Mommy’s first day of Lent

Sigh. Oh my. Today! Yikes, today. Today was ordinary and yet extraordinary in its own ways and I’m going to go bananas if I don’t sit down and spew some words at ya. Whew.

Today included:

Repeated lessons to Levi about why we don’t hit. No hitting. Stop hitting. Don’t throw things at Henry. Don’t tackle him. Stop, Levi. Be gentle, Levi. If you do that again you’re going in timeout. If you don’t stay in time out, you are getting a spanking. Timeout. Spanking. Levi. LEVI. LEVI JOSEPH HATTING……

Contrast that scene with ¾ of the way through lunch….. “Mama! Pray first!” “Okay, Levi, go ahead, you can pray. You say the words.” (We bow our heads and fold hands.) “Dear Jesus… Thank you. Thank you for food. For food on table. Thank you, milk. Sandwich. Thank you (for) baby Esther, Henry, Mommy. Dear Jesus. Thank you. Daddy… safe… house. Amen.” And my heart is melting. That is the first time I’ve heard him pray. Usually we prompt him and he repeats after us, or refuses to pray at all and asks us to pray. But here he was. Reminding me to pray and be thankful. Praying at the beginning of lunch wouldn’t have worked, since I had three little ones on my hands who were “hangry”, two of them literally doing a constant cry/whine until they had a piece of food in their mouth, and the other who was “helping” make his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for the sandwich.

Today also included my 9 month old (9!) getting into everything. And asking to nurse every 30 minutes, then barely eating at all… because she’s congested? Teething? So distracted by the toys in the living room she just wants to get down as soon as she’s on my lap? Who knows.

Contrast that with her huge, 2-tooth smile that breaks out as soon as she sees the camera and knows it’s awesome if she turns on the charm. 🙂

IMG_3853
Levi’s portrait of his sister

And hallelujah, I did get an hour nap today! Bliss. I woke up as Levi quietly entered my bedroom with his blond bed head and paci’s. He joined me in bed to snuggle- “rub my back Mom?” – and watch Thomas. Sigh. I love him.

It is now 5:02 pm, and I just changed out of my sweats 15 minutes ago so I won’t feel like an unsexy slob when Chad comes home. (He wouldn’t necessarily care, but I do). The mess from lunch is still on the table and the counter, the washer and dryer are full and need to be switched, and there are 3 baskets of wrinkly clean laundry that need attention. My living room is full of today’s toy disaster behind me, with Curious George on the TV so I can vent some sanity into my day.

This is hard. This is so hard. But it is so good. Is this how God feels? ALL THE TIME?

“My children are so difficult, but damn, I love them so much! They are so wonderful!”

The thing with God, though…. Pretty sure his patience lasts a little longer than mine. His love is fiercer than mine. His compassion hits “refresh” instantaneously. His wisdom in fatherhood is perfect. His being, wholly holy. His lap, always open and welcoming. His anger, always righteous. His jealousy, full of passionate love for his own. I am so glad he is infinite. That he carries me. Always. Because man, his job. Running the whole world. Being creator of everything. Loving everything. Judging everything, just in all his ways. That is mighty. Do you think it’s a crazy hard job? Or easy, because he is God, and so powerful, that everything in his nature comes freely, like breathing?

Today is the first day of Lent. Jesus, wash my soul. Father, make me like you. Spirit, bear me up so I might carry my cross. And maybe a baby on my hip while I’m at it.

Pizza Ranch for supper it is.

IMG_3835
Levi’s portrait of Mommy
Advertisements

Winter, head colds & finding God in the doldrums

Oh my word. This month. (As in, this last month). Horrendous! One month of winter colds, during which there has not been a day that someone in our house has not been sick. Really, it’s been most of us. Most of the time. Including me. I shouldn’t complain. I shouldn’t. I am grateful for the pediatrician, health insurance, a home with a heater, food, and ibuprofen. But a month requiring 4 trips to the pediatrician is stressful, so share in literary form I must.

I was taking a lovely siesta on the couch just now (Thursday afternoon), when THUD, CRY…. I race upstairs, glad to find Levi has already put himself back into bed. I hand him his pacifiers (one for the mouth, one for each hand) and he rolls back over, “Thank you mama…” closing his eyes. Sigh. Awesome. Going back to bed during a nap. Glorious. The nice thing is, I had my good “Kat nap” (haha!), so I feel refreshed enough to stay awake. This is the best part of any day, if it happens. When I have satisfactorily had my nap, and the kids are still sleeping. I could be spending this time vacuuming up the shredded paper that is all over the living room floor from Levi’s morning escapades, but writing is so much more therapeutic. And it’s good practice for Esther’s digestive system if she eats some, right?

Except now I hear Esther coughing and stirring through the baby monitor, so I might have to pause and be right back… in like 3 hours. Or tomorrow. Or next week…..

 

…I’m back. It’s now Sunday (three days later). Not bad. I’m having time and space and good creative thought because Esther is home sick with a cold and fever (it’s her turn again), taking her morning nap while the guys are worshiping and eating chili at church. But I’ve just had a fresh shower and leg shave, so I am good! And so is God.

Here are my thoughts.

I was showering and thinking, I should really have “church” here at home since I’m missing out on the worship and word with my congregation this morning. But honestly, the thought of cracking open my Bible and finding a Scripture passage to read and study did not feel appealing. Instant guilt at that feeling followed. *sigh* With the onset of January, I had the desire to get back into regularly studying Scripture, since that area of my spiritual life has been lacking lately. The best time of day for me to do that is in the morning over breakfast, before my children wake up. Well, since we’ve been sick since the new year, I have lacked that time either because I myself needed rest, or my children were waking up early and demanding immediate attention. I had planned to start some reading in Hosea and Psalm 119, since the two women’s groups I’m a part of were going to start diving into those together. I have been to ONE gathering of those two groups in 2016. *double sigh* So goes another futile attempt at “quiet time” since becoming a mother.

But guess what DID happen this month? I received a request from my dear cousin, Leah Everson, to join a Facebook group she started called “Mama’s Soul Group.” This group is “an online community of Christian mamas who explore ancient and new spiritual practices in order to connect with God.” Leah is a mom of young kids, like me, who is also a writer, and God is leading her through the awesome calling of ministering to women through exploring ways to (re)connect with God once the dynamics of motherhood take hold, when we find it difficult to connect with him in ways we previously had. She is encouraging us each week with a spiritual practice other than the traditional “quiet time” of Bible study and prayer. This week was “breath prayers.” We picked a prayer to say repeatedly throughout our days – the same words, as we breathe in and breathe out. My prayer was, “Abba Father” (breathe in), “You carry me” (breathe out). Over. And over. And over again. Let me tell you. It made a difference! The acknowledgement of my Lord through the stress of my day added so much peace and awareness of his presence. I was more conscious of the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance, and his Word more easily came to memory so I could meditate on it as needed.

Wonderful! So through understanding that perhaps I don’t need to meet with God in the same way all the time – or have “church” this Sunday morning in the traditional sense – the Holy Spirit revealed something to me. Being a mother of small children is not a season of life to just spiritually endure. But rather, an opportunity from God to grow closer to him than ever before, because it pushes me to deepen my relationship with him in other ways – ways that will serve me even AFTER my kids are grown – by practicing his presence, worshiping, and meditating on his word in various ways through my busy day. Because from what I’ve heard, busy days don’t end when your kids are out of diapers 🙂

So…. This morning I am worshiping through writing. Worshiping by enjoying God’s presence as the water of my shower cleanses me and his mercy washes my soul. Fellowshipping with him by breathe prayers, acknowledging through them that he is God, I am not, and therefore I do not carry the world and need to shed the mantel of my god complex.

Phew. Can I get an Amen???!!!

If you are also a mother and your heart aches for a closer walk with God, I invite you to check out Leah’s blog The Toothless Grin and the Facebook group “Mama’s Soul Group.” You are most welcome and we would love to encourage you. You are in good company!