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.

Who Loves You More?

ChildOne day, my Mom shared with me that God had spoken to her when she was praying for me during my wayward years.  She described how God told her as much as she loved me, He loved me so much more.  I am sure God’s purpose for sharing that with my mother was to give her peace about the circumstances she could not control at that time. 

I am very thankful my mom shared that story with me because it has been a great help to me after I became a mother.  Especially in the beginning, when we first brought the boys home from their long stay in the hospital’s NICU, there were many times I was overwhelmed with anxiety and fear.  They seemed so fragile and helpless.  I did not have the nurses and monitors to alert me if something was wrong.  The only choice I had was to trust God with it all.

I began to meditate on what my mom had shared with me.  I thought to myself, if I love them anymore, my heart will burst!  And, God loves them more than that.  I could not even fathom how great His love for them must be. 

When we are filled with fear or anxiety about our children, we must stop and remember the limitless love our Heavenly Father has for them.  As much as we want to protect them and care for them, how much more does He?  I know it is almost impossible to never worry or have concern when our babies are involved – no matter how old they are, but let this knowledge bring you peace.  He has His arms around our children, just like He has his arms around us.  As much as we love them, He loves them an unfathomable amount more.

Dear Lord,

 Thank You for loving us so much that You gave Your only Son to die on the cross.  It is amazing how great Your love for us is!

 Help us to realize the depth of Your love, not only for us but for our precious children.  Remind us of this when we experience fear or anxiety over those we care for.  Give us the wisdom to leave our uncertainties and concerns in Your hands and not be overtaken by fear of the unknown.

 Thank you, Lord, for Your never-ending, unfailing, unmatchable love!

 In Jesus’ name ~ Amen

 

What If?

The other day, I didn’t feel well, and I developed several symptoms that prompted me to visit the walk-in clinic.  After talking with the doctor, she decided to do some blood work.  She told me to get some rest and not to worry.  So, of course, using my “Google doctor degree”, I began researching my symptoms.  Several of the possible diagnoses were quite scary, which prompted me to do the exact thing she had advised me not to do…worry.

Later that evening, I began running several of these possible scenarios through my mind.  At some point, after I had diagnosed myself with a near death sentence, I finally came back to reality.  I had to remind myself I didn’t know what was wrong and all this unnecessary “what if” nonsense was only causing me harm.

 Why do many of us spend time contemplating all the “what ifs” in life?  I know I allow this to happen in my own life, way too often.  Instead of things made up in our minds and planted by the enemy, wouldn’t our time be much better spent pondering the things God has instructed us to think on?

Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

 And, when we have concerns, whether they be about our children or our own selves, God wants us to take them to Him.  Talk it out and pray it out with Him.  Acting out scary scenarios in our minds is not healthy for us and can cause us unnecessary worry, fear, and anxiety.   When faced with these things, you can never go wrong by giving it to the Lord and leaving it there.  There is an old hymn, composed in 1916 by Charles Tindley, titled Leave it There.  I love the chorus of this hymn:

butterfly with rock

Leave it there, leave it there,

Just take your burden to the Lord, oh and leave it there.

If you trust Him through your doubt, He will surely bring you out.

Take your burden to the Lord, leave it there.

I never want my children to develop unhealthy fears or waste their time worrying over things they have no control over.  Since they learn so much from watching and imitating me, it is so important that I be a good example for them and remove these things from my life.  I hope they instead learn how to take their concerns to the Lord and leave them there.  I pray they always let God handle it and wait for His instruction.

By the way, I am okay.  My health issue is something that can be worked through. 

His Grace is Sufficient

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Well, today is the last day of kindergarten for my boys.  I cried on the first day, and I have cried on the last day.  Such a mixed bag of emotions come with being a mom!  On one hand, I am so stinking proud of them I can hardly stand it.  Then, I feel so overwhelmed with emotion because my tiny three pound babies are not babies anymore.  I am excited to see what wonderful little gentlemen they are becoming, but then I miss rocking those tiny babies snuggled on my chest.

I wish I could slow this down for you are growing way too fast!

So, I will try with all my might to create sweet memories that will last.

Watching you experience “firsts” and learning so many new things,

Is at times for me bittersweet ~ for I know you are growing your wings.

I am thankful God chose me to nurture two shining stars.

I will treasure every moment, as I watch you be the miracles you are.

©2017 Christy Moss

 God has given us such a magnificent job to do, but there are times I feel ill equipped and overwhelmed on this roller coaster ride.  During those times, it is imperative I stop and sit at Jesus’ feet, if only for a moment.  It is then, I must remind myself to be a Mary and not a Martha. 

 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)

This helps me concentrate on Jesus first, and remember I am never alone or without help on this journey.  In everything we face as mothers, God’s grace is sufficient for us.  It is in Him we find our peace.  It is in Him we find our strength.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

II Corinthians 12:9

Memory Box

My babies are graduating from kindergarten in a few days, and I can hardly believe it!  Where has the time gone?  I wanted to create something for each of them to keep and hopefully treasure when they get older (or at least maybe their wives will).  After a fun shopping trip to Hobby Lobby, these are my creations.

It was very easy and inexpensive.  I purchased storage boxes and fun school related stickers.  After decorating the boxes, I sifted through numerous school papers, art projects, certificates, awards, and other items I felt should be “keepers” and added them to the boxes.  I also reviewed the pictures we’ve taken for different milestones and events during this school year and created a small photo album for each of them.  I added a little book with a special note inside for each of them too.

In their graduation invitations to family, I asked everyone to hand write a letter to each of the boys.  I explained to everyone these letters would not be opened now, but instead put away in a “time capsule” for the boys to open when they graduate from high school.  I certainly hope everyone who joins us at this current graduation will be present at the next, but if they aren’t, the boys will each have a wonderful treasure from those who are missing.

Each of the boys already have a little heart shaped box containing a few of their birth items (footprints, hospital bracelets, preemie hats, etc.), and they love to get those out and go through them.  I have always kept a box of memories I enjoy reminiscing over from time to time, especially letters and cards from those I love.  The ones from my grandparents are especially dear to me, because I no longer have them here to talk to.

I hope when the boys are grown, they will treasure their memory boxes and letters from their family, while reliving fond memories of fun times and those they love.

 

A Praying Mother

A Mothers Love2I never fully understood the depths of a mother’s love until I became a mother myself.  I did not realize you could love someone so much.

I went through a very difficult season when I was a young adult.  I found myself in a painful place after a violent and unhealthy relationship ended.  At that time, I suffered through a lot of anger and depression.  Now, I understand my Mom’s tears and anguish during that time of my life.  I realize now that I not only hurt her but I can see how much she hurt for me.

I am forever grateful she never gave up on me, but most importantly, she prayed for me.  She released me to God because she knew only He could heal my broken heart and help me find my way again.  A praying mother is one of the most valuable gifts we could ever have.  It’s possible I might not be here had it not been for mine.

I began praying for my babies when I found out I was pregnant.  The list of my prayers covered everything I could think of, all the way to their wives and the children they would have one day.  From a very early age, I began to teach them about prayer and taught them how to pray.  They are only six years old but have become my little prayer warriors.  They are quick to ask for prayer, and they won’t hesitate to pray for others.  There is just something about hearing your little boy pray over you when you have a headache.  If that doesn’t melt your heart, nothing will.

I would like to encourage you to pray for and with your children every day.  If you do not currently have a routine of doing this, begin now.  It is never too late to form a habit of prayer for yourself and for your children.  Access to God is a gift He has freely given to us.  Admittance to His throne is far more valuable than any other excursion we could go on.  Enter His presence with a heart of praise.  Talk to Him as a friend because He is just that.  He is always faithful and His love never fails.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, give thanks to Him and praise His name.  For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)

I would like to take this opportunity to honor my Mother.  She has loved me unconditionally every day of my life, and I have always felt her love, no matter the distance between us.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  I love you very much!

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