cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lay Down the Guilt, Mamas.

It was one of those days. You know the type. The days where you wake up ready for bedtime, the full moon is wearing on the senses of certain kiddos, you've snapped before pouring a single crackle or pop into a bowl for those cherubs faces. I call those "coffee-to-wine" days. Or maybe you've been too forceful in tone or heavy-handed in a swat on the tail. Maybe you reacted out of anger, and your apology hung in the air. When that long-awaited sandman arrives, it is a blessed thing. You love those small people dearly, but...seriously. 
For. The. Love.

They will find you.

When you fall into bed exhausted from a day filled with refereeing and tongue-biting, you thank Jesus for each one of those precious snowflakes asleep in their bunk beds. They drove you batty all the livelong day, but you could still be moved to tears just thinking about how fast they're growing up. You slap your hand across the light switch to turn it off and then roll over to pray with the hubs. Approximately two seconds after the “Amen” he's asleep (Don't ask me why God gave men this instantaneous shut-off valve. I am seven shades of green with envy over this talent.).

And then the mommy guilt hits.

It's not like a tsunami that engulfs us. It's usually more like a gentle shower of paver bricks. And not like the spray-painted foam kind in the original Star Trek episodes. Ladies, I posit that there is just about no worse feeling than middle-of-the-night mommy guilt. You know what I'm talking about. Our head hits the pillow, and doubts slam our soul. The space between our ears becomes the Devil's own playground.

Sooo...you've got some grandiose plans...for someone who loses their cool, wastes time, throws down judgment and attitude. World changer, huh? You'll be lucky to make a dent within your own family, let alone the world. But, no. You go ahead. I'm sure tomorrow will be peachy keen. World changer.

Thanks, Satan. Sleep can wait.

May I suggest something? May I suggest that we are heaping on a whole mess of stuff that Jesus already knows about? He chooses to love us through and despite our shortcomings. May I suggest that we think too highly of ourselves if we truly believe that our every action will be either our child's doing or undoing? How 'bout we just unclench a teensy bit?

Is parenting important? Um, yeah. Should I be on my knees, in the audience, on the sidelines, shivering under an umbrella supporting my kids? Of course. Is the whole world going to stop on its axis if I miss a game (or even *gasp* a season)? Actually, no. Will salvation expire for my daughter if there's a day that my prayers for her consist of pursed-lip* sputters like, “Jesus, feel free to come back today.” or “Thank you, God, for the poetic justice when she ran into the doorjamb while stomping away with her saucy self. I needed a boost today. And now please also send me the bladder of a twenty-two year old.”? Not likely. Of course, if all of humanity hung on our flimsiest moments and weakest instances of faith, the lot of us would be doomed. The book of Acts would have been over in a hot second, because none of us would have been able to launch something as big as Church Beginnings.

So, here's the deal: You are exactly the gem you are supposed to be, flaws and imperfections included. God's going to keep refining and polishing until you gleam in His presence, but that doesn't mean you're worthless and useless in the meantime. It doesn't mean you fail as a mother. The actual refinement process is exactly what produces such incredible final workmanship. Every single hard moment of mothering is just more of that polishing.

There's this beautiful treasure tucked in 1 John 4. John is reminding his readers not to fall prey to lies and deception, and then in verse 4, he lays down this stunning reminder: "You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them (the lies), because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

Bam. Drop mic.

God is SO FOR YOU. He is for your parenting, and for your marriage, and for your New Year's resolution to read the bible with your kids every day. He is in your corner, because He is actually IN YOU.

Even when you fail.


Get Some Sleep,

Cynthia



*This is fondly referred to as “The Grandma Face” in our house. She had a way with The Look that could pucker your butt cheeks, bless her.


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