Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Mom, Mum, Mommy, Momma, Mother~ May 9, 2014

Two more days and we get to honor those who gave us life.  This may seem a bit biased as I am a Mommy myself, but I can’t think of a position in this life that is more sacrificial than that of a mother.

It begins with nearly a year of serving as a walking incubator.  Belly’s expand.  Swelling sets in causing a lack of separation of legs & feet resulting in what’s affectionately known as “cankles.”  You endure agony so intense that it doesn’t register on the “rank your pain” smiley face chart.  We’re not even going to talk about the changes to the once svelte body that now looks more like…well…like I said, we’re not going to talk about those unpleasantries.

Then there are the early years, when Mom barely has time to eat much less sleep, bathe or be bothered to groom herself.  Every moment is devoted to this tiny human that God has blessed her with.  She feeds, changes, swaddles, rocks, coos and kisses at all hours of the day.  Sleep deprivation makes her a bit loopy.  You haven’t lived until you’ve poured coffee “into”an upside down mug or put milk away in the cabinet.  She can no longer carry on an intelligent conversation.  Talks now revolve around breastfeeding woes, whose kid has the worst “blow-outs” and when will my body return to normal.

Toddler days, my personal favorite.  Little Johnny has suddenly became mobile.  That moment that you longed to see come has arrived and you find yourself questioning why you were in such a hurry?!  They climb counter tops, yank table clothes, ride the dog & follow you EVERYWHERE you go.  The bathroom is no longer your safe zone.  Now you throw away your favorite momentos destroyed by tiny hands, wipe grape jelly from the walls and vow to not harm this tiny terror who used to be so angelic.

Moving on to school years, finally a reprieve.  You daydream of all the things you will accomplish while your mini-mes are off to get their learn on.  But wait, now your phone rings off the hook!  “Can you bake this?  Can you volunteer here?  Can you sew?  Can you supervise?  Can you lead?  Can you reconstruct the Statue of Liberty while reciting the Declaration of Independence backwards?”  (Ok, so the last one is a slight exaggeration.)  And you do it all, not because you feel obligated but because you have been privileged enough to stay home full time so that you can be available for your kids at all times.  Roman noodles, PB & J’s and fried bologna have made this possible, so I would be remiss if I didn’t give them a shout out.

Then we enter a Hell known as “living with teenagers.”  This is a stage that I am new to so I don’t have much insight.  What I do know is that we deserve some sort of medal for not backhanding those left in our charge when they roll their eyes, shake their heads, huff with exasperation and slam doors as if they are the ones who have the right to be irritated!  We rush from cross country meets, to football games, to choir practice and dance class.  We rattle off stats and plays and brag about how much awesomeness is pouring out of our kids.  All the while, putting our own dreams on hold, not begrudgingly, but with excitement for what the future holds for these spectacular, complex, sometimes hateful, now taller than you, people.

Adulthood is when some might assume that mothering slows down.  Based on my relationship with my own momma, I can vouch for how wrong that assumption is.  My poor mother has counseled me, nurtured me & comforted me in all types of crisis, even more so now than she did as a child.  She’s helped to mend my broken heart.  She’s brought clarity to my muddled mind when I’ve been overwhelmed.  Probably the most meaningful are the times she’s let me sob over the mistakes I’ve made, only to reassure me that I am more than my failures.

I am forever grateful for the momma that I was given.  I am equally thankful for the 5 that call me mommy.  I can’t imagine what the world be like if God hadn’t blessed us with the gift of mothers.  In spite of all the ups and downs, the times were I’ve questioned my sanity and the moments of complete exhaustion, I wouldn’t trade this job for all the riches of the world.  Don’t forget to celebrate your mom this Sunday…and every single day that you are here on this earth.  She deserves your praise.  mother

“She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.  Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise:  “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!” Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.  The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.  Give her everything she deserves!  Festoon her life with praises!” (Proverbs 31-Message)

 

~What You See Vs. What The World Sees~ May 14, 2013

This past Sunday, as part of the Mother’s Day message, we were shown a video produced by Dove.  In this video, women were asked to sit behind a sketch artist who then drew them based on their descriptions of themselves.  He did not see their faces beforehand, he only had their words to go on.  They were also asked to get to know one of the other women from the study.  Then they sat behind the same sketch artist and answered the same questions about the other woman.

The outcome was astounding.  When the two photos were placed side by side, it was obvious that the women did not see themselves in the same light that others did.  The self-descriptive photos showed a less attractive version of the same woman whose beauty shone through in the sketch based on someone else’s words.

It was upsetting to see just how harshly we women judge ourselves.  When we look in the mirror, we see every flaw: a crooked nose, a pimpled chin, crows feet at the corners of our eyes.  We are so focused on all the things we don’t like about appearance that we cannot see the beauty that lies in our individuality.  When others look at us, they see our hearts, not our flaws.  While we are busy critiquing ourselves, others are admiring us for who we truly are.  Why is it that we can see the beauty in others but refuse to see it in our own reflections?

It made me think of how many times someone has given me a compliment and I have quickly shot them down.  My husband tells me all the time how beautiful he thinks I am.  Instead of hearing the love in his words, I come back with comments like, “I look awful today!” or “You have to say that, we’re married.”  When someone praises me for being a good mother, I have been guilty of thinking to myself, “if only they knew how many mistakes I have made just this week, would they still think so highly of me?”

I don’t know why so many of us are hard on ourselves but what I do know is that is not how God intended for us to live.  Every feature that we despise about our appearance was created by the hand of God.  By fussing about all that we find fault with, we are insulting Him!

“He has made everything beautiful in its own time.”

(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

That includes us too.  Everything that God created is a work of art, each one magnificent in its own way.  Try to see yourself as your loved ones see you, or better yet, the way God sees you.  Watch this video and you will see precisely what I mean.

“I will praise you because I, (insert your name here), am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, and that includes me.  Now I know that full well.”

(Psalm 139:14-made personal)