as I chuckled. I saw at least five more snicker.

So. What about me? The same goofy kid about 30 years ago? What about my kids who swing unsupervised in the park, while yes…mom may spend some time on her phone? Because, well…she wants a bit of a break. And, just doesn’t want to swing today. What about my kids who wrestle on the floor, sometimes have to be reminded not to run out in traffic, and still forget that sand should never be thrown on another families beach towel? Guess we deserve a snicker, too.

My kids thankfully don’t care about my tattoos. They don’t even think twice when I come home with pink hair or a nose ring. And because of this they don’t think twice when they see these things or any difference in someone else either. And, that is great. What they need is a mom who understands that life is messy. And the new mom in our lives, the one raising our grandson, needs this message, too. That we don’t need to be neatly pressed, and perfect all the time to be beautiful and relevant. That sometimes we just need to get in the kitchen and let them make slime.

And, I did just that a week ago with 5 preteen girls. Yes, I lifted the slime ban. And for once I didn’t fuss about the mess. I didn’t constantly go behind them and wipe up the counters, and a week later I am still wiping up cornstarch off my floor, and I don’t even care.

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 I don’t want my kids to see me stressing over the state of my kitchen. I want them to embrace mine and their differences. The ways in which God made them perfect. I want them to see me laughing in the kitchen as their friends tear it up making slime. I don’t want them to worry that someone is going to comment in the Starbucks line that they are too young for coffee. I want them to be happy that their mom treated them to something special that day. And, I never want my daughter to lose the passion she utters when she tells me and the rest of us: “Who cares! Who cares what anyone else thinks!”

It’s OK if our life is a little slimy. If our kitchen is a little messy. If you can’t eat off your floors. If the laundry has been sitting on your bed, unfolded for days. If your youngest is the loudest one in children’s church, and you are the pastor. If you have pink hair, short hair, long hair, nose rings, or like no jewels.

Whatever the differences. Whatever the preferences. However God made you. However God made me. I want my kids to remember I was present. I was laughing. I was completely imperfect and OK with it. Because, God knows I am perfect, and that I am the perfect mom for them.

And he made you the perfect mom, grandmother, wife, aunt, daughter, niece, and mentor, too.

Body and soul, I am marvelously made! Psalm 139:14, MSG

Go! Embrace and be present in your slimy, yet perfectly imperfect marvelously made mess today!

 
 

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Before the world tells her different

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Sassy, Stubborn. Bull-headed.

Words I often use to describe my daughter. The words I use to describe the battle of wills endured here at home. After the “No, I won’t,” and “Yes, you wills.” After the demands to do this and not that. To wear boots in July. Flip-flops in winter. The demands to have her own way, and be her own person. To eat chocolate bars for breakfast. The need to have the last word. To fight to the end.

Sassy. Stubborn. Bull-headed. And under her sweet exterior, a gigantic force to be reckoned with. Fighting to the end.

My dear, dear friends, stand your ground. Don’t hold back…consider that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. 1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG

It is her stubbornness. Her tenacity. This endurance to continue the fight that I hope to never dim.

Because, this gift. This trait that often frustrates me, will be just what is needed for her continue to fight the “good fight.”

The fight with the world that will tell her she is too sassy. Too outspoken. Too strong-willed. Before that passion and determination is squelched by a world that just can’t handle it.

Help her see, that even if it frustrates me, that these traits are exactly what the world needs. Exactly what God provided for His purpose in her life.

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” Jeremiah 1:5, MSG

That her stubborn nature will be just what is needed to persevere when she feels like giving up.

Her sassy and no-nonsense attitude-what is needed when she needs to stand up for what is right. Speak the truth, or communicate passion for a cause.

That her ability to not worry about what others think, care if she is mismatched, and desire not to follow the crowd will come in handy when the world tries to break her confidence. Tell her to “fit in,” to act, speak, and look a certain way.

That her tenacity will help her continue to embrace the word “no.” That she is content and steadfast in saying the word. Knowing that she has this right to say it to things she doesn’t want or doesn’t believe in. To protect her values. Her peace of mind. Her body. Her freedom.

And, if dealing with this sassy, mismatched, and tangled mess of a girl ensures she continues to love who she is….then I will stand by. Daring the world to tell her anything different.

“You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love; beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.” Song of Solomon 4:7, MSG

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Broken, Yet Beautiful

 

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Courage when things go bump in the night

Courage

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “take courage, I am here.” Matthew 14:27

Recently, we moved out of the house we had lived in for nine years. For those years we were comforted and secure inside its walls. We had time to get used to every noise. The environment around us. Every creek. Every dark corner. Every creepy cranny.

Then we made the decision to move. Not an easy one. We had our little monster to consider. The one that doesn’t handle change very well. While we were blessed with a house that was on the same bus route, we worried about this new transition. What would these new surroundings do to our boy’s overwhelming anxiety? Our finely established and well-tuned routine?

For a couple weeks, it seemed we had made it through unscathed. Excitement of having rooms of their own assuaged any doubts. New routines were put in place. All was well.

New home. New noises. New environment around us. New creaks. New dark corners. New creepy crannies. New curly-headed boy fears.

“Mommy, It’s cweepy in here.”

This. The second night in a row. During an already exhausting week? Really? I just want to sleep. And, at first I tried to. Sleep alone that is. I had that “discussion” about needing to be a “big boy.” Needing to handle this one alone. So, I went to bed. Certain that once I put my foot down, he would heed this and try to be a little brave.

Until, I heard it. Soft whimpers. From his room. Whimpers of loneliness. Whimpers of fear.

“Honey, remember what we learned tonight. Jesus gives us courage.”

Yet, the room was still too “cweepy.” And, as I heard the soft footsteps. Saw the tiny shadow along the wall, walking along to Mommy’s room. Heard that tiny voice at the end of my bed once again reveal he was scared. I knew I had to be “it.” I had to be his courage.

Do not neglect to do good, and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16

He has been my courage. He, Jesus, has sat with me and comforted me in dark corners and creepy crannies. So, I sacrificed some sleep, and I shared it. I shared some of mine. My courage. To ask Him for help. To let Him lull us both to sleep.

And, as he pressed his warm little back against mine, I knew that for him to have a little peace tonight, I had to give him a little of mine.

For him. For his protection. Because, right now…Mommy is his courage. Until he has the grown the wings to look for and rest on those promises on his own.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Autism and Faith

 

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There will surely be days like this

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you through it. 1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG

Bad Moment

Some days really do play out like the pages of your favorite book. The not so happy kinds. So in the style of one my favorite childhood books, here is an ode to one of ours!

Mommy woke me up to early, and then I bumped my head on the side of the bed. I couldn’t get comfortable in my chair, and the shirt I picked out to wear was too tight.

The dog chewed my socks, and I accidentally wore my sisters. Mom made me brush my teeth before I ate breakfast, and now my toast tastes like toothpaste. That too tight shirt was on inside out, and now I can’t find my other shoe.

Ugh! Now look….Mommy, it’s 7:22. We are supposed to leave at 7:20. It’s raining. The umbrella just broke. The bus is late. And we have a sub.

It’s going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Mommy says some days are just like that.

I didn’t get any sleep, and forgot to set the alarm. The dog has been in the trash, and it’s all over the kitchen floor. I have a headache. Stepped in a puddle in perfectly good shoes.

The bus is late. There is a sub. I’m sopping wet, and late for work. Without the lunch I left on the counter. And now there is someone else as I arrive laying in a puddle on the floor.

Daddy has been gone. My little monster is out of his routine. He is hungry. Kicking and screaming in the middle of the floor. And, Mommy? Mommy is crying in the corner. Hoping no one sees.

Today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Why are some days like that?

They are. There are days it seems everyone has dumped all their crap in your cornflakes. Cornflakes that now may taste like toothpaste.

On those days we may throw shoes. Have them thrown at us. We meltdown. React inappropriately because of all our mixed up emotions. Hurt feelings. Hurt others. Scream. Curse. Punch. Start loading someone else’s cornflakes with our crap. Then maybe the tears just start flowing, and you wonder when you will ever get a break.

Yes, Mommy said some days are just like that.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But, take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Bad days will come. Those days when the struggle begins before our feet even hit the floor. But, we have a choice on these days. We can keep trying to push through on our own to get over all those hurdles, as we knock them all down in the process.

Or, we can stop. Breathe. Look up.

Just breathe, just breathe. Come and rest at my feet. And be, just be. Chaos calls, but all you really need is to just breathe. 

Trust me. I know it is not easy. Being a glass half empty girl, my mind tends to wander to catastrophe mode. And my breathing is usually heavy and racked with sobs. Until I just want to leave those cornflakes on the table, run away, and never come back.

The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans in us for Christ will have you put together and on your feet for good. 1 Peter 5:10, MSG

Yes. His grace. His power. His strength. His peace. They overcome any terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. They will come. Again and again. But, he will restore us. Each and every time. After every tear. Every swear word uttered. Every shoe thrown. He will bring us back to our feet. And give us the strength to conquer the next bad one.

Because some days are just like that He said.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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I am His

For we are God’s masterpiece…Ephesians 2:10

I am his

Once again…I have failed.

The dishes are unwashed in the sink. Nothing has been accomplished due to pain and sickness. The house is still a mess. There are still bits of the failed attempt at dinner on the floor.

After months of just trying to get through homework. Of leaving-yet again-an item needed at one of the kids schools at home. Of forgetting to sign permission slips. Study for tests. Losing study guides. Forgetting important events.

I’ve yelled too many times at the kids. Left one in tears. The other hiding under a blanket.

Apologized one too many times. Only to turn around and do it again.

And once again, a permission slip has been lost. Something else has been forgotten. Been let down.

I’ve failed. Again. The doubts and self-contempt start to seep through, and it happens. Those thoughts start to fill my head again.

Am I strong 
Beautiful
Am I good enough
Do I belong
After all
That I’ve said and done
Is it real
When I feel
I don’t measure up
Am I loved

Unworthy. Imperfect. Unloved. A failure. As a mom. As a wife. In life. In everything. With my hands and my mouth I have managed to wreck everything in my path.

It is He who made us, and we are His. Psalm 100:3

But, that isn’t what he says I am.

I am His. Even in my failure. I am loved by the King. I am called His daughter. I am called beautiful. Good enough. Magnificent. All because I belong to Him.

He doesn’t see my failures. He doesn’t count each time I was angry. Each time I misplaced something. Each time I let my kids down. He doesn’t care about the dirty dishes. He doesn’t care about the piles of laundry. He doesn’t count the times I skipped making dinner.

He does know every hair on my head. He knows my heart. He created my innermost personality and thoughts. He crafted me into the woman I am. With His hands, He made me His masterpiece. He knows I am only strong with Him. He loves me, even when I don’t love myself. Even when I think I have failed.

He reminds me…

I am strong
Beautiful
I am good enough
I belong
After all
‘Cause of what You’ve done
This is real
What I feel
No one made it up
I am loved

I am His.

Not a failure. Not a screw-up. Not a bad mom.

Of this I am sure….I am His.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Loving Oneself

 

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