July 9, 2017
I would have thought that over thirteen years into the gig, I would have this motherhood thing down by now. That somehow through the years and the kids, I would have it all together. The boys would immediately obey and never argue, fuss, or fight. After school moments would be filled with homemade cookies and giggles as we discussed the day’s events and relaxed in our spotless house. Oh, we know it’s all an exaggeration, but isn’t that what we imagine before the real life happens?
Surprise! Motherhood is often a mess.
Life, love, mess. Package deal. Sure, you start as a cute little pregnant lady basking in the glow of expectancy. But let’s face it, by month seven, you can’t see your toes and your emotions are blubbering all over the place. It doesn’t end at birth. That’s the beginning.
Birth? Hello, mess.
Face it. Raising kiddos isn’t exactly a neat process.
Newborns…welcome to the world of spit up.
Infants…um, this diaper’s leaking.
Toddlers…two year olds, enough said.
Fast forward to the teen years and start buying deodorant in bulk.
Mamas, we know messes. And we also know that sometimes you just have to embrace them.
Several nights ago, we plopped down in our creaky hand-me down chairs in the kitchen. The stained tablecloth was simply an attempt to cover the table’s scratches. We filled our plates with leftovers and contents of the way-back parts of the freezer. Piecing meals together in the summertime is a must. Who wants to go to the grocery store with three boys in tow?
That evening, I longed for conversation and manners. What I received were weird noises accompanied by dirty fingernails grabbing for the last dinner roll. But there were also lots of laughs and moments to savor.
Mothering is about loving them through the messes.
Some days, it’s helping them find a pair of socks under the pile of laundry. On other days, it’s pushing the stack of dishes aside to bake their favorite muffins. It’s leaving the pile of papers to show them that mama can still score on them in basketball.
Loving them in spite of the mess.
But it’s not just the disarray found on the playroom floor or the red dirt on the khaki pants or the sucker sticks in the minivan. Not just those messes. We all have Pinterest boards dedicated to stain removal, cleaning hacks, and odor blocking sprays.
It’s the mess that happens when an imperfect mom gives her all to raising imperfect kids.
It’s the potty mouth and the name-calling.
And the words you never imagined you could say to the ones you love so much. The syllables you wish you could pull back in even as they cross your lips.
It’s the anxiety concerning the decisions they’ll make.
And heavier, the guilt of the ones you’ve already made.
It’s the sound of little people who won’t listen.
And louder, the sound of my own voice raised in anger.
It’s the tears and snot resulting from boo-boos, hurt feelings, and tantrums.
And your own tear-stained eyes and worn-out knees from begging the LORD for His grace as you parent.
It’s the frazzled edges, fevers, fears, and failures.
IT IS A MESS.
But it’s a beautiful mess.
There are handmade cards with backwards letters and misspelled words.
There are forts, complete with every pillow and blanket, bonding brothers together.
There are snuggles that happily interrupt all to-do lists.
There are looks of forgiveness your teenager offers in spite of your mistakes.
There are heart palpitations when your son scores a goal in his soccer game.
There are tears of thankfulness to the Creator who entrusted you with these little people in spite of your own imperfections.
So as messy as life may appear, perhaps I do have something about this Mom thing down. Rough around the edges? Yes. Stained and smelly? At times. But my goal is clear: I’m an imperfect mom pointing imperfect kids to a Perfect Savior.
Because I want them to know that no matter the mess they’re in, they have a mama who can manage a mess. But they have a Savior who makes masterpieces.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9
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July 3, 2017
Am I the only one who is not in the mood to cook? I’m guessing it’s summer and the heat. Or maybe a serious lack of a schedule. Whatever it is has me completely over the idea of planning a meal, much less fixing it. Give me a sandwich or a salad every night until September and I’ll be happy.
But these kids and the hubby. They like to eat. And one of their favorite kinds of meals is a build-your-own-type. So I’m sharing one their most requested meals…Nacho Ordinary Nachos. (Okay, I just made up that name.)
This doesn't qualify as a recipe, it's simply a little inspiration when you are fresh out of ideas.
Gather the ingredients and let everyone concoct their own creation.
Here’s what we typically have:
*Tortilla Chips (the only non-optional ingredient)
*Steak, cooked (I try to buy the thinnest cut possible.)
*Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
(Yes, you can have cheesed dip AND shredded cheese
in the same dish.)
*Lettuce and tomato (I’ve listed these together because if your
children are like mine, they will skip both. You may only need a little
*Mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
*Onions, chopped and sautéed
*Guacamole and/or avocado (Get both if you have an avocado lover in
Grilled chicken or ground beef are great substitutes for the steak. You could skip the meat altogether and use black beans.
If you’re feeling ambitious, serve some grilled corn on the side. (I like to cut mine off the cob and put it on my nachos.) If not, move on without it. Salsa counts as a vegetable during the summer!
Build your meal and crunch away. Enjoy the extra time you’ve gained from prepping a simple supper!
What's your go-to simple meal? Share with us! We could all use a little inspiration.
May 14, 2017
It was one of those mornings when I was home alone and piddling around the house…sorting laundry, unloading the dishwasher, trying to find a system to organize the one million pieces of paper that had made their way onto the kitchen bar.
I walked into the living room just in time to catch the last minute or so of a maternity fashion segment on a morning show. The mom-to-be I saw on the screen was absolutely radiant. But as my eyes focused on the TV, this woman who looked completely together, began to sway as her knees buckled. Within seconds, she fell, albeit gracefully, to her knees as the show’s hostess tried to help before the entire segment broke to a commercial.
Upon the return of the show, the hostess reassured me and the rest of the stunned audience that mom-to-be was fine as she patted her now-seated back. As a TV pro, she then cleverly wrapped it all with a comment about how the incident clearly models being a mom, “You have no control! Welcome to motherhood!”
Preaching it on a Friday morning! I quietly testified to her “out of control” statement as I looked at my living room, scattered with football cards, leftover Easter baskets, crumpled socks, and a gigantic toy airplane that doesn’t seem to fit on any shelf.
Messes are minor chaos that make me want to pull out my hair, but that’s not what brings me to my knees. It’s the times when I do feel out of control about motherhood that I fall before Him. Times when I fret. Times when I question. Times when I fall short. Times when I just have to wonder how this whole thing is going to turn out.
“Lord, show me. Please show me some fruit of my labor.” I’ve begged the Lord to show me that the mothering is worth it. That one day they will remember the lessons that I’ve uttered and repeated. And the values that I’m striving to model. That I’m not completely ruining my kids’ lives when I lose my temper. That they won’t fulfill every. single. one. of the fears the world throws at mamas. That an imperfect mom can point to a perfect Savior.
So this Mother’s Day weekend, can we relax? Okay, not too much relaxing. Someone has to wash the breakfast-in-bed dishes and wipe up the marker smudges from the homemade cards. But can we rest? Rest even though we may not exactly deserve that “Best Mom Ever” label we’ll receive, but in knowing that we are the handpicked mamas for these kids we’re raising.
And whether we find ourselves in a good stride, radiating joy or on our knees wiping up milk and pleading with the Lord for help, He’s there with us. Patting us on the back and reassuring us that we’re going to be okay.
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