Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hanging in Through the Messiness of Motherhood

The house was actually quiet this morning.  Even though mornings start early in our home, my youngest typically gets up insanely early for a typical 7 year old.  He wakes up in only one speed.  Full blast. He *tries* to not interrupt the rest of the house when he gets up, but try as he might, it doesn't work.  Much to the disappointment of his brother and sister.

This morning, he slept in (meaning he didn't get up until after 6). 

I actually was able to enjoy a few minutes of quiet this morning.  It was even quiet enough to hear all of those "little" noises you can't typically hear.  Suddenly Peyton's aquarium seemed so loud, even though I can't hear it any other time.  

It was so incredibly peaceful and enjoyable. 

For the 5.2 seconds it lasted. 

It only takes about that long for the blissful quiet to be replaced by chaos, noise, and the normal happenings and sounds of a home with children.  

It's also blissful.  

Ok, so maybe that isn't the typical word to describe noisy, non-stop family life. 

Truth is:  it's heavenly. 

Now don't get me wrong, I thrive in and LOVE my stolen moments of solitude and calm.  It refuels and refreshes.  It's no big secret that when I don't get enough of that calm, I fall apart.  

Most of all, the calm gives me the ability to thrive during the not calm.  

And with a house full of children of all different ages that are home all day and "littles" for childcare, the chaos and noise level just can't be described to those that haven't experienced it in their own home. 

Yet, it's a beautiful sound.  It's the sound of health, happiness, and joy.  It's the sound of blessings.  

The Bible is clear that children are blessings, not burdens. 

Motherhood (parenthood in general) is noisy.  Messy. Overwhelming.  Exhausting (and add to that sleep deprivation at different seasons of life). It's lonely at times.  It can cause you to think you are insane many times (or perhaps you are now so insane you don't even recognize the insanity....ha). You can spend some days feeling invisible and underappreciated.  It causes you to doubt and question things you never dreamed possible.  For moms of very young, your body is temporarily not your own as you constantly feel like you only have one hand and if you are nursing, your body is definitely not your own. For moms with toddlers/preschoolers, the strong willed, defiant stage may cause you to want to bang your own head against the wall. It's definitely not an easy time of life when every second evolves around teaching basic skills for living and being in drill sergeant mode when your little one was so sweet and snuggly just a week before.  Your brain may feel like it's going to explode with all of the questions that can come from a typical preschooler in a day.  For parents of multiple children, the constant bickering and picking at each other can...well....nearly put you over the edge.  For those that have reached the hormone fluctuations and moodiness stage.  Yikes.  Even if you are blessed with teens that are respectful, there is a whole new level of worry and emotions to deal with in cutting of the apron strings, preparing for adulthood, driving, and college decisions.  Boys in the home?  Well, there might be no words to describe that stage. 

It may be that you are in the stage that your head wants to explode when you hear others talk about how much they got done in a day, but yet they don't have the responsibilities of children.  Want to know what a superhero is?  It's a mom that can keep their home running with a clingy toddler hooked around a leg or one that screams every time you even consider leaving the room.  You may want to go through the screen when they talk about their piles of laundry or "messes" to clean up and they've never had the science lesson in how exponentially clothes multiply even if a body is tiny.  Of course, they haven't had the experience of fifteen minutes of sound sleep feeling like a luxury.  Messes?  A mom of a toddler will easily understand that there really should be a new word to describe messes because most of the time.....words just cannot describe it. Have boys or have teens?  Yikes! A mother understands what it feels like to walk out of cleaning one room to clean the second one knowing that her effort will feel like for nothing when she gets finished with the second one because the first will be destroyed again. 

Well, motherhood really does leave you insane if you think about it very long.

Yet, it's the most remarkable gift God can give.  

Tired mom.  Overwhelmed mom.  Mom that feels so misunderstood and so underappreciated......

Hold those little ones close.  Soak in the moments---even the messy ones. 

Time truly does fly by, even when you are in the trenches thinking you can't get through another day. 

Go to God.  Let Him sustain you.  Pour out your frustrations and feelings to Him.  He's heard it all before and I promise He will hear it again. Nothing you are feeling will shock him! He knows your weaknesses and struggles.  He wants to LOVE you through each and every season.  I promise He can even hear you when you can't even hear yourself think.  He can even understand what your heart is trying to say even when you don't feel like you can even make a coherent thought.  You don't even have to have had a shower to talk to Him and it doesn't even matter to Him that you have long forgotten what smooth shaved legs feel like.  He loves you completely and thoroughly even if you can barely find matched shoes (and they may be slippers!) and you once loved the most fashionable heels. He even can hear you when you can't even find the privacy to go to the bathroom alone....or when you may can close the door, but the fingers under the door or sudden knocking of "emergencies" that are far from emergency don't feel like much privacy.  He even knows and loves you when you want to lock yourself in the dog's crate just because you know it might buy you a few minutes of solitude while they figure out how to open it. :) 

Moms---don't let the comparisons of others make or break your day either.  Comparisons destroy.  They rob joy and steal your children's childhood away because of what it does to your heart.  Find a way to let the opinions of others roll off your back (easier said than done, I KNOW!!!!).  Don't look for your value in others.  You'll always come back empty handed.  Even the greatest relationship and the most encouraging person can and WILL fail you.  

Moms---just look in the mirror.  If you are allowing God to lead your life, you are ALL your children need.  God chose you.  He will equip and sustain.  He will bring the calm in the chaos.  He will provide all you need even when you are at the last knot on the rope and don't know if there is enough rope to tie another knot.  When you are faced with situations that you can't handle in your own power, His power is sufficient.  More than sufficient.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

A New Task

Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Yet, it's worth it.

For a very long time, it seems like many years, Kevin and I felt convicted to change completely our way of living.  We felt as if God was asking us to become debt free so that we could be living in His will and so that we could give more freely.

It. Was. A. Battle.

Even with being debt free, it's still a battle.  So many things beg for our attention and it's easy to slip into a pattern of buying or doing just because we may have funds available at the moment.  We are fighting against that and still living frugally so that we can work towards bigger goals for our family and for the direction our hearts are moving in regards to missions.

Now that we have tackled that "request" for obedience, we feel as if He is asking us to tackle our health.

Ok---that's been a conviction for a long time---but we have finally made the commitment to stick with some goals.

It. Isn't. Easy.

Yet, we know the rewards far outweigh the discomfort in the moment.

Not buying things was hard and saying no was hard while focusing on our financial freedom.  The baby steps worked and the rewards have been immeasurable.  It takes effort to maintain that goal.

Losing weight, getting fit, ridding our bodies of things that we know aren't designed to be in it, and embracing our health and bodies as the "temple" God intended is....hard.

But the rewards are immeasurable.

I'm learning to run.  Despite the obstacles.  I may not ever run a long distance.  Gosh, I may not even make my goal of running a 5K (not walking---I can EASILY do that on a daily basis), but I won't go down without a fight. I will keep at it despite my aging body and the effects of lupus.

We had some wake up calls both physically and spiritually about the time to do this BEING  now. We are listening and we are committed.  We are in battle mode.  I recently learned that I'm not as young as I thought I was (ha....still 20, right?) and I'm entering new physical seasons of life that I wasn't quite prepared for this "young". We are relatively in good health, but we know we aren't as healthy as we should be.

It isn't about the number on the scale (but I do JUMP FOR JOY when it moves in the correct direction). It isn't about the number of calories we've eaten or burned.

It's about that we are treating our bodies more in line with what God wants from us.  Placing value on our health (inside and out).

I've said goodbye to diet coke and caffeine.  We lived through it.  (Though I do plan have them on special occasions or in extreme moderation).

I have even mostly weaned myself away from pasta and chocolate.  They were my life-lines. Now they are meant for treats.

We are living on fresh produce and literally can't get enough.  I'm visually drawn to colors and it truly makes me smile to see a rainbow on my plate.  Kevin has been AMAZING in keeping things prepped and ready to eat (because when I'm overwhelmed and stressed I turn to fast food).  Fast food is something we rarely turn to these days.  The van has finally learned to not automatically turn in a drive thru or hit up my favorite gas station for my mega diet soda habit.

The results go far beyond the scale and tape measure.

We feel vibrant.  We feel blessed by God for being obedient to Him and it's trickling down into many other areas of our lives.

It isn't a sprint.  It isn't a race.  We are in this for the long run.  We are preparing ourselves to be one step closer to be ready for what His ultimate purpose and call on our lives may be.

THAT is way more important than the momentary bliss of chocolate.  Right? Ha!Ha!

Learning to focus on decisions that concern today and right now, not looking at the huge task ahead (as in 70 more pounds to go....yikes!). Every day is a decision.  Every day is made up of countless decisions.  When those little decisions combine together, they make a huge difference.  Just like the baby steps in becoming financially free.

Committed.  On board.  Ready to go.