On #mothergood

I’ve been thinking some more on this whole concept of mothergood. So much so, I want to declare it a movement. Even if it’s just me moving.

When I think about what it means to mothergood, it’s more than just being supermom. In fact, it’s NOT being supermom at all. It’s not about having the perfect home or perfect kids. Rather, it is about finding joy in being a mom, about serving our families in the way God has equipped us to without worrying about what others are doing and if we measure up to those standards, about raising our kids to be followers and lovers of Jesus.

If I could, I’d take all the books and articles and pins that make us moms feel less than, that make us feel like we are failing because we aren’t doing all those things someone else says we should do, and I would toss them out with last week’s leftovers that no one wanted even when they were fresh. I’m tired of striving to do, when God has called us to be.

Be women who love Him with all our hearts and souls and minds. And when we don’t, be women who come to Him with repentance.

Be mothers who love our kids with the kind of love He offers us – unconditional, just, true. The kind of love that offers itself even in moments of incredible trial, that drives us to our knees in prayer and praise when we really just want to give up.

Be women less concerned with what the world tells us and more with what God tells us. Women with eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, the One who died while we were still sinners because of His great love for us.

We mothergood when we follow the One who is good. When we say no to the joy stealers and yes to the Joy-Giver.

Our kids won’t be perfect, but then neither will we. But the glory we will bring Him will cover over our failings like nothing else.

I want to mothergood.

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 Amazon.ca.

This ministry of motherhood

You want to know something funny?

As I was typing the title for this post, my only-have-had-one-cup-of-coffee fingers kept typing “mothergood” instead of motherhood.

And there’s the whole point of this post.

I’m breaking my break for a moment because I feel like I have finally stumbled upon something good. This morning as I was praying and feeling sorry for myself over my lack of purpose (or, rather, my feeling of a lack of purpose), I finally got it. Back in January I shared that once summer holidays hit, I would officially be finished babysitting and that I felt God was calling me to not work for this next season. Back in January, I was really excited about that.

In June, when the repairs around the house started mounting up, I felt a lot less excited about that.

Not only my lack of excitement, but my need for doing something big in my own eyes for God, has led me to this place of discontentment. But this morning, He redirected my focus.

This morning as I was pleading with Him to clarify my calling, He clarified it by reminding me what He has already called me to.

Motherhood.

This world will have us believe, lovelies, that this is not enough. That its not enough to raise our kids to His glory, to be content building a home. That we must also pursue bigger and better things, otherwise we lose who we are.

It is in this pursuit of bigger and better that I have lost who I am.

So I am on a mission. I am driven to get out of this place of reluctantly accepting my calling of motherhood and instead find joy and passion in it. I am driven to find out how I can serve our God and my family authentically, without trying to become someone I think I should be. Because let’s face it. How many times do we resolve to be “better” moms, only to try to live up to someone else’s definition of what that is?

This is for Him. All for Him. Because there is a reason and purpose for Him calling me to this ministry and it is high time I started to view it as just that.

I want to mother good.

On hindrances and why I’m signing off for the summer

I’ve been really struggling with unrest and feeling weighed down ever since I ended my social media break. The creativity and zest for life that I experienced during that break is quickly dwindling. And I am tired.

I was having a hard time nailing down exactly what was bothering me until this morning when I worked on my Children of the Day study. We were looking at things that hinder. I couldn’t name anything specific, even though I have this incredible burden on my shoulders, until I read this:

“A hindrance is not always something sinful. Even something wholesome can become less and less consistent with the path God is opening to you. Its season has passed and it’s time to lay it down. These can often be the hardest hindrances to let go of because they’re more subjective and easier to rationalize. They’re not wrong; they’re just wrong right now

Let’s also be sensitive to a churning in our souls or a growing unrest or discomfort toward that particular thing We’ll know. And when we do, let’s ask God for the strength to pitch it. One way we’ll know it was His will is that, even while we miss it, we’ll feel relieved.” Children of the Day, p 67, emphasis mine.

I need to sign off for the summer, to discover if indeed it is this whole social media thing that is hindering me and the growth God has in store. I’ve become a person that I don’t recognize or like all that much, and I want to change that. Or rather, allow Him to change me.

Summer seems like the natural time to do this, because life winds down as school ends and the days beg for afternoons spent on the deck with glass of iced tea and a good book. Of water fights with the kids and sunscreen on our noses. Routines shortened and schedules relaxed. A season of rest and a season of growth.

My soul and my heart feel lighter already.

Embrace The Little Moments

I woke up this morning dreading the fact I had to take the girls to the orthodontist today. Sometimes my husband can manage it, but today the task fell to me. It’s not a horrible place, this orthodontist office, but they did manage to suck thousands of dollars out of our bank account in the blink of an eye and I have yet to recover.

Also, I was feeling lazy. It’s a beautiful, sunny day. The lawn should be cut.  I need to ice our 15 year old’s cake for her belated party tomorrow. The floor has too many sticky spots to be ignored anymore. And my Amazon wish list is begging me to lighten its load. So a half hour drive to the city for a fifteen minute appointment and another half hour drive home really didn’t sound fun.

But you know what? It ended up being fun. My girls filled me in on all their little details that usually get left unspoken in the noisy chaos that is our home. I forgot what street the office was on and we laughed as we half ran, half walked the three blocks I parked too far. And because I accidentally parked on the same block Starbucks is on, of course we stopped in on our way back to the van. Who am I to ignore the signs pointing to more coffee?

The morning reminded me that in our quest to be more intentional as moms and women in general, it’s so important to be intentional in stopping and enjoying the little moments. I’m so tempted to try and do things bigger and better – as I think about the upcoming summer holidays, I wish we could do a big trip or big activities, but the reality is we don’t have the resources to do so. These little moments, the ones with smoothies and giggles and extra city blocks, these are the ones that we’ll treasure the most.

These are the ones I want to embrace today.

#RiskRejection: I talked myself into this

So.

I wasn’t going to even write this post. In all honesty, when I read about what the lovely Amy Sullivan is doing in regards to risk and encouraging other bloggers to join her, I was secretly glad that I felt not one iota of a even a whisper of a feeling of being compelled to participate.

(When I start to talk like that, you can know that even more secretly I am in great big denial.)

Yeah, so. As soon as I uttered the words “I’m so glad that God isn’t asking me to take any risks right now,” out loud to myself (also, I talk to myself. Only child syndrome.), all of the sudden I was gripped with ridiculous fear.

Because at that moment I knew, KNEW, with one hundred percent certainty that He was so asking me to take a risk.

Sigh. Some days I wish I didn’t talk to myself.

Alright, so I am a stay-at-home-mom. Way back in high school (please don’t ask me how long ago that was as it is getting incredibly close to my birthday and I am in a bit of denial about that, too) I knew I was being called to be a stay-at-home-mom. In fact, when I told my French teacher, the cutest little Irish man you ever did meet, that I was going to be a mom of the stay at home variety and he responded with “What a waste of your brains,” I determined to prove him wrong.

So what did I do when we started having kids? I looked for every opportunity NOT to be at home with them.

I did run a daycare for the better part of five years before I went back to work. But I was always being drawn back home. Even when I taught preschool, my dream job, I still felt a small niggling in the back of my mind that wished I was at home.

But I had bought into the thinking that a mom who *just* stays at home is worth pretty little.

And I had neglected to remember Who called me to be here in the first place.

So when the littlest mister was born, I knew it was time to listen. It wasn’t hard – I wanted to be at home with him! But I also spent the next two years after I left work wishing I was back there.

I had a lot of stuff I had to deal with – selfish ambition and jealousy being the biggies – and once I did, I was able to finally be content and even excited with this realized purpose of being keeper of our home and little family.

But it still scares me. Not working kind of puts a damper on our finances. Right now I look after a sweet little preschooler a few days a week, and while I love her to pieces, can I be honest? Daycare is not so much my thing anymore.

Here’s where the big risks for me come in.

Risk #1: At the end of June I will be finished babysitting L because she heads off to Kindergarten in the fall. I won’t be looking to fill her spot. (That freaks me out just typing it!) That means, unless God makes it abundantly clear otherwise, I will be done offering daycare in a few short months.

Risk #2: With no daycare, comes no income. My tendency in these situations is to start looking for a job to help out with the fun fund. But I am taking this call to be at home seriously, so I won’t be trying to take control and do things my way. That scares me.

Risk #3: We’ll be trusting that God will provide for our extra needs. We have four kids. Kids are expensive. And require things like clothing. And shoes. And things like braces and contact lenses. And could someone explain to me how it happens that they all need new clothing and shoes at exactly the same moment? These small things cause me to worry often, but I’m going to believe that since God has a purpose for having me be a full-time stay-at-home-mom, He’s going to take care of all the details. I just need to actually let Him.

Okay. So maybe to pretty much everyone else, these risks are fairly minimal. But they’re a pretty big deal to me. I still don’t want to hit publish on this post. But I will. Because I like Amy. And I believe that I need to take this leap of faith.

Also, I have hope that in trusting Him with this, there’s going to be a great adventure waiting for us on the other side. And I really can’t wait to see what that is!