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When We are Weary

When We Are Weary - Are you weary, momma? My weary is weary. Does God have purpose in my weary? How do I survive this weary and find His rest?

Are you weary, momma? I’m so weary my weary is weary. I can’t even think in complete sentences. Sinus pressure headaches create caveman speak inside my head, “Need coffee. Feed tiny human.”

Even my daily scripture app knows how exhausted I am, presenting me with this gem the other day.

Proverbs 30:1b “. . . I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.”

What is your weary?

A teething baby, a health crisis, a rebellious teen, a sick pet, an artistic toddler with a preference for your walls as canvases, financial worries?

When we are WEARY, we wear down, we wear out.

I get sick faster. I get emotional more quickly. I don’t cope with life well.

My parenting and marriage suffer when being busy and tired becomes being weary. Click To Tweet

I’m emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted after the busiest, hardest couple of weeks in a long time.

I came home Friday afternoon finally ready to withdraw, get some solid quiet time between me and God and start tackling my to do list, only to be stricken by intense nausea.

When We Are Weary - Are you weary, momma? My weary is weary. Does God have purpose in my weary? How do I survive this weary and find His rest?

I lay on the couch, willing myself not to be sick, and just sobbed.

I was really struggling that moment with an overwhelming need to demand, “WHEN? just when is it MY turn, God?!?!”

When can I just have the mental energy I need to get myself together?

When we are weary, we wear down. What can we do to heal WEARY? Click To Tweet

I heard God answer, not today, maybe not tomorrow. I’m not giving you what you want or even what you think you need, I promised to give you what you need.

NEED?

Matthew 6:8 ESV .  .  .  your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

What I need to do what?

To be refined and purified for My Kingdom, to serve others, and to be prepared for what comes next.

Oh, not for my sanity or emotional well-being. He is giving me what I need to GROW UP in Him.

Sigh.

At this point, I really want to stomp my feet and slam a door, but I pause. God isn’t punishing me, He is giving me riches.

Philippians 4:19 ESV  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

I may not understand today, but I can trust this weary is purposeful because nothing is wasted when I turn my loose ends over to Him. He is building wisdom and strength in me, and a need for Him through this current weary.

When I hand God my loose ends, nothing is wasted. He's building wisdom, strength and a need for Him in my weary. Click To Tweet
Matthew 11:28 ESV  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Sometimes, when I’m tired and frustrated, I prefer to throw myself a little pity party. I just want to wallow in being miserable.

But when I set my stubborn aside,

I’ll find rest when I come to Him.

  1. Pray: for His perspective in this moment and strength to get through this moment until I can rest.
  2. Be Still. Let Him be God. Listen for His instruction to separate my actual responsibilities from the weights I’ve put on myself.
  3. Open my Bible. Lots of good encouragement in there, plus it’s really hard to focus on my weary in comparison to the stories of the Bible.
  4. Triage. What is God’s greatest calling right now? Do that, then the next thing. Don’t worry about seven steps from now, prioritize. Being a loving wife and mother is WAY more important than cleaning house or making a gourmet meal.

After a weekend of being too sick to move, I chose the things that MUST be done, what I’d like to get done, and wrote down the rest. Writing things down relieves mental anxiety and stress, cutting down my weary.

REST

  1. Schedule rest. I know I don’t have a lot of spoons everyday. I have an intensely weak immune system and horrible allergies. Pretending I have more spoons, will rob me of tomorrow’s spoons. I must build rest into our schedule.
  2. Find what re-energizes you. Take time to do those things.
Rest - not at the expense of the mom you want to be, but SO you can be the mom you want to be. Click To Tweet

When we’re exhausted, we lose sight of the truth: God gives us what we need to grow in Him. We’ll get tired. But let us not grow weary of doing good.

Galatians 6:9 ESV  And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

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3 Ways to be a Happier Mom

Do you want to be a happier mom? Be a Mom without complaining. Did you just laugh? Because momming is soul sucking. But . . .

Do you want to be a happier mom?

Be a Mom without complaining.

Did you just laugh?

Because momming is soul sucking.

You have an MBA but just spent ten minutes arguing with a two-year-old that the strawberry jam in the squeeze bottle is exactly the same as the jar.

Cleaning house is pointless. You want a healthy, clean house for a tiny person who leaves messes in his wake like Godzilla in Tokyo.

Life is a never-ending cycle of feeding people, cleaning up after people and doing chores over and over and over. And sometimes there is poop – okay, lots of times, there is poop.

So how do we stop complaining while recognizing this is a hard season of our lives?

We recognize the struggle without unpacking and living in it!

Recognize the struggle without unpacking and living in it. #BeaHappierMom Click To Tweet

1. Shift perspective

Ask God for His perspective. He always helps me look past my initial emotions to see the forest of blessings I’m missing when I complain about all the trees in my way.

Just today, I was planning our meals wondering how much fiber I should give my kid (’cause that’s what moms worry about), and I realized I have no idea. When was the last time she yelled at me – “I’m done pooping!” and expected me to race to her side? I can’t remember.

Today’s frustration or ewww factor, might just be tomorrow’s regret. She already needs me less than she did just months ago.

If I have an unfavorite task, I teach my way through it, instructing my daughter why it is important to do with a happy heart, even when we don’t feel like it, how that makes our family a team.

I’ve learned more about what kind of person I should be by focusing on what kind of person I want to raise. Also – #3 here. Do you want to be a happier mom? Be a Mom without complaining. Did you just laugh? Because momming is soul sucking. But . . .

I've learned more about who I want to be by focusing on the kind of person I want to raise. #BeaHappierMom Click To Tweet

2. Always look for the bright side.

Last month, I had a leaky back tire. Instead of just $20 to fix it, the shop noticed my two front tires were cracked and ready to burst any second, $400 instead. Right before Christmas, for the second time this month . . .

BUT, I had just taken a 4 hour road trip. I was so grateful that we didn’t have a blow-out on the twisty windy Georgia back roads that could have caused a serious accident.

3. Get your worship on!

When I start to slip into an awful place, nothing shifts that attitude to happier mom faster than worshipping God. Sometimes, I have to fight myself to turn on praise music or open the Bible because my flesh would rather than sit in that pain, feeling overwhelmed and irritable.

Just do it – open the Bible and read one verse, play one random worship song. I dare you to stay crabby. It may not erase the painful circumstances, but it reminds me where my hope lies.

The last two Novembers, I’ve taken a step past daily gratitude to trying to change my entire attitude by going without complaining.

This year I felt like counting the hours until the challenge was over. November was the hardest month we’d had in a long time. Everything that could go wrong did, well almost. But December 1st came, and I didn’t want to unload all my harbored complaints.

Because I learned so much:

  • I learned my faith needs testing to grow. Job, I am not.
  • I learned my marriage is a million times stronger than it was before this very hard year.
  • I learned I’m a happier mom when I don’t complain because what I give energy and voice to becomes my reality.

Being a happier mom means I spend less time upset, less time stressed out, less time wishing it were bedtime and more time just enjoying the moments, even the ones with poop.

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Spinning Top Mom: I can’t do it all

I was a Spinning Top Mom, trying to do it all, feeling like I was always failing. It was time to get real, and get okay with letting that spinning top stop.

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It’s time to come clean. I can’t do it all. When I try, I feel like a spinning top, twirling out of control. I can’t do it all, and I quit trying.

Are you a Spinning Top Mom? Trying to “do it all”?

Over mugs of coffee, we’ll all nod in agreement, “of course, we can’t do it all.”

But secretly, I always think, ‘but I could be doing this better, why can’t I do what that mom does? I’m a total failure at this.’

Over mugs of coffee, we'll all nod in agreement, "of course, we can't do it all." But secretly, I always think, 'I'm a total failure at this.'

And, even though we know Pinterest is a liar, we’ll still use that measuring stick to beat ourselves over all the things we can’t do.

Even though we know Pinterest is a liar, we use that measuring stick to beat ourselves up. Click To Tweet

Depending on the day, I probably present a pretty together, homeschooling, Godly mom picture, but that picture crops out the gory details.

A load of laundry has been in the dryer for three days. It is 1 p.m. and I’ve only eaten two peach slices from my daughter’s plate, and we’re probably ordering pizza for dinner.

A load of laundry has been in the dryer for three days. We're probably ordering pizza. Spinning top mom: I can't do it all!

I’ve spent an hour trying to get her to finish coloring a shape worksheet.

Some days I multi-task well, but something always has to give. I cannot make a Pinterest worthy craft, write a deep blog about mothering and faith, provide three healthy meals, clean the house, exercise (and shower again), check the mail, water the plants, have quiet time with God, lesson plan, pay the bills, etc., etc. all in one day. Something has to give – everyday.

Maybe, it’s time to really get okay with that.

Tonight, we really did order pizza because I had two repairmen in the house all afternoon. We’re all sick with a cold. I’m trying to find the groove of homeschooling. I spent too much time explaining “I don’t want to!” is not a valid excuse. It was far from a perfect day.

But when I put my daughter to bed, I asked her what she learned today. She answered, “respect, perseverance, finishing what you start, and obedience, and coloring.”

Apparently, I managed to get the most important thing done today. I loved my daughter. I loved my husband. We ate pretend fruit salad and drank tea. I watched her play and held her hand. She whispered, “I love you” into my ear. I packed his lunch and made the coffee. I had a long overdue catch up with my sister.

Some mothers seem to juggle it all.

They jog, bake, craft everyday and manage to keep all their little people alive while they do it. But their strengths aren’t my strengths, and while their picture might look perfect, perhaps they’ve got gory details hidden in the background, too.

Picture perfect moms might have gory details cropped out of the background of their picture. Click To Tweet

This summer, I’ve dropped a lot from to my do list. Trying to do it all made me feel like the hours were racing away, putting so much pressure on me to juggle and spin the rest of the day into perfect memories, that I was making myself feel crazy.

I didn’t want to spend any more time being a ‘Spinning Top Mom.’ I wanted to be in the moment with the kids as much as possible.

My daughter is in kindergarten, and we’re homeschooling. I’m simultaneously doing too much and not enough as we try to figure this out for our family, but five is already three months gone, the last of her little kid years.

While she will always be my baby, she won’t always be a baby.

I don’t want her to turn six only to realize I missed the best moments trying too hard to do too much.

Ephesians 5:16 ESV “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

I’ve got to use these days wisely. The house work needs to get done – some days, and some days it can wait. We have to triage, set priorities, and focus on what really matters for the season of life we’re in.

That mom I’m jealous of may be in a completely different place than I am, with a totally different journey. I’ve got to let those false comparisons and expectations go.

The mom I'm envying is in a different place on a different journey. Stop the false comparisons. Click To Tweet

Those are the days I remind myself, “Heaven, not Harvard.”

If I’m parenting and living for heaven, what do I need to do for today? pray, read the Bible, be present, honor God with my life; the rest will sort itself out.

As if to make my point, when I tucked her in tonight, she whispered, “You’re the best mom.” “What makes me the best?” I asked. Innocently, she replied, “You love me.” What a wise and perfect answer! I can’t be any other mom, and I don’t have to be.

I’m not a failure, I’m just a mom who is doing what matters for my family today, even if it isn’t the laundry. The spinning top mom stops here.

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Even Superheroes Need Breaks

If being a mom is a superpower, this is our Wonder Woman, and I'm nominating her for the #BreakYouMake award from Chobani.

The first thing I learned about being a mom is how terrifying it is to love someone this impossibly much. The second thing I learned is that there is no such thing as rested moms. I’m exhausted by dinnertime every night. Sometimes, I hide in the bathroom to get five minutes of peace and quiet. The only break I get is the one I make, and sometimes there simply isn’t a break.

When Chobani asked women to think about someone in your life that needs a break, I immediately thought about my best friend, Kaitlin, whose whole life has been an emergency for almost three years.

Being a mom is kind of a superpower. A viral video about the world’s toughest job reminds us how challenging being a mom is: the job is 24/7, no weekends or vacations, in fact, those and holidays are more work, sleep is optional, and it’s unpaid. In today’s culture of Pinterest perfection, we’re also pretty sure we’re failures. And that is just a “normal” mom.

If all moms are superheroes, she is a Wonder Woman.If being a mom is a superpower, this is our Wonder Woman, and I'm nominating her for the #BreakYouMake award from Chobani.

Three years ago, her first son turned one. His last birthday present was a t-shirt that read, “Big Brother.” Surprise! They were unexpectedly expecting.

Then her soldier husband deployed, again.  He left just as a sonogram revealed something might be wrong with the baby. She was alone for months of blood tests and scary WebMD searches, of watching people not be as excited for this baby because they didn’t know how to feel or what to say.

She spent months afraid, worried, wondering what life would be for this child she hadn’t even met yet. Then Will was born with a bonus chromosome (we think it is where he gets his super-charm).

Down Syndrome children come with unique challenges. They can have heart defects and feeding issues. They generally need physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and a plethora of medical assistance and interventions each week. She had two children under two, one with significant needs, one who just needed his parents, a husband who is away most of every year, and a family who live far, far away from wherever the Army has stationed them this month.

Her life went from normal mom busy to insane. They had two or more therapies a day: A DAY. Between getting out the door for each appointment and finding care for her oldest, it was a ridiculous period of her life. I used to just cry on the phone with her.

Then life got even harder.

Will was diagnosed with leukemia. Kaitlin and Will stayed at the hospital for 21-30 days for 6 cycles of chemotherapy, were home a week, then returned for the next round. She spent 8 months going back and forth between her home and the hospital 2 hours away, most of those months sleeping on a cot (if the room even had a bed, some didn’t) if she could sleep over the noises of all the monitors and machines and having her child woken for tests every 15 minutes all night long, yes, SERIOUSLY.

And when they weren’t waking him up, he was howling in pain, puking and pooping and not able to understand why he felt so awful or make any sense of this terrible, terrible time. (Read more at Nothing is Wasted)

But she was a champion for her superhero, for all kiddos with DS and cancer. She made cookies and lasting friendships and shared Jesus’ love with everyone she met. She called me crying a lot, but always asked about me and really listened.

If all moms are superheroes, how do you honor the Wonder Woman of them all? She and Will wore superhero costumes and defeated cancer #LIKEABOSS. Then exhausted and drained, she dragged her superhero self home, ready to regroup.

And then Army relocated her family. She was home for a few days and had to move, say good-bye to friends, leave her emergency support system, find a new home, make new friends, unpack two kids and a husband and find the lid for the crock pot inexplicably in the box of toiletries, and start all over with new doctors, schools, and therapists, lost in a new community, new state.

Especially this past year, I can’t think of a day this woman has lived that didn’t make me exhausted watching her. No one needs a break like Kaitlin does. She has lived like a superhero, being a force of joy and love through some of the toughest struggles young moms can imagine.

So, I’m nominating Kaitlin for the Chobani #BreakYouMake Day. We’re hoping that the #CANCERFREE diagnosis and a new duty station will give her family the chance to Flip this year around and find some time to enjoy her boys and life.

Even amazing Superhero moms need breaks, even if we have to make them ourselves.

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Dear Birthmom,

Have you ever had a letter you wanted to write, but knew you could never send it? It would be too real, too raw, too vulnerable? What about talk to someone who is out of your life? Sometimes, I have so many things I’d like to say specifically to our daughter’s birthmom due to our unique circumstances. This is not a letter to any birthmom. I will share that letter soon.

Today is National Adoption Day and my spunky lil’ punkin woke up ready for Christmas. She has been a bright light all morning. She told us that to feel the Christmas spirit you have to stretch your arms out wide, take a deep breath, and spin. It is mornings like this that make me feel so blessed to have a chance to mother this tiny tornado, and wish I could talk to her birth mother.Christmas Spirt

Every year as soon as the first signs of spring appear, I start mentally preparing to write her birthday update to our birthmom; I carefully craft the letters and select perfect pictures to tell the story of her year. The first few letters came easily, I was just so grateful for this gift of an amazing child. But this last year I struggled more than usual. I always keep the letters light, warm, and open, but I have things I wish I could say to her.

Dear Birth Mother,

I haven’t heard from you since she was still in the NICU, the day you planned to come back to see her one more time, but never called and never answered a call or email again. How did you walk out of that hospital without her? She has your ears, you know.The first time I saw her yawn, I could see your mouth in hers.

She’ll lay in bed with me in the mornings and tell me her dreams. Her dreams of being a bear trainer and a circus clown, and I’m awed by your sacrifice that built my family. I want to call you or send a picture right that minute, hoping to catch the way joy sparkles in her with my clumsy iPhone camera. But just like my phone’s lousy ability to capture the truth of her beauty, a picture wouldn’t capture her spirit either. Although this video is one of my favorites.

Sometimes, I’m really angry with you. You put cocaine into her tiny body, and I couldn’t stop you. While they scanned for brain damage, I held her tiny head, frantic for her. Despite being premature and some early breathing difficulties, she seems alright, but tiny signs make me wonder. We can’t know the future battles she may face due to the alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.

I also don’t understand not wanting to know her. I have emailed a few times, willing to keep communication open. Not one reply. There are moments that I feel like a mother is the one person who can celebrate all the tiny, insignificant, earth-shattering, wonderful things she does. Then, I wonder if you would understand, if you have that mothering instinct at all?

Or if that instinct is what encouraged you to give her away? Because you did bring her into the world. You gave her life. Not every woman would make that choice.

Maybe you’ve never answered an email because a single word to me would open a floodgate of regret. Maybe you have a hole in your heart, shaped just her size. I don’t want to remind you what you’ve lost. That’s why I stopped emailing so long ago.

Every time she calls me “Mommy” my heart wants to burst. The other day we were talking about her adoption and if babies remembering being born. I asked if she remembered her “real” mom. I don’t know why that word came out of my mouth, because I always use “birth” mom to describe you. Maybe it still doesn’t seem possible that she is mine. But, you know what, she looked right at me and said, “You’re my real mom.” And I am. I’ve been branded in snot, puke, poop, and hugs. I’ve played dress up and tea party, and had to discipline her when watching her chubby cheeks stained with tears was breaking my heart. I’m as real as it gets, but you’re still a part of her, too.

I try not to worry about how she’ll feel in the future. I don’t know if she’ll be more than curious, but I do know she will always have a hole in her heart for the people who gave her away. I pray I’m doing my job so well, it will be only a tiny thimble space of emptiness that won’t ever bother her. But I wonder if she’ll ever come looking for you. Will she turn toward your family, aching to know why you gave her away. Part of me doesn’t want her to need you, but I want to be OK with her loving you, too. Our hearts aren’t limited in how many people we can love.

I tell her that God always meant her for our family, that she grew in my heart as part of His plan for her. Yet, during those teen years, will she ever yell, “You’re not my real mom!” at me? I pray that she doesn’t ever feel like that, or even if she does, we’ll both know she didn’t really mean it.

Dear BirthmomToday is just another Saturday, even though we know it’s National Adoption Day. And I’m celebrating her and our family. Daddy made traditional Belgian waffles, so delicious they didn’t even need syrup. We’re gonna stay in our jammies until lunch time.

We’re having a pillow fight. We’ve never had one before. I handed her the pillow and walloped her. Her eyes got wide with surprise, she was allowed to hit me? Then the laughter started to bubble up bursting into huge giggles, dissolving into giant guffaws as we bashed and bonked, great reckless pillow fun.

And you’re missing it. You’ll never know how her tiny, baby chuckles could fill a whole room with laughter. You’ll never see her jaw drop in amazement when she learns something new.

When I write to you each year, I worry over ever word, wanting you to be happy you chose us to raise her, wanting you to agree that I’ve been the best mom I could be for her, but I worry you’ll judge her height and weight and wonder if I’ve been feeding her too much junk food. I worry that you’ll hate her haircut or the mural I painstakingly painted on her bedroom wall. I wonder if you’d approve of the deep faith she is developing. Then I think, you gave her up because you couldn’t take care of you, should your opinion matter to me? Two seconds later, I hope you’re doing alright and are making better choices.

And I have times, I wonder if letting her go left a huge hole in your heart, if there is anything I could say that would make it hurt less, feel better. You did the right thing. She has a stable home, a family that adores her, and close friends who practically live at our house.

She will ask lots of questions in the future, I’m sure. I know my feelings will change too. So for right now, this minute, I’m grateful but wonder if you know what you’re missing.