I have been researching information on "how to be a mom". Well... I'm already a mom, but not the kind of mom that I want to be.
If the details of parenting are my clothes, and consistent information on being a 'mom' is a map, then oh my goodness!, I'm running around naked and completely lost in the middle of 5:00 Atlanta traffic! Tonight, I came across 2 very important resources to aide me in my quest to "Be a Mom" (the kind that doesn't suck).
First- Focus on the Family has a "Family Media Link" that will allow people (like me) to queue many different podcast and listen in order of selected titles while we busy ourselves with other task. This is extremely important, because I get sidetracked- almost instantly. Just having something queued up, ready to play back to back like an ipod song list is a miracle for me! (Currently, every podcast available about Parenting, Motherhood, Homeschool, and Marriage is queued. I may very well have 317 hours of listening to do. This is an awesome thing to add my 43 page "To-Do List")
I also discovered the Hearts at Home website. The title alone gives me so much hope! I'm a stay at home mom of 3 girls! My HEARTS desire is to enjoy and savor my 3-hearts- at home. I love Dr. James Dobson. I love Focus on the Family. I love the fact that I can LISTEN to the podcast about being a stay at home mom while I search the Hearts at Home website. (Hello! 3 girls. I'm busy. I have to be super duper productive during my "break time".) I'm so excited to have 2 incredible resources available and so easily accessible.
This year I am extra desperate to get myself a PhD... or at the very least, a DEGREE in motherhood. This year I will be a full time, hard core, no-turning-back-now- Homeschool Mom.
My oldest daughter has recently turned 6, and my middle daughter will be 4 next week, and in less than 3 months, the 'baby' will be 2. Ya. I'm seriously in need of MUCHOCrammo (cramming), because this year, I'll be taking the EXAM of my life in our venture of homeschooling-
AND the fun-emotionally-exhausting-I'm not a baby any more, but I'm still too young 4 year old stage,
on TOP OF the lovely, adventurous, my hands have to be touching everything, and pulling anything not nailed down off and out of it's place -2 year old stage (terrible 2's would have been a shorter version... but it's not the terrible-two's... they lied... it's the terrible 3's. I have one more year. Thanks)
I'm excited to have found HAH, well, relieved to the point of being giddy actually! I discovered their name via a plug on The Focus on the Family podcast about Stay At Home Moms. After using my handy-dandy Google Chrome, I discovered that Hearts at Home holds conferences, will soon have mom tips, resources, tools, etc.... BUT what caught my eye was that one of the speakers at one of the conferences happened to have been Julie Ann Barnhill.
I bought 2 books by Julie Ann Barnhill around a year ago called "She's Gonna Blow" and "Motherhood: The Guilt that Keeps on Giving" , and instantly fell in love with her methods of explaining the challenges and joys of motherhood. This lady was WRITING a book about ME. I'm pretty sure she was just spying on me, and using my life experience to inspire her to write a few books! But- you know- there's no way to prove that, so.... eh, whatever
Through these books I felt like I KNEW for sure that I wasn't alone in the exhaustion and frustration of motherhood, and felt overwhelmed with a sense of "WHOOHOOO!" because I related to her so well in the first chapters of each book, that I felt confident that the advice she offered would be feasible in my walk-down-mommy-hood.
And, too, I so desire that loving, affectionate relationship with my daughters. I have a sincere longing to actually focus on spending genuine quality time with these 3 precious gifts. But- I am "that" mom that we hear about so much. "The Mom that's too busy." "The Mom that's toooo stressed out." "The Mom that stays awake until 4 AM in order to wind down from an incredibly long day, and then finds herself too tired to get up the next morning, and irritable, and..... " Ahem. Moving on.
Hearts at Home is one of the few bookmarks that I've put as my "favorites", right alongside Facebook, Focus on the Family, The Fertitlity Wizard, Youtube, My Blogspot, and my email! I am anxious to spend time exploring the site, reading blogs that have been posted by 'other' mom's, and seeing if there is a glimmer of hope that one of the conferences they offer will be coming to Atlanta this coming fall!!
Seriously, though, what absolutely amazes me about HAH, is that God had already given me a vision 2 days ago about the importance of Moms joining together in such a variety of ways-- through offering one another tips about meal preparation and organization, or maybe offering suggestions on resources, favorite authors, activities, discounts, coupons sources, and so on. But really for Moms to come together and simply SHARE with one another- in a sort of marriage-vow-esk way... in times of sickness with puke stained clothes and in health.... in the rich times and in severe debt times, in joy and in sorrow....! Helping one another, loving one another, encouraging one another--- (maybe cleaning each other's houses?!?) ;-)
Tonight, I'm praising God for the incredible love that He has for me, and for my girls. He is providing me with the tools I need to survive my journey, but oh-so much more importantly, He is giving my daughters the opportunity to survive the crazy world we live in, by enabling their Mom to educate herself on "How to be a Mom" (the kind that doesn't suck).
"Who Are You Today?" he asked, laughing. "One day you're sweet, and loving, and excited about the plans that God has for you, and the next day, you're hateful and angry. I never know who you're going to be when I get home."
And though he was laughing, he was serious. His laughter wasn't synical, or spiteful. It was genuine. He thought it was actually funny that his wife was having one of those 'crazy' days? Or was he laughing because there was nothing else to do, but to laugh off the unpredictable?
"Why can't you just HELP me. I don't understand why you choose to ignore the most important things that are going on with our family! Instead of looking up information about your random hobby, why won't you FIRST take care of the responsibilites that you have put off with in our home?!?!" She was screaming. Screaming. Rage and frustration ran through her veins in such an uncontrollable fashion. This was the point of no return. She had allowed herself to lose complete control.
"You're acting like a psycho. Listen to yourself!!" and as soon as the words came out of his mouth, he had to dodge a cup of ice and water that she had thrown at his head.
"Don't say that I'm psycho. Don't Say That!!!! You know that saying that is the worst thing you could do right now, and you're doing it anyway." In her head, though, she knew that by throwing that cup at him, she was prooving him right. She was acting crazy.
The day before, God had given her a vision for a ministry. It was all about Mom's. It was a ministry that she needed more than anything, so writing an outline for that vision seemed hypocritical of her. Satan was great at telling her "HA! You have too many issues to help anyone else out." But God was sweet. He reminded her that the vision was, in fact, for her. He gave her a peace about the program, and she found herself saying, "Even if I'm the only person that reads this outline, and I'm the only one that goes through the steps of this program, it is still an amazing gift from God. He knows exactly what I need, and how desperate I am for change. Should God decide to use this program for other mom's, then praise to Him. And praise to Him that I get to use this program, that He designed it just for me."
But tonight, she was defeated. Tonight, she felt as though she had been shoved into a pit in which she was the laborer for the hole. Tonight she couldn't see straight, or think clearly. She could only feel the anxiety, and stress, and fear that came with raising 3 small children, and preparing for the upcoming school year (in which she would be homeschooling). Frustration that came from staying up so late, and waking up too early. Anxiety that swallowed her, and lied to her, and made her feel as though nothing could take away the stress that came with her life. And anger that told her how terrible her husband was, and how awful he is for not choosing to help her take care of their home, and the million 'things-that-needed-to-be-done" list.
And her reaction to his seat in front of his computer, looking up information on his specific hobby, was absolutely the worst possible thing she could have done.
Oh, the liar Satan was telling her how lazy her husband was, and how terrible it is that her heartfelt pleas to her husband for help and support have been ignored. She had so many tears and emotionally exhuasting conversations with her husband about her desperation for more involvement from him. "Please help me figure out how to take care of our kids. Please help me remember important things that need to be done. Please help me figure out a way to pay for 'this' and plan for 'that'. Please. Please. Tears. Pleading and Crying.
Yet, he had continually focused on his hobby, completely ignoring her exhaustion, and cries for help.
The Liar told the wife that she had 'every right' to 'tell him off'. And a lot of good it did her to listen. Eve eating an apple, The Wife shouting at her husband. No difference. None at all.
The wife, is, with out question, overwhelmed. She does have too much on her list of responsibilities, and she does take on many task that are not hers to accomplish., (but her husbands). And the choices the wife has are limited. Put up or shut up. Deal with it, or be miserable. (So she thinks).
Who is she going to be tommorow? Patient? Uncontrolled? Angry? Peaceful?
She doesn't even know the answer to this. She has no idea. But she is trying so hard to figure it out. She has been trying. In her failure, she loses sight of hope. But in her Father, she sees that His Plan is not going to fail. So hope clings to life. She'll try again.
Toss me in the pit, and I know my God will rescue me, Throw me in a furnace, and my skin will not burn. Take away all I've ever owned, and I'll still have a place to rest my head and food to fill my body.. A Promise is A Promise, and The Great I Am, He made a promise. I am His. He is mine. What is broken will be restored. What is empty will be filled. You can't take away a promise, when that promise comes from God.
She said she wasn't worth anything. She said she didn't have a purpose. She was certain that she was unwanted. She had terrible mental disorders and a drug addiction. Her speech was fast and unclear. Her hands fidgeted and jerked. She told lie after lie to most people she knew. Everyone seemed afraid of her inconsistent personality. Some had said she had multiple personalities!
And then God put somebody in her life that spoke truth into this 20-something young girl. When the girl said, "I have no purpose." Her friend said "Yes. You do have a purpose. God has given us all a purpose."
When the girl said "Nobody wants me. I'm not worth the time. I'm messed up. I'm useless." Her friend said "God wants you. He loves you. You are more precious to Him than anything! You think you're messed up, but it's Satan that has taken the GOOD in you and turned it into bad. God made You just the way you are."
And this girl said to her friend after several encounters "Will you take me to church? I really want to go." And her friend, who hadn't been to church herself for quite some time obliged. It happened to be a Tuesday night, so they agreed to go the next day. No sense in waitin' around for Sunday.
And this girls' friend called me. She told me the girls story, and immedietly I felt a deep humility in the fact that I could have very well had this girls' same issues. I could struggle with the very afflictions that are on her. But God chose to rescue me from that life. For whatever reason- reasons I cannot fathom, He chose to keep His hand on me. I was broken. Broken!
We decided to ride together, to take this girl to a church we both knew very well and loved deeply. We knew the pastor was a life-speaker, not afraid on stepping on even the most fragile toes! I hadn't been in a while- I had gotten out of the routine for a few months.
I got to spend time with the girl a little on the way there, and on the way back- though I can't be certain what was truth and what was a lie. But I could tell that she was bound- she made no admission of drug abuse, but her body language and speech made that confession for her.
Once inside the building, my finger tips became ice cold. I felt the Holy Spirit wash over me, and the service hadn't even started. I was in His presence fully once I began to worship, I was overcome with a sense of awe all over again. I was humbled and confused.... "God! You love me!! Why?! God!! You chose me. You rescued me out of the pit- YOU put person after person in my life to ensure that I would not slip away! You thought THAT much of me?!?!"
Once the pastor began to speak, I began taking fervent notes- something I rarely do! God was speaking to me. He had given me something to say in His perfect time, and I can't even explain how scared I am to follow through. I feel like Moses... going before Pharoah. Was it not Moses that said "God. Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?" And I am asking God the same question. Who. Am. I?
One page of those notes were for my friend. I wasn't sure exactly why I needed to give her those notes (she was sitting there beside me... she heard everything I did), but I did it anyway. The title of the page said "(her name) The Prophet." God had given me an incredible Word for my friend, and for myself. "The Time is Now! What I had put in place years ago, what I had put in your spirit, and in your heart. What you already knew.... The Time is Now. I have a plan! You're a part of it. The time is now!"
The next day my friend said that she was struggling. She couldn't pay attention at church the night before- she felt tense, and her mind was out of focus. The enitre next day she felt depressed... unwanted, unloved.... and then she opened her Bible and read the notes that God had told me to give to her- and she felt relieved and calm afterward- We determined that Satan had sent out the task-force to attack my friend- because that message was so perfect for her. It was exactly what she needed to hear! God had something to say to her- and He made SURE she heard it, despite Satan's attempts to shut her ears up. Amazing- He loves HER that much, too!!!!
But still I wonder... who am I? Why ask me to give her the notes? I chicken-scratched random things all over the front and back of that page... I can't even remember what it said aside from the title.
And then I think about the big picture. God used that girl, the girl that thought she was worth nothing, and had no purpose, and her afflictions, and He put a desire in her heart to go to church, which IN TURN put ME and my friend in that building, to hear that specific message from that specific pastor on that specific day. My friend and I wouldn't have gone to church that night had she not requested to go! We would have made several excuses about why we just wanted to stay home. I mean- after all- So You Think You Can Dance was on!! It was family night.
But- you know... being the 'Good Christians' we are, we felt it was our 'duty' to take this poor lost soul to church- we prayed for her, and we both hoped she would find deliverance.
How arrogant and unaware we were! We thought God was using US to allow that girl to hear the Word of God... instead... God used HER to allow us to hear a Word from Him!
You think you've got no purpose? You think you are beyond God's intention to see HIS plans seen through?!?! Think again! (I'm talking to myself here!)
God will take a murderer and an adulter (King David), a thief (the man beside Jesus on the cross), a stuttering Hebrew (Moses), a Christian-Hater (Paul), a prostitute, a drug addict..... and He'll use them to bring Him Glory, and to teach others exactly who He is. Why would He not use me? Or you?
I never intended on rocking the boat...it was standing up that made it happen. -aka
When Jesus declared "He who is with out sin should cast the first stone", He set the standard for speaking up when we see an injustice take place. Would it have hurt Jesus (physically) had that woman been stoned? He was just an innocent bystander, it was none of His business to intrude, was it? Why would He create a ruccous amongst the crowd, just to save that whore?!? She certainly did not deserve salvation- it was the law- she was CAUGHT in the act of adultery, what she DESERVED was a 'stoning'.
But Jesus had compassion on her. He knew that her sin was no greater than the sins of those that had their stones pulled back, target in sight, and ready to throw!
So, He spoke up. He stood up. He 'rocked the boat'.
He 'made the way' for the rest of us. He showed us how to live, how to treat others, how to speak, how to pray, how to love, how to be angry with out sinning, how to endure hunger, temptaion, trials, and how to have faith!
He showed us that 'standing up' could, (not only!) rock the boat... but it could even put us on a 'cross' to be crucified for speaking the Truth!
While in the kitchen, I heard Zoe declare "Ok. Now I have 3 Crocodile Eggs." I looked down into the playroom, and noticed that Zoe was sitting on the potty. She explained that her eggs had to stay in the potty until they were ready to be crocodiles, and when she got up from the potty, she looked into the toilet and said "Stay there." She finished up her bathroom routine, and stood in the door way, looking at me "Mommy. My crocodile eggs are going to stay in there until they hatch, ok?" And then she turned off the bathroom light and closed the door. "They are going to sleep now."
Yes. Zoe's 3 little crocodile eggs are exaclty what you're assuming..... 3 little Zoe poopies. They rested in the potty until Zoe was too busy to notice that I flushed her 'Crocodile Eggs', lest her baby sister reached into the toilet and tried to examine them.
I am typically overloaded. What mom of 3 small children isn't? It is because I am the primary care giver of my entire household that most of the tedious task associated home life fall into my lap.
Washing, drying, folding/hanging, and putting away laundry for myself and my 3 girls is a long process in and of itself. There are play clothes, dress clothes, casual every day clothes, pajamas, socks, underwear and bathing suits- all having a specific place to be for each child.... and though recently my oldest daughter (who is 6) has been helpful in putting her clothes where they belong, for the most part, it is only my responsibility to put everything away.
Then I've got my laundry. Gym clothes, dress clothes, hang around the house and clean clothes, etc..... All to be put in specific places, and all of them getting there ONLY if I put them where they belong.
For 9 years, it has been my sole responsibility to go grocery shopping. It's a long process for me, because I have to think carefully about everything we buy. I am a label reader, and try to buy the most natural and the most wholesome foods I can find. Since, for the most part, health food is the most expensive food, I have to be very careful to plan out my grocery trip, lest I spend $200 per week on food and hygeine needs.
Between my children and my husband, our yard stays in need of my attention as well. There are tools and toys to be picked up, hoses to be winded and spickets to be turned off. Misc. items that have been left outside, with intentions of being picked up later, and random pieces of trash or dishes that have been left. These are things I notice, and things that bother me, so they are left alone until I find the time to gather them up, and put them away.
And then there are the basic cleaning task.... toilets, sinks that require scrubbing, counters that have gathered random articles of daily living, anything from toys, to toothbrushes, sunglasses, loose change, empty containers of shampoo, and so on...... Linens that need to be washed, and put back in place, surfaces that need to be dusted, and shoes that have been scattered randomly.
Meal preparation is not optional either. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks and drinks. All to be thought out, prepared, and then cleaned up.
My vehicle stays in need of cleaning, too. It gathers crumbs from our snacks on the go, water bottles and toys, mail, gum wrappers, diapers, and anything else that can be accumulated when traveling here and there with 3 kids and myself.
Several times a year, I have the overwhelming task of reorganizing closets,dressers and storage places. Winter clothes need to be exchanged for spring and summer, so containers full of clothes that have been packed away need to be sorted out... does this fit anymore, are there stains on that, can it be passed down to the younger chidren, or held onto for another year? Do we need these shoes, or those hats anymore? Or how about that toy..... should we hold on to the bouncy seat just in case, are we able to get rid of the double stroller yet?
Doctors appointments, trips to the dentist, clothing purchases, and educational stimulation are also a part of my duties as a mom.... all of the above are responsibilities that I carry on my shoulders, and mine alone.
In the past year, I added homeschool to my resume, but I was able to remove financial organizer, budgeter, and bill payer from it. I was also able to breathe the fresh air of freedom when we sold our business, and secretary, marketing director, accountant, and personal assistant were removed as well.
My husband takes on the primary role of provider. He has one of the most exhausting jobs out there as a roofer. As mentioned before, he has also taken over our finances, and he is responsible for his laundry, as well as taking out the trash, unloading the dishwasher, and when I am in desperate need, he will sweep up the living room/dining room, and finish cleaning the kitchen.
And though I am aware that his primary responsibility is working to be able to provide for our family, I have to admit that I do feel cheated. Certainly, I could not leave our house and hop on top of a roof, and know how to place shingles, or how to repair an oddly leaking chimney..... and this is what he says to me when I wonder why he is not able to call out the name of our daughters' pediatrician, or remember to change the oil in my van. I don't understand why he isn't able to pick up a gallon of milk when we run out, or atleast ask "Should I grab milk on my way home, I noticed we were out". I can't understand why I can't get in my car, only to see that he has taken it out to be vacuumed and washed, just because it was something that needed to be done, or why he wouldn't take in upon himself to wash our linens, or clean up our yard. And I can't understand why left overs in our refridgerator, or empty shampoo containers can't be thrown out by his hands, rather than being left for me.
I am exhausted. Overloaded. In my body, and in my mind. I tend to blame my husband for this, because I think that there must be more that he could take on, in order to remove the burden from me. I'm not sure that I'm right in my thinking, I would assume that most men would agree with his take on our situation. He provides the income, and I take care of our home and our children..... and I'll assume that most women would agree with me, that he should take on more responsibility with in our home in order make my job less stressful.
For as long as I can remember, literally, since I was 4 or 5 years old, I've had a desire to sing. Not just sing, like tra-le-da-di-dah sing, but I mean 'SANG-it-Girl!!!! ' sing. My sister has an incredible voice..... INCREDIBLE! When we were little, she and I sang together all of the time! Young children can discern a genuine praise and an 'oh, ya... you did a good job' praise, and I was always on the receiving end of the 'hmmm....that was good', rather than the beaming eyes and the radiantly proud smile that my mom shined at my sister after each perfromance of 'Jesus Loves Me' or 'Amazing Grace'.
I think that I pretty much gave up on singing before I actually had the opportunity to truly try it out. I wrote it off as a talent that my sister got, so it must mean that I wasn't going to get the ability to use my voice. That thinking also goes for art. My older brother received glory and awe over his ability to color, and creatively draw something with out any sort of lessons or classes. It's just something he's always been able to do. It's something I've always wanted to do, and I've tried to do, but I can't even get the stick man figures to look right....
So, growing up, I would do comparisons to my siblings. My brother, the artist. My sister, the singer. And then, there was me..... I had no talent to offer. Seriously- zero natural ability in anything creative. (It may be a middle child syndrome).
Soon, though, I began to write. I actually remember the first thing I wrote. I was in elementary school, maybe first or second grade. Our teacher gave us a few pieces of paper and told us to write a story, something that we made up, and we were to make the story in the fashion of a 'book'. No big deal. When I had finished my 'book', I remember my teacher being stunned, and I remember her personally giving my mom the book, and my mom was 'wowed'! I didn't really think it was that great, it was just a story that I made up about a chicken that was flying in an airplane. But these grown ups were impressed, so it made me assume I had done something good.
During middle school and especially high school, I wrote a lot! Mostly poetry. It wasn't for recognition, it was just an outlet for me. Not many people had even read what I wrote, and I didn't save any of it, because it wasn't something I thought was worth keeping.
Recently, I've been writing more and more. Although much of what I write is in the form of a blog, I've also been writing out revelations. I write in my head, if that even makes sense. I wrote a story about a dream I had, I write to my husband here and there..... But in the last year, I've had lyrics and melodic phrases in my head!
About 8 months ago I wrote a song.... and it sparked an enourmous jolt of frustration in me. I mean!!! I have this song, but not a single part of me is able to put what I hear in my head into my vocal chords. I don't play a musical instrument, and I don't have enough rythym to even tap out the beat that would match the direction I have in mind for the song. Finally, I just stuffed the finished product into a folder, and decided that I wasn't going to mess around with it. It's very emotional to have a vision and not have the ability to see that vision carried out. So, I just gave up. To this day, I can't even remember where I put that folder..... because I had no desire to bring it back out of it's hiding place.
But, God recently gave me another song, (a different song for a different reason). I feel almost certain that it was God that put the lyrics in my head, because just before I wrote it, I made a statement that went along the lines of 'If God will give me the words, I'll put them on paper...." There are other things that go along with this story, things that I'll share if I'm able to, but I'm not going to get in to all that now. The point is, it wasn't just the lyrics that God gave me... it was the title and the direction in which the title would take to form the song....
Anyway, RIGHT after making the statement , I literally opened up my notebook and wrote this song. And as I finished writing the second verse, listening to it in my head as I wrote it, and then hearing the power of the singer's voice as they went into the chorus, I got a lump in my throat. It could be a powerful song, it could minister to so many people! And then that ache and that frustration came back. Here I am again!!!! A vision. A song. No voice to sing it, or musical talent to play out the sound that I hear.... So. So. SOOOOOO!!!! Frustrating!!!
But this song, the one I am sorta kinda thinking that God gave me, it's for a particular group of people. It's not for me to keep, (thank GOD!).
Or, it could be that I am too self-conscience and too wimpy to do what I feel like I'm sappose to do, and hand over those lyrics to the people I think they are meant for. Just thinking about it makes me jittery..... I was nervous letting my husband read the words, HOW AM I going to hand it over to someone I barely know?!??!?
I know I need to do it, but I feel overwhelmed. God may have to give me a kick in the rear.... if it's something He wants me to do soon. Otherwise, I'm going to just sit still for a bit, and make sure it's something I am suppose to do." (ahhhh... **wringing hands and biting lip***!!! This is crazy! Why am I second guessing myself. And God!!!)
My sister sent me this email, and I was so amazed by the powerful revelation she gave.
About the Healer blog:
Reading that was such a blessing. I felt the Holy Spirit as you read it to me and also again reading it. The reason your under attack so much is no longer something I'll question.
Every bullet in war thats shot at the enemy has an impact, but its the bombs that do the most devastation and what you've done in your obedience to God has dropped an atom bomb.
I pray your blog will get out and spread like a wild fire setting those enslaved to there sin FREE and that christians begin to show LOVE to there brothers and sisters who are bound because of there shame, in Jesus name I pray Amen.