Monday, December 7, 2015

The mom my daughter sees

The holidays are a notorious time for me.  They often make me sad.  I long to feel them like a child, and not like a responsible adult. Today was one of those days.  I walked around my house thinking of all the things I am not.  I walked around wishing I had more self control, wishing I was better and I even thinking I am not good enough.
Then I had an epiphany.  I stopped and thought, oh my gosh I sound like my mother!   The thing about my mom is this, she is partly cloudy with a chance of  hurricane.  She can not see the good when it quite literally lands in her lap.  She has spent so long thinking of all that could go wrong, she has missed all the things that can go right.  You see a few years ago I read this blog that said something like, watch what you say in front of your daughters because your daughters want to be you when they grow up.  I never wanted to be like my mom. *** Disclaimer, my mom is a talented and very accomplished woman.  She has achieved many things almost completely by her own ambition.  However, she has never celebrated her accomplishments she has only focused on those things about herself she doesn't like. As a result, I never wanted to be like her. ( I just know she is going to read this and miss the bold and underlined section, and think I am condemning her, when I am not.)
As I walked through the house today finding fault in myself, criticizing and rethinking decisions I've made, having a mini melt down, Brent stood there trying to help.  He gave me words of encouragement, that were met with anger and a leave me alone attitude.  He looked at me and told me how much he loved me, and I stood there and thought how can you love a mess like this? I realized that I was repeating the celebration of condemnation.  I was laying a foundation for the things my daughter Mackenzi will hate about me or worse think she is, because she is mine.  She still looks at me and says things like you are the best mommy ever.  I love you and I want to be just like you when I grow up.  If all sher hears me say is that I am fat or not good at this or that, then what will she take in?
The Bible is clear on condemnation.  Romans 8:1 says: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" 

As a mom, I am constantly thinking what am I doing to her?  Or She is going to need therapy because I said or did this or that.  I've look at her and pray these desperate prayers, please Lord, don't let me ruin her.  Let me remember she is yours first, and that no matter what I do, you have control in her life.  Lord, let me not stand in the way when she has a lesson to learn.  Being mom is exhausting, on top of all the other things we have to keep track of.

It is so easy to get caught up in the desire of perfect living. I am not delusional enough to think that anything that I do could be perfect.  I would like to feel as though some things I do are great, instead of feeling like all the things I do are ok, just enough to pass.  I have said in my blogs before that I am atrociously flawed.  I am haunted by the Proverbs 31 way of life.  The model by which we church women aspire to be.  It is easy to read it and feel the weight of inadequacy, and think I am not accomplishing enough.  It is easy to get lost in the verses and pick apart all the things I am not,  and all the things I don't want to do. Someone once told me that Proverbs 31 represented seasons in a woman's life and it was not a directive for everyday.   I am not sure that theory is biblically accurate, but upon review I find that I am not failing completely and that I can claim a few verses. 
Proverbs 31:Mixed Verses

A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.            

12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
Today, I witnessed my husbands confidence in me, and I did him no harm, regardless of how much I wanted to.
14She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
Today, I went to HEB with the rest of the world, by the time I was done it felt like I had been afar on a ship of crazies.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
Today, I paid bills, and made sure there was money left over for groceries next week.  I stayed up late so I could write this blog in attempt to make me feel more productive.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Today, I've been in the word, and application of the Bible helps me feel wise, secure, not alone in my journey, and encouraged.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Today I have not watched tv.

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I can honestly say, I believe beauty is fleeting and so is youth!  I do fear the Lord, and I honor Him, for giving me His word of encouragement to remind me I am not what I think I am sometimes.

The thing is that this life really is not about me, while sometimes in this mood, it feels like it is all about me and my failures and flaws.  The truth is this life is about God, and others.   The Bible is full of examples of the blessing found in serving and loving others in the midst of being a flawed and feeling insecure.  Often in the Bible when the main character of the story is most scared, lost or afraid, the biggest impact is made for God. 

With that in mind, I am the mom in my story who often feels lost, scared, and unsure of the way I am raising and the decisions I am making for my kid.  I am the character God is using to develop her story, I am the person who must show her that on the other side of the flaws, there is a blessing in obedience to God and His calling on my life.  His calling is for me to be the mother of Mackenzi, whom He gave to me.  He gave her to me knowing I am not perfect, but I am the one He has called, the one she needs, and she needs me just the way I am.  She needs me to not get worked up in all that I am not, but to show her all that Jesus is through me.  He designed me to show Mackenzi that my flaws are just stepping stones building a faith and a life dependent on Jesus for my true needs and for her true needs.

The world continues and the demands from the world continue, and I am going to continue and remember that condemnation is not of God.  That God loves me enough to leave me His words of love and encouragement for times when I feel like this.  He is constantly refining me, and  growing my walk, showing me ways to love more abundantly, honestly, and Godly.  That love not only applies to others, but I am reminded that I am loved that way by Him as well. He has called me just as I am.  Let that sink in, just as I am, not asking me to be anything more, but asking me to trust in Him for whatever more I need.
 As life continues, I want to encourage the other moms out there.  Don't get stuck being the flaws that scream at you in the mirror or in your head, but be encouraged, that God calls you to be mom, JUST AS YOU ARE.  Embrace it, have a bad day, but don't stay stuck there, be who you are and let Jesus do the rest.  If he can take a few fishes and loaves and feed thousands he can take you and give you what you need.  Ladies, today I ask you to be the mom that your daughter (son) sees.

This is my mindset, now let me  hear yours!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Prayers and Mama Ramblings

I find myself sitting here tonight on the heels of rushing through homework and dinner so my husband and daughter could make their first basketball practice.  I have been gifted with a rare night alone.  I have almost 2 whole hours.  While typically I would try and watch a TV show that is neither a cartoon or a kid friendly show, I find myself reflecting on all the goings-on in life.

Thanksgiving has just past and we are headed full steam into Christmas. Parties, concerts, gifts, and gatherings all pulling everyone in a mad frenzy to end the year well.  In my precious alone time I find myself lost in prayer asking the Lord for meaning.  As I write that, I want to clarify, I do not need definition.  I am defined by my Father in heaven who loves me and calls me to love.  This frenzy, this time, I need to remind myself of the meaning and purpose, because in the hustle and bustle it all seems to get jumbled.  I find myself praying that the things I do, still reflect Christ.  Lord, help me to glorify you in my actions and words.  Lord, help me to teach my daughter to know her worth in you.  This is a  desperate prayer bogged down by the sounds of a retail Christmas where, "Every Kiss Begins with Kay."  This is a cry out, how am I going to keep myself and family from being swept up in the intoxication of Amazon and it's impending 2 hour same day delivery?  I ask the Lord open my eyes to see the details you need me to see.

Then I see it.  Everyone knows the story of the manger, and the humble beginnings, of a baby King, celebrated by angels.

Luke 2:10-14
1The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. 11 Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. 12 This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box. 13 Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:  14 “Give glory to God in heaven,  and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.” 

Jesus the baby came as a gift for all people, to forgive sins.  How am I celebrating Jesus?  Am I inviting those with no place to come in, even into a barn?  (Technically yes, because we actually do have an Uncle living in our barn.  This story is for another time.)  Am I greeting people with love?  Am I celebrating God's Glory and goodness?  Have I experienced God's peace?

What an interesting concept in these verses about the birth of Jesus, that the phrase, " let there be peace among the people who please God." A this time of year, there seems to be no peace for those who celebrate Christmas.  As I cry out Lord, don't let me be swallowed by the business of Christmas busyness.  

Tonight I stop, in my two hours of alone time and reflect on how I want to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus.  Do I want to be seduced by the smell of cinnamon and the lure of a good sale, or do I want to be have the peace of God fill me to content?  My silly side says, I want both (add Maniacal Laugh Here).  In reality I want peace.  I want peace on Earth.  I want goodwill to all men.  I want the peace that passes all understanding.  I want the comfort of not owing more than I can afford after Christmas. I want to look at my child and know that she knows that Christmas is about Christ, and that true gifts are found in good character and service to others.  This is my prayer, not exactly my reality yet, but it is certainly my prayer.

In closing I pray that this Christmas there will be peace.  Peace among men.  Peace in the midst of the broken hearted.  Peace for the widows, orphaned, and alone.  I pray for the peace of God's sweet sovereignty to reign in our hearts and homes.

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours.

PS.  I know it has been quite sometime since I wrote anything, I hope that you enjoy my thoughts outloud!