I had the privilege of attending the MOPS International Convention over the weekend. 3200 Mother Of PreSchoolers met to listen, learn, worship, and grow in God. It was a very memorable experience. I learned several things that I hope will make me a different mom going forward. On our long ride home yesterday, we talked about how we were all changed, how we wanted our lives to look different and I thought about specific steps I would take upon arriving home.
Then I got home… and all my old ways returned. I found myself being overprotective to my active boys, controlling about schedules, disenchanted with diets, and so on. I thought, “What a wimp I am! I’ve crumbled within 2.5 hours of returning home.” You see, I live with the constant thought that I am a terrible mom. Deep inside me, that statement feels true more often that not. I love and adore my kids with sincerity yet that doesn’t seem to translate into “good mom”. I more often feel like a failure than a success. Thanks be to God for changing my perspective this weekend. As I poured our my heart to Him, confessing this nagging thought to Him, He reminded me ever so sweetly that I am not a terrible mom but an equipped mom. He has equipped me through His Holy Spirit to be the mom of our specific children. I am not equipped for anyone else’s kids but I am fully equipped through Him for ours. As I confessed my feelings of failure to Him, He did not say, “Oh, you’re doing great. Keep up the hard work.” And I am so grateful that He didn’t! If He responded simply with encouraging words, the pressure to perform is right back on my shoulders, setting me up again for failure. Instead, He reminded me that the burden is His, these children are His, and I am His.
So what do I do when the feelings of failure return? Fight! I will not allow these thoughts to take residence in my being. My God is Truth. He is alive. He is my Equipper. He is the Lover of me and my whole family. Fight, fight, fight to keep His Truth in the forefront of my mind! His Holy Spirit lives inside me and inside those marked with His name. There is nothing out of His realm of expertise, nothing too hard for Him, nothing that would surprise Him. How amazing that I can rely on that! No book, no PhD, no degree, no amount of money could offer that kind of wisdom. I am an equipped mom. I am a fighter. Thank you Lord.
I’m starting to hear the Rocky theme song and I’m getting pumped.
There is something I love and something I hate about an unmade bed. I love it because it means that I did not have to work immediately upon waking up and it means that I can just crawl into bed at the end of the day. I hate it because for the time between wake up and bedtime, it nags me. I walk into my bedroom and see something else that I did not do. It’s like the rumpled covers berate me, telling me I’m a lazy housekeeper (which I guess in this case is true). This has irritated me for the last few days but yet my bed remains unmade. What does this say about me? It seems as though the reward of making my bed is not valuable enough for me to actually do it. It’s likely that I’m over-analyzing here (I’m good at that) but I feel like there is an opportunity for learning somewhere hidden among the covers.
How many areas of my life are like this…where the satisfaction of work done does not motivate me to actually do the work? Spiritually thinking, how many places in my soul need some hard work that I have neglected? Is there forgiveness needed that seems too hard to work through, especially when the other person doesn’t seem to care? Is there a deep hurt that I need to lay bare before God and let Him heal? Is there disobedience to God’s direction because it seems too radical? Lord, may it not be so. You have shown me through both the tiniest and largest of ways that Your work is worth it, no matter what the cost of pain. It reminds me of Psalm 126:5, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” The picture here is of someone messily and consistently digging in the dirt to sow the seeds he or she possesses. Maybe this person has just one seed and is crying because their harvest seems hopeless. Maybe this person has sown diligently without much result for what seems like forever. As this sower works and cries, the seed is watered with tears, and tear-watered seeds eventually produce a harvest of joy in God’s perfect time.
Lord, forgive me for the ways I have lazily kept my soul. Thank you for your forgiveness and for the mercy You show through the blessing of hard spiritual work. Give me the courage today to tend to the things that need tending, to not worry about the tears that may make the job even messier, and to wait in expectant hope for your harvest of joy. And help me remember to make my bed today. I love you. Amen
We love sticky notes around here. In fact, I have a ridiculous amount of them in my “inventory” (in case of emergency, I guess?). One morning last week, D took a fresh pad of sticky notes, the big kind with nice lines, and began to work diligently at our kitchen table. His system was… color/scribble on a page, tear it off, put it of our refrigerator door – until the entire pad was gone. From as high as he could reach on down, it was only scribbled sticky notes. When I stopped to really to take it all in, I asked him if he could explain it to me. He said, “These are love notes to daddy. Remind me to tell him about them when he gets home.” So later that night, when my hubby got home, D did not need reminding. He immediately took his daddy by the hand and led him to our fridge. D pointed to each one and “read” them to him. “Daddy, this one says you’re tall. This one says you’re nice. This one says it was fun to play baseball with you yesterday.” I was reminded of Jesus’s young mom, Mary in Luke 2:19 when she “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” This was a moment made for treasuring and pondering in my heart.
And since then, I’ve done so much pondering about this whole scene. The sticky notes are still on my fridge and may be forever. Staring at them so often during the day, I felt like there was some spiritual principle for me to learn but I wasn’t getting it. At the same time, I’d been internally struggling with a relationship in my life in which I felt so wrongly judged, misunderstood, and hurt. The feelings were deep and disturbing and made me question some things about who I am. So between this and the sticky notes, my brain space was quite occupied (please don’t be startled by my little amount of brain space). Slowly, as I opened and walked by that fridge countless times each day, those love notes somehow started to redefine me. They were becoming such a part of me by the innocent and precious love they communicated, that I started to smile and feel love each time I saw them. So I wondered, what if I was defined by all the sticky notes God wrote about me? What if I saw the world through sticky note covered glasses? Sticky notes that say truths from God’s Word such as, “You are loved” (John 3:16), “You are forgiven” (Psalm 103), “You are Mine” (Isaiah 43), “You are safe” (Isaiah 43), “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139) and on and on. Wouldn’t it give the misjudgments of others so much less power? Wouldn’t I be ok no matter what my circumstances are?
Lord, thank you for being so clear about the way you feel about Your children. Thank you for loving us at a depth that I cannot humanly fathom. Thank you for using your love to heal my hurts and motivate me to love. Train my eyes to see myself and your world only through your Truth. Thank you good Father. Amen