All posts tagged Chasing Superwoman

Working Mom’s Devotional: Not Ready For Christmas?

Momwrapping.jpg

Not ready for Christmas?  Me neither.  If I could just stop time this week.  There are just too many gifts to buy, presents to wrap, and cookies to bake.  The teacher gifts alone can drive me mad.  And then there’s my travel schedule.  Four cities in five days.  Who has time to get ready for Christmas?

Not me.

Sometimes, I think if I was a “really good mother” I might finally feel prepared.

But then I look at Mary.

She wasn’t prepared either.

When I look at the birth of Christ I am comforted by Mary’s lack of planning. It doesn’t appear she attended birthing classes or decorated a nursery. She didn’t have a birthing coach, and she was far away from family and friends, traveling to Bethlehem. (She also didn’t bake cookies or run around buying teacher gifts at the last minute!)  The amazing thing is that God had prepared her.

I had read the story of Mary and Elizabeth since I was a child but only recently was struck by God’s complete brilliance in using the birth of John the Baptist to prepare Mary for her own labor and delivery. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and foretold the birth of Christ, Elizabeth—John the Baptist’s mother-to-be—was already six-months pregnant. (Luke 1:56) Mary went to visit Elizabeth and stayed with her three months. Six plus three is nine, so Mary must have stayed for John’s birth. Assuming she did, she would have watched and learned about labor and delivery firsthand from her older cousin Elizabeth. So Mary didn’t have to attend birthing classes or rent a video. How else would a young virgin in the middle of Bethlehem know how to give birth with an inexperienced husband in a stable?

In other words, God is in charge of preparing the way for Christmas, not us.

So, how does Mary teach us to respond?

She says“yes” and trusts God with the details.  When the angel Gabriel first appeared to Mary to announce the immaculate birth, listen to her response:

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”  (Luke 1:38) 

Can getting ready for Christmas really be this simple?  Like me, are you struggling to get it all done this year?

*************

[Dear Readers, As many of you have noticed, I’ve taken a break from blogging during this season.  Thank you deeply for the kind notes and encouragement.  Life is complicated, but God is good and I hope to ramp up writing again in 2015.  I miss you dearly!  Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.   Warmly, Susan]


 

***Excerpts above from Chasing Superwoman.

Why Working Moms Need Duck Tape and Grace

Duck tape

“I just can’t do it anymore!” 

I shouted to God, as if he couldn’t hear me.  I almost forgot about another first-grade birthday party.  In the midst of unpacking boxes last weekend,  I pulled out the invitation with no time to spare.  Of course, I also forgot to RSVP. 

So I did what any resourceful working mother would do.  I looked for something to re-gift, grabbed some tissue paper, and searched for a gift bag.

“Abby, it’s time for Bella’s party.  Hurry up and get dressed!”

She quickly obliged.  Yes, she is used to fire drills.  The only problem?

When you are in the middle of moving, you can’t find anything.  Let alone a gift bag for a party you forgot about. 

The solution?

Duck tape.  I had plenty of duck tape in plain view.   

Driving to the party, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Abby will have the only gift wrapped in duck tape.   Will she feel bad once she notices her gift is out of place?  What will the other mothers think of me? 

I thought about turning around.  After all, I hadn’t showered, didn’t have make-up on, and knew we would be 10 minutes late.   But sometimes I have to remember it’s not about me.   Abby didn’t seem to mind.

When we got to the party, I apologized to Bella’s mom profusely.

“We’ve been in the middle of moving and I was traveling all last week.  I’m really sorry we forgot to RSVP.”

She reassured me that everything was “fine.”  I counted 10 girls sitting around a circle.  Then I counted 9 goodie bags.  

My heart sank, yet these moments of imperfection teach me to let go:

This is where grace comes in.  As a child of God, I don’t have to earn anything.  I am holy, blameless, forgiven, and even redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  This doesn’t give me a license to screw up; it just gives me the freedom to be the best wife, mother, and lawyer that I can be.   (Chasing Superwoman, p.215)

Do you find yourself telling God, “I can’t do it anymore”?  How does grace free you from having to do it all?

Working Moms: What’s Your Story?

Profile pictures 018

Everyone I know has a story.  We’ve all gotten to this place in life through a unique and often untold journey.  Most of us don’t get to tell our story in any detail. 

Besides, who is going to listen?     

One of the reasons I wrote Working Women of the Bible is because I was convinced of untold stories that need to be told.  What kind of stories am I talking about? Stories of successes and failures. Stories of lessons learned and second chances. Stories of hard work and sacrifice. Stories of broken hearts and mended wounds.

So, what’s your story?

A powerful story has a beginning, a middle, and an end (or a “resolution”).  The middle often involves a crisis, a struggle, or a series of events that are difficult or unplanned.  Often, the greater the struggle, the greater the story.

If you had a single piece of paper or a “timeline” of your life, what events would mark your journey?

As important, have you told your story?

If you were asked to tell your story, what would you say?

Some of us know exactly what we want to say.  We’re just not convinced anyone will listen.  Or we don’t have the platform to tell our stories – we lack an audience. 

Others have not even thought about “telling” our story.  No one has ever asked, and we think our story is boring, irrelevant, or unimportant.

Final question.  Will you share your story?

I believe that each of us has a unique story to share.  It doesn’t have to be public, and we may be most comfortable (and effective) by sharing our stories privately.  Yet some of us have a desire to share out stories with a broader audience.  If that’s your desire, I’d love to help.  You see, I am a storyteller at heart.  I am convinced that a good story doesn’t just transform us, it becomes us. 

If you are interested in sharing your story, please send an email to sdimickele@gmail.com before June 20.   I’ll be highlighting some of your stories in upcoming blog posts, and I am interested the the ordinary, the divine, and the unexpected. 

********

Have you ever considered writing a memoir?  In Chasing Superwoman, I tell my story of a stressed-out, too-busy working mom trying to find peace in the midst of the chaos.  Have you ever read a memoir that reminds you of your own story?

How To Raise Ungrateful Kids

BLOG_-_thankful

Most of us want to raise grateful children.  I’m convinced this desire is universal among my generation of parents.  We don’t want to raise kids with an entitlement mentality.  We want to teach them the value of sacrifice and hard work.  We don’t want out kids to be spoiled or ungrateful. 

It’s a constant struggle that none of us has perfected.

We scramble to limit TV intake and material consumption.  We try to teach our children about those less fortunate.  We say things like, “When I was your age, we never went out to restaurants.  And I always had to clean my plate!”

Yet I am convinced we’re missing a simple part of the equation.  A piece well within our control.

Grateful Parents = Grateful Children

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.  But too often we blame society – including media, technology, and peers – and we fail to look in the mirror.  We fail to see that our own dissatisfaction models a culture of discontent among our children.  We fail to see that the reverse equation is likewise true.

Ungrateful Parents = Ungrateful Children

Let’s face it, kids are smart.  Show me an ungrateful parent, and I will show you an ungrateful child.

In Powered By Happy, Executive Beth Thomas argues that grateful employees receive more promotions and greater opportunities at work.  And she also encourages us to model this gratitude at home.  For example, she encourages us to include gratitude in our daily rituals – like going around the dinner table and saying one thing we are grateful for each day.

There are some people in this world who choose gratitude over and over again.  My mother is one of these people, and I’m convinced her example is likely the primary reason I have a positive outlook on life.  As I prepare for Mother’s Day, I am especially thankful that my mother is a woman of gratitude.

I want to be this same example for my children.   Don’t you?

*******

Getting ready for Mother’s Day? Only 6 days to go.   Terry Morgan encourages us to write a tribute to our mothers.

Work, Love, Pray (by executive Diane Paddison), Working Women of the Bible, and Chasing Superwoman are still selling as a bundle on Amazon!

Working Mom’s Devotional: Is Child Care Stressing You Out?

babysteps

The greatest stress on a working mom is often childcare.   Who is going to care for my children, and how am I going to make it work?  Will my kids really be ok if I’m not there every second of the day?  And what happens if I get in a jam?

What working mom hasn’t wrestled with these issues? 

I used to think God didn’t understand our dilemma.  That he couldn’t imagine how hard it is to give up complete and total control of a small child  — to place a son or daughter in the care of another.  Yet we often forget that God too is a parent.  He actually had to put Jesus – his one and only son —  in somebody else’s hands.  Can you imagine trying to find a suitable caregiver for the Son of God?

I can’t.

Yet I am comforted that God understands the working mom’s dilemma.  If God, in his wisdom, can find Mary to take care of Jesus, he can help you and me make the right choices for our families.  He can even help us find a loving caregiver where we least expect it.

I think back to my own childcare drama after the birth of my firstborn. 

Plan A?  After screening some 50 candidates, I hired a nursing student to watch Nick every morning.  Her references checked.  She was young and energetic.  She had lots of experience with kids.  What could go wrong?

Let’s just say she bombed.  I caught her sleeping on the job and ignoring Nick.  Her first day of work!   (No, she didn’t just doze off during Nick’s nap.  She actually made a make-shift bed in our attic and completely checked out while she thought I was at work.  Twelve years later, I get mad just thinking about it!)

On to Plan B.

Desperate and exacerbated, I dusted off the names of the candidates I had screened and previously rejected. I came across my notes on Big-Hearted Betty: “Old, experienced with babies, talks too much, a little crazy.” I decided to call her back.

Big- Hearted Betty has a gift with babies. The first time she held Nick I knew she would care for him like her own grandson. I didn’t hire her right away because I thought she was too old, and I was concerned about her crooked knee.  Yet God taught me that appearances aren’t everything. 

Sometimes, God answers our prayers with the unexpected.

I don’t know what your childcare dilemma is.  But I feel your pain.  More importantly, I know that God feels your pain.  He loves our children more than we do, which means we can trust him.  He’s the ultimate expert in finding the right childcare.  Sometimes, we just need to ask.   

Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life  of your young children.  Lamentations 2:19 (NKJV)

God, thank you that we can pour out our hearts like water to you, especially when it comes to our children.   Please put them squarely in your care.  Give us wisdom and discernment as we make decisions about childcare.  And thank you that you love our children more than we do.  Please protect them today and every day.  Amen. 

*(Excerpts above from Chasing Superwoman, Chapter 3)

********

I’ve had a number of inquires from new moms lately, so I’ve decided the next few devotionals will be the “New Mom Series”  Here’s our line-up for the next 4 weeks!.

What’s Your Best Advice For A New Mom?

Is There A “Good” Time To Have Kids?

Can I Really Leave My Child To Return To Work? 

Will My Child Ever Sleep Through The Night?