I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Mexico with Operation Christmas Child. I had the opportunity to visit with several local pastors and lead a team of staff members as we all got to experience the joy of thousands of children hearing the Gospel for the very first time.
One of my favorite things about being a mom is how God uses parenting moments to give me better insight into His relationship with me.
This past week, my husband and I celebrated our daughter’s third birthday. After he picked her up from preschool, she came barreling in the door asking for a “birthday lollipop.” I told her no because we had plans to surprise her with a trip to an ice cream shop that had 20 flavors and 50 toppings to choose from. She immediately burst into tears, devastated that we wouldn’t let her have a lollipop. As she melted into the floor, accusing us of hurting her feelings, I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, “If you only knew what we have planned for you!”
“Jesus may have said man shall not live by bread alone, but He said nothing about moms living by caffeine alone,” I joked to my husband while sucking down my second cup of coffee after a hectic morning. Icy roads, school delays, and blow-out diapers had not set us off on the right foot. I was frustrated because I was going to be late to work (again), but in the midst of the craziness, I felt a gentle prompting in my spirit to meditate on Nehemiah 8:10:
For the joy of the Lord is your strength.
I remember my son’s first cry clearly… because it was immediately followed by silence.
Neither of our birth stories went the way my husband and I had planned. I was in labor with our daughter for over 24 hours when her oxygen levels started dropping, leading to an emergency C-section. With our son, we had a scheduled C-section, but I went into labor four weeks early, so it ended up being another emergency operation.
I’m honored to share this beautiful testimony from my sweet friend, Tiffany, who will always hold a special place in my heart. She was my daughter’s nanny for two years, and my husband and I consider her part of our family. Every single day, she was intentional about showing my baby girl the love of Jesus and I will be forever thankful.
For out of His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. – John 1:16
“The Lord keeps giving me a vision of being in the middle of an ocean. I’m treading water and barely surviving. There’s no land in sight; nowhere to go. I begin to get more and more exhausted as I try to carry my life on my shoulders. My past crashes over me like a wave. The pain of sexual abuse, fear, and unworthiness creep into my lungs while I desperately fill them with air. I push my head under the water every few seconds to rest. But then I pop back up, gasping for air, and take up the weight again. I never stay down long enough to let the water fill my lungs.
“Who’s in charge?”
The other day I found myself asking my toddler this question after she repeatedly refused to put away her new Christmas toys. Usually, she responds with a sullen, “You are.” But this time she smiled at me and said, “Jesus is!”
It was pretty hard to argue with that logic, so my new parenting motto is: Until Jesus comes back, Mommy’s in charge.
For the past few weeks, bedtime has been a hot mess in our family. Our toddler has been crying every night for various reasons: she’s scared, she wants a hug, she needs a drink, or she has to go to the bathroom. The night typically starts with me gently comforting her and ends with me yelling, “Stop whining! You’re fine!”
She’s usually a pretty good sleeper, but there’s something crazy about this time of year. We are all exhausted, and I’m quick to lose my temper because we are in a season of over-spending, over-scheduling, and over-worrying.