children, a standard of grace…

StandardOfGrace

 

Beautiful image by Kati Dimoff. More of her photography can be found at http://kdimoffphotography.com and http://youaremywild.wordpress.com

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Why Being a Mom is Enough.

When we had our daughter years ago I made a very tough decision to leave a wonderful job I loved; a very fulfilling creative position with a salary and title I had worked my whole professional life to achieve. Having no idea what motherhood would bring, the decision was tough. Anyone who has made this decision I am very certain can relate. Leave a successful career and change my life completely for something I know nothing about — for some beautiful little being that I have never met? For those of you who have not been in this position I cannot tell you how hard it is. I struggled with guilt for a very long time. My fear of missing the work and creativity of my old life conflicted with all the joy and happiness I was now experiencing as a mother. As priceless and monumental every moment was, I still constantly wondered if I had made the right decision and if I still held the same respect as a mom who ‘did not work.’ In short time gratefulness has relieved every worry I ever had. As time passed and we had two more wonderful children I was finally able to fully embrace the beauty, the importance, and the overwhelming joy and satisfaction that being a mother whose ‘job’ is her children, brings. The last 7 years have been the best, most fulfilling years of my life and each day gets better and better. I think it’s easy in this world where status consists of money, and respect is reflected through our career, to underestimate the importance that being a mother brings. The moments — whether beautiful, chaotic, sleepless, blissful, messy or loving… are all moments to treasure, because being a mom IS enough. It made me so happy to read this article, I felt compelled to share it.
Much love to you Rachel Marie Martin!

Why Being a Mom is Enough.

written by Rachel Marie Martin
* find the full version on her wonderful website Finding Joy, at http://findingjoy.net/why-being-mom-is-enough/

I’m talking about simply being a mom.
I’m talking about getting up in the morning, slapping your face with water, looking in the mirror, sighing, brushing your teeth (maybe), and picking up that toddler and wandering into the kitchen and pouring cereal in bowls, rinsing dishes, kissing the top of their head, and waiting for your coffee to brew.

There isn’t much glamour.
There is you. You giving of yourself. Minute, by minute, by minute, by minute until those hours add up to create a day which adds up to create a week which adds up to create a month which adds up to create years which add up to create a life. A beautiful life filled with ordinary enough mom moments.

Somehow in this mixed up media world of things to do and places to go and dreams to follow the beauty of simply being a mother is completely lost.

Being a mom is enough.
It’s enough, I say.

Sometimes we want to look to those big things and use them as a grade for success. We look at the cool science fair projects where our child got the blue ribbon. But, honestly, we miss the hours of interacting and holding glue sticks and looking up things and laughing side by side. We want the trips to Disney or American Girl Doll and discount the time spent in the backyard. The bar of success and joy and happiness gets pushed so high by culture that the little things, the enough mom moments, are lost.

Do you know what matters?
This.

The other day my 15 year old came to me and told me she missed me. Missed me? I couldn’t believe it. I was a bit incredulous, actually. I told her about the trips to the movies, the trips to the yogurt bar (are those places ever cheap? I mean, seriously, $24 total for four containers of yogurt with a variety of too heavy toppings? End rant.), shopping together, getting Starbucks, and all of that. She looked at me and told me that’s not what she meant. She told me she just wanted me present during the day.

Little things.

Like stopping my crazy busy mom and work agenda to look at the graphic design she made on the computer and really looking at it and trying to appreciate her talents. It’s about me taking thirty minutes to play cards at the table with them and not checking email constantly on my phone. Email can wait thirty minutes. They cannot. It’s in not worrying so much about the laundry and instead just letting that go and being thankful for a family to do laundry for. Just being there. Cooking together. Laughing. Giving of myself in the simple things.

Mom things.

The things that don’t get celebrated on Pinterest that much. They’re the just a mom things that I write about and celebrate. They’re the things that most people probably won’t see.

They don’t see you stand in the bathroom and gather your resolve every morning. They don’t see those of you who mother alone without much support. They don’t see the trips to the car back and forth and back and forth. They don’t see you counting to ten a dozen times before noon. They don’t see you look at the bank account and sigh and try to figure out how to make three meals with what’s left in your pantry. They don’t see you walking into the principals office, doctor’s office, friend’s house and defending your child.

They don’t see bandages placed on knees. Kisses on foreheads at night. Pillows pushed just the right way and blankets tucked to the perfect demands. Laundry folded and folded and folded. Tears that sting your eyes as your keep going. Dinners prepped over the stove. Times of laughter over silly things. Hair brushed and pulled back into pony tails. Prayers over wandering teens. Prayers over little babes. Nights spent sleeping in a chair holding a sick child. Days where the house is a wreck but you’re reading books. The brave smile on your face when you’re weary.

Those things matter.
Those things are the little things that add up and and up and up.
I say those things are enough.

Don’t be weary, dear mother, in trying to keep up with a supermom agenda. There is no supermom, really – that whole supermom who has everything together is just a fallacy. There are real moms. Real, authentic moms who admit that they don’t have it all together but keep on fighting. Scared and tired moms who keep fighting. Moms who are overwhelmed by keeping up with littles all day long. Moms like you and me who sometimes feel lost in a world of outward accomplishments.

A mother isn’t based on external perfection. A mother is the person, the woman, just like you. The woman with little ones in her care that she loves, and sometimes wonders how she loves them because they’re driving her batty, but still she does. She fights, gives, prays, works, and doesn’t give up even when she wants to throw in the towel.

That’s you. Today. Tomorrow. Yesterday.

I say that is enough. 

It is more than enough.

You are amazing.

Children are our greatest gift.

GreatestGift LR

 

This sweet + lovely image is by Klodjana Dervishi. View all of her beautiful work at http://klog.kdphotos.com

Things we LOVE!

These kids are an inspiration to young children and adults alike. They are part of a contest Sprout sponsored called the ‘Kindest Kid Contest.’ I caught a glimpse of this this morning and it made me so happy. It was so touching to see how beautiful and gracious the power kindness can be at such a young age. All of these are beautiful stories showing how much love these children have in their hearts for others and how much joy they feel by giving of themselves. Such sweet stories. You can see more at : http://www.sproutonline.com/kindness-counts/kindest-kidThingWeLove Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 11.59.08 PM Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 11.59.45 PM Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 11.59.55 PMScreen Shot 2013-11-29 at 12.00.11 AM Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 12.00.04 AM

Why Don’t You?

WhyDontYou7

Teachable Moments

TeachableMoment

 

This quote comes from a beautiful and powerful sermon I heard yesterday from our pastor John Mark Harrison. It was such an important message, I wish every parent in the world could hear this sermon. He spoke about cultivating biblical principles into our children’s lives and leading them on their walk with God. He says our teaching should be intentional, be diligent, and be continuous. We should be patient with them, walk with them, and pour into their hearts how to live every moment of every day. We are the example, and when we are living in the flesh we will tend to lash out, but when we are living in the spirit we will find the ‘teaching moments.’ It’s in these moments we find our purpose  — to be consistently present in our children’s lives and cultivate their hearts spiritually. As a parent this is what God has entrusted us to do.

 

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Affirmation #14

Affirmation 13

Loving our children

Loving our children

Children, You are Wonderfully Made…

Even though our kids are young, I find myself too often thinking about those really tough years they all face when they are trying to make sense of who they are and are challenged with the pressures of fitting in – and seriously, it troubles me. I want so much for our children to know – without any doubt or hesitancy – how unbelievably special they are, and to be fully grounded in that, and to build strength and confidence in that wisdom that will see them through anything.

I think all children need to know that it is the little imperfections and differences that build our character and make each of us beautiful and unique. Finding the beauty in our gifts and imperfections gives us an awareness and insight to our true sense of self and propels us to move forward with guided direction and value. Truly knowing yourself and accepting who you are is a very powerful thing. If you don’t know who you are, you are limiting who you can be.

I’ve just never understood why kids are always pushing so hard to ‘fit in’ and pushing out the kids who aren’t like them. I never want our kids to feel like less because they are different in some way. It makes no sense to me. Don’t they see how beautiful our differences are? I hope our children embrace everything about themselves and never try to change because of misguided thoughts. We have to remember that everyone’s idea of perfect (and normal) is different, just as everyone’s gifts are. It’s detrimental to our very being to compare ourselves with others or try to be something that we are not. In all honesty, it makes no sense. God made you just as you are, with purpose and love. You are who he intended for you to be. You should love and celebrate everything about yourself because God created you. We are each wonderfully made individuals, each special in our own different ways. You should never limit yourself by comparison or try to be something you are not. Children need to realize how special they are because that is how God made them, and in that to embrace all the precious gifts that he has given them and express the beauty and love that lives within each and every one. No matter who you are or what you do, your potential is infinite. True beauty always lies within.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
– Psalm 139.14

 

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Affirmation #9

Open your child’s eyes to all of the beauty that surrounds them.

We all have the ability to see beauty everywhere, we just have to be present in the moment, open our hearts, and look at things with a positive perspective. Life is full of obvious beauty — a kind gesture, a child’s laughter, a lovely sunset… but if you also teach your children to search for beauty in hard to find places, like the everyday ordinary things, or the goodness that can come out of bad, or the things we take for granted like breathing and being alive in this moment, it can help them develop an attitude of optimism that can forever change the way they live and think.

Affirmations9