Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Days in the Life of Moms

Motherhood makes me laugh.

How about you?

What little things in your day today made you just blink as you thought, "Did I really just see that happen?" or "What did my child just say?"

Today I heard my little man, whose vocabulary consists mainly of action verbs, say to his friends on the playground, "Guys, come!" It reminded me how God showed me that he has the heart of a leader pounding in his little chest. Oh, how I want to cultivate that!

Today I fed my baby girl twice for over an hour straight and then heard her smacking on her fist for more when I put her down. Sorry, kid, you're going to have to wait before you get another course.

Today I was scolding little man for climbing on baby girl and when I actually looked into their faces, both of them were grinning at me. Oh no. It dawned on me for the first time that now my mischief-maker will have a cohort...and it looks like she'll be a willing one.

Today I played soccer with my boy who couldn't stop eating the soccer ball. Is this normal behavior?

Today as I was feeding baby girl, when little man came into the living room with a cup and a pitcher of far more iced tea than would fit into that cup, I heard myself say, "Don't pour. DON'T POUR! DON'T POUR!!!!!!" To no avail. 

Today on my way to an impromptu meeting for the non-profit I work for I realized on my way to drop little man off I hadn't even looked in the mirror before I left the house. I smiled when I saw how messy my hair was and remembered that it got that way when he hugged me from behind and got his hand stuck in it. 

Today as I was feeding baby girl, her little fingers tickled the underside of my arm as she grasped for something to cling to. I love her love of the cozy things in life. 

Today the boy dumped an entire bottle of not cheap natural baby shampoo into his bathtub. The. Entire. Bottle. For the second time in the two months his sister has been on the planet. He's the cleanest little boy in town tonight. And our bathtub is the slipperiest one in town too. 

The thought has been flitting in and out of my mind lately: 

They're not going to be like this long. 

As I followed little man around the public swimming pool the other night making sure he didn't drown himself at the church party (literally - no joke and no exaggerating momma here, folks), wishing I could be chatting with my mom friends on the side of the pool, it came to me in this form: 
One day he's going to be diving off the diving board and being a daredevil capable of not killing himself inadvertently and I won't have to hold his hand or catch him when he comes down the water slide. And that day is going to come all too soon. 
And so I smiled and kept following him around, more contentedly this time. 

Being a mom is no joke. Add in extra work, whether that's work from home or outside the home or church ministry, or whatever else, and life gets even zanier (is that possible?!). Creating a routine with two littles got difficult quickly, and now adding in my work from home I've felt easily overwhelmed in the past two weeks. 

My violin teacher would always say something like, "Excellence is the sum total of a lot of little things done well." I don't feel like an excellent mother most days. Or an excellent childcare provider, or an excellent pastor's wife, or an excellent administrative assistant. But maybe it's more about the little things done well throughout the day than the overall patchwork of how I think excellence should look. (My life feels like a crazy quilt right now!)

Am I living in this moment, fully living? Full of gratitude, of contentment, of dependence on God?

Then I can laugh instead of cry in the motherhood moments that shock my socks off.

And then I can rest in God's definition of excellence rather than my own.

After all, he's the one I'm living for in the end.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

When it's hard, worship.

Tonight someone told me that my life looked perfect from the outside and they asked if I have anything hard in my life. Besides wanting to slap that person, who I was going out of my way to help (pride alert here, sorry...), my mind flew to about 6:00 pm today when I was lying on my bed crying after disciplining my son because he had deliberately wrecked up all the covers on the bed on which  I had just changed the sheets, thoroughly exhausted, completely done with discipline for the day, and dreading the task that was in front of me (helping said person).

Now I am sitting here wanting to eat literally everything in the house, especially anything chocolate I can get my hands on, just to de-stress from my day.  Being a mom of a toddler is the hardest thing I've ever done - and believe me, I've done some hard things in my life. I'm pretty close to saying I would rather take another year of Greek or Hebrew in college than go through what I do on a daily basis, but I'm not quite there yet. :)

No one tells you that when you become a mom that you're going to face waking up every day to a toddler yelling in your face that he's hungry and wants to watch a movie, and then you're going to fix him his favorite breakfast (which he won't eat a bite of) and then have the most unreasonable discussion of your life about what movie he wants to watch. EVERY. DAY.

No one tells you that no matter how many times you discipline your child he will still treat you like you're his slave and disregard everything you say. ALL. DAY. LONG.

(Nate's dad quote of the week: Don't negotiate with terrorists, honey!)

Motherhood is hard. Darn it.

But the thought came to my mind of something I heard the other day. When things are hard, like King David, refocus yourself by worshiping the Lord. 

Today I was reading Hebrews 13:5-6
God has said: ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.
We, therefore, can confidently say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’

So right now, I just want to say, Thank you, God, for being my defender. Thank you for not treating me with disrespect. Thank you that I'm YOUR child and can be the one running to YOU for comfort and kisses and snuggles, so to speak. Thank you for always being with me - when I'm cleaning salsa off the toilet seat, or chasing bunnies with my two-year-old, or soothing my baby, or popping popcorn for our picnic, or changing the tenth poopy diaper of the day, or resting in the quiet after the kids are in bed. Thank you for the confidence I have that I'm not alone. 

The person I was with this evening also asked me how you apply scripture when times are hard. How do you get through the difficult things. I told them this, and I know it's the truth. Only by choosing to be content no matter what the Lord allows into your life. 

I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either poverty or plenty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives within me. (Phil. 4:11-13)

Once upon a time I thought marriage and children were the perfect life and if I could only have those, I'd be happy. I'm so glad God started to show me then the secret of being content was in finding my home in him alone, and not in any place or person. Being married and being a mom are wonderful blessings for which I am incredibly thankful. But they are nothing I can find true satisfaction in without being first content in the Lord. 

No matter what your life looks like, choosing to worship God rather than yourself (in self-pity) is the only way to endure the hardness and be at rest. 

What are you thankful for?