Questions and Answers

The Bible is full of some pretty hardcore awesome women. But, just like us, those women were real, authentic, vulnerable, and imperfect. The other day I was reading Chapter 18 of Genesis, which gives us part of the story of Abraham, the granddaddy of all of Israel, and his wife Sarah. While I was reading the story that I had read several times before, I noticed something I must have somehow skipped over in the past. Sarah said and did something that stopped me in my tracks. It made me chuckle. It made me put my hand to my mouth and say, “That is SO me!” It also made me think. Allow me to explain…

This is all my paraphrasing of course (NCV: New Christina Version), but basically God told Abraham, “Listen man, your descendents are going to be so numerous, that they will outnumber the stars in the sky. Like, get ready, because there might be a TLC reality show about you guys. We’re talking that many kids.”

Here’s the problem. Abraham was almost 100 when God told him this and Sarah was 90. I’m sure you can understand why they had a hard time picking up the truth that God was laying down. In fact, it says that Abraham fell facedown laughing when he heard this news. Then, cut to Sarah. She overheard Abraham talking about this and she laughed to herself, thinking she was alone. After all, she’s 90 years old and thinking, yeah right, I’m way past my prime, this is some sort of joke.

Then God asks Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and question what I said?” Which is hilarious really, because. Um. He’s God. It’s like when I asked my then 2 year old, “Why did you draw all over your body with Sharpie?” Because she’s two and has no impulse control. I know this. He’s God, He knows why everyone does everything. ButSarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

To which he replied, “No, you did laugh.”

Again, cracks me up because it makes me think of my child with a Sharpie. I have her on video denying that she drew all over herself and she said, “No. Mommy did it. Effer did it?” Effer was her endearing nickname for her brother Christopher at the time. Anyways, my child, don’t try to deny the obvious from mommy, okay, I know it all. Almost. And Sarah, you can’t hide the truth from God, because he legitimately DOES know it all.

And the story goes on that yes, within the next year, Sarah did get pregnant, she did have a child, that child did go on to do everything that God said he was going to do. And it got me thinking about what we do when confronted with something I view as absurd or difficult. We get this “You’ve got to be joking” mentality and we laugh at what God puts in front of us. We can’t believe it. I know I’ve been there. So many times in my past have I laughed, or maybe laugh-cried, when things seem hard.

Ha! You want me, as a brand new mom, to move 1000 miles away from the only life I’ve known and then right after that, navigate life while my husband was on an 8 month combat deployment? Ok God, you’re hilarious. No way.

And yet...

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This may happen with a variety of challenges that people face.

You want to place me in WHAT situation?

You mean to say that I’m going to have to do THIS HARD SCARY THING?

No way, uh uh, no can do.

But I skipped over what God tells Abraham in Chapter 18, verse 14.

He asks him, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Another question to which he already knows the answer. No. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. If He brings you to it, He’ll see you through it. No matter how crazy or unbelievable it might seem to you. You just have to let down your guard, let Him guide you, and keep moving forward in faith. Just like Sarah. Well, just like Sarah after she got over her shock and laughter. ;)

31 Days of Real Life: Day 7

Here's my quick thought for the day, as I come off the heels of a busy work week:

It's not worth it to try to stress yourself out and cross off every to-do list item. It's just not. Why? Because the list will always be there. One thing gets done but another thing inevitably pops up. It's the nature of life, and it's okay. It's okay if you feel like something has slipped or if you're running behind. At least that's what I'm telling myself. So much to do, with seemingly not enough time. BUT if I pressure myself to do everything and do it all perfectly, I'm doing a disservice to myself and those around me. I guess the moral of the story today, is let's all give ourselves some grace.

Day 7, done.

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When Bedtime Seems Far Away

I'm just going to state the obvious, but here's the thing, we love our children. We love them with an undeniable, my-heart-could-burst-out-of-my-chest type of unconditional love. We love the baby giggles, toddler artwork, and hugs and kisses no matter the age. But at the same time, it's hard. It's hard to be “on” all the time. Hard to be in a nonstop good mood when your day has been filled with spit up, dirty diapers, spilled cereal, sibling squabbles, and lost shoes.

There are days that seem to last forever, with one hectic moment after the other. Questions race through your mind as the day goes on. Am I a bad mom? Why is this so hard? Will it ever be bedtime?

Will it ever be bedtime? Some days it seems like that beautiful hour will never arrive.

In an effort to remind myself, and any other mom who might need this reaffirmation, here are a few truths to keep in mind on those days when bedtime when seems so far away.


You are their everything

It's hard to be everything to everyone, I know this. But in our children's’ eyes, we are just that: their everything. Especially at the baby stage, they're not manipulating us and trying to give us a hard time. They're having a hard time themselves. There’s not a lot they can do on their own. So we rise to the challenge and even though we’re drained and spent and any other synonym that means tired down to the bone, we continue to be their everything.  

We are the doctors-the cleaners of vomit and kissers of boo boos.

We are the teachers-the singers of the alphabet and readers of bedtime stories.

We are the chefs-the makers of pancakes and slicers of sandwiches.

We are the counselors-the givers of hugs and soothers who calm.

We are the mamas, and we are their everything.

As much as it is a challenge, it is also our reward. And it won’t be this way forever. They will not always need us in this way. And sure, we can look forward to those days in some ways, but also take comfort in the here and now, in the fact that we are so deeply needed by someone who loves us so much.


The days are long but the years are short

When I was pregnant for the first time and when my first son was a newborn, so many people told me “Enjoy every moment. Time flies by.” Yes, I'm sure it does, I thought, but I didn't really take it in. Then I became a parent. And you know what? Although the pros far outweigh the cons, I’d be a gigantic liar if I said I enjoyed every single moment. I haven’t enjoyed the long stretches of sleep deprivation, the blow out dirty diapers, or the tantrums in public. And that’s okay. There is a lot of pressure on moms to “enjoy every moment” and we get caught in a trap of thinking that if we dislike any moment, we must be a bad mom. But no, even a saint would snap at the trials of motherhood. But while the day to day presents many challenges, the years truly do fly by, and I often have to remind myself of that fact. All of a sudden, my first newborn baby is in first grade. My second newborn baby is ready for preschool and is asking me to practice addition facts from the backseat of the van, and my third newborn, who I swear was JUST born a few weeks ago, tells elaborate stories and wipes her own butt now (amen to that, let me tell you). I think to myself, When did all of this happen? And HOW, when many days seemed so long and never ending?

My guess it that it took place in the moments when I was looking the other way, pulling my hair out, going crazy and wondering when parenting would start to get easier. I look back now, baffled that time has gone by with such alarming speeds. And I remind myself not to wish the time away too quickly, because the years truly do fly by all on their own.


Let them know

When you're feeling a little worse for the wear, let them know that you still love them, even when you're upset. Even when you're tired. Even when you're not acting very lovable yourself. Tell them every day. That you love them. That they are smart, kind, and helpful. That grown ups make mistakes too and that you're sorry you flew off the handle. Sorry is a heavy word and sometimes very difficult to say, but it's incredibly powerful for a child to hear that grown ups make mistakes too. They don't have to live their entire lives feeling the pressure to be perfect because they understand that we all fall short and need to seek forgiveness. So, if that's what you feel like you need to say, then let them know.


Mamas, this gig is hard. The hardest there is. And sometimes, bedtime does seem so very far away. But remember:

  • Let them know you still love them.
  • The days are long but the years are short.
  • You are their everything.

And most importantly:

You are a good mom, and you are not alone. We all have those never ending days where we have breathed a huge sigh of relief when the stories have been read, teeth have been brushed, and that hour has finally arrived. As much as we love our babies, there’s nothing wrong with loving bedtime too.

The One With the Viral Facebook Post

Whew, it's been quite a week, and it's only half over! I wanted to write this post to collect my thoughts on a few posts I made on my personal facebook page earlier this week, one of which has gone viral-ish. I admit I don't know exactly what qualifies as viral, but the fact that it has over 1,200 shares right now is pretty exciting to me! 

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20 Lessons I Learned in my 20s

It makes me cringe to think that there was ever a time in my life that I thought 30 sounded old. Silly, silly, 20 year old me. Now here I am, with my 30th birthday just days away, and you know what? I am ready for it, and I honestly feel much better than I did ten years ago. The years that I was a twenty-something grew me and shaped me (and truth be told--exhausted me) in ways I didn't know were possible. Marrying my high school sweetheart at 20, becoming a mother of 3, completing my degrees, starting my teaching career, embarking on the journey of a military spouse...in terms of big life events, I'm ready for things to slow down a bit. But then again, does life ever really slow down for any of us? There are always relationships to cultivate, work to be done, prayers to be prayed, and memories to be made. How we use our time is up to us, and I hope to make the most of my 30s, learning and growing even more. I learned so much over the past ten years, and in case my memory starts slipping in my advanced age, I'll share some of the truths I will take with me into my next decade of life. 

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Laughter Without Fear Launch!

There have been days in my life as a wife and mother in which I have desperately needed and sought after words of encouragement from women who have walked through similar experiences before me. I’ve also always had a passion for listening, encouraging, and guiding my friends and family whenever my ears or words of advice are solicited. Combining that passion with a love of writing, the desire to share my faith and personal stories, and the experience of having a career in education, I thought of how amazing it could be if I created an online space that offered encouragement and information to other wives and mothers when they need it the most. Being what I have once needed myself, and hoping to help others in the process.

 

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