I recently heard another mom, with whom I have a great deal in common, ask about which blogs she should be reading. She said,
I want to read blogs for Christian women, but not anyone who sounds like they have it all together. I’m so discouraged right now. “
I didn’t have the heart to recommend my own blog, and her question got me thinking, “Do I sound like I have it all together? If any of you met me in person or visited my house, would you be disappointed?”
If I told you that I’m still in my pajamas, and my desk is a mess, and that I’m not sure what I’m serving for breakfast this morning, would you like me more because I was “real” or less because I was “not what you expected”?
I’ve always said that this blog is about pleasing Christ and not about pleasing people. I haven’t always lived that way, but that is the goal. It’s an odd goal in the blogging world, where pageviews and subscriber numbers and Facebook “likes” seem to rule the day. I have to remember that it is only by His grace that I have something to say, and a forum on which to say it, and anyone who will listen.
There’s a very real possibility that I’m talking to myself this morning. I haven’t done much in the past few months to “grow” this blog. In fact, I’ve done a lot of things that have probably made me “irrelevant”. I’d like to say that I don’t care, but I do. Would not caring make me more spiritual? Would caring make me more worldly?
The sun is rising and soon, my little ones will be, too. In actuality, I have a little boy laying on the floor next to me, a baby girl asleep in my lap, and a vague urge to delete this post and forget the whole thing–for fear that I might miss out on some real life with babies if I type one more sentence.
“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
Are you discouraged? Tired? Unsure that what you are doing matters?
Do you know that the things you have been called to do matter, but feel that you are doing a lousy job?
I could tell you that I’ve been there–that I know what you’re feeling–that I struggle with those very things again and again and again, but I’m not sure that would make much of a difference.
Instead, I’ll tell you that Christ has been there. When He suffered on the cross, He did so for you–all your failures, flaws, and shortcomings, as well as the darkest evils of your heart–and you are redeemed. Bought and paid for by His blood, if you are His by grace through faith. Even now, He intercedes on your behalf at the right hand of God. He is your high priest who is able to sympathize with your weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
He cannot fail. He does not sleep. He will never leave you nor forsake you. And His mercies are new every morning.
Do you believe it? Will you?
Put a gun to my head and ask me,
“Quick! You’re three greatest weaknesses. Now!”
Time management would be in the top three. Hands down. No need for a recount.
I am easily distracted. I try to tackle too many projects at once. I abandon the mundane task ahead of me for the sake of something more interesting or creative or entertaining. As if that weren’t enough, I am selfish. And lazy. I squander the moments I am given on foolish self-interest to the neglect of the important matters of the heart. My husband’s heart. My children’s hearts. The Heart of God.
How far must He go to wake me up from this vain stupor and get me to pay attention to the life He has given me before it passes me by? I’m afraid the answer is horrific. He confronts my sin the same way He confronts all sin.
2011 has been a year where death has up and slapped me in the face like never before. Toward the end of last year, the young man that a friend of mine was courting died. Suddenly. In his sleep. With no apparent explanation. This was the beginning of a train engine of the news of death powering through my (still careless) existence.
My little Micah, thinking he should like to play with the fire truck toy that the children across the street had abandoned on the sidewalk, wandered into the street. His mama wasn’t there. Truth be told, I had no idea where he was, and was looking for him frantically. The man who might have otherwise run him over with his SUV stopped, got out, and plucked him out of traffic. He handed this terrified mother her little boy. A gift, redeemed, back from death.
Only a few months later, an old acquaintance from high school’s little daughter did the same thing. They buried her.
Why me, LORD? Why was I spared the heartache that she must endure?
The year went on. We buried my pastor. We buried my grandma. A friend’s father lost his battle with cancer. The hits keep coming, and I’m tired…
Being the contemplative type, and the closet theology nut that I am, I’ve done a great deal of mental wrestling with these issues of eternal significance that have been plaguing my mind–the unspeakable things that we assent to mentally but otherwise do our best not to concern ourselves with. I’ve been in a hospice care center and felt like I was in a burning building or a crashing airplane. And I feel that I must be crazy…or more sane than I’ve even been in my life.
And yet, as I ponder infinity and the lost and dying world around me, it is my own finiteness that I leave largely unconsidered…
Until I learn that this godly wife and mother, whom we have prayed for so long, is now absent from the body and present with the Lord. And I cry out to God, “She has babies!!” As though it could never reasonably be part of God’s eternal, holy, perfect plan for a woman with little children to leave them behind…
I am a mother. My oldest child is 7 years old. The past seven years of my life have flown by like a whirlwind. I have been so busy with mommy things–nursing babies and changing their diapers. Learning all there is to know about keeping them healthy, teaching them to behave, and educating them. Deciding on standards of modesty and picking out clothing. Bringing order to piles of books and sifting through bins full of toys. Lots and lots and lots of laundry. And meals. And dishes. Bedtimes and bath times and play dates and craft projects and cookies and temper tantrums and lost patience, and tears and band-aids and long snuggles on the couch on cold windy days. The stuff of life.
And to think, my little-big-man will be “all grown up” in only 11 years. Such a short time! I should be teaching him Spanish and Latin and piano and chess. So much to do before he will be ready for the adult world–for college, or an apprenticeship, or to start his own business. For marriage, and babies. Judging by how quickly the past 7 have come and gone, the next 11 will pass in no time flat–
And if I think eleven years is no time at all, what would I do with a diagnosis that give me 6 months–or 6 weeks–or 6 days? What if this very moment my soul should be required of me?
It exposes all my motivations toward “me time” and “getting away” and idleness as the selfish idolatry that they are.
So little time. Father, forgive me.
Forgive me, change me, wake me up! Make me no longer a time waster–
Make me a time redeemer.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the LORD is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
For the sake of Christ and the glory of His name,
I reach my hand into a cardboard box on my kitchen counter. I pull out something wrapped in a white muslin dishtowel, embroidered with little blue birds. As I unwrap it, my 3 year old asks,
What is it, Mom?”
“It is a water glass,” I reply.
Who gave it to us?”
Why did she give it to us, Mom?”
“Because she wanted us to have it,” I explain nebulously.
Why did she want us to have it?”
I swallow hard. “Because she doesn’t need it anymore.”
Why doesn’t she need it anymore?”
I knew that one was coming. “Because she’s with Jesus, honey.”
That wasn’t easy.
I’ve been having that conversation with little Micah over, and over, and over again over the past several days. My husband spent much of his holiday weekend packing up and clearing out what was left in her little apartment. Next weekend, someone else will move into her apartment, and it will be clean and bare. The cardinals and chickadees and woodpeckers outside her patio window will sing to someone else.
In the meantime, there is furniture to move. A couch, a recliner, a kitchen table. A bed and a dresser. Bookshelves and coffee tables.
A lot of little, mundane things, too. Dish soap, and bath towels, and toilet paper. Notebooks, pens, and telephones. Cookbooks and photo albums. And water glasses. All things that she used so regularly in her tidy little home, now finding places and uses in my home and in the homes of other family members.
I ponder the thought of something as fragile as a water glass outliving someone as sturdy and strong as my grandma, and I am reminded that so much of the “stuff” of this life has very little eternal value. Tackling this task as Christmas approaches has once again challenged my stubborn, cultural perspective on gift giving.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-33
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank-you that, through your Son Jesus Christ, I have everything I need. You have given me so many great gifts, the foremost of which being your gracious Gospel and by it, salvation. Help me to seek first Your Kingdom and Your Righteousness, and may I not be tempted to give undue importance to temporal things. In Jesus’s Name, AMEN.
A little over two years ago, a baby blog was born. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going with it, but I knew I had something to say–
That little children, and how they are mothered,
and what they are taught, and how they are taught, and by whom they are taught,
all matter to God, more than we realize…and more than we’ve taken the time to think about.
And I wanted to encourage other mothers, not much unlike myself, that what they were doing was important, even if it went unnoticed by virtually everyone…
That they can honor their husbands, and nurture and bring up a house-full of kids, and homeschool them, no matter how many times the people around them say that what they are trying to accomplish is too hard…
not really knowing what would come of it all, but praying that God would do something good with it.
A year ago today, I had a baby. A real, tiny, sweet, squalling, pink little girl, created in the image of God and, as happens to me every time I give birth, putting the fear of God in me. Another human being on this planet–and I am responsible for her.
LORD, have mercy!
My blog had a new beginning as well–moving from a generic blogspot address to its own url, godmadehomegrown.com. (That link isn’t hot, and I’m going to ask you not to visit it. It’s gone–but, most of you probably know that. I’m sorry for all the confusion that it has caused.)
When you’ve been blogging for a while, sometimes the blog can seem to take on a life of it’s own–with it’s own personality and demands. I tried to do my best to continue to write about godly mothering while still being a godly mother. Sometimes I failed, miserably. But God has continued to be gracious and merciful to me, knowing my deficiencies and loving me anyway. For that, I am truly grateful.
And so today, my blog has another new beginning. This time, at www.GodMadeHomeGrown.net . Remember the “net”–it’s the only way you’ll find it now. All of this “.net” stuff has reminded me, with a chuckle, of one of Asher’s memory verse from the Bible Bee this summer:
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:10-12
These light and momentary blogging troubles are really not much to speak of when put in perspective. Nonetheless, here I am, in “the net”…
And in a place of abundance, for it is my baby girl’s birthday!
He is so good to us!
I have so much to be thankful for!
Happy Birthday, Eliora Grace!!
By His Grace,
p.s.–It may take a while to get the archives updated and get everything back to “normal” around here. I invite you to take a look around anyway! If you notice anything that’s “not right”, let me know at my new email address: Tiana at godmadehomegrown dot NET. Thanks!
“Jesus said unto her, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead , yet shall he live.’” John 11:25
Genevieve Anabelle (Bernard) Seifert
November 3, 1924-September 2, 2011
Please pray for our family as we grieve.
I will most likely be taking a blogging break this week as we make arrangements and prepare to travel. Please pray for wisdom and clarity of mind, especially for my father and his brother. Most importantly, pray that God might be glorified in all these things. Thank you.
By His Grace,