When Mothering is Hard and No One Sees

This calling of motherhood is a service unlike anything else, where the privilege of giving life is tempered by a daily dying to self.

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When Mothering is Hard and No One Sees | Faith and Composition
Somewhere, in a house with walls and a roof very similar to the place you and I call home, there is a mother who wonders if she’s seen.

She wakes to a squalling baby, crying to nurse, or an older child (or two or four) demanding breakfast. She’s barely wiped the sleep from her eyes and has yet to pour a cup of coffee before diapers need to be changed and the dog must be let out.

Her job, nay her calling, begins before her feet even hit the floor. There is no commute to the office, no clocking in for motherhood. There is breakfast to tend, lunch boxes to pack, backpacks to gather. Urine-soaked sheets need stripping; there are dishes in the sink, and a pile of laundry litters the closet floor.

This isn’t a glamorous role, and no one is applauding her this morning.

This is a…

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It’s a Girl!

It’s not often one walks up on a cow in labor but yesterday was my lucky day! Typically, a laboring Mamma will seclude herself, but not this one. She was standing with the herd devouring the roll of hay, laboring away. Once the calf dropped, she had an audience, some even helped clean off the mucus. Hubby & I watched the entire birth. It was beautiful and nerve wracking all at the same time. Here, she’s trying out her new legs.

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TIME

This New Year’s gig seems to be coming around faster and faster, now.
Though I never want to go back in time, I’d sure vote to slow it down.
But, here we are again. I recently found this old post, as I was scrolling, and it’s exactly what I would write, today. Take the time it takes.  We are rushing through life. We think we have to have, have to do, have to keep up, have to move up, have to perform, have to be involved, have to over commit, have to keep appearances, have to, have to, have to….

In reality, all we really have to do is glorify the Lord with our lives. It may be something the world never sees. As a Christian, homeschooling mother I have to keep in mind that the seemingly insignificant acts of grace, mercy, kindness, servant-hood, prayer, meditation, and downright hard work that nobody will ever see are my glories to God, my offerings of obedience, my worship.

So again this year, I’ll  take the time it takes:  

*…to cultivate my intimacy with God. To know Him is to study His Word; to pray, and listen. I will never go wrong taking the time it takes to know Him intimately.

* …to love my children in a way that is love to them. I also want to take the time it takes to wait patiently and listen carefully for those words they don’t say.

*…to write. If I ever publish a book, it’ll be by God’s grace and in His strength, alone. I need time to pray.  Time to listen. Time to write.

* …to enrich friendships. The last year has defined friendship for me, personally. I’ve poured myself into half-hearted connections while authentic friendships waned. I’m going to take time for those who truly love me and not concern myself with those who don’t.

If I’m able to do any of this with some degree of success, I’ll call it a good year. We shall see.

What about you? What are you going to do with your time?

 

 

 

Wealth

“The thing that is precious in the sight of God is faith that has been tried. Tried faith is spendable; it is so much wealth stored up in heaven, and the more we go through the trial of our faith, the wealthier we become in the heavenly regions.” —  The Place of Help from the Quotable Oswald Chambers.

Eventually, one of the main thoughts that come crashing to mind when I face trials is the fact that God really never promised life would be a bowl full of cherries. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to hear this. He did say, however, “I came that you might have LIFE and have it more abundantly.” [John 10:10] But, oh what a twisted perception we have of this word. In our first-world life, abundantly means large quantities of stuff. Plenty.  Plenty of stuff. We are choking on our stuff.

I wonder how abundantly we would live if we truly had large quantities of God’s word flowing through our weak hearts on a frequent and consistent basis. If we had plenty of – Jesus.

I think our stuff would pale in comparison.
Abundant would take on a whole new meaning.
We would experience true wealth no man could fathom.

 

No Promises

The “world” says I am a Sagittarius.
According to the cosmic alignment of the moon, planets, and the timing of my birth, I’ve been labeled and categorized into a herd of late-November/December-born humans who are fiercely independent, free-spirited, and . . . aloof. Aloof? Really. Where do they come up with this stuff?

Apparently, we’re also embarrassingly blunt.
What’s intriguing is that it truly DOES take an act of God Almighty for me to say the right things at the right times. There is a time and place for my blunt, straight-up, no-holds-barred, real self and, to be honest, it has taken years and years of pain to get it [somewhat] right. I still don’t have it right. I’ll never get it right. Getting it “right” violates who I am to put it – bluntly. So while I cling to God trusting he will guide me, corral me, contain me, I know in my heart I won’t ever, ever, ever be meek & mild. That said, here’s some straight up truth about parenting.

We are not promised anything.

Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

You will pour your entire life into parenting. Some will sacrifice career advancement intentionally setting family as a priority. Others will forfeit a career, altogether. Oh, you’ll buy cute maternity clothes, you will study books, and blogs, and commentaries. Some will take birthing classes. You’ll contemplate hospital vs. home births and midwives.  You’ll rearrange budgets several times over and eventually come up with something that works well enough, at least for the moment. You will spend a small fortune on redecorating. You will pack and repack your bags too many months before the real labor day. You’ll take more pictures than a few devices can hold. You will spend countless sleepless nights either feeding/nursing, coddling, soothing, crying, or praying. Fatigue takes on a whole new, cruel meaning. Showers become a luxury. You vaguely remember life pre-newborn or what your Hubby looks like but both are fading fast. You will begin to resign to the fact that the clothes you have are good enough for another year. And, then another. Suddenly, your weekly haircuts, periodic manicures & pedicures don’t seem so important. You will pray over your children, pray for their future spouse, teach them about everything under the sun from finger motion Bible songs, body motion childhood praise songs, and pages upon pages of Bible verses to art history, famous missionaries, and world geography. You will  take them to VBS and spend thousands of dollars for them to go to camp every summer. You’ll sign them up for every noble activity that might augment and support your vision of building Christ-like character into your children. We teach. God do we ever teach. Hours upon hours of talking. And talking. And talking. Grasping at every teachable moment as if God only allows a specific quota. You trust God’s grace is sufficient for every bauble, every mishap, every failure. You set your life-goal to follow that seemingly lucid recipe for success.

Success. That “to glorify the Lord and enjoy Him forever” kind of success. The kind of success that stops our children in their tracks when sin and temptation come calling. Because, after all, we followed the formula for success, right?

Spoiler Alert: We are not guaranteed this kind of success.
There are no promises.  We buy all the expensive ingredients, mix them together in the most accurate proportions, and expect – success. I wish it were so. I wish – as an aging near-Titus 2 status woman of God – I could tell you how simple it really is: ” Just mix A + B very carefully, add a handful of God’s amazing grace, and you will get C.” Doesn’t always happen this way. You know why? Because in spite of every tried & true formula, our kids are still sinners in dire need of a Savior. Yes, even our Christian kids.

But you know what? The real “success” lives out in you and me, the parents. Real success – that God-honoring success – is in how we respond to trials, how we  respond to disappointment, how we process anger, hurt, sadness, and betrayal. How we – love. If we are truly Christ-followers, love is the answer to every question.

The parenting life. It’s really not about our kids, at all.
It’s about God molding, shaping, changing, transforming us into His likeness. It’s really all about how WE  “glorify the Lord and enjoy Him forever….”

Weeds

No formal church service for me or the Farmer, yesterday.
But, oh how the Lord teaches me His truths straight from the garden.
As I tilled the long 100+ ft. rows, I had ample time to ponder  –  weeds.

*What happens when they are allowed to take root.

*What happens after they take root and begin to grow.

*And then, what happens when they have taken over, completely.

Jesus told parables in such a way that were simple, yet profound. The Word is not hard to understand, in fact it’s almost too simple for highly intelligent First World trend-setters such as ourselves.

Weeds.

Did you know that if soil is prepared properly; plowed, tilled, cultivated at just the right time there’s a good possibility a garden could be . . . weedless? Yes. Without weeds. No weeds. You heard me, correctly. Timing, preparation, forethought, and planning are key. Weeds are simply not allowed to take root if soil is cultivated consistently. But, this takes time. Commitment. Discipline.

However, if the Farmer (& his wife) become lazy in cultivating the soil early on leaving the rows to themselves for any length of time, tiny sprouts begin to take root and, though they seem harmless, they grow exponentially. Since they’re small and low to the ground, they are mostly a nuisance at this point, just a minor distraction. They could easily be snuffed out once the Farmer runs the tiller through the rows where the fresh rich soil mounds up and covers them.

Then, the most concerning stage of weeds is when they’ve taken over the garden completely. They tower over the Farmer’s good plant keeping the SUN from shining on it. They’re so big at this point they compete with the good plant for water and nourishment from the soil. At this stage, it’s quite possible the good plant could shrivel and die.

I couldn’t help but relate this simple garden principle to our daily lives.
Life is full of weeds, isn’t it?

If we’re not carefully tending to our own fields with the Word, we allow the weeds of life to take root. What are your weeds? Busy-ness? Unrealistic expectations? Control? Perfection? Excessive/Compulsive financial gain? The need to keep up with the Joneses? Worry and Doubt? Dysfunctional family and/or friends? Meaningless distractions? (Think: social media) Sin? At first we don’t even notice them. We continue to “grow” our lives and bear good, yet stressed, fruit. We hardly even know they’ve taken root.

But as weeds begin to grow, our garden of life becomes crowded. We’re agitated, frustrated, frazzled, and overwhelmed because the weeds are beginning to cause some discomfort. We learn to live with them not even realizing they’re taking over. We justify them and re-arrange our lives around them. We actually “settle in” thinking we can co-habitate with our weeds!

But …..

Weeds don’t stop. They actually take over to the point that we can no longer see the Son. They have sucked us dry and any hope of nourishment from the soil is nil. Weeds are selfish. They are no respector of persons, …or feelings…or schedules….or goals. Weeds just do what they do best: Grow with no purpose, deplete life, and eventually – potentially – destroy any hope of good fruit.

Where are YOU today?

Are you cultivating your soil? Preparing, planning, looking ahead? Knowing the weeds are there, but committed to keep them from taking root?

Or, are they growing and you’ve become accustomed to living with them. Are you trying to ignore the fact that, one day, they will take over?

Finally, perhaps your life has been taken by the weeds of life.
You are choking.
You are thirsty.
You need good food. Nourishment.
You are shriveled up and can’t even see the Son.
If so, let me tell you something very important about weeds.
They have very short roots. They are not deep.
They are incredibly simple to pull up.
Weeds make a big – selfish – show but are basically useless.

Oh friend,
Just pull them up. They are NOTHING.
They produce NO good fruit. They are a nuisance.
They cause pain, heartache, frustration, confusion, and needless brain clutter!
Give yourself a big ol’ bucket of Living Water.
Throw some nourishment on the soil of your life and point your face towards the SON!

THIS is the path that leads to LIFE.

“But the one who received the seed that fell on the good soil is the man who hears the Word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.”

Matthew 13: 23 

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The Road Back from Hell

My Coming Out Party – Part II

I was at the very end of my rope. In all honesty, I was dangling by the  small, wiry threads that come unraveled at the end of the rope. I had lived for nearly seven years with weird, unexplainable, undiagnosed, crazy, physical symptoms. My body seemed to be shutting down, physically. It’s the only way I know how to describe it. I remember the day so vividly when I realized that I could no longer walk to the pond; some 300 yards, away. I knew my days were numbered as to how long I’d be able to walk the pasture with my husband as he managed, surveyed, and observed the cattle. My gardening days appeared to be over. Every year had only gotten worse. Though we worked hard and walked all over this farm, my endurance and strength continued to decline. I truly wondered if I had MS. My soul mourned a vast amount of scenarios. I’d cry myself to sleep wondering how long I had to live. Thankfully, since I’d been a psychology major in college, and mental health and behavioral science was my thing, I was still aware enough to know that I needed help. I had cried, pondered, & wondered enough. I had Googled and researched dead ends enough. I had trusted mainstream medicine enough. I refused to accept the anti-depressant/anti-anxiety band-aids. I was not thriving. I wanted my life back.

As I faced another day of heart palpitations, debilitating weakness, dizziness, and weird, hard-to-explain, sensations in my brain, I finally reached out to a private online group hosted by STOP THE THYROID MADNESS which is also the title of a book written by thyroid patient advocate Janie Bowthorpe. Within minutes, people from all over the country chimed in with answers to my mysterious symptoms. At that moment, I realized I was not alone. I was not losing my mind. I was not crazy. I was a thyroid patient in desperate need of proper treatment.  That very day, May 18th, 2013, was the day I became my own advocate.

The days, weeks, and months that followed were filled with knowledge way too big for me. I am absolutely NOT into healthcare and medicine. I write. Subject-Verb Agreements and proper grammar matter to me. It takes/has taken an exorbitant amount of time for me to wrap my brain around the HPA Axis, labwork ranges, and cellular metabolism. But, for the first time, I had real words for what I was feeling.

Air Hunger.

Brain Fog.

Heart palpitations.

Tachycardia.

Adrenal Dysfunction.

It was a slow kill. That’s what Synthroid does. It’s a T4-only hormone when our bodies, as God designed them, require T1, T2, T3, and T4. Highly educated scientists, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies believe (and want you to believe) that T4 hormone replacement/supplement will convert to T3 by way of the liver thus providing the vital, life-supporting, T3 brain food our bodies need. In some cases, it does, at least for a while. When it doesn’t  alllll sorts of havoc begins to take place along the hormone highway, as I’ve now dubbed it. There’s no way I could go into the details of cell conversion, HPA Axis, consequent adrenal dysfunction, sex hormone roles, and the plethora of vitamin & mineral deficiencies in one blog post. It’s just too big. There are several terrific websites out there where detailed information is already available and very well written.

Within a month of chatting with the members of the STTM support group, I made the hard decision to step out of my comfort zone and switch to Armour Thyroid. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE! It has literally changed my life. I will elaborate in later journal entries. For now, what’s most important for you to know is this: When something isn’t right, it isn’t. Trust yourself. Don’t allow a few letters behind a person’s name dictate the course of your life. I trusted mainstream medicine because I thought they knew better than me. That blind trust was sending me to an early grave. I’m on the way back from hell. I can see LIFE just ahead.

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