Tuesday, November 22, 2011

as unto the LORD

It is so hard to get back on the blogging bandwagon after you've fallen off! I'm searching my brain for something to write about and there are a million ideas whirring around like race cars!

So as I was on this journey of finding a topic for today's blog, the Lord brought this verse to my attention:
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."
Colossians 3:23

I know we've all heard this verse a million times before but God just showed me that this verse really applies to every area of my life that I'm struggling with right now.

I started feeling a little bit guilty yesterday. I just felt like I wasn't giving enough to Weston and to Leeland. I'm pretty crazy about my house being straight all the time. I can't go to bed with dirty dishes all over the kitchen or toys all over the living room floor. If I leave laundry in the dryer, it will be on my mind until it gets folded and put away. When I walk into the kitchen and the counter is littered with junk mail, shoes, water bottles, keys, jackets, and who knows what else, it's pretty much the equivalent of hearing nails scratch a chalkboard. Now, don't get me wrong, my house is not clean all of the time, but I'm pretty much in a state of anxiety about it all of the time and the second Leeland is down for a nap or asleep for the night, no matter how tired I feel, I am cleaning machine!

But what does that do for my husband and my son? I'm sure they appreciate having a straight house but is that what they really need? You see, I spend all of the time during Leeland's naps cleaning and then by the time he wakes up, I am exhausted. So what do I do? I get him up, I do whatever I can to occupy him and make him happy, but I pretty much just sit in the recliner trying to recuperate while he plays and usually just fusses because he wants more from me. Weston has been working a lot and usually doesn't get home until Leeland's bedtime. But what am I doing during that time? Cleaning! I go to bed early and can never manage to make myself stay up past 9:00 to spend time with my husband. But last night? I was up until 10:30 folding laundry and cleaning our bedroom and bathroom!

All of this to say, I'm giving my family my leftovers. I am investing more in my house than I am in my husband and my son. And I think to myself, "But I'm pregnant and I have to take care of a toddler all day and I can't COMPLETELY neglect my house. I am TIRED! How am I supposed to do this?" That's when the Lord reminded me:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

I think if I focused my work on working for the Lord, He would show me how to prioritize. He will give me energy to do the things I need to do and still invest in my family. He will take away my anxiety when the clothes are left in the dryer for a little bit longer. And I think when I focus on doing things for the Lord and not for men, my family will come first. You see, it's easy to say, "Well, I am putting my family first. I am doing these things FOR THEM. I'm such a servant." But let's be honest, that's not the case. Weston and Leeland could really care less about the condition of the house. I think we could edit this verse a little by removing the last letter. Instead of saying "not for men," it could read "not for me." The reality is that all of these things that I'm doing are really just to make myself feel good. To make me feel accomplished. To get rid of my anxiety.

So yes, I may be tired and pregnant. I may have a crazy toddler to take care of. I may have a lot of responsibilities around the house. But I think when I take the focus off of myself and when I "work with all of my heart AS UNTO THE LORD," it might all seem a bit less overwhelming. And I think the result will be that my family will get the best of me, and not just my leftovers.

Now if you'll excuse me, Leeland is still sleeping and I'm gonna go straighten the house a little before he wakes up... Is it bad/ironic that I'm really about to do that? [Ha!] Don't worry, I think God says it's ok ;)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

joy in the calling

I have been attending MOPS (Mothers Of Pre Schoolers) this Fall and I love it! It has been so good to make so many sweet mom friends and it is always so encouraging. Last Tuesday, I had a busy, overwhelming day and I ALMOST decided not to go to MOPS so I would have a little more time to get things done. But I decided to go anyways and boy am I glad I did! The speaker was SO good and every single thing she said really resonated with me. [I was just looking for the notes I took while she was speaking and can't find them. Hopefully my husband didn't throw them away...he's been watching too much Hoarders!]

One of the first things she talked about was calling. I've blogged a little about this before but the way she explained this really turned on a light bulb for me. She was talking about how so many people are always praying that they would discover what they're calling is. "God, show me my calling! What am I called to do?" And she excitedly said, "I don't have to pray about my calling! I already know what it is!"

"I'm a wife! I am CALLED to be a wife. I'm a mom! I am CALLED to be a mom."

That was a big "Hello!" moment for me. When you look at it as your calling, it really makes the tough moments a little bit easier. I have seen that first hand ever since that moment. It doesn't mean the hard times don't come. Nothing has physically changed for me, but my attitude and my mentality have changed, and that makes all the difference.

The very next day after I heard this speaker, Leeland woke up early. Weston was home that morning and was very capable of getting up with Leeland but instead he just turned over in bed and made some grumpy noises. I was so tired, so very quickly my temper began to flare. I was mad at Weston and I was frustrated that Leeland was awake. But then I reminded myself, "This is my calling." My perspective changed immediately. And then I got up and made a special breakfast for Weston and Leeland. And you know what? I found joy in my calling.

This same week, Leeland had been sick. It wasn't too bad- just a virus that gave him a little fever and a little rash, but after that went away, it caused something else... irritability! He would just cry and cry non stop. And not that fake annoying cry. He would stand in front of me with his arms straight up in the air and cry until his face turned red with big tears streaming down his face. He is a big boy and I can't carry him around forever so lots of tears were shed that day. All of that crying can really start to get to me so I was very glad when nap time arrived. I usually just rock Leeland for a minute or two and then put him in bed awake. But this day, I guess the crying wore him out and he was asleep in my arms before I put him down. Thoughts of my crazy messy house flashed through my head and I was about to put him down so I could get to it. But just as I moved to get up, he nestled his sweet little head a little deeper into my chest and I remembered, "I am called to be a mom." I realized that part of that calling is savoring sweet little moments with my son, even when the day is crazy. So I stayed a little bit longer and cuddled with him. And I found joy in my calling.

Maybe you're not a wife and maybe you're not a mom, but I think your calling can be found just as easily. What are you already doing? Who are you already serving? When you realize what you are called to do, and when you look at it in that way, that's where you can find true joy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

31 day failure

Well, not only did I not make all 31 days, I only got halfway through and the blog has been rather neglected since then. October got CRAZY!

I might not have seemed that busy to some people but for me, it was busy. You see, I used to work a job that kept me crazy busy. My life was pretty much consumed with my job which meant other things in my life were sacrificed- time with my husband, time with my family, ministry, service, investment in church, and many other things. SO, when I had Leeland and quit working, I made a decision to be less busy. It might mean saying "no" sometimes, or a lot of times. But I wanted to make my family a priority.

This "less busy" life is rather nice. Trust me, Leeland keeps me busy enough without adding a bunch of other stuff! But now that I've gotten used to this life, when things do get busy it's overwhelming! But it's ok, it reminds me why I made the decision I did, and I am always grateful to get things back to a little less chaotic.

But that's not necessarily a good excuse for not blogging. I'll tell you what I think the real issue is. I must begin by telling you that I LOVE encouraging people. (Especially women, but if a man gets something out of it too, that's great!) And almost a year ago, I finally admitted to myself that I had a passion for writing, I felt like it was a gift that God gave me, and decided to use writing to encourage people. And it's one of those decisions that I made that I knew would start a battle- a spiritual battle. This is something that I really want to do for the Lord, so satan is going to do all he can to discourage me, and stop me. And I think that's what happened with the 31 days. Around the time that I stopped writing, I was really just emotionally discouraged and for no good reason at all. I think that was the enemy bringing me down. And he kept me down just long enough until I just didn't care anymore and neglected the blog. Man, these spiritual battles are tough!

Anyways, hopefully I'm back! I'm about to write a blog or two to post over the next week and hopefully we'll all get back on track. Oh, and thank you for reading. I don't know if I've ever said that. But seriously, knowing that these blogs are read and that they encourage others is SO encouraging to me! So, thank you, thank you, thank you! :)