2017, The Year of Grace

I always look forward to January 1. It’s a fresh start…and I really need a fresh start this time. Last year was one of the best years of my life, but also one of the hardest.

I am deep-down-in-my-soul tired.

Physically, I’m exhausted because apparently not every baby in the world will sleep through the night like Josiah did. Mentally, I’m spent because meeting the needs of two children is a lot harder than it looks. Spiritually and emotionally, I’m worn thin because 2016 found me putting so much pressure on myself to reach that lofty goal of perfection. I hate to admit that, but it is absolutely the truth. There were some ugly moments in the past 365, because of self-inflicted anxiety. I was hard on my family and hard on myself.

Therefore, I’ve decided to make 2017 the year of grace. I understand the concept of grace from God on a cerebral level, but I have very little understanding of how to apply it. This year I need to relearn grace.

Grace for…

  • my lack of faith in tough moments
  • my inability to be the mom I thought I’d be
  • the times Dustin and I don’t connect
  • the nights I fall to pieces because I’m just so tired
  • the times I lash out instead of reach out for help
  • the ways I’m failing my kids
  • the days I spend too much time on social media
  • my kids’ lack of baby books and Pinterest crafts
  • the dark circles under my eyes and my thinning hair (thank you postpartum hair loss!)
  • my squishy tummy
  • my messy house (hello dishes mountain!)
  • the way my van makes us look just a step above homeless (I’ll clean it out eventually when I have to take someone somewhere…maybe)
  • my less than glorious spiritual (lack of) disciplines
  • the days when homeschooling is lackluster
  • all the nights I don’t do yoga
  • all the days I can’t juggle everything and end up eating chocolate in fetal position…

Is that list long enough for you to see that I am a mess in need of grace?!

I’m really excited to see what 2017 holds, but I’m going to choose grace for all the ways it might not go well and all the ways I might fail. I have a lot of goals for the year, but I’m going to try to be gentler on myself when I can’t meet the demands of my New Years’ Resolutions. And in that same spirit, I’m going to try to take it easy on others, as well.

Ain’t nobody perfect but Jesus.

And boy, don’t we all need His grace…

“She Pondered Them in Her Heart”: A Year in Reflection

Recently in our young adult Bible study, Dustin read about Jesus’ birth in Luke 2. In this account, there were shepherds who heard about Jesus from angels and went to see Him. Verses 18 and 19 say, “And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” There was great hoopla!

And yet, “…Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Google defines the word “ponder” this way – “think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.” It also provides synonyms, which include contemplate, consider, review…and overthink. Mary really was just one of the girls, wasn’t she? Isn’t that so like us normal moms? Some major stuff is going on, but we find ourselves over in the corner overthinking.

All joking aside, this struck me as Dustin was reading. Truth be told, I was pondering, and probably missing the point of wherever the lesson was leading. All I could think about was the past year, and how quiet I’ve been about it all. I tried to write more, but I found myself in wonder most of the time, trying to wrap my head around it all.

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A Sense of Meaning: Update on My New Normal

Hey friends, thanks for stopping in. My heart is full tonight, so I thought I’d write. There’ve been a lot of things I would have written about the last few months, but the days have been long and full of memories and struggle and meaning. I’d be lying if I said I savored every moment. Truth be told, I’ve had more grueling moments over the last 6 months than I ever did as a mother of one. I’ve felt like a failure as a wife, momma, and home manager (I’m calling it that, okay? I manage a lot, and putting it that way makes it seem more important. It’s not just laundry and dishes. It’s making life peaceful and enjoyable for my family!). I’ve had more guilty feelings than I can count. Mostly guilt over not feeling rosey about motherhood every minute. Being a momma was and is my greatest desire, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

So anyway, I was feeling guilty and worthless, so I pleaded with God to help me find the joy I used to feel over mothering babies. It didn’t happen over night. It took soul searching, slowing down, letting go of expectations, and lots of prayer. Tonight I’m truly, madly, deeply feeling the joy of motherhood. I’m trapped in bed by two babies who didn’t want to go to sleep. They finally gave it up, and it’s going to take some Olympic gymnast like moves for me to get untangled and out of this bed! One might be teething, and the other is battling seasonal allergies, and I’m wrapped up in their needs, their precious faces, and the overwhelming sense that I’m right wear I belong.

I hope you’ll commit your struggles to prayer, because the LORD certainly cares and answers in His very perfect, mysterious ways. Whatever you’re walking through, know that nothing good or bad lasts forever. The moments are fleeting. Root your heart and thoughts in God’s love for you, and trust that His plans are truly for your good.

Your Childhood Joy

Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you were downtrodden, depressed, anxious, or lonely? Maybe you’re experiencing that time right now? Unfortunately, I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life like that, despite having a relationship with Christ.

The Bible says Jesus came so we could have life to the full (John 10:10), and yet so many of us live without joy. We can blame this on others, on circumstances, on things out of our control…but I don’t believe that’s the real issue. Continue reading

July 2016 Update

I had good intentions to write this post early in the month, but it’s summer in the Midwest, and we are living life to the fullest while the weather is warm. Maybe it’s better, because I have more to say than I did 26 days ago. When you’re raising tiny people, a lot can happen in the span of a month.

Josiah has been equally adorable and hilarious this month, as he continues to grow into the role of big brother. He insists that he loves his sister more than anyone else, and that she feels the same about him. I know that their bond is sacred, and I’m content to take a backseat. They both still know who to come to when they’re hungry <snicker>.

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