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Love you like I will...

I just noticed the Gummy Worm on my kitchen counter.  It has one, teeny-tiny bite out of it.  No, my toddler did not find the candy stash (we have a candy stash?!)  I stared at it for the longest time, wondering why it wasn't in the bag and why it was just laying there all bored and uneaten.  Then I realized that I must have attempted a bite who-knows-how-many-hours-ago.  Apparently I didn't get very far.

And before I took note of the rejected Gummy, I realized I had left the freezer open.  That's what I get for trying to plan ahead when it comes to dinner.

Yesterday and parts of today have just been un-pretty.

I recall Beth Moore saying in a study once how her daughter felt she had "earned that ugly".  And I totally, completely, utterly, unashamedly get that.  There are days when you are just trying so dang hard and it still comes apart in your hands and the wheels fall off even when you're trying to obey the speed limits.

I had a fussy baby and a difficult toddler (difficult?  toddler?  Hahaha.) yesterday and I joked to my in-laws later that night about filling the tub for a warm bath and finding some razor blades.  That was probably slightly inappropriate.  But come on.  There are just days like that and we're all lying if we say they never happen to us.  And if you're not lying and if they genuinely never happen to you, then please call me because I want to pay you for your secret.

My day started early and while I've been trying to wake before the baby so I can drink my coffee in peace and have two seconds to myself, yesterday it just didn't work out.  Baby woke up at 5 a.m. to eat and promptly had a tremendous blow-out diaper.  One that I didn't notice until it was already on the carpet.  Killer move, Travis.  So, while the sun is slowly coming up and I'm missing both the sunrise and my coffee, I'm scrubbing stain remover into the floor.  Hello, Tuesday.

The rest of the morning morphs into a blur of shouting and tears.  I'll be honest and say that we all were partakers in the shouting and the tearing up.  Joel had a post-breakfast meltdown and once we got over that hurdle (like thirty minutes later) I decided to redeem the day by turning on some music and smashing up some bananas and making a nice, yummy loaf of chocolate chip banana bread.  Surely that's just what we needed!  A little domesticity, a little warmth in the kitchen, the delicious smells wafting through the house.  It would turn the day around!

What I wasn't counting on was pulling the loaf out to check on it, losing my grip on the pan and having it crash onto the open oven door.  Awe-some.  Deliciousness everywhere but in my mouth.  I was so devastated that I couldn't even cry.  (If you know me, you understand how extreme this was because, hello, me?  Not cry?  Inconceivable!)  I just stood there and stared at it, gave up and turned the oven off.  Eventually I scraped the remains into the trash and left the pathetic looking loaf sitting on the stove.  And no, I haven't yet cleaned my oven door.

I put my head on the counter and kept repeating over and over, "His grace is sufficient, His grace is sufficient..."  A best friend and I had joked about just that very thing the day before.... how on those hard days, you just try and remind yourself of what is true but it feels so far off and so not there and you believe it and you know it, but still.  When you're in the middle of the rinse cycle it's hard to believe you're ever going to come up for air.

Today has had some redeeming qualities.  For instance I got two cups of coffee this morning.  My toddler took (and is still taking) a nice long nap.  The baby has been less fussy and is also down for a rest.  I was able to make some lists and schedule some things on my calendar and just breathe.  I'm even getting to have an iced chai at the moment.  And I know what I'm cooking for dinner, which is always monumental for me (sorry about the open freezer for an hour+, honey.)

Anyway, my point in all of this... if there is a point... is that the hard days happen.  They just do.  And sometimes we need to know that they do.  Sometimes while we're tripping along whistling while we work it's easy to forget that it is work.  It is laborious at times.  When I gave birth to both boys, I definitely understood that what I was doing was serious business and took more of me than I had ever counted on.  But then you get home and it's routine and within-your-own-walls safety and you kind of forget that you have a job to do.  That when they're shouting, you're not supposed to.  That when you want to throw them in bed for a nap, you need to go ahead and stick to doing prayers.  That when it all feels pointless, you still try and teach them a scripture or two to get them started on hiding it all in their hearts.

Sometimes (all the time?) the day-to-day tasks of mothering and house holding and being a wife and either running your home or running your job can just feel like that's all there is.  Like you just have to get through another day.  Last night when I was fighting for thirty minutes to maintain my composure and try to work with my over-tired, inconsolable, stubborn, beating-his-head-against-his-crib toddler, I was seriously beyond ready to throw in the towel.  Hence the comment to my in-laws about locking myself in the bathroom and never coming out.  Sometimes it's all you can do to just survive.

And as I was blessed with some space this afternoon, I read how God wants, how He must have, overcomers.  In the devotional, "Come Away, My Beloved" by: Frances Roberts, I read this:

"... the path where I will lead you is not easy
for your human nature to bear.  It is not a pleasant
way, nor in accord with your selfish desires... 
You have faith in me; this is good, but faith
without works is dead.  Faith I can give you as a gift,
but the works I can do through you only when
your ego moves out of the way.  For they are not your
works, but My works... Like a flood, I will cause
tears to flow through you, and I will purge out
your self-life, and I will give you My love..."

One of the last things that I never, ever want to acknowledge is how motherhood is not about me.  It's not that I don't know this.  I realize mothering means I mother someone, which means the focus is on the child, not on me.  And I'm not trying to exalt motherhood as the highest or most difficult job in the world.  There are many hard tasks that people handle.  Being a Mom is just what's on the top of my resume right now.  But it is always hard to look a relationship or a situation or a lifestyle or a change in the eye and realize that your struggle is not because of he said/she said or a baby's tears or a two-year-old's tantrum or a half-eaten piece of candy.  The struggle is because we are selfish in nature and we simply want what we want when we want it.  It's why my toddler pitches a fit.  It's why the baby cries. It's why I pout.  We all have wants.

The difference is that in this season of my life, my wants take a frequent backseat.  And they have to.  But that doesn't mean it doesn't seem crazy unfair at times or that I don't get a bit resentful or worn out.  I read today in an article regarding happy mothers that no woman can give of herself 100% of the time, all day long, every day without burning out.  And it's true.  We have to recharge somewhere, somehow.  But I've also seen a lot along the lines of, "I just need ME time." from other mothers and even myself.  And I'm wondering if that is an indication of something greater going on.

None of us want to die to self.  But as Christians - not as mothers or as women or as anything else - but as Christ-followers, we are to crucify ourselves with Christ.  We're supposed to be doing God's work as He defines it.  And while I fully believe He supports a mother's need for quiet time and time out with her friends and date nights with her husband and times to care for her physical and emotional and spiritual needs... I also believe that there should be ongoing sacrifice in the home and that it has the great, great, great potential of changing lives.  Of changing the lives of the ones we grew within and birthed and raise.

I'd rather not be honest.  I'd rather just say I'm a Mom and focus on keeping my kid alive day after day. I'd rather not feel challenged to teach him and train him and work on memory verses with him.  It can be so overwhelming just to make sure he and his brother take baths let alone learn a Bible song with hand motions.  But if that's what deep down I feel called to do... and it is, hence the reason I am in a season of staying home and having babies... then this is part of it.  Those ugly days are part of it.  The crying in the shower when the day is done because I failed hard and I know it.... that's part of it.

And it's part of it because this has every opportunity of being the best thing I will ever, ever do while living on this planet.  When I'm sacrificing, when I'm giving, when I'm teaching, when I'm dying to self, when I'm biting my tongue, when I'm not flying off the handle, when I'm holding in the tears and the four-letter-words... that's me surrendering to what God is commanding of me and what my children are demanding and what is required.  

And as much as mothering is about me shaping little beings... it is also about God using little beings to shape and change me.  Every situation is an opportunity for surrender and sacrifice and giving and to become, nail by bitter nail, more like Christ.  To have myself refined and hammered smooth... if that is what I say I want in my life as a lover of Jesus, then this is what it takes sometimes.  I'm going to have to learn to roll with the punches.  To get over my plans and designs for the day.  To recognize opportunities for what they are: opportunities!, not just an inconvenient or unhappy part of my otherwise perfect day.

Just because I stay at home doesn't mean my fight stops or it becomes easy.  I can still be used and that means I can still - and need to be - trained.  All of these daily pieces: the interrupted nights, the too-early mornings, the dirty diapers, the fits, the laundry, the never-getting-to-do-anything-alone... all of that is necessary.  I am here at this point in time because God knows it is the best place for me.  The place I can be used, the place I can love and be loved, the place I can learn more about Him and realize that I need Him more and more.  

This is home.  And this is the perfect - and necessary - space for everything.  

Even the ugly. 

"When the storm rises up, when the shadows descend
Every beat of my heart, every day without end
I will stand like a rock, I will bend till I break
Till there's no more to give, if that's what it takes
I will risk everything, I will fight, I will bleed
I will lay down my life, if that's what you need
Every second I live, that's the promise I make
Baby, that's what I'll give, if that's what it takes
Through the wind and the rain, through the smoke and the fire
When the fear rises up, when the wave's ever higher
I will lay down my heart, my body, my soul
I will hold on all night and never let go
Every second I live, that's the promise I make
Baby, that's what I'll give, if that's what it takes..."
~  C e l i n e   D i o n ,   " I f   T h a t ' s  W h a t   i t   T a k e s "


  1. Oh Laura, I have never needed to read a post more than this. Thanks for the reminders that put my perspective in place again. I hope you and your boys have more good days this week :)

  2. This comment made me blush. I'm so thankful my words helped somehow! (And for the record, any time you need another Mom to relate or completely, completely understand - email any time.) Hope you and your little man are doing fantastic. <3


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