When your life is swirling and unfortunately it’s not goodness spewing from your lips…

The wind blows a midst the branches, leaves swirling, caught in the revolving dance of nature.

So goes our lives, being a mom, being a daughter, being a caregiver. Don’t we all have seasons when our lives are swirling around us, and there seems no end in sight?

When we have to literally makes ourselves stop. Make ourselves take a deep breath and simply BREATHE.

Last week, just hours prior to leaving town for a blogging conference, I screamed at my 4 year old daughter that “she had issues.”

Yes, unfortunately, you heard that right.

I screamed at a defenseless child…solely because she wouldn’t put a sweater over her head.

Whew…NOT my proudest moment! And to top it all off, the blogging conference…oh, it was a christian bloggers conference. Talk about really needing the grace of God…I certainly am not a Christian because I’ve got it all right.

It’s more like I get so much wrong and can do nothing good without Him.

All the pressures of the week, all the tugs and pulls to be this & that had left me depleted.

And unfortunately, my kids, my husband, my friends…they received my meager leftovers.

That moment was such a poignant reminder that without Christ, what do I truly accomplish?

If I am not filling myself, moment by moment with Christ, then what do my leftovers look like?

When your kid sweetly says “yes, ma’am” or takes their plate to the sink without asking…it’s easy in that moment to respond patiently with lots of gentleness. But when they contort their face to a snarl and stomp those little feet, when the bickering never ceases, and they quite intentionally slam that door in your face…
IMG_6999 IMG_6643
Those are the moments when it’s only Christ’s love that can respond in joy, in peace, in patience, in kindness.

Everyone has joy when their bundled little one smiles for the first time or the teetering child takes that first solid step… but when the 4am greeting is “Mama, I just threw up again” and you’re left stripping a bed for the 14th morning in a row…

That’s the moment you have to pray for the fruits of the spirit to be breathed out in you.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Galations 5:22 & 23

When I accomplish nothing on my own, is when God accomplishes the most for His glory.
When I am weakest, He is strongest.
When I admit that I’m not perfect, when I ask my child for forgiveness, when I delve into the messy chaotic past…

When I let go of trying to be perfect on my own. Of trying to act like I’ve got this parenting thing under control.

Only then, is God able to come alongside me, pick me up, and help me move forward.

IMG_4530 IMG_3950
So hopefully in that next future moment, when she stares defiantly at me that, “no, she isn’t putting on that red quilted sweater”…in that moment I say…”that is just fine.”

And when my child sees me truly repentant of my selfishness, when they experience firsthand me, mom, asking forgiveness for lashed out words…hopefully then, they see it’s okay to admit our flaws and imperfections.

So when my life swirls out of control, am I beckoning God to come close? Can I take at least one thing off my to-do list so that I can be more present and in the moment with my kids? Do I find moments every hour to remind myself of scripture, to ask God moment by moment to reside peacefully in me, so that others can experience joy, peace, patience from above and not the spewing of someone depleted from life.



Fruits of the Spirit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22

In the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about the things we pray for and I wonder sometimes, does God get tired of our petty prayers? Those prayers that sound something like this….Please help me get this job or Please help this person learn the error of their ways or Please help my team win this football game…prayers that are about you getting something and someone else not getting something. I think we’ve all prayed prayers like this, I know I have. But what about the person on the other end of the prayer who might be saying the exact same prayer to God with their name in the “I” box.

Don’t you think God would rather we pray for the things like….Please help me have kindness to my friend if I do not get this job and she does or Please help me have patience when my kids enjoy the things You’ve given us in nature instead of rushing to the car as I wish they would so we won’t be late or Please give me peace about a situation I cannot understand or grasp the why’s of.

I think what matters a lot in life, and in standing strong in tough times, is our attitude and how we react. The fruits of the spirit in the book of Galatians is all about that….what our actions show about us. I for one, know it’s not easy, but I think it would please God immensely if I were to work harder at displaying those fruits of the spirit.

Each month, for the next nine months, I am trying to focus on one specific fruit. For the month of November, I am working on being more patient.  I could work on this for 365 days of the year and it still wouldn’t be enough. Things I need patience for…when my very potty trained pre-schooler poops in his underwear, AGAIN (sorry for the TMI!), patience for my frustrations when fb does not do what I think it should, patience with myself when I feel mired down with the grief of a tragic loss, and patience on Sunday mornings which, for whatever reason, it is so beyond more challenging to get to church than it is to pre-school.

So perhaps next time when you want to pray for a specific result, pray instead for the fruit that will get you through the situation at hand.