Monday, June 18, 2012

Use me, Lord?

"God uses those who are inadequate so He can show what He can do." I recently came across these words on a day I needed to hear them.

I so often ask myself, who am I? What do I have to offer? How am I equipped to do that task?

Being a stay at home mom with kids I would often find myself telling people about my previous jobs along with being a mother in defense to their question, "What do you do?" But then I always leave the conversation wondering why I do that. Why do I feel like being a stay-at-home mom isn't enough in other people's eyes. Is that how I see it?

I started my young adult life with fulfilling many passions in life from working up the ladder in the business world, catering weddings, having my own massage therapy business, creating a website business, making and selling products, volunteering for good causes and working in ministry. God has blessed me with a love for many things and I am thankful for all the time I had to do them all.

However, many of those came from passion, hard work and training. Motherhood is on the job experience. There is no degree or license required. What value do I put in being a stay-at-home mom? What is my attitude about how I spend my time? I want to remember on those hard days at home that it is a blessing to get to raise my children and have these memories. I want to keep the attitude that I get to do all of those things that I did before and more with my kids. I get to plan menu's and teach them to cook, I get to teach them to read and take them on picnics and teach them to sew and paint. We have dance parties in the middle of the afternoon and plan surprises for their dad when he comes home from work. We get to feed ducks and play in the bath. I am so thankful I get to be their comfort when they get hurt and cuddle up when they are sad. I love to watch them play together some day they will grow up and not ask me to do a puzzle with them.

I have seen a handful of those inspirational quotes around online about all the things we get to do as moms. Here are just a few:

As a Mom I get to be; a teacher, a nurse, a photographer, a chef, a referee, and handyman, an event planner, a hairdresser, a spider killer, a house keeper, a fan at sporting events, a counselor, an explorer, and so much more!

I want to remind myself of the huge amount of opportunities I get and the responsibility I have to walk through life with my kids instead of focusing on the losses the world thinks I have from not working in the corporate world.

Lord, help me keep the right attitude about the life you have called me to have. Lord thank you for you blessings and allowing me to have this time with my children. It is the perfect life for me, I have so many passions in life and you have let me see that I have the best job of all. Being a Mom lets me do all of them over and over. Amen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Do what I say not what I do?

What messages are we sending our children about marriage when they see how we interact with our spouse? I have been pondering this question lately and taking a hard look at how I engage with my husband.

When he comes home from work do I greet him with love and joy or do I dump my troubles on him before he takes his coat off? It is hard after a long day not to spill my stress or beg him to take over so I can run upstairs and melt in my bed.

How I ask for his help with chores or the attitude I have when I am frustrated says a lot to our kids. So often we have anger from things outside our control, work, friends, stress, activities and obligations.  But do we give our best to our husband or do we use him as our dumping ground. Am I giving my best to those at church or the Doctor office but not my most valuable relationship? Why do we often put our best foot forward with people we want to impress but not to our spouse?

As parents we are sleep deprived, stressed, run down, and often behind in housework. Life is busy and we get comfortable with our spouse so they can easily get the brunt of our behavior.

When I think about who I want my kids to marry and how I want them to be loved and respected I don't think I would hope some of my bad behavior on them. I think about what I wish I would have known about marriage and how much I have learned about keeping Christ as our focus and I pray I can show them how to do the same.

We have the big responsibility to shape their attitude about marriage. I can show them what to hope for, what to look for in a marriage. We set the bar so how high or low do we set it?

Lord, Thank you for giving me a wonderful husband, a Godly partner who I can be encouraged and strengthened by. Lord help us love each other in a way that pleases you and shows our children what marriage and life for you can look like. Thank you for my days on this earth. Amen.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The right place at the right time

On a Saturday morning when the kids are all asleep I wake up early. I can't believe I am up this early!  Normally I wake up to kids in my face asking for breakfast and eager to start the day. I close my eyes tight praying I can go back to sleep. I need more sleep! Not going to happen.

I head downstairs quietly, if I am going to be up this early I welcome some quiet time. After doing my devotions and making some tea I curl up on the couch with my laptop. I check my email and then go online and end up chatting with a friend.  As we get caught up she shares a major trial she is going through. My whole attitude changes, I am up so early and have the time to talk with out the distractions of the kids. I am able to be there for my friend and offer comfort and help her digest her situation. I spend the rest of my day feeling guilty about my bad attitude.  God obviously had other plans for me early that morning. 

The Lord must be trying to drive this point home with me because just a week later I had a meeting to go to early in the morning on a Saturday. By my own choice I had stayed up late the night before and was not happy about heading out to my meeting. I spent my morning being frustrated that I had this obligation to attend instead of enjoying a waffle breakfast with my family before I left.

As I finished up at the meeting I asked a friend who also attended how she was doing. You know the typical, "how are you?" when you expect, the "oh I am just fine" answer. My friend was really struggling. She is also a foster parent and has been really having a hard time. She was feeling drained, overwhelmed, dealing with issues that she didn't see coming. I have been there. I knew her exhaustion.

We were able to chat and vent and talk about possible solutions. I left with a heavy heart for this dear friend. I am so glad I was there and could be a support to her. So often as foster parents, it is hard to have others who understand what we were going through. She told me that she felt so alone and was shocked but thankful that I could relate to her situation. What a blessing that God had me attend this meeting and have time to chat with her on a day when she was really hurting. 

On the drive home I was thinking about everything we talked about, hoping I left her with something useful. I was so thankful I could help her because of something I went through. However, I don't think I would have been a big help to her if I hadn't completely digested my own situation. If I was still mourning my trials and not in a place where I could see how God walked me through it all and used it for His glory.

The idea of this really grabbed my attention. When God provides us with people we can give comfort to because of our situations or past experiences we have to be careful about what we are portraying to them. If I was still hurt, frustrated and angry I would not be able to give her hope and encouragement. I would dump all of my negative baggage on her which then makes it about me and not her. I could have made her feel worse or direct her in to a place that isn't where God is. 

When we come to a place where we are living a life not tied down by the past hurt and anger we can be filled with hope even after the worst situations. We can know that we survived and made it through by the grace of God. Our hearts will be full of love and our attitude will show it. 

We will go through trials big and small in life.  We will hurt and have pain and people will let us down. We will feel alone and scared. Are those feelings we want to carry with us each day? Do we want to hold onto them and then reflect those feelings to others around us? I don't think that is our intent but often what we do. 

It is my prayer that we can be deliberate about asking God to take away our hurt and show us His glory so we can be a hope to others. I often listen to speakers that can talk about their own personal struggles, some of them have been through tragic loss and pain, in a way that doesn't bring you down with them. They have made it through and you can hear in their words that they have been able to step back from the situation and heal from it and it isn't taking over their life and thoughts each day. 

This is my prayer for myself and all of you. God does so much more for us and we could miss out on so much joy if we keep holding on to the loss in our life.

If we can’t learn to stay focused on the joy of the Lord with the small hurts in life then we will not be successful with the big hurts in life.

Lord, I pray that you will work in my heart. Lord help me not have a negative attitude about the small inconveniences in life but see them as opportunities to follow you and be a servant to others. Thank you for my trials, they have helped me grow and have helped me love others around me. Please God help us focus on Your will and the love that comes from having a joyful heart. Amen. 


After a stressful morning with appointments and children who weren't behaving I come home and eat lunch, trying to find every carb in the house and desperate for nap time to hurry and get here. After the kids are asleep I could crawl into bed with my laptop, look around on facebook and vent about my morning. I could enjoy a chocolate dessert and tell myself I deserve it after a morning like that. I have done this routine before and it doesn't have any benefit.

I could just as easily make the choice to have my usual healthy lunch and tuck my kids into bed and rest my body as well, both emotionally and physically. So often when our kids are having a rough time it is due to another need, stress, lack of sleep or food, anxiety, etc... We all need some time to quiet down and relax. Laying in bed I often escape online or in a book but rarely run to my Father.

I have to ask myself, "Did I start my day with devotions and prayer? Did I consult the Lord about my attitude and keep my focus that God gave me this day?"

On the days I choose to take some time for God I find that I am satisfied, filled with nourishment so I can help guide my kids through their day.

Thank you for each and every day you give me on this earth. I pray that I will remember to turn to you in times of stress but more importantly that I will have a daily relationship with you so I am nourished in a way that worldly things can not satisfy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You knit me together in my Mother's womb.

On a drive with my husband we started talking about how far we had come as parents. We have two little girls who were both amazing in their own way. We were blessed to have loved a handful of foster kids and we are on our way to adopting our foster son. It was a reflective conversation about how much God had done to bring us to our little guy.  We have seen God's hand through the whole thing.

Then at one point it dawned on me. In the midst of all of our chatting I finally saw it. When God created our little boy and designed him in his Mother's womb it was always the plan for him to be our son. Just in the same way as He created each of our girls to be in our family. It may have taken a little longer to get to us and came with a bumpy road but it was God's plan. There is such joy in knowing that! I hold on to this thought as we finish the adoption process.

Psalm 139 is a wonderful reminder that we are each specifically designed and created. Thank you Lord.

Psalm 139:13-16
For you created my inmost being; 
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, 
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.