I Don’t Want to be Super

Us moms joke about being Super Mom and winning Mom of the Year awards. These days, in this culture, we strive to be the best. Between Pinterest and our friends on social media, we fall short more often than we succeed.

Well, I don’t want all that. I don’t want to be Super Mom. I want to be relatable, because who can relate to perfection? I would prefer my friends and acquaintances to want to talk to me and to know I am always here for them. I would rather people see my flaws and not hold me up to some unattainable position. So here is me being relatable:

My girls’ rooms are never clean. They may clean a path occasionally, and that is fine. I can always shut their door.

There are dog hair tumbleweeds floating around the house no matter what I do.

My attempts at keeping the kitchen counter clear have about a 63% success rate.

When my husband isn’t home for dinner, the girls eat mac n cheese for dinner while I eat a bowl of cereal. High class all the way.

Even when we are all together, I don’t really enjoy cooking. Probably because unless I serve tacos every night, someone is going to be disappointed with what I made. (And the one who feels this way the most might be the youngest….)

The girls’ pants always seem too short for their long legs. Do I feel guilty for their cold ankles? Nope. I just tell them to quit pulling their pants so high on their waist.

I let the girls cry it out when they were younger. They are fine now.

I also let them *gasp* play outside without me hovering.

The girls have now gone 3 nights without a bath, which is unacceptable, even to my apparently low standards. We have been out late 2 of those nights. That’s what I’m going with.

I love my family with a fierce and powerful love. They know it. They know Jesus loves them too. So I try not to worry about the rest. They are only young and smelly for a short time.

See now, isn’t this better than me listing all of my motherhood accomplishments? Didn’t I make you feel better about yourself? Oh, and if you are better than me at all of this, I don’t want to hear it.

Linking with Holley Gerth

 

 

 

Necessary Tension

Tension gets a bad rap, especially around the holidays. We joke about having to be with family members we don’t like, but there is a different kind of tension that I am appreciating more and more.

The tension I am talking about is the kind where I know how good I have it while simultaneously feeling guilty for having it good. Some people think I should be on one side or the other, but I straddle the fence like the pro that I am.

Sure, my husband and I work hard and save as much as we can. We should enjoy life and enjoy what God has given to us. God made the earth good and put us here to appreciate it.

On the other hand there are so many people who either work hard or wish they could work hard. There are struggling families all over the world who just want to be able to have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies.

The thing I am learning about this ever present tension is that it keeps me aware. It keeps me in a constant state of knowing how good I have it and wanting to help people. God wants me to enjoy life while helping others. I can have it both ways as long as I stay humble and stay on this fence.

If I go to one side or the other, I am missing out on something God has in store for me. I never want to miss Him blessing me or giving me an opportunity to bless others. Let’s say I hop down and only think about myself and my family. I begin to live for the moment and assume everything is here for me. My false sense of power and ego would take over and I would lose all sensitivity. I would become a big jerk.

If I jumped to the other side and gave everything I had away, people might like me and come to me at first. Then I would quickly have nothing left to give. I would become bitter and angry with God for letting me do this. I would become a big jerk.

So, if you are on this fence with me, know that it is a good place to live. It has internet and basic cable. There is a sensible wardrobe and enough furniture to be comfortable.  There are some extras to bring us joy, but we can also give to others and serve them. It is a great middle ground. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing but can be both.

Tension can be beautiful.

Linking with Holley Gerth

#thankful

We throw around the words “thankful” and “grateful” a lot this time of year. We make them sound cute and create trendy hashtags. We say we are these words, but do our actions tell of our actual contentment? Probably not.

I say I am thankful for my car but then complain about having to get a new tire.

I love my house but don’t want to vacuum it.

I love that my husband loves to play tennis until I think he is playing too much.

I am grateful for my children and then they fight and I am ready to ship them off.

I am mostly healthy but focus on the few areas that I wish were different.

Being grateful isn’t a human trait and we can’t do it alone. 1 Thessalonians 5 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I need Jesus to keep me joyful and thankful and that means staying in constant communication. If I don’t keep seeking Him, I will miss the good things that He has for me. No, I won’t ever understand many of the things that happen in my life, but I can look at them in a new way.

Moving around as a kid helped me make friends easier.

Every breakup with a boy led me closer to my husband.

Bad days at jobs pushed me to look for new ones.

Trying to conceive a baby for a year prepared me for parenthood and deepened my trust and patience.

Losing Mom too young is still a tough one. I have a hard time finding reasons to celebrate her death but I am always glad she lived. I am always thankful she was MY Mom.

Maybe you can relate to something I have mentioned. Or maybe you have a wayward family member and you will have to make it through another Christmas season without them. Maybe you just received test results you didn’t want. Your divorce is finalized and you will have to spend less time with your kids. Or your heartbreak is so fresh and personal you haven’t told anyone about it. God is near and will get you through.

If we don’t ask God for help, we won’t see what is happening through His eyes. We will keep moping and complaining and miss the wonder God wants to show us. He wants our hearts to actually be thankful for everything, because there is good in everything. There are surprises around every corner. Good surprises. Healing surprises. Keep looking for them and you will find them.

I hope you have a #joyful and #thankful Thanksgiving!

Linking with Holley Gerth

Choose to Help

Three days ago, I fell to my knees. I cried out to God to help me, but I am not sure I expected Him to. When I search, God finds me and yet I still doubt. One of these days, I will get better at believing!

My trouble is that it is easier to understand nonbelievers doubting my faith than other Christians. If someone doesn’t have Jesus in them, then they automatically won’t understand my beliefs. I get that. What I find happening lately is Christians going at each others’ throats. We keep arguing over issues that are hard to grasp. We tell others they must not really know God if they don’t think the exact same thing we do. We tear each other down in Jesus’ name. The whole thing gets to me.

On Tuesday morning, I couldn’t take it any more. It is hard to know how to respond to verbal assaults while maintaining my claim to Christianity. I don’t ever want a nonbeliever to see my actions and be turned away. None of us want that, but we still speak and act in haste. I poured my aching heart to God to help me stand up for Him in a way that brings Him glory. I felt despair at the world. After I finished, I got up to get ready for work.

My whole prayer to God that day was one of helplessness. I felt there was nothing I could do to bring people together and help show His love. We seem so fractured these days and it brings me such sadness.

Less than an hour later, I received an email that brought me tears of joy. Our family has had a project with Food for the Poor for almost 2 years. We had set out to raise $1,895 to provide a family in Central or South American with 2 goats, 1 donkey, 2 cows, 3 pigs, 20 chicks, and 1 beehive. The email I received congratulated me that we had just had our last donation and completed it. We did it!

As I recovered from crying for a second time in an hour, I felt God telling me that I actually am doing what I can to help. I am not responsible for other people’s actions and beliefs. I can only do as I feel led and let them see. When I do my part, it is up to them to do their part.

Helping those in need and showing them that they are seen and cared for is a huge part of what being a Christian is all about. When we get caught up in arguments with each other, it diminishes all the good being done. People on the outside begin to only see our bad side and not our love.

It is easy to feel discouraged in this world. There is so much pain and sadness and need that we feel useless. We can’t do everything, but we can all do something. We can look outside of ourselves and fulfill the needs of the hurting and helpless. We can restore their hope and give them something to believe in. Let’s choose to serve others!

Linking with Holley Gerth

Let Me Show Them the Way

Children are the future, and right now, they aren’t seeing much kindness. I think the biggest thing we need to teach our kids is how to treat others with consideration. If we show them now, it could change the world.

All of us need to remember that people have feelings. Now that so much communication is done on the internet, it is easier than ever to throw words out there. We may not even really believe these words as we say them, but they are there and can’t be taken back. Kids now are growing up in a scary time and in a world that more and more needs love.

We have lost eye contact and a smile. We don’t have small gestures like a pat on the back since we can’t reach through the computer. All we have are our actual words and we have to hope they are interpreted correctly. Even when they are taken the right way, there is no emotion as there would be in a voice. It truly is sad.

This makes it all the more important for our children to learn to seek out the truth and not to go along with the crowd. They need to learn to think for themselves and not get into the mob mentality. The internet makes it easy to gang up on someone since that person has no face to our kids. Their life can easily have no meaning to a child who just wants to make their friends happy.

My girls are still in elementary school, but we talk about this a lot. The biggest thing I want them to learn from me is that their actions matter. They should treat everyone with love and respect. I don’t care if they know someone or not-they need to be kind. They need to be a friend.

The other night we were in the car (where many of the good conversations happen.) The girls don’t say much about politics, and I am glad for that. I want them to stay young and innocent as long as possible. But there is no age too young to understand the importance of treating people well. I love these talks about how they are helping the people around them. I pretty much drill it into their heads. They understand how important it is. However, I have to model it for them as well. I can’t tell them to be nice and then turn around and be nasty to someone around me. (Maybe these conversations in the car aren’t helpful. I at least try to keep road rage in check!)

When kids get it and that light bulb goes off, the world changes for them. They become more intentional with their words. They are more loving toward everyone. They make the world better. Can you imagine if all kids were taught how valuable kindness is?

It starts with me.

Linking with Holley Gerth

Empathy

I stand there alone. No one comes to talk to me, probably because I look different than them. I really don’t know. My toe makes shapes on the ground in front of me. I have done this all my life without even knowing I am doing it. Once I realize it is happening, I focus on it. It becomes my game, my way to distract myself and look busy. Sometimes I write letters and then words. I try to look like I am having fun.

None of the kids really even know my name. I think I am just “that weird kid” to them. They don’t ask about my name or where it comes from. Maybe they don’t care. When one of them looks over at me and then a whole group does too, I quickly look away. I can’t let them get to me. I can’t let them know about the tears stinging the back of my eyes. These tears threaten to drip down and that would make everything worse. I am different enough so I don’t want to be the baby weirdo.

I get back to making shapes with my toes. It’s not the most exciting thing to do, but it passes the time. It keeps me from thinking about life. I wish people knew how much we really have in common. They talk when they think I’m not listening. They talk about Minecraft, which I love to play. They wonder how Harry Potter ends, not knowing I could tell them what happens. They wish their parents didn’t treat them like babies. Me too. I am different on the outside, but I have the same emotions inside. I laugh at the same jokes. I laugh to myself of course since no one hears me.

All of a sudden I see movement next to me. I see a toe that writes an “H.” Next, an “I.” I hear a small voice almost whisper, “hello”. After a moment I realize that voice was mine. I hear it so rarely. When I look up, I see a smile. I can’t help but smile back. They tell me their name and ask if I want to come play.

All I want is a friend. I want someone to give me a chance and get to know me. I want to share secrets and laugh with someone. I want to know someone cares about me. Maybe I have found that person.

If we don’t take the time to get to know someone, we may be missing out on a great friendship. We all have more in common than we know. We all matter.

Your Will be Done

 

 

OK God, here is what I know. I know You love me more than I can ever understand. I know that You are good. You are in control. You are God and I am not. Your will be done.

I may get distracted by the noise of politics and Facebook friends’ opinion. None of that means anything, in light of Your glory. The world feels out of control because it is. You are the One I can hold onto. Nothing else matters. Your will be done.

You are going to do what is best. It may not feel like the best at the time, but it is. In fact, sometimes it feel like the end, but it isn’t. (Unless You come back, in which case, PLEASE come!) Whatever happens, Your will be done.

Worrying does nothing more than undermine my faith. I refuse to let worry and fear of the future paralyze me. I will keep going forward, one day at a time. Your will be done.

No matter who wins the election, You are on the throne. Chaos and confusion are no match for You, my Mighty King! Your will be done.

You are never more than a prayer away from me. You are so close and I feel Your presence. I trust You. Your will be done.

We have pushed You away and made a mess. No matter what we have done and how we have disappointed You, You are always ready to come back to us. Your love is immense and enduring. Your will be done.

I pray we make the right decision today even though I don’t know what that means. You know what we need so I will rest in You. Your will be done.

Linking with Holley Gerth