Are You Living Devoted or Distracted?

It’s the middle of February and I’m still working my Read through the Bible in a Year plan. I just entered Leviticus which, in all honesty, is usually when I tap out. This time, however, something in the very first chapter caught my attention.

The beginning of Leviticus is all about the offerings – and God was very specific as to how it should be done.

Is your burnt offering a sheep or a goat?

It must be a male. Without blemish. It must be killed on the north side of the altar. The blood must be thrown against the sides of the altar. It must be cut into pieces with the head and the fat placed on the fire. But the entrails and the legs? Those get washed with water.

Then, if your offering is a bird? Well, there’s a whole different set of instructions for that.

Fence

I have to tell you. I have made corn casserole approximately 12, 657 times and I still have to pull the recipe out when I make it. There are only four ingredients. I just can’t remember the details. Not to mention, I will most likely stop several times to settle an argument, get somebody a snack, change a diaper and, in some instances, completely forget that I was making a corn casserole to begin with.

Can you imagine someone like me trying to make the offering exactly as required? The north side of the altar alone would throw me for a loop. The word north means nothing to me. I need a landmark, people.

These people had to be completely devoted to what they were doing. There was no room for distractions. You get caught up in someone’s conversation or what kind of offering someone else is making and there would be dire consequences. Talk to Uzzah about what happens when you attempt to go about God’s business while distracted (2 Samuel 6:6-7.) Oh, wait. You can’t ask him because God struck him dead!

Whatever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23.) We are to live devoted lives and not distracted ones. Just ask my children what happens when mama is distracted while making their breakfast. They will tell you that cumin toast is totally not the same thing as cinnamon toast.

Think about the things you’ve done this week or have planned for the days ahead. Do they serve to strengthen your devotion to Christ or are they distractions?

You are loved. ❤

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

13226801_1107791052625520_6856197906297404978_nI found myself sitting in the bathroom eating a candy bar last night. I had the shower running to give the illusion that I was doing something productive. I know that some of you just cringed at the thought of eating in the bathroom. I regret to inform you I just don’t care about stuff like that. I also don’t care if the McRib is made out of real meat or if my children are wearing matching socks. I do, however, care that Toby from This is Us is not really overweight. I feel lied to now that I know he’s wearing a “fat suit.”

I just choose to not get worked up over certain issues. As I sat there alone with my Almond Joy, I was thinking about a conversation we had in Sunday School on the humility of Christ. How was He able to not get worked up all the time and to maintain humility when the people treated Him so poorly? Here’s what I think. Jesus was completely confident in who He was as God and in His ability to do what God had sent Him to do. It didn’t matter if the people mocked, questioned or refused to believe. He knew He was God.

People who are confident in who God created them to be and the task God has given them to do can be humble. They don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room. They don’t feel the need to air all of their thoughts on all the things. Humble people hear other people. They are not threatened by the opinions of others. So, when that mom sees your photo on Instagram and is all, “I can’t believe she doesn’t

roses1have her child rear-facing; he’s only thirteen,” you can smile and move on with your life.

I’m about to tell you something that will set. you. free. You don’t have to attend every argument to which you’re invited. You can humbly decline the invitation when you are confident in your God-given mothering instincts and abilities. 

You can handle this mothering gig, my friends.

You are loved. ❤

 

 

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

  1. Have a heart that is humble.

  2. Have a faith that is firm.

  3. Be careful with criticism.

  4. Choose the Word over the world.

  5. Have a character that is kind.

  6. Let go of guilt.

  7. Embrace grace.

  8. Follow Christ – not the crowd.

  9. Be more concerned with authenticity than appearances.

  10. A side of yogurt makes any meal healthy.

 

5 Parenting Tips Parenting Blogs Have Forgotten

motherdaughter

The Internet is full of educated and intelligent people with lots of experience and knowledge related to parenting. There are countless books and blogs offering advice on everything from potty training to SAT taking. It’s wonderful. I can’t even tell you how many times one of my girls will ask me something and I’ll respond with, “Let me google that.” There’s no shame in my parenting game.

There are some things, however, that I feel are overlooked. Important things that my children need to know in order to function as productive citizens in the world. There are people who don’t know these things walking amongst us and, frankly, it’s terrifying.

Here are five things I am insisting that my children learn and implement before leaving my home.

  1. For crying out loud, learn how to merge! I don’t care if it’s on the interstate or in a drive-thru, learning this early in life will serve you well. If you are the one merging then you should, well, merge. You do not stop and hope somebody will allow you the honor of driving on the same road as them. At some point, you will be in a position where someone else needs to merge. Pay close attention because this is where it gets tricky. You let them merge! You don’t speed up, give them the stink eye, or blow your horn.
  2. What can I do to help? Whether it’s helping a sibling with a chore, a grandparent with a project, or me in the kitchen, my children are taught to always ask one question. Seriously, they probably say it in their sleep. What can I do to help? Is someone working on something and your hands are idle? What can I do to help? Does someone look overwhelmed? What can I do to help?  Is company coming and mama is running around like a crazy woman? What can I do to help? I could, of course, give them specific tasks to perform. But I want them to recognize a need and have a desire to be a part of the solution.
  3. Don’t be that person. This is another one that my children hear pretty much all of the time. Apart from love Jesus and always sleep in a bra during a nighttime storm in case the roof comes off your house and you have to run for your life, the instruction they hear most is: don’t be that person. When the light turns green and, before I can even blink, the guy behind me blows his horn – don’t be that person. When I’m standing in the crosswalk with five children and a buggy full of groceries and a car refuses to stop and let me cross – don’t be that person. When someone is unkind, ungracious or impatient – don’t be that person. When someone is selfish, greedy or unforgiving – don’t be that person. Trust me, if you implement this one, you’ll find PLENTY of opportunities to use it.
  4. Never miss an opportunity to use the restroom.  There really isn’t much need to expound on this one. Stopping somewhere for coffee? Use the restroom. Leaving work and heading home? Use the restroom. In a waiting room somewhere? Use the restroom. Of all the potential regrets in life, one of the worst is: I wish I had used the restroom back there. Teach them while they’re young my friends. Don’t let it be your kid peeing on the side of the road during a traffic jam.
  5. Hang out with senior adults every chance you get. Seniors have been there, done that, and already forgot about it. They’re a wealth of wisdom and encouragement. They are proof that this too really shall pass and that there is life after whatever trial you are currently facing. Whatever you are struggling with, there is an older person who has been through it already. They have more patience with your children than you do and they lack all of the drama you find on Facebook. They are comfortable in their own skin. They are one of God’s most unrecognized blessings. They are a safe place. If you don’t, at every stage of life, have a friend significantly older than you – you are just missing out.

Happy parenting, folks. You are loved. ❤

 

American Ninja Mama

I am a huge fan of shows involving obstacle courses. I love to cheer on the underdogs and, perhaps, I’m a little pleased when the overly proud ones slip early on and eliminate themselves. I am not even remotely athletic so I’ve always wondered why these types of shows appeal to me so much. Then, I took a shower last night and it all made sense. Every time I enter my bathroom it’s as if I’m participating in an obstacle course without ever signing up for it.

If you’ve ever gone to the restroom and realized (after the fact) that someone used the last roll of toilet paper and failed to replace it – then you know what I mean. You jiggle. You shake. You yell to see if anyone is within earshot. (They never are, by the way. Not unless you’re opening a candy bar.)

Then, there is the shower obstacle. You attempt to place your feet somewhere in between the Barbie dolls and the Hot Wheels. Just the other night, I pushed all of the toys to one end of the tub but failed to notice the white, rubber ball which blended quite nicely with the white tub. That was almost the one that eliminated me from any further competition.

A photo by David Cohen. unsplash.com/photos/wD5LMt3ElT4

My personal favorite part of the show is when I attempt to wash my hair and must determine which bottles actually contain shampoo and which ones have been filled with week old bath water. Trust me, getting that one wrong is quite unpleasant.

Let’s say, by chance, you are one of the superior competitors who survive the shower scene. That’s about the time you open the linen closet and find that the towels have all mysteriously disappeared. Oh, sure, there is one limp, slightly damp towel laying on the floor. Do you dare?

Why is the towel wet? Did it dry a clean body fresh from the shower or was it used to mop up an overflowed toilet? You take a quick sniff and go for it. This ain’t your first shake yourself dry on the potty, almost die from a rubber ball in the shower, wash your hair in dirty bathwater and dry yourself off with a questionable towel obstacle course.

No, ma’am. You can do this thing.

Fear of Failing as a Parent

One of the areas where I am most sensitive is my role as a mother. If my husband asks something homeschool related and the girls don’t know the answer, I immediately feel like I am failing them.

I just want so much for them. I want more for them than I, with my human limitations, can provide. I am afraid that I am a bad mother. I think that is the appeal of things like Instagram. We can post a picture of something we have done well, receive affirmation and feel good about ourselves in that moment. Please do not read any judgement in that. We all need someone to say, “Good on you.” every now and then.

As I live intentionally unafraid this year, I am tracking fear through Scripture. I am amazed at how often it is mentioned and I haven’t even made it out of Genesis.

cropped-img_01921.jpg

I have been thinking about Hagar for a couple days and how she was sent off into the wilderness with her child, Ishmael.

And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. – Genesis 21:14 ESV

Eventually, the meager supplies she set out with ran out. Hagar, convinced that the boy is about to die, places him under a bush. Scripture tells us that she “sat opposite him, lifted up her voice and wept.” Is there any cry quite like the cry of a mother who can do nothing to help her child?

Something about the story kept coming back to me.

And God heard the voice of the boy…

“What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.” – Genesis 21:17

Do you see it? Hagar is the one crying out and twice in one verse we are told that God heard the boy.

myfourbabies

It’s as if God is reminding Hagar that she is not the only one watching over Ishmael. We are afraid to fail as parents because we are, often, under some delusion that we are the ones ultimately in control of their lives.

We want to take all of the credit for their successes and all of the blame for their failures. We forget that the God who knew them before He ever created them is more than capable of caring for them.

We can know that, whatever mistakes we make as parents, God hears our children where they are.

****

Stacy ❤