for when motherhood makes you want to hide

I got to go out with the girlz last night — thanks to my husband who organized a much needed break for this mama. And you know what we did? We went to see “Mom’s Night Out.” Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

The night couldn’t have come at a better time. Because, well, I’ve been tired. And I’ve had my share of motherhood moments lately.

Like the other day…

 

when motherhood makes you want to hide

 

If you’ve read my blog for a while, then you may know that this past year marked our first year of homeschooling. And I didn’t come into it gracefully. I pretty much fought it every step of the way because I’m the one who said I would never homeschool. Never ever.

Well, we made it through the first year and I will say that God has faithfully met me, usually in the locked bathroom with little fingers pushing in under the door. I don’t hate homeschooling any more, which is progress. He has even grown my desire for it, which is monumental. But it’s been hard.

Like the other day. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon and we were still not done with what I wanted us to accomplish in our school day. Key word, “I”. Mainly because I’m one person and they are three people. And I’m not a great juggler. And I’m a recovering perfectionist.

So I broke. I put people in time-out because they wouldn’t stop touching each other (“stop touching me!“). And I ran away. Well, not far. I just walked outside to take out the trash and saw the hammock and decided to hide. I cocooned myself in the hammock webbing and looked up at my God through the holes and with quiet tears I told Him, “I can’t do this, Lord. I can’t teach three kids. I can’t give them the kind of education that a school could give them.”

And you know what He said to me as quick as my next breath, “I haven’t called you to give them a school. I’ve called you to give them you.” I almost choked on the thought. And with more tears I spoke healing, confession words, blanketed in His sweet love and grace.

About seven minutes later the kids found me. And they made me smile.

 

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Galatians 1:10

“Do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31

 

I know that not all of you homeschool. Amen. But if you’re a mom, then you’ve probably felt the pressure of “I can’t do this.” And you know what our sweet Daddy-God says in the kindest, most empowering voice, “I’ve called you to give them you.”

I often get on this soapbox, but as God’s child, He has crafted you and me — purposed us — for the life we live. I believe that with every ounce of my being. He has designed us both for the easy and the pull-your-hair-out hard. For the marriages we have (or don’t have) and the specific kids we raise (for however long He allows us raise them). Nothing enters our lives apart from His pursuing love.

The key when life gets out of whack and we want to hide in the hammock is to remember. Remember why we do what we do. Remember who we are, rooted in Whose we are. Remember that we’re lavished in the purposeful love of our God.

Remember.

Last night when that movie reached the end, the main character’s husband looked at her and said, “Your job (motherhood) is…important.” I lost it. Because something in me forgets. Or maybe that truth just gets suppressed under the infinite loads of laundry.

Motherhood is important. It is. And we’re not designed to do it on our own. We have a God who is willing and ready to meet us right in the middle of the messy days…and even messier houses. He meets us right there, gently pushes back the pieces of hair covering our eyes, and says, “Just give them you.” Just give them you.

 
Fill me, Lord…

What inspires your motherhood these days?
 

sow in hope {encouragement for moms}

A mentor recently asked me how motherhood was going. I was honest. “It’s hard,” I said, “Mainly because I can get discouraged in teaching the same lessons to the same child over and over and over and over again, wondering if they’ll ever get it.” She kindly chuckled with a touch of sympathy. Then she said something that hasn’t left my mind.

She said, “Remember to sow in hope, Lara. Sow in hope of the harvest.”

I have chewed on those words ever since. Sow in hope. Sow in hope. And I’ve asked God to expand those words in my spirit.

 

sow in hope

 

I’m not a farmer. But my grandparents were farmers. And I remember us taking trips to Tennessee for visits. We’d usually arrive in their gravel driveway just as the late afternoon sun was starting to set over the hills. Cows would be grazing in his pastures. His tractor would be resting in the field. And with the smell of my grandmother’s southern cookin’ lingering in the air, we would take a walk through their garden and they would talk about rain levels and hopes of a coming harvest.

I didn’t pay much attention.

But I learned this. I learned that a farmer sows seeds in hope. He cultivates the ground and pushes seeds into the earth. He pulls weeds and feeds and waters. He sweats and prays. But he doesn’t make the seeds grow. Only God can actually bring the harvest.

 

I (Paul) planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7

 

I’ve thought a lot about what this sowing and reaping looks like in motherhood. And I know that many of us will struggle with the idea of sowing in hope because it means a release of control — or perceived control. It means years of pushing the seeds of God’s word down into the soil of the hearts of our kids — one by one, day in and day out — without always seeing visible signs of growth. But if we don’t sow in hope of a coming harvest then discouragement will press down. And discouragement is not our inheritance in Christ.

It may not be a tomorrow harvest. Or even a next day harvest. But God does have a good plan. He’s writing our story just as much as He’s writing their story. And His loving Father heart can be trusted.

We sow. We water. We sweat. We pray. But we do it all in hope. We do it resting in the God of hope. Because He alone brings the growth. He alone brings the harvest.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How does this “sowing in hope” challenge or encourage you?
 

inspiring motherhood {and everything else}

Can I say that I’m “reading” a book if I’m actually “listening” to it through Audible? I think yes.

So I’m “reading” Bonhoeffer — which, for the record, should only take me a total of 22 hours according to the app. Twenty-two. That’s a thick book…I would imagine, if my version was on actual paper.

Anyway, I was listening to, I mean reading, it the other day and it messed me up. Like, I was undone while driving. And I’m not even to the part that tells me of Dietrich’s martyrdom. It was just a story — a description — of his mom.

The author says that Dietrich’s mom was the “soul and spirit of their home.” Soul and spirit.

 

soul and spirit

 

It doesn’t sound as devastating now when I type it out but it spoke to me. The author goes on to say that Dietrich’s mom read poetry to her kids and sang hymns with them and performed dramas in the basement and set up a carpenter’s area in which the boys could to do their “work” and… lots of other awesome things. Mostly, she was present-active.

And I didn’t feel guilty. As neither should you. I just felt inspired. I mean, I can’t sing well. And we don’t have a basement. But I want to be the “soul and spirit of our home” — not in a weird theologically incorrect way, just in a motherly way. I want my kids to look back to their childhood and see me present, my eyes looking straight into theirs.

I want to inspire them to create and learn and develop into the one that their God designed them to be — unique and beautiful. I want to be a safe place for them to be messy and emotional or even confused about their faith. The soul and spirit of our home.

But the more I think about it, we are the soul and spirit of every minute we take up. Or at least a soul and spirit. The question is, “what do we leave behind?” Because whatever is in us pours out of us. If we’re full of fear and worry, that’s what will come out. If we’re full of anger and bitterness, that’s what will come out. But if we’re full of love, peace, faith, and hope, well…

Our soul and spirit touches every space.

 

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
~Jesus
Matthew 12:34

 

It’s not about guilt. Guilt isn’t from our God. Guilt points and jeers and blames. It doesn’t spur on. It crushes.

It’s about inspiration. The inspiration to be fully present, overflowing the love of our God onto those beside us.

Love that gives us a glimpse into the soul of another. Love that drives us to be all-there because the minutes are fleeting, and babies grow to be kids who grow to be…gone. Love that says, “Now is all we have. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow never comes. Be all here.”

Love inspires. Kindness inspires. Being fully present in this moment, and then the next, inspires. You and me watering the soul of another so that it blooms into all its intended splendor.

Ahhh.

That doesn’t mean that the grape juice won’t spill all over the kitchen floor. Or hormones won’t rage. Or someone won’t have a bad attitude for the day/week/year. It just means that as much as depends upon me and you, we can pray, “Lord make me the soul and spirit of this place, this moment, reflecting the beauty of Your tender love.”

It has to be of the overflow — us so full of God that He spills out onto those with whom we share space. Us walking in step with the Spirit of God by reminding our hearts of His Word and promises and strength. Reminding ourselves that people matter more than tasks. Us calling a friend for intercession when we’re at our breaking point. Us choosing to worship God regardless.

The soul and spirit of a place — the soul and spirit who reflects the tender presence of her Lord. May it be said of me.

 
Fill me, Lord…

These days, I would describe my soul and spirit as _______________. (Fill in the blank)