I Will Survive . . . I Think! Confessions of an Imperfect Mom | by Julie

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When I was first asked to contribute to this blog, I consulted with the woman who had started this entire project. It’s her desire to create a place where moms from all walks of life and in all stages of motherhood can come together for support, advice and friendship.

She asked me what my passion was; what area of motherhood spoke to me when it came to writing. Some of the writers focus on parenting adopted children and foster care. Others missions and homeschooling. I thought about it for a moment. And I really couldn’t come up with an answer. Days passed and I finally came to the conclusion that my focus isn’t as profound or noble as some mothers. My primary goal as a mother is SURVIVAL!

As the busy, 42-year-old mother of two boys – one entering the fourth grade and one on the brink of starting junior high – it’s a good day when we all make it out alive.

When my children were first born, I did all the things good, Christian mothers are supposed to do. I scheduled regular naps and bedtimes. I prayed with my little ones before meals. We read Bible stories, had playdates and helped out at church. Sure, there were bumps in the road, and I imposed the typical time outs and hand swats to correct my boys and set them on the path to becoming honorable Christian men.

But somewhere along the way, a change began to happen. They began to walk, talk and have minds of their own. My boys started to expand their vocabulary. It became a bit more “colorful.” They embraced their strength and realized words weren’t always the best way to express themselves, but a nice knee to the “nether regions” conveyed some messages quite nicely. They’re favorite past-time evolved from coloring and Legos to vying for a championship title in the art of annoying people. The volume level in the house went from loud to LOUDER, and super glue and air freshener are household staples.

After my kids were born, I came to the realization that being a parent of a newborn is tremendously harder than I ever thought it would be. Looking back, I now realize that the infant years were, in fact, still the easiest stage of parenthood. Sure there were sleepless nights and diaper explosions, but all I had to do was make sure my babies were breathing. Now I worry about their futures in this cutthroat and increasingly cruel and wicked world we live in, and I pray they won’t turn away from Jesus and their Christian faith. But their well-being is no longer completely under my control. They have choices. And my skills as a parent are greatly stunted by my sinful human nature.

More often than not, I am overwhelmed as a mother and even feel like a failure as a parent. I see all the Facebook posts and tweets from super moms with perfect children and wonder how their experience can be so different.

Are they really raising the selfless, genius, award-winning, humanitarian, on-fire Christian tweens and teens their social media posts boast of? Are they really always patient, soft spoken and overflowing with wisdom when their kids challenge them? Because I’m not! What am I doing wrong? I would gander that maybe not all is as it seems. But then again, maybe I’m wrong.

I yell, cry and want to pull my hair out at least once a week! I covet the moments when I can escape to the bathroom for a few minutes of peace and quiet. When I tell my kids to do their chores, I might as well be talking to myself. When I order them to go to their rooms for disobedient behavior, I often wonder if I’m invisible. My kids have even uttered those three little words: “I hate you,” and I have threatened to run away on more than one occasion.

I wish I could say I was going to wrap up this post in a neat and tidy package filled with Godly advice and answers. But I’m not. I can’t. I don’t know how. But if you’re like me, I can tell you you’re not alone.

You’re not the only one. I know what it’s like to be an imperfect parent with imperfect kids.

Still amidst the chaos and circus-like atmosphere we call home, I’m certain I’m doing one thing right. I truly love my kids and I have known no greater joy than that of being a mother. My love for them is sincerely unconditional, I’m filled with compassion for their hurts and my forgiveness knows no bounds . . . even when their acting like little big stinkers!

What a beautiful picture this dysfunctional family mess creates, though. If I can genuinely love my children like that when they act like that just bask in the knowledge of how much more God loves us . . . even when we’re being little big stinkers. Matthew 7:11 says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

If we just do our best to love God and love others, we will survive! And our ending will be more than happy. It will be glorious!

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Fly Little Butterfly, Fly | by Britta

photo credit Angela Lyons Photography 2013

photo credit Angela Lyons Photography 2013

Seasons.

Life has seasons.

Some seasons are busy with clearness of purpose. Others we are kept waiting in anticipation of what is to come. Ahhh deep breath. I’m a mother of teens and toddlers. I’m changing diapers…times two!! I’m breaking up fights and bandaging boo-boos. I absolutely love this busy, busy season. The teenage and toddler years are a struggle of independence and they really make me crazy but there is no place I’d rather be than with my children.

A new season.

The season has come. My family is changing. My daughter is marrying the man that God has chosen for her. As I am preparing for her wedding day in just a few short weeks my mind is flooded with memories of raising my sweet daughter. The time went by so fast. One moment I was holding her in my arms and now she is taller than me. I have been blessed to pray with her, guide her to God, and watch her blossom into the woman God created her to be. I am so incredibly proud of the choices she has made to put Jesus first and to trust Him with her everything. I am so grateful for the seasons that make up her life.

Recently my three year old son made up his own song. He sings “fly little butterfly, fly. Fly little butterfly, fly.” over and over again. It is very sweet. This song has a deep meaning to me today. I will be singing this on my daughter’s wedding day as tears stream down my face. As I watch her walk down the aisle and as I watch her drive away to start her new season of life.

My prayer for you is that you take this day to stop being so distracted by the seasons of your life and enjoy them…really, truly, enjoy the season that God has you in right now. It may be hard, it may be painful, it may overwhelm you at times, it may be joyous and happy, it may be fun, or you may want to run away and find a new season.

STOP!!

This is your time. This is your season. Embrace what the Lord has set before you. Trust in Him who is the Creator of the seasons. Press into your Heavenly Father and seek Him for strength and peace. I can testify that He will be there for you through the seasons of your life.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV
“To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

*Shalom*

Desperate Parenting | by Seana

Kavin was born into a world of tubes, needles, and breathing machines.  That seems like a life-time ago, now that he is 4 years old and hasn’t needed his inhaler for months, but today I still feel that powerless desperation.  Today he is defying me.  Saying mean and hurtful things from a heart I prayerfully sow love and kindness into.  I correct him, give him consequences, and put him in his room.

Then I cry.

I try to do what is best for his heart

The same feelings come back.  I try to do what is best for his heart.  I read the Word to him, pray for him constantly, teach him the right things to do.  Yet he has free will; free will to rebel; free will to love; free will to hurt me.  I am powerless over his choices just as much as I was powerless over the condition he was born with.  Like his diaphragmatic hernia, a hole in his diaphragm, he also has a hole in his soul where sin separates him from God and others and even hurts my heart.  More than anything, I want him to know God and make Him known.

All the control I try to grasp for will never change the fact that apart from God’s transforming power both of us are wretched.  And I am reminded, once again, I am a desperate parent.  Desperate for God to do His work in my heart, to make me love well, even when I don’t feel like it… and desperate for God to make Himself known to Kavin- even when I am a poor example of a Christ-follower.

We need His power to penetrate our hearts and the hearts of our children

A worship song comes to mind:

I need You, oh I need You.
Every hour I need You.
My one defense.
My righteousness.
Oh God, how I need You.

Apart from God’s power in the lives of our families, there is only dogmatic outward compliance.  We need His power to penetrate our hearts and the hearts of our children.

Lord, please make yourself known to us.  Please make Yourself known to our children and take our imperfect parenting, wash it in Your perfection, and grow these children to know You and make You known.  AMEN.

Psalm 34:4  I sought the Lord and He answered me.  And delivered me from all my fears.

The Lord Will Remember You | by Patty

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It was 4 years ago on Mother’s Day that I was sitting in church in Tacoma, Washington. Another Mother’s Day, another year of not being able to get pregnant. I already had my son, Jacob, but we had not been able to get pregnant with out second child. After 10 years of marriage, and 5 1/2 years of trying, we had come to terms with the fact that maybe we would only be a family of three, and that was ok.

After years of baby showers and watching our friends and family members grow their families, we had resolved that maybe it just wasn’t to be. There was no reason that we could not get pregnant. In fact, we had gotten pregnant with Jacob on our honeymoon. So what we thought would simply happen had instead become a source of pain, frustration, and tremendous heart break. I felt incomplete.

I longed for and missed the baby that I knew in my heart I should have. And yet, it seemed it was not meant to be.

I sat in church that Mother’s Day, and my heart ached as the pastor interviewed mothers in the church who were, it seemed, stellar examples of motherhood. But one mother stood out to me. She too had one child and was hoping and painfully waiting for her second child…wondering why God was not fulfilling this desire of her heart.

Toward the end of the service the pastor said that he wanted to pray for the mothers that would be; the mothers that were childless and hoping that God would finally answer their prayer and bless them with a child. He asked if there was anyone who was longing for a child to come forward and the church would pray over them.

I froze in my seat. I could not move. I looked over and saw a couple that I knew and I could not go forward because I did not want them to know that this was something that we deeply longed for and wrestled with God about. I felt the deepest pain I had every felt in my life, and as much as I wanted the prayer I could not confess this before my church family. I could not bare this private pain so publicly. In fact, no one could come forward. I knew that we were not alone, but that others could also not bring themselves to publicly bear this burden.

For couples who have struggled with infertility their pain is coupled with quiet shame, and for me, a constant bitterness.

Why could so many other women conceive and I could not? Why would drug addicts, promiscuous teenagers and abusive parents be blessed with a children, and I wasn’t? I am a God fearing Christian. I teach my child about right and wrong. I am hard working and a dedicated mother. Why could I not have a child too? I wrestled with this, prayed about this, cried and even screamed at God about this. Why not me? And God was seemingly silent.

I prayed with my friend that Mother’s Day, and confessed that maybe I wanted this too much. . .and God didn’t. She responded that maybe the desire on my heart was so strong because it was God’s will. I was so confused. But one month later while my family was away in California visiting family, I received a phone call from my husband. Our niece had been arrested and had given birth to a baby girl. The baby needed someone to care for her until her mother could be released from jail.

I couldn’t believe it. Here was this baby, born into difficult circumstances, that needed someone to love and care for her. My mother’s heart jumped, and I immediately wanted to adopt. But, that wasn’t an option. The offer was only for temporary care. I was faced with a choice: We could bring the baby into our home and our hearts and give her back when the time came, risking greater heartache or we could say no, and let her go into the state foster care system.

No matter the risk, I could not let her get lost in the system. No child should be left to fend for themselves in a state run system. We said yes, and one month later brought home our sweet baby girl. The hole in my heart was filled. And every mid night feeding was a joy for me, because I had my baby. Honestly, I guarded my heart. After all, I didn’t know if or when we would have to give her up. But we trusted God, believing that this was the right thing to do. But God wasn’t finished yet. 10 days after we brought home our daughter, we found out I was pregnant. Yep, we had a one month old, and we were going to have another baby. I was in shock.

God had given us a double portion, something that He has done over and over again throughout scripture.

In 1 Samuel 1:5 Hannah, who had also been barren, was given a double portion because the Lord had closed her womb. Hannah too, knew the pain of wanting a child, and watching painfully as those around her had their children without struggle. She too wept before the Lord in anguish, and pleaded with Him for the desire of her heart. Samuel 1:19 says that the Lord remembered her, and she was blessed with a son. Her pain was not forgotten, her prayers not left unanswered. The Lord saw every tear, heard every prayer, felt every pain. And he remembered her.

Do you long for a child the way that I did, the way that Hannah did? The Lord has not forsaken you. He sees you. He hears you, and he will remember you. Remember, Jeremiah 29:11 says, that he knows that plans that he has for you. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. He loves you. He loves you, and He will see you through this. And he may even give you a double portion.