This mess of mine

Anyone besides me get anxiety when someone comes over? Especially unannounced? They come in. I see my mess. They see my mess. I have a mini panic attack and try to smile and act like I’m not totally mortified they caught my house (or me…) looking like this. I also feel like when someone asks if I need help when they’re over I have to say no, because it’s my mess and I’m embarrassed of my mess. I mean, even after I had my csection and my mom would come to help me I felt so guilty and ashamed at the mess she was helping me with. I felt so bad about the laundry she helped me wash. So the majority of the time when people ask me if I need help, I’ll say no. Not because I don’t need it, but I’m afraid to let people see my mess.

And isn’t that how we are as humans? Someone asks if we are ok and we shut down that metal shop door as quickly as possible over our hearts and we say, “I’m good!” We pull out the mask and pretend we are fine. No mess here. You can move along now and help someone in real need, don’t waste your time on me. Insert eye roll. How often is this me. How often is this us. We hide. We hide in our mess afraid someone will see us and find out. Because if someone else sees it, it’s real. If someone else sees it really is a mess, but if I hide it, it isn’t really there. If I keep hiding it I don’t have to deal with it.

Because if someone else sees it it’s real.

But the day will come when that mask slips and someone gets a glimpse of you. The real you. The hurting you, the overwhelmed you, the depressed you, the angry you, the messed up and down right broken you…don’t run and hide. Don’t fix the mask. Rip it off. It will hurt. Letting someone else into our mess. It’s scary. What if they judge me? What will they think of me? My life should be together at this point and it’s only falling apart. I’m too much right now. I’m not enough right now. What will they do when they see me for Me? If it’s the right person they will love you. They will help you or lead you to someone else who can.  Maybe the most courageous thing you can do it find someone to confide in and invite them in to your mess. The very best thing is to invite Jesus into your mess. We don’t have to fix ourselves and tidy up our hearts, our thoughts, our lives before he can come in. Invite him into your mess. Let HIM sort it out. Piece by piece.

When you have a messy house you can’t conquer everything in one fell swoop. When you have a task at hand that is overwhelming you just start somewhere. You pick a room. An area. And just DO something. When you feel you can’t do anything, the best thing to do it to just do the next best thing. 

The next best thing. One thing. One step. Maybe that’s inviting a friend into your mess…maybe it’s inviting Jesus into your mess. Maybe it literally attacking that messy house that is causing you to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Maybe it’s starting a project you’ve been holding off on (like how I did with this blog…) because it just felt too big. Figure out the next best thing and do it.

The only way out of your mess is through it.

The myth of “quiet time”

“Wake up early before everyone else”
“You need an appointed quiet time with God every day”

I’ve heard a lot of well-meaning advice to me as a mom about spending time with God. Saying I need a QUIET time with him every day at the same time for a certain amount of time. I remember thinking, “Well I would LOVE that!” but it wasn’t realistic with a newborn. It isn’t realistic now with a 3-year-old and a 3 month old.
The first year of my first borns life I BEAT myself up for not having “quiet time” with God every day. I felt so guilty. I must be failing at the Christian mother thing. Then an amazing woman reminded me of something. She shared a life changing verse with me.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11

She told me God knows this season is hard. He sees you and isn’t seeing if you have spent your 30 minutes of quiet time with him. He knows. He is gently leading you in this difficult season.

I felt so free. I felt like a burden had been lifted. But as my first-born got older I still struggled with having time with God. I wanted it. As a teenager I spent so much time writing in my prayer journals, playing my keyboard and singing to him. Being involved in so much. Reading my Bible and underlining everything. I missed it. I felt as if I hadn’t grown in my faith since he was born. When in fact I had, just in a way I didn’t expect.
God was using motherhood to gently, and sometimes not so gently, weed out the things in my heart that I didn’t even realize were there.

Motherhood can bring out the best in you, but also reveals the worst in you.

And God had been dealing with me. Weeding out the selfishness, the anger, and dealing with the hurts from my own childhood.
But I realized something… sometimes, maybe we don’t need to grow…sometimes, maybe we need to remain.

Maybe I should stop measuring my relationship by my “growth” but by his grace.

  • He is giving me grace to remain in him John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
  • To abide in him. John 14:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
  • To keep standing when I feel too weak. Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Something I did that helped me remain and hold on during the first year as a new mom was worship music. Pieces by Amanda Cook especially spoke to me. When I felt distant from God and like I was too much of a mess for Him I would listen to this…

“Unreserved, unrestrained
Your love is wild
Your love is wild for me
It isn’t shy, it’s unashamed
Your love is proud
To be seen with me

You don’t give Your heart in pieces
You don’t hide Yourself to tease us”

Now that this isn’t my first child (we also foster, so we have had ages 4-17 in the last year and a half), and this baby isn’t colicky, THANK YOU JESUS, I am more creative with my time with God. I find opportunities better than I did the first time. I value SHORT times with God. The two sentences I get written out in my prayer journal, the half a chapter I read before someone needs me, the prayers at 3 AM. No where in the Bible does it tell you that you need a specific time to be alone with God. No where does it say daily Bible reading is MANDATORY and if you don’t you’re not a true Christian. Of course it’s amazing to read it every day, and I want to, but some days… it doesn’t happen. The Bible DOES say to hide his word in your heart ( I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 19:11) Jesus didn’t die to abolish the law and the regulations for us to become free and then again burden ourselves with made up church/religious laws. This whole Jesus thing is about relationship. Anyone that’s married knows that after you have kids, you miss the time or how things were before a bit…or a lot. You miss uninterrupted conversations and alone time. But you both know you still love each other and you know you are in this TOGETHER and it won’t always be this way. In a year there will be more sleep and alone time. And you do the best you can and enjoy all the moments you get alone together. Well, we are the bride. God is the groom. You’re in this life thing together. ❤ Take heart. Remain, even if you see no growth. Simply remain in Him today.

What does grace look like?

I asked God, “What would it look like to extend your grace to myself? What would life look like if I gave myself grace?”

I remember laying on the couch feeling extra pregnant and tired, boys were napping and I had a mile long to do list and a youth group coming over for bible study that evening. I looked at the Christmas tree and heard a voice inside say, “That tree is beautiful. Good job. Look at all those clean clothes you have for your family (three huge baskets waiting to be folded.) Good job. Rest dear one, the boys are sleeping.”

Tears. Tears thinking about it. Because that’s how Jesus would talk to me. And it’s so far from how I talk to myself. My voice inside my head I use to scold myself or make myself feel guilty all the time is so unpleasant. And if I lived life with that kind of grace it would be a beautiful thing.

I saw someone post on facebook the other day, “Grace gives way for truth.” How true is that statement! The truth is is that I am loved and delighted in by God, and when I withhold grace from myself (because God sure isn’t) I am unable to accept the truth, unable to see it. The truth? I am loved. I am delighted in. Crazy as it sounds, He is proud of me.

I am you.

Hey you. Yes you. The tired mama. The one who just made another cup of coffee. (If you’re breastfeeding, the mama feeling guilty for ANOTHER cup of coffee.. ) The mama who has piles of laundry everywhere. The mom with the wet laundry not in the dryer (in my case, not out on the line). The mama who can’t think of cooking dinner but has to start in the next half an hour or you’ll be behind…again. The mom feeling like you have nothing to give. The one looking around at your house saying, “How did I let the mess get this bad?” The one not only feeling tired but FEELING tired. I am you. You are my tribe. We are sisters on this journey called motherhood. We are constantly pouring from ourselves. Feeling empty from it all. There’s this verse that resonates with me…
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering” 2 Timothy 4:6a
 I feel emptied out. Daily. Hourly. I need Jesus. I need Jesus and that ONE minute I give back to myself. It’s the song you put on to encourage your heart. The cup of coffee in the pretty mug. The face mask you put on (probably someone will wake up and need you or knock on the door…Murphy’s law?). The one minute you pray for extra strength. The minute you hide in the bathroom and breathe. The minute you cry after putting on a cartoon so your kid doesn’t see you upset. The minute you call your mom or someone you look up to and ask “how did you do this all??” Motherhood depletes you. And Jesus renews you. 
Motherhood depletes you. And Jesus renews you.
Without Jesus refilling you daily. Hourly. Every moment you will feel empty and angry. Bitter at every demand and need that is brought before you. But with Jesus you can give out of an abundance that only comes from him. A rest that only comes from the Holy Spirit being with you, even as you are completely exhausted physically. In the moments you have nothing left to give there will be grace.  I yell when I don’t want to. I complain. I’m impatient. Those are the moments I should have called on him. So today, dear one, cry out to Jesus. In your exhaustion, impatience, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame. You name it. He’s got you. His grace will sustain you. This won’t last forever. You know that in theory but it feels relentless. Because that’s what motherhood is. It’s relentless. No breaks, timeouts, or vacations for us. It’s always there. But this moment, this day won’t always be here. This feeling won’t last forever. It may even be gone tomorrow. Hold on mama. Cry out in those moments. There’s a worship song that’s been on my heart recently, here are the words…
You provide the fire
I’ll provide the sacrifice
You provide the spirit
I will open up inside
Fill me up God
Fill me up God
Fill me up God
Fill me up