My highest calling

I just read an article about motherhood, and it was long and full of good things but after I read one sentence I couldn’t focus on anything else. I simply had to write it down and my follow up thoughts.

“Motherhood is a picture of the gospel because it is laying down ones life for others.”

Wow!! I don’t believe I’ve ever thought of it that way, have you?

True motherhood is a sacrifice, true. It’s also extremely rewarding! Being a stay at home mom can feel monotonous, but it’s a tremendous privilege! Pouring all you have out for small-minded, selfish beings that won’t fully grasp what you’ve done for them until a long ways down the road can sure feel like it’s just not worth it. Questions of “when do I get to take care of me?” float through your head from time to time.

For the past 6 or more months I’ve struggled trying to find time for the things that help fill my cup. I’ve made out multiple pretend schedules that make time for housework, helping my husband run our business, school with the kids, working out, and hobbies, but have I been able to implement any of them? Big Fat No!!

I’m not the most consistent person, and maybe I’m not being very realistic with my time. Maybe my workout video says it’s only going to be 30 minutes long but when I’m interrupted by three sibling squabbles, the dog needing to go out to pee, and 2 calls from my husband or front desk person about insurance or billing paperwork it looks more like 90 minutes.

Also I sit down to relax and watch one show on Netflix, Hulu or whatever and end up wasting three hours there.

My only redeeming thought at the end of the day is talking with my children and hearing the amazing people they’re turning into. Are they perfect? No! But are they confident in who they are and that Jesus loves them? Yes! That’s a win for me. That’s my highest calling!

Helping Your Child Through Loss

I’m sure I do not have to tell you that becoming a parent changes a lot of things. Some things are obvious. Some hit you a few months into it. Some you realize after years.

One of the biggest changes I’ve been noticing in recent years is friendships. Yes, its harder to make friends when you’re a mom. Blah blah blah. That’s not what I mean, necessarily. I’m talking about losing friendships.

I don’t know about you, but my friends become integral parts of my children’s lives. Probably because, as a mom of four, there really isn’t a way to “hang out” without at least one of them there.

Some friendships just don’t last forever, thats a natural part of life. You drift apart, go through a busy phase. Sometimes you meet up again later in life; sometimes you do not. I’ve had friendships that have lasted around 7 years just fizzle.

Before I had kids, it was tough, sure. Since having kids, its been heartbreaking! I have not experienced anything as tough as trying to explain why “so and so” doesn’t come by to hang out anymore. I, seriously, would rather have to break the news that someone died, before having to tiptoe around why someone suddenly refuses to say, “Hi,” when they see us in the grocery store.

I have not found a good surefire way to break this kind of news, but I do have some tips.

1. Deal with the loss yourself first. Come to grips with it, accept it, then explain it to your child. This helps you control your wording a bit more. If you haven’t fully processed what happened, do not try dumping all of that confusion on your little one.

2. Don’t be afraid to let them see you cry. This is especially true if they start crying. Cry with them. They need to know that it is okay to be sad and that you are going to miss that friendship just as much as they will.

3. Try to stay away from going negative. Be truthful, but do not go into a diatribe of how worthless and stupid this friend was, no matter how tempting that may be. You never know what the future may hold. That friendship might mend someday, but your child will never forget those terrible things you’ve said. Even if you hold no hope of mending the relationship, don’t go negative. This teaches them that it is okay to talk nasty behind people’s backs.

4. If this was a long relationship or a friendship with a family member, remind them that this friend still loves them and it is okay if they still love that friend. Kids have a tendency to internalize in a way that doesn’t make sense to us as adults. Even though we probably did the same thing when we were young. They need to know that friend doesn’t have a problem with them and not to take it personally.

It is still one of the hardest conversations to have, and I do suggest having it. Unless they are 5 or younger do not just wait until they notice and ask about it. It’s a much easier conversation when you control the atmosphere and timing.

Choose Joy!

Yesterday two of my kids woke up in completely two different attitudes. It was my third baby, Ella’s third birthday. Her big sister, Capri, woke up first and was completely psyched for what we had planned. When Ella came stumbling out of her room wiping sleep from her eyes, Capri bombarded her with a boisterous, “Ella!! IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!!”

Moments later my oldest, Colton, comes marching out with a sheen of tears in his eyes. “Mommy, You woke me up when you shouted, ‘Happy Birthday.'” He was utterly offended that we would do such a thing!

As further information, it was already well past the time we all usually wake up. He was simply being grumpy.

Sometimes we are going to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, but that makes it so much more important to choose joy.

I had a lot of reasons to be sad and down yesterday. A big one being, my kids are growing up too fast! I mean even my tiny baby is well into eating puréed solids and working his way to crawling!!

I heard an author answer the question of what her favorite phase of parenting was in this way, “Every phase has its ups and downs.” Isn’t that so perfect for all of life?

I’m not saying live in a dream world where you ignore the sad things or bad things. Embrace them, knowing that in the next phase of life you might be able to look back and smile. Maybe those tough things are the building blocks for tomorrows tough things. Not a very uplifting thought when you think about it in a pessimistic attitude. But though times are going to come. What are you doing to prepare your resilience??

Every season has really good things and really nasty things. In every season, choose joy!!!

Life Is Short!

What if I told you life is short? Yeah, I can sense the eye rolls and the exasperated sighs from here.

But guess what? Life is so short!

Yesterday I attended a funeral for an eighteen year old boy. I didn’t know him well, but I knew his parents and had watched his older brother in a lot of high school plays. An auditorium with seating for probably 150 to 200 people and there was only standing room left. Some people even had to be tucked off in hallways where they definitely couldn’t hear what was being said.

At every funeral we’re reminded of a reality we’d rather forget. Death is coming for us all. At least at an old man’s funeral, we can tell ourselves it’s so far away. Standing in the back with my four small children, I couldn’t help but wonder. How long do I really get them? We take it for granted that they will grow up and leave home. That we’ll watch them start a life of their own. I’m not saying spend everyday thinking they could die tomorrow, even though it’s a harsh reality.

What am I saying? Life is short! Don’t just live your life that way, teach your children to do the same. You don’t have to be morbid about it. Sure, my children and I talk about death and how quickly life will pass by often. And people think we’re crazy. I want my kids to see that they don’t have to wait until their adults to truly start living a life that has an impact. I want them to be that person who loves on those around them now. Who prays for that person who is hurting. A person like Cody Scott, who by the age of eighteen had made an incredible impact in his family, church, and school!

Motherhood Changes You

Motherhood changes you. At least it should.

For me, I was only 22 when I took my first pregnancy test. I took it just to rule pregnancy out, not because I actually thought I was pregnant. I’d only been married 3 months! My husband and I were saving up money to go live in India and do missionary work for however long we could get away with. As soon as that strip turned pink all of that got flushed down the toilet. Sure, at first I was upset, but the look on my husbands face changed my mind. He was happy. Pleasantly surprised is another way to describe it.

That day my life changed. Suddenly my body was no longer just mine. I shared it with this tiny human, and every choice I made affected us both. What I ate, when I slept, and the stress I allowed myself to feel.

Now a little over eight years later, I’m a completely different person. My life doesn’t revolve around my kids necessarily, but they definitely impact most decisions right now. Last night I laid in bed wondering if I should go along with the plans I made today or stay home so I could let my youngest lay around half naked to dry out his diaper rash.

What’s my point? Your life should change a bit when you become a mother. I’m not saying stop chasing dreams and goals and just stay home waiting on your kid hand and foot. They need to see you living life so they know how to live life when they’re older. But living like a college student on spring break would be the opposite end of that spectrum. I’m not a person to judge how someone else lives their life, but you don’t have your kids with you for very long, just live a life that’s best for them, too, please.