Monday Mornings for Moms

My children all were once so small,

Now they are so very tall.

Some days were long and filled with tears,

Others filled with laughter now passed in years.

The seasons come, the seasons go

As we drive them to and fro.

Lean in sweet mama and hear me say,

“You’ve got just one job to do today.”

Love them hard and love them well,

Listen to each tale they tell.

Soon you’ll miss this precious face,

Respond to the challenge filled with grace.

They won’t remember each meal you make,

But they will recall the time you take,

To help them feel special and safe,

because of the smiles you share and the love you display.

By Victoria Duerstock

©2018

40 Days of Decreasing Mom Guilt

by Angela Jamison

Mom guilt, the sinking feeling deep in your gut that you’re completely failing your children, scarring them for life and certainly destroying their future. The desperation to do everything right in your attempt to raise decent human beings. Mom guilt, the plague that attacks each and every one of us at some point in our lives regardless of the age of our children.

If you read that first paragraph and don’t connect with my definitions of mom guilt, kudos to you! Unfortunately though, I think more of you than not will be nodding your head in agreement. Mom guilt is something we don’t ask for, but oftentimes receive in abundance. The worst part – it’s self-inflicted!

As I thought about the Lenten season and how I can spend forty days growing closer to God, I thought about my mom guilt. Mom guilt decreases the joy I should be experiencing, takes my eyes off the One who gifted my precious children and does not honor the job I’ve been designed to do.

As many of you give up chocolate, soda or donate a piece of clothing each day, I am spending my forty days decreasing the mom guilt. I’ve created a list of ten ways to help decrease mom guilt and slowly but surely, I hope to find myself embracing the call of motherhood with more joy. Slowly but surely you can too!

  • Believe you are doing a good job. It’s wonderful to be told from time to time that we are doing great at this motherhood gig, but you need to actually believe it. Trust your instincts, root your actions in love and believe in yourself. God designed you for this path.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. The dishes in the sink, laundry on the counter and floors that haven’t been vacuumed do not define you; they are not the indicator of your success or failure.
  • Take a break from Pinterest (and social media). Comparison is an instigator for mom guilt!
  • Create an identity outside of your children. It is ok (and healthy!) to have a passion or hobby outside of your children. Allow yourself the freedom to be more than a mom.
  • Take a deep breath, walk away, respond. When we allow our emotions to run freely, we overact. Overreaction leads to delayed mom guilt when we’ve come down from the moment and realize we just needed to breathe.
  • Do the chores … or don’t. These moments with your children are fleeting, enjoy them. The chores can wait, but on the flip side, it’s a necessary evil and doing housework doesn’t mean you’re neglecting your children.
  • Find a balance. Your balance will be different from mine and from your best friend; it will be uniquely yours. When you find it, hold tight and know life is a constant juggling act and you will occasionally drop a ball or two. That’s ok!
  • Check your expectations. We often have high expectations of ourselves that leak over into the expectations for our children. We need to remember they are in fact just children learning how to navigate the tricky waters of this world.
  • Limit multi-tasking. Multi-tasking has become our enemy as we try to accomplish more than one thing at a time. We then find ourselves in a rut of mediocrity instead of a cloud of accomplishment. I say limit because eliminating would be nearly impossible, however, we can be conscious of concentrating on one thing at a time, specifically when it comes to listening and spending time with our children.
  • Have grace. Motherhood is not for the weak of heart! Grace for yourself and for your children is imperative. You won’t be perfect and neither will they, but offering grace allows you to continue and try again.

Motherhood is difficult enough without the added baggage of mom guilt we tend to carry around in our handbag. We need the grace and love of ourselves as much as we do that of our perfect Father. I pray the next forty days allows you to focus on the beauty of the job God designed for you, drawing you closer to Him through the decreasing of your mom guilt.

You are doing a good job! Believe it.

Rainy Days and Long Winters

I think often of the change of seasons and how it relates so intricately with our lives.  We seem to just get settled into Spring around here and boom it’s Summer! Let me tell you in Northwest Mississippi you know when summer hits.  The seasons come and go, and our lives seem to ebb and flow with the same motion. Young adults who get married, work jobs, have children, raise children, retirees, etc. The seasons move along and before we know it the time has gone and we wonder how it happened so quickly.

All except winter that is…winter lasts FOREVER. Or at least it feels that way every February.  This Florida transplant still struggles with February and I try so hard not to let the weather get me down, but it’s hard when it’s nothing but rain and gray skies.

Have you found yourself feeling the same? Why do all of the other seasons fly by while Winter drags by slow and stale.  It hasn’t helped  that the last couple weeks have brought their share of minor struggles.  You know the little things that accumulate and make you discouraged or disheartened along the way.  It’s easy to become distracted and encumbered with those weights but even as Paul encouraged us to “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Heb.12:1) My challenge is to do this in the midst of the rain and cold.

When things are smooth sailing, I find this task much easier to do! But the task is not only to be managed in the easy season, it’s also for the Winter of the year and the soul. When we are parched, and raw and yearning for the warmth of the Sun and the Son, we have only to remember those words from Lamentations and know that by His mercy which is new every morning, we can do exactly the job God has for us each day. The purpose that we are here to fulfill on this earth, the precise reason for our living and breathing and moving.

If you find yourself struggling today with the burdens of this life, I pray you’ll turn to the One who bears all our burdens with us, and treasure the promise of the seasons – they are not forever, the next season is right around the corner.

 

Life Lessons with Lightning McQueen

by Angela Jamison

When my youngest son was three, he was introduced to Lightning McQueen. From the first meeting, they were best of friends and he is still attached to him five years later. It’s one of the longest toy loves in my household.

My son still has numerous different McQueens – from wind up to color changing, mini to stuffed. It’s safe to say that you can find a Lightning McQueen in any given room of the house.

As with many things from when the kids were young, I’ve forgotten a lot of the turmoil that came with this Lightning McQueen love. I had forgotten the incessant watching of the movie and the hours long searches for exactly the right McQueen.

Today, this picture appeared in my memories.Picture1

This picture is a snapshot of my life just a few years ago. Here is my son, in his Lightning McQueen shirt, with eleven Lightning McQueens in reach. He’s panicking here because, “I can’t find Lightning!”

He couldn’t find Lightning McQueen…

To this day, this picture makes me smile. There are obvious Lightning McQueens right in front of him, yet he’s still searching, unsatisfied.

How often does this very picture represent us in any given aspect of our lives? How often does God lay out our desires right in front of us yet we continue searching unsatisfied?

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Psalm 20:4 NIV

God intends to give us the desires of our heart. He wants to make all our plans succeed. He often lays out in front of us exactly what we need, willing us to seek Him.

Satan muddles with our perception, confusing our eyes and causing distress. He lines up the McQueens in front of us while whispering that we haven’t found the right one. Satan plants the seed of dissatisfaction and waters it while prolonging the search.

Busy yourself not with Satan’s lies, but rather God’s promises. Break free of the Lightning McQueen traffic jam in your life and embrace the blessings right in front of you. Live in the joy of your heart’s desires.

 

headshotAngela Jamison is a mother of four and works with young children as the Director of a Christian Preschool. She derives joy from children and is passionate about connecting with mothers to encourage and reiterate God’s design for the toughest job on Earth. 

After struggling with infertility, Angela and her husband entered the world of foster care and began the journey to create their family on God’s terms

When she is not entertaining children, or buying LulaRoe, Angela loves to read, write and explore the path being laid before her by the most perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.

Read more about Angela on her website https://angelajamison.com/

 

 

 

 

Loved Baby – A Book Review

I have had the extreme pleasure of the opportunity to review a needful resource for so many women.  Sarah Philpott has written a moth long devotional book with the intention of helping moms grieve and cherish their child after pregnancy loss.

Since I did not experience the heartache of losing a child, I have many times grieved with friends and family who have struggled to make their way through their pain.  While leaning on the Lord, Christian women still experience palpable pain and Sarah tenderly encourages women during this time. As all good writers do, she uses her journey of loss and hope to encourage women.  She captured the stories of many other women as well and used their stories of stillbirth, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy losses.

Sarah weaves these stories with Scripture, with advice for soul and self care and prayer in a beautiful gift size book that is delightful to look at as well as read.

I am personally so thankful for this quality resource that can be used to encourage women in a way that I cannot. I have two copies available to giveaway of this excellent resource.  Leave me a comment regarding why you’d like to win on the blog and share this blog post with a friend in order to qualify for the giveaway.  Winner named on Wednesday 11/22/17.

This is My Life

by Featured Writer Angela Jamison  headshot

Some days I’m exhausted by 9am.

The process of getting four, independent, listening-impaired, beautiful children out the door for the 8am school bus is comparable to an interval training workout. There are bouts of cardio while searching the house for lost items mixed with strength training of quite literally dragging sixty pound bodies out of bed.

Most days, we make it to the bus stop, with full bellies and a few minutes to spare. Most days, I don’t look too disheveled (I hope), but on the inside I’m feeling ragged and exhausted. I’m feeling grateful for the reprieve of school and guilty that my kids didn’t have a healthy, home-cooked breakfast with a June Cleaver-like mother.

We can all relate, right? Whether it be one child, four or simply getting ourselves out the door, we all understand the stress of the morning. We read articles, study Pinterest and a number of other things with the hope of achieving a flawless start to our day.

Today, my morning started as typical with a few bleary-eyed, blanket clad kids stumbling through my doorway at 615a while I desperately try to become presentable before the flood gates of life open. Clothes are picked, kids start getting dressed and it all goes down hill.

The oldest has managed to tie his shoe in a bazillion tiny knots, tighter than your jeans at Thanksgiving.

The youngest has the dog in a headlock, attempting to release the leg of her precious baby alive.

The middle daughter is still lying in bed, eyes fixed to Monster High on the television, oblivious of the chaos around her.

But the middle son takes the cake. He is grumbling, huffing and puffing as he tries to tie his shoe. He’s stationed himself in the middle of my bathroom floor, exactly where I need to walk to finish getting ready myself. I ask him to move to another location and when he puts his foot down, he begins frantically searching the bathroom.

“What are you looking for?”

A bit panicked he says, “My shoe is missing!”

…It’s on his foot.

He is frantically searching for his shoe that is solidly on his foot. The same foot he’s using to search for said shoe.

This is my life.

It may look strikingly similar to your life or you’re reading this with memories of the past flashing through your mind. Either way, we all have those moments of chaos, searching for something that is right in front of our faces. Sometimes what we’re searching for is Jesus.

Like my son’s shoe securely on his foot, Jesus sits right in front of us simply waiting for us to notice and we miss it because well…chaos. Our lives our chaotic and the devil uses that to separate us from our peace maker. How easy do we make it for him!

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV 

Take comfort in that the Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save. He is with us amidst our chaos; we simply need to seek him. Zephaniah continues to say that He will save and whether that means he will save me from my chaos, save the baby alive from the dog or the shoes from the garbage I am not sure, but what I do know is that even his smallest save is a big gift.

Some days I’m exhausted by 9am. Some days chaos overwhelms me. Even yet, all days, I am in the midst of a God who saves

Hurricane History

by Victoria Duerstock

In the aftermath of Harvey, I have thought long and hard about my experiences once again living on the Gulf Coast of Florida for many years.  We saw many hurricanes over the years, some with very little damage and others with devastating effects for many months.  I hurt for the people of Texas, knowing that very soon, the rest of us will move on with our lives, while they start the very long and difficult process of rebuilding their lives, their homes, and their mental health.

Anytime a hurricane develops, I feel a familiar pit in my stomach.  Although it’s been several years now since the landfall of a major hurricane on the mainland United States, the monstrous effects of Hurricane Ivan on me, and my family personally, remain, likely forever.  As a wife and mom, the effect of the hurricane was not just in the packing and evacuating but also in the separation and difficult decisions that had to be made not just before the storm but after.

While I, my mom, and the kids evacuated from Hurricane Ivan just prior to its landfall on the panhandle of Florida on September 16, 2004, my husband remained behind to help with rescue and recovery efforts.  My husband stayed because he was a volunteer fireman in our local fire department and felt his presence was vital to help our community with recover. He and the crew evacuated just far enough inland to still be accessible once the hurricane had passed through as they were ordered to stay off the roads until the all clear.

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