Five Minute Friday: Gift

I got my pastoral license in the mail last weekend. Staring at the official seal, and my name under the words “License to Preach,” I felt overwhelmed and unprepared. As I thought about Lisa-Jo’s prompt for today’s Five Minute Friday, the verse about children being a gift from the Lord cycled on repeat through my mind.

Can I be honest and admit that sometimes I forget my kids are a gift? When “mom, mom, mom” rings in my ears, my car is carpeted in goldfish crackers one day after I vacuum it, and “please just let me have one moment’s peace!” The constant need terrifies me, because I am human and I lose patience and fall short.

And now, I am a licensed minister, with an appointment in my church to oversee the spiritual formation of other people’s children and to build community. That’s a lot more need. This place I’m in is one I’ve worked towards for decades, and it truly is a gift! God dropped it in my lap and it’s the perfect type of gift: one you’re not asking for, but that so accurately meets your needs. Yet even here, I can forget for a moment what a precious thing I’ve been given.

That’s what came out of my mind today…

GO

There’s something about motherhood that triggers so many spiritual lessons in me. I think God gave me four children because He knew how much I had to learn, and that this was the only way of getting through to me.

When I first have a hint that I may be pregnant, that little question in my brain feels like a present. Sitting there, wrapped up tight, possibilities untold. The anticipation of new life is exciting; whether it’s the physical new life of an addition to our family, or the spiritual new life of roads less traveled and paths unexplored. Then the reality of the situation falls on your shoulders. Aches and pains associated with growth, uncomfortableness and strange cravings abound…and let’s not even touch those mood swings.

It all seems to be too much to handle, too overwhelming, never-ending. And it’s all out of your control! You begin to wonder how much of a gift this really is. And then the moment of delivery occurs. All is right with the world, and you can only stare in wonder at the amazingly perfect thing that God has brought forth. Those first few hours, days, weeks are spend basking in the glory that God would entrust something so special and fragile to your care.

Over time, the idea of your gift fades as the newness wears off and things get tough. You struggle and fail. Things seem out of your control. Pain happens, and it hurts more than you could ever have conceived. Guilt that you’ve destroyed God’s perfect creation, and shame that you would have ever tried to steward it in the first place.

But God reminds: I have chosen you. This is where I have you. Keep moving forward, and follow my lead.

Whether it’s with our children, our marriages, our ministries, our careers…whatever He has conceived and birthed in your life…it’s a gift. Sometimes it just takes some reminding.

STOP

Just in case there’s any question or confusion…no, I’m not pregnant and I have no plans to be pregnant again. I wanted to make that very clear, because I know sometimes my five-minute rambles can leave people wondering if there’s a hidden meaning.

Happy Friday!

What does “gift” mean to you?

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{Not so} Five Minute Friday: Rest

So much has happened, and not happened, this week for us. I have a lot to share, but I am just not up to it tonight after the day I’ve had. I hope to update, fill-in and have some photographic show-and-tell next week after a relaxing three-day weekend.

When I saw that Lisa-Jo went over the five-minute time limit this week, I felt like doing the same. Sometimes the timer frees me in my writing, but tonight it felt like more of a constraint. So, I fudged a bit with the rules.

And yes, I’m aware that the majority of my Five Minute Friday posts have been about my kids, and the frustrations of motherhood. I try to balance this out, because I know I have guy readers and single readers, but lately by Thursday night my brain won’t go anywhere else.

And…enough of the excuses.

Here…we…

GO

My children were skating down the aisle of Target.

Fuzzy toilet seat covers under each foot, they raced each other back and forth. Slipping, sliding and giggling; I attempted to hold an important conversation. Normally I don’t schedule phone calls for public places, but this was a call I couldn’t pass up.

There’s a house we want; when we see it we feel like it’s home. The proximity to close friends doesn’t hurt it’s curb appeal…especially since we can see those friends’ home from the curb of the house.

Silently screaming at the top of my lungs, stomping my feet and shaking my fist, I politely fielded the landlord’s questions. Obviously I wasn’t paying attention because I told him the completely wrong amounts for our income. He was slightly concerned, which makes sense when you learn I cut my husband’s salary in half. Oops.

There are moments as a mom when I just don’t have the answers. I wanted to shake them and scream at them to demonstrate my anger. Actions that would only have escalated the situation, and not helped any of us to learn from it. How could I let them know that wrapping yourself in bath towels and reclining on the shelves of fluffy bath mats was not appropriate behavior?

Apparently telling them that was not enough.

Then tonight I come home and read about the time God wanted to shake and yell at the Israelites. He was fed up. Done. Finished. Because He’s God, and follows through with His promises, He told them He would send an angel with them to complete the journey.

“Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up from…Egypt…I will send an angel before you…; I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people and I might destroy you on the way.” {Exodus 33:1-3, emphasis added}

God pulled a “your children” on Moses. You know, when the kids are being bad and suddenly you’re not their parent anymore? And then, He says that they’re gonna have a babysitter, because if God stays with them He will DESTROY them.

Seriously! This whole passage made me feel so much better. God understands! He knows!

I am not alone. I am not a bad mom. I am going to be ok.

How does Moses react to suddenly being left holding the reins for this bedraggled bunch? He reminds God that the Israelites are His, too.

Moses intercedes for the Israelites, who are in no position to ask anything of God. He tells God that if He’s not going to lead them Himself, then He needs to leave them where they are.

Just like when Josh reminds me, after an earful of ranting, that I love my children. I’m grateful for the gift God has given me in putting us together. They were eagerly anticipated and joyfully welcomed into this world.

I am their mom, and I need to lead them forward.

So, I led them out of Target, got a break for a couple of hours, and I’m ready to begin it all again tomorrow. Because I’m their mom, and they need me to lead them.

STOP

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Five Minute Friday: Motherhood Should Come With…

courtesy of photobucket.com

These pure and spontaneous pleasures are “patches of Godlight” in the woods of our experience. {C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm}

Five Minute Fridays have become “patches of Godlight” for me. In 5 minutes I tap-tap-tap out my spontaneous response to Lisa-Jo‘s prompt, and then leave it there for you; pure, raw and unedited. Reading how others respond to the prompt leaves me marveling at the creativity of God, shown through the complexity of His creation.

So, the rules are simple:

1. Write for five minutes straight without stopping, thinking or revising.

2. Link up your post at Lisa-Jo’s site.

3. Check out as many of the posts that others link up as you have time for.

Today’s prompt is “Motherhood Should Come With…

GO:

After four children I know a lot about what motherhood requires. Although I’m no expert, I have opinions about the best swaddling blankets (Koala Baby waffle blankets from Babies R Us) and my favorite pacifiers (Nuk – latex).

My friend and neighbor is currently 9-1/2 months pregnant with her first baby. As I talk with her about onesies, medications, and babywraps I realize that there is one thing every new mother should not be without.

Other mothers.

We don’t always agree. Formula, breastfeeding. Cosleeping, crying it out. Cloth, disposable. Stay at home, work outside the home. There are a plethora of schools of thought on what’s best for a child and a parent. Really, doesn’t it all come down to the fact that we’re all trying to do our best?

We need each other. To reassure us that someday you won’t have to wipe anyone else’s bottom. To encourage when you’ve had 2 hours interrupted sleep for the third night in a row. To laugh with you when your toddler creates a mural of lipstick on your comforter, and to cry when you send your oldest off to Kindergarten.

Putting aside our differences, let us not forsake meeting with one another. At playgrounds, MOPs groups, PTA meetings and in our own living rooms. Being a mom can be isolating and all-consuming.

Motherhood should come with playdates for mommies.

STOP

Now it’s your turn! If you don’t have a blog, leave a comment below with what you think is a necessary tool for parenting.

Also, I don’t normally post on Sundays, but I would love it if you checked back here this Sunday. My mom will be guest posting on Mother’s Day! I’m so very excited about it!!!

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