Thankfulness

As I pause this morning to overlook the chaos that I allowed to rule in my home between three wonderful friends and family visits, I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness.  Sure, visits from loved ones bring schedule challenges, changes and logistic problems, but it also brings your loved ones.  In a world where many have shallow friendships and difficult or non-existent family, I am acutely aware of the blessings I and my husband have in our friends and family.

There’s a lot of sleeping in as we recuperate from late nights and busy days.  There’s several loads of laundry to do and several grocery stores to hit for supplies run low.  All is a small price to pay for the fun of cousins, uncles and aunts and that of friends.

A quick gasp!

I’m coming up for air!  Today is my 1 day of chores, preparations and NOT doing a bunch  out of the house stuff for another week.  With a friend’s visit the last 4 days and late-planned family visiting tomorrow for about a week, I’m racing to get ready!  Amidst the friends and family, my girlie is also in final prep for her year-end ballet recital.  With all day rehearsal tomorrow and showtime on Sunday afternoon, there’s last-minute costume adjustments and spare tights to get.

Yet I’m super excited about my brother and his family coming.  They live out in Texas, far from the rest of us.  The original plan was for them to go out first and my parents and my family would follow.  God has a way of changing our plans, so it ended up that it’s just them out there.  It’s a long trip to go either way.  I can’t make it often enough for my tastes…I have 2 nephews over there that match my kids ages and they play fabulously together.  I’m thankful for the break in their work that allows them to come our way, even as I begin to think about winter time and wanting to come visit them next.

Here’s to round two of beaches, parks and pools!

The chief end of mom

I recently had to give the devotional at a baby shower in my church.  While I find great joy and freedom in shaping words on paper, standing and speaking the same words fill me with terror.  Particularly if there is no “role” I am playing (like teacher or acting a part).  I am better speaking in a role than if I’m standing there sharing from my heart.  Still, I wanted to do it and wanted to be used by God.  This post is what I shared with these women.  I got the inspiration of thought from this blog.  As I have a hard time sharing thoughts that aren’t mine…I took the inspiration and formed my own devotional around it.

In making this, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of scriptural and practical advise I could give a new mom.  I wanted to make it simple, but how do you make motherhood simple?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism’s first question is “What is the chief end of man?”  The answer is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  It boils down the christian life to its most simple and delightful duties.  It brings to a halt our strivings for grander illusions because our souls delight in doing what they were made to do.  To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

But what is the chief end of mom?  Is it enduring long sleepless nights in a rocking chair as your child is teething?  Is it the mundane and never endings tasks of countless diaper changes, feedings, loads of laundry and cleaning?  Or the sacrificing of all the fun stuff you did before children?  All of these things will happen…and you will ask “Is this all I am?”

The answer is no.  The chief end of mom is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  How can you glorify God in the midst of your exhaustion?

Matthew 11:28–Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

And,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

(2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

How can you glorify Him in the never ending care of your children or the duties of the home that threaten to rob you of a joyful heart?  You can remember Mary’s example in Luke 10:41-42

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

What is the one thing that Mary so willingly chose over frantic doings?

“Seek the LORD while he may be found;  call upon him while he is near;

(Isaiah 55:6 ESV)

There will always be chores and tasks to be done…make seeking the Lord a priority and you will have the strength to glorify Him in all your tasks because…

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.(Colossians 3:23-24 ESV)

You can glorify Him as you teach your children about God, about Christ and the gospel.  Living it out before them, as found in Deut 6:4-7:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

(Deuteronomy 6:4-7 ESV)

We have a unique opportunity to shape the next generation.  While we cannot make them come to know the Lord, we can train and instruct in the ways of righteousness and grace so that the Spirit can call our children to Christ.  The home is a glorious work of both evangelism and discipleship that we as parents are called to live and grow in.

God has also called us to enjoy Him…how can we practically enjoy Him in the midst of being Mom?

We can remind ourselves the joy of being HIS CHILD…

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1 ESV)

And enjoy the benefits of HIS FAMILY…

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.(Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

God has gifted us with His presence, His love, His grace and His strength but also His family.   Take help when it’s offered.  Ask for help when it’s needed.  Seek those who can pray with you and give counsel on the new tasks of motherhood being placed upon you.  You are not alone.  Many have gone before and one day, others will come after you and you will be able to help them.  In the midst of it all…remember what the chief end of mom is.  It will help to simplify the tasks, burdens and work as it reminds you to simply glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

 

 

Almost nine going on thirteen

I’m floundering.  This whole raising a daughter so drastically different from myself is perhaps one of my greatest challenges ever.  Forget organic chemistry or Nursing school.  This is harder.  

I’m short-tempered with her arguments.  I’m hurt by her lack of appreciation.  I go crazy over trying to answer her questions and find her not listening or changing the subject.  And the emotions just under the surface (for both of us) just make me want to find a corner to hide.  Add to the mix our very very opposite personalities and you have what’s happening in my house and life these days.  

I don’t know how to be a mom of an older, more vocally challenging big kid.  On one hand she demonstrates great maturity and helpfulness and on the other it is dashed in a lack of understanding and whirlwind emotions.  I want to address issues as they happen and biblically, but then I realize she still can’t process it.  She’s just mature enough to ask the questions about her world…not yet to grasp any real answers.  We’re each neck-deep in a learning process that has made the best mother and daughter duos the worst of enemies until adulthood.  I know this.  But I don’t want it to happen.  I want to be patient and gentle and understanding of her…knowing she can’t be patient and gentle and understanding of me.  She can’t even understand herself much less understand me.  And if I’m honest, I want to stomp my foot and yell at the unfairness of it all.  It’s a never-ending emotional roller coaster ride as I succeed in one moment only to fail in the next.  It’s trying to hold in my mind that she’s in the awkward in-between stage…not a little kid but not a teenager.  Her whole world is beginning to be processed and I don’t want her to go to get her answers from someone else because I’m harsh or impatient or just don’t want her to talk.  This fear riddles me with guilt.  I fail so often.  

Underneath it all is letting go of my little girl.  Soon she will be making her own choices and failing.  Will I be there to offer her grace?  If I do, will she receive it?  While she was little I could mask the idol of parental control but now it’s there to see.  I can’t make her what I want her to be.  I can’t perfectly protect her.  I can’t even ensure if I do everything right (which I won’t) that she will be the rare teen who doesn’t despise her parents.  I can only pray, love, discipline, forgive and seek her forgiveness when I sin against her.  I can only trust in the One who made her and gave her to me…knowing we’d be here.  There is grace and forgiveness in the failing and the continual pursuit of learning to be more Christ-like in my parenting and my life.  It’s discipleship in the trenches…for both of us.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 1:6 ESV)