encouragement

Because the Sh*t Will (Eventually) Hit the Fan

I'm so worn out by the way we do motherhood. 

And I'm realizing that there should've been a tenth chapter in my book (I already published). 

If I could go back, I would call it "Embracing One Another".

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You see, there's this huge burden on my heart lately. An old elementary school friend of mine has been in the hospital for the entirety of 2017. With her son. Who has only ever known hospital walls. 

And this son of hers, precious, beautiful, perfect child, has an extremely rare form of epilepsy that could, honestly, be terminal for this little guy. 

And yet, all around me, I see mothers go about bashing and critiquing and correcting and chastising and beating one another down. 

Oh, not so much in person, but "cowardly-style", behind our thumbs and screens. 

(There's probably some of you that are still hung up over my almost use of the "s" word in my title. Some "hypocrite Christian she is".)

We're cruel. We're brutal. We're about making sure that everyone knows that this motherhood thing can't be done any better than the way we're doing it. 

(I should know. I used to be one of them. But with experience, comes wisdom.)

And then this world has women, mothers that are literally going through hell on earth, and they'd do just about anything to get out of it. 

We seem to be so consumed about one-upping those Pinterest Darlings, that we forget that we are all human beings, with real trials, and challenges, and, yes, even feelings. 

There aren't any "safe spaces" for motherhood. (Although, a lot of you may say that Target counts).

Because aren't we all trying here? 

Isn't this gig hard enough? 

I mean, maybe we aren't trying our best all of the time. Maybe, in fact, we are barely ever trying our best. I know I don't.

Maybe our best is just in the trying. And maybe that mother that feels completely guilty for not being as blog-worthy as the next mom, just needs you to say to her that it's just right. She's doing motherhood just right. 

The sh*t always will hit the fan. It just will. There's an endless supply, if you haven't noticed yet. (Story of your life, eh?)

And maybe the walls are covered in the room you're standing in. Maybe you feel like you're the only one that can clean this mess up, but in reality, it's too much for one person. 

We need to be cleaning one another's walls. Lifting each other up. Embracing one another. Showing up and doing. Encouraging. Loving. Being. Looking. 

Looking for opportunities to pray for, come alongside, give breaks, love on, and listen to other mothers. 

Just think of one thing. 

Just one. 

And do it. Words. Deeds. Living and Breathing together. 

Because it's all hard. It's so hard by itself. Life adds the extra. 

So, be the extra-takers. 

Love, ae.

How a Mom Fights for Joy- A personal reflection: part one.

This past week I sat down to spend some time relaxing while Ellie took a nap. I tuned into one of my favorite podcasts Revive Our Hearts. I needed a break and just wanted to rest.  I was feeling tired, overwhelmed and just exhausted as a mom and wife. As I searched for a podcast to listen to, I came upon this one. I sat on my bed and listened; suddenly the tears began to flow.

My heart had been so heavy with guilt about not spending time with Christ, I was struggling to find five minutes of my day to spend in His word. I was so weary. I also struggled with my identity…I often thought, “Gosh, am I just a mom? A wife? Who am I?” I felt like I was in a never ending cycle of these thoughts and this continual feeling of guilt.

However, the Lord really spoke to my heart through this message. He showed me my need for change and gave me peace and joy while listening to Jani Ortlund, the guest speaker on the series. So today I want to present part 1 of my reflection to this message. Maybe you too have felt the same way and the Lord can speak truth and love into your heart today. 

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(Please if you get the time listen to this podcast series. It is entitled Missional Mothering. It is a five part series that speaks to young mothers and grandmothers alike.)

 

1. Who you are as a Christian is more important than who you are as a mom.

This has been something the Lord has revealed to me in the last couple of weeks and rang true again when I heard Jani (the guest speaker) talk about it on the podcast. I am a mom and a wife, but that is not who I find my identity in.  Motherhood is my ministry, not my identity. Being a wife to my husband is my ministry, not my identity. It's so freeing to know that's not all I am.

When my relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in my life, everything else falls into place. He has blessed me with a husband and daughter, but nothing takes the place of being a follower of Christ. The reason I am here on this earth is to bring glory to His name, to show other's the love and salvation He offers and to continue to seek after Him. 

(I love this list that describes who we are in Christ, it's so encouraging to see who I am in Him.)

 

2. If you're putting in here [your heart] worry, fatigue, resentment, fears, that's what's going to come out, But if every morning you're meeting with the grace-giver, you'll have more grace to pass on to your kids.

In Matthew 15:18 it says that the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart. I know in my own life I spend countless hours worrying and giving into fears which causes me to be exhausted and overwhelmed. These are the things I dwell upon. I am putting them in my heart and am constantly seeking and thinking about them whether it's conscious or not. That's why it is so important to go to the grace-giver each day. I need that grace in my own life. I need His grace to be what I focus on. Jesus needs to be the focus. I need Christ's compassion, gentleness, patience, humbleness and humility to flow from my life to my husband, daughter, family and friends. Through my life others can see the beauty of the gospel.

3. It will cost you something to be in the Word: It will cost you sleep, it will cost you time, it will cost you energy, but it will cost you so much more not to be in the Word."

It's gonna cost ya. I never thought about it that way. For me to have time with Christ it is going to cost me something. Something has to be given up. My first instinct is to hoard my own time; the free moments that I rarely get. When I get time alone I want to go to Target, read a book, take a shower, sleep! However, to spend time with Jesus means I may have to give up some of that alone time doing the things I find relaxing. But just as Jani said, it will cost me so much more not to have that time sitting with Jesus, meditating and learning from Him and about Him, allowing Him to work in my life and change me for the better. Those anxious thoughts, the worrisome spirit, the weakness it will all come barreling down on me if I don't take the time to be strengthened by Christ and His word. My need for Him is too great. 

I love this quote by Nancy Leigh Demoss:

“As we walk through each day, responding to the needs of those around us, we can become physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. God has a never-ending supply of grace, strength, and wisdom available that He wants to flow through us to others. And we need to keep coming back into His presence to get our supply replenished.” 

Remember as you go throughout this week, moms, that you are more than just a mom, you are loved so much by our Jesus and He wants to spend time with you. He wants to give you strength, grace, love and help you focus on things above. Seek Him. :) 

Have a great week. Part two is next week!

-Sarah

 

"Happy Mom Moment":How To Live Motherhood, Without Competition

I have this friend. She's more like a sister than a friend, actually. And she said something very profound, but yet very simplistic a couple of weeks ago while our, combined, nine children swarmed around us.

(Anyone else still manage to have meaningful and deep conversations with their friends while the chaos abounds? It's almost a learned skill, and one that a lot of us have learned to master. Quickly, I might add.)

I've spoken about motherhood before, and how, in today's world, it is so competitive and combative. We jump at the chance to correct, collaborate, and critique any mother who would do anything even slightly differently than we would.  

Which brings me to what my dear friend said...and I absolutely LOVE IT!  

She said that we should allow other moms to have their "happy mom moment's".  

What's a "happy mom moment"? It could be absolutely anything that you are simply proud of accomplishing.  

Sometimes, it's all we can do to just simply get the children dressed and out the door on time. We wake up late, frazzled, and not in the mood to just "GO!". But we make it to the activity; we may not have packed the healthiest of lunches for the park day or field trip, but we have to look beyond that. Your "happy mom moment" may be just that you made it and you didn't forget to bring the lunch. The moms that are silently judging you for not packing hummus and yogurt probably aren't your true friends anyway. 

So, if you know your fellow mom friend is tired and had a rough start to her morning, let her have her "happy mom moment" instead of suggesting all of the things you would've done to better prepare for the day's outing.  

Unsolicited "mom advice" usually isn't taken well anyway. Just simply listen and encourage her.  

If another mother sings praises about finally getting to the store with all of her little ones after months of avoiding it, enjoy that "happy mom moment" with her!  

Today, my "happy mom moment" is getting all of the hang up clothes hung, and reading some chapters of "Little House on the Prairie" to the children before lunch.

What's your "happy mom moment" today?! Share with us in the comments!  

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