Monthly Archives: May 2015

I’m sick. I think I have GMS – Guilty Mom Syndrome

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A classic picture that you may be able to relate to

A classic picture that you may be able to relate to

I write at the risk of everyone shaking their heads at me in disbelief and possibly judgment. Then again, I might find that some of you relate to what I’m about to say. So I’m going to write to those who may need the encouragement that I have been given in this one area. Being a mom.

We just celebrated Mother’s Day, and I can’t get this nagging thought out of my mind. It’s been there for about the last 2 weeks. Are my kids missing out on something because I’m their mom? 

Ugh. I said it, so now it’s out there. I hate to admit that the reason I ask myself this question is because of comparison to other moms. It’s true, as much as my little heart knows it’s dangerous, I can’t help but compare myself to this friend or that friend in how she parents her children. It doesn’t help that most of the Facebook posts and conversations are only part of the story, and usually the best part. And no matter how many times I hear someone say that I’m the mother that God has chosen for my children, I still worry that I’m not doing such a great job at being a mom.

Part of my difficulty has been that I’m a very serious person by nature. That sometimes equates to “I’m not fun” in my mind. And children are natural have-funners (or fun-havers?)! So you see how my thought process goes: I’m not fun. My children learn by having fun. Thus my children are not learning OR having fun. Someone slap me out of this mess! (not really though, I’m also not a very tough momma)

Another difficulty for me (as I’ve already mentioned in a previous post) is that I am not an “insta-mom”. You know those women! They’re the ones who dreamed of being a mom ever since they were little girls. And to top it off, when they become a mom, they’re just naturally good at being one (well what I think being “good” is anyway…and that is fun).

All I’m really getting at is that I can get so easily discouraged that I’m not doing the best thing for my kids. Sure I may be good at teaching math or reading. Maybe I am good at being consistent in discipline and in our schedule. But what about having fun? I can quickly resort to thinking that my kids will be somehow deficient because I’m not doing enough to make their childhood something really great.

Then I hear the whisper.

If any of you lacks wisdom…

Ahhh…yes. Thank you James (1:5). That’s much better thinking. If I’m feeling insecure or even inadequate, I need to ask God for whatever it is I think I lack. He richly supplies me with the things I need (Philippians 4:19).

The only other thing I have to ask myself is, honestly, not pleasant. Are there areas in my parenting that are lacking because I’m being lazy? Am I misplacing my priorities? Do I really need to check facebook every few hours or play candy crush when there’s a lull in activity (or whatever it is that you fill your day with)? Do I need to clean those dishes right now? Or do that laundry at this moment?

Please hear me when I say, this is not meant to guilt you. I’m not trying to shame myself either. Those are legitimate questions that we can ask ourselves to determine if we’re wasting away our days on things that don’t make an eternal difference. What did I do with the time I’ve been given? I just want to be sure that I’m not neglecting time spent with my kids because I’ve got a selfish agenda of my own.

On the other hand, if you do feel guilty in this area, it’s good to remember that every mom needs a break every now and then. Those little people can be what bring you the most joy at times, but you’ve got to be honest that they can also make you want to tear out your hair. I think the adage is true: distance can make the heart grow fonder. So take a break by going to a mom’s group or a bible study with childcare! Go on dates with your hubby! Go get a manicure. Hide in your closet with that chocolate bar while they’re occupied with their own game/activity. Just do something that helps you to feel like a normal human being so you can get back in the game with those little people without feeling your blood pressure rise too swiftly!

The other thing to keep in mind is that you’re not going to have picture perfect pinterest days every day. I have the hardest time with this! I would love for everything to go my way all the time, and when it doesn’t (which is often) I either get angry or really discouraged. There is redemption hidden in the ugly mess. It doesn’t hurt your kids to see you mess up because they’re going to mess up and need to see how to handle it well. The question is, are you handling it well? Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. I guess we ought to make it count though when we do get it right! I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my oldest say (at the most random times, I might add), “You know, sometimes bad things happen and that’s okay, we just move on” (or something to that effect). It also doesn’t hurt us to mess up! One of the biggest blessings in this life is to encounter trials because it means we become more aware of our need for God. This means refinement for my character. It means humility. Brokenness.

To be broken only to be made whole.

Laying down your life to gain it.

It seems so backwards.

You know what’s interesting? I am so afraid of how my kids will remember me. Will they remember all the times I raised my voice in frustration for the question asked one too many times? Will they remember the times I was busy and they had to play by themselves?

He whispers again.

Do not worry about your life…

This is what my son wrote for Mother’s Day:

mothersday

I guess he remembers that I’m fun. 🙂 And I guess this makes me realize I don’t need to be so hard on myself.

And neither do you.

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The Pursuit and the Treasure

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treasure-chest

that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

Why am I ever surprised at how good God is? Don’t get me wrong, I rather like being surprised in my joy for Him. He is a treasure that will never be fully known or discovered. This in itself is a very good thing because it means He is vast (Psalm 145:3) and beyond me (and I can put my trust in this One who is greater than me.). This also means He is eager for us to know Him, and He reveals Himself constantly (Jeremiah 24:7; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12; Romans 1:20; 2 Timothy 3:16), giving us the opportunity to be stricken with sheer joy and wonder as we enhance our picture of God. He shows us hues of blues and purples contrasted with the brilliant oranges and yellows. May you have moments where you find yourself utterly broken and at a loss as to how to express your love and gratitude for Him because of your realization about some new treasure hidden in Christ. It brings me to tears just thinking about it. I could tarry here forever…

This is exactly where I found myself today. I love it when God brings to memory an area in my life that was so difficult in the past, that I prayed earnestly for, not knowing how it would pan out, and shows me how He brought me through it and into a more beautiful place than I could ever imagine for myself (and what blows my mind even further is the thought that this beautiful place in which I find myself now is nothing compared to what’s to come!). It’s just so hard when you’re in that difficult season to see past the trial and to trust the One who stands with you in it. I’ve been there and no doubt will be there again. I hate those times yet am grateful for them after they pass. I love the closeness I feel to Him in those seasons, even though it is often mingled with frustration and fear and doubt. I am quick to despair that the season will never end, giving up hope that my situation can even be helped. I find myself being a Little Faith One. It’s in those times that He swoops in with the gift of faith, helping me to trust in Him though everything says it doesn’t make sense to believe He will make it right.

But not today.

Let me fill you in on my treasure discovery. I am an introvert who masquerades as an extrovert but is supremely awkward at times because of my shyness (or else I’m self conscious that I’m awkward which makes me even more awkward? It’s a vicious cycle folks.). I have always felt like it was hard for me to make friends because of this. This is one reason why it was so hard for me to leave our home in Oklahoma to follow God in a new journey. You mean I have to make new friends? Start all over again? This fear nearly matches my crippling fear of having to sing in public, I kid you not. So I had to mentally prepare myself for the long haul. I knew that it would take me about 8-10 years to make friends again, and that meant I would just have to be patient. May I first say that my family members are definitely my closest friends and my Oklahoma friends were just a phone call away, so I have never been truly alone. But there’s something about having girlfriends that I can meet with, and their kids can play with my kids. It just brings joy on a whole different level. Fast forward to today. I’m sitting in my living room, surrounded by five amazing women and about 400 kids (okay so I exaggerate, but there were a lot of kids!), and it occurs to me that I have friends. Good friends. And this was His gift to me just because He’s good.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.  Psalm 84:11

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

Please hear me when I say that it is NOT true that I only find Him good when He gives me things that feel good to my little heart. He could have left me with no friends at all. But He didn’t. I found Him good even in those times when I felt like I’d never make any friends because I knew that He was near to me, well acquainted with my grief and need for friendship. I knew that He could satisfy any needs I had. He just happened to do that with friends this time. He doesn’t withhold good from us, and the “good” can come in many forms.

You wonder what exactly the treasure is that I found? It’s His goodness and His love that pursues me with such determination, making me aware that I am His treasured daughter. I wonder if He does it for His own joy? Does He not find joy in seeing His children relish in His love? Seeing them enjoy Him? How could you not love Him? You see, the treasure isn’t the gifts He gives, although I would argue that these friends are treasures! The treasure is always Him.

What treasures have you found in Christ? Are you even looking? He’s worth the pursuit! I love how Tozer so articulately writes about the depths of God:

To have found Him and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love. A.W. Tozer.

Watch as He outpursues you while you are in hot pursuit of Him! He just won’t be outdone.

The Flow of the Gift

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Gift receive

I kinda feel like I should apologize for my lack of posting in a verrrrrry long time. I fell into a rut, and I think I’ve finally climbed back out of it with some boosts from beneath. You see, I have so many thoughts about so many different things, that I could literally post something every day. It may be only one sentence, but sure enough, I could fill up a quota for the whole week. But my problem is that I don’t want to give anyone fluff. I guess that’s not a problem though. You don’t need FLUFF! (unless it’s in the form of whipped bubbles, because who doesn’t like playing with foamy bubbles?) What you need is God. And I need Him. In fact, I am a complete mess without Him.

So all of these thoughts, where are they? I certainly haven’t filled this blog with most of them. Here’s the rut: I began thinking that what I’ve had mulling over in my mind is not that important. In the grand scheme of things, I realize I am a drop in the bucket, no one of significance. But here’s the catch. In God’s kingdom, there’s no such thing as an insignificant person. Truly, He’s the most wonderful God for so many reasons, but to think that He gave every believer gifts so that we can all benefit one another is absolutely amazing. It’s Grace. Each one has a role to play. Each one is significant. And it’s because He says so, not the world, and not me.

What’s a girl to do with the gift? I can tell you what NOT to do. The gift was not given to wear as a badge for all to see how great YOU are (or how great I am). At Christmas time, when you receive a stellar gift, you wouldn’t immediately begin boasting about how wonderful of a person you are for having received such an amazing gift. No, you (hopefully) would immediately and profusely thank the one who gave you the gift. In fact, you might feel very humbled at receiving such a nice gift whether it was because of the extremely high cost or of the high value placed on the gift. No, the gift is not for use to puff us up. It’s meant, first, for His glory.

Likewise, the gift was not meant for you or me to keep for ourselves. Whether or not you do this out of fear or out of selfishness, the fact remains that this gift was meant for the greater good. Not for me to set it aside. It’s meant, secondly, for the edification of His church.

Let me tell you something. When you belong to God, He’s prepared good works for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). He is the Giver of all good things (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17). In fact, I’ve come to realize that He gives way more than I ever imagined! Seriously take some time to think about the things He gives, just in the spiritual sense (I’m not even talking about material things). You have a unique personality with unique gifts of the Spirit, and then on top of that, as you abide in Christ, He also produces fruit of the Spirit in you. You could in theory always be overflowing with God’s grace to others because of the way He’s poured His grace into you. A constant flow from the Father to you to others, resulting in His glory, flowing right back to Him.

What’s holding you back in living out these good works which God prepared for you and equipped you to fulfill (2 Peter 1:3)? Many times it’s just believing that it’s true! Will you believe God’s word about yourself and about Him? May I encourage you today that you are an important member in God’s kingdom, designed to edify His church and bring Him glory. Think of all the times you’ve needed to know you are loved, and someone calls you up just to chat. That was Him, using one of His people, to show you love. Or the time you felt like a failure in any area of life, and a random person “just happens” to tell you how good you’re doing in that very area. It blows my mind that all of this that is for His glory actually benefits us too in the process! Only this gracious God could make it so. To be so jealous for His name and glory while still managing to bless us as we seek to bring Him this glory is truly a thing of beauty and grace. Do you see what I mean by His lavish gift giving?

Here’s your pep talk then. You feel like telling someone you admire her courage in speaking up about her faith but you think it’s might sound silly. Do it anyway. You never know when you might be His voice to that bride of Christ.

You feel like telling that girl who is always dressed so beautifully that she is beautiful and reflects Him but you think it might be awkward. Do it anyway. Be the voice.

You feel like helping out behind the scenes but you think that they don’t need your help or that it won’t make a difference. Do. it. anyway. Use the gifts.

Whatever it is that you feel like or you know you should be doing, do it! What’s flowing into you and how can you pour it out as a beautiful offering back to the One who gave it?

P.S. If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I refer to “gifts” that are spiritual in nature, feel free to visit this website to learn more about spiritual gifts: http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/.