Embrace Your Grace

I received this wall art for Christmas, and it made me cry (For those of you who know me, yeah, I know that’s a shocker! 😂) This meant so much to me at this time, because my husband and I had just had a conversation a few weeks ago about this very thing, and I was trying to believe in my heart what my head knows to be true of this statement.

If you don’t know me (which, just read a few past blogs tagged “family,” and you’ll quickly understand), you may not know that my family is my world. That old adage, “God, Family, Country?” …yeah, that just about sums me up. I love my family, and I love spending time with them. It doesn’t really matter what we do. Yet, there are times, when I feel like I need to be a better mom for them. No, honestly, I feel like I need to be “Supermom,” and as much as I counsel other moms that this is a farce, and they should never try to live up to this fantasy, sometimes, I find myself falling into the mind trap as well.

A few weeks ago, that was the problem. I was feeling overwhelmed with a “to do” list and piles of clean laundry to be fold, and a ton of other “musts” to be accomplished. I was feeling down and out, because I “didn’t have time” to fix meals for our family, keep us on a good, healthy schedule, fix the boys’ lunches, keep the house “spit-spot” clean, and follow all the expectations that a “good mother” should follow. I was feeling like I don’t do enough for my little family, and I was unloading on my husband. He listened…and listened…cuz, he’s such a good man.😉

We got through the junk, and we talked about improvements that were actually needed, and then he put his arms around me and just hugged me. He said, “I love you. You’re a great mom to our boys, and I wouldn’t want any other woman as my wife.” Then, he gave me this piece for Christmas. … you see, now, the reason for all the tears? (Yeah, I told you he was great!) 😉

I told you this story to tell you this: if you’re a mom, and you’re struggling today with feeling overwhelmed, insignificant, less than, lonely, etc., there is hope. Don’t allow the “Pinterest Moms” and “Facebook Supermoms” of this world to bring you down with expectations and burdens that you were never meant to carry. Recognize that God wouldn’t have put you in the family you’re in and wouldn’t have made you the mom of the kids you have if He wasn’t going to equip you and help you to be who He’s called you to be!

Will you need to re-evaluate your priorities, agendas and goals from time to time? Yes. Do you need to make sure you’re keeping “the main thing the main thing?” Yes. Will you need to step back from failures and mistakes, forgive yourself, ask for forgiveness from others, and start anew? Yes. And will there be needed improvements along the way? Oh. My. Goodness. YES AND AMEN!!

However, if you’re never doing these things, you’ll never grow, and your family will never be challenged to be more. A beautiful garden never becomes truly beautiful unless it has a season of pruning.

Just remember, you have to find your own niche here in this world of “motherhood.” You have to do what’s truly best for you, your husband (if married), and your children. What works amazing for one family might just bring down disaster in another. What would never work for your family might work perfectly for mine.

None of us are clones, and God never intended us to be! Can we learn from each other? Yes. However, every family must seek God to find what is His best and become just that!!

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We Are Moms

Ok, so, if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to rant for just a moment. I am so sick of all the bickering across social media, blogs and other “news” mediums, and I just want to shout this from the rooftops: STOP IT!!  *Please note before I start, I am not looking for a debate, and I am not trying to offend. I just feel the need to say something, and I hope you will read till the end…

There is so much shaming, fingerpointing and backbiting that, too often lately, I feel as if I’m back in kindergarten, or better yet, I’m back in junior high listening to the 12 year old girls bickering over who’s fault it is that the popular girl doesn’t like them anymore! 😁 It’s silly, and it’s really becoming annoying.

We have had several MAJOR tragedies in our country over the last several weeks, and the news media and social media feeds have been lit up like Christmas trees. Everyone is trying to find someone to blame for the gorilla, the alligator and the night club violence, because after all, it couldn’t be as interesting as simply be sympathetic toward the families who are grieving over their lost loved ones! It couldn’t be as intriguing as trying to reach out to the ones mourning.

These mothers will never hug their babies again in this life. (And yes, I realize the nightclub was not filled with ‘babies,’ but to a mother, her child will always be her ‘baby,’ no matter his or her age.) These fathers will never rescue their children from another emergency. These grandparents will never see their grandbabies smile those beautiful smiles that made their hearts swell with love. Why can we not stop all the fighting for a split second and observe the value of a life? Observing the value of life does not mean I must agree or disagree with the person or his or her lifestyle for that life to be valuable.

Why? Because this country has become too accustomed to shaming anybody and everybody who avails him or herself to the public eye. We have become too comfortable with setting ourselves as judge and juror,  bondsman and, even, the thought police. This ought not be.

Can I tell you? I am a mom. I love my babies, and I do my very best to take care of them the best way I know how. Do I always do everything perfect? By all means, No! I wake up everyday and pray the Lord help me and guide me, because I am human, and humans make mistakes, and accidents can happen.

Now, just because I do my best, does that put every mom into that same category? No, unfortunately, I can’t say that it does. Some moms are so focused on themselves or their own agendas that they are neglective or oblivious to their child’s needs. Some moms are so jacked up that they cannot cope and function the way they should. Other moms are just simply wrong in how they handle life, children and all of the above.

Yet, it’s not my place (or yours) to get on social media or any other news medium and blast that mom for what I believe she did or didn’t do right. I don’t even know the woman. If we are not within her orbit, didn’t see exactly what happened and have no tangible access to her world, how can we sit in judgement and shame her, or praise her, for what we have drawn as our own opinions?? …and why should we? Don’t we have better things to do with our time??

If there has been a crime committed, the authorities will figure that out. It is their job. That is what they are trained to do! That’s what they are doing at that nightclub. They’ve determined it was an act of terrorism; so, why is the bickering still focused on gun control and the life of the homosexual? The news media and liberal agendas seem to enjoy stirring up the opinions on everything else but the real issue at hand. The fact is, we are all Americans, no matter race, origin, religion or sexual orientation, and we have some real enemies in this world. These enemies would like to see us ALL dead, and our fighting amongst ourselves is not going to change this fact, nor will it help to bring resolution to that fact. Sometimes, there is a war to be fought, and we must fight it. Shooting in amongst the troops isn’t going to kill the enemy. It will only hinder our efforts to win.

On the two other tragedies, if there is a wrong to be found, those involved in the situation will be called upon to right that wrong. If she (and he) is found to be untrue, and she is to be chastised for her faulty ways, then those closest to her and those in leadership surrounding her should speak into her life for reprimand and change, but who are you and I to think it is our place to publicly shame her? Do you really think that is going to make a difference in her life?

Sometimes, shaming is for coping, and sometimes, it’s for competing. We are moms. We shouldn’t do either, but it all comes from vanity. Either you feel better than someone else or worse than them. So, you compare. You compete. You tear them down to lift yourself up. It’s all wrong.

Matt12.34

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“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:34b-37

 

 

We are moms. This is a battle of life and death, and the victory is the breath and legacy of our children. We should just fight the good fight. Link arms together when we can, and pull each other up when we’re able. If we see wrong within our orbit of influence, we should not hesitate to speak up; however, often times, we must have built a relationship long before the tragedy to make any real impact in the lives of those whom we speak truth.

If we witness a crime, by all means, stand up for the innocent! Yet, when it comes to men and women we know nothing about, a situation in which we have no first hand knowledge and a location in which we were not present, sometimes, it’s better for everyone involved, including ourselves, to keep quiet, give grace and just pray. Pray for wisdom. Pray for truth. Pray for justice and grace.

Life is hard sometimes, and we all need a friend and a cheerleader to help us along the way!  … Okay, I will end my rant now. Thank you for letting me unload that mess…

 plankeye“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew.7:3-5  

 

Mom’s Job

We, as moms, have so many jobs, so many responsibilities to fulfill. These change often, too, depending on the age of our children, the different seasons of life, and the various needs of our family. What my roll was, as a mom with our boys, 10 years ago looks somewhat different than today; yet, I have found a few “mom jobs” to remain constant over the years. If these go missing, chaos seems to presume.

  Speak Life – It is our responsibility to speak life into our home and our children. We need to encourage, admonish, admire and lead by example. Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…” When we speak life to them, it is the beginning of their seeing Christ. It causes them to see a better way than where their fleshly desires would entice them. When we speak life, it guides them in truth. Solomon, the wisest man in Scripture, had a mother who spoke life into him. You can see that in Proverbs 31, when she admonishes him about drinking and shares with him what kind of “good woman” he should seek. Speaking life is not condoning sin or emphasizing failures. It is giving them God’s best in their moment in order for growth, strength and transformation to occur.

  Provide Liberty (freedom) – It is incumbent upon us to give our children the freedom to grow into the man or woman they are meant to be. We begin this from a very early age. We hold their hand to teach them to walk, and then, we let go so they can. We hold onto the back of the bike so they can get steady, and then, we let go and watch them bike around the block on their own. We help them in so many ways, at the beginning holding on to make sure they’ve got it, and then, we watch them as they learn to do things on their own. We must do this with their dreams as well! It is our job to help them to dream and to one day fly to higher heights, and we must give them the freedom to do so! When we hold on to tightly, or we hold them back because of fear, competition or even jealousy, we cripple them and cause their way to be harder than it needs to be. They may still reach their dreams, but oh, the hardships and battles they have to face along the way!

  Give Love – It is our calling to love those God puts in our care. We were made as nurturing creatures. We were created as networking beings, to reach out, to connect. We have been developed to care, to cry, to comfort and to cover our loved ones with our love and prayers. If we are not reaching our arms up in prayer and out in love, we will wreak havoc on all those around us. That’s why it’s so important for us, as women but especially as mothers, to release anger, bitterness, strife and unforgiveness. If we hold onto these things, we don’t just simply “cover it up and hope it goes away,” as we often want to believe we can. It breeds in our home and eventually manifests in all areas of our lives, as well as, in the lives of our children. We must love. We must care. We must reach out. Hannah brought a new coat to little Samuel every year at the time of the feast offerings. There is a whole book in the Bible devoted to the story of Ruth and how she not only loved her husband but how she loved her mother-in-law. Esther changed the heart of a king by her love for her God, her husband and her people.

It is said, “The mother is the heart of the home.” I tend to agree with this statement, but I want to make it a little more specific. I believe she can be the heartbeat of the home. With her attentiveness, her effort and her consistent focus on Christ, she can not only keep a hand on the pulse of the home, but she can also become the heartbeat of that home. If she is stable, loving, courageous, bold, prayerful, gentle and kind, her home has a better chance of being the same. If she is imbalanced, hateful, fearful, lacking in prayer, grouchy and just plain mean, her home will most likely emulate the same attitude and personality.

Men weren’t created to do these things the way a woman was! They have their own purpose and their own calling within the home, but it is different than a woman’s. We have a purpose, and we must fulfill it, or everyone loses!

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”   Proverbs 31:28-31

Happy belated Mother’s Day!

A letter to My Pregnant Self…

If I could go back to when I was pregnant with JGrizz, I would tell myself a few things to be remembered…

Decide, now, you will not sleep for the first three months, and then, when you get that first 30 minute nap, it will be absolutely glorious!

Everything you need to know won’t always be found in a book, given by your doctor, or even spoken by your mother. Sometimes, you’ll just have to follow your instincts.

There will be a time, your instincts will be proven wrong. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure, and this doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. It means you’re human. It means you’re normal.

The house can’t always be kept clean. Toys seem to come alive in the night and find their way back to the living room before you awake. Learn to organize on a very small scale…very small…like one toy in one basket…at any given time.

One boy can have the volume of a surround sound system on level 55. Two boys can create a front row rock concert experience at 7:00 am. and, again, at 11:30pm.

When your three year old little boy refuses to come down from the Chic-Fil-A slide, it really does not mean you’re a terrible mom…Really.

That day when you have to literally step over your two and a half year old who is pitching a fit on sidewalk, in the front of the church, it does not mean you have failed at parenting. It means you are being brave and strong.

Enjoy those little scribbles and backward letters and upside down numbers … even when you find them on the bedroom wall. For one day, your child will be getting ready to apply for colleges far away from home.

Cherish those moments your two year old rides his Little Tykes motorized Harley in the backyard, for one day, way too soon, he will be talking about his soon coming birthday when he can get his license or driver’s permit.

There will be days when you just drink that cup of coffee and simply survive…and have one more cup of coffee to just make it till your early bedtime.


Find an outlet for your stress. Make time for you…even if it takes scheduling that night out on the calendar, and daddy has to keep the baby. He can do it. He loves that baby, too.

Make time for you and daddy, too. Dating your man IS important. If you and he don’t love each other, your child may not get to see what a great marriage is all about.

Most of all, make time for God, and this doesn’t have to be hours on end spent in the Upper Room. There will be seasons, especially when those babies are little, when devotions will come in snatches of time…it might be a Scripture today that brings peace to your weary mind, a Bible story tomorrow read from a children’s book that brings strength to your heart, and your favorite pastor’s sermon on Sunday morning which brings conviction and healing to your wounded soul.

God’s not about the rules, regulations and perfection. He wants a relationship. He wants to hear your thoughts. He wants to consume your heart. He loves you, and He wants to help you be the best mom you can be. He wants you to know He loves you and that YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Let me say it again, YOU ARE ENOUGH. This being a mom bit is CRAZY hard, but it is so very worth it!! … Be real. Be you. Find God in the chaos and hang on…Hang onto Him with all you’ve got, and you’ll make it.

“You just be you, and God will take care of the rest.” – Bones, Moms’ Night Out

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14