Friday, September 28, 2012

Trash Day

Yesterday was trash day.  I couldn't wait for trash day because the week before, we'd completely missed both trash days (a clear sign of mom-brain).  My garage had become so smelly that I didn't even want to open the door anymore for fear it would contaminate the air in my house.

So before heading out the door to Bible Study, I made sure to take the trash to the curb.  By the time I got home, our trashcans had been emptied (smell and all).  

While at the church, I had a conversation with a friend about our "junk"- the things in our lives that we are holding on to and I related it to the trash I'd forgotten to take care of last week.

Sometimes, we don't realize that we haven't gotten all of the trash to the curb.  Maybe a small trashcan got missed somewhere in one of the bathrooms.  Over time, that trashcan will start to smell and can really create some issues for the rest of the house.  

When you finally track down the smell, not only do you usually have to take out the bag, but by then it's usually time to scrub the entire trashcan.  

The same is true for our lives.  Sometimes we bring out all of our junk .  We bring it all to the big trashcan, and we think the work is done.  We've talked about it.  We've "processed" it.  It's done, right?  


I deal with some pretty tough stuff sometimes.  Some of my friends are dealing with stuff that makes my "trash" look like daisies.  Never-the-less, my trash is my trash.  If I carry it around, it causes a foul odor in my life.

But if I (occasionally with the help of family and friends) "take out the trash", I don't have to bear that burden any more.  If I take it to the bigger trash can- if I start working through some of it, but I don't ever take that bigger dumpster to the curb, it's not really gone.  I've just begun working through it. 

But when I take it to the curb, (when I surrender,) I leave it there.  Why?  Because we've learned from experience that when we leave the trash on the curb, the trash guys will come and pick it up.

So I wonder- how many times have I carried my trash to the curb and then dragged it back inside my garage- maggots and all?  

There is a God out there who wants to free me from these struggles- from this junk.  He wants to take these burdens off of my shoulders.  He says if I "put it on the curb" and leave it there for Him, He will be faithful to bring me peace and healing- He'll give forgiveness where necessary and I'll finally be able to sit in my own home and... just breathe- without the stench of my past hurts, regrets, fears, disappointments, and sins lingering in the air.  

So I share all of that to say this-

It's trash day, folks...

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."
1 Peter 5:7

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Puzzles and Boogers and Bears, Oh My!

So I was watching Jacob work on a puzzle the other day.  He's four and typically does well with puzzles.  This puzzle, however, was a little more difficult than his normal "toddler" puzzles.  

Have you ever watched a child try to do a puzzle without help?  

It's precious, I know.  

(Sidenote- no, that is not my child.  To my knowledge, I actually have no asian children.  Maybe one day I'll adopt...)

But I really like this picture.  It's an accurate portrayal of one of my children working with a puzzle.  You see, her face is filled with joy, or surprise or...

Actually, I'm not sure what the look on her face is supposed to be.  But she's cute.  End of rabbit trail.

Here is a more accurate portrayal of one of my children working on a puzzle:

He's not mine either but I'd adopt either of them in a heartbeat- boogers and all.  

I digress.

So as I was watching Jacob work on this puzzle, a certain image came to mind.  I thought about how many times I've carried around this giant puzzle piece in my life.  I've tried to manipulate the puzzle and force this piece in to the place where I'm certain it belongs.  I keep pushing and pushing, moving it around, turning it over, and still... it won't fit.

When I watch Jacob, occasionally I'll offer some assistance.  Most of the time he refuses because he really feels a sense of pride in his accomplishment when he is able to complete the puzzle on his own.  

Don't we all?

This particular time, I said to him, "Jacob, Mommy can help you with that piece.  I've got the picture right here, so I know what it's supposed to look like."  He scowled.  He was turning in to a bear.  I knew he was getting frustrated with the puzzle so I insisted, "Why don't you let mommy help you?"  

Jacob protested.  His toddler pride was wounded.  He insisted that he knew how to do it.   So I watched him pick his nose and wrestle a little more with that particular piece before finally conceding, "Mommy, can you please help me with this puzzle?"

At his request, I gladly took that piece from his hand (trading him for a tissue) and showed him a couple of other pieces that needed to be put in place before his troublesome piece would work.  

Once he let me help him with the puzzle, I didn't shame him for trying to get through it on his own.  I didn't make him feel bad about not wanting my help. Instead, I helped him by gently guiding each of the remaining pieces in to place... after which, we had a long talk about personal hygiene.  I'm kidding... sort of.  :)  

So, to my self, I thought again about this puzzle piece (these pieces) that I've been trying to fit in to my own "puzzle".  I realized that in many ways, I can still be like a toddler.  

And then I am reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Don't lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path."  

It's like turning to the one who made the puzzle and allowing Him to show you where each piece goes.  You may pick up a piece and try to put it in the puzzle, and He may take that piece away from you so he can set it on the sidelines until you are ready for it.  Sometimes other pieces need to be put in to place first, or the rest of the pieces won't fit the way they are supposed to. 


God is the "puzzle-maker".  He is the one who designed me, who mapped out this beautiful "puzzle" of my life.  He has a plan and it's so much more perfect than any plan I could make for myself.  He sees the bigger picture and I can only seem to focus on this big piece in front of me.  

So... I have control issues.   I wonder what other pieces I'm still trying to hold on to... 

(like maybe this analogy?)

What about you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012



The effect: Life-Changing

A friend gave me this book a few months ago.  I'd heard tons of people talking about it.   I thought it was a "book" maybe like "The Shack".  I was wrong.  This "book" is actually a daily devotion.

I wasn't looking for a daily devotion or a book to read in my spare time (because, let's face it... I have five children.  I don't get spare time.)

But something deep inside of me knew I needed this.  Even though I have dozens of books and devotions on my bookshelf that I may never get to read, I knew I needed this one.

Not every single day is life-changing, but every single day takes me to a place in scripture that I need to be.

This is a copy of today's devotion.  I was both convicted and enlightened.  Take a look:

Here is the link if you'd like to order your own copy:

Click here to order from Amazon

And here is today's page from JESUS CALLING FOR KIDS (click here to purchase).

I feel the need to clarify- I don't actually get any payment from this.  I don't know Sarah and I'm not trying to make any money off of you.

We've been doing these studies together as a family all summer and I can honestly say we are different- all of us.

So why am I sharing this?  Because I feel like I was really sick for a really long time and a friend gave me a book that pointed me to the antidote- truth that I desperately needed, found in scripture.  And I thought- maybe there are others out there who are sick- who need a little encouragement, who need some peace.  The answer is not this book alone- the answer is found in the Holy Spirit.  But this book, written by Sarah Young, inspired by The Holy Spirit, is definitely a wonderful place to start.

Check it out.

Let me know what you think...

No Longer I,

The Real Life Mom.

Monday, September 10, 2012

In Progress

I've read so many blogs lately that I haven't felt much like blogging.  I guess I feel like everything  that needed to be said, has been said... so I've simply not been writing.

So in the mean time, I've been doing the mom thing.  

While "mom"-ing, I've learned a few things about myself.  Some fun, some... not so much.  

Of our five children, two are still at home with me during the day.  Last week was... rough, to say the least.  I needed some peace and quiet but every time I turned around, I could find only conflicts that needed to be resolved- conflicts accompanied by whiny, needy, overly-exhausted, clingy toddlers... and housework.

One day, after listening to what felt like hours of arguing between my two and four-year-old, I lost it.  

As I was about to unleash my frustration on Jacob, (my four-year-old), I began my tongue-lashing with this: "Jacob!  If it doesn't help, DON'T SAY IT!"  And in that moment, lightning struck my brain.  Several scriptures came to mind and I was immediately humbled.  

Don't you love it when that happens?!  I was in the middle of a self-righteous anger flare-up and... BAM!  

In that moment, I thought of Ephesians 4:29 which says- "Don't use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful so your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."  

Smack. In my face.

Was my tone with Jacob good and helpful?  Were my words encouraging?  Not so much.  

So I read Ephesians 4.  The whole chapter.  I'll include some hi-lights here as they jumped out at me.

Ephesians 4
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace...  

15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

20 But that isn't what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy...
26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil...

29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.  31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."

And so I've been thinking- not just about the way I speak to my littles.  I've been thinking about the way I treat everyone.  From my closest friends and family, to my worst enemies.  Am I living a life worthy of my calling?  Am I humble and gentle?  Patient?  Making allowances for the faults of others?  Nope.  Not always... but I'm working on this.

I'm a work in progress, friends... always in progress...

(more on this later).

No Longer I,

The Real Life Mom