For The Mom Who Is Dreading Summer

This is my first year entering into the school-aged realm of 'having kids who have been in school all year, and now they're going to be home every day for summer.'

It has introduced a dynamic I haven't really had before. Previously, I've had my daughters home year-round. But now, I'm facing this seismic shift of schedule. It's simply that I'm used to them being home in the afternoon and evenings and weekends...and then I kind of 'regroup' in the spaces when they're in school, preparing myself for another round of parenting when they come home again from school. All of this has left me in a place I have never really been in before, but I know alot of moms feel: I'm just not sure if I'm really ready for summer. 

When I started delving into what I actually felt about all this (once I realized that I was a bit hesitant about summer's approach), it started to emerge for me that I wasn't sure that I would have what it takes inside of me to be with my girls all summer long, day in and day out. I was worried about not having enough patience, scared of feeling irritable with them all the time and not knowing what to do with that feeling, fearful of not knowing how to lead them well and finding myself feeling annoyed at the times they're out of control and I wouldn't know what to do about it. I was worried that I wouldn't have enough energy, enough capacity to engage with them, to be genuinely present with them throughout such long days. 

So I took my feelings to the Lord, once I realized and acknowledged what was going on in the inside of me. 

I told Him my feelings. I told Him my worries. I told Him my fears.

And He answered me.

He said, in a quiet voice (that I heard inside of me, not with my ears, but with my spirit), "Sarah, you're leaning into a schedule and a routine to get you through parenting. You've switched to depending on having time to regroup to do well enough as a mom. Time to regroup is helpful. Space is helpful. But it's not your Savior. It will be Me, and My Presence inside of you, filling you and empowering you, giving you what you need, that will be enough for you to get you through parenting this summer. My Presence inside of you will increase as your needs in parenting increase. I'll provide for all you need. You'll have enough. Not because of a schedule, but because of Me. You can lean into Me."

Hearing the Lord's voice and His words in the face of my worries about the summer gave me a solid foundation on which to actively settle my emotions. I can rest about my summer. I can trust that there will be enough for me as a mom, in the Lord, in His presence, in His empowerment and filling of me, in His provision. I don't need my routine or my schedule to save me. I have all that I need in the Lord. And He truly is more than my greatest needs. 

#parentingHOPE

When I Worry About My Kids

I left my two daughters at their school this morning, and as I walked away, I thought of all the things that influence them. The things I can't really shift in their hearts right now. The things I'm concerned about. I thought about how my one daughter really cares right now about what her friends think, what her friends say, what her friends do. Everyone in her grade seems to be wrapped up in who likes who, who chases who in tag on the playground, and I can see her little heart being enticed by the drama of that world of complex and shifting playground emotional attachments. It's childlike now, but it speaks to what wants to control and influence her heart for the future, as well. 

My other daughter isn't quite sure where she's safe. She wonders if she can be safe in a class without her parents around, where adults sometimes have rules that might not always be explicit, and peers don't always treat each other, or her, with kindness. She wonders if she can be safe when she feels many deep emotions, but doesn't know how to communicate them. 

As I walked away, I thought about how, as a mom, I have options for what to do with what I notice. I can choose to, and HAVE chosen to, worry about my girls primarily. I could ignore what they're experiencing. I could try to make it all better, to take their struggles away.

OR I could choose to believe that, because I am beloved of God, because my children are seen and cared for by their Maker, everything they go through in their life is known by God and is used by the Sovereign King to do His healing and growing work in their lives. They are not alone, having bad things happen to them. They are not subject to random circumstances. They are held by a God whose rule and reign is absolute, even in details like caring about friends opinions in second grade, and safety in kindergarten. 

So what can I choose to do practically? I can choose to pray. I can take my thoughts and my concerns and my noticings to the Lord. I can tell them to Him. I can remember His care. I can ask Him if there are things He wants me to do. 

As I walked away, I thought of this song. It helped me as I shifted my perspective to remember that I, and my girls, have a Maker. 

#parentingHOPE

Why I Cry On Mother's Day

Mother's Day is tomorrow, and I guess I don't really count myself among the ranks of women who happily pat themselves on the back and bask in their family's love on this holiday. Honestly, I wonder if few women really do. I don't know. I guess I was excited about my first Mother's Day, and probably my second. I was proud to walk myself into church with my head held high and my baby in my arms, proud to associate myself with the club of women who were older and wiser than me, who were mothers.

But then I came to my third and fourth Mother's Days, and up until now, my eighth Mother's Day (actually my ninth because I had a miscarriage right before Mother's Day the year before I had children, but that's a whole different part of my story, and that Mother's Day was a very painful experience)...and these years I don't feel the same as I did on those early Mother's Days. The day isn't centered around me proudly parading myself into church with my little entourage surrounding me. 

Instead, I'm pretty sure that on all of these recent Mother's Days, I've cried.

I've cried because I've felt so keenly aware of all my failures as a mother. I've felt how hard this journey is, what struggle and sacrifice and pure imperfection is the essence of it. I've wished I were better, more capable, less impatient, less unsure of what to do. I wish I knew how to be a better mother to these precious girls.

And as tomorrow rolls around, as Mother's Day comes again, you know what? I don't really feel all that different. I still feel the incredible weight of this task. I feel the enormity of it. And I feel that I don't have what it takes to do it well, to give my daughters the mothering that I long to give them, the mothering they deserve.

But I do know one thing this year that's different. 

I know that I'm not called to have everything I need all stored up within myself. I'm not asked to be competent for this task. I'm not suppoed to be 'mom enough' to scale this mountain called motherhood.

What I'm called to do is to see the task, see the overwhelming needs in front of me, to also see the lack inside of me, and to cry out for a Savior.

It's the great calling, annointing, and role of a woman, of a mother, to cry out for help outside of themselves. The Bible calls it 'hoping in God.' And it's what I must do, what we must do, when we realize the stark reality of the deep lack we carry inside of us to mother our children well. There is a Fountain of Living Water, who will fill us up with all we need, over and over, but it's our job to see our lack of being the fountain ourselves, and to turn to Him. 

I used to think the answer was inside me. To be better, do better, make myself become something I'm not. But what I've found is that instead of running from my lack, I need to embrace it. It's a beautiful thing to embrace my need, embrace my lack, because I have a Fountain, I have a Savior, I have a Helper, who is there with all that I need, waiting to fill me up as a mother, with Himself. And that's where the real change, and the real life, the real power as a mother is found. From outside of myself.

 

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Hebrews 13:20

 

 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

 

Happy Mother's Day

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