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motherhood

Thankful for my candles

On Christmas Eve, my family and I attended a candlelight ceremony at our church.  Taking 3 young boys to church is usually a triathalon event.  By the time we get all 3 ready and out the door, we are in a mad rush to get where we need to be.  This is not exclusive to church, though, as this is usually the scene anytime we go anywhere.  Clothes are flying, baby is crying, boys are fighting, mama is stressed, daddy trying to get us out the door. That’s just our new normal.  Going to church that evening was not any different.  Not only were we running late, we also got stuck behind a wreck, which made us 20 minutes late.  We walked our boys in right in the middle of service when all was quiet, and made our grand noisy entrance with our boisterous brood.  Then in the middle of service, Joshua, my middle and most ornery little man, decided he wanted to play with his older brother.  While we were trying to stop him he somehow smacked his nose on the pew in front of us causing a nosebleed. Good times!  While trying to keep him from bursting out in a screaming cry, my husband rushes him off to the bathroom.  Meanwhile, our baby William was no longer happy in his carrier so I had to let him out, against my will.  My youngest is a busy body extraordinaire and gets into anything and everything he shouldn’t. When my husband returned with Josh, this sneaky little one took off towards the back of the church so my husband then had to go run and corner that little munchkin.  What.a.night.  Just writing this makes me want to pull my hair out, so you can only imagine how we felt in the moment.  All we could do was look at each other and laugh…and keep laughing…and then compose ourselves so as not to cause anymore disruption!

Despite all the chaos, we make it a point to take the boys as often as we can. It’s important for us to set that example for them.  I was happy we made it there, especially on a night as important as Christmas Eve.  I’m happy we made it there for my boys, but on this night in particular, I’m happy we made it there for me.  We’ve had an especially tough year.  For many reasons, it has been the hardest year of my life.  One that would have been even harder to get through without all the candles in our life and this night helped me to truly see that. The candles brought many things to light. Let me explain.

During the candlelight ceremony, we each hold our own unlit candle.   When it is time to light them all, we are instructed to light our own candle off of the person next to us by tilting our unlit candle towards their lit one.  Their lit candle remains still and steady.  Then the next person lights their candle off of you in the same way until the entire congregation is filled with bright candlelight illuminating the darkness.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  It occurred to me that this is how life is, or at least this is how God intended it to be.  People are like candles.  They consume themselves to give others light.  We’ve had so many candles in our lives who have burned brightly for us in the darkness.  It is through them that we have been able to rekindle our flame.  It only takes the light of one candle to extinguish the darkness, and we have been blessed with many of these tiny flames around us.  And it doesn’t stop there.  I realize now that being a candle isn’t easy.  First we have to burn in order to give light.  The burning can be painful, but through the pain, light is born.  It is up to us to keep it burning bright not only to light our own way, but also for the person next to us who will someday need it; the next person who will find themselves in darkness.  I want to be able to fuel their fire through my own the way others have done for me.  I feel so blessed for our candles – our friends, our family, our church, even strangers have lit up our life in more ways than they will ever know. It is my prayer that we always be each other’s light. It just starts with one.  And there’s no amount of darkness in this world that can extinguish the light of even a single candle.

If you also find yourself in darkness, look no further than the person next to you.  I am sure whoever surrounds you are the candles that will light your way.  Then once they rekindle your light, be the light for someone else.  Let us also never forget the greatest light of all, our Lord Jesus. He will always light our way, if we allow Him.

I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

John 8:12

 

 

Top 5 Scriptures for the exhausted mom

As a mom of 3 young boys, it’s almost impossible to find free time.  Most of the time, any free moments are dedicated to a very rare commodity: SLEEP!  My days start at 5am and typically end at 9pm and it is at that time that I get so excited at the thought of having a little “me” time.  That thought lasts for about 2.3 minutes, right before I unknowingly drift off into a deep sleep.  Even as I write this, I feel my eyes getting heavy……..so sleepy…can’t type….need sleep….ZZzzzzzzzz………..Oopsie daisy! Sorry about that. And I’m up again.

Take for instance this week, I fully intended on waking up at 4:45am to have a little extra time before kids were up to pray, workout, pack lunches, make breakfast, iron clothes, and the list goes on and on.  Nope. Not happening.  Between projects, and sick kids, and bills, and work, and mountainous piles of laundry, it just wasn’t happening.  This morning, I was feeling more rested so I decided to make time for scripture.  Although I haven’t quite got the hang of the busy working mom of 3 schedule just yet, I am making it a priority to seek His word as often as I can.  Even if its for 5 minutes a day.  Those few minutes will eventually add up to a lot of minutes of much needed healing. And we all need a little daily healing, don’t we?  Can I get an Amen?! Exhausted moms, take heed: we are doing holy work. Through all the good, the bad, the ugly, the busy, the chaotic, the craziness of parenthood, we should be inspired everyday.  There is nothing that can renew your spirit better than the word of God.  Although there are many scriptures that can encourage even the weariest of moms, below are the 5 scriptures that I lean on most often.  So if you ever need a shoulder to cry on or someone to lean on, no worries.  He is always available.  And if you can’t find time, make time. So scoot your overworked butts over mamas, and let Jesus take the wheel.

I hope these renew your spirit and strengthen your weary heart, just as they do for me.

  1.  Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from Him.  Truly He is my rock and my salvation.; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  – Psalm 62:5-6  Make that your motto: I will not be shaken.
  2.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  -Psalm 46:10  Be still means to not worry.  I know from experience that anxiety is second nature to motherhood.  This one is a tough one, but something we must practice everyday.
  3. Even the young grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:30-31  Do you hear that mamas?  We are eagles. Even if most times we feel like crows, we are like the eagles. Remember that.
  4. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:28-29  Find rest in Him.

And for my favorite go-to scripture when I’m feeling exhausted:

5.  When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Psalms 6:1-2  Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom to discover He is that rock at the bottom….

 

What are your go-to scriptures?  Share them with us.

The Juggle is Real!

Mom.  A tiny 3 letter word that holds such an enormously profound meaning.  It is difficult to articulate the magnitude of being a mother, the depth of which can only truly be felt once you become one.  Trying to describe this life-changing emotion would be about as easy as trying to number the infinite stars above.  The responsibility for another human being is ultimate.  From one day to the next, you go from being a loner, self-centered, and having responsibilities for only yourself and perhaps a significant other, to being a multi-talented, semi-professional at everything, career juggling, superhuman.  A mother is a multitude of careers all rolled into one profession. You all of a sudden become a nurse, a counselor, a teacher, a maid, a chauffer, a chef, a negotiator, a detective, a bodyguard, a google extraordinaire….hell, if you have more than one kid you damn near become a gymnast.Multitasking housewife

These are all the unofficial titles we get that are somehow crammed into the tiniest of words: mom.  On top of this pupu platter of responsibilities comes the ever-important official title of your everyday job; the money-maker title; the one that takes away from all those other responsibilities, but the one you have to have in order to keep your family financially afloat.  How do we do it all?  How do we juggle all of these responsibilities? How do we manage all of the expectations as working moms while still raising decent human beings?

The answer is not as profound or as enlightening or as mind-blowing as one would hope.  The answer is plain and simple, although the journey is anything but that.  The answer is simply that “we just do it.” We take one day at a time. We put one foot in front of the other, and just like we teach our children, we take baby steps through the journey.

Whether you’re a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, a work-from-home mom, an adoptive mom, a foster mom, a birth mom, or an unconventional mom, we all know the struggle.  We are all cut from the same cloth.  Our stitching might be a little different, but we are all made from the same extra-strength material. The one meant to resist the toughest of stains and the roughest of cycles.  The one that can weather the strongest of storms, even when tattered and torn.  Women are designed differently.  We are designed with an emotional strength and mental capacity that surpasses comprehension.  It’s the type of superhuman strength that you don’t even know exists until something happens that forces you to reach down deep inside to tap into it. God put extra reserves in there for us because He knows how much of it we will need as we go through the ebbs and flows of motherhood.

Through all the peaks and all the valleys of our path, there is no greater reward than overcoming life’s obstacles for the sake of our little humans.  Watching them reach each milestone along the way is like adding a new jewel to your crown. Its the crown that only you can see, but still wear so proudly.  Yes, being a mom is extraordinary, and so are we.

As you take a moment to reflect on how many jobs you actually have, I think we can all take a collective sigh and agree that with everything we balance in life, with all the responsibilities, with all the challenges, that

THE JUGGLE IS REAL!

So grab a cup of coffee (or glass of wine), and sit back and relax.  Enjoy the advice, tips, and stories from my own experiences, as well as other moms.  Also read about a dad’s perspective from time to time.  Know that although we lead different lives, at the end of the day, we are all in this together and we are all just working like a motha’.

Super woman