No Perfect Moms

May 13th, 2023

The older I grow, the more I understand…we are none of us perfect! Not a single person. We are flawed, uniquely designed human people who God graciously loves in spite of ourselves. To me, that goodness has been lavishly extended. I tend to work over-time trying to be perfect and usually end up somewhere between sticking my own foot in my mouth and bending over backwards making a fool out of my own self. Yea, I am a real piece of work. Yet, God loves me and he loves you too. He sees us for who we really are and still he grants us another day and another opportunity to love other’s and him.

This has been a busy season in my life, lots going on and every night I fall into bed thinking, tomorrow I will write down my thoughts on motherhood. Every day has been on repeat. Too tired, too busy and too out of magical thoughts to put into the blog world. So, here I am ready to share a little mom love the weekend we all honor mama’s.

I woke up early today and decided to call one of my girl’s to check in since she was manning her home camp on her own so her hubby could go turkey hunting this weekend. It was going great there, mom’s are incredibly adapt at caring for their families. But it was also a peek into my own life as a younger mom. Kids needing something, diapers being changed and wild ideas popping into toddler brains all in a matter of minutes. I remember feeling tired, over-looked and even like I didn’t matter much. I was pushed to the brink and still had big expectations placed on me to honor the mothers in my life. I can feel those big emotions right now as if I were still there with a baby on my hip. It felt really unfair. Who was honoring me? Who was giving me a little break? The answer is nobody. Life was too hectic, too chaotic and we were struggling young adults.

Standing on the other side of that busy mama life, I have a whole new perspective on this weekend. My mother is gone. I’d take back that “selfish me” thinking for just one more Mother’s Day celebration with her. I can see outside of myself today because I’m not bogged down with my own need for survival of toddlers and babies. What I wish now is for one more chance to show my mom how much I loved her. She was far from perfect but she was the mother God gave to me. She did things for me that I never knew about; she cheered me on, she spent money she didn’t have and she gave to me while going without more times than I’ll ever know. I know this because that’s exactly what moms do. We do for everyone else instead of ourselves.

So, if you are somewhere this weekend wondering if you are a mom worthy of celebrating….

If you’ve loved a child, cared for them and gave them all you had even when no one stepped in to save you or honor you – you are worthy! There is no perfect mama. She simply doesn’t exist. There are amazing moms and there are moms who sacrifice more than others. None of us can live up to the title of perfect mom – not until we are gone. Then, just so you need to hear it….. YOU WERE THE PERFECT MOTHER! Your kids will tell everyone!

Ask me how I know…

I miss you, mom! You were the perfect mother for me.

Shaky Ground

April 1st, 2023

I admit, I’m struggling these days. It’s as if the world is spinning so fast and furiously that I can barely hold on. Every day, there’s something else to remind us that this world is broken and lost without Christ. I know everyone has their own problems, I’m not special or even unique. It’s a mixed up bag of dysfunction and darkness that just seem to plague me and the world I feel way too comfortable in. Some days it feels as though I’m wearing military body armor and carrying a load that is way heavier than me (and I’m a little chubby these days). The school shootings last week filled me with horror, a month of ridiculous medical & dental stuff interrupted my feel good life and reigned down pain that I was hoping it wouldn’t and then seeing people I love hurting relationally…all of it has been heavy.

I cry out to God for mercy and He hears me. I know I can trust that. So, I cling there and offer up all the things that keep at me. Who knew we’d be where we all are right now anyway? God did. The inflation, the sketchy government and it’s deceitful management of our country continues to be a dripping faucet of concern for many Americans as well. I see other’s struggling not just spiritually but with every day common issues like housing and finances. Life is hard and it’s even harder without Jesus.

The world looks completely different for all of us right now. I am trying to focus on all that I am grateful for and believe me, it’s a lot. Still, the stresses and worries of this world get to me. I feel shaky and uptight often. I can’t help but wonder is it all of my own doing. Am I picking up worries that I have no business touching? Maybe I am. It’s the people pleaser in me, perhaps. As I get older, I see the frailty of my weak spots and I thank God that He gives me wisdom in standing up for myself a little bit more.

I can’t change any of this world’s troubles but I can give those over to God. I don’t have to stand around on shaky ground with Him in control. I can put all my faith in Him and know that he sees this broken & damaged world for what it is. I don’t have to cow tow to what the world is cramming in my face and neither do you.

When the world feels like it’s unraveling, you and I can trust that God sees every thread. He knows every painful struggle and he cares about the tiniest detail. Like you, I am fighting off the enemy the best way I know….with God’s word & prayer. I’m drawing the line on some things too. I am not jumping in on anything that takes from me and isn’t good. It’s too easy to get entangled in unhealthy stuff that robs instead of offering growth.

Here are a few ways I’m settling down on the shaky ground around me:
Eating better
Getting enough sleep
Moving more
Bible study
Prayer & devotion
Loving others
Boundaries on commitment
Self care

These are more than priorities, they are needs. I want to live a balanced life — a life that honors Christ and I can’t do that all jazzed up & shaky! It starts with me, helping me. Maybe you need to make some changes too. I pray God gives you the courage and the determination to do just that. The world needs you and me to be a light. Shine bright, friend.

Old Ladies I Won’t Know

February 2nd, 2023

I couldn’t sleep last night. I tossed & turned for hours. Every time I tried to force my brain to stop with the thinking of all the useless crazy thoughts, some other wild could’a, would’a, should’a would pop up and the wind down to sleep would start all over again. I’m blaming it on a new vitamin I took yesterday but the truth is when you get older….sleep is tricky. Don’t laugh but I had this long reflection about my girls. They are young mama’s now and both deep in the trenches of taking care of fast growing babies. They’re busy, tired and way over-worked & under paid. But, they’re also relatively young. Heck, I’m still kind of young…56 isn’t nearly as old as it feels some days. Still, I had a serious realization about me vs them.

I’ll never know them as old ladies.

I say that not to be weird or morbid just realistic. I have a sweet BFF that’s in her 70’s and her mother is 99! So, technically….it can happen. I could be around to see my girls puttering around with their other old lady friends too. What a gift that would be. My mom died when I was 46, she was only 64 and a lot has happened in the last 10 years of her being in heaven. She would love what my family has grown into, but I bet she would really enjoy seeing where I am at this stage of my life.

Growing into an old lady is a privilege.

I went to lunch yesterday with my own little old lady clan. They have young hearts with wise age ranges and they speak a lot of things into my life that I miss from my own mother. Isn’t God clever? I soak up what they pour out onto me and I trust that I will use all they (unknowingly) give to me to share with my own girls. I’m learning to never waste what I learn as I grow older. All of it has a purpose. Which is why I want to go ahead and say what I think I might say to my daughter’s as old ladies.

Dear Daughters (Ally & Gates)

What a gift you were to me in my life. From the moment I met both of you, I was completely mesmerized by you. Not only were you beautiful to look at but you were incredibly fun. I didn’t know mom’s could find their kids so entertaining. There were testy times —> leaving Target and making you pay for my gas (you should’ve behaved), a fight in the band room (just wear the Spanx) & even a stolen car on Prom night (it was stressful, Gates). But never in all my times as a mom did I feel anything but the greatest love for my children. Maybe that time I kicked that exercise ball in that Pentecostal denim dress. Whew, crazy. I’ve been in the deepest love with you all of your lives. So, thank you for being mine and growing up with me. You may have never noticed but I was growing older alongside you too.

Now that you are old ladies, here are some of the hopes I have for you now:

I hope you are fulfilled.
Life is rocky at times, satan tries every trick in the book to make you feel miserable and unhappy. I pray that’s not how it works out for you. My wish for you is that you figure out the things of this world are fleeting and fulfillment doesn’t come from any of that. Trusting God with everything and tapping into the joy He offers will save you a lot of heartache.

I hope you are forgiving.
People are going to do you dirty. Relationships are not always holy or healthy. Don’t let that blind you to the freedom that forgiveness offers. Letting go of dumb stuff and even deep painful stuff will save you wrinkles, sleepless nights and from becoming an old curmudgeon! Who wants to look like an old lady? Keep your heart clear of bitterness!

I hope you have people that you love in your life.
I didn’t know just how special it would be (I imagined it a million times) to share life with you as adults with your own children. For you, I pray that you have sweet relationships with the people in your life. I feel my greatest blessings have been my family and I cannot imagine my life without any of you. I am so honored to love and be loved by you. Cherish the ones you love.

I hope you did all the things and went all the places your dreams begged of you.
Take the trips, go to the places you are wishing to go. Your body will betray you and that can be a huge spot of disappointment in your life. Do the things you always wished to have the courage to do. Keep your body moving too. No one wants to be broken down and unable to have fun when they’re old.

I hope you care about others.
Open your heart to people and love them even if they’re not like you. I am a living example of finding friends in the strangest of circumstances. God has incredible people for you to meet and he is always looking to use you & me to influence or be influenced by those we meet. Invite people into your world.

I hope you know how important you are on this earth.
If you are still here….God is not finished with you. Somebody needs you to be just who you are in some way or another. Be useful to God and to others. Never squander the life you’ve been given. Growing older can get a little lonely, don’t let yourself think you have nothing to offer someone else. Start something and watch it grow.

I hope you like yourself.
This is so important and it starts with being honest with yourself and God. Sin will do a number on you if you allow it to fester in your life unconfessed. Clear that junk up as soon as possible. The human heart needs it, nothing on this earth will ever satisfy us like the freedom of asking for forgiveness and moving on with a clear conscience. Liking ourselves is a weird balancing act oftentimes. God really likes you and he is a fantastic judge of character. Figure out how to like you, it will help with so many other things. Trust me.

I hope you laugh when you think of me.
I laugh about my mom too. Mom’s are crazy. I have so many funny memories of my mom (sad ones too, I’m sorry for the ones you will feel) but I trust that by now you will understand life isn’t always perfect. It’s complicated….there’s mental issues, bills, illnesses (freaking PMS) and sin. All of those jokers are the little red hot pokers of life. They come at ya and really try to steal joy. Remember that and find the funny stuff to cling to. Besides, laughing helps with aging/wrinkles.

I hope you trust Jesus.
You’re old, I’ve given you what I know about him. It’s totally up to you what you do with that knowledge. I have learned in my own life that I need Jesus for everything. He is truly my rock! I have tried to do things on my own, it never works. I can say with certainty….he is always there for me when I come running back. With age comes wisdom and trusting Christ is the greatest gift I could ever hand to you. I’m like a banging gong on my own, my words are futile. Allowing him to work through me….that’s my only hope. Trust him, he is worthy.

I hope you smile.
I’ve lived apart from each of you for 5-7 years now and one of my favorite things to do is look at pictures of you smiling. Your smiles are so beautiful to me. Perhaps all mama’s feel this…but I think my kids have the most incredible BIG smiles. As Elf would say, I like smiling! It’s my favorite! Smiles are actually the window to your heart. If you’re not smiling, search out your heart as to why. Something might be broken or hurting, don’t leave it that way. The world needs your smiles.

I’ll stop because I’ve been tossing this stuff at you both most of your lives. If I live to be 99 and still have my wits about me, you can count on me to cheer you on as old ladies! Getting old is fun! You learn to not give a rip about all sorts of stupid stuff that bogged you down when you were younger. It’s a true honor to live a long life-don’t miss any of it!

PS. I thank God that he made me your mom!

I love you,

Improvement Needed

January 6th, 2023

While folding clothes hot from the dryer just now, I thought of a sweet friend of mine. She’s one of the world’s most incredible humans. Truly, she is good inside & out. Her heart is so big, her love makes everyone feel like they are the most important person in her world. But that’s not even what I was thinking of her while folding up size 34 jeans and button down shirts.

It’s the way she always inspires me to take the next steps to be BETTER.

Every time I talk to her or hear from her in some way through friends or family, she seems to be growing. She looks for ways to do better, be better and to grow closer to God. Her life is a great example of what it means to love and obey Christ with your whole heart. I love that about her.
She inspires me to improve, to seek what it is that God has for me….every day.

I know there are days that she struggles. I also know she is a perfectly normal human with real struggles and genuine troubles. What I love most though is that she never stays there. She looks straight to God and listens for him to lead her out of whatever it is that is threatening to sidetrack her.

I wanna be like that too.

Don’t you?

Good Boundaries

September 28th, 2022

Say this with me:

Whew, that’s some truth! How often do you waste time and mental energy worrying about what other people think? If you’re anything like me, you spend more time than you should there and I am here to tell you…..knock it off!

If I were totally honest, I worry way more about what my family thinks of me than anyone outside of that circle. Oh, don’t get me wrong…I rack up a lot of stress over other’s too. But the big worry I tend to have most is what my impact or presence has made upon my family. Did I say something hurtful? Stupid? Thoughtless? Do they think I’m annoying? Do they want to avoid me? Are they mad at me? Am I missing cues? Do they hold in feelings that cause a divide because they feel uncomfortable to share?

I could go on…but you get the point.

These kinds of thoughts can really mess with your heart. I have a Phd in sensitivity! I’m deeply empathetic and intuitive to what other’s say and don’t say. I pick up on stuff (this almost feels like a curse) and I have a hard time separating my feelings and the actions/attitudes of others. I take things that come my way pretty personally. I wish so much that I didn’t. I really want to be more carefree and unaffected by the stuff going on around me. It’s just not how I am built.

This week, I caught myself feeling all stressed out over honoring my kids on some made up holidays. I spent so much time (wasted it, actually) scrolling for pictures to share on social media and if I know them like I do, they really don’t care. Not the kind of “don’t care” that is flippant or mean. Just, the kind that has real knowledge of their special place in my heart…not one of them need me to post a pic of them to reveal some secret love I feel. THEY ALREADY KNOW. I love them, cherish them and honor each of them because of who they are in my life. Still, I felt the need to play along with this foolishness. It may be meant as fun, but it got me going in all the wrong directions.

I do not have to do that. Neither do you.

I am here to love the ones God gives to me and not to get caught up in trying to force them or anyone to play by my rules. My obligation is first to God. He is the one. I owe all my allegiance there, to Him. The family, the people, the world that I live here with….are gifts that I am to love & honor but not one of them is above God. I cannot live up to a world’s standard. If you’ve ever tried to please the world, you know…it is NOT POSSIBLE.

It’s time we put boundaries in place. For me, I need to stop throwing myself in a pit of worry. If someone doesn’t like me or get me…that is not really my problem. If I am doing what is right (not in my thinking, but God’s) I do not have to feel bad all the time or wonder if someone is pleased or not pleased with me. That is just unhealthy thinking. I belong to Christ. It’s HE who judges me, my heart and my actions. I need to focus on pleasing him and not this world.

Maybe you do too.

Be free, Jesus paid a hefty price for you & for me to live this life. John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it in abundance.

Ought & Should

September 9th, 2022

This post goes out to all of you who like to beat yourself up for everything you don’t do or can’t do in your human capabilities throughout the day. Stop it. Stop paralyzing yourself with all the mental and emotional exhaustion of guilt and whatnot that has you convinced you should be doing more or accomplishing every little thing on your checklist. It is ruining your important energy and stealing from the stuff that really matters in your life.

What is it about the Christian life that feeds us the lie that we must be pedal to the medal all the time? Jesus doesn’t expect that. He understands more than anyone how easy it is for us to become exhausted with all the things of this life. Even noble things. The world is literally pulling us in every direction. Family responsibilities, work stress, busy seasons and even taking care of our personal health all threaten to land us in unrealistic habits. Women are especially good at this, grabbing a large dose of guilt to keep us in a constant motion of YOU GOT THIS, keep going. I am here to tell you, pump the brakes! It is too much!

Let me put it to you like this…. All the stuff you feel hanging over your head, is it helping you lean more on God? Is the long list of what I ought to do or should be doing pushing you into a sweet time of solitude with Christ? See, what really happens when we buy the “we gotta keep going and doing” line is that we trade off important boundaries put in place by Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, serving and helping is very important in each of our lives. We are called to obey and if God is leading you to serve in an extra heavy way this season, pay attention to his parameters on that. The human mind & body are not set up for nonstop service. Take time to sit quiet with God and listen to the direction of his plan.

The most important role of your life is sharing time & space with God. Everything else that you take on will be directly linked to that lifeline. It’s nearly impossible to avoid exhaustion and burnout when we skip attending to our vulnerabilities. We get tired. We face huge stressors. We push ourselves and we can even forget that all of the stuff we are striving for (often in the name of serving God) are actually things that God has in check already. He doesn’t need you or me to figure any of it out. What he wants is for you and me to trust him and watch how he works it all out.

I’ve just returned home from a long week of babysitting grandbabies. It was the hardest yet sweetest work I’ve done in a long time. They were so much fun but they were busy beavers! I feel the biggest respect for all three of my beautiful girls (young women) that are deep in the trenches of mommy’hood right now. Our family is a beautiful reflection of God’s love through what I see in each of them as they love and grow their busy families. I know that season well. It is rough & lovely….sweet & painful….exhausting and exhilarating! It’s also very easy to get stuck in the mindset of AM I DOING ENOUGH? My own experience there in that season was hot on the surface this last week. I remember hanging by a thread. I remember feeling like I needed to do other things but couldn’t because of my circumstances. Looking back I wish I had known that I didn’t have to do it all. Sitting with Jesus and handing over all my ought & should’s could’ve saved me a lot of drained energy.

Ponder this –> What is it that you’re doing that moves the boundary lines in your life? Where do you need to trim the fat? What needs to go so that you can sit with Jesus more? Do that. Let yourself off the hook of thinking you ought to do this or should do that. Remember, there is rest in solitude. Knowing that gives me a better understanding of how God intends me to live out my every day. I need him and I long for his gentle peace – I can find that when I sit in his presence.

You can too.