Is There a Plumber in the House?

washingdishesThere is currently a plumber under my kitchen sink. Judging by the pounding and heavy breathing, I can only imagine that it will cost a pretty penny. Now, just to clear things up, this is a different plumber than the one who was under that same sink just a few short weeks ago. That plumber, my friends, may or may not have been the one to see me do the ugly cry and then call me later to make sure “we were cool.” What I’m telling you is that I am having some plumbing issues.

No one has to tell me that things could be worse. I do not need to hear about all of the people who are struggling with much bigger things. I know that, in the grand scheme of things, this is simply an annoyance. The truth is that the little annoyances of life can be the final straw when you are the one washing your dishes in a bucket. Can I get an amen?

It’s there, in the little anxieties of life, that we can find Satan hard at work. It isn’t the huge issues that take us out. We can rally for the big things. We will trust God for miracles. But those little things – they can be like death by a thousand cuts. They can become a distraction which the enemy will use to his advantage.

***

Take a moment and read Luke 21. It’s okay. I’ll wait.

***

In this passage, Jesus is teaching about some hard things to come:

The destruction of the temple

Wars

Earthquakes

Famine

Pestilence

Persecution

Heaven will pass away

Earth will pass away.

Those are some big things. Yet, we are instructed to not worry about those big things. In hebrews 2 1verse 14, Jesus tells us to settle it in our minds beforehand not to worry about what we will say when we are imprisoned.

Our instruction, sweet sisters, is to watch that our hearts are not weighed down by the cares/worries/anxieties of this life.

But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. – Luke 21:34

It is at this point that I wish I were sitting face to face with each of you. I wish you could see how I am about to jump out of my skin because I know that you know what I’m talking about.

Jesus warns us that the day of His return will come upon us suddenly.

Why?

Because we were not living in anticipation of His return.

Why?

Because we were distracted.

By what?

The worries of this life.

***

Can you see how the enemy works? He knows that we are going to take those big things straight to our God to handle. He knows that, when tragedy strikes, we will fall on our faces before our God.

But when the car breaks down or the toilet overflows or the kids lose the library books or there is an unexpected bill or, someone work with me, the kitchen sink will not drain and you find yourself washing your dishes in a bucket that you are pretty certain was last used to soak someone’s feet?

At that point, how easily are we distracted from the work of Christ?

The next time you feel overwhelmed and heavy hearted over the day to day worries of this life, be reminded that these annoyances are Satan’s pathetic attempt to distract you.

Do not let it work. Let’s stay alert. Let’s spend our days anticipating Christ’s return so that, when He comes, we are not caught by surprise and can say, “Yes, Lord, I was expecting you.”

You all are loved.

Mom Talk: Nothing but Grace

20120920-011548.jpgI am currently reading Jen Hatmaker’s newest book, For the Love. I wish we could just all read it together and discuss each page because it is that good. We could sit in my living room, drink a little something hot and look each other in the eyes.  I am not a jump-on-the-bandwagon-of-the-latest-and-greatest-speaker-author-personality kind of girl. Jen Hatmaker, however, brings out the hidden groupie inside of me. Ever since my friend and I heard her speak at a conference, I knew she and I were cut from the same cloth.

Her advice to her children, as they are approaching their teen/early adult years, is fabulously simple.

  1. Be kind.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Love Jesus.

“My dream is that you see hurting kids and do the simple, brave work of kindness.” <– How great is that?

Don’t we make it way more difficult that that? Yet, all of the instructions we give, if broken down, would fall into one of those three categories. What if, as adults-women-moms-coworkers-wives, we lived by those three rules?

  1. Be kind. To yourself, your people, strangers at the store, people online. I was in the restroom at Macy’s the other day and this woman walked up to wash her hands beside me. She had one of those adorable, short, spiky haircuts that I admire so much but could never pull off. I turned and said, “You have seriously fabulous hair.” She broke out into the biggest smile and said that I had just made her whole day. Y’all, that woman smiled the whole way out of the restroom. We all want good hair, don’t we?
  2. Be yourself. Inside of you is everything you need to walk out the calling you have been given. Single mom, working mom, homeschooling mom, mom of multiples, mom of a child with different needs, mom of teens, mom of a prodigal – trust that God made you the way He made you for a reason.
  3. Love Jesus. Nothing else will ever matter if we do not love Jesus. No parenting book or philosophy will help us raise our babies the way loving Jesus will. The fact is that we all do this mothering thing differently. I am overprotective in a lot of ways. You may be more of a free range parent. We can be on opposite ends of the spectrum on a thousand issues but, if we both love Jesus, we can meet right there and encourage one another.

I believe that, if we were more generous with the grace and more careful with the criticism, the world would be an easier place in which to walk around. Mom Talk

The other day, I posted a comment about my daughter graduating from an infant car seat to a big girl one. Someone asked me if she would be forward facing or still rear facing. I answered…and held my breath because nothing brings out the big feels in people like someone parenting differently than they do. We take other people’s parenting so personally.

Here is my promise to you.

I am not judging you.

Not you personally, the way you parent, what Bible translation you use, what you did or did not watch on television last night or the fact that you don’t like coffee. {Well, maybe a little on the coffee thing.}

If your child throws a fit at Walmart – you get nothing but grace from me.

If you open your car door and trash falls out – I will open my door and show you my trash.

If you walk into the worship service late with your crew – I am going to high-five you for being there.

There are too many people out there shaking their heads, pointing their fingers and wagging their tongues. I am all too aware of my own desperate need for grace to withhold it from someone else.

You, my sweet friends, are so loved and adored.

Mom Talk Monday: Are we there, yet?

Mom TalkIf you have ever been on a road trip with your children you know that, within five minutes of leaving the driveway, the dreaded question will be asked.

Are we there, yet?

I’m curious. How do you respond? Because my husband and I? We have different philosophies on this one.

Here is how it goes down in our car.

***

Child: Are we there, yet?

Me: Almost, honey.

Hubs: No, actually we are not almost there.

Me: Well, we are closer than we were when we left.

Hubs: Yes, but we are still far away. Far, far away.

***

I am trying to put a positive spin on it. I have the best of intentions, y’all. {Yes, yes, yes – I know all about the dangers of good intentions.} My husband, on the other hand, feels honesty is the best policy. Also, once you give them the impression that they are almost there, they stare out of the window expecting to see Granny’s house around every turn. They miss the beauty of the journey because they are uber-occupied with the destination.

Also, if I am absolutely honest, I usually have no idea if we are almost there or not. I can not read a map to save my life. Just ask any of my former bosses.

I also have to confess that, when my husband informs them that we are, in fact, nowhere near being there – they find things to do. They watch a movie, read a book, make up games, eat snacks, etc. They enjoy the journey much more.

Are we there, yet?

It seems like, my entire life, I have been hearing people say that Jesus is coming back any day. You know what I think? I think people have been saying that ever since He left. I think it is what we long for and, therefore, are constantly looking for.

Life beats us down. We get weary and worn. Someone hurts our feelings. The baby won’t sleep. The barista misspelled our name on the cup. World news terrifies us. Loved ones leave us. We beat our chests and cry out, “Lord, are we there yet? Have we made it to the point in time when You will return and end all of madness?”

There are many who will pat us on the head and say, “Yes, child. We are almost there.” Then, we begin looking at the sky completely focused on the rescue to come. I am guilty of making those promises to myself. He is coming at any moment, Stacy. You’re almost there.

Here’s the thing, though. We may not be almost there.We may be closer than we were, but still far away. We do not know where we are on the journey. Is this the final leg? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Work until I come.

In the book of Luke, Jesus tells a parable about a nobleman who was going to a far country. He gathered ten of his servants and gave them each some money with one instruction.

Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, “Engage in business until I come.” – Luke 19:13

He did not say to stand in the doorway, stare off into the distance and look for his return. He did not say to look for signs or study the skies in an attempt to guess when he would return.

The instruction was to work. For how long? Until he returned. That was all the information they needed.

Are we there, yet?

I could, with the best of intentions mind you, say, “Almost, honey.” The truth, however, is that nobody knows. Perhaps, we should stop spending so much time staring at the skies and simply work until He comes.

Y’all are loved.

To the Mama With No One to Hold Her Coffee

coffeeThe other day, my three oldest children went to their grandmother’s house. That left me with only two little ones. A piece of cake, right? Wrong, y’all. Really, really wrong. So, for any of you who have ever looked at a mama with a thousand or five kids and thought, “I could never do that,” this is for you.

Join me over on Moms Magazine and I will tell you about the day I tried to take my two littles on an outing without any big kids to help me. It was every bit as exhausting as it sounds. See you there!

❤ Stacy

Mom Talk Monday: Why are you sleeping?

Does anyone else feel like summer ran over them like a Mack truck? I don’t even know what happened, y’all. It has been a constant stream of activities and birthday parties and the hot! Mercy. The children are bored and I would love to help but I am too busy positioning myself underneath the ceiling fan with ice packs under my arms. Do not waste too much time trying to picture that. It isn’t pretty. Mom Talk

So, I apologize for neglecting my sweet fellow mamas out there. I promise that you are not forgotten. In fact, I have been meaning to write to you for the last couple weeks about a passage in Scripture that has stuck with me.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine posted on Instagram about her tendency to take a nap when life became too overwhelming. I could completely relate because sleep has often been a refuge for me, too. Whether it is just the everyday stresses of life, insecurities regarding motherhood, financial struggles, or issues with loved ones, it is tempting to pull the covers over our heads and disappear for a while.

After reading her status update, I coincidentally found myself reading in Luke 22. It was the part where Jesus asks His disciples to wait for Him while He goes to pray. He returns to find them asleep. I’ll be honest. I have always kind of rolled my eyes in disgust at those lazy men. I mean, seriously.

Then, I read this verse – slowly.

And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” – Luke 22:45-46

Do you see it?

They were not lazy. Or exhausted. Or bored.

They were sleeping for sorrow. They were burdened. They were overwhelmed. They were anxious. They were sad, y’all. Now, can you relate? I know I can. Suddenly, I see these men in a completely different and much more compassionate light.

Are you feeling burdened? Overwhelmed? Anxious? Just. plain. sad?

Jesus has your answer.

Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray

We need to train our bodies so that our first instinct is not to sleep, but to pray. Perhaps, we begin with a simple prayer asking God to give us the desire to stay awake. Ask Him to give you the energy to just do the next thing. Do not retreat into sleep. Rise and pray.

Why?

Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.

Satan is always waiting for an opportune time to strike. (Luke 4:13.) What better time to strike than when you are neglecting prayer or feeling overwhelmed or retreating into isolation?

Naps are good. Do not get me wrong. I am all about a Sunday afternoon nap. But, if sleep is your go-to defense mechanism, than you may want to rethink your pattern of behavior. The first step is as simple as answering Jesus’ question:

Why are you sleeping?

You are loved.

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