Wednesday, February 27, 2013

... And she stored all this up in her heart

I have a list... It's ideas I'd like to blog about... When I have the time to sit & write a blog... But this isn't off my list...

I'm typing this on my phone with one thumb because my arms are super full... Almost as full as my heart...

My twin-ish boys are both sleeping in my arms right now... They were sleepy & cuddley but it was too late for a real nap... So we're rocking... Theo with his crossed eyes slightly open & Maverick with the bumble bee nuk (which used to be Hannah's)... Just a trio of rock stars... There was even some off-key lyric spinning as they calmed down... Compliments of their pink-haired mamma...

On three different occasions today I had Mic in my arms... Not just a hug... But a full on "hold-you-me"... And in the middle of his preschool class he said to me "mamma I love when you hold-you-me"... And my heart was more full than my arms that held my giant 5 year old... & I thanked Jesus that today he still said "hold-you-me"... Because tomorrow comes quickly...

As if to prove that I woke up to a daughter wearing lipstick... She had on a stained up undershirt & "jeggings" with holes in the knee from crawling on the carpet so much & a string of beads & a bracelet... She was getting the bowls down from the high shelf & she turned to me with her lips painted bright red... And I smiled & told her how beautiful she looked... Because I tell her everyday... Because I think it everyday... & I saved the "you're not old enough" talk for a day when the lip color she chooses will last thru her bowl of LIFE cereal... & I was glad that she took my suggestion of adding a little tunic to complete her ensemble... For today...

I often pray that like Mary, God might enable me to store all these things up in my heart... Because we were created for eternity... So there's something sad amidst the passing of our daily magical moments... Our hearts cry to hold them as we celebrate the coming of the next... Like the way I marvel at the boys creeping & squirming all over the floor but also feel the sad reality that they are growing so quickly...

I don't want to miss these moments in the futile mourning of my inability to capture them... So I choose celebration in the amazing moments & I choose trust in the difficult moments... Because while all moments are fleeting they are impacting our hearts... And their impressions are deep...

Friday, February 22, 2013

46 Reasons Why That Mom Probably Feels Guilty

i hope you've seen that awesome blog post circulating Facebook & Pinterest "46 Reasons Why My Three Year Old Might be Freaking Out" (there you go in case you haven't seen it). It's funny because it's true... which happens to be my favorite type of funny!

This has inspired me to make my own list of 46 reasons... topic the ever present, never helpful mom-guilt...

She ate the last banana

She didn't sign the permission slip that was left in the backpack

Her baby slept through the night

The laundry hasn't made it to the dressers

She locked the bathroom door (& then looked at Facebook while in there)

She yelled

She stayed up too late

She checked her email while the baby nursed instead of holding eye contact for the full 17 minutes

She has secret ice cream

She didn't work out

She did work out

She feeds her offspring processed foods... some even containing red dye #9 

She truly doesn't even remember which dye color & number is the poisonous one that she's not supposed to feed her offspring... she's just guessing on the name for her blog post

She grabbed coffee with a friend... Then because she turned down coffee with a friend

Her kids are playing happily on their own

She hasn't started her baby on solids yet

Her baby started solids before 6 months (multiple babies, remember?!?)

She didn't notice that her son's pants were on backwards until after preschool

She makes her daughter sit through having her hair french braided

The TV sometimes comes on during the week

She doesn't read enough books... play enough games... coach enough sports teams...

She grew tired of "knock-knock" jokes 4.5 years ago

She didn't snuggle her baby enough

She did snuggled her baby too much and now the house qualifies for the show "clean sweep"

She corrected her children for talking with their mouths full while she had food in her mouth

Her baby "cries it out"

Her child's foot was in a shoe 2.5 sizes too small & she was clueless

The baby's diaper leaked

She says things like "you don't need sweets every day" to her kids... while having aforementioned "secret ice cream"

Bed sheets don't get washed as often as they should... & neither do the people who sleep in the beds

She has a limited rotation of dinners that she can make

She does/doesn't work outside the home... the guilt doesn't care which choice she made or her reasons for her choice

She throws away "art work" multiple times a day

She keeps too much stuff & doesn't have an easy, convenient storage system for all of it

She is cranky from lack of sleep

She turned the monitor down & got a good night's sleep

The child didn't make the team

She takes too many pictures & doesn't "live in the moment" enough

She doesn't give in

She does give in

Her 1st grader doesn't know how to tie her shoes... because she doesn't know how to teach her

Her kids bicker

She sometimes tunes the children out

She's not as great as other mom's appear

She cheated so her kid could win the board game

She puts on "baby TV shows" for her infants so she can take a shower

... the list could go on...

Non-moms won't understand... because honestly us moms don't understand. It doesn't make sense. It's not beneficial to moms or to those in direct contact with us. We can all council others on not being "too hard" on themselves, but we struggle to silence our own negative mental nagging. 

But that is an important struggle to not give up on. We need to let go of guilt by first releasing the idea that there's a "perfect" parent status that we can attain. We need to admit that we aren't perfect, we do make mistakes, we are as messy as life itself. We need to put our hope in a God who is bigger than our messes, wiser than our ignorance, and perfect enough for all our imperfections. 

Romans 8:1 states "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". i recognize that the context of this statement is that the author is confessing that he often feels like he's losing in the battle against sin. but i'm thinking that if our faith in Jesus can free us from condemnation that we truly deserve because of our sins, then it's more than enough to also free us from our unfounded self condemnation... we just need to let it. 

By refusing to be overwhelmed by guilt that can easily be inserted in each & every decision we make, we can actually enjoy parenting. Let's get better at taking the advice we give others. Let's surround ourselves with those who will give us that good advice. And most importantly let's trust Jesus to be enough & simply seek to follow Him in our mothering.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

To-Do Dangers

I have a few issues with "to-do" lists...

First off I get distracted while making them. This is a problem because it only proves how desperately I need to make a "to-do" list. Having a "to-do" list saves me from standing around during those brief moments that are ripe with potential accomplishment, re-assessing the million and one things that need done repeatedly, until I give up and decide instead to spend the following 6 minutes in the bathroom playing bejeweled blitz... At least it would help if i could locate the list during those moments.

And how exactly do I make a "to-do" list? Do I list thing in order of importance or in a chronological pattern? And what about all the other things I realize need done as I go about said list? If "thaw meat" is on the list & my sink is full of dishes requiring me to empty the clean dishes out of the dishwasher & put the dirty dishes in before I'm able to thaw the meat, do I edit my list to include "empty dishwasher" & "load dishwasher" just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing those off the list? And if that's the case should I also include "update to-do list" on my "to-do" list? Where does one stop?

I'm also unclear on what to do with all the stuff that's left on my "to-do" list at the end of the day. Each day brings repeat offenders (dishes, kitchen, laundry, papers...) that I often struggle just to complete. Therefore what's left on the list are the bigger projects (vacuuming, changing sheets, bathing children, organizing closets) that take special energy & opportunity (and yes, I'm aware you're all laughing at that honest list I just made...) My question is how long do I keep making the same list everyday & only doing the same 4 things until I give up on the others?

There's also this deeper issue that I've struggled with regarding "to-do" lists... People get placed on them and I become the list. Let me explain...

I'm busy. This isn't a recent development that came included with a set of twins. I've always been an on-the-go-can't-sit-still kinda gal. I wanted to leave basketball practice 7 minutes early so I could change in the car on my way to ballet class... I took 18 hours of college credits per semester while working part time, playing on the soccer team, training for a marathon & raising money for the diabetes association... I worked two jobs, volunteered with the youth group, played on the worship team & worked hard at my new marriage... I like busy.

I can hide in busy.

In order to keep this life of busyness I had to mentally check off my "to-do" list at every moment. That means constantly pushing my multi-tasking ability to the next level. It means turning time with my family, relaxing with my handsome husband, hanging out with friends, ministry opportunities, running, praying, reading... even God Himself into "to-do's". This is not fulfilling. This is exhausting.

Then came that moment when i realized i desperately needed all the good stuff I was doing to mean I was good... good enough. But busy doesn't equal worthy. It was at that certain ladies Sunday school class (shameless plug... Go to Sunday school. What do you have going on Sunday morning that's more important than digging deeper into God's Word with other believers?) that I was confronted with the truth that God loved me... Not what I did. Just me. No hiding necessary. It was pointed out to me that God made us human beings not human doings. This simple, shocking truth still rocks my world. There is a me beneath & beyond the things I do... Or have "to-do"... And God desires that me.


When I focus on "being" and not "doing" things change... It's not that I necessarily do less or different stuff... But I'm different. I'm not rushing around in a void attempt to squeeze value out of a longer "to-do" list that's completely checked off. I'm free to find rejuvenation in sitting on the couch with my husband... I'm free to leave the dishes when I can sneak in a run... To truly care about the person who I have the opportunity to serve... To have the God of this universe speak to my tiny heart... Instead of seeing all this & more as things I "must do" in order to be worth love & acceptance. The Bible says God loved us first, when we were still His enemies, while we were still lost in sin. And He still loves us today. Just as much. Never more. Never less. Regardless of how much we do or how much we still have "to-do".

I'm still far from great at viewing myself this way. I still believe lies about my worth that sometimes trip me up. I need constant reminding... But I have another day every morning "to-do" WITH God & grow deeper in this understanding... And
I'll keep moving forward in this freedom...

After all it's #1 on my "to-do" list.