Monday, September 29, 2014

I Could Never...#MindfulMotheringMondays

My faith is not a fire
As much as it's a glow
A little burning ember
In my weary soul
~Audrey Assad~



 A while back a friend interviewed me on her website and asked specifically about how my faith informs my parenting. I'll admit the question surprised me a bit. I figured my faith as a Mom was just about the same as the faith of any spiritual Christian Mom. But the more I think about it now, the more I struggle and strain against how faith looks and feels and is in my life - the more I realize it's like anything - as unique as the person it belongs to.

Not all Moms are the same and we celebrate the differences we have. The way we use our own gifts to bless our families and raise our children, the artistry of building a life together and coloring it with our distinctive personalities and strengths.

For me, faith is the only way I make it through. It's me calling, begging, whimpering - be close today? Have my back? Fill in the gaps, cover my weaknesses and bless it? Faith is me starting every day and closing each night entreating Him to be right there beside me. Faith is me knowing that each and every success and failure, every mountain and every valley, every shining morning and storm riddled night - He's all good and all on my side. Even when I'm not.

At a park not too long ago, a woman asked me as our children played together - are all those kids yours? When I nodded a friendly yes and told her names and ages and added my signature - "it's a lot of work but I love it," she said "I could never..." And I know what she meant because me, too I could enough. I could never do right by them all. I could never get it right all the time, keep my heart patient and my eyes on things above. I could never hold my tongue and tamp down my temper. I could never be the mother 6 wildly unique and precious people need. And yet...I have faith.

We all have our "I could never"s. I've got a stack of my own, but even as I leaf through them in my mind, I know that, if that was required of me? I could. Not because I'm confident in my crisis management abilities - on the contrary, dealing with my own immaturity is one of the biggest chores in my life. No, it's because of something more. A promise I memorized as a child and still hold close today.

So when I see that positive pregnancy test after a hard summer of job loss and gain, I take a day to doubt. To lose my faith. To sit in the center of my bed in tears and saying "I could never..."

And I wake up the next morning to the life He promised to meet me in, and I whisper "You still there? Good. You're gonna have to do the heavy lifting again. Let's do this."

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Phillipians 4:13

My faith makes my parenting possible because with Him anything is. I grasp courage in my parenting when I let go of control and let Him lead me.

I hold onto that tightly, trusting that God can use it all to sanctify me, drawing me closer each day. These kids are God's unique way of refining me every day. Slowly sloughing off the rough edges and making me more and more into who He's planning for me to be. I believe Him. I make it through each and every day clinging to His word because it's all I have to carry me through.

{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes. A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life. A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now.

You might post recent struggles or thoughts. Maybe just a picture or a quote. Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post. Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together. Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday?

I hope you'll meet with me! Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below in the comments. Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us! And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us! You can use the hashtag #MindfulMotheringMondays on Twitter and Instagram to connect further.

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter. This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When You Think You Know

I was nervous. Panicked, really. It wasn't so much about homeschooling four kids. It was homeschooling that one.

The busy one. The physical one. The larger and louder than life one. The one who has outlasted me over and over again when we lock horns over discipline issues. He doesn't back down. He's untamable. Cross him and his tantrums pass like a tsunami over the entire day, a shadow over the whole family. Goodness. Homeschooling that one? Scared me.

But I made a mistake. When I sat down to plan homeschooling my boisterous boy, I only considered the difficulties. The hard spaces and rough edges. I focused on my fears and missed out on how fabulous it could be.

And oh, but that boy surprised me. The one I thought I'd need to put in school this fall? He's leading the pack. When I think about why, I'm amazed I missed it.

Yes he's loud and brash and strong and mighty. But he's also one of my gentlest souls. Sweet snuggler. I remember that the way to reach him has never been to match him pitch for pitch but to bring it down to a soft, safe place and open arms wide.

Homeschooling has been that. In the morning, he sits quietly with his work, pushing ahead and doing lesson after lesson until I have to tell him to stop. He fits perfectly on my lap when I teach him to read and he hasn't complained, not once, about wanting to do something else. He's lapping up my attention and I wonder if it's so much that it's changing something in him - or changing something in me. How I see him, changing.

You think you raise them. But sometimes? They raise you.

When you think you know? You might have no idea.

My Jonah taught me that.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

All Glory



Today was a near perfect day. The kind of day you leave behind and think, wow - that really just couldn't have gone any better. The kind of day you hold up as a benchmark and measure other days against. The kind of day that you blog about, or share perfect pictures of on facebook, giddy with the perfection of it all.

It was a golden day where home life felt peaceful, homeschool felt feasible, happiness attainable. My list was completed and I even added a few fun things just because. I delighted in my children, something that truthfully doesn't happen every day. One of those days. The kind that crop up every once in a while just when you think you're losing your touch to remind you of why you do what you do.

A day where contentment was easy and gratitude effortless.  A day where happiness was as plentiful as sunshine and everything felt right. A pretty rare sort of day for me, to be completely honest.

I was thinking about contentment while prepping dinner and watching my kids (and a few spares) run around outside. I've always thought contentment is something I have down. Material "stuff" isn't a big draw for me. I'm drawn to little happinesses like baking in the fall and rocking babies to sleep. Being content with fewer and smaller things isn't a struggle, and so I can think that being satisfied is not a battle I'm fighting. I may think that, but I'd be wrong.

Contentment isn't just being happy with what you are given.  Contentment is trusting that, even if you don't understand why everything is falling apart, that what God is doing in your life is for His glory. It doesn't always feel nice, or easy. Sometimes it's dark and wretched and hard. Sometimes you wonder if you'll give right out, broken in two, irreparable. That's where the trust comes in.

This is where contentment draws a hard line for me to cross. Not by living life small and simple, but living life trusting. Trusting that what He has for me today is where I'm meant to be. Not just on the golden happy days, but on the bleak ones, too. The days where the very thing required of me is the very last thing I'd prefer to be doing.

Contentment is the daily exercise of accepting the work He has for you today, no matter what it is. Satisfied in living by trust, offering up everything. The tough, the bleak, the broken and the beautiful. Living each day knowing He can use it all for His glory and our good.

I can content my heart with that.

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