Saturday, August 16, 2014

Real Moms Need Jesus

This evening I had a conversation with my daughter that sort of hurt me a bit.

The question was raised - 
Do I become a mom of many and be stressed out all of the time


Do I have a career and get to have the things I want and be happy and possibly not have any kids...

She's eight by the way, why on earth is she wrestling with this right now. 

I paused for a bit, trying so hard to hide my wounds and to just set my eyes on her purity.

I then gave her this passionless speech about creating and building life being our job in this life and how that may take on different forms throughout the many seasons of her life - that the main goal is to love God and make him great in every area of her life.....ya ya ya...

But when I went to bed, my heart was not trusting in that truth. It was hurting because this labor of love does not seem to be translating well. Instead, it looks more like a painful hike up a never ending mountain surrounded by giant beasts who at any moment could rip everyone's head off.

And it's steep.

And I am supposed to keep smiling.

I decided to let the conversation be and to lay my hurt down at the feet of Jesus - trusting that in my great weakness to consistently make motherhood look like a cakewalk to my kids - God will rise up and make himself ENORMOUS in their hearts. HE will be strong in my weakness. 

And I prayed for joy. Great Big Life-Giving Joy in the midst of this labor.
Because contrary to social media - it isn't always joy filled and adventurous.

It's hard and I am fighting to keep my head above water. 

I have so much to learn right now. Grateful for these precious children and all the ways their little lives challenge and expose areas of my heart which are dark and selfish. I am grateful for the wounds they inflict upon me because they cause me to run to the one true Savior for peace and wisdom. And this love. This huge, mind blowing love I have for them.... It causes me to trust God more, to heal faster, and to fight harder. God knew what he was doing!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Leadership Training

Motherhood is an excellent teacher. 

Or should I say, navigating the lives of four humans is an excellent teacher. 

Just last week, Henry was being a major jerk to Kate. I proceeded to reprimand him for his harsh treatment. It wasn't enough though to just tell him where he was wrong and implore him to seek forgiveness from his sister. NO. I had to give him the speech. 

You know the speech - the put off selfishness and put on service to your sister... Consider Christ's humility in dying on the cross for your sin.... remember what he has called you to Henry as the older brother... .blah blah blah...

This speech is good and absolutely life giving but as I spoke it I saw in my son's eyes an immense disconnect. I was blowing him out of the water and not for his benefit but for my own desire to "give" him truth in the midst of his struggle. 

This incident combined with a few others from the following week really helped some things click in my mind in regard to leading people well. I have been the person shouting from the podium. I have been the person puffed up on knowledge. I have been the person with something to say - always. 

I have been the person with the arsenal of life stories to help illustrate gospel truth.

And oh boy! What a blanket of joy it has been around my bulging heart. 

BUT what if great leaders are really just supposed to be quiet and listen? What if great leaders are supposed to have this arsenal of theological insight, life stories that illustrate gospel truth, a sound biblical theology SO that they can gently and patiently lead others to develop their own?

As I listen - I am learning - As I am learning - I am knowing someone - as I know someone - I am able to speak into their life better - using less words - less personal show - more love and care

And over all of this

PRAYER & DEPENDENCE on God's Spirit to root the change deep into the heart of a man. Even the fanciest of words and most captivating life story can't properly change a person. It is by God alone and through his enormous grace that we can receive wisdom and grow. This reality needs to be my refuge as I seek to lead well. 

This has been a humbling realization for me this week - one that has really exposed my true desires as I seek leadership over people in my life. I really just want a platform to show off all that I know and all that I've experienced, to be honest. 

BUT Henry.. My pure love for him is teaching me that I must LOVE others more than myself and desire their growth above my own personal glory show. I must admit, this isn't nearly as fun and in many ways feels agonizing to know the "answers" yet hold back and gently guide someone to understand it over time. 

Isn't love incredible! It breaks you and then stays around to help you heal.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fridge Management

I couldn't avoid it any longer.

I have spent the last month shoving, stuffing, and jamming all kinds of perishables into our fridge hoping to mask the true state of my icebox.

Every time I opened the door however, the chaos spilled out into our world - raging war on my sanity.

Door shuts.

Peace enters.

Door opens.

Anxiety attack.

And so back again we go...

Today, I came to a place in my mind that just wouldn't allow this pony show to go forward. So, I got out my clorox wipes, emptied every shelf, and went to town wiping, organizing, and throwing out the items which had in fact, perished. 

It felt liberating to step back and see all the beverages lined up in a row. 

The fruit, washed and tucked gently into a plastic container.

I shut the door --> Then opened it.


This process got me thinking about hardship for some reason. More specifically, how I deal with it. I came to the conclusion that this little incident with my fridge is a lot more complex then I like to admit.

I have spent my adult life shoving, stuffing, and jamming things which hurt me back into a big, dark, cold box; All the while using the things around me - relationships, material posessions, my pride and abilities - as a means to conceal the damage. As a result, I have really lacked peace.

I have put my hope and health in me, which has led to me justifying all kinds of sin in my heart and life.

So, There I was, cleaning out this nasty fridge when God, by his grace, reveled to me what was truly in my heart. 

 ME, above all.

I was the fridge, stuffed full and filthy. Closed up and happy but open that door and OH buddy - terror!

I have been on this lovely journey the last six months - seeking the grace and power of God to change my broken heart. It has not been easy because the trials that have awaited me have been so acute. And, I  have failed a lot too.

But I persevere and daily take hold of that which has first taken hold of me. It's a beautiful mess over here in my world. 

But in a year I will look back and be amazed and what God has done.

And in two... wow.

The Gospel - the LOVE of God for me IN Christ Jesus WILL NEVER FAIL. As I hide there and trust fully in Him - leaning on the Word to comfort and guide me, I will be healed. I will walk through this valley - not as a woman without hope - but As a woman who has placed her hope in the power of the cross. It is there that I am able to see my greatest good and only treasure is Christ. There I will find a deeper joy, peace, and comfort. There I can change and be made new. 

This past year has been so hard, you guys. But, GOD is building something magnificent in the midst of my disappointment, failure, and pain. I am just overwhelmed by His goodness. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Confession

When Kate first came home, she smelled so strange. In fact, everything that came out of her seemed to be strange. Some days, it was so difficult to change her diaper, I'd have to punt to Jeff Marshman for support.

That man was an immense support over and over again the first 18 months Kate came home.

I sucked at being her mom. A truth not many knew about because of my own shame of just not being what I should have been.

I felt chained to this new reality - me - a bad mom to this precious girl.
All I could do was cry out to God and lean on my husband to be what I couldn't.

Every day as I walked forward in my new broken state - small bits of growth and progress seemed to cover the failures from the day before. I watched as my very faithful God made himself great in the heart of not just me - but my Fancy Kate. He was healing us.

I was reminded of this very hard season today while I laid Kate down for a nap. I stuck my nose in her neck and breathed her in. She smelled so divine I didn't want to leave :)

She giggled as I breathed deeper - "mommy you're tickling me..." laughter bouncing all over the place. 'Oh fancy Kate! I just can't help it, I'll eat you up I love you so!" My joy enormously filling her bright eyes. 

This moment led me to see how we didn't really pull Kate out of poverty

God used Kate to pull us out of our poverty.

I am not the mother I started out being. Because of Kate, I am weaker

AND that is good

Because God is stronger and bigger and most glorious thing in my mothering, my home, my children

My heart.

That is what we celebrated yesterday.
That my little team has a mother who just can't do it all BUT trusts in a God who DID in fact, do it all.

AND that God - he's all mine.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pictures of You

I have really missed my mom this week.  Not sure what triggered this ache but that is just how grief is. You walk along - enjoying the day - BAM - you stumble upon sorrow. 

I look at pictures of her and all of a sudden that Cure song about pictures seeming real takes on a whole new meaning. 

I look super hard at her face and for a moment she is alive and I say, "I miss you mama, please come help me clean my microwave..." She holds on to her bright smile and fails to blink her eyes which then leads me to walk away; feeling like a complete wacko.  

I know our parting is temporary.

I know God is with me and sees this struggle.

But, it still sucks - the waiting and aching.

Monday, May 5, 2014


My beloved Jonas will be four on Friday. 


He is a whirlwind of a boy, seriously!
I've never been able to just simmer on the many seasons of life he seems to run into and that makes me sad. Really sad. 

There was the two days we were in the hospital when he was first born. Those were the most blissful, slow-moving 48 hours of my life. I told Jeff he was going to have to drag me out of that room because I had found my happy place. 

But, We couldn't afford to stay - the food just wasn't quite worth the price. So I reluctantly came home and tried every day after to recreate those first few days.

Four years later and I am still unable to do so.

But tonight, I did take my sweet baby Jones on a walk around our hood. Just me and him. I let him choose the way and laughed at all of his jokes - and went on and on about how strong I thought he was.

He had found HIS happy place.
At one point, he reached over, grabbed my hand, and we walked together along the road.
The wind was blowing, the sun fading, and my heart was full. 

Grateful for the gift of an evening walk. Grateful for my precious son. 
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