All posts tagged Working Moms

Working Mom’s Devotional: How Do You Find Time For Church?

Last Sunday, I got chills during worship as my church celebrated the packing of 500,000 meals.  As exciting, my 7th-grade son actually got engaged – I mean really engaged – about a service project for the needy.

It’s one thing to take our children to church.  It’s another thing to really get involved.  With the demanding schedule of a modern-day family, getting invested in a local church can be a challenge.  I know all too well.

When my kids were young, I almost gave up.

Who has time to be involved in a church?  I already have enough on my plate.

Which is why I believe many working moms just give up. Besides, the church doesn’t always know what to do with us.  Think about it.

  • We don’t have much time to volunteer.
  • Our kids are often exposed to too much media and technology.
  • MOPS happens during our work day (along with a host of other Bible Studies and play groups).

Plus, there’s no good time.

Early morning?  I have to get the kids to school.

After work? I’ve barely seen my kids all day.

After my kids go to bed?  I’m exhausted.

And what about time with my husband?

Excuses, excuses. I am full of them.  But thankfully, God cares about us more than he cares about our excuses.

But I also believe that God is patient with us during each season of life.  Just this week, I was talking to a new mom at church, and she can barely make it through a worship service — with a 20-month daughter who keeps getting sick in the nursery.  Yes, I remember those days like yesterday.  So I encouraged her to hang in there.  Just think, today I have a 7th grader who is packing meals for the hungry!

How do you make time for your local church?  What are your excuses?

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)

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God, thank you so much for my church.  I don’t know how I could do it on my own. Raising kids is hard enough these days.  I pray for all the working moms who are isolated from the local church.  Bring us together in community, and please help us to be patient with each stage of life — and to get past our excuses.  

 [Note to self:  Remove above picture of Nick in the hair net before he sees it! I couldn’t resist!]

Working Mom’s Devotional: Are You “Checked Out” On Social Media?

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I’ve had some friends and readers ask me the same question:  “Why aren’t you blogging more?”

Truth be told, my social media presence has dropped significantly in the last six months.   While I continue to write for favorite sites like The High Calling, I’ve missed a host of opportunities to promote my books and inspire loyal readers.  This causes me some angst.  I’m one of those people who not only loves to write – I love to connect with readers, and I even enjoy social media.  Heck, I’m one of the few people I know under 50 who actually still likes Facebook.

So, why the drop off?

It’s simple.  I’m having a hard time being emotionally present at home when I’m always online.

Can anyone relate?

It doesn’t help that I have a job that requires my connection 24/7.  It doesn’t help that my children are at emotionally demanding ages.  And it doesn’t help that I’m a multi-taskaholic by nature and am prone to take on more than I can handle.

Social media and texting tend to inflict a form of self-induced ADD that pulls me away from the moment.  Like Martha of Bethany, I may be “busy” getting things done.  But I’m not always emotionally present.   Like Martha, I am easily distracted.

Here’s what the New Testament says about Martha of Bethany when Jesus comes to her house:

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”  (Luke 10:40)

In other words, Martha is so busy that she misses what’s most important.  (She misses Jesus even though he is sitting in the middle of her living room!)  Can you imagine Martha on social media?  She might never come up for air.   Mary, on the other hand, probably doesn’t have an iPhone or a Twitter account.   She’s the kind of friend that would drive us crazy because she never returns her text messages. Yet she shows us the importance of slowing down and sitting at Jesus’ feet.  Actually paying attention to people who are in the room.  Looking into their eyes.  Engaging in a conversation.

As we’re preoccupied with our iPhones, texting, and favorite social media sites, I wonder how many of us are emotionally present at any given moment.    Do we see past our children who are right in front of us?  Do we detach ourselves emotionally from conversation?   Do we give anyone our undivided attention?

If Jesus was sitting in our living rooms, would we even see him?

[Ok, if Jesus was in my living room, I would probably take a picture of him and post it on Facebook.  Shameless, I know. ]

Working Mom’s Devotional: Will We Choose Guilt or Grace?

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I’ve been a pretty absent friend this year.  In between a demanding work schedule, aging parents, and my own over-stretched family, I’ve barely had time to write let alone invest in friendship.  Let’s face it.  Quality relationships take time.  Maybe too much time during this busy stage of life.

But I know deep down that relationships are worth the effort – especially during this busy season of life.  And the holidays are the perfect time to reconnect .  Even if I haven’t been a model friend in 2013.  Which is why I invited four dear friends to lunch the week before Christmas — to let them know just how much they’ve meant to me this year.

We were supposed to meet for lunch at noon (I sent out the invitation, remember?).  I was looking forward to putting aside the holiday rush, turning off my cell phone, and eating a slow but satisfying lunch in the best of company.

But I had one of those crazy Monday mornings.  From the moment I woke up, I was “behind” and  couldn’t catch up.  My first 30-minute meeting turned into two hours.  I looked at the clock. 12:45.

No!

My heart sank.  I had missed the special “friendship” lunch – the lunch that I was supposed to be hosting!

Why should I be surprised?  This is indicative of my year.  I make plans, but they always seem to change.  I tell myself, “I can do it, I will hold it together!”  But then I find myself back pedaling and feeling out of control.  Wishing I was someone who doesn’t invite her very best friends to lunch and then stand them up!

But these are also the moments when I have a decision to make.  Will I choose guilt or grace?  Will I beat myself up and throw in the towel?  Or will I jump in the car, put the pedal to the medal, and receive a heavy dose of grace (albeit an hour late)?

Thankfully, I arrived just in time to wish my friends a Merry Christmas.

If I could replay last Monday morning, I would have done a few things differently.  But what’s done is done.  My failed Christmas lunch teaches me a lesson I need to learn over and over again.

Grace always gives me a second chance. 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

God is so good that he reaches down and gives me a second chance.  He knows in advance that I’m going to be an hour late for that Christmas lunch.   But he doesn’t condemn me.  Instead, he gives me a choice.  Will I wallow in regret?  Or will I seize a new moment?

2013 is almost over.  I can’t change last year, no more than I can change last Monday morning.  But I can choose grace over guilt.  And rather than replaying in my mind what could have been, I can move forward in confidence that God gives me new mercies every morning.  He is never caught by surprise.  Even when I don’t show up to lunch.

Are you ready for a fresh start in 2014?  

Working Mom’s Devotional: Thank God For Coffee!

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It has been one of those weeks months.  As I reflect, I think about the “must haves” to get me through the days.

For me, my two “must haves” are coffee and prayer.

I’ll talk about prayer another day.  Today, I need to keep things light.  Today, I need to thank God for coffee.

Just to put things in perspective, yesterday I made three trips to the caffeine well (morning coffee at home, plus two trips to the coffee shop at work).  I know it sounds excessive.  I’m not saying it’s right or even making excuses.  It’s no secret that I love my coffee.  Not just any coffee.  I like the good stuff.  Some of you know that I gave up coffee for Lent a couple of years ago.  And it nearly killed me!

I can do without a shower and some basic hygiene every now and then, but please don’t ask me to give up coffee.

I know what you’re thinking.  This is supposed to be a working mom’s devotional.  Very true.

But sometimes, I just don’t feel very “spiritual.”  Sometimes, I can’t handle a sermon.  I just need to keep it simple.  Sometimes, I need to focus on thanking God for the little things that get me through each day.

How about you?

What are your “must haves” that get you through each day?  

Have you thanked God for the little things this week?

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“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Dear God, I thank you for creating coffee beans.  Please help me to lean on you to get me through each day. Thank you that I don’t have to choose between prayer and coffee.  And thank you for the weekend!

 

 

 

Alyson’s Story: Being A “Real” Woman of Grace

As we continue our Story Series, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Alyson Jones.  Alyson has both heart and style, which makes her an excellent lawyer and even better mother. I laughed out loud when she told me about the four pieces of literature that occupy her nightstand: 1) Newspaper/Huffington Post on-line; 2) Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns; 3) Lean In; and 4) Working Women of the Bible.  Her story resonates with us because she’s authentic — she’s not afraid to be a “real” woman and embrace grace. 

Alyson, please introduce yourself (and tell us the many hats you wear).

I am a working mother of two young boys, living in the deep south: Jackson, Mississippi.

What key events have marked your journey?

I do not have any major triumphs or catastrophes that define me. My initial influencing factor in my first 30 years has always been my father. He is a Cuban-American, who came to the United States when he was 11, and he epitomizes the word “work-ethic.” He is Catholic, and his demonstration of faith is completely introverted. I have never heard my father talk about God. He has attended mass every Sunday (or Saturday evening) ever since I can remember, and the general unspoken rule is that if you want to go with him, you are welcome to, but he will never ask you to attend. That rule goes for me, both of my brothers, and my mother. The next part of my spiritual journey, age 30 and continuing now, is one that my husband’s faith brought to me – Southern Presbyterianism. For this, you talk about God everywhere and invite everyone, all the time, to join with you!  I love having these two worlds combine because both are so very important to me – a deep, personal faith that can only be instilled by self-discipline, as well as a wide-open demonstration of showing grace and faith in God. 

What is your greatest struggle?

My greatest struggle is keeping balance, which I know is becoming somewhat of a cliché, but it is true. I want to be really good at everything I do, and I have to learn to let go of that expectation daily. Because, in fact, when I get the call that my child has the stomach bug and I have to leave work, the truth is, I am not my best at work. Alternatively, when I am preparing for three days for a client meeting without leaving the office before 9:00 p.m, plus traveling to attend the meeting, I am not really good at home. 

I struggle every day with analyzing whether I am making the right decision to work outside the home. I am a lawyer, so my personality lends itself to analyzing every side of the problem and finding a solution. I found my way to Mississippi after attending undergraduate at Ole Miss, then law school at Tennessee. I fell in love with an incredible man who moved back to Mississippi to farm, and I started my law career here. It is the deep south. Mississippi is not a friendly environment for a working mom; it is just not. 

For example, a couple months ago, our own Governor decided to speak out at a public forum about how working women are at the root of the educational gap in our Country.  He went on to explain his statement by saying that he simply meant that the stress of dual- parent working families effects children.  At the heart of what he said, and none of us can deny it, is that work adds stress.  With my over-analytical mind, I have been analyzing my life in context of his statements ever since.

How do you integrate your faith, home, and work? 

I try to stay involved with my church. I thrive on structure, and the church provides that for my faith. I would like to think that I could set aside a certain amount of time each day to focus on the Bible, because that is desperately what I need, but that is unrealistic for me right now. Instead, by staying involved in church, I am able to surround myself with people who feed me Bible verses, ask me to Bible studies that I may be able to squeeze in once a quarter, and force me to get involved with children’s activities so that I actually know what my children are learning. By integrating people with strong faith into my life, I believe I am able to have a more grace-centered demeanor at both work and home. (My children and co-workers may disagree with this statement!)  In order for me to deal with my struggles, it is imperative that I understand and can lean on the fact that God does not want me to be perfect and loves me despite my inability to be “good” at all that I do. 

Fitting faith into work and life is not easy, but it is essential. We will rarely find a purpose in our daily grind, and it is almost a guarantee that we will spend time searching for something that may be missing or will make our life circumstances better. Working Women of the Bible and the Bible itself help paint a picture of how to get through our lives. The Bible does not over-analyze or criticize, but instead, it features real-life struggles, much like our own, that have been around since creation and still hold true today. Some of these struggles do not have solutions, but they are real, have withstood the test of time, and provide a fountain of wisdom for modern-day working women. 

I am still on my journey of coming to Christ. It takes a lot of relinquishment of self-control.  I have not this mastered this journey, but I have come a long way. 

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Trust your gut. Of course, that has to be done with a proper analysis of consequence, but if something deep down is stirring you up – whether in decisions at home or at work –  trust that feeling from deep within.

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Thanks Alyson for sharing your story!  Does Alyson’s story strike a powerful or familiar chord?  If so, please let her know.