The Laundry …Tackling Tough Transitions.
Posted on March 20, 2019
Folding teeny tiny t-shirts filled my heart to the brim with joy for many years. I never would have dreamed of sharing laundry duty, or even calling it a duty to begin with. Silently changing padding through the house to switch loads while first daughter napped felt like heaven on earth.
Time is tricky.
Somehow, over the years, laundry became a burden. You guys …laundry DOES NOT fill my heart to the brim with joy now! It’s fills my laundry room to capacity and completely overwhelms me. The sheer amount of the whole family’s laundry causes me to DREAD IT all the way to Target to buy more underwear instead of separating ALL OF THE LOADS. I’d love to tell you that was the first time I’ve done that …but it absolutely wasn’t.
Time tends to turn the gift of socks laying on the floor into annoyances that set us fuming. What was once a joyful reminder of people filling my life and my home is now one more thing I can’t figure out how to squeeze into a limited amount of time. The older my kids get, the faster time slips by. I can’t stop it, and I can’t seem to figure out how to train my people to pick there socks up off the floor so that I can re-allocate the 3.5 seconds it takes me to pick them up and walk them to the laundry room.
As I prayed and prepared to start “book-fasting” to ready my life and soul for book baby #2, I knew something had to be done about the overwhelming amount of laundry I caught myself dragging down stairs and dumping. It was time to turn it over. When what once brought us joy begins to wear on us, it may be time to turn it over. I was delaying the complete laundry turnover, partly because I didn’t trust them to do it right, and partly because I think deep down this momma was dealing with …change.
Transitions are tough. All change requires adjustment. I prefer proven processes. Turning over requires letting go. Every time my children are able to accomplish something without me, I’m reminded they aren’t mine to hold onto. They are God’s, and I have to let go, piece by piece, and let them flourish and learn and create their own processes, trusting good seeds have been planted and firm roots are being watered.
It was hard to let go of the laundry.
The left the piles accumulate and it took days fold and put it all away. The wet loads left in the washer had to be re-washed. I let them do it. I let all of the lessons be learned. The empty space I feel when I finish my laundry and no one else’s is a catch 22.
My kids don’t need me to do laundry their anymore. I thought I needed to reallocate my time to push a book baby out. God was making room for new conversations my daughters need me to be fully present in.
He goes before us so efficiently, asking us to set things down so we are able to pick up new things. Raising kids produces a lot of laundry. It has to be washed, but it’s not the most important thing. Let it pile up while He clears room for important conversations. Let them do it, and feel the full weight of their laundry. All of the clean stuff they shove into those hampers …let them carry it all down and wash it, and fold it and put it away again. Maybe they’ll start wearing some of that stuff more than once. Maybe they’ll learn some new things.
Everyday older we get the closer we are to the next transition. Let’s not fear it, but embrace them all, knowing God will faithfully keep us busy with new things …new changes …new conversations.
The Last Inch of Forgiveness.
Posted on February 20, 2019
Applying ointment my daughter’s scalp, I prayed she didn’t have a serious illness causing her to scratch it raw in her sleep. I reached for the tea tree oil halfway through the night, hoping it wasn’t the possibility of little critters reeling through my mind. At breakfast, she happily announced the itching was gone. Somewhat relieved but still curious and a bit skeptical, I filtered through her scalp as the morning sun lit the kitchen.
Two and a half hours later, I came to the last inch of my daughter’s hair …and they fell into the sink.
“Sneaky little buggers!” I yelled in pure …freaking-out …disgust.
They ran for two hours. I’m itching as I write this. I itched for weeks, having to mentally reminding myself they were gone.
When my kids graduated to the Intermediate school, I let my guard down. There were literally bigger things to worry about. So, she bounced her heart out one winter day in bounce house heaven with her hair flying all over the place like she loves. I should have put a pulled it back- I told her to pull back …but some days I simply pick not to win certain arguments.
A lack of preventative maintenance leads to regret.
Psalm 130:4 reminds us, “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” NIV
Life is full of regrets, but un-forgiveness isn’t a healthy place to park our minds. Often, we see forgiveness as something we ask God for and give to others, but I often find it’s hardest for me to let myself off the hook.
Replace regret with reconciliation.
Through Jesus, we are forgiven. (Acts 13:38) Our God, is a forgiving God. Reconciliation happens through restored relationship. When we depend on another person for reconciliation, it’s not always a guarantee. We can’t control people’s hearts, but we choose to confess and be reconciled to God, through Jesus. (Matthew 26:28) Guilt and shame for our lack do not come from Him. He is Love.
It took me at least a week to comb through every part of my life and to find the root of a dark soul itch. Self-doubt and disqualifying lies were pelting the space between my ears like frozen precipitation. Inch by inch, I rerouted my thoughts, took them captive and flipped them back to truth. Down to the last foothold …a stronghold …bent on destroying me…
When “YOU-ARE-AN-UNFORGIVING-PERSON!” was used against me in an argument, I crumbled. I live and preach forgiveness, and felt accusations of failure mounting.
The last inch. The button released tears I’d talked back. When the garage door closed, I cried out. I picked my phone up, put it down, and then picked it back up again. I typed out “pray …” through the mist and hit send to my God girls. I ugly wept, asking God to search my heart for any shreds of truth to that accusation …to comb through every last inch …and get rid of it.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7 NIV
Un-forgiveness can become lodged in the dusty corners of our hearts. We think we have fully forgiven, until that ugly feeling comes up all over again as we think about what happened. Un-forgiving is an unfair accusation. Just because someone calls us un-forgiving doesn’t mean we’re un-forgiving. And just because we struggle with forgiveness in the last inch …doesn’t make us anything but HUMAN. God knows our hearts, and how hard we earnestly try to hand over our deepest hurts and hangups to Him.
Accusations can deceitfully convict us to believe them. I let the name of Jesus loft into the air and bounce off the walls of my home. In the middle of a frigid MidWest winter, neighbors overhearing didn’t cross my mind. With every cry, I choose to grip His peace a little tighter. I’ve never felt so harassed, poked at, and prodded with. The devil will dig into a lie we are tempted to believe about ourselves or fear the most.
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5 NIV
Jesus is the Light. At the sound of His name, darkness flees. Our daily priorities determine how we will fight in the last inch. When we feel hopeless, worthless, helpless, and not enough …convinced we’ve lost the fight …consider submitting to loser status …and see how broken we are. We are pressed and pushed to give up, give in and throw our arms up in the air. We will most definitely ugly cry in that last inch. And hopefully, we will cry out to God. We need to give it up. We are losing the fight. We are broken. We are being pushed around, harassed, and messed with until we are ugly-cry-screaming with our arms up in the air.
Live everyday life in preparation for these moments. Get into the Word, pray, and pay attention to the people He’s placed in proximity to pray in the last inch.
Jesus is our strength. In the last inch, we learn hands on what we read about in Scripture everyday. Anyone who’s lived a little bit of life in the last inch can testify. Throw your arms up. Cry out. And call on the name above all names, more powerful than any name …JESUS. It took mere minutes to replace hopelessness with peace. I just had to remember it was there, and how powerful He is.
Happy combing …(who are we kidding …there’s nothing happy about that! lol)
Rip it Off …Love While Healing.
Posted on February 13, 2019
Motherhood is like ripping band-aids off before the wounds have scabbed over. My hurts are exposed before they’ve healed. Before my kids started to grow up and experience deeper hurts, I could leave mine safely covered by the bandaids. While they remained covered and healing, I played in the park and participated in back yard picnics. I strolled down to the water and all over town to explore everything new alongside their innocent souls.
The Bible says that children are a sign of God’s blessing. My life is living proof.
“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3 NLT
In ancient times, children represented more than just a possession, as inferred in this verse. They represented heritage, “without children the inheritance of the land would be lost.” (NIV Study Bible Notes.) Our job as parents is to set them on the right path, and keep them on it or as close to it as we can …but the final decision on their direction is up to them.
My kids didn’t know me before them, or see how becoming the mom they needed me to be pulled me out of a dark season, set me back on my feet and renewed my faith. They were indeed a “more than I could ever ask for or imagine” blessing that I didn’t deserve.
I can no longer hide the places the darkness has touched behind picnics and park playdates. Now, my mistakes have the power to protect my daughters if I cut them in on the healing. The Bible says to be wise we have to share our mistakes in hopes our children are less apt to repeat them.
“My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgement, for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions. For, I, too was once my father’s son, tenderly loved as my mother’s child.” Proverbs 4:1-3
This is Solomon, one of the wisest people ever to live, advising his son not to repeat his mistakes. Parent from a place of compassion.
“You’re going to make mistakes,” I told my daughter during one of our after school hear to hearts, “and sometimes things just happen to you.”
She looked at me as if I couldn’t possibly understand what that was like, so I ripped off a band-aid.
“I don’t like to think about it,” I continued, “but it’s hard to forget.”
I know all too well how one mistake can taint years of hard work. The pain of loss …the shattering hurt of a broken heart …and the failure to prepare that derails dreams. I’ve lived through everything crumbling. I watched 9/11 happen on live TV. I know what it feels like to travel down a road approved by everyone else …but me …and certainly not God. I’ve been the victim unfair circumstances. I know what it feels like to turn on my heels and run, dig a hole too deep to climb out of, and crawl back to Christ.
In the ten steps it took my daughter her to cross the room, her tears transformed from anger to empathy, loneliness to loved, ashamed to understood.
In the midst of my beautiful mess, God showed me who He made. I’m very careful not to glorify, excuse or leave out the painful consequences of my choices. Nor the unfair kind of pain we suffer from at the hand of someone or something else. As time marches on, mom becomes a little more human. It’s hard for my daughters to believe I could ever be anyone but who they perceive me to be …but it’s crucial they understand who I am. I’m never ready to rip off a band-aid, but I persevere so my kids have a choice to escape the some wounds, and reconcile why others happen to them. Mother’s will do anything to protect their children.
“Why does God let us chose, Mom?” she asked.
“What if we didn’t have to?” I asked, “Or, get to?”
God is good. He doesn’t need anything from us, but we need Him. When I am tempted to go back and re-defeat myself over a season that God has proclaimed victorious He reminds me, “you are the same girl I have always loved.”
We are so tempted to equate our worth to our actions, mistakes and accomplishments. Walking with Christ inspires us to do better, but we will never outgrow mistakes and consequences, nor outrun pain and suffering, this side of heaven.
His love for us never changes. Just like I will never see my daughters or love them less because of mistakes, who we are to Him doesn’t change. What a gift in perspective, motherhood is.
Happy Healing, Megs 🙂
The Radical Resolution
Posted on January 31, 2019
RADICAL …Living Life Within the Love of Christ.
“Always forgiven …and never loved less.”
Fresh tears hit my shoulder. After-school conversations leave my throat hoarse and my heart raw. Moments earlier, my daughter let shreds of hopelessness bounce off the bright kitchen walls.
“I don’t even know who I am, anymore.”
Walking through change is never easy, and tween life had been taking it’s toll on her. We’ve been able to laugh through many moments of out-of-character outbursts, but today was not one of those days.
“Well, I do,” I assured her. “Do you see that girl?” I asked.
A square plastic frame atop my desk holds onto the picture of her 3-year-old face. Below it, a sticky note contains carefully scribbled out words from a daughter who had witnessed her momma in pain:
“I love you
Mommy and I’ll always
be there for you.
I just want to let
you know you can tell
“You are still that girl,” I pushed the words out through the lump in my throat, “You will always be that girl.”
The truth I spoke over my first-born knocked the wind right out of me. As I listed one attribute of her character after another, her eyes slowly brightened.
“You will grow wiser and change in some ways …but you will always be that girl …and I will be here to remind you when you forget.”
Christ utters the same truth into my heart, and yours. Romans 5:2 says, “Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace.” (VOICE paraphrase)
In one half of one paraphrase of one verse of one book from one Testament of the Word of God …we wrap our arms and minds around who Jesus is, what radical means, and how grace saves our lives.
When I look at my life I hardly recognize anything I would classify as “radical.” It takes strength to be radical, joy to be strong, and faith know joy. But if we look at this verse a little closer, we’ll realize how radical our everyday lives can be …and perhaps already are.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 NIV
“…we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand…” (emphasis, mine.)
Paul is talking about the grace fundamental to who we are. In Christ, the way we were created to be, causes us to rejoice in our everyday lives. By continually coming back to Him, and seeing who we are in Him, we are able to find peace and joy in life. (Strongs 5485)
…”Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith …” (emphasis, mine.)
Faith is the conviction of the truth. The character of one who can be relied on. (Strongs 4102) I can’t be relied on, but Jesus can be. Him in me allows me to be reliable for someone in a moment when they need to know that He knows they are alive and desperate down here. Hurting and barely holding on.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]-“ (AMP)
Walking by faith means to pay attention to the world around us, ready and willing to participate in opportunities to love others each day. (Strongs 4043) I don’t always do that, because sometimes I just don’t feel like it. I have a bunch of problems, failures and missed opportunities I don’t air out on facebook, nor does anyone we’re still following after the political season. But outside of the confines of social media, we need to live radically authentic lives.
My daughters, friends, and others placed purposefully in my life need to hear the disappointments I wouldn’t trust to my facebook friends. God has placed us purposefully in this life. If we hide our gaping wounds, no one heals.
“…for we walk by faith, not by sight …” (emphasis, mine.)
Faith doesn’t operate on what we can see. Even when we’re walking like we should be, we can’t always see the struggle behind the smiles. (Strongs 1491) If we want to have radical faith and live radical lives, we have to turn the “this makes sense to me” filter off, and start operating on the truth of God’s Word. I choose to remember His radical love for me, in the shape of cross.
For the last decade I’ve treated motherhood like a career, reading books, seeking advice and praying harder than I have ever prayed. Being a mom has taught me how quickly I reach the end of myself, and every stage of motherhood includes a part I don’t like to willingly embrace …letting go. With the onset of every aggravated tween-age tone and frustrated glance, I’m reminded.
But I choose to remember who she is, and that makes all the difference.
To function below the surface we have to foster and fight for our faith. Everyday reminding ourselves that we are part of something bigger and going somewhere better. Choose to remember. Aim to receive this radical love every day, from whomever or whatever His delivery system is …then look around to pass it on.
“I love you
_________ and I’ll always
be there for you.
I just want to let
you know you can tell
Have a Happy and Radical Year,