Tuesday, August 23, 2016

more than a mother {community post 5}

Tonight I am in awe of how much has changed and shifted in my life in the last year. Agreeing to listen to the Lord and be in community has led me to paths and trails I never expected to come across, or even knew I wanted.

Much has been written about how important it is to make time for oneself when one is a mother, but that is much easier said than done in my experience. Most evenings I am worn out and done. I don't want to go out. I don't want to find clothes that match, or put on anything other than pajamas.

And yet this week I went out after the kids went to bed last night and tonight. What's even more surprising is that I wanted to go. So often I make plans and then when the time comes to go I'd rather stay home and read. I love you friends, I really do, but I often prefer to be alone after a day of the kids hollering demands and smothering me with love (there is nothing as intense as toddler love is there?).

Last night I went over to a friend's house for our first Bible study meeting. For YEARS I've wanted to dive into the Bible with a friend who is more spiritually mature than me and learn more about my faith, but I have never made steps beyond praying to make it happen. I think it's rare that praying without doing leads to results, but in this case being utterly lazy eventually worked out for me.

And I met this friend through the community group that we learned about and joined when we met the pastor who hosts it when we moved into this house and discovered the left behind washer (full story here) See the thread? God is amazing at weaving those threads, but it takes so many years to get from one point to another I often forget to follow along and be amazed at His hands working in my life.

This evening I went on a walk with one of the moms I met through B's preschool program. A few weeks ago she mentioned we should get together without kids and I jumped on that idea. I invited her and another mother who lives close by to walk Tuesday evenings with me and I can't wait to keep going as long as the weather cooperates. It is so nice to have a conversation without being interrupted.

Knowing Bible study time, or an evening walk, is coming up helps me have energy to get through the day, and it provides a boost for the next day as well. My patience runs thin with the kids at the best of times, but when we're in the middle of a big project like we are now it's even harder for me to stay present, calm, and kind because I don't get a break when J comes home.

Adding time to my evening to walk and study the Bible with new friends adds another ring to my circle of community, and it's one I am really enjoying. I am hesitant to change and reluctant to grow, but following the Lord's prompting has led me to new experiences and opportunities. I still have the friends I did before we moved, before B began school, and before we joined our community group, but it seems like every few months another community ring is added and the work the Lord is doing in me increases.

I'm learning that what I want more than anything is to be known. To know my neighbors (still working on that one) to know the mothers I see at drop-off and pick-off, to know my closest friends, my family, my kids, my husband. It's not enough to move through every day with superficial words of greeting and surface conversations. I want to build relationships so when life goes sideways - or conversely when life goes really, really right and all the dreams come true at once and a cascade of answered prayers fall into place - I can be there and either show compassion or cheer loudly.

And I finally have the confidence to be honest, to ask the hard questions, to invite people into my life because I understand I am completely known by God. People may reject me, or my ideas, but He won't. So far every person He has encouraged me to approach, and every situation He has placed in my life as I pursue the idea of community, has yielded fruit and unexpected benefits. I'm excited to see where the thread goes from here, what God has in store for me next.

Do you feel known? Do you feel accepted in your community? Do you feel invited into other's lives? How do you feel about community and friendship? What role does it play in your life?

Friday, August 12, 2016

lost in the remodeling dust

I don't really feel like we've had a summer. We are in the thick of things on the small bathroom remodel, there's a lot of life stuff going on, and we haven't stopped to do anything fun.

So this morning I loaded up the kids and headed for the beach. I hate taking on solo trips by myself, but the beach isn't too far from us - just over an hour - and we have a great spot we go to that has a shallow stream. Chasing two kids around the roaring ocean waves isn't very fun, but finding a nice spot along a shallow river on the beach is perfect for me. Today my hands were very full, and the kids didn't care in the slightest about seeing the ocean, so we didn't even attempt cresting the small rise for a view. We walked straight to the stream and crashed with all of our things.

I went all out for our trip. I hauled every sand toy we own, as well as the giant beach ball, and packed extra outfits for everyone (although I forgot my extra clothes bag and had to buy an overpriced sweatshirt from the market so I didn't freeze while we waited for the fog to burn off). I stopped at the store for chips, chocolate and watermelon and let them eat that for lunch. I didn't even add turkey or cheese to the menu even though I packed it. I let them eat out of bags and containers, food mixing with sand and cold water from the stream. I let them be messy and busy, I let them wade a little deeper than I was comfortable with, and wander a bit farther than I normally do.

Instead of sitting at home searching for bathroom vanities and flooring while the Olympics played in the background and getting frustrated when the kids asked for snacks (every hour - seriously) I spent the day on the beach watching them splash, build sand castles and make friends.

By this time next month B will be 5 and we'll be back to the school year schedule. August is for beach trips and blackberry picking. Splash parks and hikes in the cool woods. Time spent outside before the seasons change and draw us back indoors.

Bathrooms can wait. Finding bathroom vanities and flooring can wait (I am SO ready to hire a designer). Dishes, laundry, and watching the Olympics can wait. My babies will be 3 and 5 this fall. Now is the time to soak them in and enjoy our days together.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

hope unfolding: grace-filled truth for the momma's heart {book review}

I feel like I've read a lot of books in this vein lately. Like it's popular to write about how hard it is being a mom and how we all feel overwhelmed, but with Jesus moms can do it!

Which is not to say there isn't truth in that!

I am a) a mom and b) overwhelmed and c) so glad I have Jesus to guide me as a parent.

And where some of the books in this category have been a little overdone, Becky Thompson does a nice job of being honest about her life while imparting Scripture based tips on how to mother with faith and joy.

I read through Hope Unfolding on my own, but I would like to go back through it with friends and talk about some of the topics Thompson unpacks. Thompson writes on everything from feeling alone, to feeling insecure, to comparison mothering, to how mothers can rely on God and learn to tune into Him and away from the negative broadcasting that comes from the Enemy.

Thompson's writing about her day to day life is engaging and fun which keeps the book interesting.  After reading Hope Unfolding I wanted to recommend it to my mama friends because it's a great reminder that while parenting young ones is lonely mothers are not alone.

I think this review would be more enthusiastic/longer if I wasn't so tired from getting up with Ainsleigh so many times last night! I guess it's the perfect book for me right now as I feel really worn out and ready to resume the fall/preschool/more scheduled routine in a few weeks!

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."


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