So here’s how the latest conversation with my son goes:
Jake, your feet smell. Get them out of my face.
Mom, you’re supposed to love me no matter what.
I do love you but your feet still stink and I can’t take it.
But mom you’re supposed to accept me no matter how bad I smell.
Why is he not repulsed by the smell? Why can’t he put his dishes in the dishwasher? Why does he think it’s ok to torment his sister to the point where she is squealing like a pig?
These are among some of the great mysteries of motherhood. These are the things you don’t know about when you first get that baby in your arms or when you are chasing after your toddler. They smell, but it’s a tolerable smell…almost a cute baby like smell. But you have control. You bathe them and boom…all clean smelling. When they are young they are a different kind of mystery. But it amazes you just the same.
In the span of motherhood (or parenthood) you become accustomed to being baffled.
Baffled by the amount of diapers they go through when they are babies.
Baffled by the amount of toilet paper a house goes through in a week.
Baffled by the amount of times Mom is yelled.
Baffled by the realization that you may very well have lost a few marbles along the way.
Oh the Mother Load. The weighty job of being a mother.
All that comes with motherhood that you never knew about. The things that your own mother couldn’t describe and decided it was best for you to just learn for yourself. The on-the-job moments that turn you into a gorilla, a negotiator, a banker, a clown, a therapist, a doctor, a teacher, a dictator and a punching bag.
You become someone you never knew you could be. Sometimes you like that person and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you feel independent and fresh and then the check out clerk at the store calls you Ma’am and suddenly you realize you must look mature and you remember you are responsible for more than just you.
You are a mother.
You carry the Mother Load.
But underneath the weight of what you carry lies a gift that you were given from the start. This gift stays with you if you remain open to receiving it but it gets lost if you ignore it. It shows up in the most unlikely places and unsuspecting of times.
It’s the gift of mystery.
When that baby is handed to you, you marvel at the tiny little features and perfection of it all. As time marches, our backs begin to ache and our feet get sore and we no longer live in the mystery of life. But our children bring it to us each and every day.
It comes when they suddenly need braces because their teeth have grown crooked.
They grew! What a profound mystery.
It comes when they ride a two wheeler or a motor cycle for the first time. When they figure out how to tie their shoe or negotiate an IPad. When they can read and actually understand what they’ve read. When their hair changes color or textures because of hormones. When they make dinner without your help. When they laugh at Jimmy Fallen or sing Disney songs…just because they’re so much fun. When they strive for a new goal or make a new friend. When they choose to be with you over someone else and wave their smelly feet in front of you.
Yes friends, deep within the Mother Load of your job as mom lies the gift of mystery.
….p.s. I had to open the window while writing because the smell was really that bad! I’m serious…his feet stink.
p.s.s.…as I hit publish on this post I heard the bathroom door open upstairs where my daughter was taking a shower. Suddenly the upstairs will filled with the sounds of the Disney music she was singing…how can you not love that?…….wonder never ceases to amaze me….
I went for a walk the other day. As I rounded a corner by an open field I notice a black crow flying very low to the ground. Right on it’s tail was a bunny running as fast as it could after it.
I have never seen that before in my life!
A bunny chasing a crow? Seriously, what in the world was it trying to do? Did it really think it could catch a bird twice its’ size? And what was going to happen if the bunny caught up to it?
The bird flew up and the bunny stopped chasing it. Then I saw it. It was so small I could barely make it out. A tiny baby bunny was furiously hopping back in the direction the larger bunny had taken off from. It was her baby. The bird dropped the baby bunny and it was making haste back to its’ hole while the mother stood guard in case the crow came back.
She was defending her baby.
Yesterday I was cutting my grass. When I got to the backyard a small swallow circled me the entire time. It swooped in and around me to the point I thought it was going to fly into me. I got the distinct impression it was trying to intimidate me. I remember reading somewhere that swallows are fiercely protective over their nests where their young are. She thought I was a predator seeking harm.
She was defending her baby.
It is quite remarkable that a bunny and a bird took on enemies that could easily defeat them. It seemed like a David and Goliath situation. What fascinated me was that these small creatures thought nothing of taking on monsters too big for them to defend their young and secure the safety of the defenseless. Talk about a momma bear….
That got me thinking. Who is it that needs defending? Am I someones momma bear. Often I cower. I feel small too do anything to make a difference. The bunny and the bird helped me realize that potential to be a difference maker doesn’t lie in size (i.e. capability) but rather in intent (i.e. just do something….anything).
A momma bear dwells inside all of us when we assume responsibility for the defenseless.
There are some people in my life who are defending children with the vigor of a momma bear.
My brother Tom operates a non profit called The Epik Project. It is an organization designed to battle the sex trafficking disaster. His passion is to challenge men to take responsibility for this situation. He believes men drive the demand for sex trafficking. Therefore, he wants to inspire men to defend the children who suffer at the hands of evil. You can read more about it at his website.
Then there is my friend Annette. She works for an organization called Kids Hope USA. This is an organization seeks to mentor young students who are falling through the cracks of society. Kids who don’t have positive adult role models or support. Annette recruits adults from local churches to participate in a weekly mentor relationship with grade school kids. The hope is that each child will feel affirmed, cared for and empowered. They are trying to pull them up from the cracks of society. You can read more about it at the Kids Hope USA website.
You are probably thinking, these people work for these organizations, I have a job and family, I can’t devote that kind of time. Well, you are right. But you can do something. Each one of us can. Each one of us has a momma bear waiting to pounce.
Here’s some idea starters:
- Look around. Find the needs of children in your neighborhood and town.
- Drop off groceries monthly to your local food pantry. Most of the people who use these are families with children who need nutrition.
- Do a fund raiser to give toward a children’s charity of your choice.
- Do your homework, find a charity either in the U.S. or abroad that participates in defending children on some level, and give to it monthly.
- Take time for children in your sphere of influence. Do you have a neighbor, niece, nephew, grandchild who needs an invested adult in their life? Step up and find ways to build that connection.
- Pray. No prayer is ever wasted. Develop a list of children and/or causes that you commit to weekly prayer.
- Do you know a single parent? Offer to baby sit for free. Bring a meal over on a regular basis to help out. Make yourself available to help with car pools and home projects. Help the single moms and dads defend their kids through serving them in practical ways.
Hopefully this list has got you thinking.
Last week a young neighbor boy came to my house. He’s no older than 10. He and his friend were taking orders for baked goods. He was raising money to buy two goats for a family in Haiti. This family needs help and goats are a source of provision for a poor family. So he was making cakes and cookies to raise funds. He needed $150. He was small and $150 is a lot of money, but it didn’t stop him from trying.
I asked him what made him want to do this. He said he saw poor children in Haiti in a magazine and he thought, I can do something, so he came up with this idea. The momma bear inside him was rallying…and he’s only a boy.
We all can learn from the boy, bunny and the bird…we can do something to defend the needs of the innocent, defenseless and unprotected children.
Think about it.
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. ~ Psalm 82:3
Have you ever made this statement?
“I’m losing my patience with you.”
I have. I’ve said it to my kids, my dog, my husband…and I’ve said it to God.
I’m running low on patience lately. God just seems slow and it doesn’t seem as if I have what it takes to hang in there.
It’s not that God is behaving badly. Confusion and doubt cloud my vision. I lack faith. I need perspective.
God and I are not on the same timeline. He thinks and acts differently than I. He is not bound by the rules of this world. Finding my way with Him seems to require something other than my own intellect, knowledge, will and patience. I cannot go where God is wanting to go without His ability to get me there. My limited abilities only take me so far.
I’ve run out of patience with God.
I’m impatient. I have to ask for something more because my hope in God depends on it.
Hidden in the pages of Scripture I find the direction I seek.
May you have more and more of His loving-favor and peace as you come to know God and our Lord Jesus Christ better. He gives us everything we need for life and for holy living. He gives it through His great power. As we come to know Him better, we learn that He called us to share His own shining-greatness and perfect life. Through His shining-greatness and perfect life, He has given us promises. These promises are of great worth and no amount of money can buy them. Through these promises you can have God’s own life in you now that you have gotten away from the sinful things of the world which came from wrong desires of the flesh. ~2Peter 1:2-4
- The loving favor of God is something I can obtain.
- Peace comes as I get to know Jesus more.
- God is willing to share His own greatness with me so I can continue to press into the life He has for me.
Running out of my own patience could be a good thing. I become more curious about how God can help me in my mess. The end of my abilities can be the beginning of God’s abilities in me. When I get to the end of something in me a space is created. There is room for God’s “shining greatness” the scriptures talk about. I invite God to enter my weakness. I am then able to wait. Maybe that’s the goal?
- causes the soul to pause and consider something other than self
- demonstrates a inner longing that can only be filled outside yourself
- is an act of humility
Waiting takes us to God
Waiting on God is something entirely different than having patience with God. Believing that His answers and plan are far better than anything I could conjure up, trusting in His timing, being confident in His good love for me; all elements of waiting. Waiting fosters trust. Patience is not enough to experience answered prayer, waiting is required.
When we wait for an appointment we believe the appointment is worth our time. When we wait for a due date we are anticipating some important event in our life. When we wait for a loved one to have a change of heart we are believing that goodness can prevail.
Waiting reflects the anticipation of something better.
Maybe God wants to be waited on more than we think?
Maybe running out of my own limited ability is exactly what God has in mind?
Maybe it’s God’s way of pulling me toward Him?
What are you running out of?
Where have you come to an end?
It just could be the beginning of something.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him;” ~ Psalm 37:7
I know. I know.
You are all probably freaking out at the thought of winter. It took so long for summer to get here and it seems sacrilegious for me to even mention anything frosty.
I’m going to anyway.
Recently I was a part of a group writing project (click here for the booklet) for Faithful Bloggers. They recently have completed it and have made it available. Several authors contributed thoughts on lessons they learned regarding God, themselves, or really anything this past winter. There are some wonderful stories that have been shared and wanted you to be able to read them.
My piece God of the Snow Piles was included. I revamped a post that I made earlier this past year.
I hope you take the time to check it out. Just click on the above link.
I have to say I LOVE command strips!
You know what command strips are don’t you? They are the adhesive strips you can put on almost anything that you want stuck to a hard surface. I need nails for very few things these days because they make command strips that will hold up even the heaviest of pictures! The best part is…when you are done they simply peel off the wall leaving no mark whatsoever!! For someone like me who likes to rearrange wall art often, this has been a gift. My husband is the only one even happier about it. No more nail holes to patch.
I wish command strips worked on other things in my life. Things like, my mouth. I need command strips for my lips to keep them from opening up at inappropriate times and saying things I regret. I’ve been guilty of this recently and it has gotten me into holes that I’m still trying to dig out of.
My life would change if command strips were created for attitudes. My attitude can run with the wind. It fluctuates up and down based on my mood and the hormonal ride that goes along with being a female. Attitude command strips would keep my attitude stuck in the right place…oh the mountains I would climb!
I also really believe that my mind would drastically improve with command strips. I have a problem of replaying unkind thoughts and words over and over in my mind. Ideas that I have conjured up about myself that aren’t so flattering and words that have been said to me in haste or anger from others that forgiveness hasn’t quite settled. Unsettled situations and uncertain outcomes float their boat of fear and doubt in my mind leaving me seasick. Command strips would surely keep my thoughts in pleasant places and not so easily rocked.
Yes I do believe that command strips would help a lot of things for me. But they are meant for pictures and hooks, not mouths, attitudes and minds.
I guess I have to deal with these things the good old fashion way.
It’s the piercing of that first hit that breaks the wall open and readies it. The second hit plunges the nail with force into the thick wall. The third nail usually does the trick making it secure in place. Now the hole is a permanent mark in the history of the wall. Oh someone may come to patch it up, but the drywall or plaster has already been penetrated and anything used to fix it is just a filler. It can never go back to it’s original state.
Command strips for the soul would be an easy fix, but the soul is more dense and layered than any wall could be. That’s why we need nails. Nails say this is a permanent arrangement. Nails are the host of some new wall art that needs hanging. They provide the necessary structure from which to hang the new art, new words, new attitude, new mind…
So bring on the hammer and nails for my mouth, my thoughts and my mind. This is going to hurt. Command strips are nice, but they aren’t meant to stay forever.
For it is written ‘Be holy because I am holy.’ ~ I Peter 1:16
A while back I challenged myself to create something new everyday. It could be a music, art or writing. The only catch was that I couldn’t give up. I was giving up, giving up.
Wow! It was harder than I thought. Creating something new sounded exciting and freeing. It thought I’d have an endless flow of artistry that would be like a never ending road.
I was wrong.
But I learned a few things along the way. Here are 12 of them.
- Not giving up is harder than quitting.
- Not giving up reveals that somedays I have absolutely nothing to contribute.
- Not giving up teaches me that creativity is a shifting river.
- Not giving up makes me embarrassed at my inabilities.
- Not giving up makes me stare down my fears like playing a game of chicken.
- Not giving up makes my eyes search for something new.
- Not giving up always benefits more than just me.
- Not giving up is a cousin of discipline.
- Not giving up sometimes means doing something you don’t have the energy or inspiration to do.
- Not giving up opens you up to more.
- Not giving up is like someone who overstays their welcome. You have to accommodate and host them anyway.
- Not giving up is an accomplishment all its’ own.
There is something to be said about enduring and how it changes you from the inside out. I can honestly say that this lesson was very powerful in my life. After I was done I was surprised to learn that the lesson I sought to learn wasn’t about creating art but about creating something new in me. To not give up on a task showed me things, revealing things, curious things and good things.
To push through a plateau or a stagnant place showed me there is more to me than I knew. There is more to God than I knew. He is the Author of not giving up after all. Scripture uses words like unfailing, faithful, enduring, almighty and never ending to describe Him.
Do you need to not give up on something in your life? Have these 12 things reminded you that even though it’s hard to keep going, you can keep going. Even if all you can do is something small like waking up and breathing a simple, “Hallelujah God”. If you’ve done than than you’ve done more than most.
My brother and I were talking about an experience he had with a former employer. They did not value the immeasurable things in life like relationships, family, kindness, rest, compassion, faith etc. We talked about at this point in life we realize how vital these factors are in a quality life. If you don’t have these immeasurable things in abundance than all your professional efforts and achievements are empty.
What good is it to have money, a house, a business or accomplishments if you have no one with whom to share it; nothing you had to overcome to get there; and no benficiaries to your conquests.
There are abundant things in life regardless of how little or how much each one of us has. The abundant things aren’t measured by numbers or accumulation. They are intangible like;
- integrity and working hard for the sake of working hard
- having a faith that is more than just going to church
- soaking yourself in a sunset
- honoring a marriage
- bringing a meal to a sick friend
- pushing your physical body toward new goals to see how wonderfully you’re made
- staying a little longer because your conversation with a close friend matters
- caring for the needs of toddlers and babies, children and teenagers in ways that they need rather than to accommodate your needs
- walking miles and miles to enjoy natures’ treasure
- learning from Jesus
- having fun with people you love like crazy
- daring to dream of new possibilities
- building the confidence of someone else
- caring for your own body and soul
The list goes on.
The abundant things in life are weighty with riches.
The abundant things in life do not discriminate.
My conversation with my brother was a good reminder that while each of us has a “work” to do each day, and our work indeed matters, but we work so we can be abundant living people. To live in and share abundance with others…real abundance.
As you and I strive toward excellence in our work, and as we achieve wonderful things, let’s keep our focus in the right place. Allow abundant things be our foundation to why we work, how we work and when we rest from work. Living abundantly is the where the riches really are anyway. Our work pours out from this abundance.
The immeasurable abundant things in life can go on indefinitely. They should. We don’t need a paycheck to experience abundance, nor do we need one to give abundance away.
The bottom line isn’t the goal. The dotted line is.
“…life does not consist of abundance of possessions.” ~Jesus Luke 12:15
“Mercy and peace and love be yours in abundance.” Jude 1:2