Last night I got to spend some time with the cutest little sweeties I know. We went bear hunting in the kitchen, climbed mountains and crossed rivers. We imagined that the living room rug was a pond and we jumped in and swam.
We used cookie cutters and playdough to create some pretty cool sculptures, none of which I got a picture of because sometimes you just have to put your phone down and enjoy the moment.
There was one moment I enjoyed the most though. One simple tiny moment in time that wrapped my heart up and melted me right there on the spot.
My oldest grandson (3) came up and stood in front of me as I was sitting on the couch. He continued building with his playdough as he snuggled back into me and I rested my head on his shoulder. I said “Ryan, I think I’ll just rest here a minute”. He didn’t miss a beat and replied- “It otay, I wuv you”.
Yes, he can have anything he wants for Christmas this year.
That simple moment in time, seconds really, made all the difference in my whole day.
Simple, needed, loved.
There are so many worries in this world, so many challenges and uncertainties and the day had been long. But this moment refreshed me. This moment made my heart melt. Such a simple phrase from an innocent child who means what he says.
As I melted inside, I felt the Lord’s gentile nudge. I felt the Lord say that this is what He wants for us too. He wants us to come to him. To lay our heads on His shoulder and give Him our burdens. He wants to comfort, protect, and heal. He wants us to get refreshed from all the worries of this world and to know that in Him we can have peace.
He wants us to have simple moments in His presence where He can say “I love you”.
I pray that you will receive His love today and have a much-needed rest from your burdens. Remember His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
I pray today that you wrap your arms around Jesus and let Him whisper in your ear. “My child, I LOVE YOU”.
Do you ever browse social media only to be met by a myriad of posts portraying perfectly baked cookies, clean houses, and smiling families only to look around at your own burned cookies, floors that needed mopped ages ago and kids wrestling in the living room because someone has the remote and someone else wants it and you question every bit of your worth?
Listen, I want you to know right now that sometimes my house only appears clean because I angled the camera just right.
And my cookies usually turn out pretty good but I admit that at some point I burn a pan every single time I bake. It’s almost laughable.
The truth is- when I get on social media I can always find a reason to beat myself up as a mom, friend, wife…
Just looking at all the posts of holiday decorations and cookie platters I start to feel a bit unworthy of the season. I had good intentions too but the Christmas tree skirt is missing this year and so is the angel for the top so my tree is slightly naked. I’ve decided to just concentrate on the middle and not look at the rest.
The truth is comparison always leads to dwindling self esteem and negative self worth.
I’m not a good mom because I didn’t bake cookies with my kids and I didn’t build a snowman when we had the latest storm like all the other moms on social media did.
There are a lot of I didn’ts in my life…
If I’m being totally honest sometimes I’m not a good mom at all. Some days I really do stink at this job.
The reality is we all do. We all wake up and fail miserably. We all forget to put food in our kindergartners lunch pail, we forget the costume for the Halloween parade, we forget… but we don’t give up. That’s what makes us great. It’s not that we keep up with the neighbors or that we get on social media and remind ourselves of all that we “should” be doing to be awesome.
Instead it’s those little sleeping faces that we kiss on the cheek after a hard day and the smiles they give us when they wake up in the morning. It’s the giggling about the dinner that didn’t turn out and the pizza that was ordered instead.
It’s the mess that makes the memories.
This weekend my son was in the hospital. Apparently he, like his brothers before him, can’t stand the sight of blood. We learned this the hard way when he cut his finger at school and then took a header onto the hard floor.
This lovely minute of time turned into an overnight hospital stay and a long road of recovery for this kid. Concussions are no joke.
He apologized over and over to me. He knew that I had other plans this weekend and a hospital stay was not one of them. But as we talked I told him this- I don’t remember much about the past few weekends and yes I would never choose for him to be hurt, but this weekend, as we lay in that dark hospital room will be one we talk about for years. We will harass him, we will pick on him, we will remember this.
And he will remember that I slept on a really horrible cold couch next to him all night. He will remember that his dad ran to the store for comfy clothes for him to wear, stayed late with us and returned early because he couldn’t stand to be away. We will remember that dad complained about what a rough night it was because the dog kept him up and how we must have had a much better night than him and how he may need us to rub his feet… (insert laughter and a HUGE NO here)
Being a good mom has nothing to do with cookies, crafts, vacations, or smiley family pictures. Being a good mom has everything to do with just being there. That’s it. There isn’t a formula, there isn’t a list that has to be completed. It’s just doing your best and loving them through it all.
Stop comparing yourself, stop failing because you don’t look like the perfect facebook family.
Instead, burn the cookies, mess up the crafts and learn to laugh. Be the mom that smiles not the mom that poses for perfect pictures.
Comparison is a thief of our joy.
God didn’t make a mistake, He knew what he was doing when he chose you to be their mom. So, love them well, pray for them always and enjoy life. Cookies will burn, kids will misbehave, and life will go on.
Just choose to angle your camera to see the good in it all.
If you read my blog about my son leaving for boot camp then you know this mommas heart has held so many emotions this month that it is about to burst. Stress is a major enemy in any healthy lifestyle change and although I’m glad to say that we stuck with our healthy eating plan, I struggled big time.
Food has always been a huge comfort for me, it’s my go to
when I have something awesome to celebrate. It’s my companion when I’ve had a
rough day and my constant friend when I’m alone.
Watching my son prepare for this new season of his life was
amazing, he was ready for it, I was not. I wanted to use food in all the ways I
always had. Celebrate this new season, comfort my aching heart, remove the pain
of loneliness, ease the reality of letting go. Without my usual go to treats, I
was at a bit of a loss. Breaking old habits is hard, creating new ones in the
midst of raw emotions… even harder.
I know this new season will be incredible. I’m always amazed
at how God works it all out, but there is pain in the process and I was wanting
some sugar to ease it all. To top it off my husband was away at a conference
and had no choice but to eat out for most of a week and the way our schedule
worked we ended up eating out for 3 days after he got home. It’s a wonder we
didn’t gain all the weight back.
But we didn’t.
He ended up only gaining a pound and I didn’t get on the scale. Ignorance is not bliss but I have to be honest here. With all the emotions I was dealing with, I didn’t think I could handle the scale at this moment so I made the decision to take a breath and stay off of it. I decided that instead I would celebrate the fact that we had both stuck to our plan completely. Food cooked at restaurants may not have the same healthy standards that we have at home, so no matter how hard we try weeks like this will come and I knew that I needed to make a decision to be proud of our progress and move forward.
So how did I deal with the stress? I’ve compiled 5 things that helped me through.
1. I took a lot of hot baths.
I spent hours in that tub and when I say hot bath I mean
that if I step out of the bath and I can’t see a difference in the parts that
were in the water and the parts that were not- we have a problem. (Yes, I do
know that scalding hot baths may not be the health choice of the season, but I
like it that way and it was better than eating a whole cheesecake which was
I needed those baths. This was a time for me to turn all the lights off, light some candles, (I especially love those fake battery operated ones that look real) and turn on some great worship music. As I lay there, praying, worshiping, and sometimes crying, I found some peace. I laced my bath with Epson salts and essential oils, set a nice glass of wine on the side of the tub and soaked until I wrinkled. Those sweet peaceful aromas and that relaxing atmosphere did not take the stress away completely, but it did give me a much-needed reprieve.
2. A great book is a perfect getaway.
I love to read, but I don’t take the time for it anymore. So
this month I did. I had a couple books that were recommended to me by a ladies
book club at my church and I decided to dive in. These books were in the
Christian self-help genre and what I found was exactly what I needed. I found
encouragement, laughter, tears, and motivation. They were not diet books, they
were books for life that held so many nuggets of truth that I had to make more
mental notes that I can hold. Currently I’m re-reading one of those books. If I
can fill my mind with the good things, then there won’t be room for the bad
3. Prayer works.
I know that I already mentioned prayer in the bath part of
this blog, but this topic needs a section all its own. Prayer gives hope, help
and a way to let go of stress. I have always been a praying woman. Lately
though, I’ve been distracted in prayer and realized it was time to really
refocus. I started writing in my prayer journal again, and I began to truly get
alone with God. I need Him always but life gets in the way more than I want to
admit. The bible says to give God our cares because he cares for us. How can I
give anything to God if I’m not praying. Each time I’d pray- there would be
peace. Like most of you, once I was done praying, the peace would fade. Life
has a way of doing that to us, so I prayed often and held on tight.
4. Understanding that Good Stress is still stress.
My son leaving was what I would consider good stress. This
was his dream, something he fought for, something he had overcome many obstacles
to accomplish. I was and am very proud of him and extremely excited for him,
but I quickly realized that no matter how “good” this was, I couldn’t control
the anxiety it caused. What would my new life look like without him in the day
to day? What was my purpose now that
most of my kids were raised and gone?
Who am I without them? These are
not bad questions, but they are stressful ones. I needed to get to a place
where asking them didn’t cut like a knife and seem like an ending to a season I
adored. Instead I needed to ask them honestly and prayerfully and find a way to
see this new season as the beginning of an amazing new chapter.
5. I need something to look forward too.
I need something to be excited about. It doesn’t have to be expensive or outlandish, it just has to be on the calendar. Something I can shoot for, mark off the days for. My husband and I have “date nights” a couple times a month where we literally just go out to dinner and then get groceries. I know your jealous, (LOL) but hear me out. Just knowing that I have a night away, a night where we will have a quiet dinner, a time to talk, and a reset on our weeks- this gets me through the tough days. In a few weeks we have a whole night away planned and I’m super excited about that as well. It’s amazing how 1 night away can reset a weary soul. What about you? What works for you? What doesn’t? Throughout this journey I’m realizing more and more how unique we all are and how incredibly cool that is. My husband handles stress very differently than I do, instead of a hot bath he sinks deeply into his recliner and gets his mind on a computer game or watches a movie. If life gets overwhelming for him, that’s where you’ll find him. He has been there a lot lately. Letting go is hard. Adjusting to new seasons filled with uncertainty and change- even harder. So we learn to lean into God, we manage our emotions to the best of our ability and we keep moving forward. One step today equals two tomorrow and after a while we look back and we realize how far we’ve come.
I didn’t realize that letting go would hurt this much. Sure I knew that time would fly and that in the blink of an eye my sweet babies would be all grown up and moving on in this world. I knew that. I held on tight. I made a point to snuggle as much as I could, to read stories, and have family nights. I made a point to enjoy every minute. I did all that and it still went by far too fast. I still want just one more day.
I’ll always want one
Many years ago on a family vacation to the beach, we passed a cute little street of shops that I really wanted to check out, but after a long day of sandcastles and waves my family was just too tired to join me, all except Zach. He and I headed out and shopped that day. We checked out the souvenir shops, we looked at t-shirts and stuffed animals, seashells, and salt water taffy, then we decided an ice cream break was in order. We sat at a cute little outdoor table and enjoyed a sundae that was far too big for the little guy that he was and we talked. We talked and talked and talked. Zach and I are both gifted in that art. Now I don’t remember anything we talked about, but I do very clearly remember this- after all the days at the beach, the aquariums we visited, and the adventures we had- I asked the kids what they liked best. “The ice cream” Zach replied.
Hours from home, new experiences, and long fun days and it
all came down to ice cream. I learned something that day that I will never forget.
It isn’t the big things in life that really matter. Instead, it’s the tiniest
of moments that come together to make life sweet. It’s laughing around the kitchen
table, watching family movies, coloring outside the lines and giggling at inside
jokes no one else would understand.
That little boy boarded a plane today. He is flying across the country to join our amazing military. He towers over me now, and I am more proud than I ever imagined possible. The problem is I struggle not to see the little boy with ice cream all over his face.
I struggle letting
Gretchen Rubin says that “The days are long but the years
are short.” Oh how right she is. My oldest son and his wife gave birth to their
first little boy just a few short months ago. It’s funny how life comes full
circle. I watched as one boarded a plane and the other held tight to a brand new
life. What a reminder of the blessings each season has to offer.
I realized something else today too. I realized that this
new season that is so uncomfortable in the process- will hold the same
tremendous hope that the last one did. I know that in time I’ll want this new
season to last forever too. There is so
much good mixed in with the tears.
I still have one more son at home with me and he is
terrified. He too has realized something in all this. He knows that he is the last of my babies and
that his mom needs something to hold onto.
She needs someone to “mother”. He’s terrified that he will get ALL the
mothering that I have to offer and to be honest he’s probably right. So please pray
for him he’s going to need it.
If you are struggling with letting go today. I want you to know that you are not alone. We will get through this and we will look back and rejoice at all this new season has to offer, but in the process- if a few tears are necessary, that’s okay too.
About a year ago, my husband and I made the decision that we needed to trade in our minivan for something 4-wheel drive, something that could handle our rough northern winters. After getting stuck numerous times over the past few years, we’d finally had enough, deciding that shovels and rock salt just aren’t cutting it. That, and the fact that I was becoming unglued every time a snowflake was even mentioned–and I do mean unglued–left us with no other option.
So car shopping we went. It didn’t take long for us to realize that prices had changed quite a bit since the last time we went on a test drive. And that wasn’t the only thing that had changed. I can now have my bottom warmed while Siri checks for directions and my car parks itself. It’s pretty unbelievable, to the point that I’m honestly not sure if my car even needs me for anything anymore (except maybe to pay for gas). And if I’m being honest, these endless options–the seat warmers and all the other gadgets–were pretty enticing as we wandered about the lot that afternoon. So enticing, in fact, that I soon realized my wants were quickly outgrowing my pocketbook. I began to feel like what I could afford wasn’t quite good enough, and the more we looked the less satisfied I became. (Photo Via Pixabay)
Eventually I opened my eyes and remembered why we had begun this process: safety in the winter. It was our sole reason for car shopping, but I had lost sight of it while becoming envious of everything I didn’t have. Isn’t this what we do more than we’d like to admit? We want what we see and forget to appreciate what we already have. A friend of mine just built the most beautiful house. Gorgeous stonework lines the front, the views from the windows are amazing, and there are more rooms than I can count. I was happy for my friend, and yet when I looked at my house it began to seem stuffy and small. It lacked the grandeur of her large house on the hill. Maybe I was looking at the wrong things. Maybe, just like the car, I was making mental lists of items I didn’t have instead of the things I did.
There is an old saying that I hear many men and women say today, it’s the “I can look as long as I don’t touch” mentality. This mentality says that I can be in a relationship with someone but still check out the opposite sex and that’s ok as long as I’m just looking.
What I’m beginning to realize is that there are enormous amounts of harm in “just looking,” so I decided to give myself a little challenge. I decided I would only look at what I had. I would not allow myself to focus on anything that belonged to anyone else, regardless of how innocent it seemed. And that’s when I truly started to see things differently. I began to recognize the peace I get from sitting outside on my back porch with my morning coffee, surrounded by woods in every direction. It became exactly the place I wanted to be. I realized how perfect that porch is for me, and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even a huge house on a hill.
As for the car, well, I found one that is going to get me safely where I need to be this winter. It isn’t fancy, and sadly it won’t be warming my bottom, but I really like it. It has a few extras, and the more I look at it, and the more I quit comparing it to what I don’t have, the more I am enjoying it. (Photo Via Pixabay)
How about our spouses? Now, hear me out on this. No matter who we are married to, there is always someone better looking, someone with more money, you name it, and we can find it.
As long as we just look, it’s all good, right?
Well, I really don’t think so. Just like the car and the house, the more we look, the more we can’t help but see what we have as not quite good enough. We start to make lists of what we wish our spouse could be like. We begin to crave what we don’t have, and that can be dangerous. When we refuse to look at anyone but our own spouse, we can begin to see the beauty in them in ways we probably missed before.
Now, I know that all this goes against the norm, but as women who love Jesus, I think it’s exactly what we should be doing. Proverbs 14:12 says that there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Marriages fail because we think that someone better has come along, someone who has less baggage than our current partner. Checking accounts get depleted because we have to have the latest gadgets and keep up with the neighbors. Stress in this country has reached previously unheard of levels. Peace and joy have been lost in a sea of wants and wishes. People are shouldering baggage so heavy the weight is literally killing them. What if we put those bags down? What if we decide only to look at what we already have and appreciate it with new eyes? Wouldn’t it be nice to release ourselves from the burden of needing to keep up with everyone else and just focus on Jesus and the beautiful things He has given us?
Now, I don’t mean that we will suddenly have full bank accounts and husbands with washboard stomachs that hold on to our every word and talk to us for hours. No, I mean maybe we will see for the first time how the curve of his face is really perfect, or how he takes our hand right when we need him to. We will appreciate the things we forgot we had. Please don’t get me wrong here. I’m not judging anyone. I’ve made all the mistakes and believed all the lies, but what I’ve discovered in myself through this process is a renewed joy. I’ve found that I need less and love more, that the smile on my face is much less fake these days, and that is something to shout about. (Photo Via Pixabay)
So how about it? What are you looking at? How about trying something different and stepping away from the crowd and the pressures of society for a fresh start? How about focusing on Jesus and all He has done for you. Let’s look with new eyes today, and tomorrow I believe we will see things a whole lot differently.