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Thursday, October 21, 2010

If you are visiting today after reading my friend Rene's blog, on Friday, welcome.  If you are regular bloggy friend, pop on over to Renee's blog on Friday.  I'll tell you why at the end of this post.

No one told me motherhood was going to be such a spiritual adventure.  I knew my feet were going to get bigger, certain parts would shift south, and I'd probably never wear two-piece suit again.  But no one told me my faith was going to grow as much as it has.

God didn't give me five children so I could stay the same.  Although, believe me, I tried.  Those first years of motherhood, I desperately tried to regain my old life, and the old me.  But she was long gone, and she took those size 8 shoes with her.

Before the first three kids arrived, I was a well-organized, patient, accomplished woman. I could manage my time, meals, and shopping.  I could string together an articulate thought and enjoyed reading books with chapters. Before kids, I could actually walk from one room into another and remember why.

Then God gave me three little boys first.  That woman no longer existed.  Instead, a woman showed up at my house who:
  • ate donuts and Diet Coke for breakfast, 
  •  repeatedly believed her toddlers when they promised to walk in the store,
  • cleaned her children’s faces with spit and her thumb,
  • knew the names of the Teletubbies, 
  • and Sponge Bob’s best friend,
  • laughed at jokes and movies that included bodily functions,
... but most importantly, (and thankfully) that woman redefined a successful day.

 I’m also a woman who would not trade my life as a mother for anything. After I recovered from those three little boys, God called us to go to Africa to pick up the daughters He had picked out for us.  And the growth opportunities just keep coming.

 I've also learned that I don't have to grow as a mother.  You see, I could sit in the seat of scoffers, be resentful and angry, and justify it all because of how my children choose to act.  Because, by the way, they are all teenagers, and not one of them is perfect. Did God NOT get my wish list???  (grin)
On top of that, wrapped up in the package of two beautiful daughters whom we love with all our hearts, came armloads of challenges.  They've been hard, and at times I've questioned God trust in me.  We aren't even close to overcoming some of these challenges that life in war-torn Africa gave my girls. 

 I recently wrote a devotion about facing hard times. The hardest times in my life have to do with my children.  And I'm encouraged by the life of Job.  I'm going to quote from that devotion as I end this post:
Job faced “hard” head on. He wobbled a bit, but then planted his feet and steadfastly held on to faith that his God who had never abandoned him before, would not do so now. No matter what he lost, and who abandoned him, Job knew God would always be with him. His emotions may have pulled a bit on this, but Job kept steering back to center. Job faced “hard” well.
Being a mom shakes my emotions daily.  I range from overwhelming joy to frustration, fear and sadness, and just about any other emotion you can imagine. 

If you are facing hard times in your call of motherhood, take heart.  Plant your feet firmly and determine to face it well.  You can either grow, or allow the challenges God gives you to hold you back. 
You will never be the same woman you were before, but only you can decide if that a good thing.

Please take a moment to visit Renee's blog, where she's featuring an interview with me about my book, "When Your Child is Hurting."  I'm also giving away two copies of that book and 2 cool week-at-a-glance organizers for moms.  We'll pick one winner from the comments left on my blog, and one from hers.   Make sure you leave your email address or blog address so we can contact you. 

We'll announce the winner on Monday.
I hope you have a great day!

In His Love,



karen g. said...

Oh stretched faith, I am there. Our road, my journey, has had many bumps. Could not conceive, adopted 2 children from Guatemala, husband diagnosed with cancer, loses his battle after 2 years. Do remarry a widower with 2 children now have a step daughter who is angry and personally attacks me and my two constantly. Marriage rocky, stress over the top. So, I too wonder if God just didn't pick the wrong girl out of the address book! But, I keep praying and holding on to the belief that God's plan is mighty and just and He wants me to just let go and lean on him! Blessings and prayers to you and yours. karen g.

Leigh F. said...

I am facing hard times as a mother. I work full time and struggle to be the mom I want to be. I often find myself impatient with my children because of the stress I face as a working mother. I pray daily God will work in my life and help me to stay focued on what He wants me to do with my children.

Anonymous said...

A mother's job is a challenge as well as a joy. Godly arsenal would be helpful to me and my parenting of teens. mheard11@frontier.com

Allison Morrison said...

I am blessed to be the mother of 3 precious boys...I want to be the mother God wants me to be! I want to use His principals to raise my boys to be the men that He wants them to be. I want to be the vessel that God uses to teach my babies and not this world. I want to raise them to LOVE Jesus because I want to be with my boys for eternity...

Kim said...

Wish I had your book when my girls were younger. I still struggle with so many things as a parent. My oldest daughter is now a single parent to a beautiful 9 month boy. Such guilt and heartache we went through as parents when she got pregnant. I would love to pass your book on to her. Thanks for the chance to win!
Kim W

Coral said...

I am also the mother of 3 boys, and no longer who I was. Thank you, Dear Jesus for that! I admit I do get frustrated, confused, and sometimes lonely and desperate for someone who actually speaks proper English, but I love who I am becoming.

Jolene said...

Love the lesson from Job - about facing "hard" with firmly planted feet. Thank you for a new perspective and encouragement! Would love to read your book too!

Angel said...

Thanks for posting. I think we all stuggle as mom's to do and be the best mom we can for our kids. It is hard, but the Lord has a plan, and we need to lean on Him. Thanks for the book. I am looking forward to reading it!

Heidi said...

I am so glad that I found your blog. I love the devotions on P31 and am looking forward to reading your blog.

Josey Bozzo said...

Thank you so much for your honestly about parenting issues. I really thought I was the only one who struggles daily with fear of what might happen to my children. Some days it's better than others. I also fight to not repeat the same mistakes I was raised with. Now that is truly difficult! I find myself falling back into those old patterns of impatience and unkindness all the time.
I pray everyday to be the mother God wants me to me, the mother my children deserve, and that they won't hate me some day.

Anonymous said...

I often wonder if God is trying to grow my daughter or me. I think sometimes I struggle more as her parent than she does as a teen. I would love a copy of your book.


Anne said...

I would so love to read this book as I am a mom of 2 daughters (12 & 14) who struggles when they struggle. I recently found your blog and your posts have really spoken to me. Thank you for your transparency and your Godly wisdom.

Shawnia Holler said...

God has truly blessed my husband and I with two amazing children. I pray everyday to be the mom God wants me to be. Our children have a love for Jesus that melts my heart. We are so proud of them. They have a hard time at school because they don't understand how kids can be so mean and hurtful. it is hard as a parent to know what yout children have to go through. I know I am not in control. I pray everyday for God to comfort them and to surround them with good children. We just moved to another state a month ago. Starting a new school was hard for them. They both did well. I know it is because we have an awesome God that gives them the peace and comfort that they need. I know God wants me to give everything to him. He will keep them safe. With Love and prayers. God bless, Shawnia Holler Phil.4:13

Debbie F said...

I 15yo daughter has been going through bullying at school lately and I have had to stand back and let her deal with it. It's so hard. I want to go in there and take over and fight her fights for her but I know I can't. I wish I knew what to say to her. She asked me the other day, why is this happening? Am I so bad? Broke my heart. This book would be a definite bonus to me right now. Not only with my daughter now but to help me with my younger two. Thank you for your generosity.
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Linda R. said...

I must say, I've grown more in my Christian walk as a mother than I ever imagined possible! I don't know how God does it but no matter what advice I throw out there(i.e. "Honey, trust me! Do you think I tell you this to keep you from having a wonderful life? Don't you think I want what's best for you?), I hear God saying it right back to me & it convicts me of my own short comings. It is truly the hardest job out there, & yet most rewarding. I have a feeling God developed motherhood with that in mind. I missed that section in the book "WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING" though! ha!

Angela said...

Thank you for your blog. Although I am not a mother, I find my marriage stretching me in the same way. You have encouraged me to give up my quest to stay the same person after marriage that I was before. I need to let go of that woman and let God shape and mold me into the woman he wants me to be!

christianholisticcenter said...

I am visiting today from Rene's blog and I read her interview with you!

This discussion is so timely!

I have two teens, both boys have Autism. Parents struggle with the issues discussed here even when children that have NO developmental disability but when the child is "injured" by your hearts standards by something like Autism and is unable to "fend" for themselves the way that most people can (at least at some point) it makes it even more of an act of "faith" to let go of the reins a bit.

I still am doing things for my teens that most kids have graduated from by the time they are 5-6 years of age! At times it takes great faith on my part to entrust them to the process of being in this world and everything that means.

Let me NOT even mention my own childhood issues of abuse making this process even more of a challenge to "let go" and "let GOD".

I need the message that this book offers as I am at a cross roads and needing to make some difficult choices. I want to send my faith into the future with my boys and not my fear.


afeistymom said...

This is great! I love the woman I have become since my boys arrival. I need Gods help with my patience and frustration I feel when I can't do it all.

Joanna said...

I am living the daily adventures of faith. While I always wanted to be a mom, I somehow equated that with parenting girls. Of course, God knew that I would need my two boys first... maybe there will be girls down the road :-) I, too, wished for a while to be my "old self," but God is teaching me to embrace this blessed motherhood. Thank you for sharing!

Heather S. Deaton said...

How true that you are not the same after children. I know I am a better woman because of my kids. Thank you for sharing the devotion. Being a parent is hard and challenging, but it is far more rewarding.

My oldest has been teased at school this year by a couple of other girls. I sure could use some more tips to help her deal with these mean girls.

barrientos5@embarqmail.com said...

I am just now entering this arena wit my own children who are now in public school (after the safety of our homeschool setting). This is a must have for our home library! :) Angel

Dana said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win your book. It is very timely material for me. We've been going through a tough time with my son, and now that he is in school I realize that I can only help him so much.

Betty Hodge said...

Hope Im not too late to get in on this!!
My son is 13 and is consumed with fear. We are currently working/praying and trying to parent him in a way to release him of his fears. HOwever he gets picked on badly because of it. He is terrified of bugs, heights, behing outside alone at night and many other things. So you can imagine how this cripples his life and how teens are mean with their comments.
Betty Hodge

Anonymous said...

As my daughter has entered Kindergarten, she has struggled with all new friends, new teachers, a new school, etc. Tonight, when her little sister (age 2) pushed her away, she broke down in tears. I know this was not due to the physical push, but rather to a sense of rejection. I scooped her in my arms, but felt helpless all the same. I would love to read this book to help me better guide her toward independence, strength, confidence, problem solving... I too have been guilty of being overprotective. As a (healthy & currently cancer-free) cancer survivor, I fear everyday that someday my children may not have me. And I realize that I need to be less protective, and more guiding toward developing their faith, independence, and strength. Thank you for the chance to win your book.

Anonymous said...

Needed this today...my 13 year old thinks he's in charge. I didn't do my best but at least our family is good at "I'm sorry" and forgiveness. We have a great family, but have moments like anyone.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I'm actually a much better person after kids than before!

Caroline said...

What a great post! I love this line: "God didn't give me five children so I could stay the same."

I feel like I have grown more in my first year of motherhood than in any other time so far! I want God to mold me.


Edwina said...

Is there a mother who doesn't face challenges with her children? No, we've all been there. The challenges are different in every mom's situation, BUT God is faithful irregardless of what we face.
My daughter became pregnant at 16. It was the hardest thing I've ever gone through (including divorce from her father). But today, she is a 31 year old mother with a son who just turned 15. God gave us everything we needed and more to walk through this time. I am proud of her - she is a fantastic mom who is raising one awesome kid!

Susan said...

As the parent of 3 teens (oyyy), any new ideas are always greatly appreciated! Job is one of my favorite parts of the Bible-his struggles and endless faith are a constant source of strength for me.

Alycia Morales said...

I loved reading your post! As the mother of three boys and one girl of my own, as well as having helped raise a step-son, I relate well to the joys and hardships of motherhood. Raising my step-son was no easy task and I had to rely on God minute-by-minute. Raising my own children challenges me every day (and we eventually want to adopt another girl - are we crazy?).
I stayed up until 1:00 this morning searching online for an adequate planner, as my life is becoming busier and busier by the day. I'll purchase the book, but I'd love a chance to win the planner.

Anonymous said...

I love reading the encouraging words on P31 and knowing that I am not alone in my struggles.
Thank you for the opportunity to win!

Amy said...

Wonderful, insightful post, my friend. I love how you made us feel like a mama club. Too many times moms feel alone with our roller-coaster emotions, and I love to know that I'm part of a tight-knit sisterhood.

Priscilla said...

I would love to read your new book, thank you.