Monday, February 25, 2013

Talking to God about toothpaste.....

You've been there.  Perhaps you aren't as terrible of a grocery shopper as I tend to be.  I don't make lists, and I ALWAYS forget something.  Things like - toothpaste - for example.  

Shopping day is tomorrow, but you need to brush your teeth TONIGHT!  You know there has to be at least enough for one more brush in that tube and you are willing to do anything you need to do to get it out.  I have been known to cut the tube in half and wipe clean the remaining paste, but that is end of the line desperation, and I haven't been there in awhile.

This is the kind of day, well days, I have been having.  I am 1 million months pregnant.  All I can think of when I am walking from one point to another is, "Pain!"  I usually discipline myself to wake up before my children, at least one hour, so that I can read my devotions, pray and drink at least one cup of coffee, but sleep, precious sleep, has won out more mornings than I would like to admit to lately, and I am waking up and immediately meeting needs of others.  I wake up every day and feel pain right away, but know that I must get moving.  I must get that pretty little girl breakfast and that bouncy little boy some milk before they both lose their minds.  I must make coffee.  I must take check my blood sugar and take my insulin.  I must, I must, I must.  I must crawl out from under the covers, and get things done, even though my body does not agree.

.....and it isn't her fault.  It isn't the fault of this happy, full spirited 3 year old that is so excited to see me she could bust.  I have spent more time praying that very sentence.....

 "This is not her fault, Lord.  Give me grace...give me peace....give me patience." 

She just wants me....all of me.....and I have nothing left.  It is only 8 AM!  

I was brushing my teeth, praying that prayer, and thought........

"Lord, I am this toothpaste.  It has nothing left, and I am trying with all my might to get something out of it, even if I have to cut it open - physically dismantle it - to get what I want."  

It makes me laugh to think of it.....perhaps it's delirium setting in.  

I just feel like an empty tube of toothpaste.  Like a physically altered, empty tube of toothpaste.  

That poor, defenseless tube of toothpaste has no hope, no restoration, no chance of survival.  When I have time, I will throw that one away and replace it with a new one - one just like the rest.    

My babies need their mommy.  No one else can be their mommy, but me.  I can't be replaced.  I have no choice...I must keep going, and I will, because I love them with a love that is unreal to me. 

So, as I sit here, with my mommy heart bursting with all the bad choices I made today, I have no real point, but perhaps the biggest truth I can hold on to.

I have Jesus......I have a God who cares about my inability to meet the demands of these crazy days....and walks with me through the empty parts.  He won't throw me away and replace me, but give me the energy I need for one more minute...or second.  

So, for tomorrow......

"Lord, Give me Grace, give me peace, and give me patience, but in this time of being emptied beyond capacity - give me strength - because without it, I won't make it one more day."



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Learning to Love Your Haters - Post from Women Living Well: Good Morning Girls

A while back, I wrote a post about how hard it is to love our enemies.  Here's a little excerpt.....  
This, is hard stuff!  No one is perfect, and if I am honest, I can say I am a big offender of anger and chalk lines that represent the offenders.  I want people to pay for their offenses.  I want them to know they hurt me.  Even when I don't realize it, I am waiting for the moment they realize they were wrong.  Sometimes, I even put together scripts in my mind of the moments the offender comes back, begging for forgiveness.  
You have all had dialog with yourselves much like the one described within the last sentence.  This stuff is HARD!

As you know, my husband is a pastor.  At any given time, people are upset with him or both of us, and sometimes even, our kids, because let's face it, making hard decisions for God is awkward and creates tension  and isn't always what everyone wants.  It isn't fair, and it hurts, but, it's our life, and since I wouldn't trade this life for ANYTHING, I will consider it an occupational hazard and move on....sort of.

Truth is, because this is OUR life, I must choose daily to actively pursue a life of forgiveness.  This forgiveness only can come through fervent prayer.  I came across a beautifully written post today by the authors of Women Living Well.  It is entitled, "Learning to Love Your Haters", and it is perfect to describe the way I have been feeling lately.  Trust me, I have way more lovely friends than haters, but sometimes, when the negativity is hovering over me like a cloud, I need to read things like this to get me back on track.

In Him,


Women Living Well - Learning to Love Your Haters

Theme and Link-up Days

Coming soon - Theme days!!!

I have a tenancy to rush God's faithfulness.  I realize this may be foreign to ALL of you as not one of you out there wants an answer before God is ready to give it. I have been praying a lot, recently, asking God to guide my steps towards some really big GOD-sized dreams that have been laid on my heart.  I am ready to jump right in, as always, despite my level of readiness.

However, I have heard Him gently place one scripture over my soul, over and over again....
.....If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.....(Luke 16:10)....
So, I must follow this lesson well, and learn to be faithful with the small things God has given me in this very busy season I am in, so that I can be trusted with big things.  I have work to do....and I am ready to learn to be faithful with little.  Perhaps, some day, my God-sized dreams will become a reality and God will trust me with more, but until then, I will conduct work on the ministry God has called me to in the season I am in (More about this later).

I have been praying over this very lesson, and feel led to do a few things with my writing and sharing.

Here is what is in store - I hope you are as excited as I am!!!!

Musings Mondays -

Musing Mondays will begin on March 4th.  The idea of this day will be to create a forum for 5 minutes of transparent writing.  This writing will be what God has been laying on my heart during that particular week/weekend.  During this 5 minutes of spewing heartun-edited writing, I will share with you how God has been speaking to me, how I have responded, and what I believe He is calling me to do!  
If you are a blogger, there will be an opportunity for you to link-up.  Transparency is key in this writing.  My ability to be transparent with people and share my story without shame or embarrassment has reached more lives for Christ than I ever could as a member of an elite class Christian, that sometimes fogs the world we live in today.  

Wisegirl Wednesday - 

"WiseGirl Wednesday" will be a day when someone out here in the blogging community, and beyond will be invited to guest post on a topic within a series.  I have a few series I am praying about right now.  I am really excited about this part.   I believe, with my whole heart, when we humble ourselves to learn from others, we are able to hear more from God than we could ever imagine learning on our own.  Marriage, parenting, and life in general is a scary place!  Let's navigate this terrifying plain together.    

I am aiming for an April Kick-off!  Stay tuned!  :)  

Forgiveness Friday - 

If you are anything like me forgiveness is HARD!  
At any given time, a person has at least one other human in their life that they must work through a process of forgiveness with.  Whether this assault on your emotions, physical state, security, or well-being was huge or small, the act of forgiving a person who has accidental or purposefully hurt you, is one of the most difficult processes in human nature.  Our natural response to hurt is to re-coil in protection mode when we've been injured.  We don't usually overflow with mercy, grace and forgiveness when we've been wronged.  
So, during "Forgiveness Friday", we will work through some aspects of Christ like forgiveness, what that looks like, and how on Earth we will be able to achieve it - 
not the way our human flesh wants to, but the way Jesus showed us.  
We will hear from other women and/or men, we will share our own views on forgiveness, and, most importantly, we will try to dissect the loving actions of our perfect example - 

I really want to start this ASAP.  I am praying for the guidance as I begin to work to achieve my God-sized goals in a season where a new baby will take over our home.  But, I'm excited!  Pray with me!  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Be My Valentine - Week 4

It's upon us!  Valentine's day is here.  

Confession Time:  I really wanted to be in the hospital, nursing a new baby right now, but since little Grant has yet to make his way into our world, I am not off the hook.

I am kidding.  I didn't want to be "off the hook".  I am actually excited about our plan.  A yummy surf and turf dinner with Fondue for dessert.  I think I may stray from the crazy Gestational diabetes world, and have some chocolate.  What's a girl to do without CHOCOLATE?!?!  And anyway, strawberries covered in chocolate are still half fruit!  So......Shhhhhh. :)

Week 4 brings a challenge to married couples in general.  It seems that the only ones enjoying Valentine's Day are kids and well...un-married people.  Romance in many marriages has died and the fun of the ability to show each other love has died with it.  The ladies over at Women Living Well encourage married people to enjoy married life!  Enjoy what God has allowed us to enjoy - passion and romance.

You see it on the screen, in commercials and I’m sure you’ll see it on Facebook this coming Thursday.  It looks like passion was made for everyone else…But we are totally missing the boat my married friends!  The romance and passion we see in movie theaters and on soap operas – was meant for US!  
- Courtney at Women Living Well

So, go enjoy being married people!  Ask each other what kind of romance and passion they miss the most.  Be playful.  Be flirtatious, Be creative.  Just go.....;)

For ideas and reminders, here are the links to the past 3 weeks from our challenge.....

Week 1 - Be My Valentine Challenge
Week 2 - Praising Your Man!
Week 3 - Kiss Your Way to a Better Marriage

One of the suggestions over at Women Living Well was to write a list of why we admire or love our husbands.  I am sharing my list below.

1.  You believe that me staying home is a calling, even if our budget struggles.
2. We laugh together - a lot.  You are funny. :)
3. You are ambitious.
4. You take your calling very serious and genuinely want to please God first.
5. I have never heard of you speaking ill of me to others.
6.  You like to take vacations, even if they are all to Disney, you make sure we take them.
7. I know you so well that I can feel the environment change in the room if something is annoying you.
8.  You like to hear me sing.
9.  You stare at me sometimes just because you think I look nice.
10.  You appreciate when I try (put make-up on and do my hair).
11.  You are my best friend.
12. You know scripture better than anyone I know.
13. You LOVE our daughter and son so much that you grind your teeth when they are near you.
14. You play the piano so I sing along after dinner, most nights.
15. Our daughter thinks the world of you.
16. Our kids light up when you walk through the door.
17. You are predictable.
18. You always drive, even if you secretly want me to.
19. I have never had to mow the lawn in our married life, and I know I won't have to.
20. You encourage me to go away on retreats, because it is healthy and makes me a better mom and wife.
21. You clean up the toys while I put the kids to bed.
22. You know and remember people better than anyone I know.
23. You aren't afraid to correct me when I'm wrong, even if it means I'll be mad at you.
24. You pray for me.
25. You make really hard decisions God is calling you to make, even if it means someone will get mad at you.
26.  You hold my hand when you are able.

June cleaver? No thank you!

Look at her!  She is beautiful.  Apron, pearls, make-up and hairspray.  I am imagining it is about 5:20 PM as she scoops dinner into cute little serving dishes, while her children gather around her table in the dining room. Picture it, if you can:

The napkins are linen, the children are scrubbed, steam rises from the green bean casserole, and even the dog listens intently to the conversation.  Hubby gives a kiss hello, and seems to want nothing else than to eat the deliciously prepared meal.  The family comes, un-begged, with smiles, ready to share their tales from a prosperous day.  The children say please, they forgive, and everyone shares only wisdom.  They compliment and grin as they clear their plates and help clean up, without a chore chart.

If June Cleaver makes you cringe, let's try on one a little closer to home:

The napkins, food, decor, dessert, hairstyle and style are all from Pinterest and have made their way into your life.  You have successfully mastered an ability to serve and take care of your whole family, while unashamedly conquering all of those pins that have been calling your name.  You even exercised that day and were showered, fresh and beautiful by the time your hubby walked through that door.  You had the table cleared, the dishwasher running, the kids ready, walking out the door to make your evening activity, ON TIME!

As a mother in this competitive world, I have succumbed at times to the "Mommy War".  Home school or public, Public or private, Pre-school or just wait, gluten free or anything goes, bottle or breast, homemade or boxed, whole wheat or white, new or used, and the list goes on, and on and on and on.  How much TV should my kid be watching?  What if I don't read a devotion to my rammy 3 year old EVERY night?  Pacis?  Bottles?  Blankies? and Nuks?

In this "Mommy War" I speak of, I feel weak.  I feel like no one warned me.  I feel ill-equipped and scared.  I feel annoyed and overwhelmed.  I feel shameful and guilty.  I feel resentful and silly.  I feel lost and alone.  I feel emotional and un-stable.  I am uncertain and wavering.  I feel like I have lost the war before the fight has begun.  Quite the depiction of a warrior, huh?

Could this be, perhaps, because we were never called to fight in this war?  God has not given us His armor to fight this battle.  We ARE ill-equipped.  We aren't called to fight each other.  We are called to fight evil, and evil, my dear sisters, is the "Mommy War".  I feel much more strength and vigor when I am fighting the lies of Satan, then when I am creating one myself.  

The battle that we are to fight comes with promises.  The fight I am called to fight comes with a really strong hero.  The promises include a renewal of strength  a race that will not make us weary, a walk that will not make us faint.  (Isaiah 40:31).

The examples we are to model our skills after can't be found online, on a Pinterest board, on a blog, or anywhere else for that matter.  The examples are witnesses that are described as a great cloud, who by their faith showed us how to live.  Holiness is what we should strive for, even if the carrots are burned to the bottom of the pot, even if the perfectly defined directions are not creating what you have made, even if the kids are talking back and your husband has an attitude.  Holiness comes from a Holy God.  One who endured nails and torture so that we didn't have to.  

Rest - rest assured, ladies, that the battle of the "Mommy War" will not go away.  It will get worse, I promise you that.  But, please, for all things Holy and for your own sanity, STOP FIGHTING!  Fight a fight worth fighting and race worth running.  Run like your hair is on fire, towards things that matter.  Love your God, your husband, and your children with a Love defined by the Master of Love - our father in heaven.  God will give you God sized strength upon seeking it for the things that matter.  He will not, and I speak with conviction of trying, give you strength to bake bread from scratch, create decor from Popsicle sticks and/or keep your table surfaces spotless.  Any of this that is done from vain conceit, with not be pleasing, to anyone!

Fighting the fight worth fighting does not make being a mother or having any other role any easier, it makes it possible.  I can do possible.  I can certainly have hope it the uncertain when I have a God fighting with me.  I can do hard when I know I'm not alone.  I can do war when I have armor on.  I can do anything.

....and when I fail, which I will, there is something for that...Grace!

For me, there is something magnificent about imagining such a huge God handing out Grace to me when I mess up little or really, really BIG!  A God who created the universe, a God who gave us His son as ransom for our sins, a God who loves enough to fight and run right along side of us - no - right in front of us, is willing to let us start over.  These truths make pacifiers, bottle time-lines, breastfeeding, school choices, TV time, sewing, homemade bread, Pinterst, and June Cleaver mentality look like tiny specs in a very unimportant pile of junk drawer garbage.

If you must, keep fighting the "Mommy War".  I will be over here, asking for more Grace, loving my husband, and striving to raise kids who have enough sense to NEVER join the battle.            


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Be My Valentine - Week 3

Sorry friends. I am running a bit late on this one.  Week 3 has begun and it is a hot one!  I really do apologize that the week is almost over, but I guess you will have an action packed weekend trying to complete the challenge.


Week 3 Challenge - 
Pursue kissing your husband, and respond to his initiatives.  
Perhaps even when you don't feel like it.  My friend over at Warrior Wives wrote a really good blog about this once.
Check it out!

Week 3 is a tough one for me.  There was always a running joke in my family while growing up that , "Michelle doesn't like human contact."  Although this isn't entirely true....well, it's true.  I have this weird thing.  It isn't that I don't like to be touched, it is that physical touch isn't my love language and I feel this strange tense feeling when it happens!  You can think I am weird.  I don't mind,  You won't be the first, and certainly not the last, but I get really uncomfortable when I have to decide to hug someone goodbye or just shake their hand.

Anyway, this challenge is for our husbands, and with 3 babies (2 under 15 months) I clearly don't fail completely when it comes to physical touch with my husband, but it is tough for me to put myself out there to invite possible rejection.  I hate that feeling!  It makes me feel silly or embarrassed.  The truth is though, our husbands feel stronger, more capable, and built up when we are able to put aside our own insecurities and show them we desire them.        

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  If you have to melt this week into next week, please feel free to share your overall testimony in the comment section.  Week 4 will be out on Monday baring any labor and delivery of baby #3!  

I will leave you with this awesome quote!

“When you touch your husband’s deepest need something good almost always happens!”~Dr. Emerson Eggerich