Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hope From the Sidelines

When Matthew was first diagnosed with ADHD I was quite overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed, first, with What do I do? and How do we handle this? questions. And overwhelmed, second, with the amazing outpouring of support I received from people who have dealt with ADHD kids - people who seemed to just show up from nowhere. It was incredible!
One of those supporters told me about Michael Phelps. He's an ADHD guy, and seemed to have found his "thing" in swimming. Found a place to exercise his focus and got himself a few nice shiny medallions and some world records to boot. I read an article about him with great encouragement. The article said when he was a youngster at the pool, he was usually the one sitting on the sidelines because of his raucous behavior.
I read and marveled at the reality that this kid was able to overcome his challenge, was able to find his niche and really make a difference.
We'll not mention the trouble he's gotten into since his rise to fame. I just wish someone had prepared him to handle it all with grace and dignity...

Anyhoo, the other night I was sitting in the van while Matthew was at soccer practice. I looked up to see the coach walking him to the sidelines and heard him say Matthew needed to take a five-minute time out. Prior to that exchange I had witnessed my son running when he shouldn't, and throwing the ball where he wasn't supposed to. I thought, Yes, a time out is entirely appropriate right now. And I was thankful for the coach's patience.
As I sat there looking at Matthew sitting on the sidelines, I recalled that article about Michael Phelps. I remembered the part which talked about him sitting on the side of the pool, because of his out-of-control behavior in the pool. And I wondered for just a moment, Will Matthew be part of a gold-medal-winning Olympic Soccer Team some day???

A Mom can hope! *grin*

post signature

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's on Your Mind '09?

It's time for another edition of What's on Your Mind '09?. Many thanks to Shane for planning this weekly activity!
According to Shane, the last Tuesday of the month is going to be set aside for our own photographs and creative writing.
This one had me stumped for a while. I am not much of a photographer. In fact, for some time I was on a bit of a picture-taking strike. I was soooo far behind on my scrapbooking that I simply stopped taking photographs.

Yes, I can go a little overboard when I get overwhelmed. Surprising. I know!

But, alas, I found a picture from days gone by to share with you today!
This picture was taken seven and a half years ago. We thought it would be cute to get a picture of the kids praying, had it all posed and ready to go, and at the last minute Matthew peeked.
Personally, I think his gesture makes the picture more precious. *grin*
Ahhh, how I long for my children to grow up with a passion for prayer. It is my prayer that my children will know deep in their hearts that God hears us when we pray, that He is powerful to act, and that He wants us to come to Him with our praise, our thanksgiving, our confession, our needs. Our everything.
Yes, Lord, please give my children spirits which long to commune with You always!

And as I am writing about prayer today - as I am sharing what's on my mind - I also want to bring one of my prayer needs to you. I have a small group of women who have been supporting me in prayer for several years. Each month I send an email to them with my speaking engagements for that month and specific prayer requests for my speaking and writing. And as God leads them, these women pray for me and the women to whom I speak.
Would you be willing to be on this prayer team, too? I cannot do anything apart from the power of God and it is my earnest desire to be covered in prayer every time I go out in His Name. If you want to join me in this venture, please email me ( and I will add you to my team.
Thank you, thank you!

May the joy of the Lord fill your soul today.

post signature

Monday, September 28, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

This Week's WORD

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

Proverbs 22:15

I am loving my time in Proverbs, and so appreciate the wisdom in this verse. Children are childish and folly is bound up in them. But as we discipline them and teach them what is right, folly will be driven away.
Father in heaven, please help us to remember that our children are children. Give us the grace we need to put up with their folly.
And fill us with wisdom and understanding as we seek to raise these little ones to become men and women who reflect You and have not a trace of folly left in their hearts.

Have a wonderful weekend. See you back here Monday!

post signature

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How Did I Get So Good???

It is not uncommon around here at bedtime for me to have to remind Matthew many times to stay on task.

Who am I kidding? That happens all the time - not just bedtime!

I have become accustomed to the sounds of him not staying on task. It usually sounds like gun-fire with a bit of spittle for special effects. And I call from whatever room I'm in, "Matthew, put the gun away and get your pajamas on."

Well, the other night I was walking past the bathroom - where Matthew was supposed to be brushing his teeth - and everything was strangely quiet. The door was cracked open ever so slightly, and provided me with just enough space to see that my little man was spending his time combing his hair in various directions.
I cleared my throat and said, "Matthew, stop messing around and brush your teeth."
There was no change in his actions.
So I said, "Matthew, put the comb down and start brushing your teeth."
And he responded, "Wow, Mom! How did you get so good?"
I don't think he realized the door was cracked open.
And I'll never tell. I'll just let him think I'm that good!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wait and See

The first time I heard this song, I cried. I had just been in the midst of major frustration with my son. I wondered if he was going to "turn out" OK. I was tired of the struggle, and quite ready to quit.
Then I heard these lyrics and it was as if a boost of hope shot through my veins. God reminded me that He is at work, and I need to wait and see.
Since my first exposure to this song, it has played again at the most wonderful times. Always to encourage me with my boys. And now when I hear it I thank God for everything He knows regarding my children which I do not. I remember, I cannot expect them to be perfect. Lord, You aren't finished yet!

And the winners from my birthday giveaway are Ronel, Shane, and Shawna. Thanks - everyone - for the kind words and Happy Birthday wishes. I truly had a great day!

post signature

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Birthday for Me, A Gift for You!

Happy Birthday to me!
As promised, I am going to give away a few books because I want to clean off my nightstand have you share in my special day, too!
Seriously, I have three books to give away today that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and am sure you will love, too.
They are:
*Bookends, by Liz Curtiss Higgs
*One Tuesday Morning and Beyond Tuesday Morning (two in one!), by Karen Kingsbury
*Redemption, by Karen Kingsbury

Each of these books was given to me by someone special. Yes, I am totally re-gifting. But, hey! It's my party, I'll re-gift if I want to, re-gift if I want to!

This one was a Christmas present from my mother-in-law. (Who happens to be the best m-i-l this side of the Mississippi.) I almost completely ignored my family for a day or two, because I just couldn't put the book down!

This one (It really is one book, but I couldn't find the "one book" image...) was gift from a friend I've known since junior high. No particuar reason for the gift. She was just being nice. *grin* Found it hard to put this one down, too. And I just heard there's a third book in this series. Hmmm...

And this one came from a MOPS mom at my church. I was the MOPPETS worker in her son's class and established a sweet relationship with him over the year. She brought me this book as a Thank You gift. Another great read!
Now they've gone and moved to Texas and I don't get to see my little buddy anymore. *sniff*

OK. Have I sufficiently made these books sound special?
If you would like to win one of them just leave me a comment telling me so. Wishing me a happy birthday and telling me you love me will, in no way, increase your odds of winning. But it will make me smile. *grin*
I'm going to close comments and draw the winner right around 10 o'clock tonight. Make sure you either leave your email address or have it attached to your profile so I can contact you if I draw your name.

Now, go and have a wonderful day.

Much love,

post signature

Monday, September 21, 2009

Surviving the Night

I hope you'll check back tomorrow to help me celebrate my birthday. *grin*
I'll be giving away a few books. I plan to do the drawing before I go to bed at 10:00 EST (Yes, that's early, but I'm getting old, you know! LOL) So don't be late!

post signature

Friday, September 18, 2009

This Week's WORD

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction
and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
They will be a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck...

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.

Proverbs 1:8-9 and 3:1-2

I have made it to Proverbs in my read-thru-the-Bible program, and God is truly impressing me with a desire to see my children grow in wisdom.
Oh, how I wish now that I would have listened to my parents' instruction when I was a child.
Oh, how I long for my children to have receptive hearts!

Father of mercy, Source of wisdom, Ruler of our hearts please hear my prayer. Lord, we are unable to change our children's hearts. We are unable to force them to listen and receive instruction. We are in desperate need of Your grace.
Please work in the hearts of our children. Please put in them a desire to be wise, to listen to instruction and accept our teaching. Lord, please work through us - Your children - as we seek to raise our children in Your ways.

post signature

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good Mom, Bad Mom

Surely you've heard of the Good Cop, Bad Cop phenomenon, right?
The former takes a sympathetic, supportive stance toward his subject, convincing the subject that the cop cares and can be trusted.
The latter takes a hard-hitting, no excuses stance toward the subject and shows no signs of grace or mercy.
Somehow the two work together to bring about a desired end. The truth.

Did you know there is also a Good Mom, Bad Mom phenomenon?

I didn't, either.

Actually, I just made it up. Er, I just noticed it.

Sometimes I'm the Good Mom.
I take Joshua fishing. I allow him to keep the snakes he brought home. And the bugs. I let him go to 7-Eleven to get a Slurpee with his friends. And he likes it when I do these things. He tells me he knows I love him because I let him keep the bugs.
And I feel good. Feel like I'm getting this mothering thing "right."
I mean, look at my kid. He's smiling!

But sometimes I'm the Bad Mom.
I tell Joshua to turn off the computer and unload the dishwasher. I look at his room - which he says he cleaned up - and make him come back to do more. Including making the bed. I require him to respond obediently right away, and suffer the consequences if he doesn't. He gets mad. Says I'm not doing a good job of being a mom because he isn't learning anything from my dumb rules.
And I feel like a failure. Feel like I'll never get this mothering thing "right."
I mean, look at my kid. He's crying!

I'm tempted to only play the part of Good Mom. If I am only "nice" all the time, and only do the things that please my children, and only require of them what they want to give, won't they grow up to be the happiest of people and think they had the best mom in the whole world? Why, we would likely avoid all conflicts and my children would never be sad. Wouldn't that be wonderful???

But then I come across things like this and I am reminded of the importance of intentionally shaping my children. Playing Good Mom 24/7 would not make me a "good mom." I cannot let them live in their egocentric worlds and have them believe the world revolves around their desires.
If I am going to be a "good mom," I must find that balance between Good Mom and Bad Mom. I must love my children tenderly, and discipline them with graceful strength. Oh, so easy to write. So much harder to execute.

If only there were someone who could give me a script, a play-by-play description of every day. Then I could get it right. I could know exactly what to expect and how to respond. Dare I say? I could be perfect!
But, alas, there is no script. I must rely completely upon God for the grace to find a balance between Good Mom and Bad Mom. So here I am, on my knees, trusting my Father to make me a good mother. Believing He will work Good Mom and Bad Mom together to bring about the desired end - children who become godly adults.

How are you doing today? Feeling more like Good Mom, or Bad Mom?
We're going to make it. By God's grace, we're going to make it!

post signature

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

If You Give a Mom a Container

If you give a mom a container, well, in some homes she might put left-overs in it.
In some homes she might collect paper clips and safety pins.
In other homes she may store coupons.

But in this home...
I was on my way out the door to get Matthew from school when Joshua ran up to me saying, "Mom, if I give you this container, will you catch grasshoppers for my snakes?"
Those of you who know me well won't be surprised. But those of you who are fairly new around here may not realize I have been known to allow my children to keep some, uh, atypical pets. Joshua has had various bugs, including a walking stick, several butterflies, large dragon flies, beetles, and some very cool praying mantids. (Mantiis? I have no idea what the plural is!!!)
Elizabeth has rats. (From the pet store, of course.)
Joshua's latest critters are snakes. He has two of them, in separate cages. One is a Red-belly Snake named Tawny, and the other is a Garter Snake, nameless.
The snakes like to eat grasshoppers. And since there are lots of grasshoppers along the path we walk to go to school, Joshua was hoping I would muster up some dinner for his new friends. (I became quite skilled at such hunts when he had the praying mantis.)
And I, wanting to be a cool mom, told him I would.
The first one was an easy catch. A nice big "juicy" one. Oh, I was so proud of myself. But as I continued along the sidewalk, although I saw many grasshoppers, I couldn't catch them. And I remembered Joshua saying something about them being fast this year.
He wasn't kidding.
Those little buggers were quick!
By the time I made it to school, I still only had that one big juicy guy. Was hoping he'd be enough for Mr. Snake.
Because even with Matthew's help on the way home, I just wasn't catching more. Until...when I was almost at the end of the sidewalk...I saw one and went after it.
But it jumped into the weeds.
So I followed.
And it jumped again.
But I kept after it.
Yes, the crazy lady you saw crouching in the weeds along Jolly Road? That was me!
And I prevailed. I caught that rascally grasshopper!

So there you have it.
If you give a mom a container, she'll fill it with grasshoppers for your snakes.

At least she'll try.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's on Your Mind '09?

What's on Your Mind '09?, Shane's brain child, is back in session! Actually, it's been up and running since the beginning of the month. I'm just a little slow.
*sheepish grin*

But this week, I'm joining in.

Over the past two weeks, Shane has been encouraging bloggers to consider our reason for writing as well as who it is that reads our blogs. And this week she is challenging us to find a Bible verse which ties the two (our reason, and our readers) together.
And I?
Think I've found it!

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 The Message
That's really what it's all about here at Surviving Motherhood. I am an imperfect woman, loved by a perfect God. I have faced hard times. I have struggled.
I still do.
But I have been comforted by God so tenderly. He has given me hope beyond anything I could imagine. Now He brings friends to this blog who need comfort, too.
Friends who have searched the internet with terms like burnt out mom, failure mom, encouragement for moms,and can't handle motherhood.
And because God has come alongside me and comforted me through my hard times, I am able to come alongside others with that comfort, too.
That's what it's all about here.
I will not pretend to know the answers. I can't tell you how to be a perfect mother. If you're looking for tips on running a perfect house, you won't find them here.
But I have been comforted in my hard times, and if you're looking for encouragement from one who has been there - er, who is there! - you've come to the right place.

Father in heaven, thank You for the comfort You have given me, for the new mercies You give me every day. Please use this blog as a vehicle of your grace and mercy. Please speak through me as I type, and bring comfort to every person who comes by this little slice of the internet.
I'm asking it in Jesus' Name. Because His name is power, and comfort, and holy, and wonderful!
Amen and amen.

I sort of tied in next week's What's on Your Mind '09? topic, too. Because I won't be participating.
Because next Tuesday *might* be my birthday.
And I *might* be doing a little giveaway.
I mean, you'll have to come back to find out. *grin*

post signature

Monday, September 14, 2009

What Would Jesus Say?

After I recorded this video, I had an email exchange with a friend and found myself writing out things I wished I'd included in this presentation. Rather than re-recording (Since there are now children in my house, and it's noisy!) I am going to copy the questions for you here.

*What do you think God would say to you about how He might want to use your situation to minister to others?
*How might He remind you about the ways He protected you through your circumstance?
*What would God say to you about how you can trust Him with your present and future, based upon how He carried you in the past?
*How might He love you through this struggle?
Praying you’ll have time to consider these questions today, and that you’ll allow God to speak to your heart.

post signature

Friday, September 11, 2009

This Week's WORD

His father had never interfered with him by asking, "Why do you behave as you do?"
1 Kings 1:6a

And Adonijah, in his pride, gathered together his friends and horsemen - with the intent of taking over his father's throne. Wondering how his life would have been different if King David had "interfered" now and then.

Lord, please help me to interfere with grace in my children's lives.

May the grace of the LORD carry you this weekend. See you back here Monday!

post signature

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A New Beginning

My grandma is all moved in to her new home!
It's amazing to me when I consider that just five weeks ago we were making plans for her to move to Hospice. And here she is, moved out of re-hab and into a new apartment. She has worked so hard, and God has been so faithful. Wednesday morning she told me, "It's like I'm getting a new beginning. A new chance at life."
Though I am sorry for the fall she took, the pain she has endured, and the struggles she will continue to face, I can honestly say some of the best times I have had with my grandmother have been the times I have spent with her over the past month. We have talked together, cried together, and prayed together. God has strengthened the bond between us, and I am so thankful.
He does that, you know. Takes the hard times and makes something wonderful come from them. I love Him so!

Doesn't my grandmother look great??? She's going to be 92 years old next week. Hey, if you'd like to help her celebrate, email me. (karen(at)irritablemother(dot)com) I'll give you my address and you can send her a card. I'll take them all over to her on the 16th.

Hope you have a wonderful day. See you back here tomorrow for This Week's WORD!

post signature

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

HE Doesn't Need Options

Have you ever talked with children about prayer? When we do lessons about prayer in Sunday school, we tell the children that when we pray God will always answer us. Always.
Sometimes He says, Yes.
Sometimes He says, No.
And sometimes He says, Wait.
It's a straight-forward lesson, and the kids seem to get it. The answer will be yes, or no, or wait.

Well, I have recently been praying about something and had become quite frustrated because I didn't think God was answering me. And I didn't get it! I was loving toward Him. I was sincere. I didn't think I was being selfish. All I asked of Him is that He would either confirm or deny the concern in my heart.
But He did neither.
And one evening I expressed my frustration about the situation to Brian. I said, "I just want an answer!!!" Brian looked at me lovingly and said, "Maybe He's saying, Wait."
I sat with that thought for a few seconds and replied, "But I didn't give Him that option. I asked for a confirmation or a denial!"
That's when it hit me. HE doesn't need options. God does not need me to suggest which answer is the best one to give me. HE, alone, knows what is best.
Oh, sometimes I challenge God regarding what He knows is best. Sometimes I forget who I am, and I think I know better than Him. But He is so patient. He waits for me to willingly wait. And in His perfect time (which might not take as long if I would just "get it" a little sooner!) He gives me the Yes, or the No.

How are you doing today? Are you waiting, too? Or fighting the wait? Are you wanting to give God options regarding how He can answer your prayers?
May He cover you with peace, as you trust that His answer is perfect.

post signature

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sweetening the Deal

I have been spending a lot of time over the past several weeks visiting with my grandmother at re-hab. (She's doing wonderfully, by the way. Moving to an assisted living facility on Wednesday!) And somehow we found ourselves talking about the benefits of eating fish. (ACK!!! I have always hated fish.)
My husband has a significant family history of heart disease and has often hinted that he would like it if I prepared fish for dinner. *GAG!* I tried tilapia a couple of times, but got the gag-reflex from the kids (and I wasn't very fond of it, either) so I had given up on that. But in my discussion with Grandma, I became convinced that I should give salmon a try.

So, last Saturday I took a deep breath and prepared salmon for dinner.


I didn't think it was too bad. Yeah, I wasn't crazy about it, but I wasn't gagging over it either.
But my poor daughter. She ate, but she didn't like it. I reminded her that sometimes we eat because of the nutritional value, not the taste. And I tried to be a cheerleader for her in making healthy choices. Not sure she was buying into my enthusiasm.
All in all, I was feeling good about the dinner. Especially when Brian said something about having a happy heart - all those great Omega 3s, you know! And I decided I would begin preparing salmon for dinner once a month.
Then I approached Elizabeth and told her my intentions. I asked if she thought she could handle eating salmon once a month. And my Never-can-get-enough-sweets-teenager looked at me and asked, "Can we have cake, too?" So I agreed. In order to get my daughter to eat salmon once a month without fussing, on the nights I prepare fish I will also make dessert.
Yep. Sweetening the deal. Wondering if I can come up with a yummy, not-totally-bad-for-you dessert, so as to not completely negate the benefits of the salmon. Hoping we'll all have happy hearts!

And if you have any great salmon recipes, I'm open to suggestions! *grin*


Monday, September 07, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

This Week's Word

OK, this week's word is coming from a book, not the Bible. But God used it to speak to me just the same. I hope He inspires you with it, too.

Help me, Lord, to live with
My heart so close to you
That my words and my actions
Seem more and more
Like words you would say
And things you would do.

from Come Along, by Jane Rubietta

May the peace of Christ rest upon you today.
See you back here Monday!

post signature

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Faraway Heart?

I hope this week God has been speaking to your heart - leading you in ways of examination and encouraging you with the notion that He can change your heart.
Today I want to share one more way that God was speaking to me about my heart last week.
It was on Saturday, when I spent the day alone with Him. I took a book along with me - Come Along, by Jane Rubietta - and chose to read chapter 9, Come Along to the Plains: Illuminations on a Clean Heart. Since my heart seemed to have been His focus for the previous several days, I figured that would be a good chapter. Had no idea how intimately He would speak!
At the end of each chapter Jane has a wonderful set of exercises and questions to help the reader come along to draw near to Jesus, and it was in going through those questions that God swooped in and spoke to me.
I was led to consider what Jane called the "faraway heart." And I wrote this in my journal:

At what point, Jesus, would You say of me, "You honor me with your lips, but your heart is far away from Me"?
Is it when I say I want all the glory from my speaking and writing to go to You???
Oh, Lord! I do want the glory to be Yours. But I confess that my "self" likes to know that I've been used. And as much as I know the work is Yours, and I am simply the instrument, Father - that much and more, I struggle with the sin of pride. I think - somehow - that I have done a good work. But I have not. Anything good that comes from me comes from You - first!
Father, I do want the glory to go to You. I do!
But I struggle with pride.
I do.
I don't want my heart to be far away, Lord. I need Your help. I need Your strength to fight this flesh. I need to be covered by Your grace.
Forgive me, Lord, for my pride. Forgive me for thinking I am something. I am not. Lord, You are everything.
You are my everything.
Let my lips praise You and my heart be near to You.
Father, please do for me what I cannot do for myself.
Lord, Jesus, change my heart, O God!

What a wonderful time of heart-cleansing that was Saturday.
My first reaction to the notion that I might have a faraway heart was, No way! I love God. My heart is not far from Him!
But He pressed on me to ask that question: At what point, Jesus, would You say of me, "You honor me with your lips, but your heart is far away from Me"? And when you ask God to reveal uncleanness of your heart - believe me - He'll do it.
So my invitation for you today? Will you create some space for yourself and God, and will you ask Him that question, too? Then listen. Let Him probe and reveal, and be prepared to be drawn closer to the heart of God as He cleanses yours.

post signature

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It Always Comes Back to ME!!

Does the title of today's post cause you to worry that I have forgotten my humble position from yesterday, and am now lost in a world of self-absorption?
Fear not, my friends. All is well.

But I do believe it always comes back to me.

Let me explain.

I think I have mentioned here before that I have a list of 31 Biblical virtues which I use to pray for my children. It has been in those moments when I am praying for my children that I have discovered, it always comes back to me. Yeah, there was the time I was praying that they may learn to be merciful. And self-control is another good one. But most recently, it was the day I was praying that they may develop servants' hearts.
God, please help my children develop servants' hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly as if they were serving the Lord, not men.
As I prayed, in my mind I was imagining my children serving one another with joy. I was picturing them helping me around the house - with smiles on their faces, as they considered the fact that by helping me they're serving Jesus. I thought, How wonderful it would be, Lord, for my children to truly live and move as though they are serving YOU.

And that's when the Lord brought it back to me.

He reminded me of the day - not too long ago - when I started rattling off to my children all the things I do for them, because I was so frustrated with their lack of desire to help me out. I do an awful lot for these kids and I thought they should take note of my labors and put forth a little more effort to give back. But God reminded me that when I toil for my children, I am serving Him.

I know this! Why is it so difficult to keep that thought in my head???

And it occurred to me...
*If I were to work for my children with joy, rather than grumble when they ask for one more thing,
*if I were to cheerfully respond to their requests for help, rather than make a mental list of all the ways they "owe me,"
*if I were to serve them as though I was serving Jesus, rather than as if I was serving man,
*If I were to model a servants' heart for them!
...perhaps they would learn to respond in kind.
Yes. If I would just be a model for them.

See? It always comes back to me!

Change my heart, O, God!

post signature

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Amazing Love: Perfect HIM, Imperfect Me

Do you know Jessica? One of her recent posts really got me thinking. Well, the Truth of the matter is, God - who is perfect in all His ways and whose timing is always impeccable - coordinated my reading of Jessica's post with a day in which my flawed heart would be brought to center stage.
I started off the day with an awareness of the wonder that a perfect God would desire a relationship with imperfect me. It was a pleasant thought, and I enjoyed thinking it.
But as the day wore on - as I took my children shopping for new shoes and school supplies, as the boys misbehaved and grabbed things off the shelves, as they yelled through the store, and each one found things about which to complain and argue, I began feeling very ugly. I am not bragging when I say that I was able to maintain control enough to not yell at the kids in the store, or to speak harshly to them. It's the grace of God, alone, which gave me that victory.
In spite of my outward composure, however, I knew my heart. And it was a mess!
Why? I was asking myself, Why do I get so upset about their behavior? Why does the chaos bother me so much? Why do I get such angry feelings toward these children - because I'm expecting them to act like mature adults rather than immature children?
And as we drove from one store to another, and the tears were welling up in my eyes, I redirected my thoughts to God. Why, God? Why do You love me? I am such a wretch! Lord, I don't want to be like this. I don't want to be like me anymore! Why can't I have a sweet, calm spirit like all the perfect moms I imagine in my head? Lord, will You just reach in and change this heart of mine? Today? Right now? PLEASE???
And in that moment, as I was undeniably aware of my miserable heart, God reminded me of the Truth He'd spoken to me as I read Jessica's blog earlier that morning.
The LORD of the universe, the Almighty God - who is holy and perfect in all His ways - has an immeasurable love for me.


Imperfect, flawed, pitiful, wretched, messy me.

I will not pretend to understand the reason why. I cannot even begin to fathom the heart of my Father. But I am confident of this: I am an imperfect mess of a woman, yet I have a perfect God who loves me.

Are you messy, too? Feeling unworthy of His love? I pray God will use this experience of mine to speak His amazing love to you today, and to pour His grace all over your imperfect heart.
Rejoice with me, friend. We are so loved!!!

post signature