Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Feeling Like Martha

I fail.

I fail every single day.

If you walk in my house at any given moment, you will find at least one of these things, but sometimes it's all of them...dirty dishes in the sink, dirt and food stains on the floor, laundry waiting to be folded or put away, groceries still sitting out, toothpaste marks in the bathroom sink, and toys on the floor. Oh, the toys!

The battle to keep a clean house is real. It’s one that never ends, and more often than not I feel defeated by it.

Do you have those moments, too? Moments where you feel like a failure? Moments you feel defeated because it can’t be perfect?

I was having one of those days. Everything needed done, and there was not enough time to do it all.

I consumed my time with the tasks that needed accomplished that I was forgetting the most important part of staying at home. Investing in my children seemed to take a back seat.

It reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). Many times I feel like Martha: always worrying about the preparations that I forget to sit at the Lord’s feet. So many times I worry about the to-do list that I forget God is revealing himself to me when I spend time with my children.

My 22-month-old daughter walked into the kitchen as I was getting super started that evening. She pulled up the stool and wanted to help me make spaghetti. It was in that moment that I realized she didn't care about all the items still left my to-do list. She didn't care that the house was a mess. All she wanted was to spend time with her mom and be a helper. She wanted me to notice her.

She had the right priority, and God was using her to adjust my own. I find that God uses my kids to teach me more lessons than I ever thought I had to learn.

As she helped me butter the bread, I couldn't care less about the rest of the house. I was soaking up that priceless time. Won't you join me and do the same?

Thank God for the mess in your house. It means you have a family to care for and love.

Let’s leave the mess for a moment so we can spend time with the precious members of that family. It won’t be wasted, and God is just waiting to reveal himself. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Middle of the Night Prayers

On my heart today are those mommas in the middle-of-the night-feeding stage. The mommas with heavy eyes during the day because they’ve been pulled from their bed by a baby who hungers for milk and comfort. The mommas who long for days children become more self-sufficient.

When I found myself in the midst of hearing crying babies at one o’clock in the morning, all I wanted was to pull my blanket over my head. Maybe if I ignored them they would fall asleep. But they needed me. They needed a new diaper, and all they wanted was to curl up in my arms and nurse. I wanted to deny them of that? Talk about feeling like a bad mom.

When my oldest began sleeping through the night, I was thrilled. I was getting a full night’s sleep. I could function more during the day. Things were getting back to normal. But when she didn’t feel well and needed my comfort in the middle of the night, I remember rocking her in the darkness of her room.

The neighbor’s outdoor light crept in through the window, providing a dimness that was calm. As we rocked back and forth, I felt blessed to spend that moment with her. The house was quiet. My husband was asleep. It was just the two of us. The stillness of the moment filled my heart with joy, and I actually missed those middle of the night feedings we left behind months and months ago.

Did I just think that to myself?

So when baby number two came along, I decided I was going to use that time wisely. I was going to appreciate it more because I knew it would be gone in the blink of an eye.

I found those hours to be great for praying. I prayed for my daughter: for her future, for her health, for our relationship. I lifted her up to God and asked him to use her for incredible things.

God met me in those middle of the night feedings, and I was able to see how precious they were. God is meeting you in those wee hours of the morning, too. Can you feel him?  

Take heart, mommas. This stage is not going to last forever. But while you’re in it, I hope you will begin to change the lens through which you look. Yes, sleep is a beautiful thing, and sometimes we long for it so strongly because it’s out of our reach. But know that you are blessed to have this time with your child.

No one else can provide your comfort.

No one else gets to have these moments with her, moments you’ll hopefully begin to treasure.

God can use this time to strengthen your prayer life. God can use this time to build a connection with your child that will last a lifetime. God can use this time to change your life. He can and he will if you allow him.

When your eyes are heavy and you feel like you’re going to stop functioning if you don’t get sleep sometime soon, take comfort in the fact that you are fulfilling God’s plan. You are providing something to your child that no one else can give. And in the midst of that, praying for your child is going to bless her (and you) in ways you can’t even imagine.

I don’t know what my girls’ lives hold, but I know God is holding them.

God is also doing a great work in each of our lives.

He is there.

Invite him into that dimly lit room at one in the morning. As your child fills up on milk, allow yourself to be filled by God’s presence.

Not sure what to pray? I have been encouraged by the Proverbs 31 Ministry, and Lysa TerKeurst, the president of that ministry, has written a wonderful post: “10 Prayers for Your Daughter” (at the bottom of her post is also a link for prayers to pray for your son).

May these words bless and encourage you as you walk your journey of motherhood. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Enjoying the Chaos

The kids are starting to stir. They will soon be up, and the house will be filled with noise. My oldest daughter, almost two, will be asking for me to play with her on the floor. My youngest daughter, almost three months, will either be cooing at her sister or crying to let me know she wants fed. The silence in this moment is nice, but I know there will come a time I long for the noise.

My husband, a teacher, left this morning for the first day of in-service meetings. It has been a blessing having him home all summer, especially since we added another sweet girl to our family and I had a long recovery from hemorrhaging six weeks after our daughter was born.

Having him leave this morning made me uneasy. I’m on my own. I am now outnumbered. There are two children and only one of me. The list of things to do is never ending, and I feel like my arms are always full and my feet are never still.

But I hear God whispering to my heart, reminding me to enjoy these moments with my children, for they will be gone before I know it. While this season may be difficult, there is great joy in it. And it is just that, a season. It will pass in the blink of an eye.

As I got out of the shower, one I raced through because I have no back-up in the house, I realized that in five years my world will be completely different. Both children will be in school. My house will be empty. Maybe I’ll finally be able to keep it clean. Maybe I’ll be able to stay on top of my to-do list. But I know I will also long for the noise, chaos, and toys strewn all over the living room floor.

Right now, in this moment, my children are here. There are needing ME. They are loving on ME. They are making memories with ME. As the seasons change, they will be maturing, needing me less. They will be loving on me in a different way, and they will have others in their lives to make memories.

While I am a little nervous about what today and the rest of the school year brings with two little ones, I’m going to soak up every minute of the chaos because right now it’s my chaos. God has blessed me with the opportunity to be a stay at home mom. While there are days it would be easier going to work, I would miss out on so much with them. This is where God has placed me, and my heart is glad. I’m thankful my arms are filled with a baby and my feet are chasing a toddler.