5 Things to Do for Someone Who’s Had a Miscarriage

5 Things to Do for Someone Who’s Had a Miscarriage

5 Things to do for Someone Who's had a Miscarriage

As many as 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. That means the odds are either you or someone you know has experienced the loss of a baby through miscarriage.

As a woman who has lost 2 babies, I can attest to the healing power of other’s loving words and supportive actions. Although I have experienced loss firsthand, I still struggle to find the words to say to someone else who has lost a baby. Each loss is so unique, just like each woman who is grieving is unique. But as with any heart that is hurting, comfort does not come from a perfect sentence or flawless sentiment. A grieving momma just needs to know that you are available and that she is loved.

Don’t allow the uncertainty of knowing what to say keep you silent.

Here are 5 things you can do to support and love someone who has just experienced miscarriage.


1.) Send a Card

It may seem like a small gesture, but acknowledging her loss and telling her that she’s on your heart will mean a lot.

2.) “I’m so Sorry for Your Loss”

It’s hard to know what to say, but a simple, “I’m so sorry for your loss” can be powerful. Sometimes it’s the only thing that needs to be said. The same goes for “I’m praying for you” or “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.”

3.) Listen and be Present

It is easy to feel isolated after losing a baby, especially in the weeks and months following the loss. Simply inviting her out to coffee and asking how she is doing helps her not feel alone or forgotten in her grieving process.

4.) Ask to Bring a Meal

It’s the going thing to do for someone who has just brought their baby home, but what about someone who doesn’t get to bring her baby home? It can take all the emotional and mental strength she can muster just to make it through the day. Not having to worry about dinner plans allows her to focus energy on other sensitive things she needs to tend to.

5.) Remember that the Daddy Lost His Baby Too

So many times, the man gets overlooked because the miscarriage physically happened to the woman. But he is also grieving. Extending the same kind words and support to him validates his feelings and grief as well.


It doesn’t matter if you completely understand what a mommy or daddy is going through after a miscarriage. What does matters is your willingness to love and support them through a very difficult time. It is your kindness that their hearts can absorb. And that is a very precious gift to them.

Dare to Be Beautiful

Dare to Be Beautiful

sparkler

“You look beautiful! I love your hair! And your earrings are so pretty.”

Any time I was given a compliment, I instinctively pointed out something flawed about myself.

“Oh…well…thanks. I have such bags under my eyes today and my hair is a total mess. And these earrings? Ugh, I’ve had them forever.”

WHY!?

Why did I always feel the need drag myself down when someone was lifting me up? Why did I need to partner every kind compliment with a negative comment?

You are beautiful. You look lovely.

I felt like the person would eventually discover one of my many imperfections so I might as well point them out first.

“Why do you do that?” I was once asked. “What?” I replied, unaware of what I had done. “You never accept a compliment. You always say something negative about yourself.”

It was true.

I never simply accepted a compliment. I felt so flawed that compliments actually made me feel…uncomfortable. And I realized it was because I didn’t feel worthy of such statements.

Beauty=perfection. And since I was far from perfect, I must be as equally distant from any kind of beauty. Right?

Do you find yourself doing that same thing? When someone says something kind to you, do you feel the need to say something unkind about yourself? When a piece of your beauty is complimented, appearance or character, do you instinctively counteract it?

If we’re honest, it’s really really easy to feel inadequate in our culture. It’s easy to feel we aren’t beautiful enough. Or talented enough. Or smart enough. It’s easy to feel like we just aren’t enough in general! We criticize ourselves. We complain about our flaws. We become discontent. We grumble about our chunky thighs, our fluffy tummies and our lack of defined calf muscles.

I get it. I so get it.

My definition of beauty was based on something that doesn’t exist. The standard to which I was holding myself was a mirage. Worse than a mirage…a complete lie.

It can be a long and difficult journey learning what beauty really is—and believing that we really are beautiful.

But dear friend, please hear this…

You are beautiful. And you are enough.

And it’s not because of the image you’ve created, but because of Whose image you were created in.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

From the moment He began knitting you together in your mother’s womb, He has been telling you…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

Every day, every night, He is singing over you…YOU ARE LOVELY.

And in the quietness of your heart, He is whispering this truth…YOU ARE WORTH IT.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Oh, precious friend. You are beautiful.

3 Things Every Mom Needs to Hear

3 Things Every Mom Needs to Hear

mom daughter

I love the different forms that motherhood comes in. Each one is so beautiful, so unique. And each one is hard work! Raising a little person is not for the faint of heart, that is for sure. I mean, who in their right mind cleans poop all day long and is ready to do it the next day again? Let’s be honest, poop is the least of our worries. We’re raising a human being here. A one-of-a-kind, opinionated, independent, persistent, hilarious, wobbly emotioned, wonderful human being. We’re doing our best to help them grow into the best versions of themselves. Kind. Strong. Compassionate. Bold. Loving.

No matter what our different journeys of motherhood look like, the one factor that unifies us all is that we love our child(ren) and we would do anything for them. As you love and raise your little one(s), there are 3 things you need to hear.

1.) You Are the Exact Mom That Your Child(ren) Needs.

Of all the babies in all the world, throughout all of history, your child(ren) was assigned to you. You are the mommy they need. The Lord has equipped you with everything you need in order to love and nurture and teach and guide those crazy little people. I know you don’t always feel equipped or able. But it’s true. You are enough. You. You are enough.

2.) Taking Care of Yourself Is Not Selfish.

This one is a tough one for me. Probably the thing I struggle with the most. There’s always so much to do, so if I take time for myself, it’s very easy for guilt to swallow me up. There’s always something that needs to be scrubbed, folded or straightened. There’s always someone climbing up my leg or pulling at my sleeve that needs my undivided attention right now, right now, right now. But our babies need more than someone to keep their daily routine flowing. They need more than clean socks and a vacuumed floor. Of all your child(ren’s) needs, their biggest need is you. So take care of their mommy and her emotions.

3.) It’s Ok to Have a Bad Day…or Week.

There are days that my patience is running low, my stress is running high, my emotions are running wild—and my kiddos are caught in the middle. But even my failures are opportunities to help grow Jesus-loving, well rounded human beings. My kids need to see that I’m human too. Even mommies need to apologize for their mistakes and ask for forgiveness—from them and from Jesus. It’s ok to have a bad day. And when that bad day turns into a tough week, it’s still going to be ok. It will get better. I want my kids to see that it’s not the end of the world when we mess up. There’s always forgiveness. There’s always a fresh start.

You are doing an awesome job, momma! You’re not alone. We’re in this thing together.

Starting to Finish Well

Starting to Finish Well

hands

A new beginning. A fresh start. A clean slate.

Have you ever noticed how so many people get fired up about New Years resolutions? For the first few weeks following that epic 10 second countdown, the gyms are filled, healthy habits are started and new ventures are begun. The excitement of a new start is exhilarating. The idea of bettering yourself is empowering.

I ashamedly admit that I am one of “those” people. I get hyped for oh, about 2 weeks and then…life. Life doesn’t suddenly look better or the transformation doesn’t happen overnight (or at least within 2 weeks), so my full-forced run becomes a sloppy jog. And then it looks like a slow walk (kind of like that picture of Bigfoot swinging his arms through the woods. You know the one.) Until…I throw my hands in the air, fall face first on the floor and give up.

Quick side note: I’m using a running analogy here, but I am not a runner. At all. The only way I will run by choice is either a) a bear is literally chasing me, or b) some yells “free coffee!” And even then, I’d ask what size the coffee is.

How many projects have I started but quit? How many friendships have I made but didn’t invest enough energy into? How many times have I vowed to myself that I would do better, work harder, push myself, step out of my comfort zone…but then didn’t?

Too many times to count.

It’s easy to get caught back up in the rhythm of my day to day routine. And when I do, the spectacular firework emotions that got me started, begin to fade. No longer are emotions enough to propel me towards my goal.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really been drawn to the people around me who finish things well. Because the way I see it, when it comes to starting well or finishing well, finishing well is by far the harder of the two. Generally speaking.

Emotion doesn’t carry me very far. Discipline drives me further than I ever thought I could go. Discipline will help me finish well.

There are even some things, some goals, that for years I thought I simply failed at. But I’m reevaluating that perspective. Some of those things I didn’t fail at, I gave up. Why not pick up those things and start running with them again? It’s a lot harder to live with the regret of giving up than it is to pick up that heavy thing, throw it over your shoulder and starting walking towards the finish line with it.

It’s easy to say, I want to live life well. But it takes discipline and endurance to make all the little decisions that will add up to create a life lived well. Oh, I long for that.

So that’s my heart focus right now – finishing well. Maybe you have something that you’re trying to finish well. Maybe it takes all your energy to simply finish a little piece of the big picture. Well those little pieces add up. Maybe there’s something that you thought you failed at, but maybe…just maybe…you didn’t fail…you gave up. You can do it. So let’s do it. 

Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out. Ecclesiastes 7:8 (MSG)

Lord, help us to finish well today. Help us to keep moving, even when the emotional motivation is gone. Help us to finish the little things. Because they add up. Help us to finish the big things. Because they take so much discipline. Thank you, Father.

Lookin’ like a Sloth

Lookin’ like a Sloth

sloth

I looked in the baby monitor and saw my 2 year old stirring from her mid-afternoon nap. And then, crying. My heart dropped because it was the “something hurts” cry.

I raced to her room, picked her up and immediately felt heat radiating off her body.

“I so hot, momma.” I didn’t need to grab the thermometer to know she had a fever.

I took her to the living room and kept a close eye on her. We cuddled and watched her favorite show. Within hours her little sister had a fever too.

I took a deep breath, bracing my heart and body for what I knew would be a restless night.

The length of the night felt multiplied times over. If one girl was asleep, the other one was up. My husband and I spent the dark hours tag-teaming bedrooms, swapping kids back and forth. It was an exhausting rotation.

After a couple days of feeling yucky, the girls seemed to be over it all. A deep sigh of relief.

I went a full 24 hours thinking our house was well. Then I woke up the very next morning feeling like I had been body slammed into a brick wall all night long.

My first thought was, “I can’t be sick. I can’t do this.”

I slothed around the house all morning – in action and appearance. No, slothed isn’t actual a word. But I bet you got the visual, didn’t you? A hairy, greasy, animal slowing making it’s way around the jungle floor. Beady little eyes, scrunched up face, lookin’ like it was hit by a car, drug down the road for a couple miles, but somehow managed to survive.

Yeah, that was me.

I gave myself a quick pep talk. If I can just take it easy for a couple days, it’ll be ok. I can do this…I can do this. And then round #2 hit our girls. All 3 of us were sick. Not “cough-cough” sick…we were sprawled out, snotty, crying messes. I called the doctor and was told that this bug was going around and hitting hard. Yeah, no kidding. There was nothing to do except wait it out.

This thing lasted 10 days for the girls. TEN…DAYS. Which of course included 10 restless, uncomfortable, yucky nights.

But even after the 10 days, I was still slothing it. On the 14th day, I went to the doctor and found out I had a sinus infections and a UTI.

The doctor was a cute little thing. She seemed too young to be a doctor and the whole thing felt a little too Doogie Howser (please tell me some of you remember that show). Anyways, she told me to get plenty of sleep…and to kick the kids out of the bathroom 3 times a day to be alone and run a hot shower for my sinuses. Sleep? Is that the thing some people do at night when they close their eyes for more than 2 hours at a time? I’ve heard about that. Private time in the bathroom? Like, alone? Like, with no kids? No, I always have an audience. If I manage to shut the door before my entourage follows me in, I immediately hear pitiful pterodactyl screeching and see little fingers wiggling underneath the door. In theory, the doctor’s game plan was what I needed. But the execution was impossible. I just smiled and nodded…knowing one day, when she has babies and hasn’t peed alone for years, she may remember the unrealistic orders that she gave to that weary, sick momma who looked like a pitiful sloth.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been brought to a place of such mental exhaustion. It easily outdid the sleepless newborn stages.

After the 2 weeks came to a close, my mind, heart, and body were depleted. Totally depleted.

I broke down and prayed, “Oh, Father. I can’t do it. I’m so exhausted. So sleep deprived. So worn out. So…empty. I just can’t do it. Please, Holy Spirit refresh me. Refresh my mind, body and soul.”

I was desperate. Desperate for supernatural refreshment. Desperate for living water to rush through my veins and pump into my heart. Desperate for holy air to fill my lungs and for clarity to purge my mind.

It was through that new perspective brought on by my desperation, that I realized something. Normally when I start to feel empty or dry, I “do” something myself to fix it. Rarely do I stop and ask for the Lord to renew me first. 

And in my depletion and desperation, there was a beautiful submission that took place within me. It was a breaking of my own mental and emotional strength. I had nothing in me to “do.” I could just lay there, close my eyes and ask for the Lord’s strength to renew me.

And you guys, He did.

I woke up the next morning feeling revived – like angels had sung to my soul all night long. My spirit had fresh air. My body didn’t ache. My thoughts were clear.

It truly was a supernatural renewal. I was so humbled and grateful that I cried in thanksgiving for days. Thank you, Father.

Far too many times I rely on my own ability to try and improve the way I feel. Sometimes I will “do” and other times I use distraction to divert my emotions and thoughts until I feel better. But when my emptiness extended beyond my own reach and ability to fix it, I was reminded of my constant desperation for God.

And when I think back on things that have happened in my life, it’s always in those times of brokenness, emptiness and depletion when I see the most transformation and power in my mind, body and life. It gives me a little deeper understanding about what Paul is talking about when he says,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

There are many good things I can do to keep my heart, mind and body healthy. But nothing compares to what Jesus offers. Nothing changes a life like His grace and power. When I acknowledge my need for Him and ask Him to refresh me, then make the conscious decision to release my own grip on control, He can work inside me freely and fully.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

Maybe you’re in a place of emptiness and getting through just one more day feels impossible. Maybe you’re desperate for physical energy or emotional renewal. Wherever you are, no matter what you’re going through, no matter how empty you feel, God wants to work inside you, freely and fully. Let Him renew you. Let Him refresh you. Let Him revive you.

He’s faithful to do it.

Adoption

Adoption

Boy-window

“Every adoption starts with loss. There’s so much gain, so much good that happens through adoption…but every story always starts with loss.”

Her words pierced my heart and for the rest of the night, they echoed in my mind.

My dear friend works at an adoption agency. As someone who wants to adopt in the future, I try to absorb any information and insight she shares about the details and process of adopting.

Before I started learning more about the reality of adopting, I suppose the pretty, uncontaminated scenario I had laid out in my head went something like this:

My husband and I decide it’s time to expand our family through adoption. The birth-parents of the child are unable to take care of him/her, so there my husband and I are, waiting with arms wide open to welcome him/her into our family. The child feels loved, safe and taken care. The transition is beautiful and wonderful. And we all live happily ever after.

But I’ve learned that that is almost never the case.

Some of the children come from an environment that was destructive before they were even born. Some have never heard, “I love you.” Some have experienced neglect and pain that no child should even be aware of.

Far too many of these little ones are broken, hurt, scared. It is on the rarest of occasions that details and circumstances line up perfectly and an adoption is quickly tied up with a sweet, little bow. And oh, how wonderful those stories are. But really, even those stories begin with loss.

These precious children aren’t just looking for someone to tuck them into to bed every night or coach their little league team. They are desperate for someone to dive into the messiness & brokenness of their lives; to enter into their pain and carry the burden with them. Someone to walk alongside them in their journey of healing and restoration. They need someone to fiercely love them and not only allow them into their family, but be willing to have their own lives changed forever.

Before anything is ever gained, there is loss. Before any healing takes place, there is pain. Before restoration takes place, there is brokenness.

Doesn’t that paint such a vibrant picture of our own need for adoption by God?

Every single one of us is broken, desperate for a Savior who is willing to dive into our messiness and brokenness and love us fiercely. A Savior who willingly put on flesh and walked down dirt roads. A Savior who entered into our pain and died the most horrendous death for us, so that we may be healed, restored, adopted. How’s that for fierce love?

I think it would absurd for an prospective adoptive parent to require the child to resolve his/her own physical and emotional wounds before adoption can take place…or expect the children’s life to instantly be restored the moment the child walks into their new home. It’s a process. It takes time, patience, love.

The Lord wants us exactly where we’re at. No matter what our life looks like, he wants to adopt us the way we are.

“Every adoption starts with loss.”

Bring your loss to Jesus. It’s not too big. It’s not to vast. Bring your brokenness, pain and emptiness. Allow him to transform your loss into wholeness like only he can.

Because after all, “…there is so much gain, so much good that happens through adoption.”

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1-2

How to Keep Your Home Immaculate While Living with a Toddler

Clean-House

For years, I struggled. I worked tirelessly to have both worlds – children and a clean house. As someone who struggled with keeping an organized and clean house before kids, those cute little ones added a whole new element to the already impossible task. I would do what I like to call “The Run Through.” That’s where I would speed around like a wild woman in each room, picking up as much as I could in the least amount of time. If I made good time with “The Run Through” (my best time being 7 minutes, 48 seconds), I would even begin on the laundry. However, 9 times out of 10, I would turn around and see what looked like a F5 tornado (also known as a toddler) had hit the entire house again when my back was turned. Well, the struggle is over. I have discovered 9 Simple Tips that solve every momma’s clutter problem and if you follow them, you too can have an immaculate house while living with a toddler.

1. Carpets

The cleanliness of your carpets are threatened by a few things. But one of these things surpasses them all. Oh sure, at first glance it seems harmless…pretty even. But looks can be so deceiving. Glitter. Once the little bottle tips over, that stuff flies through the air and it looks like a shimmery atomic bomb went off. You will find it in the carpet for the rest of your life. And just for good measure, stay away from all crafting and messy projects. Glue sticks, Play-Doh, markers, paint. I shudder to even think of what they would do to the carpets if left in the hands of a toddler.

2. Clean Windows

To keep clean windows, it is imperative to keep curious little hands and inquisitive faces from being pressed against the glass. If a firetruck drives by, a flock of birds lands on the patio, or it begins to snow, discourage the child from looking out.

3. Furniture

To keep the furniture spotless, restrict all eating to the dining room table. This includes sippy cups, suckers and all snacks in general. And no jumping. No shoes. Only sitting.

4. Living Room

The living room is the most important room in the house because that is where you will most likely socialize with your guests. As awesome as it would be to throw all the cushions on the floor and pretend that they are boats floating down a raging river, don’t. Dragging in the dining room chairs and placing them in a circle, then covering them up with sheets and blankets would make for an epic fort. But then your toddler will want to have fun. And fun is messy.

5. Laundry

Use the time that your toddler is quietly reading books or practicing algebra to make sure all laundry is separated, washed, dried, folded and hung.

6. Bath Time

To keep the floors dry and the bathtub looking neat and tidy, keep bath time simple and uneventful. No bubbles. No toys. In and out.

7. Walls

Because children’s hands are always sticky (regardless of whether or not they’ve touched something sticky) your walls will inevitably have little handprints on every wall of your home. These smudges are at exactly hip level and come in a variety of colors and textures. To avoid your walls looking like your toddler gave 6,000 sticky high fives to your home, have your toddler wear gloves at all times. No exceptions.

8. Potty Training

There’s no getting around it…this is strictly an outside-hire job. If the carpets, furniture and bedding are to stay clean, dry and poop free, potty training can not take place within the house. If the potty training child has to stay on the premises, the majority of said training should happen outside. Laying down newspapers in the child’s playroom will also work as an absolute last resort.

9. Organization

One word – Pinterest. Not only will your DIY organizers be functional, they will also be gorgeous. While you’re watching your toddler in backyard having the time of her life painting rocks, (with water, not paint of course) pull up your Organization board and get sewing! The projects are so easy and cost/time efficient. You’re sure to nail every project every time and walk away feeling really good about yourself. In only four hours, voila! You have yourself one fabric-lined, shoebox-sized organizer. Thank you, Pinterest. Thank you.

Ok, ok. So these tips are…ridiculous, to say the least. But really, I think that’s what I would have to do in order to have an always clean, always organized home. If you’re like me, you struggle to keep clean underwear washed for your husband, much less perfectly clean or organize anything in your life. There are always at least a few dishes in the sink and toys are always strewn around the house. I can’t see through the bottom half of any window or glass door of my home because the toddler handprints, face smudges and dog nose marks have fogged them all. 

But you know what my home does have? Giggles. And lots of them. We laugh and we play and make messes. Our adventures are unrivaled and I know our playtime together will not last forever. One day, my little people will grow up. My windows will be clean and the house will be more organized. My heart aches to think about it.

Oh, weary momma. Don’t feel guilty that you juggle playtime and housework all day long and feel like you have nothing to show for it. Don’t measure the success of your day by the size of the dirty laundry pile. Don’t worry that your bed is always unmade or the sink always has dishes in it.

You try so hard. You work so hard.

Did you and your child giggle today? Then you did today right.

Are there handprints still on the kitchen table from working on today’s masterpiece? Then you did today right.

The giggles. The adventures. The dance parties. The glitter explosions. Those make up the memories that your children will carry for the rest of their lives. They won’t remember how clean the windows were. They will remember all the fun you had taking turns making each other laugh by smashing your faces against the glass.

You’re awesome, momma. The mess is just for a season. So enjoy this season.

Now, go make that epic fort.

Because You Are a Momma

Because You Are a Momma

smelling-flowers

It was Mother’s Day. My very first Mother’s Day.

And I felt lovely. Not because of what I was wearing or how my hair or makeup looked.

I felt lovely because I was growing life.

Seven months prior, I had lost a baby. One well-intentioned comment I received was, “I’m sorry for your loss. You’ll be a great mom…one day.”

One day?

I already was a mom. My baby’s nursery was just in heaven. I hadn’t changed a dirty diaper yet or rocked tired little eyes to sleep, but I…I was a mom.

I knew what the woman was trying to say. She was trying to comfort me and give me hope. But not being acknowledged as a mom, a title that was forever imprinted on my soul the moment I conceived, definitely stung.

So this day, my first Mother’s Day, was sacred to me. It was sacred because I was doubly celebrating being the mom; to a precious heaven baby and to the sweet little girl who was using my bladder as a trampoline.

We walked into the church sanctuary and found seats. As everyone was greeting one another, the lady seated directly in front of me “awww-ed” over my round tummy. She shook my hand and said, “Just think, next Mother’s Day you’ll be a mommy!”

Excuse me? Next Mother’s Day? What gives, lady? You do see the bulge under my shirt? Yeah, that’s a human being. She’s made me almost pee my pants twice since I sat down. But tell me, when do you think I’ll become a mom? After she’s born? When she actually calls me momma? When she can spell the word momma?

I said none of that and politely smiled and sat down. However, over the course of the next hour, I debated whether I should extend her grace like Jesus wanted me to, or if I should stick my gum in her hair.

And before you get all judgmental on me, the Lord already knows that I debated…for an hour…in the house of God. Gum or grace? Gum…or grace? Gum…or…grace? I confessed it and chose grace. But I was chewing that gum hard, I’ll tell you that much.

What I think so many people don’t understand is that once you’re a mom, you’re always a mom. And you don’t have to be holding a child in your arms in order to be a mom.

Sometimes motherhood is born from a woman’s body. Sometimes motherhood is born from a woman’s heart.

No matter what form that moment came in, you are a momma.

If your baby was born in your heart and you’ve experienced the miracle of adoption… you belong here …because you are a momma.

If you have lost a baby and your heart is heavy and your arms are empty… you belong here …because you are a momma.

If you are struggling with infertility and your motherhood feels invisible to the world… you belong here …because you are a momma. I see you. And so does God.

If your arms are eagerly waiting to hold the little person that your tummy is growing… you belong here …because you are a momma.

If your arms are as full as your days, chasing busy little people around the house reminding them not to play in the toilet water…you belong here…because you are a momma.

If your children are grown and live far away and you would give anything to rewind the clock, kiss their little foreheads and tuck them in bed one more time…I celebrate the love and hard work you’ve invested for so many years…you belong here…because you are a momma.

If all your children are no longer on this earth and the only things you have are precious memories…you belong here…because you are a momma.

Once you are a mom, you are always a mom.

Time, distance, eternity, circumstance doesn’t change that.

If you feel like nobody sees you…I see you, momma. And I celebrate you.

Serving Jesus Mac and Cheese

Macaroni

As my daughter was coloring on the living room floor, she looked up at me and asked, “Momma, tan I haf some apple juice, pwease?”

“Sure, sweet girl. I’ll go get you some.”

On my way to the kitchen, I noticed a wet diaper laying on the floor that hadn’t made it to a trash can. So I picked it up and headed towards the kitchen.

As I tossed it in the trash, I noticed the can was almost full, so I decided to grab the bathroom trash cans to empty into the kitchen trash can, so I could take it all out. You know, optimize the empty space in the bag before sealing it.

After I emptied the contents of the little cans into the big one, I tied up the bag and sat it aside. Then I noticed some kind of sticky orange substance smeared across the lower cabinet door.  Sticky and orange? What do we even own that is sticky and orange!?

What. Is. That.

I walked over to the sink to grab a rag and realized I would have to go fish for it in the murky dishwater because the sink was overflowing with dirty dishes.

Instead of simply shifting around the dishes, I decided to do the responsible thing and load them in the dishwasher. I eventually found the dishcloth at the bottom of the green swamp, along with 3 others that smelled horrible.

I grabbed them, took them to the washing machine & began sorting the clothes and towels. You know, to optimize this sour dishrag load.

I designated piles into darks, lights and towels.

Feeling accomplished, I made my way to the bedroom to start folding some clothes.

And then a few minutes later…a tiny, parched voice from the living room…”Momma? Apple juice? Pwease?”

My patient, dehydrated, little thing.

I maneuvered my way around multiple piles of laundry in the hallway. When I walked into the kitchen to finish the task I had originally set out to do, I realized I was surrounded by semi-finished tasks instead.

Garbage bag laying over here. Mystery orange goo over there. Opened dishwasher waiting to be started.

Our culture has learned to juggle more things at one time than any circus performer ever has. Chairs, chainsaws and bowling pins set aflame? That’s child’s play. How about raising children, investing in a marriage, keeping the house from collapsing, being intentional with relationships, completing projects on time, fulfilling church commitments and doing everything in between? 

Downtime is now defined as the moments I can pack the little things into. Like when I can throw a load of laundry in the wash, make a phone call, wipe down a bathroom, vacuum the house or shower.

I mark one thing off my to-do list and there are 4 more to add to it.

I find myself rushing. All the time.

It is stressful. And it is  e x h a u s t i n g .

I can try to blame the constant rushing (and being late) on having to coordinate kiddos’ routines or getting an entire family out the door…on time…with clothes on.

But really, I don’t think having children changed that aspect too dramatically for me. I’ve been jam-packing and rushing most of my life. Which almost always leads to me being late. There are only so many little things you can cram into a certain amount of time before the entire thing explodes in your face.

I’m sure you probably know the story of Mary and Martha. I’ve heard that story since I was very young.

Poor Martha. She got a bad rap. I really feel for her. You know she was just trying to get stuff done.  Dinner. Cleaning.

Jesus, the Savior of the world, was in her house for goodness sakes! I mean, if Jesus was staying in my house, I’d want everything to be perfect too! I’d go so far as to actually clean out from under the stove and fridge instead of kicking all the crumbs underneath them. Which some people do…I’ve heard.

I believe Martha was busy doing good things, things that really did need to get done that day. She was juggling all this stuff alone, working herself up. And you know she was grumbling in her mind. I sure would have been.

“Oh no, Mary. You just sit there and enjoy Jesus. I’m sure dinner will make itself. And the dishes will wash themselves too. You may not mind serving Christ mac n’ cheese on paper plates, but I do. So I’ll do all the work. Just sit there and relax, you annoying free little spirit you.”

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Mary sat and listened.

Martha served and was distracted.

I heard this analogy a couple years ago and it’s as true now as it was then:

Imagine a bunch of cups in front of you that represent the different areas of your life that take your time and energy. Your marriage, your children, church commitments, cleaning the house, your projects, your workplace, etc.

Having a balanced life doesn’t mean that every cup is filled up the same amount. It means that you take 2 or 3 of the most important and fill them up.

The rest of the cups may have just a little, or even nothing, in them. You may have to step away from some commitments in order to keep the most important things and people in your life filled up.

And the most important cup of all is the empty one we come to Jesus with every single day.

Martha’s cup may have been clean, but Mary’s cup was full.

What I am learning is that a clean house, an empty sink and perfectly folded clothes will not last. The house will get disorganized, the sink will fill up with dirty dishes and the loads of laundry will once again pile up no matter how much I try to keep up with them.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus is what matters. That is what lasts. If my relationship with Him isn’t my top priority, everything else will become unbalanced because they’re not in the correct order.

Whether your busy-ness comes from being a mommy, some other demanding job or just life itself, sit at the feet of Jesus before you get up to wash the dishes. He loves it when we do and promises to give us “that which will not be taken away.”

Jesus Smells Like Lavender

Jesus Smells Like Lavender

lavender

My daughter ran up to me this week with a big smile on her face, arms straight up in the air, one hand holding a small glass spray bottle. Its glass is a deep, transparent blue that makes it look like something that should be sitting in the window sill of a beach house. The handwritten label reads, Lavender & Rescue Remedy.

Momma, spway me, pwease!” Anytime I put on a body spray, she too needs to smell pretty. But this particular bottle is a cherished one and every drop of its contents considered valuable. It was given to me by our midwife after we lost our first baby. She came to visit a couple days after everything happened to check in and see how I was doing. She sat beside me, opened her bag and pulled out the blue bottle. She told me to close my eyes, breathe deeply and then began misting my face and the air around me with the delicate scent of tiny purple flowers. So now, whenever I smell lavender, my mind involuntarily transports me back to that time.

The fragrance carries me to a place half way between here and eternity.

When my soul is heavy with grief, the smell of lavender fills me with the intense power of His peace that surpasses all understanding.

When the ache of loss puts me in a sorrowful slumber, lavender awakens my heart and I sense the intimacy of His presence.

Lavender reminds me that instead of remaining shattered in sadness, His fierce love restored me.

Why does a scent hold so much power? Because to me, Jesus smells like lavender.

The air being filled with the holy aroma came at a time without coincidence.

April is a very emotion-filled month for me. The 13th is our first baby’s due date; the first baby that we lost. A baby’s due date becomes forever imprinted on a mommas heart from the moment she knows it. And being a due date that turned up empty adds to the sacredness of that day.

As I entered a month that brings along with it an ache and emptiness, my precious daughter was now covered in the very scent that brings me peace…that brings me Jesus. Without the pain and loss we experienced, we wouldn’t have the little girl that now skipped and played through the house, carrying with her lavender to every room. Lavender would be just another scent. I wouldn’t have been transformed by Jesus in the ways I have. I wouldn’t know Him like I do now. An idea I can’t bear to think about.

The Lord was whispering words of comfort to me, “I am still here, as close as the air you’re breathing.”

Maybe you’re in the thick of things and your heart throbs in agony.

Look around, breathe deeply. Do you sense the presence of Jesus? Maybe it flows in the scent of lavender, or maybe it’s in seeing a small green clover. Or perhaps it’s carried in a song or in a car ride through the country. Don’t overlook the tangible traces you see. Don’t quiet His whispers or dismiss them as coincidence.

He is near. The evidence is all around you.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17