All posts in Motherhood

Working Moms: Is Yes A Dirty Word?

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Every month in 2015, I am focusing on a different word.

The word for February 2015 is simple:  YES.

Wait a minute, what happened to NO?  After all, if you’re a working mom, the word no probably isn’t in your vocabulary. Most of us need to draw some serious boundaries.  Yes has become a dirty word.  A word that we dread.  A word that we regret saying once it leaves our lips.  A word that has become negative despite its positive meaning.

So why on earth am I writing about YES for an entire month?

It’s simple.  We need to start saying yes first.  We need to start saying yes to the things that are really important.  

Ok, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than it sounds.  I’ll admit, I really don’t have this whole yes/no thing figured out.  But I do know that I’ve probably had it backwards.  And I don’t think I’m alone.

Most weeks, I let my schedule fill up with lots of “stuff.”  Most of this stuff is good — ranging from work, school, activities, exercise – but at the end of the week I find myself asking, What did I really accomplish?

I’m not suggesting that my daily routine isn’t productive or worthy of my time.  I am suggesting it’s not always intentional.

And this year – when my schedule like yours frequently blazes out of control – I want to be intentional.  So, how does this translate into saying yes?

Stick with me in the weeks to come.

This week, I want to focus on our foundation:  God is a God of YES.

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.  (2 Corinthians 1:20) (NLT)

This is an amazing promise indeed.  Every time we pray – every time we say “amen” — we are saying YES to God.

If we start with this foundation, yes becomes the good word it was intended to be.

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Have you allowed yes to become a dreaded word – even a dirty word – in your vocabulary?  

 

 

Working Mom’s Devotional: Are You Present At Home?

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Some of my friends are picking one word this year.  A single word to sum up a goal or intention for 2015.  A simple way to stay engaged after New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten.

What’s the first word that comes to mind for 2015?

Here’s mine:  PRESENT

No, I’m not going to focus on this word for an entire year.  I’m way too impatient (and I have too many words I’m excited about) so I’ll focus on one word a month.  Want to join me?

This January, I’m asking myself if I’m really present – at home, at work, with others, and in my relationship with God.  Am I engaged in the moment, or am I constantly preoccupied with everything else?  More often than not, I can tell you what’s happening on my email, what’s going on on the other side of the world, or what’s on my calendar next week.  But can I tell you what the person sitting beside me is thinking or feeling?  Am I connected in real time?

This is something I’ve been thinking about for months.  So much that I haven’t been blogging.  I haven’t been writing.  And I’ve backed off considerably from social media.

But this is about more than unplugging.  Unplugging is a knee jerk reaction to something bigger.  Unplugging is about pushing the pause button so I can stop and think.  And listen.  Fortunately, I have plenty of people who are willing to give me advice.

Starting with my third grade daughter.

“Mom, yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That’s why we call it the present.” (Author Unknown)

Pretty timely, huh?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had some serious down time.  I’ve had the luxury of connecting with my family in real time.  And I’ve learned an important aspect of living in the present.  Being present means putting other people before yourself.

Several times over Christmas break, I have spent time jumping on the trampoline in our back yard.  Not by choice.  It’s freezing outside.  I get dizzy jumping up and down.  And I twisted my neck and broke my fingernails playing this crazy game on the trampoline called “Ga-ga.”  It’s much easier to be selfish with my time.  Being present requires me to engage.  It requires me to consider the thoughts and give in to the preferences of others.  It even requires me to play Ga-ga.

But my daughters love it.  They light up whenever I jump, and they say things like, “Mom, this is so cool.  I can’t believe you are actually good at Ga-ga.”    You see, when I’m jumping on the trampoline, I have a singular focus.  I can’t multi-task, I can’t take a phone call or text, and I can’t even carry a conversation.  I just jump, laugh, and try not to get hit by the ball.

Do you make similar sacrifices to be actively present at home?  How can you best engage in real time with your family in 2015?

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Not Ready For Easter? You’re In Good Company

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I woke up in the middle of the night last night in a panic.  I dreamed it was Easter morning, and I had forgotten to fill the Easter baskets and hide the eggs.  I almost got out of bed until I realized I had another day.  So I took a deep breath and went back to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, it dawned on me.

I’m not ready for Easter.

Yet in the midst of my panic attack, I heard another voice.  A voice that is much calmer.  A voice that assures me that Easter is not about me, it’s about something much bigger.  Something miraculous that doesn’t depend on my efforts to fill Easter baskets or hide eggs.

Here’s what the voice said:

Keep it simple this year.

I know, this isn’t very profound.  But it hit me hard.  Probably because life is more complicated than it needs to be right now.  Granted, I no longer need to deal with Easter Bunny Drama (I never really liked that sneaky Easter Bunny anyway).  Yet I still feel the pressure to make Easter a big production – to get distracted from the real meaning of the death and resurrection of my Lord.

Truth be told, I wasn’t even ready for Lent this year.  The season has passed so quickly.  In an effort to “keep it simple” this week, I’ve been reading about the last week of Jesus’ life.  Every evening, we sit in the living room and read about the events of the day.  One thing I’m struck by (with some comfort) is this:  the disciples weren’t ready either.  They didn’t get it.  They didn’t prepare for Easter let alone fathom the events to come.  But this didn’t stop Jesus.

I may not be ready for Easter, but maybe that’s a good thing.  It forces me to “keep it simple” – to leave room for Jesus to surprise me instead of getting distracted by my own efforts and plans.  To even embrace an Easter miracle.

How will you keep Easter simple this year?   Are you ready for the unexpected?

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.  (Luke 18: 31-34)

 

 

Working Mom’s Devotional: Should We Force Kids To Go To Church?

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“Mom, I don’t want to go to church this morning.”  My fifth-grade daughter protested as I woke her from a deep slumber.

“But Anna, you missed church last week.  Plus, next week you have a volleyball tournament.”

“I can’t move, I’m exhausted.”

“That’s because you had a sleepover Friday night.”

“Well, I’m too tired.  I just want to sleep.”

“Anna, please do your best.  This is important.”

I closed her bedroom door and walked downstairs.  This conversation is going no where.  I’m the parent, I just have to set the rules.  It’s not like I let her skip school when she’s too tired.

I thought back to my own mother on Sunday mornings.  She never let us sleep in.  Not in a million years.  I could have been on my death bed, and she’d still drag me out of bed on Sunday morning.  So what if my father stayed home to read the paper and smoke cigarettes, she would never dream of skipping church.  And sometimes I resented her for it.

I don’t want Anna to resent me.  I don’t want her to think that her faith is a set of rules.  That we just need to tick a box and show up to appease God.

But I also don’t want her to miss out.  We make time for the things in life that are important.  Even when we’re tired.

Grace-based parenting is harder than it sounds.   The answers may be simple.  But execution is complicated.  I’ve read the books.  I understand that each child is different.  I understand that as parents we must set an example, and that actions speak louder than words.

I also know that on my own, I lack wisdom.  That only through prayer and the Spirit of God will I have the discernment to know when to hold firm and when to let go.  That God is doing a work in my children through his amazing grace.  That more often than not, I need to engage.  But sometimes, as they get older, I need to get out of his way.

As I cleaned up the breakfast dishes, my husband started the car.  No sign of Anna.  She had slept through breakfast.  As we walked out the door, she stumbled downstairs with messy hair and sleepy eyes.  She was dressed and ready.  Breakfast could wait.

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Do you struggle with grace-based parenting?  If we ask God for wisdom, he promises to give generously.  

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:15

Working Mom’s Devotional: Why Can’t You Be A “Real Mom”?

“Mom, why do you have to travel this week?”

“I won’t be gone long, Abby,” I quickly replied.

“Well, why don’t you tell your boss NO?” she demanded.

“You don’t understand, Abby.  I have responsibilities at work.  It’s part of my job.”

“Well, why don’t you get a new job?”

At this point, I could tell the conversation was going no where.  But I held my tongue and she continued the interrogation.

“Do you want a new job, Mom?”

“Maybe someday, sure.”

“Well, I think you should get a job being a REAL MOM!

“I am a real mom, Abby.”

“No you’re not.  You’re never here!” she continued.

“I’m here right now.”

“No that’s not what I mean.  You’re never here during the day.”

“But you’re in school during the day.  You’re not here either.”

I gave her a big hug and we both laughed.  Then she got “sick” the next day at school.

[Fast forward 16 hours.  My cell phone rings at work.  It’s the school nurse!]

“Hello, this is the school nurse.  Abby doesn’t have a fever, but she’s not feeling well.  Her teacher thinks she should come home.”

“Ok,” I replied.  “Have you tried to call my husband?  I’m actually headed out of town for a few days.”

“No, I haven’t called him yet.  She wanted me to call YOU.”

Obviously, this child knows how to push my buttons.   Apparently, she also knows how to push the school nurse’s buttons.  If I was a “Real Mom” maybe I would run to get her, but I made arrangements for my husband to pick her up, left town on schedule, and decided that I would make it up to her on the back end.

As mothers, we always second guess ourselves.   If you doubt your identity as a “Real Mom”, take heart.  You’re not alone!  And while I’m convinced there’s no formula to deal with mommy guilt, I need to constantly remind myself who I am in Christ.

What does the Bible say about our identity in Christ? That we are chosen by God and given a purpose. According to 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness in to his wonderful light”. This is God’s purpose for me.  If I compare myself to others, I rob myself of my true identity.

God knows who I am.  I am God’s masterpiece!  And I am a Real Mom!

Ephesians 2:10  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (NLT)