Do It Broken

YMCA Horse Mosaic 1

(FreeImages.com/MichelleRau)

As I was sitting in bed this morning with my journal, Bible, and a devotional, the words began to pour out, and the tears began to fall.  Before long, I was scrambling for my pen to jot down the thoughts God was giving me — thoughts about brokenness and grace…

I was reflecting back on how so many times I have wondered why God would entrust me with five precious children to raise when I am far from perfect.  I am not the most patient person.  Loud noises and lots of activity stress me.  Chaos and messes annoy me.  I get easily stressed over crazy busyness and never-ending activities.  The humor in this is all the above often describes my life.

I seem like the most unlikely choice to being a mom of five kids.  Was it all one big cosmic mistake, or ignorance on my part?  Does that mean my kids and I are relegated to just “muck through” the rest of life until they are out of the home, and I can be back in my comfy place again?

In answer to those questions, I will share thoughts God has been teaching me and what I want to share with you today…

Religion often teaches us that God waits until we get it all right before He uses us.

Grace is about God using us — not even in spite of our imperfections — but sometimes because of them.  Why?  Because when we are broken, we are pliable — more apt to be yielded and teachable.

Grace is God taking our brokenness and making something beautiful with the pieces.  He puts the pieces of our lives together, and it forms a beautiful piece of art.  It tells a whole new story.

I wrote the following words to the leaders on my business team.  Within our business, we are often required to stretch beyond our feelings, and the following words were to encourage them: (I think they just might encourage a few of you.)

I wanted to share some words of encouragement to you this Tuesday morning. We all go through times when we doubt ourselves and when we don’t feel completely “on top of our game.” The tendency is to then “hang back” and wait for that future time when we feel more successful or like we have it together before attempting to pursue our dreams. In other words, we want our dream before we pursue it. The truth is we have to pursue our dream before we find it.

I am going to blog about this shortly, but I wanted to post this note I wrote to an ambassador for all of you. I am hoping there might be a word of encouragement in it for you…

“I want to tell you, it’s okay to do life ‘broken.’ You don’t have to wait to live life or pursue your dreams until you ‘feel’ them. The best advice I can give you is to ‘do it scared’ and do it broken.

Grace acknowledges our brokenness — not to worship the brokenness — but to give glory to the Supremacy of the cross over our brokenness.

The power of the cross is the fact that God sees you not as you are but as Christ is!!!

Grace is the cross!

Grace is God’s ability to take our anguish, our brokenness, and our failings and to use us still. It is God’s ability to use imperfection and make it perfect because of the User.

The key is our surrender. We surrender to Him and quit trying to be all perfect before He can use us.

He uses us not in spite of our brokenness, but He uses even through and because of our brokenness itself to accomplish His purposes.”

And I want to cry right there…!

I am going to repeat this powerful statement once again:

Grace acknowledges our brokenness — not to worship the brokenness — but to give glory to the Supremacy of the cross over our brokenness.

So often, we get this idea that grace is slapping a “happy face” sticker over the world’s ills and telling everyone, “You’re great where you are.  Just be happy.”

The reality is Grace sees the depths of our anguish and brokenness and then says, “Give it to me, and I will take your brokenness and give you My Wholeness.  Your brokenness will become My wholeness because I will take those broken pieces, and I will bring healing to them and make them whole.”

Today, as you return to your chaotic world and the reminders of your own brokenness, I want to encourage you to stop looking at the brokenness and start looking at the cross.

The cross is a picture of brokenness and wholeness that melded into One Perfect Being so that you and I have a future, a calling, a tangible peace, an inexplicable joy, and an eternal hope that is a reality!!!

Give God your brokenness because He wants to weld His wholeness to it.

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Jars Of Clay

Ready for the firing

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2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Last night as I cradled my daughter in my arms in the rocking chair, I felt the weight of so many burdens pressing in on me.

I don’t claim to carry some of the heavy burdens that some of my friends are carrying, but whatever our burden is, it’s very real to us.

We’ve all had those days — those days, when the weight of this world feels like it’s going to crush us into the ground.

I don’t know why I do this so often because I know better…  Maybe because I am human and a sinner and flawed… a jar of clay…  So often when times get tough, I believe the lie that I just need to have more faith, be a better parent, live more righteously, be stronger, be like so and so, be more loving, be kinder, and then this thing called life will be easier. 

I think that if I do more of something, I will be victorious and life will be easier.

Why, oh why, do I still believe that way at times (by the way I live)?!!

It all goes back to that truth that I am an “earthen vessel” or “jar of clay.” 

Sometimes, I want to demand of God, “Why did you give so much responsibility to such a cracked jar of clay?”

So often, we take pride in being strong.  We compliment each other on that too.  Oh, the burdens we place on others that we nor anyone else was meant to carry!

So, last night as I was rocking my daughter and felt so many burdens pressing upon me, I did what I should have done much earlier on…  I did what so often we believe makes us a failure.  I admitted that I couldn’t do it.

With tears in my eyes, I began to cry out to God.  I told Him I couldn’t do it.  With the name of Jesus on my lips, I asked Him to help me and told Him, “I surrender myself to You.  Help me, Jesus.  Help me.”

I read in Discerning The Voice Of God by Priscilla Shirer that you will know God’s will when it requires you to do something that you can only do in His strength. 

Why do we pride ourselves on trying to be enough and be strong when we are anything but it in ourselves?

As God’s Word says, and I can attest to this personally:

2 Corinthians 12:10

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Why do we dislike admitting our faults and weaknesses?

Pride and a lack of understanding of God and of who we are in Him is what prevents us from being honest before God, ourselves, and others.

It’s when we do not fully understand God’s grace that we despise any signs of weakness or failings in ourselves and/or others. 

What we don’t realize is that “strength” in the flesh is really weakness wearing a mask.

As fallible humans, the only things we are capable of producing in ourselves is just as flawed as we are. 

What happens though when God takes a flawed, broken person, a “human jar of clay” and begins to reshape and remake it, while at the same time filling that same jar with the light of His Presence?

I love what Gloria Furman said in her book, Glimpses Of Grace:

When God entrusts the gospel to us, it makes His power all the more obvious.  God delights in glorifying Himself by using jars of clay to show that the surpassing power of the Gospel is His, and His alone.

But sometimes, we’d much rather it be the other way around.  We don’t like to be weak.  We prefer to be strong.  We deny our weaknesses and failures and cover them up with pretense and excuses.

…our greatest fear is in being found incompetent, insufficient, and ineffective.

God is praised through our insufficiencies.

These powerful quotes from Glimpses of Grace say the following:

Our preference boils down to just that — we are the ones who want to be admired.  We want to live for our own glory.

When we are reluctant to exalt God and recognize His position of authority in our lives, we resent His desire to use us in our fragile, sinful states.

“When we are reluctant to exalt God and recognize His position of authority in our lives, we resent His desire to use us in our fragile, sinful states.”

When we accurately understand Who God is and who we are in Him, we are willing to hand our “jars of clay” over to Him and allow Him to use us as He works on remaking us into His image.

I love the following quotes from Glimpses Of Grace:

The gospel [of grace] is the lens through which God sees us when we have faith in His Son — the gospel is our one great, permanent circumstance.

Jesus’ blood and righteousness is sufficient for me and gives me bold access to God’s throne room.

God is asking you: “Are you willing to honor me in your brokenness?”

I have been given a job of raising five children to love and serve God.  It’s an impossible task!  I am completely ill-equipped in my own strength to handle it and to do it successfully.  When I rely on God’s strength, I have all the gifts from God the Father at my disposal.  The impossible becomes possible.  The broken becomes beautiful.  The weak becomes strong…

This is my greatest reality — not my circumstances — but the truth:

  • Jesus… is our firm foundation.
  • We are confident because we are in Him.
  • We are bold because He has gone before.
  • We persevere through trials because He is interceding for us.
  • We declare His victory over our sin because He has nailed the condemning record against us to the cross

(Taken from Glimpses Of Grace)

Healing For Our Brokenness

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When it feels like the wounds from our past will never heal..  When we look in the mirror and see the haunted eyes of a victim staring back at us…  When each time we hear a news article that speaks of a similar situation to our own painful past feels like it has re-opened old wounds…  When we wonder if we will ever be anything other than wounded and hurting…

Today, I was just reading in my devotional, Men & Women Of The Bible, the story of the life of Jairus.

Luke 8:40-56

40 And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.

41 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:

42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.

43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.

48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.

50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.

52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.

53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.

54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.

55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.

56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

The devotional summarized the story of Jairus with these words:

“The words Jesus spoke to Jairus — ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe’ — ought to echo frequently in our hearts.  Fear can make for a hopeless outlook, but trust in God keeps hope alive.  Those who trust in God often find they get back what they thought they had lost.”

I love the summary that those who trust in God often find they get back what they thought they had lost.

I also love the part that tells another story within the story of Jairus.  It is the story of the woman who had suffered for 12 years from a disease.  This woman knew Jesus could heal her so she reached out and touched His garment.

I find it interesting that Jesus’ power to heal her acted it seems of its own volition.  That verse is curious to me.

The verse states that some of His “virtue” left Him to heal her.  She reached, and she received.

Jairus also had a “hopeless” situation.  While he was waiting for Jesus to finally get to his house, Jairus received news that his daughter had already died.

Then there’s the story of Lazarus in the Bible.

John 11 :1-44

11 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.

His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:

19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.

30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.

31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Doesn’t that sound like so many of us?  It appears like God is absent, late, or even worse present and uncaring.  In each of the above situations, people were suffering.  In all three cases, the end result was God did bring good to them.  He restored what had been lost to them. 

The shortest verse in the Bible is found in the story of Lazarus.  It is those two profound words, “Jesus wept.”  Two simple words that communicate so much.  Jesus wasn’t unfeeling.  He wasn’t ignoring the pain and the hurts.

Perhaps today, you are reading this with tears streaming down your eyes, asking Jesus, “Will this pain never end?”  Perhaps, you are reading this, angry, because it looks like another “feel-good” message that doesn’t seem to have any relevance to your life today.  Perhaps, you are questioning how this can change your past.

I do not claim to hold all the answers for you.  In fact, it would be arrogant for me to presume upon God’s role as comforter in your life.  What I do know is this…

I know that God is a loving God and that He personally loves you.

I know that God is a healing God, and that He can heal you from even the deepest hurts and wounds.

I know that God brings beauty out of ashes.

I know that God can take a victim and make you a victorious overcomer.

I know that your past doesn’t need to define your present.

I know that He can restore what was taken from you with something far better.

Dear sister or brother in Christ, will you take all of those hurts and all of those wounds and will you hand them to Him?  Are you willing to reach out to Him?  His very nature is such that when you reach out for His healing, His healing power immediately responds.

Reach out and receive.

You can be a new and “present work” of His grace and power living out in your life.

PLUMB LYRICS

“Restored”

All the fear
All the bitter
Has disappeared
It’s just a vapor now
All the shame
All the broken
That should be here
Has all left me now
I have been made wholeMy heart is so full
My cup overflows
What once was so fractured has been
Restored
And you overcome
All I cannot
No matter how fractured
No matter whatAll the dark
All the distance
Has disappeared
It’s just a vapor now
All the hurt
All the hatred
That should be here
Has all left me now
I have been made whole

My heart is so full
My cup overflows
What once was so fractured has been
Restored
And you overcome
All I cannot
No matter how fractured
No matter what

Oh hallelujah
I’ve been made whole
What once was fractured
Has been restored
Oh hallelujah
I’ve been made whole
What once was fractured
Has been restored

My heart is so full
My cup overflows
What once was so fractured has been
Restored
And you overcome
All I cannot
No matter how fractured
No matter what

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

 

Broken Honesty

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Crazy!  I know.  It’s 5:06 a.m., and here I sit blogging.  There was a lot on my mind, and my adrenaline was pumping so I figured, why not?  It’s been awhile.  So many changes and big things and little things have happened since I last wrote about my life.  So, here’s the long and short of it…

It all starts in February — well actually in January…  In February, my husband and I attended a conference.  At the conference, the Lord did a huge work in my life to bring needed-revival to my heart.  I felt more alive than I had in a very long time!

During that conference, I told my husband I had this odd feeling that we were going to get pregnant.  (Didn’t realize I already was at the time.)  Now, I knew the timing of everything, and I knew it would be even more of a miracle than pregnancy normally is.  So, I forgot about that… for awhile.

In February, we also celebrated a big birthday for me!  I’ll keep you guessing on what age that might be.  🙂  Definitely older than 21…!  I also had a large group of ladies for a visit to celebrate the special occasion.  The morning of the party, I took a pregnancy test because I knew that something was off…  With wonder, I gazed at the two lines that appeared in the window of the pregnancy test and realized that I was indeed pregnant!  And pregnant with my fifth!!!!

Among my conservative homeschooling buddies, a family of five is not big at all — might even be considered small.  But, among the rest of my friends and acquaintances…  five is a LOT!

The next four months would find me battling the fun of pregnancy woes and discomforts and all-out sickness.  Plus, during the entire month of April, my family battled a re-occurring bout of the stomach bug.  Someone or some of us were vomiting every week.  You talk about piles of laundry and disgusting bathroom messes!

Then in April, I was diagnosed with Subchorionic Hematoma.  I was put on a form of bed-rest.  I was not allowed to do laundry, grocery shopping, lifting anything considered heavy, vacuuming, cooking anything beyond simple meals, weeding, washing my floors, etc…  During that time, my husband also had to work crazy hours.  Did I mention he was also sent away on a business trip while I was on bed-rest and the kids were vomiting?  Crazy?!!! You betcha!

In the midst of all the craziness, God was still so good!!!!  My parents helped with transporting kids to and from school, my mom went on a field trip with my one son, a friend came and brought groceries and also cleaned my house, my precious husband came home late at night to do laundry and trash, and some friends brought meals over the next few weeks of bed-rest.  Talk about feeling loved and blessed!

By week 14, I finally got the all-clear sign to resume most of my normal activities.  I still had the hematoma, but it was half the original size.

A few weeks later, I am enjoying seeing my house resume a somewhat normal state.  I still struggle to keep up since the dirt piles up and in as fast as I sweep and carry it out.  My husband appreciates having me “back” again, and I am thankful to at least remove my responsibilities off his busy schedule.

Oh, yeah, and I am up now because my husband was never able to come home last night as he had so much work to do at the office he had to work through the night.  Oh, and did I mention that the lovely meal I made for dinner this weekend I forgot to put in the fridge last night after letting it cool down?  Ugh.  The stuff of life…

So, you might wonder why I am telling you all of this.  Why would I share all my dirty and depressing stuff with you?  After-all, you have your own dirty and depressing details at times.

I share this with you because, friends, I get it.  I know what it is like at times to see an ugly house, to be ugly, and to have ugly kids.  Because life sometimes does stink.  There, I admitted it.  I say this not to glory in the ugliness, but to admit and therefore begin the process of transformation.

You, see.  Sometimes, we are so busy pretending to be strong and perfect and beautiful that we really aren’t so muchWe put on the happy faces and say the “right” wordsWe urge others to do so.  We shy away from the ugly, uncomfortable, sinful, and suffering.  We surround ourselves with everything bright, beautiful, fragrant, pleasant, godly, “perfect.”

The question is, “Why is that?”

This is what struck me.  Do we shy from the broken people and things in life because we are so broken ourselves we can’t handle anyone else’s brokenness?

I think of Jesus.  He especially visited the broken people.  He sought out the sinful, the suffering, and the sad.  In fact, the perhaps surprising thing is they seemed to be His priority — not the religious and beautiful and elite. 

  1. Matthew 9:13

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Mark 2:17

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 5:32

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
 
“Whole” people are able to deal with broken people.  Broken people may have friends that are broken, but they can’t handle much of the others’ brokenness.  Broken people want to share their brokenness, but they don’t want to share yours.
 
As Christians, this is where it gets really important to grasp it.  So often, in our churches, we find it awkward to deal with the drug-addicted individual, the affair-ridden marriage, the unwed teenage mother, the unruly children, the exhausted young mother who might need to vent that morning, the broken people.
 
In fact, how many of us have either heard or said to someone else that they need to just be a good testimony and not say anything negative?  How many times do people ask how you are doing but get that glazed look and quickly lose interest if you begin to share anything beyond the chipper “Fine or Great!”?
 
We put on our happy faces, but the fact is so many people are hurting.  I have friends whose parents are battling terminal cancer, who are going for tests because they too might have cancer, whose children are sickly, who are fighting sleep-deprivation with a newborn and screaming toddlers and who wonder if they will keep their sanity for the next few minutes.  You see, that is life.
 
Life is ugly and smelly and depressing at times.  It is full of sin and sadness and suffering.
 
And yes, thankfully, it is also full of beauty, grace, and light that filters in through those cracks of brokenness!
 
In order to see the beauty and light and to experience the grace, we must first recognize the ugliness and our own brokenness.  You see, we are broken.  You and I?  We are all broken!  We all struggle with the ugly.  So, why do we pretend to be so strong?  Why do we think we can just hold it all together and put on that pretty facade? 
 
The truth is our strength is limited, and it will let us down.  The truth is our kids, our spouses, our friends will let us down.  The truth is sickness and suffering will come.  The truth is most of us will face death eventually. 
 
But, friends, that isn’t the end!!!  That is what Jesus came to show.  He came to reveal to us our own brokenness so we could get “fixed.”  He came to show us our own blind darkness so we could see true light.  He came to show us the ugliness so we could find His beauty.
 
We are broken, but we can be healed!  When true healing occurs, we can then have something genuine to offer to all those other broken people.
 
Christians, of all people, should not shy from the ugly and broken because we should have something of true substance to offer!  We should have the Solution that goes beyond a temporary, outward transformation to an inner reformation.  Jesus came to not offer empty platitudes but to bring a total transformation, complete redemption!
 
Dear young mommies, it’s okay to acknowledge your weakness today.  It’s okay to have a good cry.  You don’t have to be strong.  You just need to look to Him Who is Strong!
 
Dear friends, whose parents are fighting terminal cancer, it’s okay to admit you are scared and worried and concerned and exhausted because you have a God who does care and who will comfort you!
 
Dear parents, who have no idea if your rebellious teenager will ever repent and turn to the Lord, it’s okay to be concerned and to cry buckets because your God does hear your heart’s cries!  And, He cares for your children even more than you do!
 
Dear expectant mom, who is extremely miserable and can’t wait for the new baby to be born, it is okay to admit you are tired and miserable and can’t wait to hold your new baby because your Heavenly Father can’t wait to see your joy too when you hold this new blessing from Him!  He knows, girls, and He cares.
 
Dear single, it’s okay to admit you are lonely because you have a God who promises to be a “husband” to those without.  He will love you like no other, and He never forsakes you.  No never!
 
To all of you fellow broken people, it is okay to admit that you are struggling, that your kids aren’t perfect, that some days are plain rough.  You have a God Who is big enough to handle any and all of life’s conundrums and to not just handle them but to transform them, to bring beauty from ashes and light to shine into the cracks of our brokenness!

The Mommy Identity

Five Minute Friday: Identity

May 11, 2012

On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Your words. This shared feast.

If you have five minutes, we have a writing challenge <—click to tweet this!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

http://thegypsymama.com/2012/05/five-minute-friday-identity/

 

 

[I wrote an entire post on this topic.  WordPress decided to have some quirks in their system and lost my post.  I am quite disappointed.  I will attempt to write it again, but you can never quite write the same thing.  Here’s my second attempt:]

I always wanted to be a mommy.  I played with dolls until I was 11.  Yes, I was a “girlie-girl.”  In spite of the stigma that seems to be with that term, being a “girlie-girl” doesn’t equal weakness.  But that’s another subject…

I used to keep a diary that had my favorite names that I hoped to name my children.  I wanted kids — a lot of them!  I dreamed about being a mommy.  My dreams were full of a smiling mom with happy and obedient children.  There were giggling babies with chubby cheeks.  I couldn’t imagine anything better than being a mommy.  My dreams were of perfection — the perfect mommy and the perfect kids.

Life happened.  I married and then 1 1/2 years into my marriage had a miscarriage.  I was devastated!  Miscarriages are never in our dreams.  Neither is infertility or still-births.  Neither is cancer or other diseases.  Neither are job losses.  For some women, neither is singleness.  What happens when life happens, and our dreams don’t?

A little later, I conceived again.  Nine months later, a healthy baby boy was born.  My dream was happening, right?!  Yes, except in my dreams, I didn’t have a rough post-partem recovery due to a severe tear and then developing Thrush.  Eight weeks later, my dream seemed to be happening.  The months passed.

Into my baby’s eighth month, changes and surprises came.  My husband switched jobs, we moved to a different state, and I found out I was pregnant again.  I had two babies 16 months apart, and life was busy!

The delivery of my second child was challenging.  My babies come with large heads.  More brains, right?!  Except, large heads make for painful deliveries, and pain is never in our dreams — only nightmares.  I remember saying that I didn’t want to think of having another baby after that.

With two babies demanding my attention, I found myself exhausted, struggling to change out of my pajamas before the afternoon was gone, and definitely not the mom in my dreams.  Who was I, without the perfect Mommy dream?  I thought I was a failure.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a thyroid disorder which contributed to my extreme fatigue and feelings of inadequacy.  What kind of a mom am I, if I don’t match my dream image of motherhood?  I struggled with that a lot, for years really.  I wanted my dreams of perfection to be reality.  Reality was very different.  Reality has its joys, but it also has its struggles.

Six years later, I now have four children plus one in Heaven!  Seems like a dream, doesn’t it?!! It is in many ways.  I have four, healthy children.  We do laugh and play a lot.  I also have a baby with chubby cheeks that I love to kiss a lot.  Yet, I have experienced that life is full of challenges.  Children aren’t perfect.  Moms aren’t perfect.  We have lots of messy days.  If my identity as a mom is all about perfection, then who am I?  I am a failure.  If my identity as a mom relies on how my children perform, and they have to perform perfectly, then my kids are failures.

Seven years and a few months into my parenting, I am learning that my identity as a mom is not based on a perfect performance.  Nor, does God require that of me.  Rather, it is based on God’s grace.  God allowed me to experience brokenness so that I might see His grace.  I thought that I was relying on Him to be a godly mother, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant.  We can’t fully know it until we know what it means to be broken.

Brokenness is not in our dreams, but it is through brokenness that real joy occurs. 

It is through brokenness that God’s grace is revealed. 

I experience His grace as I allow God into the vulnerability of my weakness. 

God’s grace has been poured out upon this life!  As I open the “cracked and parched lips” of my heart to His grace, my thirst for identity is quenched.  My Mommy identity is found in grace rather than perfection.

I am a Mommy through grace!  I am a Mommy of grace!

 

 

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Learning to Laugh in the Brokenness

The Husband was away on a business-related trip to Wisconsin for four days.  So, I decided to take a trip with the four kiddoes and visit some friends we haven’t seen in four years!  Some friends a little less.  I wanted to take the boys to see the places where we shopped, lived, played.  I wanted to show them the library — one of my favorite haunts — where I loved to borrow free videos and books back in the “pre-baby” days.  So, the three boys, baby girl, and I did just that.  The boys really enjoyed seeing everything, and Will just loved to hear about his babyhood!  It was so much fun to introduce all of my kids to our old neighbors.  When we had last seen them, we had just two kids.  It was encouraging to hear the neighbors comment on how well-behaved the boys are!  [Maybe, I am doing some things right but only by God’s grace!] 

We then met up with an elderly lady that I used to visit with once-a-week on Tuesdays. She loved meeting Olivia for the first time!  It was so special to see how those two interacted!  “Miss Joy’s” face lit up whenever Olivia would reach out and take her hand.  Seeing how delighted Miss Joy was, Olivia kept reaching for Miss Joy’s hand and giggling every time she did.  Lots of laughter and giggles ensued! 

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We departed from our visit with Miss Joy to stay with friends nearby.  It was special to introduce the youngest members of both families.  What precious children!  I loved meeting Gideon and seeing Elijah, Ruth, and Isaiah again!  The children had a lot of fun together, and it was entertaining to watch eight children play together, six of which are boys!

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That night was not quite so happy as Olivia interrupted our sleep 8 or more times!  Exhausting is an understatement!

The next morning, we packed the eight children and coolers of food and drinks and headed to a park to meet up with another family of four children.  It was great fun to watch our twelve children run around!  I think we must have looked like a daycare center.  We had three moms to twelve kids!  The kids loved the swings, slides, and playing chase.  Giggles and smiles abounded.

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The original family and ours took our kids to the local library for a potty break.  I was so pleased to see how well-behaved the kids all were.  We played a game of “Stop and Go” to get everyone very orderly to and from the park and library.  We also had everyone pair up with a partner.  The kids did very well, and I know the librarians were impressed.  I know I was!  [Thank you, Lord, for times like these!]

The kids and I departed that evening and returned home, driving in misty rain.  My kids were so tired that they fell asleep within a few minutes of departure.  The kids were already in their pajamas so it was a simple task to put them in their beds once we reached home.  I then unloaded the van in semi-light. 

The next morning, I discovered that our fridge had a broken thermostat and called a technician.  Thankfully, by the next day, we had a working fridge again.  I did have to toss a bit of food, but all-in-all, it all worked out.

The following day, while attempting to unlock a door into the main part of the house, my key broke off.  I wiggled and jiggled but to no avail.  Our tools were locked in the house so I couldn’t get to them.  I called my dad and asked him if he could help.  I then prayed and tried again.  Lo and behold, the door unlocked and the key came out!  I canceled my dad’s trip, and the boys and I thanked the Lord for helping us.

Through the craziness of very little sleep, exhausted kids, a baby who also was sick, a broken fridge, and broken key, I saw God’s hand and was able to laugh.  Sometimes, when life gets a little more trying, I find myself laughing at the craziness of it.  I also find myself thankful — thankful that God cares about every detail in our lives.  He sees us in our brokenness.  Broken keys and appliances are a small thing. 

Broken hearts and fractured dreams are much larger. 

Some days as a mommy, I feel just like my key.  Sheared off at the top.  Stuck in a gear that won’t move and has become useless.  Some days, I feel just like my fridge.  Inefficient and unable to protect the fragile hearts of my kids.  Too “warm” in my outbursts or my kids’ outbursts.  Fluctuating “temperatures” of moods.  In my brokenness, God is teaching me to laugh — to laugh at the craziness of my life but also to rejoice in how He cares about each piece of my broken life.  I am then able to see the joy even in the brokenness. 

We are all “broken” people, desperately needing a Master Technician to repair us.  So thankful that He cares!  He’s working!  Some repairs start inwardly and can’t be seen at first.  I couldn’t see the gears turning inside my door lock at first.  I couldn’t see what the newly-installed fridge thermometer was doing at first.  In time though, it becomes apparent.  First though, I have to acknowledge my brokenness, then I need to seek help, and finally, I can rejoice. 

The key is still mangled.  The old thermometer is still broken.  Being repaired doesn’t always mean the old being restored.  What it can mean is something new, something better, something greater being brought into our lives. 

We can hang on to the broken, or we can release our brokenness into God’s hands and allow Him to work something greater in our lives. 

When we allow Him to fix us, He does just that!