Breaking the Mold

Learning to be who God made me to be

The Duplo That Broke the Dam — July 8, 2016

The Duplo That Broke the Dam

This morning we were all playing with Duplo blocks in the boys’ room before Johnathan had to go to work. I love this kind of play because it’s a little more subdued than some of the other forms of play my boys usually get into… so I thought.

My boys are obsessed with super heroes. Any kind, any story. Any character can be changed into a super hero just by adding “super” to the front of their name. And as with any good super hero story, there must also be a villain. Enter: Cake Robot. A character J and the boys developed during their bedtime ritual of “short story” (which usually aren’t very short…). J built a Duplo version of Cake Robot while Isaac was Superman. I’m playing on the floor with Rosalee when BAM! Cake Robot right to my head. Holy Toledo that hurt!

All of a sudden I felt myself breaking down, essentially sobbing in front of my family. I mean it hurt, but did it really hurt that bad? I left the room because my children didn’t really know what to do with mom crying and I didn’t really know why I was so upset. Johnathan was visibly concerned  about my reaction thinking maybe I had a concussion, but I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it at that moment. Despite his best efforts to lighten the mood I was in a funk of sadness.

After about 20 minutes, Johnathan nailed it on the head. He told me, “You were hit in the head, but it hurt your heart.” (man do I love this guy). And that was it exactly.

It had felt intentional, even though I KNEW it wasn’t. Like my kids were finally so tired of mom telling them what to do, being grumpy, making them nap, not letting them have dessert, etc. that they just launched a huge duplo creation at my head. But my kids haven’t learned how to hold grudges, so why would I think this?

I think it was really my guilt about my parenting skills/success (or lack there of). As if this final example of their disobedience or carelessness was a reflection on my failure to teach them right and wrong. As though they’d finally seen through the façade of mom and saw me for the broken, angry person I am. Like I deserved it…

Ouch.

Now where would I get that idea?

Has my husband ever said something like that to me? Have my children? My family? My friends?

No.

What about the world?

Ah, there it is.

So no one has told me explicitly that I’m a failure, but somehow I’ve allowed the lies of the world to slither into my vision for my family. All the blogs/articles/Facebook posts that I’ve read over the last 6 years of parenthood have condensed into this idealistic vision for my family. Like the serpent in the garden telling Eve that, “God is wrong, this isn’t all there is, you can do more, be more, know more!”This vision, often unmet by my very real and often sinful offspring has bred discontent that I’ve buried. I know that I shouldn’t have these expectations and yet I also feel that I should be able to do better, be better and have better behaved/educated/skilled children.

All of this welled up from my heart in that instant of pain. It overwhelmed me like a dam breaking and I wasn’t ready. Honestly, I’m probably still not ready to face the things God has been trying to show me, but God’s ready.

Ready for me to learn that I am loved, even at my most unlovable moments. That when I do fail, His grace covers it and seeps into the brokenness of my relationships with my kids and my husband. God’s grace…

It’s not just for those visibly broken. It’s for me too. The one who looks like I have it all together when really I’m just a Duplo away from the dam breaking.

I am reminded that everyday is a battle, often with things we can’t see. As such I turn to Ephesians 6:10-18 for the Armor of God:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

 

What about you? What voice do you choose to give authority in your life?

Be Anchored — March 23, 2016

Be Anchored

So much is happening this time of year it’s overwhelming. I recently told one of my friends that I felt like I was failing at life right now. You know the story. House is a wreck, the kids are constantly fighting and the baby is still waking up 3 times a night. You try to meal plan and then forget, you also forget about the load of clothes in the washer that have been there for a day (or 2?) already. By the time the husband comes home and the kids are in bed, all you can do is sit on the couch, in an almost stupor, and think about all the things you’d wanted to do that day.

SO… it’s been one of those weeks/months. I’ve been swinging back and forth from feeling like I’m on top of things to feeling completely overwhelmed.

Yesterday I brought a blanket outside for my 6 mo old to roll around on while her brothers romped through the backyard. They decided the blanket was much more interesting so they came and sat. After a bit we decided to roll a ball around and then it rolled off the blanket. When my 2-year-old ran off to get it, all of a sudden I just yelled, “Swim Isaac!” and instantly our blanket became a boat in an ocean and we spent the afternoon sailing around the world finding wild animals and weathering storms.

Our blanket "boat" and my 3 hardy sailors.
Our blanket “boat” and my 3 hardy sailors.

I don’t know why I yelled that…normally it takes a lot for me to stop thinking about the things that need doing and to just be with my kids. To spend those few minutes and spark their imagination in a way they hadn’t thought of yet. I normally can’t stand to just sit and play with my kids. I know that sounds terrible, but I also know several moms who are right there with me. BUT.

I realized that God was calling me, in that moment on our “boat”, to let go. Let go of my anxiety about the state of the house. Let go of my frustration about how much time I wasn’t getting with my husband during this Easter season. Let go of my feeling of inadequacy as a mom as my kids continue to bicker and yell.

God called me to release these struggles. To toss them overboard so that I might be anchored in who HE is.

Truth is, your struggles will either weigh you down until your drowning in overwhelm and despair, or they’ll anchor you in the provision and mercy and grace of our heavenly father. BUT only if you let them go first.

I am choosing to be anchored in God, who has shown me, over and over, His desire for me to be close to him. Be anchored in the God who, time and again, has provided for us (to the point even, that my house is stuffed with stuff!). Be anchored in the God who cares about my worries, no matter how trivial. Be anchored in the hope, mercy and grace he gives me as a wife and mother.

What will you choose? Will you be weighed down or will you be anchored?

 

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls[…]

Hebrews 6:18-19 (emphasis mine)

Revamping My Time with God: Open Heart, Open Home — September 29, 2015

Revamping My Time with God: Open Heart, Open Home

So over the last month or so I’ve been noticing a real dryness in my spiritual life. I knew what I needed to be doing each day. I knew how I needed to act (or react) towards my children and husband. But  I just felt…dry. As a mom it’s hard for us to make time to invest in things outside of our children. So much of our time is given over to these little beings that we love so much. But can we truly love them if we’re not investing in a relationship with God? Sure, but will it be a picture of Christ-like love? Probably not. I can attest to that.

So I decided that I needed to revamp my study habits. I was mostly motivated by a podcast I started listening to during nap time/folding laundry. Inspired to Action is a blog/podcast just for moms! Kat does a wonderful job of hitting topics that we can all relate too and providing resources that will encourage and inspire you to action! She has one that talks about “Maximizing Your Morning”. Now, I just had a baby, so there’s only so much “maximizing my mornings” I’m doing right now other than nursing a baby 2-3 times a night, BUT I understand the motivation for doing this! I know the amount of stuff I can get done during a 30 minute or longer nap time, so what could I do with an hour in the morning when the littles haven’t disassembled half the house?

Kat tells you to focus on 3 things in the mornings. God. Plan. Move. So I’ve been trying to do this with at least reading my phone Bible during the 4 am nursing time. It’s been good to start something consistent. TODAY though B-dawg wasn’t feeling well and by some miracle ALL THREE of the kids napped at the same time! So I took this time to really dig in to a Bible study method that I’d been wanting to try. It’s promoted by Courtney Joseph of Women Living Well. She has a whole group called “Good Morning Girls” that you HAVE to check out! It’s simple and quick. I was a little weirded out by coloring in my Bible, but it’s actually kind of fun! Also, one chapter a day? Easy. So if you feel that you don’t have time for a in-depth study or you don’t want to continue to spend money on studies and devotionals that are going to sit on a shelf *cough cough* this is a great option for you! I especially love the SOAK method. This is what I learned from today’s reading.

S – Scripture

When she [Lydia] and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. Acts 16:15

O – Observation

Lydia felt the need to provide for fellow believers in need. She offered her home, and most likely food, to men she’d just met out of the JOY of being saved! Maybe she felt it was the least she could do for the folks that had saved her and her entire household.

A – Application

We should be willing to open our homes if/when the opportunities arise, regardless of the “inconvenience” we may feel at having our space invaded.

K – Kneel in prayer

Dear Lord, help me to see the times of opening my home as an opportunity to love others and not as an inconvenience. Help me not to worry about the tidiness of my home to the exclusion of investing in the lives of others.

Lydia didn’t stop to consider the state of her home. Were the dishes washed? The floors swept? The guest room made ready? She only saw fellow believers in need and without hesitation offered her home.How many times have we passed on showing hospitality because our home was a veritable disaster zone. Let me be honest with you, with 2 boys and a newborn, my home is pretty much this way 6 out of 7 days a week. But this one verse out of the whole chapter has challenged me to make hospitality something to be sought and not avoided or resented.

So even with my just beginning to get back into reading (I’ll write another post later about why I feel reading printed text is better than on a screen) I feel that God is being faithful to show me truths revealed through out His word.

Your turn!

Do you have a morning routine? Do you get up before the littles? What have you read recently that spoke to or challenged you?