As a mom, do you ever look at your precious child(ren) after a looooong week, or day, or, let's be real, hour, and think, "What can I do with you?" The kind of question that really means, "Mama's bout to lose it if we don't find a new happy for you my sweet child!"
...I know I do! I love my children. All three of them. In different and unique ways, they shape me. But sometimes I just want to say, “Lord, I think I'm in good enough shape for today! Thank you!”...You know what I mean?
But speaking of shape, y'all it is a new year and aren’t you SO excited about the guilt of New Year’s resolutions? I’ve never been a resolution maker, but I sure have been on the side of feeling less than because I wasn’t doing some drastic change in my life, career, or relationships. So here’s what I’ll say to that: Put Jesus first and then, girl, you do you! Resolve to make changes that are reasonable and DOABLE for you and your family. Not everyone has 27hrs a day (see what I did there) to dedicate to the gym, or making homemade organic EVERYTHING, or homeschooling their children, or climbing the career ladder to success when quite frankly, they’re afraid of heights! So again, you do you. I am a firm believer that we add stress and concerns to our lives that the Lord never intended for us. Then days, weeks, or months later, we are at the throne of God BEGGING for Him to help us. Hello. He never intended for you to have it to begin with. Seek Him first…sound familiar? btw this is 100% the Lord speaking to my life right now… What am I adding to my plate that the Lord knows I have no appetite for? Think on it.
Ok back to our precious children. We love them, but sometimes we feel crazy in the role of mother, am I right? Not to mention when we have the roles of wife, housekeeper, entrepreneur, doctor, policewoman, peacekeeper, cook, interior designer, gardener…I know it’s not just me, y’all! Some of us have a lot on us. And if we don’t have a lot, the little we do have keeps us plenty busy. But let’s remember to keep those roles in check and prioritized. First off, we have to remember our role as daughter to the one true King, the most high God, the good good Father. Forgetting that or failing to acknowledge that by spending time with Him daily will result in an unraveling of all other roles. We will seek fulfillment from a source other than Him, and that’s putting pressure where it was never meant to be. Our fulfillment is found in Him. Everything else is just added blessings.
Okay, onto our other roles! Next we are loving, respectful wives to our husbands, and grace-giving, merciful mamas to our sweet babies… Guess what? It was super easy to type those fancy adjectives that describe our roles as a wife and mama, but, y’all, it is a hard walk! Our sin-nature mixes the order of these roles, and our sin-nature does not like all this love, grace, and mercy. But that’s when we remember whose daughter we are…that’s when that primary role becomes most important! When we walk with Jesus daily, when we know His truths, when we pray them over our families, we become the likeness of Jesus to our spouses and kids. Yes, we make mistakes, but that’s because we become like Jesus, but we are in no way Jesus, and we need to make sure we keep that in line. Pride, arrogance, self-righteousness- these are nasty little things that can get the best of us and render us useless or worse, harmful to our families. Seek Him first…do I hear an echo?
"When we walk with Jesus daily, when we know His truths, when we pray them over our families, we become the likeness of Jesus to our spouses and kids."
So in an effort to bring some peace to your sweet but tired mama-mind, remember this…whether it’s your resolution, the moment to moment rambles, or your roles that have you feeling in over your head…take a deep breath, step back, and seek the Father. He wants to be a part of our lives and help us get out of the crazy that we put ourselves in…and also, He has a pretty good sense of humor and sometimes just wants to be along for the ride!
With love & laughter,
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Last year, while outside playing with Clara, she was looking down being very curious but she reached up for my hand – she never looked up to see if it was going to be there she just reached up and took it. For her it was an automatic, that I was there and that my hand, her safety and security would be there. And, of course as a mother, I was right there with my hand dangling ready to catch her or to just hold her.
Later that night as I put her to bed and realized how much this little person depended on me but never questioned my presence, never worried that I would be there for her, and continually reached for me – it made me think of my relationship with God. Do I really believe that He is standing next to me with His hand out, just waiting on my little hand to grasp His? Did I really believe that He cared about my small problems, the equivalent of Clara’s scraped knee, or nearly imaginary boo-boo? At the time I don’t know that I did. I think more than a year ago –I would have said that God has so much on His plate, people are in so much more hurt than me, that whatever I was dealing with was like a skinned knee –yes it hurts right now but it will be fine.
I think part of the hurt I am experiencing is God trying to teach me that He is My Father. That he has been there all this time with His hand outstretched just waiting on me to grasp it. Waiting on me to bring my skinned knee and not shrug it off as a small hurt. My child doesn’t, she wants kisses and love for every little bump or scratch. I have always known God – but partly reserved Him for the bigger stuff. Shrugging Him off as too busy to really care about my day-to-day needs.
But this year to get through each day, to keep it on the rails as I have said a time or two, I need Him every day with the big and the little with the depression, anxiety, insecurity, loneliness, heartache, worry, etc. He wants me to know that He cares about everything I am going through and not to minimize my situation just because it isn’t as big or as scary as someone else’s. Just as we can’t compare our homes or our children –we can’t compare our struggles. What I am facing, is big to me, just as what someone else is facing.
So on days when things seem too much – I pray the childlike prayers that Clara has taught me.
Lord, thank you for this day and help me serve you today.
God our Father, We give thanks, for our many blessings Amen
Be with me through this night, please keep me in your gracious sight, watch over me while I sleep, please give me rest and perfect peace. Amen
Our prayers don’t have to be eloquent or elaborate to catch His attention. They only have to be sincere, given with an open heart and with an outstretched hand to our Father. He is waiting.
My whole life I have been an “I can do it myself person” I don’t need ….. (Need to me has always been a 4 letter word) Maybe it's because I was a single career women or lived by myself for 11 before marriage. But through the last almost 7 years of marriage –I have gotten better at it. I still don’t like the word NEED.
Recently on a trip to Chicago, a friend had recommended I read the Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown (which is amazing and I highly recommend it) Much of the beginning is about being vulnerable and opening up and asking others for help. I distinctly remember –thinking yeah well not me – I can manage just fine on my own.
Also not well thought out for this trip was that I was still nursing Sam Henry and would be gone from him for almost 3 full days. For some insane reason, I decided I needed the break and the rest and took NO and I am mean NO, breastfeeding supplies. Not one pump, not one bottle, not a nursing bra –nothing. I packed like I could just pretend for 3 full days that my body wasn’t continually making milk for a 20 lb. baby -like my body would just forget to make milk!
By the first break from the conference, after I had last fed the fat baby almost 24 hours before, I realized I was in big trouble. Not just -I might leak through my shirt and be embarrassed trouble but a - I am going to be in serious pain –not make it through –starting to run fever trouble. Let me be clear. I am not a total idiot. I usually can make it through a day or even longer without pumping or feeding with nary a twinge. I am not a big milk machine.
I firmly believe God was testing me- so you don’t think you need anyone, you think you can manage this all on your own, well, let’s see about that. Also to complicate matters, I was in Chicago with no transportation besides a timed bus route to my hotel and back to Willow Creek. And I wasn’t in downtown Chicago where I could pop out and find a CVS. The campus of Willow Creek is in a suburb and sits back several miles from the main drag.
At that break, I sat on this beautiful stone edge of a fountain while everyone milled around and made phone calls and I tried not to cry (crying, while I have done a lot lately, is also something on my list that I am not a fan of). I looked around at all the wonderful staff standing about waiting to be helpful and literally felt God push me off that ledge toward a wonderful woman named Karen. I started off saying, "I am a nursing mama..." and before I could say more she ushered me into this beautiful room with soft rockers and dim lighting and told me I could use it as much as I needed.
Here is where I broke down and confessed my stupidity – "Yes, I am nursing mama and I didn’t bring a thing and I don’t know how to go anywhere and I don’t know what to do next". Karen with a bright welcoming smile asked, “What do you need?” I muttered, "I guess a ride to a store". She asked again, “No what supplies do you need?” As I told her what I thought I would need to get by for the few days.. hand pump, bottles, Advil, etc... She hugged me hard and said, "I will text you when I return". I went back to my conference AMAZED. She helped me with not one eye roll, not an ounce of condemnation, no "well that was dumb planning on your part", no "let me call you a cab", just a simple “What do you need?”
Less than an hour later, I returned to that beautifully appointed nursing mother’s room with a tidy gift bag with a hand pump, bottle, Advil and water. She wouldn’t even let me pay her. I have never been so grateful for another person’s kindness in my whole life. Her actions completely changed my entire trip.
In telling that story to a friend when I got back –still in amazement of her actions, her kindness and her gift- my friend said, “You would have done the same thing. Why were you so scared to ask?” She is right. When we are called upon as women we step up, we are there for each other, we drop what we are doing and we do all we can to fix the situation. If I had been in Karen’s shoes, yes, I would have run to the store and helped a girl out. Why then, did it take everything inside of me to ask?
Why is that? Why are we so hesitate to be vulnerable and admit we (GASP) NEED help? Help for that one time we were let down, for that one time we were vulnerable and were hurt… it is going to happen. No, I am not advocating crying on everyone’s shoulder in the coffee shop but it’s time we are REAL with each other.
There is a new song I love that says (and I am paraphrasing), Things aren’t fine and I am not okay... Sometimes we need to find that one women or mama or friend that instead of saying “I am fine” (with that fake empty smile) we know we can say, "I am not okay, but here is one thing you can help me with that can make it better..."
Try it this week – I hope it makes a difference
Nancy Lee Zimpleman
On many mornings I’ve started waking up earlier and driving across town to walk in a great park our town has graciously provided. My mornings started out as a way to get healthier following a class my husband and I took together at our local YMCA. In this class I realized I truly wasn’t as “healthy” as I had convinced myself of. I believe the term they used was “skinny fat”. What! Talking about getting bowled over! However, if you know me, you also know I live by the old adage “If there’s a will, there’s a way”. Call it stubborn or call it pride but this “skinny fat” thing wasn’t going to describe me for long! So off to the walking paths and weight room I go!
I’ve been walking for awhile but the last 2 of 3 walk days were different. The end of last week I got news that I perceived as a light bulb moment. Something that has been a longtime fear appeared to be materializing into reality. Unfortunately, it is causing a deep hardening of my heart. Another blow to an already tough situation had me flat on my face before the Lord. The sudden realization of its implications caused a rolling thunderstorm of doubt, insecurities, and loss. The light bulb moment began taking its toll but as hard as it was in the moment, the Lord knew this point was actually the beginning of my looking back up to Him.
When my eyes opened on that particular morning three days ago, my first thought had been, “I need to go walk. I need to walk hard, fast and far! I need some serotonin flowing and I don’t need to stop until my mind is numbed to my thoughts!” Ever been there?
So there I went… one mile… two miles… three miles… then at the four mile mark I felt a strong pull to just stop and sit on the soccer bleachers to rest. I am not a spring chicken any more ya know!
The awesome thing is what I thought was going to be physical rest was actually a God orchestrated rest for my soul. Be still and know that I am God. The walk full of anxiety and worry and struggle became a quiet time filled with honest exchange of feelings. It became a time of my Heavenly Father holding my every tear. He understood. I felt His presence along with His strength. I felt my soul renew and the struggle begin to leave my body. He took some weight out of the bag I had been emotionally carrying and the relief felt good.
The sad thing was that two days later I allowed Satan to put that weight back in my baggage. I let my eyes drop off him once again and slowly drift toward my insecurities. So I am back on the track again. Yep, that fast, hard, long exercise moved back on the agenda and it may from time to time often pop its head up.
As I now am again walking, I remember a quote from something I read just last night. The reading was something a good friend and I vowed to read together this week. We did this once before and it was such a blessing we decided to do it again. The book, The Shack, is about handing over our burdens and the difficult journey to expect in doing so. Good Christian friends like mine can help hold us accountable when we start to slip back down the slope of insecurities. It's a great partnership to consider.
The quote in this fictional story that has helped me more than once turn things around is “When things are difficult, each time we choose to love, or make a decision based on God’s will not ours, or pray or speak truth, etc., we put another building block in the bridge of healing that will eventually allow us to walk across to the other side – the side of complete peace and joy in the situation”.
After I was reminded of that quote, something about my walk on the all too familiar paths of Patriot Park changed. The familiar steps took on new meaning. The landscape was speaking truth to me, the songs coming through my earbuds spoke more clearly. I began to sense Jesus walking beside me clearly raising my awareness to that. Then the song “Jesus Calling” by 33 Miles came on and the lines “How you see your circumstance is all about a choice …. Do you hear that still small voice saying, it’s okay, you’re not alone, you may be scared to death but I won’t let you go. You may think the sky above is falling, but can you hear Jesus calling? Cause the darker the night, the brighter he can shine…”
Those words spoke so loudly to me. The book quote, the words in the song… they were deafening. As I was about on emotional overload, I rounded a corner on the path I was on and saw this sight that stopped me dead in my tracks.
I felt I was being asked to make a decision... was I going to allow Satan to fill me with worry and insecurities or was I going to let Jesus guide my steps to the right path for me in this situation? Easiest thing... wallow in my hurt and feel sorry for myself. More difficult path... opened up in what I saw around the next corner in my walk...
My Heavenly Father truly has to get concrete and literal with me in order to get his point across so please bear with me.
There it was... the bridge illustration William Young used for his character in the book when God told him, "one building block in the bridge at a time". How about that timing! I had walked this path a hundred times and never thought anything about that old metal bridge except that I'm glad it gets me back to the shady side of the pathway! This time though it reiterated about the way to get to where I wanted to be... one intentional choice at a time.
I suspect I may allow a block to fall back into that water every so often when I'm trying to rebuild my bridge. I may even take back one or two of those blocks at some time along the way. However, if I don't start at some point moving forward, I will be assured to never reach the other side, the place where I desire to be.
God truly never designed or intended our bodies to carry all the worry and heavy loads that result from our human shortcomings. That's why our bodies and our emotions wear down so frequently.
So my journey begins here today. I'm unloading my first block and I'm beginning the foundation for my bridge. There may be points in the construction of my bridge in which I feel I can't rivet even one more piece of metal by myself. I may begin to feel the steel is too thin and heavily dependent on another person's desires or reactions. It's then that I will have to remind myself not to worry about or dwell on the actions of others. I'll have to ask my friend to hold me accountable at that point and encourage me to keep connecting each of my pieces on the bridge. At the same time, I will need her encouragement to continue taking the blocks out of my baggage one by one as I rely on my Father's strength. The path he will lead me on will ALWAYS be the right one and the only one for my soul to rest on.
Always walking the road with you,
If you saw me on a day to day basis, you might not notice or realize that I struggle with anxiety and worry. Some of it is exasperated by sleep deprivation and hormones (as I have been pregnant or nursing or both for almost 4 years or 3 years and 7 months and 20 days but who is counting…)
Several passages have come into my life lately to draw my attention to what God wants me to focus on. He wants me to focus on the moment he has in front of me NOW not the what ifs that might happen later. He does not want me to focus on the long list of tasks to do ahead or the future that is not promised as I tend to do.
Joseph had a tough life. He was sold into slavery, lied about, cheated and even put into jail unfairly but he eventually was very successful. Joseph’s eventual success came from his faith in the Lord to do his divine will and he invested himself fully. He understood that some of his situations were out of his control and he entrusted God fully to bring good to his life. Joseph couldn’t see how God could work out all that was going on in his life –from his trials to his successes- but he worked at the task of the moment and trusted God to the big picture.
After thinking about Joseph and his focus on the present, I picked up the book Jesus Calling only to read this: To find joy in today you must live within its boundaries. I knew what I was doing when I divided time into twenty-four hour segments. I understand human frailty and I know that you can bear the weight of only one day at a time. Do not worry about tomorrow or get stuck in the past. There is abundant life in my presence today. (*)
As women we are often multi-tasking several projects at once and there are times that it is necessary. I encourage you though to take time today –even 30 minutes- to focus on one thing you enjoy even if it is work. Notice how much better you feel after spending 30 minutes blowing bubbles with a little one and not looking at Facebook or checking email while you do it. Notice if the work product is better when you spend these 30 minutes doing that one thing instead of doing 4 other things and being on the phone too. Spend 30 minutes in a calm place seeking God, asking for his guidance, rest at his feet. LIVE really LIVE within His boundaries of today.
Worry and anxiety can steal your joy but God reminds us to take one day at a time – even one hour at a time. Focus on what is most important in that time and realize that everything does not need to be done going forward.
Matthew 6:33-34 says: But seek you first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
-Nancy Lee Zimpleman
(Excerpt from Jesus Calling, April 11).
Thanks Nancy Lee! We certainly needed this reminder today!
I just read an article for church leaders about the time following Easter. What does the day after Easter look like? Are the leaders comparing numbers with other churches? Are they following through on what happened yesterday? Or are they going back to business as usual? Even though I’m no longer on staff with a church and didn’t have countless numbers of services to attend this past weekend and thousands to serve, this final question bounced around in my heart. Am I rushing off to what’s next or am I allowing myself to sit in awe of what yesterday signified?
Almost 2000 years ago, the God of the universe rose from the dead bringing freedom, everlasting life, and forgiveness of sins to all who believe. How did I get here? How am I so blessed to receive the unbelievable blessings that He brought to His children through His death and resurrection? It started a chain of memories that led me back to the beginning of my relationship with Him. I thought I’d share it with you and I’d love to hear your story as well!
I was blessed to be raised in a household led by parents who loved Jesus…and I don’t mean they checked the box. I mean that I saw them spend time with Him daily. I saw them live out His commands and I saw them live in a community that provided support, accountability, and lived lives apart from the world…yet in it with their love. Now my childhood wasn’t perfect (whose was?), but it was a pretty good start to a life that has had its ups and downs!
I remember sitting at the kitchen table one morning wrapping my Grandpa’s birthday jar of peanuts and asking Mom if I could ask Jesus into my heart. I think I was 6? To me, the decision was already made. It was a given. I knew Jesus because of how my parents, grandparents, and Sunday School teachers interacted with Him and with me. I knew as much about Him as a young child could. And I’ve continued to learn more and more about Him.
He has been faithful to walk through everything with me – from difficult times at home to my first mission trip to working over a decade for the local church. He’s never strayed or proven Himself to be anything but worthy of my worship. Have there been times when I’ve faltered? When I’ve questioned His goodness? When I’ve felt like He walked away? Unfortunately I have felt all of these and more…but looking back, it was always on my side of things. Sometimes, it was simply not understanding what His goodness really means. At times, I gradually drifted and didn’t always realize it until I was farther away than I wanted to ever be from Him. But He is faithful…even when I am not!
That is my attribute to share with others, I think. I believe that our lives are woven by the Lord into a beautiful tapestry. Corrie ten Boom talked about how when we look from our side of the tapestry, it looks messy and there’s no significant pattern, but when God looks at it, He sees a beautiful masterpiece. I think He also weaves Himself throughout our patterns – a golden thread in the midst of our muted colors. This golden thread is a particular attribute of God that He wants to showcase in each of our lives. I believe my golden thread is God’s faithfulness. Over and over in my life, His faithfulness is so evident and shines out from my crazy life. What is your “golden thread”?
So don’t rush off from the incredible freedom, love, forgiveness, and more that is yours in Christ because of Good Friday and Easter. Take time to sit in His presence and thank Him for the fact that you have a story because of His goodness. If you haven’t started your story with Him yet, it’s the perfect time! Then take time to share with someone what God has done in your life. I know I’d love to hear about it!
Thank you, Mel, for sharing with Parking Space Faith. Your commitment is unfailing and your transparency and desire to allow God to lead your life inspires us all. Godspeed on the journey ahead. We will be following as He weaves His golden thread deeper into your tapestry of your life!
My phone was blowing up in my purse as I sunk my teeth into an oversized petit four. As it turns out, the texts were more of a treat than the miniature cake with a rosette on top. After leaving my OB appointment I had composed a text to let people know when my new baby would arrive, that she had finally moved positions, and that my favorite doctor would officially deliver. After I pressed send I looked back at the list of recipients. Each lady represented so much of the Lord's graciousness and provision in my life. Each lady lived in a different state. Each lady prays for me.
I have moved eleven times and lived in seven states since 2004. I have begged for egg boxes at IGA, bought bubble wrap in bulk, solicited help from any one that would help. I have cried, I have sobbed, I have been lonely. I have felt disoriented. I have had to accept help when my prideful soul wanted to pretend I didn't need help. I have learned to pray, what it really means to memorize scripture, and to go meet people when I really just want to run to my hometown and be with my people who have known me since before I was born. I have experienced deep joy and witnessed Christ work in my heart and around my family like I could never have imagined. All because of the game of football.
Moving and learning to move; there is no class. It is emotional and physically draining. Throughout these twelve years I have learned that you can't give into that, and you can't stop there. You must begin with the idea that the Lord will go before you orchestrating all of the best for you and your family. In the beginning it was only important to me that I lived somewhere safe, found a church, made friends, and that I would land a good hair colorist. Today I still look for those things, but my list has grown as my family has grown. I make a physical list of everything that begins to overwhelm me, and I pray that list, continually lay it down before the Lord as any one of the items begins to creep in and create anxiety. I watch the Lord check EVERY single item off. At times it has taken a year or more for some items. The Lord is all about details, our details. He longs to show up big, and for us to give Him the glory for what He does. "He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
When I was little my mom managed to get the most delicious biscuit recipe from our neighbor, Mrs. Lawson. These little bites of heaven are light, and buttery, and can be cut round, or heart shaped, or even into your home state's shape when you're needing that. When you make these biscuits, as you would any biscuit, you have to use your hands. Your hands get sticky, and floury. The dough is everywhere. It always seems that when I make this recipe someone calls when my hands are covered. I always feel like I have to stop, regroup, and quickly answer the phone. Moving has been like making Mrs. Lawson's biscuits for me. You just kind of have to dive in. You must go and meet the neighbors, they don't always come to meet you. You go visit the church and the bible study in a room full of women you don't know. You go again. You don't compare to what you used to have when you lived in the last town. You live in this town, and you pray that the Lord makes it your home, and that it will feel like home. You get your hands in the mix and you seek His face. Even if you never gain a heart for your new town, you will know the Lord deeper, and you will know how much you need Him.
In Arkadelphia, Arkansas the Lord gave me a wonderful neighbor who loved to make homemade marshmallows. I remember one cold night I heard a pounding on my front door. When I peered through the peep hole I saw her holding a huge rubber spatula and her hand cupped underneath so as to prevent any marshmallow "drippage". That night she ran inside my house and we ate real marshmallow cream. She reached out to me and we pressed through the awkward and we still keep in touch today. As a child I grew up in First Baptist Church Sumter, South Carolina. My mom sang in the choir and my dad sat with my siblings and me. One quick way to make me homesick is going to a new church. If I just let myself go and my eyes drift to the choir loft I realize I don't see those familiar faces, and I don't hear my dad singing next to me in the pew. Before long, if I reach out, and allow people in, I do know those faces in the choir loft, and I benefit and grow. I have story upon story like these. That doesn't mean these people are common, but instead that our Lord is gracious and extravagant with His children.
There are those times that there are gaps and I don't feel God. I don't sense His way for us, and his provisions of the past seem like a blurry mirage. It is in those times that my husband and I go back to our time line. We've created an actual Brown Family timeline and the only dates on it are dates that we see God move in our lives. In those times He cared for us so obviously that we could do nothing but rejoice. This timeline guides us through the "gap" to remember He is gracious all of the time; when we notice and when we do not. The Lord is always active. Always. We must train our minds to see Him at work.
-Rachel Jones Brown
A most grateful "thank you" to Rachel for sharing her heartfelt and very transparent story. Sometimes it's hard to admit our insecurities and struggles. It's hard as moms to put out there that we don't have ALL the answers and we don't have it ALL together ALL the time. If we are honest, we are all Rachels. We cry, we scream, we get to the end of our ropes. Isn't it merciful of our Heavenly Father to send us "a Rachel" to share and to empathize with us until we feel strong enough to reach out and take His hand once again. You are a blessing girl! Thank you for your words.
"It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the
way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone (or
even on the toilet) and ask to be taken somewhere. Inside I'm thinking,
'Can't you see I'm busy?' Obviously, not. No one can see if I'm on the
phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in
the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The
invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can
you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a
clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What
number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a taxi to order,'Right around 5:30,
please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books
and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum
laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be
seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England.
Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on
and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking
around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare
and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when
Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I
brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I
wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her
inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what
you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work.
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of
their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they
would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no
credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that
the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny
bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why
are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be
covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman
replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see
the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No
act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've
baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a
great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my
own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As
one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see
finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The
writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever
be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to
sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend
he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at
4:00 in the morning and bakes homemade pies. Then she hand bastes a
turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That
would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him
to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his
friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.' As mothers, we are
building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.
And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at
what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world
by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Great Job, MOM!
Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did. Hope this
encourages you when the going gets tough as it sometimes does. We
never know what our finished products will turn out to be because of our
(Found on Mamapedia)
I hope you have been encouraged by reading this. I know I was. It's so easy to get caught up in the self-pity of having our individual selves pushed to the back burner while we raise our children. It's also easy to find ourselves striving for "super mom"status by trying to surpass other moms in the "perfectness" category. As a mom of three children, two daughters-in-love, and one beautiful little grandaughter, who have already left not only the nest but live hundreds of miles away from that nest, I can attest to the fact that those daily chores done with perfection are NOT what you will want your children to remember decades from now. All that will matter is that they want to come back to a place they called home for 18 + years ... a place where their hearts can be at rest and where they know they can relive those "momma hug" moments that can not be felt anywhere else no matter how far they roam.
Walking the road with you,
Prayer Is More Powerful Than Persuasion:
In life and especially in marriage, conflict is an inescapable reality. I wished I had known earlier in life that talking to God during conflict and emotional upsets was much better than talking to my neighbor or my friend who might fuel my fire.
I used to think that if I persuaded my buddies to see my side that meant I was right and validated me to tell my husband so. What it did was to make him feel devalued in the realization that I had discussed our conflict with others. It especially hurt him when I discussed personal disagreements with my… oh my goodness… my MOM! Even when he and I had gotten past whatever it was, my mom still held onto the thought. Not good.
It took time and learning the hard way before I could piece together the understanding that some of those early marriage conflicts grew into major battles sometimes not because of the issue at hand but because I let others fuel the fire that God could’ve put out during prayer… if I had only gone there with him. Remember the "Stop, Look, and Listen" rule? Let that apply to your marriage as well. STOP before emotionally reacting, LOOK upward for wisdom and direction, and LISTEN to your heavenly father instead of to others in the heat of a disagreement between you and your spouse. Your marriage will remain stronger and your mother will continue to love her son-in-law!
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16
Thanks to all of you who allowed us at PSF to share this June bridal series with you. My prayers would be that somewhere through our journey a new bride has benefited from what God has revealed. The first few years can bring such great joy, yet, at the same time, so much disappointment and hurt. The bible commands us to pour what we have learned into young women. I pray this has helped.
Walking the road with you,
Forgiveness Doesn’t Always Fix Everything:
Unfortunately, this is one of those imperfect phenomenons that we don’t like to think about but I have found to be true. Had I realized this earlier in my marriage (and honestly that goes for other relationships as well) I would have tried to be less callous, less reckless with my words and more aware of the costs when opening my mouth prematurely.
I have termed this phenomenon my “emotional tornado moments”. As women we all have them. God made us emotional beings. However, some of us seem better able to control them before the destruction starts reaping havoc... and then there's the rest of us. We set out on the course of no return at the first raindrop and gust of wind. For those of us who fall into this group of having "emotional tornadoes", please understand that there are relationships and hurts that can never be fully fixed by forgiveness. Doing and saying anything we want and thinking we can ask for forgiveness later is not the way Christ would have us conduct our lives. It's an unwise theory to live by. The wounding and insensitive words we may throw out there may be forgiven, but the damage and scars from them may never be the same.
I wish someone had given me the wisdom in my early marriage to stop, think, and pray before irreversible damage could be done. Believe it or not it's possible for God to train us in that way. (Although to be honest, I'm still working on it.)
Given what happened in Charleston last week, I wanted to add an additional thought to this. What if the shooter had stopped, thought and prayed when those thoughts first entered his mind? What if his friend who heard him tell of a planned attack at the College of Charleston had prayed for him, had spoken wisdom to him or had even sought help for him? How different the outcome could have been.
On the flip side, what if the families of the victims had not stopped and prayed before they responded to the media? What would be the situation in Charleston at this very moment? I truly shiver to think what our state would be up against. Because of their faith, the faith of South Carolina grew. Further violence was stopped dead in its tracks. Does their ability to forgive fix the hurt and pain? No, the pain is still there. The sinful act rooted the pain in the our souls ...in the souls of the families.
What their ability to forgive did do, however, was to start the healing process at the very moment of their first prayer. It started the healing process for them and for our nation. Instead of hearts becoming bitter and hard they have become united and loving. They are now standing on the promise that God will use even this horrible incident for the good of those who died loving him and for those called for a purpose that He knew about long before they were ever born.
Want to be a good friend to someone, a good spouse? Speak truth into them when their "emotional tornadoes" hit and if possible stop and pray for wisdom in helping them see the situation clearly. Also, ask your spouse or a trusted friend to be your voice of reason when those moments arise in you. If you trust them in that role beforehand, God will use them to stop the fire before it gets out of control.
“I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” – Psalm 39:1
Please continue to pray with us for the victims and their families in Charleston.
Walking the road with you,
Mom 2 Mom
Being a mom is not the easiest job in the world but it's one of utmost importance. Sometimes we just need to share the ideas, difficulties and joys in the journey of raising children. We pray Mom2Mom can help.
If you have any ideas or advice to share with our readers, please click the button below to share with us.