Thank you for these sweet, little people you have placed in my care. Thank you for the beautiful people you have placed in our lives to help us raise them.
Help us Lord to bring them up to give grace more often than judgement, offer love over contempt, seek understanding over being right. May they be surrounded by those different from them, and give us many opportunities to love these different people in front of them so we can show them how it’s done.
Let them respect others. May they stand up for those needing someone to stand for them. Help us teach them to be bridge builders. Let them be peacemakers. Guide us as we teach them about justice and injustice. Break their hearts for what breaks Yours. May their hearts be so full of You that they can do nothing more than spill that unconditional love on those they encounter.
Let us raise children that will bring a little piece of heaven to this world.
A good friend of mine called me tonight and told me a story about a challenging moment with her son. She was discouraged and felt like his behavior in that moment, was an indictment of her ability to parent. She just needed to be reminded that she was a great mom.
There are so many times when I have felt the same way and needed that same reminder and encouragement. Whether it was my daughter’s behavior at the grocery store or my sons ability to drop to his knees and refuse to walk in front of our pastor while trying to leaving church, I often feel like I am falling short. I find that I grade myself each day. Today I sent store-bought treats to preschool, forgot diapers for my boys, left the lunches on the counter and am wearing what my children had for breakfast…..fail! The next day I lost my temper when my two-year old sons didn’t understand my need to get to work on time, I burnt dinner and didn’t read that extra storybook my daughter asked for…..fail again!
When we go to our jobs we have a start and an end to our work day. We get time off on the weekends and holidays. If we are fortunate, we even get to retire when we reach a certain age. Because of these breaks, we are able to offer an improved and filtered version of ourselves for a certain number of hours a day to our coworkers and bosses but our spouses and our children get us unfiltered and uncut. We don’t step away on weekends and holidays, and as I’m sure my mom and dad would testify to, there is no retirement plan for parenting.
I sometimes catch myself feeling sorry for the uncut version of myself that my kids receive. The mommy that sometimes cries in front of them out of frustrations and exhaustion. The mommy that occasionally lacks the patience required for certain situations. The mommy that doesn’t always respond in the calm, cool and collected manner I wish I would. But here’s the thing. I’m not perfect. They won’t be either, and if my occasion crazy momma moments let them know that its okay to struggle, then I’m going to embrace those moments. If they can see my imperfections and offer grace to others in the future who are struggling, then let the frustrated tears flow.
I heard someone say once, “Behind every amazing kid is a mom who thinks she is screwing it all up.” So even if your child didn’t eat a vegetable today, you forgot to pack the special blanket for school and you have smashed bananas on your pants…hear this….You are still a great mom….and tomorrow is a brand new day.
When Andrew and I got married we paid for one of those fancy videographers to come and video our big day. A few months later we curled up on the couch in newlywed bliss to watch it for the first time. Aside from getting a good laugh when we caught my maid of honor checking her watch repeatedly during our ceremony and when I sobbed extra hard during the “for richer for poorer” portion of my vows, we thought the whole thing was just so perfect.
We plan these fantastic parties to begin marriages but the beautiful mess that ensues after those vows are said is where the real magic is. As we celebrate seven years together today, I look back on all that has happened since that day, I cry and I laugh and I roll my eyes and shake my head and I thank God for all the blessings and the hardships. In these short years we have endured a layoff, adopted puppies, moved halfway across the country, produced three beautiful children, lost loved ones, bought our first home, changed careers, celebrated weddings, faced a major medical diagnosis, reconnected with family, laughed, cried and grown up.
We joked last night that we hope that our next seven years are not as eventful as our last, but I have to say as I think about it tonight I hope they are. I love our beautiful mess. I love the loss and I love the gifts we have received. I laugh at the plans we have made and how God has always had a much more interesting plan in mind for us. When I think about the things that have been hard, like being away from family, I can’t help but think about the family we have found here. When I think about those we have lost, I can’t help but be thankful for all the memories we shared with them. Has it been easy? Absolutely not, but it has been totally worth it.
So cheers to the finder of my lost keys, the cream in my coffee, the calm to my crazy, my love, my baby daddy. I love you, my sweet husband. Here’s to many more years of this beautiful mess.
I am finding that my children are speaking more and more crazy truth into me. A few months ago, while cleaning my house like a mad woman before my daughter’s 4th Birthday Party I was shouting marching orders at my husband and kids and quickly making my daughter’s bed. I was changing out her pillowcases when she stops doing what I asked her to do and asked, “Mommy, why are you changing my pillowcases?” I snapped back at her, in my rush, “Because your pillowcases need to match the rest of your bed.” She quickly and quietly replied, “But Mommy my friends aren’t coming over to see my pillowcases. They are coming over to see me.”
She stopped me dead in my tracks. She was right, darn it! Here I was rushing around trying to get my house perfect to impress our guests who weren’t going to notice that I had wiped down my walls, dusted our ceiling fan blades and made our pillows match our sheets. They weren’t coming over to judge my ability to keep a clean home. They were coming over to celebrate this beautiful little girl, to love on her on her special day, to eat cake and have fun. I have thought about this interaction countless times since it happened.
Sometimes we get so consumed with the image we are projecting, what others will think about our ability to clean our house, mother our children, wife our husband, work our job, balance our life, that we forget that we are already enough for the One and the ones who count the most.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.