Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Mixed-Up Prayer Life

I have come to a realization. Way too often, my prayer life focuses on other people when I should be focusing on myself. Let me clarify. Obviously, I pray for other people in the ways that I should...praying for health, for salvation. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the prayers I pray trying to fix everyone. Well, not everyone. Pretty much just my children.

There is a pattern. Life is good. Prayer life good. Devotions good. Something happens with one of my children. Here comes the fear, worry, anxiety. Of course, I can fix it or him or her. Of course I am supposed to fix it. Let them learn from their own mistakes? Let them suffer natural consequences? Why would I do that when I can participate in giving them the perfect life I believe they should have?

Of course, my efforts are in vain. This life isn't perfect. But it takes me awhile to admit defeat. Here is where my prayers begin to shift. "Dear Lord, please change this about this child. I know life would be so much easier if this child didn't have to deal with (insert issue here)." The prayers continue. Sometimes I even start explaining to God why it is a good idea to answer these prayers. "This child could better serve you if you fix this." "Please fix this for me because then I will stop worrying. I know worrying is wrong. If you will take care of this then I won't have to worry."

Wow. Ouch. It hurts to reread these words. In my head, I know I need to be praying for me and my issues. "Lord, please forgive my lack of faith. Please forgive my anxious heart. Please increase my faith. Please give me wisdom." Yep. That is more like it. I know this. So why do I fall back into those other ruts time and time again? I know why. I do. But it is still frustrating.

I love my children. But I need to be careful with the "my" that precedes children. Because they really belong to God. Knowing how much I love them and how much I want them to have a good life, I know that the love God has for them is incomprehensible. It is when I get too wrapped up in the "my" that I allow that fear, worry and anxiety to creep in.

I do want to do right by my children. But more importantly, I want to do right by God. And his idea of my doing right does not always coincide with my ideas. When I fall on my knees and cry out to God for His children, seeking His will for them and not mine, praying for my faith to be increased, asking for guidance, only then can I get this mixed-up prayer life back the way it should be.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This Is All I Have to Give

This is all I have to give. These are not words I speak aloud, at least not very often, and only to a close friend during a very trying time. These are words I am more likely to speak to the end of a day filled with what I consider to be failures...or right in the middle of a plan or situation that is disintegrating right before my eyes. These are not encouraging words when used in this context. These are the words of a mom who is trying so hard...trying to have a productive day...trying to juggle an over-filled calendar...trying to give the kids a fun day filled with activities....just trying...and not succeeding, at least not in her eyes.

I know I am not alone. I make a plan. I am excited about the plan. The day begins. Then in the midst of it, one child says, "Do we have to go today?" Another says, "Can I just go to a friend's house?" There goes all the air out of my Mommy balloon.

Or let's just assume the day goes as planned. I am excited and content, satisfied that everything I have planned happened and happened without any issues. Then I am thinking, time to relax. And then..."Wait, I thought we were going to do..." or "Can one more friend come over?" or "Are these all the snacks you got?"
Hello deflated balloon.

Let me share one recent example.
My daughter had 3 friends spending the night. My younger son had 2 friends spending the night, and my older son had a friend spending the night. Let's not stop to analyze my sanity. Let's just move on. It was a Sunday night. I tutor on Mondays, and on this particular Monday, I had to pick up a friend from the airport. I knew I had to have a plan. I went to the store and got snacks for the evening, both sweet and salty. Then I went ahead and mixed up pancake batter and made pancakes for the morning. I put them in the fridge and let everyone know they could just heat them up in the microwave the next morning because I would be gone to the airport. Wow. I have to admit, I was a little impressed with myself. I thought ahead and tried to plan for everything. The next morning I went to airport, picked up my friend and took her home. I arrived home with 20 minutes to spare before my tutoring student would arrive.
And then I walked into my house. Chaos. The girls had decided to embellish breakfast by making toast (with pancakes?! and with my last loaf of bread?!) and fruit salad (with the last apple, banana and pear...and which was not eaten). The boys were waiting to eat because the girls wanted to play restaurant with them. And my entire kitchen floor was sticky.

This is the point of the story where I would love to be able to say that I smiled and joined in to help out. I would love to say that I decided I could tutor my student at the picnic table outside, so that they could continue with their fun. Yep. I would love to say that is how I reacted. Instead I whispered those words to myself...That was all I had to give.

I didn't scream. What I did might have been worse. I used that quiet, tight-lipped voice. Know the one? The one that really conveys, "I am a half a step away from losing it completely, so don't push me any farther." The boys ate quickly, and I began cleanup. My floor was covered in sweet tea...except for the part that had the puddle of Swiffer Wet Jet cleaner...the rest of my Swiffer Wet Jet cleaner. My tutoring student was 10 minutes early, so she got to see me at my, well, not at my best.

Not only did I end up cleaning the floor on my hands and knees that day, but I also spent a ridiculous amount of time beating myself up about my reaction. We moms are really so good at that.

I could give many more examples, and I am sure you could as well, but that is not where the story ends. There is more. This is all I have to rearrange the words. I have all this to give. What? Thank God for giving me all I need. When I go to Him before reacting, my reactions are so different. And I know this. But it is a lesson I learn over and over again. God has not given me this husband and these children and said, "Okay, good luck with that. I will check in on you later if I have a minute." He is with me all the time. He gives me all I need...I just have to remember to ask.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My responses to Proverbs 31 OBS Week 2

So I have been asked to share some truths about my life.

  • I love being a stay at home mom.
  • I love my husband more today than the day I married him.
  • I struggle with keeping a consistent quiet time.
  • I struggle with turning over control to God in many areas but especially when it comes to my children. I so want to make their lives perfect and pain free. I want to control their circumstances. That has gotten harder as they have gotten older, and now one of my biggest struggles is stepping back and allowing my 17 year old to make his own decisions...and mistakes. 
  • I pray and pray and pray, but when God's timing isn't mine, I get frustrated. 
  • I almost made a huge mistake today. We have a great neighborhood with lots of little girls, but my daughter and 3 others tend to do stay the nights very regularly. Tonight she found out one was spending the night at the others and she was not invited. She was sad. I wanted to fix it. I know if I called the mom and told her the situation, my daughter would be invited. I was hurting so much for my daughter. I know nothing was done out of malice, but the result was the same. Then another little girl came over and asked my daughter to spend the night with her. As she was getting her stuff together, I tried to make a life lesson. "See? Sometimes when we are so sad that one thing doesn't happen, we have to realize that God might have something else planned for us." Then these jewels of wisdom came out of my little girl's mouth. "Oh, I am not upset about that. It is okay for them to spend time together without me. I have no reason to be jealous. I know we are best friends, too." So, who got the life lesson? Me. I do thank God that I didn't  take that bottle of ketchup I had borrowed over to that house just to see if an invitation would be extended. My goodness. See? Major control issues. But I am trying!
Well, there are some truths for you. I am sure there are many more I could share, but I will stop there for tonight. 

Let me introduce myself...

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Wendy, and I am a wannabe supermom (in my head, I am hearing, "Hello, Wendy," like in a support group). In case you do not understand what I mean by wannabe supermom, let me briefly explain. I love being a mom. I love being a stay-at-home wife and homeschooling mom. I have good intentions, and I come up with amazing plans and ideas. However, I fall short of my expectations of myself...a lot. I have discovered that when I do fall short and that disappointment in myself creeps in, or floods in, depending on the day, it colors the way I do everything until I can pick myself back up.
I had never considered writing a blog until one of my dearest friends (more of a sister, really) from college suggested it during one of our annual college friends get-togethers. We always share our lives with one another, and she just stopped one day and said, "You should really write about your experiences." And so the seed was planted.
Then last week I started an online Bible study from the Proverbs 31 ministry. Again and again, the leaders mention, "Comment on this in your blog and share your blog address with us or leave a comment here if you don't have a blog." And the seed grew.
So, here I am. I don't know if anyone will read it, but I love to write, so either way, I am fine.
More information about me...I have been married for 19 years, and we have 3 children together (17-year-old boy, 13-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl). My husband has 2 boys from his first marriage who are now adults.
My husband and I graduated from high school together, but we really didn't know each other until years later. We met through mutual friends. He was in the Navy, and I was in college. We dated for just over a year and then married. We lived in a small town in Georgia for 5 years, and then we returned "home" to the Charleston area of South Carolina, where we still live. We have been in the same house since 1999. As 2 former navy brats, it was very important to us to raise our children in the same place. He got out of the Navy with 12 years in and just retired from the Reserves last year. I taught for 3 years in Georgia and then 5 years in SC (high school English and Newspaper).
I have been home with my children since 2004.
We are starting our 9th year homeschooling this year.
We attend a Presbyterian church where I sing on the worship team and my husband is a deacon.
We are conservative Republicans, but I am not intending for this to be a political blog.
I guess that is enough for now. I am very excited about my first endeavor as a blogger. Here we go!