The Aching Heart

I don’t have many words lately. When I sit to write, I think about people near to me, and my heart twists and aches. I think about the number of people around me who are hurting by life, and I ache for them. My heart just aches. Words escape me. So many people are hurting.  The answer isn’t simply introducing them to Jesus. Most of them have a relationship with Jesus. But life has brought pain: grief, divorce, depression, adultery, abuse, neglect, anxiety, and fear. Their hurt is deep. I find that my words just won’t work. I can’t fix it.   So, I have been praying a lot for those who are hurting. Because God knows how to heal and bring them to wholeness. He will never leave them. For those of you who are deeply hurting: Be encouraged today, friend, that you are not alone. The journey you are on right now might be tough. You might be wondering when the road will get smooth again. You might be hurting today, feeling like you will never heal. You will. God won’t let you stay broken and hurt. Give God your hurt, so He can begin to heal your heart. I encourage you to reach out to others to find support and encouragement as well.   Through social media, I have been challenging people to act outside their comfort zones. I call it Daring Monday. (#daringmonday) I have dared people to do things like call a friend, write a letter, or buy a drink for a stranger at lunch. This week, I dared people to pray for someone. It isn’t hard...

To You, Mama

To You, Mom: I want to talk to the Mamas out there. You know who you are. You feel like a failure. Yes, you. I see you. You’re holding back tears, trying to fold laundry, remembering that the kids need to be fed, and feeling overwhelmed. I see you. God sees you. You are not alone. Your value is not in completing to-do lists, or money, or well-behaved children. Your value is found in Christ. And He sees you as a beautiful daughter, full of life and joy. Christ sees you as complete, because He made you complete. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Whatever you do. Everything you do. Do it for Christ. And He sees it ALL. Cleaning toilets. Washing allllllllll those clothes. Sweeping floors. Wiping bottoms. Feeding mouths. Reading books. Washing dishes. Do it ALL for Christ. I had a day recently when I felt invisible — flat-out worthless. No one was listening. No one was picking up their messes. I was behind with laundry AND dishes. I watched my kids play, and I wanted to join in, but I held myself back. I felt my joy deplete as I thought about my mound of To-Do. It felt like that mound was going to swallow me up. I regret my attitude that day. I missed out. I resolved not to miss out again. My attitude changed, and today, while I felt overwhelmed at times, I stayed focused on Christ and working for Him. So, friend, I know where you are. It hurts....

Jumping with Faith

The little blonde girl with her tiny pony tail struggled on the terrain. The boulders were bigger than her little 2-year-old self, laid out end-to-end all around her. The space between some of the boulders were massive voids, with depths too deep to get into without injury. She didn’t look far ahead to determine which path was best. She plodded onward, facing the situations in front of her, tough as it was. The red-haired woman, leapt easily from one boulder to another. She was not thinking of the distance between most of them. The rocks were anywhere from 2-14 inches apart from one another. Jumping from one to the next was fun and easy. She looked ahead as she jumped, deciding which way was best to go. Her 34-year-old body was full of energy, joy, and ease. When the distance between rocks was too great, she simply stepped down one foot to the ground and stepped back up onto the next boulder. If there was water, she chose a different path to stay dry. The location remains the same, but the perspective is different. For my daughter, age 2, it was a tough journey. She’s small but so capable to do whatever challenges lie ahead of her. (Plus, she’s got 3 older siblings to follow, so she must do what she can to keep up!) For me, the mother, it was not a challenging journey. But, I’m much taller, with long legs, and good balance. She’s two. She’s determined, but the journey was tough. In the midst of this, I had a brief look into how God sees us. (How...

Warning: If You Have 2+ Children

“You should have warned me,” was the remark from a friend who had given birth to her fourth child recently. She was in the grocery store, pushing her cart of groceries, distracted at every turn. Her older two walked beside her, the oldest trying to help with the younger kids. Her second child was touching everything he could, talking nonstop and saying, “Hey, Mom, look at this!” Her third child was in the basket of the cart squeezing the bread, handling the eggs, and moving food around. The fourth, a baby, lay in his carseat, making noise as babies do. My friend looked frazzled, as moms sometimes do when they walk through aisles of a store. Here’s the secret about what moms are trying to accomplish on a trip to the grocery store: 1. Buy food that will nourish the family. (Don’t get me started on how difficult that can be!) 2. Keep peace with the children. When you have more than one, it is quite possible that an argument will occur at some point in the shopping trip. 3. Keep the environment in the store as peaceful as possible and not disturb other shoppers. It can be a stressful time for moms. The glares and comments can be overwhelming. The comment from my friend took me off guard. “You should have warned me.” I didn’t have time to ask her what she meant by it. Her kids required her to keep moving. Mine did as well. I’m sure she was   thinking something like, “Get me out of here -quick!”     I am the mother of four. Currently,...

Surviving Pee, Poop, and Puke

Surviving Pee, Poop, and Puke We were in a dimly-lit, quiet hospital room. Beautiful gifts lay around from the excited grandparents and friends who had visited. My dreams of having a little boy had come true, and I stood beside the crib, drinking in his handsome face. My husband joined me, leaning on the opposite side of the crib. The moment was pure joy. Suddenly, the two new parents, inexperienced and clueless, changed their first poopy diaper alone. I didn’t expect it when a beautiful sparkling stream of urine exploded from the baby, raised in a high arc out of the crib and onto the floor. My husband and I both took a step back, unsure of how to react at first. A split-second later, my mommy instincts kicked in and I used a clean diaper to catch the ceaseless stream. I cleaned up baby, changed his sheet, and cuddled him. If only I could have looked into the future about how many gross things would lay ahead. It was a mere two weeks later. My brother set up my living room with his professional equipment to photograph our new addition. It was the idea of someone to have the new daddy hold his naked baby on his bare arm for a perfect naked-baby-picture. In the middle of taking pictures, my beautiful new baby had rocket poop blast out and onto his daddy’s arm, shirt, and the backdrop. My poor husband, the new daddy, almost dropped our new little baby, because the event shocked and disgusted him. It wasn’t our first or last experience with such grossness. We added...

Forgiveness Part Two

Forgiveness Part Two   In the last post, I talked about forgiveness. I addressed what I go through when someone has hurt me. What about when I am the one who has hurt someone else? Don’t leave just yet! I’m not here to point fingers and tell you anything bad. I’m going to ask that you sit with me and be honest for a few minutes.   We all have done the hurting. Whether it was intentional or not, we have all said things in a mean way or had a tone of voice that was unacceptable. Rude. Cruel. Mean. We have all had times when we allowed that behavior to exude from our words and actions. I have had so many moments when I have said things that I should not have said. I argue with my husband about things that just do NOT matter. My desire in those arguments is to be RIGHT. I reject humility and grace so I can be “the winner” and RIGHT. How many times have I hurt my husband because of my lack of grace? How many times have my words cut deep into his heart? How many times? I have moments when I lose it with my kids. I have told them what NOT to do. Yet, they do it again and again. “I TOLD you to STOP hitting your sister!” “I TOLD you to stop hitting the ball against the wall!” Those times that I have displayed my impatience, my tone of voice has hurt my children’s hearts. It wasn’t my intention to hurt them, but I did. In these...

Forgiveness Part One

Forgiveness. One little word. And it can mean so much. It can also be one of the most difficult things to do. It is hard to extend grace to someone when you hurt. It is hard to forgive when the person hasn’t apologized. Or when they do apologize but they cause the same hurt to your heart over and over. Matthew West has a song called Forgiveness. One of the lines hits to the heart. “So let it go and be amazed To see through the eyes of grace. The prisoner that it really frees is you. Forgiveness.” I had never considered unforgiveness a prison cell. I had to ask myself, “Could I be a prisoner to unforgiveness?” I’m going to be honest with you: people close to me have hurt me. I ask God what to do, and I know immediately in my heart that I need to forgive. In those moments, I am so hurt that I tell God that awful word of rejection: “No.” It is just so difficult to let go of hurt. When I get hurt, I look to God and want the person who hurt me to immediately be judged for their meanness and ill behavior. Don’t we all expect a small bolt of lightning to come down and do its work? We expect the lightning bolt to get their attention, so they would come to their knees, ask for forgiveness, and never hurt us like that again. That’s the stuff of dreams. Sorry…? In reality most of the time when I have been hurt, nothing in way of apologies and formal forgiveness...

The Fire

My 7-year-old is smart, clever, and sharp as a tack. He doesn’t miss much. When adults are talking, he wants in. He wants to know what adults are saying, what everything means, and how things relate to his world.  (This description makes me picture an always-proper kid wearing glasses, button-up shirt, bow-tie, and neatly combed hair. That is not my son. He’s a typical 7-year-old boy who likes ridiculous jokes, gross things, and sports. He’s my Athlete.) One evening, I was cooking dinner as my Athlete was finishing up his homework nearby. I was cooking hamburgers in the oven. I had them under the broiler. It was pretty fatty meat, so the grease was splattering quite a bit. I checked on the burgers, thinking they should be getting close to done. When I opened the oven door, I was met with flames. Don’t picture this:   The flames were small, limited to the tray that the burgers were sitting on. It was a small flame. It was manageable. I knew exactly what to do. I didn’t panic. I just calmly said aloud to myself, “Oh my. I’ve got a fire.” Those words put my Athlete into action. He rose from his chair and said, “Whoa!” I wasn’t moving super fast. I was trying to get hot pads out and get the tray out of the oven. My Athlete watched quietly for a minute. Then he boldly and confidently said, “You have to cover it with something.” In my mind I said in a snippy tone, “I know! I’m getting to it!” But my lips stayed shut tight. I grabbed a nearby...

7 Games for Indoor Winter Play

I have kids that don’t sleep well. I mean, they have NEVER really slept well. So, my goal during the day is to wear them out. Worn out kids sleep better! (It’s true!) Also, when the kids are engaged doing something fun, they are happier. I endorse free play as well, but some days they need direction (and play with Mama!). It is hard to expel lots of energy in the winter, when the wind chill is -20 degrees F and all five of us are stuck in the house. So, here are some things that we do to burn off energy! 1. Play Hide-and-Seek You can do this with any child at any age. My 2-year-old plays and has been playing with us since she was a baby. I’m not saying she’s good at it, but she has a great time! Also, this game has been THE BEST way of teaching each of my kids to count to 30. My 2-year-old counts to 17 by herself. I don’t compare kids, but I think that’s pretty good! I also used to play this when my oldest was just a baby. We would just stay in one room. I would hide and call out to him and let him find me. It was fun! Truth be told: When I’m counting, I’m usually straightening up a room, putting dishes away, or folding some laundry. So, I feel productive, too.       2. Relay Races You don’t even need a lot of space for this one, so don’t let a small house keep you from doing it. The BEST part about...

Take Notice, Find Joy

Take Notice, Find Joy When you look around, what do you see? What do you NOTICE? Do you see: … the trees blowing in the breeze? … the smile of a really happy child? …the content sigh from a spouse? Do you only see: … laundry that needs to be finished? …dishes that have to be washed? …carpet that needs vacuumed? What exactly do you notice?   Things I Notice I’m a wife and a mom. I have four lively children. We have a household of six people, 1 dog, 1 cat, and a hamster. You could guess what I notice: endless laundry, endless dishes, crumbs on the carpet, something sticky on the kitchen floor, an argument between siblings that needs intervention, and a dog that needs to go out. It’s loud. It’s busy. It’s my life. I love it. You think I’m crazy. But I truly love all of it. I have bad days. We all do! But in all the chaos and busyness, I choose to notice small things that bring me JOY. I notice the laundry and I’m thankful for the abundance of clothing that my children have been blessed with. I notice the dishes and I’m grateful that we had meals that day, which requires me to cook and clean. I notice the crumbs on the carpet that was caused by one of my kids spilling a bowl of snacks, and I’m grateful for those snacks. I notice the sticky floor, because one of my kids decided to attempt getting their own juice or milk, which shows me how independent they are becoming. I notice the...

Busy mother of four. Wife to one. Creative. Insightful. Lover of music, sunsets, and laughter.

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This week, I'm linking up with some cool friends. Check it out and connect with some really amazing bloggers out there. They have great things to say and wonderful encouragement! Linking up: purposefulfaith.com   Thought-provoking-Thursday Dance With Jesus