Faith · Family · Gifts · Real Christianity · Woman of Promise

For God So Loved Michelle, My Sister

michelleannacatToday is my sister Michelle’s 32nd birthday. But she’s not here. She left her earthly life for an eternal one on February 19th.

In the past six months, many people have said, “Wow, that’s terrible? May I ask how she died? Was she ill? Did she have an accident?”

At first, I thought people were considering the bad types of death – drug overdose or even suicide. And at first blush, it’s easy to react to that. But then I saw the question for what it is.

When a person hears of death at 31, when we should be at the very beginning of our lives, it shakes us. It hits a little too close to home. It’s how our finite minds operate. We don’t have a reference point for that early death. We don’t actually have a reference point for death at all.

I’m one of the people who can’t place death. I saw on Facebook that a girl I didn’t know lost her young husband today. I thought about her and how much her life will change.

Today is a turning point for this young mother. A line in the sand was drawn for her. The world will call this a blow. The faithful will call this her testimony.

The world says she’s not going to make it without him. I say that she’s going to make her life and her children’s life better because God so loved him. God so loved her. I prayed that that’s what she knows in the days to come.

A sudden death or a death too soon shakes us because it reminds us that all of us are only here for a dash between two dates. That number is significant, but whose we are is even more significant.

God so loved Michelle from the moment he thought her up. He so loved her from the moment she accepted his free gift. She was the first of all 10 of us kids to do this. She was the first called home to peace and eternity. She’s not sad. She’s living in pure joy.

I believe that death shakes us to a soul level. It’s because we weren’t designed for death. It’s because we were designed for life – eternal life. And that’s why it shakes us. It’s not our true nature.

Someone said this past weekend that we’re supposed to hear God in nature as we walk along. However, sin has deafened us. I believe that when people get that bewildered look and shock from simply stating that “My sister died at 31,” they are hearing the voice of God loud and clear. They are hearing Him say, “You aren’t supposed to die. I made you to be eternal with me. Won’t you join me?”

The darkness sin casts over us pulls away for a moment and we realize we were made for something more. No matter who we’re with, our souls connect in that moment over the loss. We know life is precious. The most precious of gifts. That’s why God gave His life to save ours.

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In my Bible study this morning, I was challenged to memorize I Corinthians 6:20, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

God made us for Him. And when we fell, which He knew would happen, He still loved us. He gave His Son to us as a sacrifice to call us back to Him – to call us back to life.

And the more I study His word, I think that’s the most important truth. Our life is meaningful to the One who created us. “For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16 (NIV).

I’m so thankful Michelle knew Jesus loved her. I’m celebrating her birthday today because it was the beginning of an eternal friendship. God so loved her and I that he made us sisters. I can’t think of a better gift for her than to praise Him for what He has done and to live my life according to the plan He made for me. I only wish she were still here to comment on this post.

If you don’t know this love I’ve spoken of today, please reach out – Use my contact page or leave a comment. I would love to talk to you about why God so loved you. Praying for each of you, my dear readers.

 

Family · Gifts · Motherhood · Real Christianity · Uncategorized

A Mother of Promise

gift from lordA couple of years ago, I felt the compression of too much mommying on my shoulders and realized that I didn’t have much of a plan for my days. I realized I was surviving and not thriving. I realized that we can go through hard seasons, but we don’t have to get stuck in the muck of “gotta get through this day.”

To borrow a verse from one of my favorite songs by Tonic – “I wanted more. More than I was giving. More than was handling. More than I was bearing. More than I was offering.” This chorus closes with “For a love that isn’t there.”

A Mother of Promise Cleans the Lens

The love was there, but it was just covered up by a lot of scattered needs, toys, frustrations, emotions, unmet expectations and heart clutter.

I didn’t have a good grasp on how to be the best of me for my kids or my husband. So, I did something that helps me think and helps me focus.

I made a list of the needs of each person in my immediate family. I spent some time in prayer over how I could deliver the best of me to my promises. It was such a simple exercise, but it was powerful. When you understand what’s expected of you, you can more forward in focus and grow.

I had a lot of ideas of how I wanted to do things, but not a lot of focus on those core needs..png

Sally Clarkson calls the way we approach our people our “grid” or “filter.” I discovered through this exercise that my grid was a little dirty. I had a lot of ideas of how I wanted to do things, but not a lot of focus on those core needs.

For instance, my son needs A LOT of connection with me to feel secure. I love holding my children. I love to read to them and talk to them, but this one stretches me beyond my limits of connection.

I get a bit “touched out” with the constant need to be held. So, I’ve approached this two ways – by getting frustrated with him and making him more insecure and through being proactive and intentional and gentle with limits.

Which approach do you think works best? Proactive and intentional always win him over. I’m just not always that patient. So, I have to go back to the promise he is in my life.

Prayers and Promises Help Us Skirt the Pit

I really do have to go back and look at baby pictures and remember that my son’s presence in my life is a part of the blessing of healing.

God doesn’t want to just give us our blessings; he wants us to use our blessings for good.

“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

I can influence a young man to stand firm on the promise of his eternal life or I can get frustrated with his constant whining and yell at him and open the entrance to the pit of insecurity, anxiety, overwhelm. Man Cub is a lot like me. These snares can get him by the throat. And they can spend a day for us. A day that’s anything but promising.

Or I can show him the way out of the pit for good. I can be a woman who stands on the promise Elihu gave to Job when he approached him about the problem of “pit living.”

“Yet if there is an angel at their side, a messenger, one out of a thousand, sent to tell them how to be upright, and he is gracious to that person and says to God, ‘Spare them from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for them—let their flesh be renewed like a child’s; let them be restored as in the days of their youth’—then that person can pray to God and find favor with him, they will see God’s face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being. And they will go to others and say, ‘I have sinned, I have perverted what is right, but I did not get what I deserved. God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’” Job 33:23-28

I can be a living, breathing mother of promise to show my son (and the rest of my people and others I encounter) how prayer changes everything. I can help them skirt the pit and get out of it when they stumble.

mother of promise son.png

Psalm 40 seems so fitting to the relationship I have with my son’s promise:

I waited patiently for the Lord and he turned to me and heard my cry. It was almost a year between my miscarriage and the news of Man Cub. 

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. I was lost and didn’t feel much like praying during that dark time, but I did it anyway.

I spent a lot of time in that pit questioning my marriage, my worth and my faith. But I know those prayers and looking for the promises are what got me out of that pit. The firm place to stand was my purpose – to love my husband and my first child and to hope for more to love. His mercy is true.

firm place

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Depending on the Lord for my light gave me strength and a heart turned toward gratitude and he gave me a great blessing in my son.

Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. That’s what I hope my children will see in me.

He was someone I asked for and when I go before that throne one day, I have to answer for what I did with that promise.

That’s why I want to be a mother of promise. I want to be a woman of my word.

My prayer with this post is that you are encouraged to walk in the light of Jesus and promise your children bring into your life.

Faith · Family · Motherhood · Real Christianity

What to Do When Your Child Loses

whenyourchildlosesI awoke Tuesday unsettled. Short-tempered. Kind of like a second Monday after a bad case of food poisoning over the weekend (This really happened.) Yeah, that was my Tuesday this week.

And then I remembered that I had to get something in the mail that morning before the mailman came. I decided to do what any good homeschooling mother would do.

I divided and conquered.

I asked my very capable 8-year-old to take her bike to the end of the driveway to put my letter in the mailbox. The events of the next hour were none I could have foreseen. But they can’t be unseen and I can’t take them away from my child.

Before I tell you this story, I think that’s the hardest part of being a parent. You can’t take away their pain. You can bear it with them, but you can’t ever erase it.

I thought toddlerhood was hard, but the journey into my child being affected by this world has brought me to a place of repentance and helplessness, but ultimately it’s brought me into the grace and hope of God our Father. I’m so thankful for my faith and protection even when the world comes crashing down around us.

So back to my Tuesday morning. I was inspecting an infected bug bite on my 2-year-old when I heard an otherworldly screech from the driveway. I thought my daughter was hurt. Really hurt.

But she wasn’t. She was just terrified. Her dog was hit by a car when she was at the mailbox. The person took off and did not stop. She witnessed a tragedy alone.

That five-letter word kills me to type. Alone. My baby had to go through that alone.

Don’t blame yourself. Be strong for your child.

I had a choice to make when this first hit me. I can feel guilty or I can move on and help her overcome this. I chose the latter.

Because she’s so much like me. She was already doing enough of the guilt trip to herself.

She loved this dog with every breath of her being and when we found him, she was certain that he would live. And he tried. He desperately tried to get up to comfort her. But he was hurt very badly.

A lovely neighbor came and helped me gather him up to see if we could get some emergency care. She took my children to her home and comforted them.

I drove all over the county trying to find her dog some help. It was an unfortunate circumstance that the vets we chose were closed that day. We found one, but he was already gone when I got there.

Fight for them before the Lord.

I fought for my child to not lose this pet in prayer. I begged God to not let this happen.

But the answer was no. That’s still hard to write. It happened. And I think it was actually fortunate that the dog was quick to go. He was badly hurt. Very badly hurt.

But he tried to hang on for my baby. He loved her so well.

I had to go through the options with the vet of what to do for him as a final tribute. That was horrible. But they were graceful and even kept him until my husband could get back from out of town.

Get your mind in order first. Or get some help.

Then I had to go tell my baby he didn’t make it. I called two women who’ve been there and done this. They told me to just hold her and tell her.

I decided that my very verbal, extroverted girl did not need to handle grief like her mama. I decided that we would seek people for her to talk to. It’s unconventional. But so is she. She needs to breathe and talk and cry and be big and bold.

So, I went home from the vet and cleaned myself up. I gathered clothes for all the kids and walked out the door.

Make your child your priority. Don’t get stuck in retribution.

As I was getting in the car, a car approached. It was the man who hit her dog.

My first reaction was, “Where were you in my hour of hell?” (I didn’t say this BTW.)

He walked up and tried to explain what happened. I shushed him because I was too angry to talk. He asked me about the dog. I told him that he didn’t make it and that I was about to share that news with my child. But I appreciated him stopping by.

Some men were installing rails on my porch and saw this exchange. They felt like he was trying to cover his tracks. He had a marked car and they thought he was trying to avoid trouble. Probably so. But I don’t care. I care about my girl.

Do what your child needs; not what you need.

When I got to the neighbor’s house, my big girl saw it all over my face. She broke down. She was in true despair and there was not a single thing I could do to stop it, but I had gotten over the worst of my pain in all my driving.

And I was present for her. I listened and held her.

I gathered her up and took her to Chik-fil-a. She walked in the restaurant in tears. She hugged the staff. They hugged her back. They fed us for free. (And whoever said Chik-fil-a is to be boycotted can well, you know.)

My dear friend held my baby and encouraged her. She encouraged me. She watched the littles when the big girl and I walked outside.

Let your child contribute to the decision-making.

We decided that our Marmaduke would want her to continue her life and not shut down. She decided to go to her dance practice, but we had some time before dance. So, we went for haircuts.

Another dear friend joined us and encouraged her. She got a sassy new bob from the hairstylist who only works on Tuesdays.

She went to dance and talked with a girl who is becoming a real friend. She was encouraged and lightened.

I knew she needed this because we were about to have a funeral. Her daddy had been home preparing a final resting place for her puppy. I know that’s one of the hardest things he’s ever done as a parent.

We had our neighbors join us for the funeral. We told funny stories about this goofy dog. She talked the most. Because that’s what she needed.

Be prepared for huge emotions. Don’t try to fix them.

When we walked back inside, she fell apart. We snuggled and let her cry it all out. She tried to bargain with herself to have changed the situation. Because she’s big on control. But I kindly shared that she was not at fault. That she was the best thing that ever happened to her puppy. He truly loved her more than I’ve ever seen any dog love a child.

Know that you aren’t to protect your child from pain. You are to bear it with them.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

And I sensed a change in her life. She’s growing up. She’s not quite so innocent anymore.

That’s hard for me to face, but it’s something I’ve already faced. I faced the death of a sibling when I was not much older than she is. And I can use that experience to guide her.

Know we have to go to battle with our children as we enter this world. But we have the protection and provision of the LORD.

Just that morning she and I’d read about what it meant to stand in the fire and stand on what we believe even when it’s hard. I’m standing on what I believe. God placed that specific Bible study in our morning so that she and I could connect.

Before I read her the story, I had a conversation with her about how she would hear some things she’d not heard before about the world. Things that are dark and ugly and things that would strip her of the protection I’d placed on her for the past eight years.

I told her I knew she was ready and that I would be by her side as we learned about this world and how to live in it.

I now know that was the Holy Spirit talking to me and my girl. We were about to embark on a turning point in her life and He prepared us for it. I’m so thankful I pulled out that book.

Always look for the thread of grace. The hope.

I’m so thankful for the thread of grace that was woven through that day with people and situations that were exactly what we needed to move forward.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

So the five word answer to how to help your child when they lose is to “Look for the hope always.” It’s my life motto.

I pray that you have the hope that can be found in Jesus Christ. It’s available to you. Contact me if you need help finding it.

 

 

Faith · Family · Gifts · Real Christianity

What I Gained From Losing My Sister – A Series

john514I’ve held off on writing this post for a few weeks. Lots of little details got in the way of the times I sat down to tell you my dear readers about one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met – my sweet sister, Michelle.

I had to say goodbye to her on February 19th. She was just 31 and died very suddenly. It was a shock and a huge loss for everyone who ever spent even five minutes with her. But she’s walking in peace and light and love right now. She’s with Jesus and singing louder than anyone there.

If there’s anyone in this world who understood me, it was Michelle. I liked to call us the outliers. We don’t fit into the world’s molds for us. But if I really think about it, we’re more than outliers, we’re overcomers.

I heard that song, “Overcomer” by Mandisa recently, and it’s the song that described my sister. While I’ve been finding ways around the walls in my way my whole life, Michelle busted through them. She was disruptive and determined and dearly loved by all who knew her.

I was amazed at the people who came to her funeral. I was amazed at the impact she made on the world. I am thankful she listened to the voice calling her out of her struggles and into the light. I am thankful for the imprint she left on my life.

The words that spilled out of my lips when I got the news she didn’t make it, were “Not Michelle.”

But it was Michelle. And we all have a decision to make when we lose someone – celebrate or dwell. I choose to celebrate her. I choose to keep living a life that is better because she was part of it.

I choose to look at her life as just beginning – you know that eternal one. The one you’re living in right now if you just believe it and own it as the gift the Lord has given freely with His own sacrifice for you. We’re already in eternity. We’re just in orientation.

There’s so much to share on with you on what I gained from losing my sister that I’m going to turn this into a series. The series will include:

  • the lessons I’ve learned on prayer
  • the impact of following Christ in your life
  • overcoming adversity
  • how sharing our vulnerability heals us and connects us
  • the impact your life and your choices have on others
  • how drawing near to God heals us

So, without further adieu, here’s what I learned about prayer.

Prayer brings the power of the Kingdom.

One of the things I’m not incredibly proud of is what happened when we got the news she was unconscious and fighting for her life is that I didn’t stop to pray right then. I might have muttered something, but in that moment, I was consumed with getting others to pray for her and getting in touch with my gigantic family.

But I’m not going to feel guilty about my moment of weakness. I reached out to my fight club to pray for her. I got confirmation today that this is just as worthy in the Lord’s eyes.

I was listening to a podcast from Jill Briscoe (Telling the Truth) yesterday morning and she was speaking on worry. She said that sometimes we get to a place where we are not in a state to pray. We’re too worried. And God wants us to turn our worry into prayers. So, in essence, I did turn my worry into prayers through reaching out to others. You’ll see that my sister did this all the time and how it fits with the power of prayer.

The chaos of sharing the news that there is a problem with a person in such a big family is unreal. I don’t want to relive those moments again. But I know now that the first thing I should do is stop right now and pray.

That’s one of the most powerful weapons we Christians have in our arsenal. Stop right now and pray.

The beauty and power of this move is incredible. Praying before we speak, act, decide, start, after, in the midst of and over every situation makes it better. It may not change everything right then and there, but it brings God’s power into your midst. He promises his protection and provision whenever He is present. It brings you peace.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” — Psalms 46:1

When the presence of the Lord is with us, we are empowered and able to overcome.

Pray where you are weak.

Michelle was a prayer warrior. Her war was often with her own confidence and about unity among those she loved. She kept several prayer journals and her husband let me look at them. The pattern she prayed was inspiring.

“Draw me close, God. I want to know more of you. I want my family to unite and be protected and provided for. I want to be serious about this walk. I want to trust you.”

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

Michelle turned her worry into prayers. She understood that she needed that to live under the protection of the Lord. She understood that there was rest in His shadow.

Prayers don’t die.

A real prayer warrior, a general in the Lord’s army (you know the person you want to be able to pray like when you grow up) told me something remarkable about prayer that I think I knew, but didn’t really know. 

She listened to me talk about my sister and I told her of the journals. She stopped me and said something like this:

“You know those prayers didn’t die with her. They are still before the throne of God.”

I was SO encouraged. It made me understand why we pray.

Prayer is a practice for today and every day.

God’s story is one of a different timing than ours. His power weaves people, situations and His purpose together. We only know a piece of the story.

We only know what we see; we must “have confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (That’s Hebrews 11:1 and if you need a boost of how faith works, go read that entire chapter.)

But when we open our eyes to the magnificence of God, we can understand on a small level that an act of obedience (faith) prayed out today may not be used until later, sometimes much later. Or it could be that same day.

I got away from my habit of writing my prayers in the aftermath of losing my sister. I did it a handful of times, but it’s not been a habit like it was prior to her death.

I sat down a couple days ago and poured my heart out before the Lord on the page. I sought His guidance and intervention and handling of some situations that were troubling me. I put my faith in this practice – asking boldly for what I needed that day.

Then, I asked God to work on the things that are out of my scope of work (intercession). I asked on behalf of others for what I saw as needs in the lives of those I love and even people I don’t know very well.

I followed the words of our Savior in Matthew 6 and 7 to ask for what I need today. Here’s a little context:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!” Matthew 7:7-11. 

Sidenote: Michelle used Matthew 7:7-11 as her guidepost for her life. She believed with her whole heart that her husband was her “fish” given to her as a gift from God. She told everyone about seeing fish as a symbol of God’s direction in her life. She really grasped that calling from Jesus to be “fishers of men.”

Prayer is an act of connection and drawing others near to God.

Michelle was great at vulnerability in prayer. She asked for what she needed that day. Then she sought God’s intervention in the lives of others and situations that looked like there was no great outcome.

She worked on her problems in prayer. She was a worrier, but I could see from her prayer journals that she turned her worry into prayers.

She also always asked for prayers over herself when she had a big observation or test. Michelle got it. She got the tool that was prayer. She understood that seeking the Kingdom of God empowered her where she was weak.

I used to get a little amused at her Facebook requests for prayer over small things. Things that wouldn’t bother me because I’m pretty confident in my ability to test or present. But she really struggled in this area. She really struggled with insecurity when it came to work and presenting herself.

But she was right and I was wrong. We need to be bold in our need for prayer.

Prayer is the power God’s people have in the Kingdom. It invites His presence into our midst. She really understood that. I’m humbled and my eyes are open even more to the beauty and majesty of what He has done for us.

My prayer for you, my friends, is that you won’t neglect this incredible blessing – access to God, the Father, the Creator of your soul. He can help. All you have to do is ask. Please let me know how I can pray for you. I’d be honored. You can contact me here.

Family · Homeschooling · Motherhood

The Weary Days Are Worth It

trust-in-the-lord-and-do-good-dwell-in-the-land-and-enjoy-safe-pasture-4-take-delight-in-the-lord-and-he-will-give-you-the-desires-of-your-heart

I started this post a few weeks ago and got derailed, but sometimes life needs to be derailed to deal with hard stuff and to recognize the expanse of love. To look for the grace of God through answered prayers and life-changing conversations and moments of stretching your capacity to the end of yourself. So, here’s why I think the weary days are worth it.

If you asked me what life has been like since Thanksgiving, I’d tell you “great.” But that wouldn’t be totally true.

The word that keeps clinging to me is “weary.” We’ve had so much fun with holiday things and LOTS of together time and an epic Griswold vacation to Disney and Universal. I highly recommend spending your Christmas vacation in a warm climate. However, it makes coming home to freezing temperatures and frozen pipes a little unsettling.

We had one day last month that began so sweet. We did crafts and the Big Girl and I played a math game with a big die that bounces on the floor. We laughed and laughed and she learned how to do some work on the 100 chart all the while chasing Rudolph.

She asked for more school that day. What an answered prayer. We’ve had a fall of stalls and hard days centered around not wanting to “do school.”

Just the thought of those long days gives me an urge to sigh.

Then you combine my twins from different years, Man Cub (3.5) and Little One (2ish) with weeks of cold, dreary weather and it’s a recipe for short tempers (mostly mine), a lot of not listening (theirs) and weariness. Everyone gets weary when the schedule is too tight and the days are full of gray.

Big Girl thrives off social events and anything outside the house. Mama Bear likes the company and the good cheer, but she is an introvert and a bit of a homebody. Man Cub is like Mama. Little One just goes along for the ride. So, you pit the needs of an extreme extravert against a couple of introverts and a tagalong with Daddy being out of town a lot, and things are going to get messy. The house. Tempers. Sleep.

And when things get messy, a couple of us get, shall we say, out of sorts. That’s not good for anyone.

When I start the day weary, it’s a recipe for many adjustments, setbacks, do-overs and makeups. It’s a recipe for not wanting to handle the big emotions of little people.

It’s a step into a motherhood that doesn’t define my true character.

So, what do you do about weary? What do you do when the schedule is too tight to breathe, but you still want to honor commitments and give your kids an individualized education? How do you get back to celebrating the most wonderful season of life – motherhood?

Here’s what works for me. I hope some of this blesses you.

Don’t neglect the quiet times.

One thing I know don’t have as much time for this time of year is my personal development – Bible study, podcasts, books, journaling, sitting in a quiet room folding laundry or mopping floors (I know I’m not the only one who looks at folded laundry and clean floors as a helpful mind-centering activity). It’s one of the things that gets me a little off-kilter. When you have a busy mind, it’s best to occupy it with things of good – like those above – for the good of yourself and others.

Don’t forget to ask for help.

Hubby travels a lot this time of year and picked up a lucrative job in another city that’s take him away a little longer than expected this week. I heard that news with a bit of frustration. He also had a friend come into town unexpectedly. I want him to have time to invest in relationships. I want him to be whole. But by the fifth day of no daddy at home, I’m a bit touched out, touchy and ready to put on real clothes and escape.

During the phone conversation where he shared this news with me, I was being “needed” by everyone in the house. I’m pushing the Big Girl to do more independent work. She’s a bit of a “tell me what to do and sit and watch me do it” child. Oh my word. Then she does this thing where she needs something, but she won’t tell me unless I react in the perfect tone of voice.

I asked her to articulate her need and to stop haunting my door in my sweetest voice (yeah, right). I was frustrated, but I reframed my response. She said she couldn’t find something. I told her to go do something else she could work on alone.

Hubby and I resumed our conversation after three more toddler interruptions. It centered around, “We’re in a relationship. We ask each other for what we need just like you asked your daughter to do not a minute ago.” Ahem.

It’s humbling when your kids reflect exactly what you do and then you try to correct it out of them. So, I had to ask for a day off. I really never loved asking for a day off when I had a boss. I think it’s an introvert thing.

We’d rather just put up a sign – “I’m visiting with myself. Please come back in a week.”

So, the lesson of this painful conversation is – ask for help when you need it. It’s ok for your older kids to play dress up with their little sister or for them to go stomp in the rain for a few minutes so you can pluck your eyebrows.

Don’t neglect the pegs that keep you centered in the name of productivity.

We got in a habit of going to Chikfila after Bible study last semester. It was a chance for the kids to hang out with friends and for Mama to get some adult conversation. We became known as the “Wednesday Group.”

I decided that we needed to do a little more school on Wednesdays because the competitive dance schedule changed. Well, it’s funny how that works out. We’re back to the exact same dance schedule as last semester and now we have that breathing room for Chikfila again.

I don’t think we’ll do it every week this semester, but it was well worth the break yesterday. I got to talk through some hard stuff with a very good friend. I got to encourage her and she encouraged me. We left with a list of things to pray over for each other.

Just this morning, I was listening to Sally Clarkson’s podcast and she said that when you don’t have an in-place support system to build a network for yourself. She suggested gathering a group of women together to talk and pray and study and serve. That’s what I consider my Wednesday Group – a support network. We’re there to share life together.

So, even if it feels like you’ll never get the laundry done, who cares? In eternity, you’ll have those friends and memories. Laundry can’t talk with you, hug you like you’ve not been around for a year or give you some real perspective on a situation you’ve not considered.

Treat each day as eternal.

There’s an old adage that says we’re to treat every day like it’s our last. I’m not buying that. I’m following the advice I learned recently.

If you’re living in the freedom Christ died to give you. If you’ve given your life to him, why do you need to live as if today is your last? You’ve already entered eternal life. It just gets better from here.

Even these hard days are full of his glory. Even when your eyes spill with tears over how hard a season with a particular child is, there’s peace and rest in that promise. Today is eternity. This situation is not the whole sum of your life. This is just a bump in the road.

Romans 8:18-25 gives us a bit of this perspective.

Now is nothing compared to what’s to come. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18 ESV)

We’re to be expectant of glory and others joining us in eternity. “For the creation waits with eager loving for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:19 ESV) Amen and amen. I get to watch my children reach maturity and reach for Christ. I get to watch the kids I serve in my little toddler class open their eyes to God’s great dance floor (a line I borrowed from one of my favorite Chris Tomlin songs). If we are expectant, we watch for the glimmers and the weary days are worth it when we have one of those conversations you’ll remember forever.

Weary days are the days where the Lord works. “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:22-25 ESV)

We are weak, but we have hope. Our Lord tells us that’s when He works best.

“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

When I hold on to the promise that if I “Trust in the Lord and do good,” I will “dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” (Psalm 37:23 ESV). It’s hard right now, but it’s worth every tear, sweat on my brow and hard conversation. He’s waiting in anticipation to make it all ok.

Blessings, mamas. God’s got this.