Saturday, January 21, 2012

His Grace is Enough!

Man ... I sure do love (and hate sometimes) when God lays something on my heart so heavily that He just lays it and lays it and lays it.  I'm guessing I hate it in the same way that I hate it when my stubborn child requires me to say the same thing forty-two times before it sinks it.  But, with God, I am that stubborn child.  How grateful that I have a Heavenly Father with immeasurable patience that He continues to try to crack this stubborn heart/head/soul of mine.

I think back to the days when I had a newborn - wow, those were hard, right?  WRONG!  This will get easier when they can start walking and talking and stuff, right?  WRONG!  Surely it will get easier when I have this second baby because I won't be so exhausted from, you know, growing another human, right?  WRONG!  I look at my friends that have three kids.  Wow, just wow.  They amaze me!  Here I am, seven months into being a parent of two, and for the most part, I suck!  I mean I am terrible - bad mom, bad keeper of the home, bad friend, and worse wife.  I live in a state of constant disappointment in what I view as a mediocre at best job.  You know what, SIN SIN SIN! 
Satan is finding us exhausted and vulnerable and it is time for us to kick it!!!

I really wanted to be napping right now, but God really laid it on my heart to compile all of His attempts to tell me "I AM ENOUGH" so that when days get rough (or rougher) or when I need a link to send to a friend who needs talked off the ledge, I have a handy place to look!  So here goes!

Dr. Cindy is Krista's midwife.  She made me a midwife believer.  I heart her!  I saw her love and pray over one of my forever friends like she was her sister and not just a patient.  Definitely something to be said about a caregiver that their first advice for treatment is prayer!  In the madness that was our super-blessed but uber-busy Christmas season, she posted this blog post.  I've probably read it 10 times (at least) and emailed it or posted it twice that many.  She says "In the valley, the Lord is really working on me.  'Find your joy in Me! I’m all you need! Let Me define you!' "  I read it, I loved it, I even thanked God for the reminder that day, and I almost immediately fell back into my same old rut of thinking about all of my failures.  Wow, my kids are still in their pajamas and it is time to give baths in order to put them in different pajamas, my son just ate his third PB&J for the day (like as in one at each meal) and hasn't touched a vegetable in I don't know how many days, my daughter is teething on my Toms I left in the floor, and I can't remember saying 5 nice things to my husband all evening.  Wow, I suck.

A new friend (Bre) that we made when we did our Quiet Book page swap (via Laura) posted this link on Wednesday.  The author says "Have you heard that quote about our children being mirrors? They reflect back our attitudes and behavior. Big 'uh-oh'!"  Travis has a couple specific behavior issues right now that are, and I cannot get it under control.  Screaming.  Sure, two year olds scream, but Travis SCREAMS!  I understand the occasional "wow, I'm having so much fun or I'm figuring out the acoustics" scream, but the SCREAMS were killing me.  Literally, driving me batty.  I really bought into it and think it absolutely makes sense - It's tough being the big brother and having to share - lap time, attention, and now that little sister is mobile, material things too.  I needed something catchy to help me remember (mommy brain fog is real, ya'll!) so I came up with Present. Patient. Peaceful.  Those are my goals - I want to be fully engaged with him when he wants me to be.  I've started putting my phone up on the counter and keeping it on silent so that I check it less frequently.  I want to show patience to him so that he hopefully will show it to her.  I want to keep my voice calm and "inside voice" appropriate at all times.  Three little things, but a constant struggle.  Wow, Present. Patient. Peaceful. sounds a lot like our Heavenly Father - the perfect parent.  Maybe, I should lean a little more on Him when I struggle with these things.  After this post, one would think I'm seeing a pattern here, huh???  Nah ... too easy!

Yesterday a dear friend posted about her struggles on our Sunday School girls' facebook page ....  She wrote "I don't know why I feel like saying this, and I know lots of other moms may be feeling the same way, although I can't be sure, but I feel like I need to say I am sorry for not being more involved with all my girlfriends in fellowship as of late... I feel like such a failure recently as a mother, friend, and wife. Just feel pulled into too many directions and I guess it finally hit me literally (once I fell off the toilet and got stitches in my head) that I cannot be such a perfectionist and think that I can do it all. So forgive me for missing showers, get togethers, church, bible studies, and I am sure much more. I am praying that my kids stops getting sick because I have been such a flakey friend due to all that comes along with sickies. I def want to say thank you to my mommy friends like Krista and Gara, who have two kiddos and are still there for everyone. I look up to all of those women in our church who I did not name, like those two, who have been able to keep planning fellowships for us, encourage, and support all of us. I hope to be there for everyone very soon. Meanwhile, if anyone wants prayer, I am there for you."  Oh sweet friend, bless you, for thinking that I have my act together.  Needless to say, our facebook page blew up.  I love those ladies!!!  Some nuggets worth sharing from our discussion:

My hasty and poorly composed, but straight from the heart response:

DO NOT beat yourself up at all!! We all have those days, weeks, months. I am pretty sure I have worn the same pj pants all week. I have a note on my calendar: present.patient.peaceful. It is my daily reminder to try to be those things that Travis needs to see! I found him scatter brained and crabby only to realize that is what he sees me be everyday. I pray for patience daily more like hourly. Sometimes I brush my teeth sometimes I cook dinner sometimes I dont pee until both kids are napping. Everyday is a different journey. Some are more successful than others! Both kids were snotty a couple weeks ago. I literally thought I was not going to make it, but in a blink, everybody survived and we didnt drown in neglected laundry or chores. In my darkest times, I have leaned on my sisters in Christ and they have rescued me with prayer, friendship, humor. Sometimes wine and chocolate too! Lean on God and on us. I'm always here for sarcastic banter!

Remember this:

Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)

We can do this! Our goal is to teach our kids to love our Lord. We do this by serving them our spouses and our sisters!!! Love you, Brooke! Keep your head up. These days shall pass and we will all be watching these babies graduate. Lean on Him!!

My mommy friends all chimed in:

Don't sweat it! You're just adjusting to being a mom and especially a mom of more than 1. And don't you work outside the home, too? I would like to say it gets "easier" but it just gets different. ;-) Let yourself let go of things to keep your sanity. For example, I haven't written a single thank you note since my oldest was born. That would drive some people absolutely bonkers (and may tick off the gift givers), but some things had to go, and that was one of them for me! For you, it could be anything - like making 1 night "pizza night" and just ordering in.

Friend, you are not alone. Life can get overwhelming for this gal too. That is the beauty of the Body of Christ...when one member needs a break, there is another who is strong enough to pull the weight. Lean into your sisters and especially to our God. This season will one day be behind you...and your perfectionism used again to glorify God and not just drive you bonkers! :)

Sister, you are not alone! Pretty sure I started an eBay listing for my kid earlier this week... No reserve. I called my on-call "talk me off this cliff" friend , and she reminded me that child trafficking is illegal. That's what good friends are for. :-)
In all seriousness, most days it aint pretty over here. I'm positive I'm not half as loving/affectionate/caring towards my husband as a should be, not nearly as patient, fun, and teaching as I should be with my kids, nor do I remember 80% of the things I've promised my friends I will do. Luckily our God gives us this free, wonderful, no strings attached gift called Grace. He loves me despite all the things I am not, even when I've forgotten to (or, I'll be honest, chosen not to) give Him the time of day. I encourage you to have that one friend who can talk you off your cliff, put a little pep in your step, and remind you that you are doing an exceptional job.
And, I feel like I should confess.... A few weeks ago at church you and I were both in the hallway behind the nursery. You had both kids, and your three year old was very excited. Rather than snap at her, scold her, or ignore her, you were unbelievably patient, loving, and kind. Your words were that of a mother who had Jesus in her heart, trying to display through her actions His love for us. I remember thinking, "wow, she's got this down. Lucky kids to have a mom like her." Wish I would have stopped and told you that in the moment.

Oh I love your honesty!! Trust me, I feel the same way and I only have one kid! You are amazing and your vulnerability is so refreshing. I think we all feel like this at different times. 

I agree whole heartedly with all the previous posts! I am inspired by your openness to bring something that is giving you heartache to the light - keeping it in the dark only allows Satan to keep hold over it - and now you have some pretty amazing ladies that can all relate and also know your heart so we can pray!

 I will be praying that God gives us patience and strength day by day (or minute to minute when necessary!) to navigate the waters of motherhood. It's nice to know we're all in the same boat!

Hang in there everyone. If I could count and confess all of my parenting 'failures' y'all would probably defriend me out of principle. This is a learning process, and I'm convinced it's God's way of teaching me everything I needed to know that I didn't learn in kindergarten. I think you all seem like great moms to me.

Praising the Lord for the support we offer one another. Thank you guys for offering one another the gift of honesty. He's designed us to be intimately connected to each other in relationship but transparency is the only way that can happen.

Romans 3:22 –Romans 3:24 (TMSG)
The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.

“Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.” ― Jerry Bridges

Oh man, did I mention that I love these ladies?  Seriously, isn't it amazing how He can work in a body when one of His struggling children has the guts to speak up? 

Krista texted me this yesterday afternoon (just more proof that He wanted us all to hear this message today and always)!  "Little magnify moment: Woke up for the first time all week before the kids to do my quiet time.  Sat down, and as I was praying, felt like the Lord was telling me to wait until this afternoon to do it. Seriously? So I closed my bible and moved on to some chores.  Then our friend's facebook message came through. Struggled to find a verse for her. Then sat down to do my study and found this:  2 Corinthians 12:9 New International Version (NIV)  9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  Wow - Love that Jesus. "
In the middle of yesterday's discourse, this link got circulated.  She says "Dear mother, don’t worry about enjoying your life. Your life is hard; your life will be hard. That doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong—it means you’re doing it right."

Although I think He has been trying to tell me something personally, I think He is trying to tell us as moms something much bigger!  After all, He loves our kiddos more than we do or can or can compreshend and He entrusted them to us!  If that isn't a vote of confidence, I don't know what is.  He has given Brandon and I our most precious gifts to take care of - if He believes in my parenting skills, then who am I to second-guess him?  He is ENOUGH!

I've always been a bit of a perfectionist.  It has served me well.  I have always done well in school.  I excelled in Law School and landed a great job at a great firm with a GREAT salary.  I took pretty good pictures so I turned it into a profitable business.  But, perfection in parenting is useless and exhausting and did I mention useless ... He is enough!  His grace is enough for us.  On a good day, I get the laundry done, a semi-healthy, semi-homemade dinner on the table, a few sweet snuggles for my husband when he walks in the door, and two babies who are happy, fed, alive, and loved.  On a bad day, survival - food, water, and love.  When you think about it, that's not so bad! 

After all, tomorrow is another day and another journey!


1 comment:

  1. Nicely written....oh, so much truth in it all :) I will be sharing this post with my other momma friends! Love you friend!