When in Need of a Good Grounding

Today, I have been in need of a day that is gentle to and with my soul. I’ve needed a day where I recognize my own brokenness and yet I call myself to courage in God to interact and engage with the things that still need to be done. (Because life doesn’t stop when our emotions swell!) Not much will be accomplished in a tangible way today; but I am learning that what will be accomplished will give me the strength to meet tomorrow with all the things it holds; good or bad, faithful and true or full of lies and destruction.

I needed to be with myself and my God a bit today. I needed to look at the ugly reality of some things that feel as if they are in my way and a hindrance to any kind of forward momentum. I needed to feel my feelings today, lament to God the stuff that wearies and weighs and burdens me and I needed to acknowledge the stuff that really, really, really sucks. So much of life sucks guys.

As I gear up for the second movement of the day, morning has passed and afternoon is coming on thick (i.e. a flurry of activity is on the horizon), I am stopping to reflect and remind myself of what is true before I start to do some tangible things. I am grounding myself in preparation for what is coming in the minutes and hours and days ahead. And it’s good. It’s not perfect. But it’s true and it’s grounding me in the best of ways.

So if you are a Mom in need of being called to good, here are the things that are calling me to be true and soft and gentle and brave and strong-may they call you to be likewise and have courage for things to change (even if that change is only within your own soul).


“You have made us for yourself and we are restless until we find our rest in you.” St. Augustine

 

“Bold love is the tenacious, irrepressible energy to do good in order to surprise and conquer evil.” Allender

 

“I can offer to others only what I have experienced.” (looking at Luke 7:41-43) Allender

 

“The task of growth is to pursue an unflinching honesty about self, world, and God, no matter what the results compel us to face or give up.” Allender

 

“if you want the real deal, if you want the life and freedom that Jesus offers, then you are going to have to break free of this religious fog in particular. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). So here’s a bottom-line test to expose the Religious Spirit: If it doesn’t bring freedom and it doesn’t bring life, it’s not Christianity. If it doesn’t restore the image of God and rejoice in the heart, it’s not Christianity. ” John Eldredge from Waking the Dead

 

“Trust in formulas is really dependence upon ourselves to carry out a procedure correctly. But anyone who really understands the grace of the gospel knows that we cannot take personal credit for any spiritual accomplishments. We are totally God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10; Phil 2:13; 1:6) and everything good in our lives is a gift from Him (James 1:17). We can do absolutely nothing by ourselves for which we can take credit (Eph 2:8-9; Gal 6:14; Rom 4:2; 1 Cor 1:28-31; 2 Cor 11:30). Yet many of us lean toward a formulaic mentality, because our fallen natures are drawn toward self-reliance. We want to feel that by our own efforts (works) we have achieved something that will make us acceptable to God – by nature we are legalistic.” Reb Bradley in Homeschool Blindspots

 

“Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.” Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts

 

“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”~ Augustine of Hippo


 

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Don’t Quit Your Day Job-Part 3

Welcome! This is my final post in a series about how I decided to become a stay at home mom (SAHM) and the new adventure I’m on as I wrestle with school-age children 10 years after quitting my day job. Join me in my new adventure by reading Part 1  and Part 2 of my story and then follow along as my path is uncovered and discovered in future posts in 2017.

I used to hate the question that inevitably follows whenever I share that my youngest child is starting Kindergarten this fall; “What are you going to do Tiffany?”

Initially, I hated the question because I felt tremendous pressure from myself to go out and get a job. I felt like that is what I was expected to do. The pressure I felt wasn’t even need generated. Our family had made it for 10 years on one income plus whatever little extra I could pull in on the side. But the idea of a societal expectation and my perception that I was unprepared to meet it; That idea made me feel completely inadequate and worthless. Who would have me?!

I have wrestled with overwhelming feelings of worthlessness since my third child had been born. Do I matter? What do I even do? Do I have relevant skills for the world we live in? It produced in me all sorts of bashfulness and even shame. My major was communications and I have a bachelor’s degree, sure. But I haven’t mingled in the world of technology for 10 years. When I first started my dream job, I was using PageMaker by Adobe! I had just convinced the church to move towards Adobe’s new suite and utilize InDesign when I quit. Can we talk about how much has changed in 10 years?!

Time and again as I pondered my questions, my answers truly frightened me. I felt like a no-talent, out of date, old Mom (EW) and I just kept squashing my feelings of inadequacy down and down.

But that growing whisper wouldn’t be silenced. My heart kept hearing a call, “What do you want?”

Last summer, my dear friend and fellow writer Kayla Smith asked me to read a book with her. I mentioned it in Part 2 of this post. Dan Allendar’s book, To Be Told introduced me to a scandalous invitation and helped me hear better the voice in my heart. What if God is inviting me to co-author the story of my life? How would that change the decisions I make today as this new opportunity looms? It certainly helped me pay attention to that growing whisper I couldn’t silence anymore.

So at the close of last summer, as I sent my kids back to school, I said to myself, “Fine. What DO I want?” and I gave myself full permission to explore an answer.

That is where God met me, and He invited me to wait. He invited me to a mystery. (That’s so something He would do, isn’t it?)

The waiting He invited me to is not the waiting that is boring or painful though; it is beautiful, hopeful and mysterious. It’s like waiting for a baby to be born and having your arms ache to hold and snuggle the squirming child. It’s like waiting for a delicious meal to be served and smelling all the mouth-watering smells as it is prepared and your stomach growls with anticipation.

He whispered to me that I CAN do whatever I want. He told me that the pressure I feel is not pressure I must succumb to because it is not from Him. As I talked with my amazing and sweet husband, he told me too that I can do whatever I want. Suddenly there was all this freedom surrounding me and all sorts of invitations to taste and see what the Lord is up to in this little life of mine. I learned that I can explore my options. I learned that I don’t have to have a definitive answer. He told me I can stand on His promise to be blessed and be a blessing and it changed everything for me.

I know in my heart that I’m not quitting my day job. Just like the Moms who have career paths and work 8-5 and just like Moms who are SAHMs, we will always be committed to the children God has given us. It’s our calling and our position and our love. I will always be called to their needs and I will have to lay my life down in new ways all the time-and I will do so joyfully (though maybe I will complain a bit sometimes).

In the mean time, if you ask me that previously dreaded question, my answer is the same but totally different. I don’t know what I’m going to do. But I am delighted to confidently wait on God to show me what opportunities I CAN do with all the talents and skills He has given me. I am challenged to pray in new ways about the time that is coming. I am challenged to dream up new things and I feel tremendous freedom to explore what that looks like. In some ways I feel like my years-long writers block I have wrestled with is dissipating. The fog is still there but I can’t wait to see what’s on the other side.

I’ll just be a Mom and something else….

In the mean time, I have decided I am going to soak up every moment of the present as the gift that it is to me and our family. I haven’t read Present Over Perfect yet, but I love the idea of it that Shauna Niequist has introduced to Christians. I want to take in what is today and be willing to wait on a good God to show me the invitations He has for me. His timing in my story past has always been right, though it has not been mine. It will be right in this new season too.

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Thanks for listening and joining me in my 10 year milestone. I can’t wait to see what God does next!