Keep Swimming

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with to-do lists, appointments, responsibilities, and other obligations?  I know there are days and even weeks I experience this.  I sometimes feel as if I can’t get my head above water, and I struggle to prioritize everything that is calling my name.  There are times I continue for several days on this path before I finally settle myself down and seek God.  Not only seek Him for answers and direction but for rest. 

According to Merriam-Webster.com, one of the definitions of “rest” is peace of mind or spirit.  Additionally, one of the definitions of “at rest” means free from anxieties.  This is the type of rest that I’m referring to.  There is a true rest only God can provide to us.  As mothers, rest is often scarce; however, we should remember that this is a gift God desires to give us.

In Psalm 46:10, God tells us to “Be still and know that I am God,” and Psalm 62:1 tells us that our soul finds rest in God alone.  In Matthew 11:28, Jesus tells us to “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  In Mark 6:31, Jesus tells His disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 

downloadWhen you feel like you are drowning, I want to encourage you to reach out and take the hand of the One who can walk on water.  He is our quiet place, and He is our rest.  He is our strength to keep swimming.  The storm may not pass swiftly over at that moment, but God’s peace will fill your soul and provide you with the strength to rise above what is pushing you down.

This is Not Hallmark

Shortly after bringing my babies home, I remember seeing pictures of other mother’s newborns on social media.  The sweet photos that everybody oohs and aahs over.  Especially those precious moments when you see and hold your baby for the first time after giving birth.  I remember feeling so sad and cheated.  I did not have any photos of those moments.  I did not even get to see my babies for several hours after their births and everyone else had already seen them by the time I did.  I did not get to hold them for days after they were born. 

I did not have any of those cute staged newborn photos.  My babies were covered in wires, IVs, feeding tubes, and tubes to help them breath.  They were laying there helpless in an incubator.  I could not even see their little faces the first time I looked at them.  All of our first pictures included all of these apparatuses. 

This may sound selfish but there were moments after we got home that I was sad and cried because I missed out on those moments so many other mothers get to experience.  I had waited for so long to become a mommy and I felt like I was cheated out of those precious first moments and memories most mothers are blessed to experience. 

I remember talking to God about this one day.  Not out of anger, just feeling hurt and sad. After pouring my heart out to Him and just laying it all out there, I remember clearly hearing in my spirit these words, “This is your story and you are not alone.” 

I then realized God was reminding me that I am not the only person this has happened to and some did not have the outcome I did.  This is my story, even the parts that hurt or were disappointing.  It is my responsibility to encourage other mothers who may also be going through this same experience. 

Sometimes our God-ordained path leads us through the wilderness of “unfair” and down the path of “not what I had planned”.   When faced with these situations, we should first remind ourselves of this: 

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 (NIV)

Go ahead, cry out to God.  Tell Him you are hurt and disappointed.  Lay all of the emotions you feel at His feet.  He can handle it, even when we cannot.  It is okay to feel this way.  We are human and we have human emotions.  None of this is a surprise to God. 

However, it is not okay to sit and wallow in our sadness and disappointments.  At some point we have to pick ourselves up and give it over to Him.  If you are like me, you will probably pick them back up or retrieve them from His hands and roll around in them once again.  But, hopefully you will give them back to the One who can handle them once and for all.  If you let Him, I assure you He will do it.

I know it is easy to plan out the special moments of our lives like childbirth where they resemble a “Hallmark” moment.  Unfortunately, they do not usually turn out in that fashion.  For some, maybe they do, but for most, they do not.  Do not beat yourself up when they don’t.  It doesn’t make the moment any less special and it’s certainly not worth subtracting from the special event by mourning the fact it didn’t occur the way you had planned it in your mind.  (I am preaching to myself here also.)

Life is not a string of pretty, picture perfect, choreographed moments.  It is, however, beautiful, especially those moments with our children, even with the ugly, tear stained, frustrated, fist pounding moments all of us as mothers face.

Dear Lord,

 Thank You for the many blessings You provide to us.  Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning.  Forgive us when we fall short and forget to praise You and instead complain or feel disappointed because they did not occur the way we had envisioned.

 Help us to see each glorious gift You give us for exactly what it is . . . a gift from You.  Even when it doesn’t happen the way we might have planned or in the time frame we would like.  Help us to realize and accept that You are in control and You know what is best for our lives even though we may not understand in that moment. 

 Grant us the ability to accept the timing as You see fit and not how we think it should be.  Give us eyes to see Your hand at work, no matter the circumstance.

 In Jesus’ name ~ Amen

Seasons of Motherhood

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Do you ever find yourself feeling as if you are just getting by in this thing called motherhood?  Do you feel like you are just surviving and maybe struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel?  I want to help you see these times with different eyes.  I want to encourage you and cheer you on.  Most importantly, Mama, I want to remind you of what a mighty and fierce warrior you are in Christ.

Just like the seasons of the year, we all face different seasons in our lives, especially as mothers.  Sometimes those seasons are joyous and sometimes they are full of trials.  No matter what season you are in, always remember that God is right there with you, even in the midst of it.  If you ask Him and allow Him, He will guide you through, no matter what the circumstances may be.  He has promised us many things in His Word and as a child of God.  We have the authority to claim those promises in our lives and on the lives of those we are responsible for. 

God will not leave us no matter what we are going through.  He is not a fair-weather friend, only there in good times or when there is a benefit for Himself.  He is with us every step of the way.  No matter if those steps are easy, level, and clear, or if they are rocky, overgrown with weeds, and difficult to navigate.

He is everything we need, but we must give Him everything that we are.  It is not easy to do and it is something  we must constantly work on.  Our flesh wants to take control, worry over it, and try and fix it, but God did not create us to do that.  He created us to fully rely on Him and trust Him for all our needs.

My main prayer is that you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, if you have not already, and develop an intimate relationship with Him.  If you have already made that decision, my hope is your relationship with Him will continue to grow stronger and closer every day.  Next, I pray you find encouragement as a mom through the stories I share.  God bless you!