Wednesday, July 30

a little "break"

It's been a bit crazy and chaotic around here, lately! We've been running a lot and doing a it's been a welcome relief to take a step back, relax a little and stay home!! 
First though, we celebrated my grandma's 90th birthday!! I love this lady like nothing else and it was sweet to be able to celebrate her! 
Since my sister and our favorite baby boy were in town, they came and stayed with us for a night! We ALL love baby Evan. There's not much sweeter than snuggling my kiddos on the porch in the morning...but, snuggling with Evan and Macy was way sweeter! The best part- she held onto his little hand!
Hailey LOVES to help  with Evan. She wants so badly to be a babysitter or a mommy's so cute! In the car yesterday she prayed that God would give her 5 babies! :) I sure hope he answers that prayer for her!
we went on a little walk with Felicia and Evan and found a teepee at the school forest. It was pretty cool and the kids had a great time playing in it! (they were playing Pocahontas...go figure that Hailey figured out how to play "princess" even at the school forest) :)
Sometimes I think a momma's heart just needs a little break from the chaos and busyness of summer and I'm so thankful that this week has  provided it! It definitely has been a sweet treat and a balm for my weary little soul :)

Thursday, July 24

Perfectly loved!

this morning as I survey my house, I see:

3 laundry baskets full of clean, unfolded clothes,
an overflowing basket of dirty clothes
the leftovers of last nights bedtime snack smeared on the table
half empty bottles of water sitting on the counter
beach towels on the backs of every chair in the dining room
still wet swimming suits lining the railing on the deck
an empty box for clue where the legos even are
random shoes perched precariously on the edge of the coffee table
throw pillows and blankets strewn about the living room
our little prayer sticks dumped out and hiding under the dining room table
dirt sticking to the bottoms of my feet, because the floor hasn't been swept lately
toilets that are in need of some serious attention from cleaning agents
a sink full of dirty dishes that I just didn't get to  before bed...

all of it seems so overwhelming...all of it speaks to me and says "you're a failure".

but, what's even worse is that all of it is still sitting there because last night was a rough night putting the kids to bed.
we went swimming and got home a bit late. the kids were hungry so I rushed them through a snack (at which point they were already well beyond tired) and tried to herd them off to bed...naturally they resisted. needless to say, it all culminated with a momma in tears and 3 of her 4 kiddos in tears as well. (thank God for Elli, who just seems un-phased by it all and was content to lay in her bed singing and playing with her kitty doll while the world fell apart)

I had given the last bit of myself and could not seem to find any bit left to give...that speaks to me and says "you're a failure."

it's so easy to feel overwhelmed and in need of a break as a momma. it's especially easy when life seems to be going so well and then "bam" out of nowhere a bad day, week, month strikes. it's so easy to blame myself. to immediately go into "bad mom" mode and feel down and like a failure.

it's not always so easy to go to the source of my strength and get myself a little "fill up" when I feel like a failure.

In the bible study I'm doing (am I messing up my kids, by Lysa Terkeurst), she talks about how much we are loved by God. I was so struck by a verse that we've probably all read over and over again and one that I know I've sang as a kid-
1 John 3:1a
Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us. That we should be called children of God.

It's so refreshing, so encouraging, so uplifting for my spirit to read that this morning. To be encouraged in the fact that I may look like a failure. I may feel like a failure. I may even be a failure, in my own eyes, but that's not what God sees.
I am a beloved child of God. I was worth dying for- even in that terrible moment when my kids were crying, because I was harsh with them- Jesus saw me as worth dying a terrible death for. and not only worth dying for- worth adopting into His very own family. My dear friend just adopted her third baby and to see the amount of love and joy she has for that child- immediately upon birth is just a beautiful reminder of how I am viewed by God. I am His daughter- a daughter of the King. And as much as I love these precious ones- God loves me more- with a more perfect love!

I thank you, God, for your righteousness that covers me. I know how sinful, how ugly and how hard my own heart is- but you don't dwell on that, because Jesus covers me. Jesus' love is what keeps me going. The fact that He loved me perfectly in spite of my sin is awe inspiring. I am perfectly loved by you. You over me with Your precious and perfect sinless self, so that I can be defined as a child of God- not as an un-worthy, weary, beat up sinner!'s to also praying I can sneak in some of this today :) 

Wednesday, July 16

Motherhood is tough

This has been a really great summer. We have been having a lot of fun. We have laughed a lot and played a lot. But, this summer has also reminded me just how tough motherhood can be. It's a tough job to be "in charge" of four little hearts. To be the one to train, encourage and discipline 4 little people. It's so easy to feel like I am failing- every. single. day. I loose my temper. I fall apart. I cry over things that don't matter. I get upset when no one seems to be listening. I don't always serve my family graciously and cheerfully. I get frustrated about the endless piles of laundry and the massive amounts of dirt and sand the floors seem to collect every day. Sometimes I say yes to things without thinking  them through and my kids end up with Minnie mouse, kitty and dragon "tattoos" all over their legs.
(on a side note...Hailey is becoming quite the little artist, isn't she?! I just wish she would use a different canvas than her sibling's bodies) :)
There are so many things to make me feel like a bad mom. So many times I fail and fall short of the ideal mom I've created in my head.
But, there is one thing that I'm learning this summer...and that is that I don't need to be defined by my "bad" moments or my "good" moments. I am defined by God. I am a perfect and beautiful creation. I'm doing an online bible study called "am I messing up my kids" by lysa terkeurst (amazing book, by the way) and one of the verses we had for homework yesterday was:
Psalm 100:3 says, "Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who made us, and not we are ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture" 
 I've found that to be so comforting and a confidence booster on the not so good days. And such a great reminder to not become prideful on the "good" days.
God made me. He created my unique personality. He created this wild and crazy life for me; I didn't create it myself. Anything good in me- is because of Christ working in my life. Anything "bad" in me, I can trust that God will work out and use for good for me and for my kiddos.
I don't always feel like the best mom for my kids. I don't always have confidence in my parenting ability. But, I can have confidence in God. I can rest in the truth of the fact that God doesn't make mistakes. It wasn't a mistake that I had 4 kids in 2 1/2 years. It wasn't a mistake to God that I had twins, when I thought I was having just one baby. Nothing in my life is a mistake or a surprise to God. And today (and the rest of this summer) I will be resting in that and hopefully enjoying more moments with my kiddos-  knowing that when I do mess up and screw up, I can ask for forgiveness and move on- knowing that God can use even my screw ups for His glory!
Just like he can save these poor little kitties from all the love and cuddles that Macy can dole out :)

Thursday, July 3

the beginnings of something fun...

I'm probably not the first mom to relish in the excitement that summer can bring. I'm most certainly not the first mom to look forward to sunny days and playing outside...but, I may be the first mom who can finally say THIS SUMMER STUFF IS FUN! I seriously find myself marveling at the fact that this summer has been really, really fun! We've laughed a lot, we've played a lot, we've had a few little colds here and there, we've had some crabby days...but, overall we have been having so much fun that I can hardly believe it.
Maybe it's because the last 3 summers have been really, really, really hard. Maybe it's because my youngest kids are 2 1/2, so I only have one little one in diapers and I'm finally getting out of the "baby stage" with my kids and entering the little kid stage.  Maybe it's because the last winter was such a long, dark, cold, depressing one. Maybe it's because we've done a lot more fun stuff. Maybe it's the fact that God has been working on my heart and that so far it's been a summer full of grace and forgiveness and sweet moments and moving on after blow ups. Maybe I'm learning to give grace to myself, to my kids and to my friends. Maybe it's that instead of setting the timer and spending 20 min with God and the rest of "rest time" cleaning up, I've been spending 20 minutes cleaning up and the rest of my hour or so worshipping, reading and spending time with God. Maybe I'm more content this year. Maybe I'm learning to embrace the moments and the mess and the dirty rings around the toilet and bathtubs. It could be any one of those things...or quite possibly all of them together. 
Whatever it is I am so incredibly thankful. I feel so blessed to be  able to enjoy even the simplest of moments without feeling the rush of overwhelmed anxiety. I feel so blessed to enjoy the smiles and the giggles and the laughs of my kids without doubt and fear and worry creeping up. I feel incredibly blessed to just sit and laugh with my kids- to go on bike rides and to play outside- to push them on the swings and simply watch them ride their bikes- to wash the dishes and watch them all outside playing on the swingset- to clean up the living room and fold laundry to the sound of their giggly little chatter outside. 
I am so thankful for God not giving up on me, for continuing to work in my heart to bring me to the place where I can rest in the shadow of His might wings. I praise Him, because I know that there's nothing in me that could bring me to this place. I know what my heart is capable of and I know that it's not even close to letting go, relaxing and enjoying life. I've always been a "do-er" a worker and someone who felt like she needed to earn God's good favor and I can't even begin to describe to you how amazing and freeing it feels to be letting some of that go. (I can almost guarantee I'll have the worst day ever tomorrow and I'll be freaking out about everything...that's just how it always seems to work...I'm still a work in progress...but, as slow as the steps may be at times- at least I am making some progress) :)
To feel confident in God's love and confident in the fact that He promises to and will supply all that I need for parenting these littles- has given me so much more freedom to be myself, to be who God created ME to be. I'll never be super organized, I'll never have a spotless house or a super routine. I'll most likely never have super clean, pressed and properly dressed kiddos-(they may even be sporting Minnie mouse tattoos on their foreheads as I write this and just this past weekend I took my youngest to the Mall of America in her pajamas and thought nothing of it). I'm sure I'll still forget something (or everything important) when I go somewhere- that's just how I roll. I'll never be a super consistent disciplinarian type mom whose kids jump when I snap my fingers or give them the evil eye- I'm just not that disciplined or consistent with my own life. I'd much rather throw stuff away than organize it (no kidding- my son has nightmares about me throwing his stuff away...). I don't love or thrive in a messy house, but I'm able to function in it, for a while, and I'd much rather have it be messy than stress myself, my kids and/or my husband out to keep it in tip-top shape...and I'd much rather spend the day puttering around in the yard, weeding the garden or pushing the kids on the swing than vacuuming or cleaning toilets (who wouldn't, right?!) I love teaching my kids to be independent, even if that means they choose crazy outfits, put their shoes on the wrong feet, get into a bit more trouble or it takes 5 minutes longer to get out the door. I've been known to feed my kids ice cream for supper and use movies as a babysitter so I could quick clean up. I pretty much never had much of a brain, but now that I have 4 kids I don't have much of one at all- I think the lack of sleep and continually trying to keep track of everyone has basically fried it! To be able to work on being kind, loving and forgiving with my kids, has been way more fun than constantly redirecting and correcting behavior.
It's been fun to be able to relax a little bit, to let myself be me, this summer. To get back to the spontaneous, spur of the moment girl that I used to be. To get some of my energy back, to feel a little bit less like I'm drowning every single day has just been an amazing blessing- thank you, Jesus.