Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Holding Your Breath

I think most moms can agree that we've come to the point of  time during summer vacation where

we have broken up more fights than bouncer at bar, planned more activities than Julie McCoy,

threatened to throw the T.V. away forever and wondered if we should call our own Dear Mother and

thank her for loving us through the tough stuff (and also secretly hoping she might invite the precious

little ones over if she heard the desperation in our voices.).

Maybe that's just in my little corner of the world, but I don't think so.

Let's face it being a parent is  hard.

Somedays are harder than others.

Somedays you just hold your breath and hope 'this' isn't what is going to send your kid to therapy


Then you make the fatal error in judgment and get on Facebook where Mommy So-and-So is making

intricate crafts and homemade, organic, gluten free cookies with her kids where she then posts a

picture of them all smiling together.

And you scroll down a little farther and another Mom So-and-So is posting pictures of her

'all-star' that they have traveled with all over the country to watch him/her compete and of course

finish first, win the gold medal-because we all know that no one post pictures of the kid who

got the participation ribbon.

You are now questioning your worth and value as a mother as you look over at your kids who are

eating high fructose corn syrup filled 'fruit' snacks and into their second hour of a SpongeBob

marathon and because they are quiet and not arguing, you don't really care.


When my kiddos where babies and struggling through some virus that had flared their asthma up and

seemingly out of control, or when our oldest had to have heart surgery, or our youngest kidney

surgery, when our boys had their tonsils and adenoids out-I would find myself often-holding my


In and ER, a doctors office, surgery waiting room. . .holding my breath.


Maybe your kids don't struggle with their health. Maybe it's emotional or relationally.

And you feel like you're in that place, where if every mother was honest, you find yourself

holding your breath, wondering what to do, if there's is an answer at all.

Or if perhaps the answer is that your children got the wrong mom. That this God's first mistake-

giving you these children to parent.

You are stuck in the trenches and unable to breath.


Dear Momma, exhale.

Long and deep. Let that air out. And when it's gone.

Breath back in, but instead of holding it in, exhale again-and this time when you do:

1) pray- it doesn't have to be long fancy words.  Sometimes the only word we can get out is Jesus.
And that's enough.

and as you breath in again and exhale

2) remind ourselves of these truths. Over and over again until you can believe them in the moment.

*God does not make mistakes.  You are exactly that parent your child needs.  Not the 'perfect' parent-

but the one God knew your child needed.

*Even in the middle of a screaming 2 year old fit, a teenage melt down, a failed class, a phone call

that leaves you embarrassed and shamed. . .your child is who God wants them to be. . .doesn't mean

we don't help shape them, but it does mean we don't need to break them.

A dear friend said something to me a few weeks ago that I pray I never forget.

"It's a mother's honor to walk with her children through the difficult things and learn from

natural consequences"  I repeated this to myself over and over again just last week as I sat on the

edge of one of children's bed as they had a melt down.

This is my honor and privilege -even when it's hard or ugly. Even when I feel helpless and lost as a


I kept thinking of this privilege and then these thoughts came to mind as well.

Your job is to be faithful, your job is not to fix.  Your job is to love, your job is not to lament.

Your job is Follow Jesus, your job is not to quit-even when it's hard, even when you're sure

your failing.

Take a breathe and then let it out.  Slowly, deeply.  You are not in control-and that's a good thing.


Can we as Momma's make a pact?  Can we promise to be real and honest with each other?

When you see another Momma struggling, whether it's with her 2 year old or her 17 year old

can we reserve the judgment and just love on her?

Because I promise she is being harder on herself than your judgmental look of condemnation

could ever be.

Instead of tearing each other down, let's lift each other up-encourage each other, pray for each other.

This journey is a difficult one, let's not make it harder for someone.

Walking this road with you . . . now I've got to go turn the TV off and have my lovies read

for a bit, so feel free to pray for me.

Love to you,

Friday, July 18, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow

Like much of the country, we are experiencing an unusually cool summer here in the midwest.

Besides being able to walk outside without immediately feeling like you just stepped into a sauna, some of the other benefits are: our yard doesn't look like a dry patch of fire starter, flowers are in full bloom and vibrant and our shrubs out front had lots of new growth and look green and lush-in JULY.  (July in Kansas is typically when you can tell who pays for landscaping services and who just gives up and gives into the heat)


While our kiddos where on a dream vacation with the Grands for two weeks at Disney World, Hubby and I were out working in the yard.  I was tackling trimming the bushes out front.  
As I was using the hedge trimmer to give them a nice little hair cut, I began to wonder if this isn't a metaphor to how we parent our children.  Or even how God parents us.

I wasn't changing the make up the bushes, I wasn't cutting them down to a stump, I wasn't trying to change them from a bush to a flower or tree. . .I was just trimming off some of the 'wild' growth and helping shape them into something more then what they could be if left on their own.


In my own parenting journey, I know there have certainly been times when I've been guilty of trying to change one of my wild little  bushes into a flower-or even cutting one them down to the core.  It's easy to do when I decided my agenda is the correct one.

As I try (and fail more often times than not) to model my parenting after how the Lord parents me, and as I stood there trimming those bushes, I realized that never once has the Lord tried to change who I was at the core. Shape me-yes, trim back the wild growth-absolutly -but change me at the basic core of who and what I am-no.
Why would He? After all, He created me. . .my talents, my weakness, my quirks, my mind and my body. . .and then after He did He said I was wonderful.  (Psalm 139)

Just like God did that for me and you, He did that for our children as well.


As frustrating as that might feel in the hardest moments of parenting -and trust me I've had a few- but those personality traits that drive you crazy, the quirks that can be difficult to navigate-God gave your precious ones (and mine) all those, not so we could change who they are at the core, but so we could see them for the gifts they are and help shape them to be people who follow and serve and shine for Jesus.

So, whether we're parenting a no frills, no nonsense boxwood

Or topiary crying out to be shaped like a dolphin -that takes more work and patience that every imagined possible-

That our goal isn't to change them, our goal is to shape them, so they can shine just exactly as they were created to do.

{As with most things I write, this was directed to my heart before it was directed to anyone else's -and I will never ever pose as a  parent who has it all together-or somedays, even remotely together}

May you find blessings in your gardening-even on the hot, drought ridden, weed-filled days,