Monthly Archives: March 2014

Keep Calm and Know …

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I put them in a car to spend their first weekend away from me. It didn’t matter that the person they were leaving with was their dad. They were 2 and 4 years old and I had legitimate concerns. Would their hair get brushed in the morning and would he know how to attach the all essential hair bow in that mane of hair ? Would their clothes match all weekend? Would they eat the right things? Would they be afraid at bedtime because I wasn’t there to tuck them in? Would they sleep OK in a bed they weren’t used to? Would they play in the street or fall off a swing or skin their knees or get eaten by a pack of hungry mountain lions?? Would they miss me as much as I missed them?

And a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re their mom but I AM God.”

It was kindergarten registration. I sat with my sweet little 5 year old boy on my lap in a tiny little chair that I’m not sure I would’ve fit in comfortably even if I was 5. As I sat and watched other parents come in and out of the room with big old smiles on their faces , anticipating the freedom that was about to ensue in their lives as their kid finally started school, I sat with tears streaming down my face. Oh I was about to go into the full out ugly cry right there in front of 24 other beaming parents and God Himself. Then the sweet kindergarten teacher came and sat next to me, patted me on the knee and said she understood how difficult it can be when it’s time to send your first born to school. I looked at her with tears welling up into big Lake Michigan sized puddles in my eyes and said ,”He’s my FOURTH child!!” Then I proceeded to release the dam of tears that was blocking my vision from filling out the mountain of paperwork required to send your precious baby to school. Would he make friends? Would he be too shy to even say a word? Would he eat his lunch? Would he fall off the monkey bars during recess ? Would other kids make fun of him? Would he get eaten by a pack of hungry mountain lions roaming the playground? (Those darn west Georgia mountain lions!! They need to leave my kids alone!!)

Then a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re the mom but I AM God.”

We were standing out on the front porch, about to go shopping for this , that and the other when she looked up at me and very matter of factly said these words. “ I know I’m only 13, but I’m pretty sure that if I could drive, I could completely take care of myself and have my own house, pay my own bills and all that.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at my darling baby girl. This wasn’t a fit of teenage rage, mad at me and wanting to be away from her family as soon as possible. She was a 13 year old girl wanting me to know that she felt she could handle life on her own one day. I loved her spirit of confidence and independence but the thought of my first born child on her own, away from me, doing her own thing….forever…..well. Was she really ready to face those pesky mountain lions? I wanted to cry….she was growing up too quickly.

Then a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re the mom but I AM God.”

The music started. It was a familiar tune . My vision blurred. Babies in long black robe – like garments with weird looking hats on their heads began marching in from the other side of the football field. Oh wait….they’re not babies. They’re full grown mini-adults finishing high school … or college. Ready to make their marks on this big old world. Ready to face life’s challenges and excitements and adventures. On their own. Without their momma’s by their sides. I’ve done this five times now (3 high school graduations, 2 college graduations) and I still have at least 2 more to go. Will it ever get easier? Will I ever be able to watch my children pack up and leave the safety of our home without getting a big old lump in my throat? Will I ever stop having mini panic attacks when I think about those proverbial “mountain lions” waiting to pounce on my kids and devour them whole?

Then a little voice deep within my soul, One I’m way more familiar with now that I’m older, gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re a good mom. But I AM a GREAT God.”

I am Mom……not God.

Let me tell myself that again, just one more time.

 I AM MOM…..NOT GOD!!!!

Ok, so I yelled it that time but sometimes I just need that loud reminder that as a parent, there comes a time when I just have to trust that I’ve done a decent-ish job as mom and let go and trust God with the rest.

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When they want to drive a car…..God is riding shot gun.

When they want to go off to college and haven’t invited me to be their roomie….God is there with them.

When they have to make those first grown up decisions and they don’t want my opinion….God is waiting to guide them.

When they become parents themselves and they see Mom through new eyes…….God gently starts this process with them.

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And a gentle voice will speak into their souls just as gently and persistently as He did mine, “You are Mom ( or Dad). And I am God.”

 

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”..Luke 1:45

 

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Oh My Poor Aching Toes!!

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I stand in front of my open refrigerator door and just stare as if into space. I need something for dinner and there’s nothing to eat!! I exclaim with a sigh “There’s nothing to eat in this house!!” My boys often do this . I actually learned HOW to do this from them! Yea, I did! I DID!

….whatever….

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I stand inside my closet and just go into this blank stare hoping that SOMETHING would appear in my closet that was interesting, fun, and exciting to wear. I have no clothes!! Sigh…… out of my 5 children, the 3 who still live at home are the boys. They are perfectly happy wearing the same pair of jeans and a rotation of 2 or 3 shirts every week. I rarely hear the “I have nothing to wear” woes from them. But I bet my girls have stood in their closets and thought my same thoughts! It’s frustrating to be a girl with nothing to wear!! Geez!!!

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As I’ve heard it said before “First world problems”……. “first world” or not, in the moment, they seem very real, don’t they? How about a change of perspective? (You’ll thank me for this later…..maybe WAY later. For now you may want to kick this little blog post to the curb and reconsider ever reading anything I write again!!)

On the other side of town, a little boy grabs his mommy’s hand and holds on tight. His face is smudged with dirt, as are his clothes. A baby sits in Mommy’s lap. Mommy has this look on her face that can’t be denied. She’s hungry, scared and destitute as they sit on the corner with a cardboard sign asking for money or food.

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Another mommy and her little girl left home in the middle of the night, fearful , running for their lives. All they took with them was the clothes on their backs and Mommy’s purse. They live in their car.

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…….you’re welcome…….

That’s hard to think about, isn’t it?? I think I like my old perspective better. It’s easier.

I’ve recently been FORCED….yes FORCED to change my perspective. Twice a year, I pick out a great bible study that will draw me and a group of friends closer to Christ and I facilitate it. That’s just a fancy word that means I have to make sure I do my homework each week so I can decide which discussion questions to ask each week when I meet with this group of fabulous. fearless friends. This past January as I was perusing the aisles at the Christian bookstore looking for a study on the Proverbs 31 woman, my eyes were averted to something else. Just felt a nudge ….more like a giant push….towards this study that had the words “clothes”, “food”, “spending” and few others on the cover. Oh great! I like those things! We’ll do that one instead. I really had no idea what this Jen Hatmaker chick had up her sleeve with this one……but Someone who was being sorta bossy that day did. I would soon embark on a 7 week journey into cutting out the excess in my life and shifting my perspective on many different things. I wasn’t going to add clothes, food and spending into my daily routine. I was going to take them away. Thank you Mrs. Hatmaker. Thanks a lot……..really……

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I’m not meaning for this to be a free advertisement for the book or bible study I’m doing right now. But I just wanted y’all to know that this new perspective didn’t just happen on a whim. God nudged me that day at the bookstore for a reason. He knew I NEEDED a new perspective and He can use any means He so chooses to get me there. This was just the means He chose for me.

Confession is good for the soul, right? So here…..

See, I have a bad tendency to compare myself and the things I have with “the Joneses”…..the wealthy Joneses, that is. The ones who live in bigger houses with perfectly manicured lawns, who have better things, nicer toys, fancier clothes , who go on expensive vacations every year. And this makes me feel…well….so underprivileged, like I surely deserve more. I rarely ever take time to consider the “other Joneses”…..those who live in true poverty, in homeless shelters, who don’t know for sure where their next meal is coming from, who wear the same clothes every day because it’s all they have. I never bother to compare myself to those who actually have far less than me. With those who might actually look upon ME…..little old me…..as being wealthy and having it all. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that, you know. But why not????

It’s not fun to think about people living in shacks with dirt floors. It’s not fun to think about people who hope upon all hope to have a single meal of anything before the day is over. It’s not fun to think about the child living with her mom under a bridge. It’s not fun to think about the fact that I have so much and they have so little. It’s not fun to think about the fact that I don’t do enough to help those in need……that I so often feel I need to hold on tightly to my stuff because those I don’t find it “fun to think about” could so easily become ME.

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There are far more “other Joneses” in this world than not. And when I take a minute or even a measly little second to consider this fact, I am humbled beyond words. I become GRATEFUL for what I have and in that moment I can stop thinking about “the Joneses” with the big screen TV’s and the fancy cars and the closets so packed with clothes they really need another closet. And I can see how truly blessed I am. I can be truly thankful for what I have and stop yearning for the “wrong more”……….I don’t need more stuff. I don’t need a fuller closet. I don’t need better or even more food in the fridge. I don’t need fancy vacations, big screen TVs, Saturdays where I shop till I drop.

I just need a better perspective. One that will cure my whiny neediness. I mostly torture myself with this and try hard to hide from others that I do have a whiny neediness at times….for needs that don’t even exist. One that will help me to loosen my grip on the things I falsely believe will make me happy. One that will make me a more giving person….one who gives without fear.

The pictures I shared at the beginning of this post are real. It’s my real closet.  What you see represents the 54 items of clothing I have left hanging after I “purged”. 54 doesn’t seem like a lot…..until I look at it through a renewed perspective. Then it almost seems like I need to purge some more because how can I be so richly blessed??

The fridge picture is also actually my real fridge . I’m totally calling myself out on this one. This is embarrassing because I DIDN’T purge it. But it is what it is……full to the brim with plenty of food. How dare I or anyone else in my family ever stare blankly into the face of this bountiful blessing and exclaim we have nothing to eat? Oh the shame!!

This hasn’t been terribly comfortable to share. But I think if we all get blindingly honest with ourselves, more of us than not might find that we get our desire to buy more this and more that because we’re looking to the wrong source of inspiration. If you fill your life with stuff because someone else has the same stuff or better stuff, then step back .

Count YOUR blessings….not someone elses.

Ouch!! My toes hurt!!!!