parenting is hard…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today was one of those days I wish would be long forgotten or at least dismissed as “another boring day.” Alas, that probably won’t happen because the drama and the tears and frustration that defined the afternoon will mark this day for quite awhile as a bit more than boring. Drama is a better descriptor, I think.
 

There are four females living in our home, otherwise known as Kappa Alpha Estrogen. It seems at times healthy boundaries get blurred, feelings get hurt and one young lady or another begins to spew angry words and accusations that would make a sailor blush.

 

It’s days like today that I figure, what’s the use? Who cares anyway if these three girls have mutual love and respect for each other, my expectations must be too high, anyway. Besides, the oldest one is quick to remind me everyone (or no one) else is “doing it or going there or wearing it…” What do I know? It’s not like I wrote the book on
Mothering 101: All You Need to Knowand Then Some.

 

I mean, is it really realistic to want, to truly desire these young women grow into emotionally, physically, spiritually healthy adults that are able to love and be loved? Am I expecting too much to want a great family that honors God first, loves one another and seeks to serve others?

 

A week or so ago, my friend Joanne was lamenting the same questions, only in her own way.

“Parenting is hard. And when it gets hard and when I’m tired and when it seems like nothing ever changes, well, I just want to give up. I figure my hopes and dreams and expectations of what a family should/could be must be just plain unrealistic and that maybe I should just lower the bar.”

 

I thought I was the only one who felt this way…but it seems lots of us feel kind of discouraged sometimes. When I am without courage, when I want to just kick the ground and sort of give up I am reminded of a couple things:

My Lord loves my children far more than I do. He is even more interested in their emotional, physical and spiritual growth than I ever will be. (Whew…that does take a little pressure off.)

The Enemy loves when I get discouraged, sullen, sulky and full of self-pity…he jumps right in and echoes every negative thought I can think.

The Truth: Family is and always will be God’s idea…so my desires for my family to be a great family…they aren’t selfish, they are biblical. Psalm 128 reminds me that “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”

More Truth: This life isn’t easy, it wasn’t meant to be…but I am not alone as a mom, God is working in and through my heart and in and through the hearts of my girls, too. His plans for them will not be sidetracked by my sub-par parenting nor will they be augmented by spectacularly fantastic parenting, either. I am called to fear the Lord, to walk in His ways, to talk about Him to my children and pray for them dutifully. That’s it. I can trust Him to do what He says He can do and that He is sufficient.

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Fireproof – To Make Her Love Me – Rascal Flatts

fireproof…a great movie with many little lessons about God, His power in our marriages, love and going the distance

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happy day

I love the lyrics to this song, you can find them here…  It is the Greatest Day in History! (on a personal level Easter has never been the same)

Today at my church I had the joy, the pleasure, the privilege of hearing one of the BEST analogies for the gospel…I hope to write about it later this week…I’m still noodling it around in my brain.  I’m still thinking ‘I can’t believe I even thought about keeping those ugly poker chips knowing I could trade all of them for a beautiful pearl.’

New Covenant’s website has a link to podcasts, you can find it here. Today’s message isn’t up yet, but it should be available soon.  I would like to listen again…I took notes, but I really need to take it in and think on it some more.

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so, what’s your story?

a hungry caterpillar...i began journaling in high school, ostensibly as a class assignment, however my love for words and the continuous flow of teen drama compelled me to continue writing beyond high school and through college. today, i journal in a specially selected notebook…the qualities of the chosen one include a spiral binding, heavy lined paper and a cool retro type cover illustration like the ones found here.

more recently, at least over the last couple of years, i have especially enjoyed blogging.  i feel like the blog format allows me some freedom to have a conversation…even if it is with myself…or to provide encouragement and a morsel of humor to a reader or two that happen to stumble upon”Out of the Mud.”

of course, the upside of blogging is that i can write about anything i want, on the other hand my posts tend to be sporadic and not particularly focused on any one subject area. it doesn’t take long for the astute observer to conclude i am hard pressed to remain focused on any one ‘thing’ for any significant amount of time. apparently, there is a term for people like me…a.d.d. or a.d.h.d….back in high school ‘airhead’ or ‘dingy blonde’ was fairly accurate… i suppose i could focus all my blog posts on a.d.d….complete with ‘how to’ and ’10 steps to…’ articles.

mostly, though, i write about my life as a ‘believer’ or ‘follower of Christ’ or the older, less hip term used to describe us Jesus Freaks: ‘born again Christian.’ terminology aside, i do have other interests, check my facebook info page…i have a plethora of interests, but seriously, i kind of get tired of reading/writing/talking about recipes, cool new kitchen kitche, decorating my house, all the accomplishments of my overachieving husband and kids, will ferrell’s latest movie and what not to wear.

i’m a thinker, i suppose, so i could examine and discuss the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, whether bailing out the banks is really a good idea, i could decry genocide in Rwanda, Sudan, or Congo…i could debate the ethics of late term abortion, discuss different treatments available for pre-, peri- and postmenopause, i could analyze the US Forest Service’s current policy on prescribed burns on Forest Service lands or hold a web forum  on parenting and disciplining our children…but–

each of these subjects would eventually lose my interest…unless the discussion, debate, forum or rant had the ‘aroma’ of Christ…then we’d need to brew more coffee and put another log on the fire. because, not only do i love to share my story…i love to hear yours…i think that is why social networks, blogs, etc intrigue me…

becomes a beautiful butterfly...as for me…what i truly love to share with those willing to read or listen is how one Person, the most historic figure ever to walk the earth drew me to Him and in a single moment i realized i am not a caterpillar, but a butterfly…

i love to share the moments i experience in my work as nurse…when i see the work of His hands in the birth of a new family. how it is only because of His spirit in me that i can look upon women and children with His eyes…people whom many would pass by on the street without giving them a second thought, those who live among us who are homeless, jobless, helpless, hopeless…and how this life we live, this very hard bumpy, crusty life is worth every bump and bruise…

in a world filled with contradiction, confusion and injustice, my friend Heather (@ especially heather) describes the One that gives me a hope and a future, One whose mercy is new every morning, Who gives me a joy from within that I cannot manufacture. it’s not about prosperity or the good life…it’s about a peace from within based upon grace at the Cross. it’s about the Greatest Story ever told.

Easter is only the beginning of the Story, will it be the beginning of your story? Everyone has one…will you tell your story to Him, to the One who gives hope and grace?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

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f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.i.n.g….

emily...2003

if you were one of the lucky readers who tried to read my last post and found it disappearing off and on today…blame it on the author’s rather lame blogging/computer/html skills. i use word2007 to publish and it is sometimes f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.i.n.g!

i really enjoy writing and the creative outlet blogging provides is wonderful, it’s just that my blogging platform or process or whatever you want to call it is f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.i.n.g!

i took a break from blogging a while ago b/c i got so f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.e.d.

i am not ready to take another break…but there has to be an easier, more efficient way to get a blog post out there!
Any suggestions, thoughts or encouragement???

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memory monday…or tuesday…no, wednesday


My bloggy friend, Joanne at The Simple Wife hosts Memory Monday…and every Monday I think to myself ‘I would sure like to join in the fun.’ So, even though it is Tuesday {ok, now Wednesday!} I am going to join in with my verse for this week…and next Monday (if all goes well) I will come back and type it in from memory.


For me there is always the temptation to complain about my situation, then in an effort to dig myself out of the whiner’s pit I try to earn favor with God and man through actions or works. However; to the astute observer, my efforts are disingenuous at best, pure hypocrisy at worst. So, as I endeavor this week not just to memorize this group of words, I pray my heart would be transformed by them and my words and actions would reflect what His word has done inside.

Well, that sounds all fluffy and spiritual, doesn’t it?

Let’s put some modern day meat on this scripture …what does this look like today, NOW?

Wesley’s commentary expands on this verse quite well…[modern girl application in brackets]

To do justly – to render to every one their due, superiors, equals, inferiors, to be equal to all, and oppress none

[Easy application: drive courteously on the streets of Lincoln, yield the right of way when applicable.]

[Challenge application: Oppress none…thinking on this one, much less applying it would keep me up for d.a.y.s. No wonder I need Jesus.]

To love mercy – to be kind, merciful and compassionate to all, not using severity towards any

[Easy app: snuggling with my children after school and listening to them talk about their busy day.]

[Challenge app: Not using severity towards any…does that include politicians? No wonder I need Jesus.]

Walk humbly with thy God – keep up a constant fellowship with God, by humble, holy faith.

[Kind of easy app: daily prayer and quiet time, reading scripture and journaling…I love to have my QT with God, but sometimes it seems life gets in the way and I am off and running for the day.]

[Challenge app: Walk humbly with thy God…this means I have to trust Him with everything, doesn't it? No wonder I need Jesus.]

Oh, and this verse is from a cute scripture memory packet from a very creative artist, Jeanne Winters. Her gift collection, simply inspiring
is featured at Hallmark Gold Crown Stores. You can read more about Jeanne at her blog here.

For the joy!

ab

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i’m not who i was…

as we get older we all change in one way or another…we get shorter, taller, greyer, sadder, happier…you get the picture. but for me, the most significant change in me occurred in the fall of 1993 when i made the decision to walk away from a former lifestyle apart from Christ into a journey of which i had no idea how it would look or what the experience wouldchurch be.

so far, i can tell you i am so very glad Christ pursued me with such vigor and persistence as to send His own into my path that i would meet Him in the pages of Scripture over and over again. when i didn’t know what to do or what to believe, His people, my new friends would point me to Scripture. there were no long philosophical debates, no deep unanswerable questions posed, no esoteric what if’s…just the Truth of the Bible to meet me where i was in the fall of 1993. where was i? i was a single mom with no college education, a checkbook with about $150 and a minimum wage job at the college rec center. i lived in student housing and rode a bike around my college town because i didn’t own a car.

clarity…in a moment of clarity i began to understand without God my life would essentially remain the same, even if I had a college degree, my own car and $15,000 in my checking account…i would still be without Hope. so i bent down on my knees, for the first time in my life and spoke to God, confessing every sin i could remember and asking Him to remind me of the ones i had chosen to forget. after what seemed like hours i rose from my knees, and climbed into my bed, exhausted. the next morning i woke early and opened my Bible, sat with my journal and wrote out my first prayer as a new Believer in Christ…the evidence was there…i realized…i’m not who i was.

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