what’s stealing from you?

I ask God on a daily basis to reveal stuff that’s hanging around in my heart. Stuff that’s ultimately stealing life from me. Because I’ve learned something about myself over the years: my heart is whack. It meditates on stuff and creates scenarios and lingers on fears that steal the life Christ died to give me. And it needs constant Divine supervision and intervention.

I don’t always listen to what God tells me after I’ve asked that question. Sometimes He reveals stuff that I just really don’t want to address at the moment, thank you very much. And in those instances I do something really mature like close my spiritual ears with my spiritual fingers and internally shout, “la-la-la-la-la-la.” And it always turns out stupid.

But other times, by His grace, I don’t resist. I listen and agree with Him. I confess my hardened, proud heart. I usually cry, because I’m a cry baby. And when I actually humble myself, sweet healing and greater soul freedom always follows.

Like the other day.

 

what is stealing life from you

 

I’ve talked about my struggles with homeschooling. blah blah blah But one thing about this homeschooling gig is it comes with LOTS of time with my kids. Lots of time. And I love them. Deeply. Dearly. Ferociously. And I know that the time flies. And I know it’s a gift. And I’m not wishing it away.

But I’ve noticed that as these pockets of time remain long and longer, my heart can get a little calloused towards my (wild, sweet, energetic) kids. I can fall into “drill sergeant” mode and miss the soul behind their mistakes…and their successes.

So the other day I asked God to reveal what was going on in my heart. Because a lack of joy or the feeling of hopelessness always and forever reveals something more than circumstance. It reveals something taking up residence in my heart other than my God and His perspective. And He tenderly showed me some…junk.

He showed me some expectations that weren’t from Him. He revealed some inconsistencies that weren’t from Him. He reminded me of His sovereign hand over and around and in my parenting. But the biggest thing He whispered had to do with my thought life towards my kids — some irritable thoughts that were lying deep beneath the surface, coloring my facial expressions and tone and attitude.

And He showed me by giving me a fresh vision of His love towards me. Not by smashing me with a hammer.

I was reading and talking to Him and thanking Him for His promises in Isaiah 43. But when I got to verse 4, I couldn’t go any further because He says, “You are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you.” The tenderness put a big lump in my throat for a minute. He has tender love for me. And for you. And for my kids.

Motherhood is hard. And kids rarely listen to our instructions the first bazillion times we say them. But I desperately want to remain tender in my love. Not calloused. So I did the only thing I know to do — the thing that initiates His healing. I confessed the hardened places and asked Him to restore. And when my kids woke up that morning I bombarded them with life words, “You are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you!”

 

“You are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you.”
Isaiah 43:4

 

Healing from heart “issues” takes time. It takes a wrestling of our thoughts. It takes the Spirit of God empowering us from moment to moment. But God is in the business of transforming us from glory to glory so that we will experience the life Jesus died to give us. Yes, we’ll still fail. Alot. We’ll keep entertaining fears and meditating on lies. But the beautiful grace of God keeps beckoning us back into His presence. And in His presence is freedom.

 
Fill me, Lord…

From what has He freed your heart in recent days?
Or what are you wrestling against these days?

 

Oh and psst…I get to tell you about a pretty exciting giveaway Monday in celebration of the Advent study I just released. Stay tuned!

 

fellow mamas, press on in hope

Y’all. The most precious thing ever happened to my mama-heart the other night. If you’ve been around these here parts for a while you may have heard me talk about my sweet middle son and how God has used him, and continues to use him, to crucify my flesh. A-hem. Meaning, I question my parenting abilities continually when in his presence. And we’re not even to the teen years yet! Lord, help me.

Anyway, the other night my daughter came running to get me with, “Mom, you have to come hear Bryson in the shower!” I quickly followed her down the hall, stopping at the slightly opened door of the bathroom.

He was preaching to himself, with inflection and passion and conviction. And I crumbled.

 

hope

 

“…(mid-sermon) I don’t know how to think that! But GOD! God can think ahead. Like…what if I was one of the disciples, and God knew ahead. And God — Mom always told me that God is bigger — and God knew ahead that Penny (our dog) would bite me. And He knew ahead that I would hit Penny…” I recorded it.

He was preaching God’s omniscient sovereignty to himself — without the big theology terms. And seriously. I crumbled in the hallway. Especially when I heard him say, “Mom always told me…” Mom always told me.

Sometimes I grow weary in this mothering thing. Because I say something 8 gazillion trillion times and it seems like nothing is sinking in. Like I’m that Charlie Brown teacher, “wah wah wah wah wah.” Then moments like this happen. God graces me with a glimpse into my child’s soul where I get to see my boy process the depths of God. And I’m inspired to keep on. I’m inspired to keep on sowing seeds with hope of a one-day harvest.

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
(Romans 15:13)

 

Jesus has something to say to our weariness, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:8-10)

This passage isn’t exactly talking about motherhood, but the principles apply. We as moms sow seeds of truth — seeds to the Spirit — day in and day out. We sow and sow, often without seeing any harvest. But I believe that God wants to speak straight to our mama-heart, that we not grow weary in “doing good” — in teaching and training in the things of God — but that we press on with hope in Him, one step, then the next step, and then the next.

Weariness is rooted in hopelessness. And hopelessness isn’t our inheritance in Christ. God is our hope. He is the hope for our children. And He is good. So let’s not give up. When weariness presses down today, let’s preach true things to our souls — in due season we will reap the things we’ve sown to the Spirit. In Jesus name.

Oh and awesome side note, two days later, all three of my kids went through believer’s baptism! A long, amazing, unexpected story for another day.

Press on, fellow mama. Press on.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How have you seen hopelessness steal from you?
What truths are you going to think about today when weariness presses down?

 

for when we want to quit and run away {homeschool}

I was only three days in, people. Three. Days. We (loosely) homeschooled last year for the first time which was…interesting. And hard. And hard. (Yep. Double-hard.) But I headed into this fresh year-two with optimism and a (sometimes fake) smile.

We bought new school supplies. We went shoe shopping. I got a big map rug and big map puzzle and big map beach ball, because that’s what homeschool people do. I was ready — like jaw-clinched, this-thing-aint-taking-me-down-this-time ready.

And three days in, I melted. Crumbled. Collapsed under the weight of three kids at three different levels asking eight million two hundred forty-six thousand three hundred sixteen questions an hour. Crumbled.

 

quit and run away homeschool confesssion

 

Halfway through the third morning I told my children that I was officially done. (They thought I meant for the day, but I really mean for.ever.) And then I locked myself in the bathroom with a crazed-look in my eye going through a mental roladex of every single school in a twenty-mile radius of our home wondering if I could still enroll them for this Fall. Bye freakin’ bye.

Don’t you feel so sorry for me with my first-world problems.

Breathe.

Then I had a moment of clarity from Jesus and sent out a tearful SOS to some dear friends, and to my mother, for prayer. Because I was (hormonally) desperate for some clarification that I was even on the right road with this h@m&$c#00l insanity. And that if I was to continue in this…journey…that God needed to do something really huge in me because I was certain that I would lose my ever-loving mind teaching my precious boy to read. For the love!

Three. Days. In.

My mom told me to bring the kids over so that I could have some time to refocus. She took them to the pool. I sat in her kitchen with Jesus and asked Him to talk to me. And in my spirit, I heard Him say, “Lara, what do you want?”

What do I want?

I knew what He meant. I knew that He meant, “What desires have I put in you in recent months as you have spent time worshipping me?” (Psalm 37:4) So I got a scrap piece of paper and started a list.

“I want them to know you and love you more than they know and love anything else on this planet. And I want to reflect you to them.” Pause. Crickets. Pause. “And I want them to learn this stuff that I’ve bought to teach them. I want them to learn it. But I need help. I need wisdom. I need some space to myself at times! I don’t know what the heck I’m doing and I feel like I’m suffocating.” I can be a little dramatic.

Then, I can’t really trace how it all happened, but He led my thoughts to some practical things we could change with regard to how we schedule our day. He calmed me internally and guided me externally (through YouTube and the blog-o-sphere and friends). He lifted my head. He kept me from running. And the next day, the changes He led me to make actually worked for us! Imagine that.

 

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:12-13)

 

I’m not one of those who always wanted to homeschool. And I’m not one who thinks that homeschooling is the only best choice. In fact, if I’m totally honest, I fight against jealousy as I watch my friends on Instagram wave good-bye to their sweet little people while I bury myself in phonics sounds and stories of explorers in the New World. Which I am totally dumb about. But homeschooling is where God has our family this year. And I believe that He’s led us here for good, holy reasons. And He’s meeting us right in the midst of it with blessings of Himself, now five days in.

Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean we’re on the wrong road. In fact, anything that strips us of self and teaches us greater dependence on Jesus is a gift.

These days, homeschooling is my personal messy place. It’s not earth-shattering or world-altering yet, but it’s where we are. And wherever we find ourselves — whatever the mess, big or small — God can be found. He wants to be found. And whenever we press into Him, He ushers in His peace and joy and love and hope and wisdom for our journey. Amen for grace.

And a word to those who are now worried for me or my children, I promise I’m OK. God is faithfully meeting me. He’s showing me His blessings in this journey. And…I adore my kids.

 
Fill me, Lord…

Want to join me in baring your soul? Share a time when you felt like running away but you pressed into God and He lifted your head.

 

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