Thursday, December 18, 2014

Embracing 2014 take 2

This past year, my OneWord has been embrace.

Learning to embrace this season I find myself unexpectedly in. Learning to embrace a call to be present at home and let go of the things I have been clinging to. And learning to embrace who I am as a mother, as a wife, as a child of God.

It's been a really rough year, I'll be honest. I thought embracing would be easy, but until you are willing to let go of things you are clinging to that don't belong to you, there isn't room for anything else. And that's been my struggle. Being willing to let go.

I've been tempted to give up. I've been tempted to give up dreaming and hoping because letting go of the things that aren't mine anymore makes me so sad. I've spent this year grieving in part for what was and what could have been, for doors firmly closed and detours I wasn't ready to take.

But then something wonderful happened. When I finally let my burden down (and by finally, I mean closer to, um, last month) I was able to see the beautiful gifts He is waiting for me to embrace. And you know what?

They aren't so different from what He asked me to lay down in the first place. And that gives me hope.

Because part of my difficulty in letting go has been fear that I will never get to do the things that my heart cries to do again, the things that fill me with passion and joy and spur me on to share His love and goodness with those around me. I found myself empty and tired and discouraged because I was desperate for those things but I could no longer find them in what I was clinging to.

These new gifts are overflowing and have breathed new life into this weary heart.

Maybe 2014 wasn't so much about the act of embracing, but of the what and of being willing to let go.

2015 looks a lot like hope to me. Not in the sense of "I hope I can _______".

But the hope of knowing God's got this and He's got me and that's all I really need know.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The 5 Love Languages of Children

Last year was a tough year.

Not that anything overly bad happened - on the surface, in fact, our live looked pretty blessed. We had a healthy baby, we were settling in to our lesser finances a little more comfortably, and our marriage was strong.

But last winter we suddenly found ourselves struggling with one of our children. It was hard and it was often ugly and by the end of most days we were exhausted and depleted and unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Through much prayer we were able to get through the worst of it. But as my head cleared in the aftermath, I realized that as parents we had a long way to go in repairing our family dynamic, not just with our one child, but with all of our kids.

I love our kids. I happen to think they are fantastic, smart, funny, kind, and pretty great. They're my favourite kids by far. And I thought I was doing a good enough job letting them know they were loved, until I started to see patterns of behaviour that indicated otherwise.

It was extremely good timing that I received The 5 Love Languages of Children to review. I had heard of the book before, so I was eager to read it.

It was eye-opening to say the least.

To know that each of my children have their own love languages, their own ways of needing to be shown love has indeed been life-changing. Not because I had to do anything drastically different in how I love my kids, but because it has caused me to pay more attention, to be more intentional in filling up my kids' love tanks in ways that are meaningful to them.

One responds best to hugs and other affectionate touch. One responds best to encouraging and affirming words. And yet another to being helped and spending quality time.

I had become lazy in my parenting, I will admit, trying a one-sized-fits-all approach to four very different children. Understanding why that wasn't working and making small changes has made all the difference.

There is less fighting, less stress, and more willingness to cooperate and listen. And not just from the kids, but from me as well.

Not only that, but it has helped me better understand my own love language and that of my husband's, making me more understanding and patient on the days that I feel like being anything but.

And that is a very good thing.

This book has been provided courtesy of Northfield Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for my honest review.  Available at your favourite bookseller, including

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just call me Mom

I've been working my way through Restless - You Were Made For More, by Jennie Allen. First of all, let me just say if you haven't read this book, you seriously need to. Even if you think you know what you were made to do, this book will get you thinking about what God really has made you to do.

I've been operating under the premise this past year that I was supposed to fulfill one of two past callings. Because one isn't an option at this point, I decided to pursue the second. All without truly consulting God about any of it. I figured that if I had done it before, it made sense that I could just step right back into it. I told Him what I was up to, and then proceeded to struggle and agonize for the next twelve months.

Good times.

What I didn't do was pay attention when I heard God call me to leave off working and running a daycare to be fully present as a stay-at-home-mom. God knows that I get distracted easily, and I also have a tendency toward avoidance when things get hard. But I assumed that His directions to sacrifice a meager paycheque had more to do with trust (a recurrent issue in my life) and nothing at all to do with purpose. After all, I had that calling to pursue. Staying at home made perfect geographical sense.

Turns out, I missed the point. While reading Restless, I fully expected to get all fired up to be more than just a mom. Turns out, I've instead started to become fired up to be just a mom. And I hold this quote responsible:

So whether our role is to mother or start a business or sponsor a child or sweep a floor or run a bank or teach little people to read, we don't want to miss it. His Spirit will pour us into need, and who are we to judge where and what is the greatest need? This isn't as much about what or where; this is about getting over ourselves and just doing it. (emphasis mine)

I realized I was so caught up in trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing, that I was missing exactly what I was supposed to be doing!

I believe one hundred percent, even on the days that the bank balance scares me and the school fees are mounting and it is still another week until payday, on the days laundry gets old and I just want to go somewhere, that God has asked me to be home, fully present, for this season. To set aside the things that distract me and pour into the need right in front of me. 

Here I was looking for some big calling and He has just handed me the biggest one.

Linking up for SDG.