A Woman’s Leftovers

awomansleftovers

She gets up before the sun, readies herself for work, and kisses her husband goodbye.  As they exchange “I love you s,” he longs to call after her, “Keep the leftovers for me.”

She watches the sun rise from her office window and wonders to herself where she is going to find the energy to get through this day, let alone the week.  There are projects to finish, meetings to attend, and emails to send.  She has to be at the top of her game.  Once at home, there are meals to cook, boo-boos to kiss, and children’s books to be read.  Again, she has to be at the top of her game.

She finally crashes after going strong for 16 hours straight.  He gets home after a long day himself and wants nothing more than some uninterrupted time with his wife.  She wants to spend time with him too, but there are no leftovers tonight.  She kisses his cheek and heads to bed alone.

His disappointment is growing by leaps and bounds.  He knows she doesn’t have much left each night, but he just wants to see a glimmer of the woman that he married.  Where did she go?  Where is the woman who would wait up late for him and would never pass on his advances?  Will she come back to him?  He sees the way she pulls away ever-so-slightly when he romantically approaches her at the end of a long day.  He knows it’s not because she doesn’t love him, but because she feels she has nothing left to give.

Her heart breaks each time she sees his face fall when she announces that she is just going to bed.  She knows that he would settle for her leftovers, but that’s not what she wants – she wants him to have the best of her.  He deserves the best of her.  How is one supposed to save any energy during a day like this?  During a week, month, and year like this?  She is left wondering how it happened.  How did their marital intimacy go from something full of passion to something that at times feels like another item on her ever-growing to-do list.  She doesn’t mean to put the kids and housework before her husband, it just ends up happening that way far too often.  Most nights, she fully intends to bring back the romance, but by the time they are finally alone, she has had her fill and is touched-out from the demands of motherhood that she can’t move another muscle. She never intended it to be this way, but how can she feel sexy and beautiful when she has spent the last few years in rotten sweats covered in vomit and leaking breast milk.  What if he doesn’t like what he sees?

He wishes that she could see herself through his eyes.  How she grows more and more beautiful to him each day.  Not even on their wedding day did he imagine that he could possibly feel this strongly for her.  She keeps their house in order and is the most amazing mother.  He notices how hard she works and knows that she could conquer the world if she wants to.  He doesn’t notice the vomit and leaking breast milk – he couldn’t be more attracted to her if he tried.

It’s his day off and he makes an extra effort to clean up the house.  He wants to take some things off of her plate.  Maybe then there will be something leftover for him.  She gets home and smells something wonderful coming from the kitchen.  She makes her way to their bedroom to change out of her work clothes and notices the floors have been scrubbed and vacuumed, the bathrooms have been cleaned, and the toys have been picked up.  Someone is speaking her love language.

The kids have gone to bed and she snuggles up to her husband on the couch.  She tells him how handsome he is and again expresses her thanks for all of his hard work – not just on this day, but everyday.  He continually sacrifices so much and it does not go unnoticed.  Tonight there are more than just leftovers and she is able to speak his love language.

As they lay in bed, about to fall asleep, she begins to cry.  He instinctively holds her closer and asks her what’s wrong.  She explains that she always wants it to be like this night – to have something better than leftovers to give to him.  He kisses her cheek and tells her that he knows she feels this way.  They promise to get through this time together and pray that they would continue to be intimate not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. They are not going to give up on each other and believe that God will continue to bless their marriage because they are willing to fight for it.

It’s so worth the fight.

Linked to Holly Gerth

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You’re a Good Mom

A large part of me did not want to take the boys out for the evening.  Work had taken it all out of me, but in an effort to get out of the house and socialize, I loaded them in the car and away we went.

The boys and I met up with my coworkers for some holiday shopping.  Each year, our department sponsors several children in need and then we make a night out of shopping for the items on their wish list.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to put all of our talks about giving into practice.  They were excited and even though they were full of energy, they were pretty well-behaved.

Mom: 1, Wal-Mart: 0

That’s a stat I almost never see.

As promised, we headed to McDonald’s for dinner.  They have a PlayPlace and as winter has begun to descend on us, our need to burn this pent-up energy is apparent.

A long line had already formed and while we were waiting, my oldest decided to sit in one of the “spinny chairs.”  After too many warnings from me, he spun it so hard that he flew off and hurt himself.  Next, he decided to run off and attempt to get ketchup before we had even placed our order.  The act of me chasing him down resulted in us losing our place in line.  Now we had to go to the end and wait even longer.

When we finally reached the counter, I placed our order.  In the ten seconds it took me to order their nuggets, my oldest had taken out five ‘Caution: Wet Floor’ signs and arranged them in McDonald’s lobby.  What is he, a ninja?  Where is this speed and intensity when I ask him to clean up his toys each night?

I hurriedly paid and then had him pick up the signs and put them back where they belonged.  Two guys my age were in line beside us and kind of chuckled while saying, “He sure does seem like a handful.”  I nodded and said, “You have no idea.”

Once our order was ready, I grabbed the tray while holding my youngest and managed to fill our drink and stock up on ketchup.  As soon as I picked the tray up again, my legs were hit as if I was being tackled by a defensive end.  Somehow I managed to balance the tray and hold my son while my other son gave me that knee-buckling hug. If he remembers that technique, he’ll be the next JJ Watt.

We made our way to a table and I began to arrange the food.  Immediately, sleeves were dipped in ketchup as the boys reached for their fries and soda was spilled from our cup.  By the grace of God I was able to keep my cool and patiently clean up our messes.  I then held the boys’ hands and we prayed over our meal.

youreagoodmom

I was completely unprepared for what happened next.  The guys who had been standing in line next to us earlier walked past our table and simply said, “You’re a good mom.”  I thanked them as tears welled in my eyes.  I have no idea why I reacted with so much emotion.  I was in the middle of a rough couple of minutes, but it was otherwise a fun night.  Perhaps it was the fact that the source of this encouragement was so unexpected; it caught me off guard and made me realize how much I needed to hear it.

Sometimes we just need to hear it.  Sometimes we just need the assurance.  Let me be the one to tell you, “You’re a good mom.  You’re a great mom.”  Your hard work is not in vain.  Even if your kids don’t entirely understand all that you do right now, other people notice.  God certainly notices.  It doesn’t take much effort to encourage one another and in the process make someone’s day.

I have never been so glad that I took two kids, by myself, to Wal-Mart and McDonald’s.

1,000 Second Chances

grace

No, no, no!  Not again.  This can’t be happening again!  I had just scrubbed the floors – on my hands and knees, no less – now there is food flung everywhere.  When I say everywhere, I mean it; yogurt is on the floor, the table, the walls, and even the ceiling.

We go through this over and over again.  Food is for eating, not for throwing.  My son is disciplined every time this happens – which is basically each time he eats – but nothing changes.  On this night, I should have known better than to give him yogurt.  It was supposed to be his post-bath, pre-bedtime snack but it turned into his post-first bath, pre-second bath snack.  I take a deep breath and tell myself that I have to give him the chance to learn, no matter how many chances it may take.  One day something will click and I will no longer have to scrub down our walls after each meal.

My husband comes home from work and I snap at him for not doing something that I thought should have been taken care of earlier in the day.  This can’t be happening again!  My snarky, sarcastic comments that come flying out of my mouth have once again hurt the person I love most.

We go through this over and over again.  Sarcasm is for humor, not for hurting.  I feel awful each time it happens, but nothing seems to change.  There are still way too many times that I say things with the intent to push buttons, only to immediately regret them as soon as they have been said.  I know better.  My husband takes a deep breath, expresses his hurt, yet gives me the chance to learn, no matter how many chances it may take.  One day something will click and I will no longer speak before thinking about my words.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:15-16

There are many things that I am thankful for, but I am particularly thankful for the grace and forgiveness bestowed on me by my Savior.  I need it each and every day.  His patience with me is unlike any other.  I can make the same mistakes over and over again, and He is always there to lift me back up and help me to start fresh.  However, there does need to come a time that I truly learn from my mistakes and no longer continue to make the same ones.  If I keep doing the same things over and over, then I need to reevaluate my heart and my life to see if I have been genuinely repentant or just going through the motions when I ask for forgiveness.  I am a sinner – I will always mess up – but true growth in my faith occurs when I learn from the second chances I have been given.

How wonderful it is when my son comes to me with tears in his eyes, ready to confess what has been done, but I am able to wrap him into a big hug, kiss his cheeks, and assure him of my love for him.  This is what Christ does for us when we go to the throne of grace.  Just as I may need to adjust my approach when disciplining my son, God can let us learn from the various consequences of our actions.  I often fool myself into thinking that God’s grace is only for the big mistakes, but it’s for our every day trip-ups as well.  He doesn’t give up on us, no matter how many chances it may take.

Linked to Equipping Godly Women

 

 

A True Story of Faith, Hope, & Love

Faith
When they decided it was time to start a family, they were excited, as any husband and wife would be.  It took a few months, but one day the pregnancy test was positive and the journey of parenthood had officially begun. Thrilled doesn’t even describe the way they felt!
A few weeks later, she began to spot.  After arranging to see the doctor, their worst fears were confirmed – it was a miscarriage.  There were a ton of questions going through their minds, namely “Why?”  He was her rock and they leaned on each other.  As Christians, they turned to God and found comfort in their faith.
Months past, and the holidays came and went.  As spring was right around the corner, they found themselves expecting again!  While there was fear after experiencing a previous miscarriage, they were excited and thankful for this precious child.  During a trip to visit family, she began to spot.  They went to an out-of-town hospital and were told that it was just spotting and to go home and rest.  In her heart of hearts, she knew otherwise.  She knew that they were losing another baby.  It happened on almost the exact same timeline as their first child.
More questions arose and all they could do was pray.  She was his rock and they leaned on each other and their Savior.  While things were difficult, there was peace in knowing that their babies were together in Heaven – they were not alone and they were with their Heavenly Father.
Around this time, there was a special presentation at their church.  A woman in the congregation spoke of a ministry she was involved in that promoted adoption.  A seed was being planted in their hearts and minds.  She did a little online research and kept the information she found in the back of her mind – the timing just wasn’t right.  Summer had arrived and they were enjoying family vacations and time together.
At the end of summer, their third pregnancy test was positive.  Of course, it was a mix of emotions – they were excited but had their guard up.  They went to see a specialist and went through lab work and ultrasounds.  She had begun to take progesterone before the third pregnancy in hopes that the hormones would help.  Their doctors were amazing; they were incredibly supportive and didn’t bombard them with information.  EverythPsalm139-13-16ing was discussed and they felt that the doctors listened to their concerns and shared their feelings.  It was important to them that they work with physicians who recognized that they lost children, not fetal tissue.
During an ultrasound, they discovered that the baby was not growing.  She could tell a difference in the way she was feeling.  It was as if the hormonal changes she had felt at the beginning of the pregnancy had vanished.  They decided that they didn’t want a D & C, but would rather wait for the baby to miscarry naturally.  This happened just shy of the end of her first trimester.
There are things in life that you just can’t explain.  How can you explain how a family can experience the loss of three babies in one year?  The Bible talks repeatedly about the ‘peace that passes understanding.’  God can give you peace in the midst of suffering and you just cannot explain it through any other reason than faith.  This is what they were experiencing after they lost their third baby – a peace that can only come from God.  They knew that their children’s lives had been in God’s hands all along.  Where once there were many questions, it was now as if God was answering their questions without them having to ask. Through it all, God never, ever left their side.
Hope
The seed that had been planted in their hearts concerning adoption had been growing for quite some time.  Suddenly, it seemed very clear to them what God was calling them to do.  They began to do their research on which adoption agency they would go through.  They knew that they wanted it to be an organization that would advocate for them and have conservative values that would line up with their own personal beliefs.  After starting out with one agency, they eventually decided to go a different direction through the work of a family member.  This new agency also ran a home for girls and women who were pregnant with nowhere else to go.  The guidelines were strict, but throughout the application process they felt that the Christian beliefs of the organization aligned with their own faith.  They went to seminars on adoption, met with other families, and finalized their personal profile.  After their home studies were completed in April, the waiting game began.
It was a time of great hope and trust in the Lord.  They felt very strongly that the path of adoption was right for them and knew that in God’s perfect timing everything would be revealed.  Little did they know that God was also preparing the heart of girl several states away.
Five months had past and they hadn’t heard any news.  Then one Friday night they were asked if a birth mother could view their profile.  They were given some of her background information and after much prayer, decided it was all in God’s hands.  They felt a peace about her viewing their personal album.  Shortly thereafter, they were asked if they wanted to meet with this girl.  It was typical for the girls and women to meet with several perspective families, but she only wanted to meet with them.  Not only that, but as part of the process, they had to fill out a child acceptance form.  The birth mother was also required to fill out the same form and all of their answers had to be an exact match.  True to form, God came through and gave them that perfect match.
During this private and personal meeting with this girl, they realized that they wanted the same things for this precious baby.  Their guard had been up because they had not been expecting such an immediate and surreal connection to be made on this day.  Their hope was growing as they continued to communicate with one another in the weeks following their initial meeting.
God was showing them that it was okay to let Him take control.  They understood that while God did not want to see them lose their three children, He could use these experiences to bring glory to His name if they allowed Him to do so.
Love
A breath-takingly beautiful baby boy came into this world mere weeks before Christmas.  There were some final things that needed to be worked out – rights had to be signed over, and other legalities were to be handled.  All the while, the young girl knew she had found the parents for this precious boy.
They drove hours from home to meet this little one.  When they were finally to meet their son, a type of ceremony was arranged by the agency.  It was a private moment that they will never, ever forget.  The emotions that spilled forth when their perfect boy was placed in their arms were unlike anything either of them had ever experienced.  They had loved him before they met him, but the intense and overwhelming love they felt then and there could never be rivaled.  This little one they had prayed for was finally here and he was undeniably theirs. 
 whatfaithcando
God’s direction in their life all made sense.  At times when they didn’t know what was going on, God was pointing them to this moment.  While no one would take the place of their children in Heaven, this baby was meant to be their own and was created for them.  He would never be any less their child than the siblings that came before him or any that might arrive after him.
There was much rejoicing that Christmas, for there was much to be thankful for.  It was a wonderful time filled with friends and family and a season they will always cherish.
After the holidays, they felt like they were settling into parenthood and were loving every minute of it.  The joy of watching their son grow added to the contentment they felt as a family.  When their baby was just about four months old, she began to feel a little different.  Not necessarily in a bad way – just different.  Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your system, and like any new mom, she equated what she was feeling to that.  Because these feelings persisted, she thought that maybe she should take a pregnancy test.  It was positive.
Of course, all kinds of thoughts ran through their minds, but if God had taught them anything it was that He was in control and He would always take care of them.  While the specialist they had seen before was still their OB/Gyn, they decided not to do all of the ‘extra’ stuff and they wanted to wait to tell anyone.  They were soaking up every experience with their son and didn’t want to be worried about tests and lab work.
Weeks had gone by and a baby bump was beginning to appear.  They knew it was time to see their doctor but they were nervous – when they had gone in the past they had always received heartbreaking news.  The doctor gave them an ultrasound and it turns out that she was 3 1/2 weeks farther along than they had anticipated.  Their baby was healthy and moving around like crazy!  They waited a few more weeks and then shared the news with family and friends.  Yet another reason to celebrate!
As the baby grew week by week, God was calming their fears and allowing them to live in the present.  She felt great throughout the pregnancy and was able to keep up with her energetic boy.  He was growing like a weed and was just the happiest baby you would ever want to be around.  They felt truly blessed!
Less than a year after their first son arrived, they welcomed a second healthy baby boy into their family.  In twelve short months, they went from husband and wife, to a family of four.  God did not take the desire of their hearts lightly; they longed to be parents and He answered their prayers in a very real and mighty way.  While God has enabled them to rejoice here on earth, their greatest rejoicing is yet to come when they will all be reunited one glorious day in Heaven!
**I want to thank my friends for allowing me to share their story in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (October) and National Adoption Month (November).  My friends’ testimony has been so powerful in my life; they are amazing parents and amazing people with such a heart for God and for others. All of this has reinforced to me that God is still very much in the business of answering prayers in a big-time way. Not only that, but their story has made me realize how often I underestimate what God is capable of doing. When we allow God to work in our lives, there is just no telling what He can accomplish in us and through us.
Linked to these great blogs: Equipping Godly Women

Caught in the Act

There are times when I just don’t like to share.  I just want to enjoy my food when it’s hot and not lukewarm, or cold and not melting.  Most of the time, I am perfectly fine sharing all that have and all that I am, but every once in a while I just don’t want to.

It seems that all day, everyday I am preaching to my kids to share – “sharing is caring,” “be kind and share,” or “for the love of all that is good and holy, just share already!”  I feel like a broken record.  We are knee-deep in the “mine” stage and I might as well be banging my head against the wall trying to get the boys to play together.  Whenever they do decide to play nicely together and actually share their toys, it’s beautiful and amazing and reinforces to me why I try so hard in the first place.

One evening this past week, I got a hankering for ice cream.  I don’t snack a whole lot, but I just couldn’t shake this craving.  Throughout the evening, I told myself that I would enjoy a bowl of mint chocolate chip and catch up on some of my recorded shows after I put the boys to bed.  I want the kids to see me practicing what I preach, so if there is something that I really, truly do not want to share, I just wait until they go to bed before enjoying it.  The kids were well-behaved and we had a great night together, so my treat was just the cherry on top of a pretty decent day.

icecream

There I was, all tucked into my zebra-print Snuggie with my carton of ice cream (c’mon, I had just washed the dishes and I refused to dirty another bowl) and sole possession of the remote control.  Utopia.  I was about four bites deep when I saw him out of the corner of my eye.  My oldest was standing in the shadows watching me.  Now that he had been spotted, he came a little closer and I saw the look of disbelief and betrayal on his face.

I asked him what he was doing out of bed, but he ignored my question.  “Mommy, what are you doing!?”

“I’m relaxing and eating ice cream.”

“You’re having snack…without me!?”

This is what makes bedtime so hard – the kids are convinced that they are missing something or that something fun is going to happen without them.  I had just provided the proof they needed that the fun continues long after their heads hit the pillow.

Needless to say, my oldest was devastated.  He loves snack time.  No joke, he was close to tears when he caught me in the act of snacking without him.  Yes, I was looking forward to some alone time, and yes, I wanted to enjoy some ice cream without having to share it.  But, rather than send him back to bed, I asked him to join me.

I tucked him under my Snuggie and we passed the carton of ice cream back and forth.  JJ felt like big stuff.  It’s that “I’m doing something rebellious without actually being rebellious” kind of feeling.

Had I not been willing to share, I would have missed out on this awesome moment with my son.  We had some great conversation and truly enjoyed each others company.  There is nothing quite as precious as making a memory when you were least expecting to do so.  At one point, he looked up at me with this huge grin on his face and said, “I love you, Mom.  This is the life!”

It sure is, son.  It sure is.

 

Daylight Savings is the Worst

Before I had kids, this was my reaction when I realized I got to set my clocks back and gain an hour of sleep:

happyjump

Of course, back then I wasn’t really in need of an extra hour of sleep because I could sleep whenever I wanted – provided it wasn’t at work.  Fast forward a few years and this is now my reaction to daylight savings:

glasscaseofemotion

Seriously, a glass case of emotion, people!  And not just me, it’s my kids who are all jacked up on emotions too.

Remember before the kids when you heard about these mythical things known as ‘routines’ and ‘sleep schedules?’  Well it turns out, they are very real and not in the least bit mythical.  I’m not trying to harp on the before kids and after kids subject, but there are some significant changes and while the vast majority are positive, there is no such thing as an extra hour of sleep in my world.

The Saturday night when the clocks are to be changed, there is always the inevitable conversation, “So, should we keep the kids up a little longer tonight?  Or are we just going put them to bed at the same time?”

Here’s the deal – every parent knows that it would make sense for kids to sleep in longer if they stay up later, but that’s not the way it works.  In fact, if I put my kids to bed later, they are usually up earlier.  Joke’s on you, Mom.  That’s why I opted to put them to bed at the same time this year – preserving our routine and my alone time.  Not that I don’t love the extra snuggles, but in the name of honesty, there are nights that as soon as I get the kids to bed I jump around and pump my fists in the air much like Rocky when he reaches the top of the art museum stairs.

Hey, honey – do you want to watch a movie?  Normally it would be too late for us to consider such a thing, but technically instead of 9pm, its 8pm and we are still cool enough to start a movie at this time.  After the movie, we go to bed and hope for the best when it comes to the little ones’ wake up times.

At 6am, I hear the creak of his door followed by the sound of his voice yelling, “Mom!”  My oldest is up. He says he has an important question to ask me and I tell him to go ahead and ask.  “Mom, can our TV still pause movies?”  Ummm, yes.  And this couldn’t have waited another hour and a half to be asked?  I tell him just to crawl into bed with us and lay down.

Thirty seconds later he rolls over and asks me if I’m awake.  In the process of rolling over, he round-house kicked me in the spleen so I answer through gritted teeth that yes, I’m awake.  Thankfully, my husband offers to get up with him so that I can continue to sleep.

Three minutes later I hear our youngest stir in his crib.  Suddenly he is doing his best Stewie Griffin impersonation – “Mom, Mommy, Mommy, Mama, Moooom, Mommy, Mama, Mommy!!!!” I get up and go over to his room.  He greets me with a hug and a smile and shows off the new words he has been learning by saying, “Good morning!”  I’m tired, but it’s still precious.

We all make our way downstairs, get some breakfast and ready ourselves for church.  We are ready an hour early – a milestone.  Sundays mess with the routine enough as it is, but today is twice as nice.

After church, I can tell that the boys are fading on the ride home.  We make some lunch and change our clothes.  When it’s time for their naps they go down easily (thank you, Lord!) and I can get some things done.

As I’m working, I see the sun setting and then I look at the clock.  Just then, my oldest gets up from his nap and immediately I see the confusion on his face.  He thinks he has slept until nighttime.  Then he says to me, “You tricked me!”  I ask him why and he says that it’s my fault I let him sleep all day when I knew that he wanted to play outside.  I try to explain the time change and the fact that it will get darker earlier now, which is a completely fruitless waste of time because he’s three.  He still got to play outside.

The next morning, there was another 6am wake-up call.  This is when my husband and I do that thing where we slap each other back and forth with limp arms as we declare to the other one that it’s “your turn.”  When no one takes the bait on that, we sometimes up the ante.  “I’ll get up tomorrow if you get up today.”  That doesn’t work on me because I get up earlier than he does to get ready for work.  “I’ll get you Dunkin Donuts coffee if you get up.”  Annnnd I’m up and taking on the day.

The week continues with early risers and other adjustments.  The suppertime darkness is really throwing the kids off.  Over dinner I say that I hate winter and can’t wait until spring.  The boys jump on it and make me apologize for saying ‘hate.’ I say I’m sorry and that I ‘intentionally dislike’ winter while my youngest is in his high chair yelling, “no hate, no hate!”

To me, that is really why daylight savings is the worst – it signals the start of a long and chilly season.  I miss my summer nights spent out on the deck.  I miss the warm weather and the walks we can take with the boys.  I miss jumping in the creek and swinging on our swing set.  It’s all over so quickly, but winter seems to drag on and on.

But, we can make new memories during winter, too.  The boys cannot wait until it snows.  We now have a hill perfect for sled riding and a yard primed for a snowman.   Plus, who doesn’t love a good cup of hot chocolate while watching a peaceful snow fall to the ground?

So long, summer and hello, winter!  Our routine will eventually be back to normal, just in time for the holidays to mess it up again!

Casting Your Vote Matters

index

You might be wondering why I am tackling the upcoming election on a platform that I usually reserve for topics such as motherhood, encouragement, and faith.  What does voting have to do with these things?  In a word – everything.

Tomorrow’s election matters.  Whether or not we vote matters.  I’m not going to tell you how to vote or who to vote for.  I’m just explaining that it is, indeed, important to get up, get out, and go vote.

As a parent, I have come to realize that the way I parent and raise my children has a correlation to election results.  When I plan to talk to my kids about certain issues and what I tell them is all impacted by the choices voters make. There are certain things that I didn’t think would be put in motion until much later in my life, but are happening now as a direct result of voting. I have to have these important conversations with my children and prepare them to grow up in a world that looks different than it did during my childhood.

In the roughly ten years that I have been eligible to cast my vote, I have seen incredible changes in our country.  We, as a nation, are now more concerned with whether or not our food is raised on a free-range farm than protecting the life of the unborn.  We worship at the altar of tolerance without cause or concern for whether that which we are tolerant of is even moral or Biblical.  We are more apt to vote for our favorite contestant on ‘American Idol’ then a candidate who will make political decisions on our behalf for the next several years. In the name of political correctness, we can barely pray in a public forum or disagree with a viewpoint that differs from ours for fear that someone will be offended.  You can take God’s name in vain all day long, but pray to Him and you’ll be ripped up and down.  We need to take a stand to stop this madness.

Now, I am just as jaded as the next person when it comes to our politicians.  I sigh and roll my eyes when yet another political scandal is front page news.  I don’t think that, as a group, politicians are trustworthy.  But, I can’t sit back and complain if I am not willing to do my part.  Our country gives us the opportunity to make our voice heard every once in a while and we need to take advantage of that.

Be informed.  While I was standing in line to vote during the 2008 Presidential election, I was behind a college-age girl who was saying that she was definitely voting for Obama.  Her friend asked her what she thought about Biden and her response was, “What’s a Biden?”  I stood there, mouth agape, trying to hold myself back from throwing her out of the line.  If you don’t even know who the candidates are then you are not doing your country any favors.  Your information should not come from political attack ads, either.  Do some research so that you can feel confident when you walk into that voting booth.

How do I decide which candidate deserves my vote?  I educate myself on the issues and then I go straight to the Bible.  What does God’s Word say about these issues?  Because I believe that the Bible is The Truth, all of my decisions – even those I endorse for political office – are based off of this written word.

As the election results pour in, we have to trust that we have done our part and know that God will do the rest.  In church, we discussed that the government has been established by God.  And, yes, there are times when God allows poor leaders to take office as a direct result of what the people deserve. In this day and age it doesn’t seem like we deserve that much, does it? No matter what the outcome, we are to obey those in authority over us unless they are in direct contradiction to God’s Word.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.”

Romans 13:1-2, 5

I have been disappointed in many elections as of late.  But it is comforting to know that God’s hand is in all of it.  No matter if the candidates that I endorse enter the office or not, it is still my responsibility to pray for those elected.  Other than casting my vote, praying is the other thing that I have control over.  We are setting up the future of our country for our children.  What do I want the nation to look like for my sons?  What freedoms will they have or not have as a result of these elections?

Consider these things and get out the vote!

Someone ‘Gets’ You

There are times in life when we feel like no one can relate.  We feel like we are on a life raft in the middle of the ocean with no help in sight.  Not only is it lonely, but it can be scary.

Personally, I have been struggling with loneliness as of late.  Motherhood can be very isolating at times.  Yes, at the end of the day, mothers and parents can all relate to each other in some form, but how often do we get to reach out and make those connections?

Similar to when I worry, when I feel lonely I love to throw pity parties.  The last few weeks have been tough – there are seasons like that.  I think to myself, stay-at-home mothers have other stay-at-home mothers to relate to.  Homeschooling moms have other homeschooling moms and working moms have other working moms.  While I am a working mom, there are periods where I feel that other working moms can’t even relate.  We’re not exactly breaking new ground here, but in the middle of Amish Country in central Pennsylvania, it is still pretty uncommon for the wife to be the breadwinner.  So there I am, hanging out in my life raft with no sign of dry land.

After a day of craziness at work, I come home to my sweet little ones while my husband heads to work.  The exhaustion has already set in, but dinner must be made, laundry must be washed, toys must be played with, and children must be rocked to sleep.  It’s that endless cycle of feeling like you have accomplished nothing with your day while simultaneously doing everything. I try – and fail -not give my husband my leftovers.  Yet, there is not much left of me when he gets home.  He rarely gets the best of me and it breaks my heart.

I know that others feel this way as well.  I know that I am not alone and I wouldn’t have to look far to find someone else who could grab me by the shoulders and say, “I get it!!!”  That’s what we long for, isn’t it?  Some sort of validation that we are not the only one out there treading water and to say it’s okay to tread water every once in a while because before we know it we will be swimming to shore.  We feel that if someone else can confirm the same feelings, then maybe we aren’t failing after all.  It doesn’t have to be loneliness – it can be anything.  Raising a child with special needs, working and going to school, moving to a new area and starting over – these are all things that can be incredibly isolating.

Thankfully, I have a Savior who can relate to everything.  Christ came to earth as a baby so that he could experience life from birth to death and literally walk in our shoes.  He ‘gets’ it.  In fact, I believe that no one has experienced loneliness on the same level that Jesus did.  He was and is the only man who has lived a perfect life – He never sinned.  That had to have been incredibly isolating at times.  His own disciples, who were closer to Him than anyone, didn’t even ‘get’ Him.  They didn’t fully understand who He was until after He was crucified and resurrected

.heknowsme

In my seasons of loneliness, nothing comforts me like the knowledge that my Savior gets me.  The One who holds my life in His hands, knows me like no other.  He knows you, too.  He knows the cry of your heart.  He knows what season of life you are going through.  He is waiting and willing to come along beside you so that you never have to feel alone and isolated. Give it all to the One who gets you.