It Doesn’t Always Feel Natural to Nurture [Day 10: listen]

“Mom. Mom. Mom. Mooooom!” This is the soundtrack of my life it seems. I remember when I was young hearing my mom say she wished she could change her name. I never understood that joke until it leaped out of my own mouth. “Just-a-minute” and “go play” seem to always be on my lips. The world pulls my heart away from motherhood and makes me feel like I’m not measuring up to what it means to be a modern woman in a million different ways.

The big dreams of motherhood can certainly feel far away. I often think way down the road to graduations and wedding days, but there are thousands of days between then and now. And right now, there’s an almost 6-year-old who desperately needs to know why you can see the moon this morning.

What I fail to realize when she seems to do nothing but chatter is that she’s listening, too. And she’s watching. She’s learning from me. She’s finding her way in this world, and she needs my help to navigate it all. Though most of it seems of no importance to me, it appears they are life and death to her.

I think we moms tend to forget that this is what we wanted — to be needed and to nurture. Perhaps we just didn’t expect to be on call for these jobs all. the. time. We forget, too, that we were created to do this. Perhaps we can’t see past our inadequacies to sense this may be true.

My daughter doesn’t know I don’t feel completely prepared — she just knows she needs me. She has a million questions, and I’m her most trusted resource. My daughter needs me to help her find her way to graduation and her wedding day. Baby girl is in a hurry, too! Just the other day, she was crying in a taxi asking me why God won’t tell her who she’s going to marry right now. Someone tell this girl she’s only 5!

Yes, this is what I wanted. It’s wrapped up in tears and drama, and maybe I wasn’t expecting that. Even when I wish I wasn’t, I am needed. I am called out of my self to nurture. Though I was created to do this, it doesn’t always feel natural to nurture. It’s in these moments I see my own desperate need for God’s grace in my life. Yes, I was created to do this — but not without help.

I wonder if Timothy’s mom had these days where she wanted to change her name. Did the future preacher ever get under her skin or inspire after-bed-time sobs on her pillow? We don’t get a glimpse into those days because all the Bible tells us is that Timothy was a great, godly man and it was much thanks to his mama and grand-mama and their unfeigned faith.

If it is my prayer to raise world-changers, I have to be present in their worlds today. I listen and lead and, above all, I pray. I give them over to the God who has the power to change them as I do the work on the ground of molding little hearts. To do that, I have to have real faith like Timothy’s mama. I have to believe God is who He says He is and that He will show up in their lives and mine as we figure this whole thing out together. When I realize the significance of this title I’ve taken, I don’t want to change my name anymore.

 

How do you feel about your title today?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

8 Ways I Can Safeguard My Marriage [Day 8: safe]

I’m not a doomsday prepper by any stretch of the imagination. I am more of a “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there” type of person. It’s something I wish I could be better about, and I was reminded of this just last week. The biggest Hindu festival hit here in Nepal, and even though I knew all the shops would close, I started the weekend with an empty fridge. Facepalm.

It cost me a lot of unnecessary stress wandering around trying to find ingredients I needed for a pot-luck fellowship. I even had to send my husband on a wild-goose-chase in search of anything I could take to preserve my reputation as someone who never showed up empty-handed. Well, guess who showed up empty-handed.

I’m not a doomsday prepper when it comes to fruits and veggies, apparently, but some might say I am a doomsday prepper in my marriage. I want 50 years and a lifetime of memories and ministry behind us one day — I’ve shared this with you already. However, when I celebrate small, I realize today is a gift from God which must be properly stewarded. I see that He is working on this otherwise insignificant day in my marriage, and I am resolved to honor His work by putting in some of my own.

The best way I can honor the gift of marriage the Lord has entrusted to me is to safeguard it in every way I can. Each and every day. I don’t prepare for the doomsday; I pray it never comes. But I am wise to consider how I may protect the most precious relationship in my life (next to that with my heavenly Father).

The Bible teaches that Satan is like a lion looking for a prey to pounce on.  When I lose my focus on celebrating small and honoring God in each day of my marriage, I expose a vulnerable underbelly just impossible to pass up for a ravenous beast. If I forget about these big dreams of ours — the biggest being for my marriage to reflect the love of Christ for His church — I am tantalizing to the Tempter.  My marriage is where Satan can hit me hard, and he knows it.

8 Ways I Can Safeguard My Marriage

I safeguard my marriage when I…

  1. Nurture my own walk with the Lord
  2. Refrain from keeping secrets from my husband
  3. Choose not to pursue friendships with the opposite sex
  4. Speak positively of him privately and publicly
  5. Share my heart with my husband even when –especially when — it is hard
  6. Keep my heart from things that spark a negative attitude towards my husband
  7. Make intimacy a priority in my marriage
  8. Pray for my husband

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:11-13).

I don’t want to find myself empty-handed one day in my marriage. I want to thrive within a life-giving, God-honoring marriage for all the days He gives us to live together. I choose to celebrate small each day, praising God for the work He is doing in all the little ways he does it. I honor it all by making daily decisions to safeguard my marriage.

How do you safeguard your marriage?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Create a Habit of Celebrating Small [Day 3: create]

It only took me about 28 years, but I’ve finally started to make my bed every morning. I pick up all the clothes scattered around the floor, open the curtains, and turn on the oil diffuser. It takes me 5 minutes at most but is a great start to my day. I’ve heard it takes at least 21 days to create a habit. and I’m fairly certain I’ve made my bed that many days. A lot the time, it gets unmade by one of the resident monsters that live in my house (see below).

Similarly, celebrating small — praising God in the small things of everyday life — is a habit that must be cultivated. At least for me, this is something that does not come naturally. Finding the joy in each and every day is like finding a needle in a haystack some days when my temper is as high as the temperatures in Kathmandu. When my heart dreams big and longs for more fulfilling days, praising Him for anything other than His innate goodness seems pretty much impossible. Retraining myself to think praisefully –to celebrate small– is a task ongoing. I’ve found there some questions I can ask myself to help me see so that I may rewire this mind set to default negative.

  1. How did God show up today?
  2. How did God speak to me today?
  3. Did He answer a prayer or give hope in a situation?
  4. Did He allow me to get one step closer to a big dream?
  5. Did God use me in the life of another person — or someone else in my life?

These are just starter questions. The point is to create a habit of seeing God in our daily lives and praising Him for the little victories He graciously gives us each day. Remembering the end goal isn’t everything, we can magnify God in the mundane and praise Him with each painstakingly small step of progress towards our big dreams.

Thinking this way is maybe the only better start to each day than a freshly made bed. I’m so glad I’ve created this habit.

 

How will you create a habit of celebrating small?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Dream Big, Celebrate Small [Day 1: worship]

Dream Big

I’ve talked a lot here on my little blog about dreaming big as a missionary, wife, and mom. I’ve got one of those wild hearts that wants to do big things for Him. Fears and discouragement tangle and tame, but I carry these dreams that can turn into burdens all the same. Maybe you have a wild heart, too, and it runs away with your thoughts and emotions much like mine does. What I have come to find in the dreaming big is I fail to see the small victories God graciously grants each day as I chase the grand finale. Do you, too, find this to be true?

God has done a work in my heart to change this way of thinking that translates itself into living. This way of living — of constantly spinning and chasing — is exhausting and not always productive. I get bogged down in the big-dreaming but little-accomplishing. I get discouraged in the day-to-day. As I’ve trained myself to celebrate small, God has been faithful to reveal Himself to me in all the little ways He’s working. I trust that the grand finales in the endeavors of ministry, marriage, and motherhood are coming. By His glorious grace, each day is a step towards them. However, I’ve come to see that each day has its own joys and victories if I train myself to see them.

Celebrate Small

Will you train yourself to celebrate small with me? In celebrating small, we praise God for what He has done. As we praise Him for what He has done, we worship Him for who He is because we know, without Him, we can do nothing. We can’t dream big dreams. We don’t have victory. We can’t see great things done for His glory. We must train ourselves to see Him in all the small ways He works to accomplish the big for His kingdom. If we don’t, we fail to worship Him like we ought.

I’m so excited to begin this journey with you over the next 30 days! I trust God has big things in store, and I so anticipate the culmination of those things. For now, I will celebrate the small, praising Him for what He has done and worshiping Him for who He is. He is so good, friend.

How do you celebrate small?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

The Learned Art of Awareness in Parenting

DAY 13, Five Minute Prompt: AWARE

from Flexibility and Feelings of Children [Click to read the full post.]

From any perspective, she has adjusted well. While she doesn’t often mention missing her grandparents or friends in America, she hasn’t been unaffected by boredom and loneliness. She even worries about everyone hating her, noting how the few kids she knows shoo her away with stuck out tongues.

These missionary and mommy worlds often collide, and my daughter is found in the debris. I can shield and protect her, keep her to myself, and never let her experience this country. Or I can allow these experiences, however painful, to shape and mold her into who God wants her to be.

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At that time, I had become aware that what we were doing wasn’t working. This awareness made me able to make some changes that lifted her spirits. I began spending more one-on-one time with her by allowing her to stay up a little later with mommy. We went on more walks around the neighborhood and tried to get out more.

I was able to enroll her in a nearby pre-school where she is the only foreign student. It is a joy to all of us to see her language taking off and her confidence booming as a result. [more on this decision: Pre-School on the Other Side of the Planet: A Mama’s Desperate Act ]

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It hadn’t just been boredom and loneliness. My sweet 3 year old had been hurting in big ways she didn’t understand. She didn’t know that she needed social interaction and sunlight, she just knew she was sad. I got sucked up in my schedule and missed an opportunity to really see her, pour into her, and love her back to life.

As busy moms, it is so easy to just check off the daily to-do-list and just barely make it to bed time and fail to check in with the hearts of our children. Sometimes there is more than just rebellion at the bottom of that explosive toddler tantrum or brooding teenager in the backseat.

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Awareness involves questions, quality time, and constant prayer. It alleviates unfounded worries and causes me to make change in areas where it is really needed.

Just like me, my children want to be known but may not always be able to express complicated emotions. The responsibility falls on me to study them and surrender their needs to Jesus.

My prayer is no different than last year: that we can point her to Christ, and that she will trust Him with her life. I ask God to make me aware to her needs and to give me wisdom to meet them.

Parenting is such an enormous responsibility, and, honestly, one I don’t feel overly qualified for. But there’s so much grace in my inadequacy. God meets me each day, giving me what I need for this most important ministry called motherhood.

My eyes and ears are open. My heart is bowed before the Giver of this most precious gift.

Are you aware of the needs of your children?
How can you open your eyes to see them today?

Talk to me in the comment section!