Tuesday, March 2, 2010

focus.

disclaimer: this post is not intended to bring about positive cheers in my court. i am not looking for sometime to pat me on my back while i am feeling down. i know that i am loved, this is simply here to share.

i have pretty much been sucking it up as a wife and mother. although, i am going to give myself a little bit of credit here- i have been putting a lot of work into my marriage (most days) and i do feel like the relationship aspect of what i have with sam is definitely moving in the right direction. praise the Lord.
however- wifely duties? like having a clean, well maintained home? or having dinner made and not ordered in? or how about having a showered wife? although these days i am sure he would be happy for a smiling wife (as opposed to the ball of stress i have been).
but a lot of the wife aspects can be chalked up to 2 reasons:
1) i am an exhausted pregnant woman.
2) i cannot get myself organized
and those things can be directly related if not caused by the simple fact that i am not consistently starting my day centered on my Savior.
it's the kid stuff that is really breaking me down. pretty much all day sunday (starting from a little after midnight) was an emotional roller-coaster. way to much bleeding for someone who is pregnant, followed by a stupid nurse who doesn't accurately know how to use a doppler to check for a baby's heartbeat, and the horror of what we thought was going to be a second lost baby (we had a miscarriage in March of 2005).
but the prayers that you are sometimes to afraid to even utter, but are pragmatically etched into your heart, are answered. and around 10 am sam and i got the first glimpse of baby 4 (happily moving and heart beating).
so, you'd think after spending a day not moving- then monday being sick and letting my husband take care of everything, one would think i'd be emotionally recharged for my life.
ha ha ha ha ha.
i wish.
if anything i am ashamed of myself. i came close to what i thought was losing a child, and here i am tuesday morning secretly wishing that someone else could be the other 3's mom for a couple of days.
my children are driving me crazy. and i hate to even admit that out loud, because i will get the friends who actually say to me, "and you think you are going to home-school your kids?" and the friends who just look at me and think "she'll never be able to handle staying home and home-schooling all of them".
not that i blame them, i am the not the picture of someone who has it all together.
when i take a moment (while my children are NOT napping, even though they should be) to really reflect on myself as a mother, and why i cannot muster up an iota of patience towards my children, two things come to mind.
1) the director of women's ministries at my church (and leader of my women's Bible study which i rarely can get myself out the door for) told me something fairly profound- which may not sound profound to anyone else, but at the time it was for me simply because it was said in such a way that made sense to me.
"one of the reason's God gives us children is to show us how much we need Him, and how we cannot do any of this on our own".
apparently God really wants me to know how much i need Him, because He keeps throwing these little blessings into my lap (feel free to replace blessings with any other word that may come to mind.)
2) compassion.
i seem to be unable to show my children the smallest amount of compassion. instead i continually demand excellence and perfection from them, when i am not taking the time to lay down the steps to help them accomplish obedience.
and today i connected the 2 thoughts in my brain. because i kept thinking, it's not like i am constantly whining to God about Mason sitting in my chair or Campbell touching me with his milk cup (2 things my children frequently do) or its...... well i was going to come up with other examples and then realized i couldn't. because i DO do things like that all the time. i may ask my children to pick up their toys 20 times before they do it- and get frustrated to the end of my very short fuse, and what about me? how often does God ask me to not worry but to trust in Him? and how many times at the first sign of conflict,crisis, or concern do i immediately find my husband or a friend or the internet or my own scenarios trying to mend the issue? instead of simply stopping myself and praying to my Lord?
i am not different then my children. the only difference is that i cannot physically see the Lord getting frustrated with me. but my children get a front row show to that all the time.
so why can i not offer them the same compassion and forgiveness that the Lord gives me? why is it so hard to be an example of Christ to them, and imitator of God?
because, i am a sinner who really needs her Lord.
i thought about all the things i could try and start to make my life more organized: doing dishes after each meal, not going to bed with a messy house, not letting the laundry pile up, getting the kids to clean up their toys immediately after losing interest with them....
all of those things are good things- but they don't represent the heart of the problem.
and that is me, and my heart.
i have become more self-fish than a mother can allow herself to be. constantly frustrated by being interrupted with all the things i want to do.
when being a wife and mother is the only thing i want to do.
such a pickle i am in.
so, a small challenge for myself. instead of trying to radically change all the fiascoes of chaos i have forming around here, i am going to try instead to focus on my heart.
1) starting my day centered on the Lord. i know that i may not always have a moment to do devotions before one, two or all of my children wake up, but starting my morning with my eyes and mind focused on Him, asking there to be more of Him and less of me, will be a good start.
2) really praying. being slow to anger. quick to listen. to pray before i react- to remember that i am the biggest example of Christ my children will get to see today and tomorrow.
and if that thought doesn't freak me out enough to change.... well, than i need a lot of prayer.




13 comments:

  1. I hear you on being uncomfortable about talking about your bad days with anyone, sinc eyou know the response will be "you shouldn't ahve so many kids" or something equally unhelpful.
    I know exactly what you are talking about with expecting more of your children than you give yourself, it was a huge breakthrough for me to realize that my kids are people just like me and need to be respected as such! I wrote about it on my blog back in November called Discipline vs. Punishment. Respecting my children changed everything about my parenting. As for organizing, I am still working on that one! But I've found that all of the stuff that I never use seriously hampers all efforts to get organized and I'm in the process of getting rid of lots of it, and it is making a difference.
    Praying for you! God Bless.

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  2. Mary - thanks for sharing...started to comment, and became a letter, so emailing you. I agree, I feel the pressure myself to prove to 'people' that I can do this, and realize I just get to learn the lessons of my life and don't get as many 'breaks' w/my kids being in school elsewhere. But I really want to get this!
    I'm so happy for your marriage fruit....and praying for your other fruit = 4 little blessings. Love!

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  3. I could go on and on but I'll just say, "Well said!" Most if not all moms have days, even seasons, like this. If only we'd all talk this way in "real" life:)

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  4. Oh man, have I been there! I agree with Sarah - it would feel less lonely if people TALKED about it instead of always acting like everything is perfect.

    Thank you for sharing. I just said a prayer for you!

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  5. NO matter what, being pregnant changes everything. Especially when you don't feel good. This reminds me a little of when I was pregnant with Brice (minus the kids running around). I know Sam works, but so do you. You are working to grow a child and taking care of three all day while trying to take care of yourself. I'm not sure of the amount he helps around the house, but he really needs to step in a little more during these next few months. What is the time of day that you feel most energized and well? Have that be the time of day you do the important things (laundry). Sort it from the couch, or on the bed and just take it one load at a time. Give Sam a list of everything else to do when he's home. I know he's tired after work, but so are you. Assign him dinner and dishes and clean up at the end of the night. Nothing has to be perfect. Think of ways to work with what you have to better organize yourself so you feel better. And find some child care a few days a week (MIL?)...

    Things wont always be this way. They will get better and the kid WILL grow older. :)

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  6. Hi Mary. I know that we have only talked a couple of times, but I wanted to comment. I am in the same place right now. We have been living at my in-law's house for the last 2 months and that has totally thrown off my organization and brought out my selfishness. Now that my little Samuel is walking too, I feel like I am constantly disciplining him, not to mention the frantic feeling. I had a mental break down the other day because I don't have time for me... how dumb is that! All I wanted to be was a wife and a mother too. And here (we) stand, selfish. How badly we need a loving, merciful Savior. And what do you know, we have one!!

    So He started showing me things. Things like (and this might sound corny, so be warned) how beautiful a drop of water is, sparkling and full of color, and yet He has created us infinitely more beautiful; and how beautiful the green grass is when the sun is shining and how amazing a sunrise is, and yet, we are more beautiful to Him and more meaningful to Him than any of this could EVER be!

    Then, He showed me that the purpose of a marriage and really any relationship (kids included) is to become more like Him. We will be refined and grated against and pulverized until we come out looking more like Him. In these trials, and because He is merciful He gives us such moments of beauty in the things He has created as they are lived out, and then again, we go to the refiner. But it is all for our good. And He does give us such good things. And as we are seeking him with fully surrendered hearts, we will be filled and equipped, because He never calls without equipping. In that we can be content and be hopeful and be joyful. So praise the Lord for our failings and His faithfulness!

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  7. Thank you for this. This has really got me thinking. Not only were you saying everything I feel, but you really pointed out some good responses for how I should be! :)
    Congrats on your newest blessing. I am so happy that baby is safe and it was just a threatened miscarriage. {hugs}

    Lori-Anne

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  8. Beautifully written.

    I, too, have been incredibly blessed (5 times over) yet struggle daily (even by the minute) with impatience, irritation, frustration, and anger. God and I have been working on it for a long, long time. Not surprisingly (is that a word?), the first step He showed me is the same one He revealed to you - starting out the day with Him.

    Over several years, and as I'm ready for them, God has been showing me more and more steps toward freedom from this anger thing (because really, the annoyance and impatience are just "anger lite") and I am attempting to chronical the journey into a book to help and encourage other mothers like me (us).

    God bless you as you walk with Him!

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  9. Found you via Kingdom Mama.

    This was something I need to hear. I'm reading Ginger Plowman's "Don't Make Me Count to 3" (good book) and a lot of it is about molding your child's heart pointing him/her to God. Well, maybe, just maybe I should be pointing my own heart towards Him and maybe just maybe this whole mothering thing would feel more the blessing that is actually is. Anyway. Really just wanted to say thanks for sharing your heart.

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  10. You could have been ME talking here. Thanks for sharing EXACTLY what I have been feeling and thinking. No, I'm not going through the baby worries that you are, but the rest.. yes!

    sending love and prayers. xx

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  11. OMGosh! I feel like I could have typed what you just wrote. I have 3 little boys ages 7,4 and 1. I want another baby so bad and we are trying but most days I too struggle with anger and I pray daily for God to give me patience. Immediately after yelling or spanking I feel HORRIBLE and to see the fear in their eyes breaks my heart. We love our boys and want them to grow up to serve the Lord but we know we need to change. Thank you for just putting it out there like that. I am sure there are few who would have the nerve. Why do so many mothers (including me) feel like we need to put on a front like our family is perfect and our kids are perfect. They all misbehave and if we could just accept that then maybe we wouldn't beat ourselves up so much. I have learned that being interrupted frustrates me because I wanted to sit at the computer and read blogs or facebook and got so mad when they interuppted. Well I try not to do that anymore. I don't clean or do laundry or dishes until they are all in the bed (8pm) and then I have "mommy time" and my husband is wonderful helping me with all of it. I decided playing with my boys is more important than the computer or reading emails. And I don't care if laundry sits on the couch for days!!! :-D I used to be so anal about these things, but life is short and they need to know they are important to us. Congratulations on your pregnancy.

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  12. Oh and one more thing. In that book "what to expect when you are expecting" I read that a pregnant women's body sitting down is doing as much work as a person mountain climbing. Just keep that in mind and know that this too shall come to pass. (pregnancy)

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