Wednesday Link Party

Welcome to Week #28 of this Wednesday Link Party

 

I truly apologize for not having featured posts…this week has been filled with company and preparations for our vacation which begins on Thursday.  I still plan to make my way through all the treasure that was linked up last week and will get back to the features next Wednesday!

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This party is open to all kinds of posts related to the Christian lifestyle. These can be homemaking, homeschooling, pregnancy, nursing, cooking, baking,crafting, Bible Study, etc. Please link in the spirit of kindness…inappropriate links will be removed.

Be sure to check out the other weekly homemaking/frugal living/natural link-ups at Deep Roots at Home,Raising Mighty ArrowsGrowing HomeJill’s Home RemediesThe Purposeful Mom,Feminine Adventures,What Joy is MineDeborah & Co.Raising ArrowsLittle Natural CottageA Mama’s StoryRaising HomemakersFar Above RubiesA Wise Woman Builds Her Home

 

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What motherhood is (and what it is not)

motherhood

 

Somebody, somewhere breathed life into a few dreadful rumors and they’ve worked an insidious hole through the hearts of mothers everywhere.  To further complicate the matter, we perpetrate the lies by not only allowing ourselves to be poisoned by them, but by infecting others in our path.  It’s time we took a stand, dispelling myths while throwing light on a few elements of truth.

Motherhood is not about you.  Take just a moment to let that sink in and then go back and read it again.  Because it’s not about what you like or don’t like.  It has nothing to do with what you feel like doing or what you wish you could be doing instead.  It’s not even about whether you want to be a mother or not.  If you’ve been so blessed, then it is your calling.  Embrace it because He’s asking you to.  Period.

Motherhood is not a role assigned for your pleasure.  You will not enjoy every aspect of it, nor are you expected to.  We are called to do hard things and being a mother just happens to be among the hardest.  If you should find you do not get excited by laundry or dishes or housework, you are called to do them anyway.  If you shrink back from training your toddlers to obedience and would prefer to let them grow as their carnal natures would have them, you are called to train them anyway.  It’s a calling, not a hobby.

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart but the faint of heart can certainly be mothers.  God uses us in our imperfection, not asking that we first arrive at some quintessential place of consistently superior performance.  He uses our weakness to strengthen His weakest.   He tends to shine brightest when we’re a bit dull because it becomes impossibly clear that it’s Him and not us.  If you feel like fainting, go right ahead.  Just first give yourself a little nudge in His direction so He can be the one who catches you.  He’ll get you going again.

Motherhood is messy.  Whoever told you it was supposed to be filled with Kodak moments and tender memories spattered you with lies.  Oh, you’ll find those moments peppered among the scary ones–but only if you’re looking.  Don’t let yourself be swallowed up by the false perception that mothering is supposed to be an exercise in beautiful.  Because honestly, it gets downright ugly at times and only grace and abundant mercy will bring forth that sought-after beauty.  Even so, those beautiful moments drown out the ugly ones.

Motherhood is just as much about shaping your own character as it is about shaping theirs.  The consistent and continual surrender of self to the job at hand is like sand paper on a freshly hewn log.  Your rough edges slowly soften as you set aside your own agenda to meet His.  Day after day, week in and week out, He is using your children to draw you to Himself even as He uses you to bring forth your little children.

Motherhood is not just for “mothers”.  Sometimes the Lord chooses not to bless the womb of a woman but still calls her heart to the task of shepherding His floundering lambs.  It may be through foster care, adoption or simply investing in the children around her.  And she may not even want to do it.  But a heart willing to turn from the closed door and enter through the open one is a heart God can and will use for mighty things.  If this is you, brace yourself…your reward is beyond measure.

Somewhere between conception and those first signs of rebellion we start to emotionally check out.  We allow ourselves to think on things like–This job is harder than I expected!  and What happened to that sweet cuddly baby and how did she suddenly turn into this terrifying and opinionated imposter?  and Where’s the receipt?  Because clearly there was a mix-up and I got the wrong child!

Suck it up, MamaBear.  Stop rehearsing all the things that should be different and put your hand to the plow.  He’ll meet you right where you are but you’ve got to be willing to move.  You’ve got to be willing to get your hands dirty and do hard things.  You’ve got to be willing to love when it hurts and hurt when you love.

And you’ve got to be willing to be emptied so he can fill you up!

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My little glass house

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It hit me so hard I nearly fell on my face.  The harsh reality that I didn’t truly trust Him was a force that left me gasping.  I was torn wide open and the bleeding wouldn’t stop.

Oh, I say all the good Christian things a good Christian girl says.  And I’d almost convinced myself that my heart believed the words.  But two ER visits in the same day with our not-quite-two-year-old had left me nearly undone.  I felt a little like Abraham that night only rather that willingly handing it over, I clutched all that was “mine”  and ran for my life.  He couldn’t have my baby and that was final.  Surely He knew I could never bear it.  And so I ran and ran and ran.  Only I was running from an imaginary threat because though I was a mother in the throes of panicked exhaustion, my little man was never in serious danger of losing his life.

But my knee-jerk reaction of fear and the absolute refusal to rest in His will has caused me to re-evaluate.  I’m not liking what I see.  That night I was unwilling to surrender my precious child, which is normal enough, but I knew in the deepest places of my soul that He had to come first.  That is was possible to make a god of even a child.  And so I asked Him to show me what else I was holding back.

The raw, real answer isn’t pretty.  Because he showed me everything.  Everything is what I’ve been refusing to give him.  I’ve stuffed it all down in a bag and cinched the top shut tight.  On occasion I may take something out and hand it over for awhile.  But if He doesn’t use it “right” or if it looks like it might get “broken” I snatch it back and stuff it safely in the bag.  I say I love Him and I try to trust Him but I have limits.  And they don’t extend far.

I’ve bought into the world’s standard to a far greater degree than I’m comfortable admitting.  The standard that says a nice house, car and salary are signs of success and the absence of any or all of the above are a sign of failure.  And so I’ve spent three decades building my world. It’s filled with little gods and big gods and they’re all squeezing out the one true God.

I’m comfortable though I squirm when the groceries run low.  I’m secure though I panic when the bills are too high.  I’m right where I want to be until I’m bored and want to be somewhere else.  And then I think I deserve or have earned that chance to escape.  You do it, too, if you’ll only admit it.

We erect plastic gods and worship at the altar of abundance.  We say we want to be used but only if it doesn’t require too much or shake up our lives or throw off our routines.  We want it all and we want it now and we want it exactly the way we envision it.  We aren’t sold out for Christ.  We barely manage to rent out a small space of our free-will to serve Him in the scary places.

We value the opinions of others with far more passion than the opinion of God.  And we cherish the breath of life more than eternal life.  It’s crazy.  Backwards, mixed-up, stupid-crazy.

I’m tired of acting like it matters what color my walls are when there are children peppering this planet without the shelter of walls at all.  I’m tired of chasing after financial security rather than trusting that what He provides really is enough.  I’m exhausted from climbing ladders and erecting walls that keep the Lord safely at arm’s distance.  Comfortable feels so good yet oddly suffocating at the same time and it’s because it’s not often where He wants us to be.  Comfortable is more a place to visit for a brief rest than one in which we should seek residency.

Yet we all run there and start throwing up the walls that define this place as home.  We settle in and plan to stay, barely remembering we’re just passing through.  We make big deal about the accommodations while we’re here and we begin to think we need bigger and better and more.

But He wants us to live with the kind of reckless abandon that has people thinking we’re a little out there. He wants us to live a life of absolute surrender in the face of complete uncertainty.

But what does that look like practically?  Does it mean we have to sell everything we own and move to a country without running water and live on a dirt floor?  For some of us, yes.  For others of us it simply means we toss all those plastic gods in a great heap, set fire to them and then let Him fill the empty spaces with what He chooses.

For me, I can already feel Him moving.  Speaking.  I hear Him asking me for things I’ve been clutching tightly and reminding me they were never really mine to begin with.  He’s asking me to go.  To move right here where I am and I cringe because living without reserve for Him right here is scary.  And I almost think it would be easier to be the one called to that far off country of dirt floors.  But if I’m giving Him me it means I no longer call the shots and I don’t get to choose where He sends me.

He’s given me a heart for special needs adoption and I’m drawn to the neediest of the needy.  The kids who aren’t pretty or lovely or healthy or loved.  The ones that are most unlikely to ever find home this side of heaven.  It’s crazy and expensive and would turn my world on its ear.  My husband agrees though we can’t get approved until God moves.  But when He does, we’re going in!

I want kids who are so sold out for Christ that they cannot be bought by the world at any price.  I want them to love freely and without shame.  I want them to see Jesus and run toward Him rather than away.  I want them to be willing to literally lay down their lives if that’s what He asks for.  I want them to go where He calls without worrying that I might selfishly hold them back.

But if all we ever do is sit around playing house how will they ever learn to serve with everything they have rather than just in neat, tidy ways that fit nicely around the empire of their lives?

I feel my little glass house beginning to shake.  I secretly long for it to just shatter.  I want to be sold out, too, and free to follow where He leads.  I want to toss aside the shackles of fear and bondage of public opinion and  live as though each moment is the big one.  I want to stop acting like the dumb stuff matters and to exchange “normal” for the uncertain and unexpected.

I want to bleed for God and His people.  I can no longer stand not to be living the life He planned for me while I seek out the life I’ve planned for myself.  From this day forth, I am His.  With abandon and without reserve.  May God in His abundant mercy hold me fast to that promise!

How about you?  Are you ready?

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 Linked up with Growing Home, Deep Roots at Home, Raising Mighty Arrows, A Mama’s Story, What Joy is Mine, Graced SimplicityA Wise Woman Builds her Home

 

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Wednesday Link Party

Welcome to Week #27 of this Wednesday Link Party

 

Featured posts from last week…

 

Choose to Trust–>>Scott Perkins consistently pumps out extraordinary inspiration and encouragement!  This post entitled, Godly Grief, is absolutely no exception!!

 

His Extraordinary Love–>>Oh.My.Goodness.  This post is incredible!  The title caught both my eye and attention and at first I was a little worried.  It is, after all, called All My Husband’s Wives!  Take a read…it’s well worth it!

 

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This party is open to all kinds of posts related to the Christian lifestyle. These can be homemaking, homeschooling, pregnancy, nursing, cooking, baking,crafting, Bible Study, etc. Please link in the spirit of kindness…inappropriate links will be removed.

Be sure to check out the other weekly homemaking/frugal living/natural link-ups at Deep Roots at Home,Raising Mighty ArrowsGrowing HomeJill’s Home RemediesThe Purposeful Mom,Feminine Adventures,What Joy is MineDeborah & Co.Raising ArrowsLittle Natural CottageA Mama’s StoryRaising HomemakersFar Above RubiesA Wise Woman Builds Her Home



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When push comes to shove…dare to love

1L

Every now and then I experience one of those moments.  The kind that squeezes my heart and steals my breath.  A transient moment, nearly impossible to capture in words.

It happened as I stood heart-in-throat captivated, watching them play.  Beat-up Tonka trucks and a pair of toddler-sized plastic ride-on cars flavored the moment boy.  With “motors” whirring and horns beep-beeping they lost themselves in the pure joy of being two.  In the joy of being together.

I watched as two heads bent close, one blond and one not, working to maneuver a truck onto the patio.  Coordination that hadn’t yet caught up with determination threatened to spoil everything.  Until it didn’t.

One yellow truck and two small boys landed on the patio, stunned.  And then they locked eyes and giggled that giggle that says everything words never could.  Seeing their mission as a complete success they went after yet another truck.  Because where one is the other must be also.

Time passed and I took it all in.  The laughter, the teamwork, the friendship, the bond that won’t be broken.  And then it happened.

Smack.  Squeal.  A torrent of tears.  Four little legs pumping furiously to reach Mama first.

I swallowed hard, opened both arms and grabbed my two sobbing boys.  Drying tears and giving kisses and reminding of how Jesus wants us to love, I encouraged them to hug it out.  And they did.

Giggles restored.  Friendship resumed.  All was right with the world.

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Their play continued but now my mind wandered.  Was I making this thing harder than it needed to be?  Had I just experienced Conflict Resolution 101 only to discover it was all I needed to graduate with high honors?  What was all that other stuff…all those rules and guidelines?  Were they really necessary?

In that moment, for that moment, I saw clearly.  I saw past the muck and mire of distraction.  I saw beyond the throng of well-intentioned but misleading books and articles I had stuffed my brain with.  I tossed the index of mental notations I’d been keeping and dared to think with my heart.  What I saw was simplicity in its most raw and beautiful form.  Simply Jesus.

His finger burned a few basic rules onto the tablets of stone and then He broke them down so we, in all our thick-headed humanity, could grasp them.

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

 

There you go.  How much simpler can it be?

1Q

We aren’t told to love the neighbor if they’re lovable.  Or if they’re dutiful.  Or if they’re beautiful.  We’re told to love them even if they aren’t.  Because they won’t be any more than we are.  Period.

But we can’t love them in their sinful, spiteful, sometimes hateful, ugly mess if we haven’t first given Him our own heart.  He has to fix it up and fill it up with the miracle that makes it possible.

Because they’ll be times we’ll cruise right along loving each other and giggling as we land on our backsides.  But they’ll also be times when we forget we’re a team and end up in a smack-down of the wills.  And those are the moments when we need to be reminded of how Jesus told us to love…

Hard and with a whole lot of grace!

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PS. Hugs are optional but highly recommended.

 

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Wednesday Link Party

Welcome to Week #26 of this Wednesday Link Party

 

There are no featured posts this week but they will be back next Wednesday.  I do, however, have a prayer request.  One of our 2 year old twins suffered a trauma to his face and has many stitches as a result.  He will be seeing a plastic surgeon but in the meantime the greatest concern is infection.  If you are willing, we’d be grateful for the prayers on his behalf.  Thank you so much!

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This party is open to all kinds of posts related to the Christian lifestyle. These can be homemaking, homeschooling, pregnancy, nursing, cooking, baking,crafting, Bible Study, etc. Please link in the spirit of kindness…inappropriate links will be removed.

Be sure to check out the other weekly homemaking/frugal living/natural link-ups at Deep Roots at Home, Raising Mighty Arrows, Growing Home, Jill’s Home Remedies, The Purposeful Mom,Feminine Adventures, What Joy is Mine, Deborah & Co., Raising Arrows, Little Natural Cottage, A Mama’s Story, Raising Homemakers, Far Above Rubies, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home



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