The Mother God Made You

Much of my motherhood

Hangs on high notes

Stressed by comparison

Pictures of competency,

not me.

No one screams to me insufficiency,

Except myself.

 

Professional doctor,

Administrative organizer,

Eloquent tongue,

Organic chef,

Wise teacher,

Edgy artist,

Playful child,

Home designer.

 

Called to be all things,

To three people.

Wife & Mother.

My days cannot contain these high notes.

My ears and heart fracture by the squeal.

 

I sit in the corner and cry out.

How?

The Spirit speaks: be you.

 

Be me?

But I am not most of these,

How will my children know you?

How will they learn to read?

How will they heal from disease?

How will they enjoy their home?

How will they be healthy?

How will they learn creativity?

 

QUIET

Pray.

I know all these things.

I know all they truly need.

I know your needs too.

I have given them you. You.

Not someone you are not.

My plans for their lives include who you are,

Not who you are not.

I picked you as their mother,

So be the you I made.

I form my creation in many ways.

 

Kids? But I want to serve God in big ways.

“I don’t know if I want kids. I want to do great things for the Lord. I am afraid kids will limit me.”

Words from a dear friend a couple weeks ago continue to mull around my mind.  Are children a blessing? Can we serve God in “big ways” and still be moms? These questions seem to haunt not only my friend, but myself… and I am sure others. Here is what I have learned in response to these questions the past five years as a mama:

1. Our lives are eternal. Something so small today, turns into huge impact down the road–like the example Jesus uses of a mustard seed of faith that turns into a large tree where the birds nest in its branches.

How we love well in the middle of the night and in the moments of teenagers rolling their eyes during the day… are seeds sown into the hearts of future grown men and women who will impact a generation we won’t even be around to see. Then they will have children… and they will have children… and they will have children… until the Lord returns. The multiplication of Christ-centered parenting in the view of eternity outweighs that of a few thousand people you may speak to on a stage or the portfolio you might build in your estate. Life on life ministry, especially to little ones living in our homes… has mighty, long, and lasting eternal impact.

2. Obedience is the “big” thing. I too want to do “big things” for the Lord. I dream of a best-selling Christian book that God uses to change lives. I dream of businesses launched to fund ministry and missions. I dream of serving alongside my pastor husband and having a speaking circuit encouraging others. I dream big. But, unless my dreams are tempered in yielding to the One who made me, they are rooted in pride.

God may choose to use me to be faithful in the seemingly “small” things in life—for the rest of my life. I must learn (I am still learning) that in the grand scheme of eternity, it is obedience to my part as he assigns that matters most. Not how many people read this blog post or if I am invited to some large platform to speak someday. Obedience is the big thing and the reward in heaven is bountiful for those who remain faithful, regardless of how the world (even the church world) sees our “success.”

3. Children are a blessing. We hear this and see this saying drawn on nursery decoration, but do we believe it? When the tantrums burst or the curfew is ignored, do we remember?

Nowhere… I repeat, nowhere in the Bible are children called a curse. They are called blessings and arrows among other things—and Jesus even uses them as an example of how we should approach our Father in heaven. So, whether you need to plaster every wall in your home with scripture decoration or post something on your rearview mirror… remember this: Children are a blessing from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children on ones’ youth. (see Psalm 127:3-4)

One of Satan’s best strategies of keeping Christian homes distracted is the lie that children are just a part of our family.  Children are the world tomorrow and the years in the home set the course of their decades on their own.

4. You have a legacy without kids. Children are a part of the legacy for those who are blessed with them. But whether or not someone has progeny, does not change if they have a legacy. A legacy is what you leave behind to those who remain when you depart. What will your legacy be?  If you have kids… that is where we start.

What do you think about impacting this world for Jesus and raising kids?  Please leave a comment.

People are More Important Than Things: A Tantrum Lesson

A while back son #1, Kavin, entertained a grand mal tantrum when I told him he could not have a balloon.  Crying, screaming, kicking, begging, accusing words, hitting… this display of disapproval included it all, and then some.  We stood in the middle of a birthday party for our 3-year-old neighbor with full repertoire of emotion.  Although I was mortified inside,  I smiled, informed Kavin we were going home when the party just started, and then said goodbye to our host and exited the room.  Man, wish I caught that on tape.  Would love to replay that dramatic scene for him someday.

Through the next hour of parenting, hubby and I hunkered down together. We prayed and tried to discern what was really going on in Kavin’s heart and thought this:  Kavin is more concerned with things and not people.  Because of his “things” obsession, he disrespected me in such disregard and selfishness.  I was shocked, I still am, to be honest.  He never was so brutal in his verbal and physical attacks towards me.  My heart hurt.  What happened to my son?  THINGS happened to him.

So, some will call me a crazy mama or we are being “too hard,” but we had a sit down with him and explained the “people are more important than things” week ahead of him… no toys… no toys, you read that right, BUT… time with mama doing things for others because people are more important than things.  Helping mama with a happy heart to show mama that she is more important than things.  Two days into this experiment, I was exhausted from engaging him all day long, but he thrived.

At the end of a long parenting day that week, I slipped into my seminary class and Dr. Yarbrough, the professor, took us on a descriptive journey through the book of Jonah.

This is where my blog post get’s juicy… Towards the end of the class we arrive to Jonah Chapter 4.  Jonah, the messenger of God, sits under a tree the Lord grew right then and there, as he waits and watches to see if God will smite the city of Nineveh with judgement. The prophet just traveled through the city to warn them of God’s impending judgement and they confessed and repented.  This peeved Jonah because he hated the Ninevites.  So, Jonah is sitting up on the hill, under the tree God provided waiting, and waiting, and waiting…  and hoping judgement ensued.  What is God going to do?  (drum roll…) Will the Holy God destroy this city or will he spare them?

The tree withers and Jonah starts complaining to the Lord about the tree.  The Lord basically says, “You show deep concern about your shelter (plant) and your comfort, but Nineveh is full of people and animals.”

But here is the kicker… the professor then said, “Jonah was more concerned with things than people.”

Um… God?  Is that You speaking?  The same message we taught Kavin that week the professor highlighted as one of the main points in the message.

And… it is a message for us all.  Do we value things or our pocketbook more than people?

I hope we don’t have to get our toys taken away or our trees to wither for us to realize real value.  Let us be more concerned with people than we are with things.  God cares about all people.  Do we?

The Great Exchange: Losing Dad, Gaining a Husband

On our first anniversary we dined at the Stinky Rose, a restaurant in Los Angeles specializing in an array of food selections somehow incorporating garlic. I cried. The understanding of my sadness lay beyond my ability to label. I shared a romantic dinner with the man of my dreams, celebrating one year as husband and wife, and I felt fractured. Maudlin. Depressed.

Looking back, from the frame of seven years, I can see that the summit of joy and grief confused my heart. The Great Exchange, I now refer to it; God’s plan of placing me in the care of His choicest husband as He took away His choicest father.

This week we celebrate 8 years of marriage… and my dad’s birthday. Dad left us 8 years ago; just weeks after we announced our engagement.

There is grace in the mess of grief and celebration, co-mingled in the heart of a newly wed. Grace to experience the grief of the loss of the dearest and kindest father I could ask for. The father who would have lassoed the moon and given it to me, if only I asked. The father who believed I could change the world… and that I would. The father who thought I am the most beautiful woman besides my mom. He would say, “You look more and more like your mother every day… more and more beautiful.” Or something like, “You are so smart. You are going to change the world.”

The prayer. I remember the prayer I begged God as I drove north on the 101 freeway, heading home to my roommate after a dinner date with dad where I lived as a single girl… with no man on pursuit.

“God! Please have the man You have for me in my life before You take my dad.” I knew then what I see now… My sense of earthly security built upon being loved, protected, and cared for. My father started my life as the man who believed in me and believed in the women I would become. I hoped that the man God already chose for my husband might somehow comfort my inevitable loss, like Issac being comforted by his new wife Rebecca, as he grieved the loss of his mother, Sarah (Gen. 24:67).

So there we sat. At the end of year one. Jason ordered the quail, too many bones and gamey tasting. I ordered the garlic chicken. And I cried.

Grief and joy co-mingled in the heart of a newly wed. The grace of joy in the dearest, kindest husband a wife could hope for. A man so wise, with a heart of integrity and a passion for the Lord. My best friend. I cried in thankfulness. I cried more as I pulled inward to contain my cry. I cried in grief.

7 years later, as we dined tonight celebrating 8 adventurous years, I laughed. I laughed at the crazy things we try. I laughed at our inside jokes and silly kids. I laughed because God answered my prayer in more grand ways than I even imagined.

And for a few moments tears also fuzzed the lens of my eyes. I miss dad.

Through it all I learned God sustains me and will never leave me. Yet, in His love, he blessed me with the great gift of my husband, Jason.

Jason is now the one who cheers me on… he believes God can use me to change the world… and that He will. Jason says I get more beautiful every day even though the grey hairs are multiplied. I feel safest when I hug Jason, no matter what the world throws our way. If there is a looking glass in heaven for those who have gone before us, I know dad is looking down and is pleased with God’s choice of husband for me… and the timing of…

The Great Exchange.

Happy Anniversary, Jason (June 1). Happy Birthday, Dad (June 5).