Successful Mothering?

emoticon-1611977_1280One of the saddest times I have as a parent is when I ask my sons to say something nice about their brothers and it takes FOREVER! Seriously, how hard can it be to think about something good!? I have an extreme dislike for Obama and I can give him a compliment. He said he was going to fundamentally transform this nation and he kept to his promise. That is definitely a positive characteristic of his personality!

Parenting in this PC culture we have these days is so difficult. How many times have I held my tongue when I wanted to ask my kids what planet they learned something?! Most of my creativity comes from making up statements that aren’t too mean while still getting my point across. Why can I ask myself why in the world I did something so stupid, but I can’t ask anybody else that?

As I have a wide array of ages with my sons, I can see where I’ve failed in the older ones and attempt to chart a different course with my younger ones and hope I don’t turn too far in the other direction. I hear sarcasm come out of my oldest one and I have to explain that his youngest brothers don’t always understand sarcasm. I love me a sarcastic joke and he does too. I almost bought him a shirt the other day that said, “National Sarcastic Society; like we need your support!” That shirt still has me laughing, but probably not a good shirt for a High School student.

I can see the flaws in my sons as I’m sure they see all my flaws, but people still need words of affirmation, including my sons.

I love to build them up, but I also try to be realistic as I don’t want to add to this generation of snowflakes.

I am so confident in so many aspects of my life, but I still like to hear when others believe I am doing well. I am trying to teach my kids this. They can be so frustrated with their brothers, but they should always be able to remember the goodness in each other. They should always see the good before the bad. I am working so hard on this lately and I feel like I am failing at times, but I won’t give up.

When my husband wrestles with our sons he has taught them a motto, “Never give up!” I love that motto. Of course, it was the cutest when one of my younger ones thought it was, “Never GET up!” Life with children is truly a great blessing!

Moving on though, we should never give up trying to see the good in people before any flaws. I would love my sons to be able to have kindness and goodness rolling off their tongues as quick as their insults to each other. I’d like to think this would make me feel like I was a success as a Mother, but then I think if they could just aim their pee into the inside of the toilet bowl, that would make me feel successful too. Everybody’s desires are different!!

Resume Updated

diploma-1390785_960_720It’s been a while since I’ve written something but quite a bit has happened. I finally graduated college; at a much older age than I thought I would when I was back in High School. I did meet my goals of graduating Summa Cum Laude and even won another award for a high GPA in one of my majors. I felt like this would be an amazing addition to my resume, but I’ve been a stay at home mom for about 11 years now. I have worked part time here and there to help make ends meet at times, but as far as full time work outside the home, I haven’t done it for 11 years.

My resume is simple. I worked at a single job for 8 1/2 years before staying home with my kids, so that looks pretty decent. I got some help making my resume sound better than; I did a lot of stuff and got paid for it. Apparently we have use key words and phrases in resumes now. I have applied for so many jobs my head is spinning. There is a possibility I have actually applied to the same position at the same company more than once.

Well, after so many rejections and feeling defeated, but then getting an email from one of my professors telling me I set the bar in the class for an individual project and to remember my school when I make my millions, I feel a bit better about myself. So now I am trying to decide whether or not to change up my resume to get myself more interviews and chances to get hired. I need your help. These are going to be my new additions to skills and experience that I feel any employer would hire me immediately without even having to do any assessments or interviews; and would offer me a starting salary that would pay for my students loans as well as my five sons’ college years. Here goes….

  • excellent negotiating skills (If I have made a toddler, go poop/pee on the potty, eat his vegetables, not hit his siblings, pick up their toys, learn to swim and ride bike, go to sleep etc etc….all without sacrificing much of my bottom line, that is success!)
  • ability to meet crucial deadlines (you know all those times your kids forget to tell you about something they need by tomorrow! Yeah, I have those skills!) (I also put together a crib.)
  • fully mastered organization skills (no food will ever touch the other food on your plate!) (Again….crib…by myself!)
  • significant attention to detail (especially when you child is on stage and you realize their pants are on backwards and their shirt is inside out. Did I actually wash their clothes this week or is this the result of a lack of anything clean?) (Did I mention I put a crib together?)
  • master of changing diapers – You make think this is unnecessary, but this could come in handy for those really old guys who refuse to retire before 90.
  • ability to multitask with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back (5 kids and one husband plus college; yeah, I’ve conquered multitasking!)

So, those are just a few extra skills I am thinking about adding to my resume. I think it should help tremendously. So, did I miss anything? What else should I add, or perhaps this gives you ideas on what to add to your resume!?

What’s Your Identity?

dawn-190055__340I try to live my life to the best of my ability. I could sit in my room and be angry because of different situations I have had growing up. I could blame my failures on my parents. I could blame so many things on the continuous rejection and hatred I feel from my own Mother, but I don’t. I won’t allow myself to play a victim. I won’t allow my children to see me as anything but their Mother who knows her value in life.

I know so many people who have had difficult lives. I think in some ways, most of us have had difficulties in life. What kind of people do you find yourself identifying with? Our history shapes us and our culture helps shape us, but does it define us? When you open your mouth, what comes out?

summit-cross-225578__340I have so much respect and awe in people who live as overcomers. They may have been abused growing up, but they don’t live in their past. They live in the identity they know they have in Christ. When I see a man who didn’t have a father, and he chooses to live his life as a man of God who strives to be the best father he can be, I have so much respect for him. When I see somebody who is fighting such sickness or disease, yet they live their life giving Glory to God and don’t make their sickness their identity, I am in awe. These people understand their identity is not in sickness or being fatherless or being abused.

What is difficult, is listening to somebody who can only talk about their problems. There is more talk about problems than solutions today. The enemy wants us to get stuck in our own problems. We need to recognize this and we need to close our mouths. The enemy knows us so well and he knows what it takes to take our focus off God and put it right back on ourselves.

1 Peter 2:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Imagine how much we could change the world if we turned our focus away from ourselves. We are a a chosen generation; a royal priesthood. Let us live like this and help others understand that their hope is in Jesus and not in this world.

Love

When you think about love, what do you think about? Your spouse? Your children? Your job? Your parents? God? When I think about love, I think about so many things. Love is a word that I don’t think you can define beyond “God is Love”. How can one define God? We as mere human beings try to put things in little boxes with pretty little bows and when we take it out now and again, we know exactly what we are talking about. If we understood love and how God loves us, I don’t think we could even stand up. When I think about the love that I have for my husband, it sometimes overwhelms me. I think he must not even have a clue how much I love him; how much that loves grows daily. I think about my sons and wonder if they have a clue how much I love them. Love is giving something, but love is also taking something that somebody else is giving. Love is comfortable, yet love can be the most uncomfortable thing in the world to you at a moment.

Look back at your life so far. Think about good memories and even bad memories. Love was always somehow involved. I look back at my childhood at times and wonder how different I would be today if things had been better. I don’t think I would understand God’s love and grace like I do today. I don’t think I would be as strong as I am today. I overcame my childhood. Don’t get me wrong. My childhood wasn’t even near as bad as many children around the world. I have a Dad who loves me and is proud of me. I thank God for him every day. I could have turned to the world to fill that void of a Mother’s love in my life, but I chose to turn to God. I want His love to consume me and not a hatred and bitterness that the enemy can use for his purposes.

Love holds no record of wrongs. That is hard sometimes to forgive and let go. It can be hard for me to have a fight with my husband and not bring up his past mistakes. That is not fighting fair. When we ask forgiveness from God and repent from our sins, He erases them. He doesn’t even remember them! That is love. That is what we need to consume us; mind, body, and spirit.

The world today has perverted love. We use love as an excuse for our sins. We are literally perverting who God is. God help the nations that have perverted Him and have used God as an excuse for our sins. We need to pray for our nations and pray for each other that we can all come to understand who God is and what love truly is. One day every knee will bow down; One day every tongue will confess He Is God! Lord help me to show Your love to others. Open our eyes God!

1 Corinthians 13

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whetherthere are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Forgiveness When We Don’t Deserve It

God is Love. I guess that is where He is continually leading me lately; teaching me about love. Love is something I fail daily. God helps us with what love is in 1 Corinthians 13.

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whetherthere are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

A couple of years ago I felt like I was supposed to write a song to this scripture and I began, but it is one of those songs that I just can’t seem to finish. I can’t find an appropriate ending. I still sing it in my room, and every time it truly makes the words come alive. I find myself in tears at my failures to show love. God shows me love and forgiveness and grace and mercy on a daily basis, yet I still get angry, and envious, etc etc. When my husband and I fight, I bring up old things that he has done and I have supposedly given forgiveness for. I wonder how God can forgive me so quickly when all I have to do is ask. Clearly repentance is turning away from that sin, but seriously, He forgives us and doesn’t even remember it. I find myself fuming at times even after I grant forgiveness. I am such a justice personality. I see things as just or unjust. I see the same thing somewhat in my sons and I hope it doesn’t trip them up at times. First I have to trust God because God is a just God. There are so many promises in His word about justice, so why do I feel the need to control everything!? Perhaps that is where the problem lies. I feel out of control. I feel like I have to punish my husband when we fight because I am feeling out of control, or because I don’t think he was ‘punished’ enough. That is not my job. My job is to love and respect my husband. When I don’t, I am being disobedient to God. When God forgives me, it isn’t because I deserve it. I don’t deserve it; none of us do. God forgives us because He loves us and that is who He is. I should forgive my husband perhaps not because he deserves it, but just because I love him and the Love of God that is in me, is now shining through.

I need to remember this daily, probably every hour of every day. It isn’t about what people deserve, it is about the love of God. God loves us not because we deserve it. He loves us because that is who He is. He forgives us not because we deserve it. He forgives us because He loves us and that is who He is. When you really think about love, it is truly amazing!

Perfectly Imperfect

I started another semester of my attempt at a college degree and I am taking a rather large workload. This works against my personality in so many ways. You see, I am a bit of a perfectionist. Getting a 100% at the end of the semester is the ultimate reward. I actually get disappointed if I get below an A on an assignment. Now, I don’t have a perfect 4.0 GPA, but it is still pretty high up there. I only say these things because I am trying to show a major flaw in myself….perfectionism.

Did you know perfectionism is most definitely NOT a good thing?! I have had to work on this in myself for probably the last couple of decades since I was even a child. I realize much of my perfectionism comes from trying to please a parent who quite possibly, I will never please, but it is still wrong. How many times have I redone something that my husband or my sons have done because it isn’t the way I would do it; which of course is the perfect way? I stress over coursework because I am afraid I will do bad and people may think I am imperfect. Well, there is another problem with perfectionism. It allows fear to have a foothold in your life. I have become afraid of being imperfect.

This is an ongoing process for me. I have to sit back and realize that I only need to do my best with school. I have a fantastic GPA and I feel like I am learning quite a bit; which is kind of the point! When I redo something that my sons have done, I am telling them that what they did isn’t good enough. I know at times kids don’t do their best, but often enough my boys work hard to clean something and I have to praise them for what they did and thank them. I don’t want them to give up because they think they will never measure up. When I redo something my husband has worked hard on, I am telling him the same thing…what he does just isn’t good enough; YOU aren’t good enough; YOU aren’t as perfect as I am. Sounds a little like pride too doesn’t it?

This is a reminder to myself just as much as it is to possibly help something out there. I can’t get stressed over one question wrong on a test. I don’t need to check and recheck household chores because I saw a speck of lint on my floor. Well, I may recheck my boys’ bathroom because, let’s get real, boys can be a little nasty!

Any comments to add to this? How do you find yourself buckling under the pressure of perfectionism??

No Fear

When each of my sons was just a newborn baby, before we even left the hospital, I prayed a prayer over each of them. I prayed that God would help me give them back to Him. I prayed that He would help me understand that even though He gave them to me, I have to let them grow up and do what they are called to do. My boys are young enough that what they want to do when they grow up has changed pretty consistently over the years. My boys pray over different countries every night that God puts on their hearts. Some of those countries are scary and dangerous places. My motherly instinct is to say scream, “no! No you will not think of that country and you will definitely not be going over there.” I have to remember that my sons are here to bring glory to God in whatever they do. They may grow up and get an office job. They may be missionaries. They could even live in other countries in dangerous areas where they feel called to spread His word.

I love my boys so much I can’t even believe it. I never thought I could ever have this much love in my heart for my husband and my five sons. I can see how parents want to protect their children even beyond their childhood into their adulthood, but that is not what is supposed to happen. God called us to raise our children to become independent of us; to understand right and wrong; to fulfill the call of God on their lives. My boys have seen us just three and a half years ago sell everything we owned to move across the country because we felt that was what God wanted us to do. It wasn’t easy. It was hard to sell my beautiful things I had accumulated over the years. It was hard to hear the negativity from family members and the harsh words. It was hard to see the disappointment in my sons’ eyes when we told them we were selling everything and moving because we knew God wanted us to. It can be difficult, but they saw for themselves how God works. They have seen for themselves how our life is not our own. They have seen the tears and excitement as well as the anger from parents and other friends and family. One day, this may be them. They may feel called to move across the country, or even to a completely different country for that matter.

It is not unloving to let your children go. It is not unloving to let your parents go. So many parents don’t ever want to let their children go into this big scary world. We live in fear of the unknown; in the fear of failure. We have taught our children that fear is bigger than God, rather than God is so much bigger than our fears. Too many of our children are afraid to leave the nest and we are too afraid to push them over the side and let them learn to fly on their own.

I will always remember those prayers over each of my boys in the hospital. I have to remember them because one day I will want to not let them go and God will gently remind me of those prayers. I will always be their Mama and will always be there to help counsel them when they need it. They know that. They also know that God has plans for each one of them and one day in the future, they will work on fulfilling their callings.

Parents, don’t let fear hold your children back, or yourself for that matter. Children, don’t let your parents fear hold you back. Don’t let your own fear hold you back because our God is greater than any fear in this world. He loves us!

Humble Yourself

2 Chronicles 7:14
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

I can be honest. Sometimes I struggle with humility. My personality demands justice and justice now. Sometimes I think God’s timing just isn’t fast enough. The opposite of humility is pride. I am being proud when I think my justice should be God’s justice. I could fill up this whole posting with so many scriptures on humility and God’s timing and God’s justice because is it so important. God doesn’t want or need us running around and enforcing our own forms of justice. Oftentimes we use manipulation as a tool to get justice. If one of my sons doesn’t think one of his brothers was punished enough, he often does his own form of punishment, or tries to manipulate me into adding more punishment. We see it in our children and we don’t tolerate it. Why should we tolerate it in ourselves as adults? We try to teach our children humility, yet we put ourselves above those standards.

If somebody hurts us, not only do we want them punished, we want everybody around us to know how they hurt us. Why do we spread discord among brothers? I think we all have that super close friend that we can talk to and they can talk to us where everything is private and we trust each other. That is not what I am talking about. How many times have we talked about a loved one negatively in order to manipulate or punish them, and when things finally get dealt with, we find ourselves wondering why our friends and family have ill will toward that loved one? We are sowing seeds of discord. We are gossiping. We are being proud and not humble.

When we lower ourselves, God raises us up. I know I would rather God raise me up than man. I would rather keep my mouth shut and learn to hold my tongue than to offend my King. Lord help me and all of us to learn what humility truly is. Help me learn that love and humility go together. Help me to learn that God is a just God and there is absolutely nothing He does not see. There is nothing He cannot change, fix, repair or correct. He loves us so much that He actually wants justice for those who have hurt us. Help me allow God to be my everything. God doesn’t need me, but I need Him!! Thank you Lord that Your mercies are new every morning!!