Being a Mom

kayaking
                           Photo credit:Lori Buck

This week, we had a few days of abnormally warm weather for October.  A good friend and I decided to take the day off of work and finally get out to do some kayaking.  It was a beautiful fall day and the lake we went to was just breath- taking. I honestly hadn’t really taken a day all summer to just go and do something without my kids.  It was a nice break.  However, on the way to meet my friend, my daughter texted me to let me know that I had forgotten to sign a paper that she needed for school that day.  So, we got into the middle of the lake, I had to pull my phone out to make a call to correct the mistake.  My friend and I were joking about how as a mom, it doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing we are always a mom!  That proved true again as later that day, my daughter had an issue at school and I had to cut our day short to go take care of it.  Mom’s never seem to truly get rest.

As I was doing my devotional today, it was talking about rest and about Jesus getting away to pray.  As I was reading the story from Mark 6 where Jesus feeds the 5,000, the verses preceding that story really struck me.

 “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.  Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.   So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”
Mark 6:30-34

Jesus was trying to get away for some time for himself and his disciple to rest, but even then the people found him and he, in his great compassion, took care of their needs first.  There are so many stories like this about Jesus.  Everywhere he went people followed him.  We read this clearly further on in Mark chapter 6

“As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus.They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.  And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” Mark 6:54-56

As I read Mark 6 this morning, it struck me how much Jesus understood what it means to be a mom.  We know Jesus understands everything we face in life, but I don’t think I ever thought about just how true that statement was in terms of being a mom until today.

Being a mom is an all-day, every-day, forever job.  You don’t stop being a mom even when you are trying to sleep, or trying to use the facilities, or trying to take a break in the middle of a lake.  You don’t get to stop being a mom when your kids are grown and taking care of their own kids.  Once you become a mom, your life is never fully your own again.  But, Jesus gets it.  He understands exactly what it is like to be a mom.  Wherever he went people followed him.  He couldn’t even eat a meal without people coming to him.  I can’t even imagine having crowds of people consistently looking to you to give them something.  Yet Jesus gave, with compassion.  Now I don’t know about  you, but there are many times when I do not respond to my kids with compassion. There are many times when I feel like I am really failing as a mom.  However, Jesus understands my struggle.  Hebrews 4:15 reminds us:

 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

Jesus truly understands what we are going through and He is always there to help us, to lead us, and to show us how to rest even in the craziest seasons of life.  True rest, the rest we need as moms comes from Him! So when the struggles and trials of being a mom seem to overwhelm you, look to Jesus, He will give you rest!

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 

 

 

 

 

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Will I Ever Get Better At this?

 

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As I woke up this morning and wrote the date in my journal, I realized that today would have been mine and my husbands’  17th wedding anniversary.  The realization didn’t really bother me in any way, but as it always does, days like this make me think about things.  As I looked back over some of my past blog posts, I read one that I wrote a few years ago entitled Summer Sadness   As I read through it I realized that this summer has pretty much gone the same way.  This summer has really been a tough one for me.  As usual the summer starts with all these hopes and dreams of how it is going to go and then we get to this point and I realize that nothing went as planed.  Now of course, that is pretty much how all of life is and thankfully, we have God to direct our steps through this minefield of life.  However, this summer, I have pretty much felt like I am lost.

As I read through the post I started to think…Am I ever going to get better at this single-mom thing?  Am I ever going to learn how to spread myself across  a job that was meant for 2 people?  Honestly, I don’t know!  This summer is the 5th summer I have spent as a single-mom and honestly, it has been one of the hardest ones for me emotionally, physically,  and at times, spiritually.  In my mind I thought that as my kids got older, I would find it easier to navigate the “single-mom” waters.  I have found the opposite to be true.  Older children bring bigger problems.  My kids can pretty much take care of themselves for the most part, which gives me  a certain amount of freedom, but it also makes it harder to spend time with them and connect with each of them.  This summer I have seen a distance in the eyes of my sons that I honestly don’t know how to fix.  My boys and I have always been super close.  We like the same things and usually spend quite a bit of time together.  My daughter is more of a loner and while we have always had a close relationship, it has always been a rocky one.  However, this summer the tables seemed to turn.  My summer has been spent much of the time with my daughter and her boyfriend, doing things with them or carting them around.  As weeks went by I realized I had hardly spent any time with my sons and they noticed as well.  I also realized, there is only 1 of me, and trying to spread myself between 3 kids, taking care of the house, and work seems to be an impossible task.  Add to that the fact that their father bailed on them almost every weekend this summer and has hardly seen them or talked to them and it seems I have not had a break.

As I sat to write this, I was asking myself, why are you writing this, it sounds like you are just complaining and this isn’t helpful to anyone.  But I realized that I am writing this because being a single-mom is tough and too often we feel alone and we feel like everyone else has this figured out and we are the only ones who are messing it up.  So if that is you and you feel that way, I want you to know you aren’t alone!  I want you to know that as single-mom’s there is no blueprint to follow to get us down this road.  We do the only thing we can do.  We get up each morning by the grace of God, cry out to him for help and learn to keep our eyes on Him.  We do the best we can in each given moment and when we make a mistake, we pick ourselves up and ask God to help us again.

 

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I Complete You

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From the time we are little girls, we tend to imagine the day when we meet our “prince charming” and the man of our dreams comes and makes us feel complete.  Hollywood also loves to get in on this, you see it in movie after movie.  If you are old enough you probably remember the infamous scene from the movie Jerry MacGuire  where he says “…you complete me.”

When you met your spouse, perhaps, like me, you felt like you were finally complete.  Like they filled in all the pieces that you felt were missing from your life.  My husband and I actually wrote our own vows,  and I remember both of our vows making mention of no longer feeling like anything was missing in our lives now that we had found each other.  So what happens when what you thought made you whole is suddenly stripped away from you?  What happens when you are torn in half?  It is completely devastating to say the least.

The Bible clearly tells us that when 2 people are married they become 1.

“...and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Mark 10:8

So yes, it is like being ripped apart.  It is like having  a part of you taken away.  However, the lie I think we all believe is that we were complete because of our husband and now we are no longer complete.

I have been doing a single-mom devotional this past week on YouVersion.  This one was entitled Single-Mom Strong by Pam Kanaly. (If you click on the title it will bring you to the page).  Something in today’s reading really struck me.  At the end of each day she has a short paragraph written to single-moms as if Jesus was talking to them and today it said:

“Your deepest wound leads you to the discovery that I alone complete you

When I read that, it felt like everything that I had been thinking was finally put into words with that statement.  It really felt like Jesus whispering to me that I didn’t have to feel like something is missing, I am complete because He makes me complete.

Colossians 2:10 reads

So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”

No matter what, we are complete because Christ is the one who makes us complete.  We never need to worry that he will leave us because he promises that He won’t and He keeps His promises! So today, sit quietly before Him and hear him whisper to you,  I complete you!

 

 

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Look No Further

stormy sky

Fear, it is something we all face in out lives.  At times, that fear can overcome us, it can stand up as if it has a life of its own and capture us.  If we focus on fear, we will never find peace.  We all have different things that we struggle with when it comes to fear.  However, no matter what  fear we are staring down,  the answer is still the same.  Seek the Lord.  Psalm 34:4 has long been one of my favorite verses.  In fact, many years ago, I memorized Psalm 34 and to this day, when I am struggling to sleep at night, I recite it to myself.  The words are a great reminder of where our hope is found, where our security lies, and whom we should seek in the dark nights of our soul.  As I was doing a devotion this morning, Psalm 34:4 came up.  As I read it and began to write about it in my journal, I felt God speak these words into my heart:

Your future is not out of my hands.  When you seek me, I hear you and I deliver you from your fears.  Look to me, come to me, remember, I am your loving Father, I am your creator-God, I am the longing of your soul, the deepest desire of your heart.  I am your light in the darkness, your safety in the storm.  It is I who holds you, carries you, and comforts you through the dark night of adversity.  Look no further my child, I am all that you need!

“Look no further”  as I wrote that it really hit me.  How often do I go to God with my troubles and then go a million other places as well to find the solution only to end up back on my knees before God crying out for his help?  Look no further…..God is not only the first place we should run, he is the only place we should run.  He will guide us and direct us through the dark path ahead and will hold our hand every step of the way.  When we turn to Him with our trouble, we truly need to look no further, He is all we need.

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The Looming Step of Deep Down Hurt

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So for the past month or so, I have really been struggling with some deep-rooted hurt.  It is funny how years can go by and you feel great and then all of a sudden something brings past hurt to the surface.  When something traumatic happens in your life that is very unexpected and life altering, you deal with what you have to but you also do what you have to do to survive.  Often that means pushing something aside because you can only deal with so much at a time.  Then as time goes on, and things settle down, those hurts resurface.  Now, while I know that this is for the best and God uses this to help us to heal,  the process is often a slow and painful one.

It is like that wound that you have that has dirt in it.  You know if you don’t clean it, it is going to get infected and cause more hurt and more pain, but you also know it is going to hurt something fierce to clean it out.  That is kind of how I feel right now and that cut, is the deep cut of rejection and mine seems to be filled with “dirt”!

When my husband left, the hurt and pain were  overwhelming.  I dealt with what I had to and moved on, because 3 kids were depending on me and I couldn’t afford to let them down.  Each step of the way, God has led me to the next step in my healing.  I talked about this a few years ago in my post Another Stair Climbed However, after nearly 5 years of being alone, I thought that I had pretty much climbed that staircase.  That was until Mother’s Day hit this year and the hurt and pain of rejection came with it!

One of the hardest things about walking through a “deathless grief”  is that the person you lost is still alive and can continue to hurt you!  This Mother’s Day that is exactly what happened and the scabbed over cut of rejection was broken wide open!  I don’t want to bore you with all the details, but to say that my “ex-husband” was inconsiderate is an understatement.  He left me feeling utterly trampled and that my friends, is no easy feat!

As the days went by and I noticed that this was still bothering me, I decided to talk to someone about it.  When I went and talked to our counseling Pastor who is also a very close family friend, she reminded me that I had been through a lot and there were things I couldn’t deal with because at the time, I had to survive, but now God was bringing things to the surface to help me to heal further.  There’s that staircase again!

As the weeks have gone on, more things have happened that have broken this cut open even further. Some of it is things that have happened to me and some is things I have watched happen to others that bring that pain back fresh and real.  I have spent more time crying in the past month or so than I have the entire year before!  While God has brought people across my path that encourage me and remind me that I am loved more than I know, I am still struggling with  this deep down hurt.

So, I have been doing and continue to do  the only thing I can do.  I wake up each morning and cry out to God.  I pour over the scriptures and look to God for guidance, for peace, for strength.  I remind myself over and over that God is sovereign over every area of my life and He knows exactly how deep this wound is and how much it needs cleaning out.  I put worship music on and sing when I can and cry when I can’t. I pray often.  I do the hardest thing for me to do and turn to family and friends for encouragement and help.  I wait in expectation to see what God is going to do. While this doesn’t always make the path easier,  it certainly makes it lighter!

The truth is the time has come and I have to climb these stairs of deep down hurt, but Thank the Lord,  I am not climbing alone!

 

 

 

 

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Hope For a Mother’s Frustration

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So today, I honestly just need to vent.  Last night, my daughter went out to a movie with a group of her friends.  When I came to get them, they asked to go across the way to a frozen yogurt shop.  I said go ahead and went into a local department store to wait for them.  When I came back to get them I was just sitting in the car waiting a few doors down from the yogurt shop.  Her and her friends suddenly came out and were coming quickly to the car and when she got in I could tell she was very upset.  

The story unfolded that while at the yogurt shop, my daughter needed to use the restroom, but there was a group of guys standing in front of the hallway that lead to the bathrooms.  She was afraid to go, but her friends encouraged her it would be fine and they would move to let her by.  Well, this wasn’t the case and one of the guys started asking her how old she was and if she would take a picture with him.  She said no, making an excuse about having a boyfriend.  Of course, they didn’t leave it at that and kept asking her.  She hurried back to the table, got her friends and they walked out.  The guys also walked out and were apparently heckling them as they left.

So that would be enough in and of itself to really set me into “mama bear” mode.  But the conversations that took place on the way home, made me even more angry!  Now my daughter, is very small, she could easily pass for 12 even though she is over 16.  She is also a very modest dresser for today’s standards.  She usually wears leggings and long large shirts.  Last night, it was very muggy out so she opted for a tank top instead of a the T-shirt.  it wasn’t an overly revealing tank top, just a normal tank top with Marvel characters on it.  It wasn’t a crop top it was plenty long enough and my daughter does not wear make-up or anything to try to make herself look older.  Yet! She was blaming herself for what happened!  Saying that she should have just worn a T-shirt instead.  

Now believe me, I am all for modesty!  I believe that as godly women, we should care about being modest, and I know that as women we need to understand that we live in a fallen, sin-filled world, where not every man has good intentions.  However, to watch my daughter beat herself up about it was heartbreaking.  Her friends were trying to tell her to stop blaming herself one of them taking the blame for telling her that they would just move.  She then brought up the way she was dressed.  This same friend, who happens to be a guy, and a really sweet young man so I know he said this with the best of intention,  responded by saying well I guess the only think to do to make sure things like that don’t happen is dress like a slob, never look good, and never wear make-up!  

Really! Dress like a slob so that we don’t have to be harassed.  Ugh!  Why is that always the answer that people come up with? Well just don’t dress like a woman, look like a guy and things will be fine.  Really?  somehow, this day in age, I don’t think that makes a difference! 

Anyway, as we got home, and were sitting alone talking, my daughter finally just broke down crying and the first words out of her mouth were…why don’t I have a Dad?  It seemed like an odd comment considering what we were talking about.   Now of course, she does have a Dad, but I knew she was referring to the fact that he wasn’t around and lives hours away.  I told her that it wouldn’t have made a difference either way, because they were just a group of punk guys and her dad would have done the same as me and just been waiting outside for her.  But the bottom line was, that underneath it all, the hurt that she felt was one of abandonment.  One of feeling afraid and when we are afraid as young girls, we look to the arms of a father for safety.  In most cases as young girls, we look to our mothers for things, but in situations like this, we are looking for our father to be the one that is there, intimidating the guy who bothered us and making us feel safe and secure.  My dad may not have been a great father in a lot of ways, but he certainly was intimidating and I remember feeling a certain security in that.  But, getting back to her question, I honestly didn’t have an answer.  I don’t know why her dad just decided to walk away after 13 years of marriage.  I only know one thing and this is the answer to everything that she was dealing with.  We live in a sin-filled broken world.  The hearts of men(and women) are for themselves.  The bible points this out to us in 2 Timothy 3:2-4 where Paul writes

 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—”  Timothy 3:2-4 ESV

The truth is, my daughter does have a father, not just an earthy dad who is around when  his schedule allows it, but she has a heavenly Father.  One who never leaves her side.  One who loves her fully and complete.  One who secured her future before time even began. One who she can trust completely, depend on fully, and One who is the only one any of us should truly fear.

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7

Talk about an intimidating father!  These words Jesus spoke not only tell us that we need to fear God, but they also show that He is a loving Father.  Today, I will remind my daughter that she does have a Father, one who knows how many hairs are on her head.  One who holds her future in His hands, one who created her to be the amazing, beautiful young WOMAN that she is.  Today I will again remind her, that we can’t control how others act, we live in a sin-filled world and all we can do, is keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and put all our hope and trust in him.  Will this stop guys from heckling her?  No, but it will teach her to put her trust not in anything that she can or can’t do,  but in what Jesus has already done!  I want my daughter to know that her security is found in the finished work of Jesus and that her Father is the all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign, creator of the entire universe.  And yeah, He is pretty intimidating!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Longing For Home

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Back in September I began taking a Bible Doctrine Class.  The class was 2 semesters and I finished my final class last week. The second half of the course we went through many different topics from Angels and demons to the power of the church.  The classs ended appropriately with talking about “last things” We spent a few weeks on the return of Christ, Heaven and hell, and the New Heavens and the New Earth.  At the end of each section we have a reflection paper that we have to write that looks back at what we feel really impacted us on the topic we were discussing.  As I sat down to write my paper, reflecting on the last things, the overwhelming feeling I had and the theme of my paper was “longing for home.”

For so much of my Christian life, I was not very eager at the thought of the return of Jesus.  I thought more about all the things that I wanted to do in this life.  When I was younger it was get married as I was married and had kids it was watch my kids grow up and grow old with my husband,  become a grandparent, you get the picture.  However, when my world came crashing down around me, when I found everything that I had tried to build my life upon ripped away suddenly, when I ended up down in a lonely dark pit, it was then that I found what my life was really built upon.  Down in that deep, dark, pit of sorrow, Jesus met me.  I hadn’t hit “rock bottom” I had landed in the arms of my savior.  As He carried me out of that pit, in that moment, He became my everything.

From that day on, Jesus has become the focus of my life in a way He never was before.  I saw that this world and all it has is nothing compared to life with Him.  The funny thing was it was’t just my heart that cried “Come Lord Jesus”  I saw the same thing in the hearts of my children.  Many times, as we would talk about things, I would hear them say, “I wish Jesus would come back.” Or before they went to bed, they would say, “maybe Jesus will come back tonight.”    When our lives seemed completely hopeless, we realized where our hope truly lies.  Our hope lies in the fact that our future is secure.  Our hope lies in the fact that even when this life hands us hardship, when things seem out of control, they are never out of  God’s control and our true hope lies in the fact that one day Jesus will return and He will make everything new.  He will set everything right.  No longer will there be death, or tears, or hunger, or sadness or covenant breaking divorce.

At the same time as doing this course, I was finishing up reading the entire Bible using the Bible in a Year devotional by Nicky Gumbel on the YouVersion App. One of the things he referenced as we read through Revelation was a quote by Bishop Leslie Newbigin.  It stated:

The horizon of the Christian is “He shall come again”  and “We look for the coming of the Lord” It can be tomorrow or anytime but that is the horizon.  That horizon for me is fundamental, and that is what makes it possible to be hopeful and therefore to find life meaningful‘    Bishop Leslie Newbigin via Nicky Gumbel

To me that statement sums up much of how I feel.  My eyes are on the horizon, looking for the return of Jesus! Some people may think this sounds morbid, or fanatical.  Maybe you think it sounds sad, thinking that we don’t enjoy our life and are wishing it away.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We enjoy this life to the fullest.  We are thankful for each day we get.  But, we have come to realize that this life is just a shadow and our true home is with Jesus.  The hurt and pain that this life brings only serves to catapult us into a deeper longing for home, a deeper longing for Jesus!

As I studied about the return of Christ and specifically about the New Heavens and the New Earth it made me further long for that glorious day.  The thought of getting to walk with Jesus in a tangible way, to physically see Him, to audibly hear His voice speaking to me.  Oh how I long for that day.  To see everything as God created it to be before sin reared  it’s destructive head.  To live forever, in the presence of God, to have a new glorified body free of the toils of aging and sickness.  To be at peace, true, unbroken peace.  Oh how I long for home!  Come Lord Jesus, Come!

 

 

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