10 Nov

Tell Them They Aren’t Enough

arent enough photo

I love my house. I dare say I’m content in my home. As long as its clean, as long as nothing’s broken and provided I haven’t visited a cleaner, nicer, more up to date house this week. I’m good. Most of the time.

I love my life. I’m content. As long as I don’t read the letters from 18-year-old me about where I’d be or what I dreamed of becoming. As long as I don’t dwell on yesterdays and should haves. I’m good. Most of the time.

I love myself. No really I do. As long as I don’t drop my towel in front of the mirror. As long as my jeans aren’t right from the dryer tight…I hate having to wiggle, dance and do deep knee bends just to get dressed! On the good hair, cute outfit, I’ve got it all together days I’m thrilled with me. The other 361 days a year I don’t think about it too hard. I’m good. Most of the time.

I don’t spend a lot of time telling God the things I need. Want. Except one thing. I tell Him that daily. I ask for that constantly. And yet….

In Philippians 4:11 Paul says, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” And I trip on those words. I stop to think, to mull them over and try to figure out how Paul learned that, what was the secret he speaks of (in verse 12) and why oh why can’t I find that.

With laptop open and Bible software cranking, I sit ready to discover the secret, to write a post deep with Biblical insight and incredible teaching.

Crickets.

With the whir of the air conditioner filling up the space around me,  I wait. I read. I wait some more. Surely there is a lesson in all of this that God is waiting to teach me. Something profound that I can share and breathe in and begin to apply.

Nothing.

In the space yet to be filled with inspiration and answers suddenly there are elbows and knees. A sea of blonde hair and blue eyes. Giggles and excited chatter.

And there in the adoration punctuated by dimples and fluttering eyelashes is a still small voice.

Tell them they aren’t enough. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In flash they are gone again, off to spread sunshine and remove every toy from every shelf. Unaware of the moment that just unfolded. Unaware that I can barely breathe for the humbling painful reality I just inhaled.

You see, I obsess about having more children. Maybe not outwardly, but in my own head and heart I wish. I beg. I pray. And I feel a massive loss every time I am confronted with the truth that I am the mother to only two children.

Let’s go back to Philippians for a moment,  “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (4:11-12)

I don’t know the secret that Paul had learned, and perhaps it is a secret on purpose. A beautiful mystery. Because it is something we have to come to in Christ on our own. No one can teach you contentment. Nope, that is something that has to be inhaled. Like the delicate aroma of a Savior.

And what is the secret for me? The one that God just whispered. Contentment isn’t about the things I don’t have. Or even about the things I do have, really. It is about looking, in the face, the blessings that God gives us and saying, you aren’t enough for me. Look at the sky, shake your fist and say, “You aren’t enough for me.”

Go ahead. Do it. Look at your husband who leaves his dirty clothes on the floor or might forget an anniversary. Look him  in the eye and say you aren’t good enough. Look your children in the face. Stare into their eyes and say you are just not enough for me. Go to work tomorrow and say to your boss, really, this job isn’t enough for me.

Did you do it?

No. Why?

Because we wouldn’t want to hurt people. We wouldn’t want to run people off. We wouldn’t want to risk loss. And yet, every day I look at things around me — bigger houses, nicer cars, more well-behaved children, a cuter outfit — and think what if, if only. I need that. As if I am shaking my fist at the sky I tell God it isn’t enough for me.

The truth is the love of Christ overwhelms me. To choose me unto death….no words.

The truth is I love our house, even if the paint is uneven and there seems to be dog hair everywhere. This is our home where laughter rings in the hallways, where truth is taught and love is lived!

The truth is I have never been more comfortable in the skin I am in. Though I’m overweight, I confident in my God-given gifts of encouragement and love. I have grown into the roles of wife, mother, daughter, friend, leader and more with an ease and a passion that can only come from God.

The truth is my arms (and heart) will always long for the babies I relinquished in adoption. And that the children we are blessed to parent fill my life with love, laughter, challenge, messes, crafts, games and God.

The truth is God made me to want more. More of Him. And by telling Him He is not enough for me or trying to fill up with other things I am denying the very thing He made me for. More of Christ.

So, my friends, today as the world entices with big, better, newer, flashier, more, more, more, I pray that you and I look to the sky with open arms and say, “He’s enough for me.”

21 Sep

Naked in Orlando

Through my tears and frustration I could hear her crying on the other bed. In that second I knew I had one chance to redeem this trip. They were watching…they were feeling my emotion. This was a chance to teach them how to make lemonade out of life’s lemons.

So, I took a deep breath. Willed away my tears and began to really look at our situation.

And then the strangest thing happened…I started laughing.

Here we were nine hours from home, one day into our whirlwind vacation that would reunite us with family and surprise the kids with day trips to Sea World and Disney World. We had van full of clothes, games, toys, homeschool materials, coolers, snacks, you name it. And somehow in the early morning rush to hit the road one suitcase had gotten left behind.

Only minutes ago we had discovered that my suitcase was still sitting next to our bed at home. I had thought my husband grabbed it and he had thought that the smaller matching suitcase (full of our daughter’s clothes) was the one I was bringing. Not 24 hours ago I had joked with my brother if I didn’t get packed I was going to be naked in Orlando…suddenly that was a real possibility.

As I began to laugh, the kids just looked at me. My husband went from rubbing my back to shaking his head.

“Are we going to get you some new clothes, mom?” our daughter asked.

I nodded. And then added I had packed extra sunblock so I wouldn’t get burned if I was naked in Orlando. Now everyone joined me laughing.

As my husband and I began to concoct a plan. I just kept giggling and saying, “this is the dumbest thing.” Within seconds our four-year-old son had picked up the refrain and was saying it too. His little voice cracked us up and the laughter increased.

After a quick trip to the mall I have  a couple of new shirts, pants, undergarments, sweats, socks and shoes. I try not to shop for myself so this was actually kind of a splurge for me. Thankful that we will have laundry facilities where we are staying, I was able to save us money by getting enough to wear a few times.

In all truth, of course, I would rather have my clothing with matching accessories and broken in shoes. I would rather have several outfit options, not just plain t-shirts. That is what my tears were over earlier in the evening…not having what I wanted, what I had packed, what I had planned.

After our trip to the mall the kids sat up on the bed and watched me lay out what we had purchased. “Oooh, I like that color,” our daughter said. “I like that sweatshirt it is soft,” our son added. And as their happy chatter about the evenings events filled our room, I knew that all was well.

Isn’t it so easy to get caught up in our wants and our own plans that when life goes sideways we lament. We don’t chose joy. We choose whining, crying, frustration or anger. But these moments are important. They are important for us, they are important for our children to watch and be part of, and they are important to God. Life is full of unmet expectations and messed up plans, and if we choose to get caught on those speed bumps we’ll miss the blessings down the road.

Last night as I tried on clothing at the mall, I listened to my kids and my husband giggling and playing games in the store. I smiled in the mirror as I tried on my new t-shirt. We had planned on a quick dinner and finding a place to get their energy out. We hadn’t planned on a big ole Italian dinner — stuffing our kids with pasta, bread, and salad — great conversation, fun games and time to just sit and look each other in the face. We hadn’t planned on them walking through the mall (getting their energy out) and playing with daddy or helping me pick out clothing. They were precious moments we didn’t plan and we could have missed if I had chosen to pout my way through last night.

It comes down attitude, doesn’t it? Whether we chose joy in the moments that frustrate us? Do we choose to redeem the moments for those around us even when inside we want to stomp our feet and cry?

Today we’ll finish our road trip toward our weekend of fun and family. I’ll be the one in a plain t-shirt and yesterday’s capris. And the last 24 hours will become a thing of family trip legend — remember the trip when mom didn’t bring her suitcase?? Well, at least it won’t be known as the trip where mom was naked in Orlando!!

12 Aug

Stop And Count Your Blessings

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So thankful for Friday!! Time to count our blessings and wrap up the week. Here’s a few of our highlights.

 

342. crawling back into bed for unexpected lazy morning
346. coin stuffed envelopes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

347. when the world shrinks just a little
348. goggle covered little eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

349. hope
350. garlic sauce laden vegetables
351. movie dates
352. flirting with my hubby
353. whispered words, mama moments
367. the chatter over the breakfast table
368. how they love the dogs
369. other homeschooling mamas
374. a new passion emerging
375. mother’s chit chat at kids events
378. a feather on the water
380. 1, 2, 3 go
381. a grinning goose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

382. duck in a russian hat
383. popsicles in the park
384. captured beauty
395. comfort for a lil brother
396. looking forward to tomorrow

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