Posted on January 5, 2016
To combat the darkness ever permeate in the atmosphere, I choose to unearth the joy of Jesus by following the happy faces. Facebook…Twitter-verse…Instagram…Pinterest…my news feeds looks like a Christian motivational speaker threw up all over them and then added glitter. Facebook can be a platform for the positive and encouraging, or it can be a festering blister of negativity that haunts my bright little screen.
“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Matthew 12:34
It’s not reality, and there’s only 1,440 minutes in my day. The excessive amount of ranting that opportunely may drench my day cannot always be shut off. But in the realms of social media I can unfollow negative sloth, never to be bothered by it again. I even have the power to block it forever, if I deem it too invasive to my joy. That’s brill. If only that sentiment could be applied to incoming text messages…
A little bleep landed in my new text alerts one midnight… a photo from my oldest daughter a midst the first Bucher Sister Sleepover. I had been excitedly talking with a friend…down the stairs…in the same house…and missed her first couple of messages. (Side note, I think she’s taken note not to ninja-stealth-scare me anymore by creeping down the stairs and sneaking up behind my chair…good for the old ticker…)
I hastened up the stairs to confiscate her phone and tuck her in, scrolling through her sent messages as I slowly creaked her door shut.
I’m no better than my daughter at waiting for a reply when it’s something I need to know straight away. And when I post a blog and no one comments, my heart does sink a pinch. But on the flip side, the concern of inconsequential “dings” and missed ring-tones bead up and trickle to the floor.
“Beep. Boop. Bop,” my daughter’s “phone” busted into the afternoon stillness.
“Beep. Boop. Bop.”
The buzzing robot alert stirred my eyes over to the loft desk. My daughter bypassed the “I just received a message and must answer right now” circuit board, and continued Barbie’s latest saga to save all of humanity by pairing up with Flynn Ryder… “Barbie’s” crush.
“Beep. Bop. Boop.”
My curiosity did not meander down the stairs alongside the cat.
“Brianne, aren’t you going to see who’s sending you messages?” I prodded… “Someone sent a picture…”
“No.” She quipped, aggravated to be interrupted mid- wedding in the dream house. Far cry from the urgent response she needed on sleepover night.
“What’s that like?” I seethed, as I searched the dusty corridors of my brain for a pre-technologically controlled remnant. I confess, I wait for the dings after a blog post like my cat waits for food when her bowl is only half full. The whiplash of feedback on social media flaunts my convictions and exposes my addiction to encouragement.
It’s a ridiculous plight to develop discipline over, I realize. When to put the “ding” down and look up and out at the world happening in my family room…lest I forfeit my witness of Barbie and Flynn’s vows. I mean, Barbie may never marry again, and I will plausibly regret forevermore not showing up in any of the wedding photos. Blast!
That December afternoon, I caught my five year old’s accused eye roll of amateur status… as I texted and checked one-handed whilst my play-doh cupcake turned into a hot mess. My family needed me to pay attention, not just be present. Inspired, I vowed not to let the fourteen days of Christmas break my daughters and I counted down for in angst unfold with me holed up in “busyness” at my desk, while the sounds of joy filtered up the stairs and underneath the crack of my closed door.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Introducing my daughter to texting and face-time is only the beginning …social media is right around the corner. I learn how to process faceless communication right alongside her, and have purposely built up a wall of “Jesus-joy” to guard my heart…and hers, until she’s old enough to take the wheel. I don’t walk the pier everyday with intentions of getting pooped on by a bird …but it’s possible. (Especially lately… What is it, bird-ageddon over here?!) I’m not focused on the birds, I’m focused on the view. I don’t hear their crazed cackling in my ears, because I have different song streaming through my headphones. I choose my focus.
I don’t know what hard-knock is about to sound at my door. Ailments are everywhere. But God doesn’t trip me up with obstacles to make me grumble through my day and life. He’s the God of humorous silver linings. The One who allows me to walk through an entire cloud of seagulls without getting pooped on; but then get blasted by the only one around in a ten mile radius.
He’s given us His only Son so that we can choose to unfollow the things that make us miserable. He did not give us life to make us suffer. He gave us life for joy! Fight the good fight and roll with the punches…knowing each blow does have an eternal purpose… and your life has a specific one.
Stay encouraged. Be happy. “Follow” the light…Christ.
“Be joyful always.” 1Thes5:16
Category: Christian Living, Parenting Tagged: birds, christian, filtering joy, kids, motherhood, social media, texting
Posted on September 28, 2015
When I fear there is no way and no room, God squeezes encouragement into the treasured places of my heart.
Boy do I love to shop in bulk. Less trips to the store equals fewer times that I’m required to take two children with me that think they need everything that can be given a bar code and stocked on a shelf. I cherished the last stock-up so much that I couldn’t see over my cart. At the sight of me drenched in sweat from hauling it to the front of the store, the cashier asked,
“You fit this all in one cart?”
“Yep, but I can push two out…it’s OK,” I replied, laughing.
“Oh, good,” she laughed, “I’m glad you’re not opposed to the idea.”
The sense of achievement I felt as I drifted through the aisles checking things off of my grocery list faded to black when I opened up my freezer to assess the situation.
“Blast,” I said to myself…”one more box of waffles.”
Can I just spray some pixie dust in there and toss the waffles in, and just trust it’ll all work out? That’s what Lo would do. But she’s five. And I’m not a fairy.
My eyes drifted over to the ice cube bin.
“I’ll just have to use the ice maker until we eat all of these waffles….” I self-comprised.
Life is full to the brim with these significant badges of motherhood. I’ve always been encouraged by the fact that each mother is picked specifically for the children she is tasked to raise. For this mom called to “stay home,” the struggle to remain content in God’s promise came under fire the day I dropped my last my baby girl off at all-day Kindergarten. I became restless, and started to let the door of the comparison trap creak to a close.
My daughters witness every reaction. They ask loads of questions and demand explanations. They increase in beauty and brilliance with every passing day, and my overwhelming and impossible responsibility to lead them follows suit.
“Will they value their ability to inflict change upon the world if they only see me affect these four walls we live within?”
In these moments I rush to fill my cart up to the brim in panic, and attempt to shove extra waffles in the freezer…when instead I should be reminding myself of God’s promise. The tendency to add things to my life and my schedule in absence of my focus becomes tantalizing and tempting…
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
God is a God of encouragement, and He will interrupt my meddling to nudge my heart in subtle situations. Like when my daughter grabbed a paint brush and wrote “love” on a rain barrel…
“Doesn’t that make you proud?” Came the encouragement delivered from a friend. Messaged received. I’m not failing.
Those God-sent seeds of encouragement run a variable risk of floating to the bottom of my Tervis full of ice water no mater how proficient I become at extracting them with my lemon juice squeezer thingy. But all is not lost, I end up sucking up a lemon seed up through the straw at least once every day. And as I spit it into the sink, I think,
“Why on earth don’t they make the lemon squeezy thing big enough to catch all the seeds?!”
It drives me nuts, and I’m pretty sure I’ve swallowed enough seeds to have a lemony fresh forest growing in my abdomen somewhere. My daughters are constantly spitting lemon seeds at me, but theirs are the kind that crunch between my teeth before I notice them swishing around a midst my swig of water.
“How do babies get in your belly… Why do people move… Why does it take so long to get ready for school in the morning (OK, that’s my question)… I miss kitty … Do we come back as angels after we die… It’s too hard … Mom, you know that you are the one who is in charge of losing your temper, right?”
The seeds I allow to grow into lemony freshness are determined by the truth I align them with.
Paul encouraged Timothy to ” …hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced, known from whom you learned [them]” -2Timothy 3:14. Timothy learned his faith from observing his mother, Eunice…who in turn learned her faith from observing her mother, Lois. (2Timothy 1:5).
I am already doing a better job than I think.
In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul reminds Timothy of his salvation in Jesus Christ, and the knowledge and treasures of the Word that have been stored in his heart since childhood.
God reverted my mind from spitting seeds to find room for the box of frozen waffles…in the ice cube bin.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (NIV), So that the man of God may e complete an proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” -2Timoty 3:16-17 (AMP)
It was there all along…I just didn’t see it. Seeing the space doesn’t always eliminate the frustration of wanting to live up to something that requires more than I feel built to deliver…but it’s a comfort. Life’s going to spit lemon seeds at me at a rapid rate until my time here expires. I can’t prevent that from happening to me or my children. And through the tears that are simply a product of the journey, I keep moving. I keep praying. I keep looking for more space. I look to God’s Word. I pray for His help.
To grow. To learn. To love.
To be the best mom than I can humanly manage to be on this day, and trust in the journey He has set up to be mine alone. Did you know that a monarch chrysalis has a shimmer of gold on it? I didn’t either, until I took a hike with my kids in the woods. What an amazing fight that butterfly has to go through just to become a butterfly…and one of the most beautiful at that, if you ask me. Kids have a way of stopping us mid-battle to reflect back on a beautiful moment.
I wonder on lots of day if I’ve done it right…tried hard enough…been smart enough…set the right example…but I realize even if I reached the bar I’d then, in turn, reach for a higher rung. Being content in the journey is anything but easy, but having faith in my Lord is.
It’s a joyful struggle. It’s a worthy fight. It’s a purpose I’ll fully understand one day beyond the stars.
“Point your kids in the right direction- when they’re old they won’t be lost.” -Proverbs 22:6 (MSG)
Category: Christian Living, Encouragement, Parenting Tagged: christian, feezer, food, groceries, kids, lemons, mom, Parenting, shopping
Posted on February 10, 2012
All women are born with a natural appreciation for shoes. Whether they be a coveted pair of running shoes, flip flops, “grown-up night” high boots, a chic pair of heals, or cozy slippers….the affection for footwear cannot be denied. Some are born with more of a knack for footwear than others, and two of them strike a chord in my mind immediately…one of my besties, Meg, and my daughter, Lo.
Meg was the first to present my first baby girl with a pair of girly white shoes with adorned with a flower, and the only one who could dress up an ugly red uniform polo with a fab pair of shoes. She once wore heals trick or treating…it’s our fave tradition we do with our kids (born 3 months apart)… walked at least a mile in those heals that night! That’s a love for shoes, people. (…and yes, they were smashingly cute, lol, Meg.)
My daughter, Lo, cannot even speak full sentences yet…but she can manage a strut across the kitchen in any pair of shoes that I take off when I come in the door. Could be a future fashion designer I have on my hands…let’s hope for that and not the starving model she’s unknowingly imitating as she paces back and forth in my kitchen. (Ha! Never mind…she may look like a skinny model one day, but that girl’s been eating non-stop since she entered this world!!) I tell you this, she’ll be the one with the appreciation for fashion. (There’s a reason she already has radar for Daddy’s wallet.)
Joking slightly aside, we take for granted how a cute pair of shoes can make us feel. When I lace up my running shoes, I immediately feel empowered. A pretty pair of heals make me feel…well…pretty! My daughters are no different. From Brianne plucking a pair of bright red shoes out of the Target clearance bin and dubbing them ‘perfect church shoes,’ to Lo freaking out over how cute a pair of bright pink bunny slippers are…one thing is clear: shoes = happiness.
My youngest daughter walks around the house Sunday mornings with her dress practically over her head so that we can all see her “PEEEETY SHOOOO-EZZZZ!!!” Her big sister tears her ‘school’ shoes off and makes a mad dash for her ‘princess’ dress up shoes. Me? I have more time invested in displaying my favorite shoes in my closet than I’d like to admit. Carefully making sure they are stored in a way that will preserve their shape and life. So, I’m no exception.
Jim, my husband, has a pair of flip flops…at times 2…tennis shoes, Doc Martin boots, work shoes, and dress shoes. Oh, and a pair of boat shoes that collect dust but ‘must remain.’ He will never relate to ‘The Shoes.’ And boy, does he have it coming. Our house already has moments that revolve around shoes. Imagine what that will evolve into when they are teenagers. Or, what about along the way?
God bless my husband. He’s going to be buried in shoes. Ballet shoes, running shoes, ‘church’ shoes, sparkly shoes, winter boots, rain boots, dress boots, cowgirl boots, sandals, dress sandals, flip flops, crocs, reef shoes, Chucks (Bri already has 3 different colors), tap shoes, play shoes, running shoes, dance recital shoes, spring shoes, summer shoes, fall shoes, winter shoes…
Category: Parenting Tagged: bunny slippers, church shoes, cozy slippers, kids, shoes, target clearance, toddlers