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Saturday, June 8, 2013

When Your "All" Is Not Enough

It's been a whirlwind here for the past several weeks - with the birth of our sweet little Levi Jeffrey (pictures to come soon!), time seems to scream past at an even more alarming rate than usual.  It's amazing - my whole world is completely different, and yet, it feels as though he's been a part of my heart and our family for the entire time.

Being a Mommy to two little ones has taken some getting used to, and I daresay this learning curve will continue for quite a while!  The last week has been particularly tough, with being in the throes of newborn-dom, and also dealing with a two year old who has had her whole world turned upside down.  While I can hardly believe that my baby is already nearly six weeks old, the days have been achingly long at times.  Trying to figure out how this new little person ticks, as well as nursing nearly every two hours (!) has me exhausted.  Add to that a little girl who is testing (LOTS) of boundaries right now, and it makes for a weary Mama's soul.  I think I've written at least three blog entries in my head on any given day!

Case in point: I was still in my pajamas at 4 pm today, and Olivia ate pizza for lunch, and McDonald's for dinner.  The house looks like a bunch of college freshman boys live here, and my poor husband timidly asked me this morning if I knew if he had any clean socks.  I finally made it out grocery shopping this evening at 9:30, and am now sitting here at almost midnight writing this . . . (while nibbling dark chocolate, I might add).  ;)

So yes, these weeks are exhausting, but also incredibly blessed.  I wanted to share with you a few of the things God is teaching me (ever so gently) in this season:

His Grace is Enough.
I know that many times as Christians, we throw this phrase around with stinging triteness - as a "catch all" phrase for every situation.  It occurred to me that I have only barely scratched the surface of even comprehending what God's grace even means to me - and FOR me!  So many times, especially during this season of mothering, I try to do things on my own strength.  I work to earn God's approval, and everyone else's, because of my own selfish pride.  I would rather have the proverbial "gold star" on my record by my own standards, than acknowledge that I am hopelessly incapable of living up to God's, and throwing myself before a messy, despicable cross as a desperate sinner in need of a Savior!  Nothing that I accomplish (or don't!) is of any merit on it's own.  It is only by His grace that I can love my children well, or be a godly wife.  I have already failed, and Christ has done it perfectly in my place - so I can just relax, and trust Him!

My Stubborn, Defiant Two-Year-Old Mirrors My Own Heart!
Have I mentioned that my precious daughter is testing the limits lately??  Every possible scenario I ever imagined with a little girl (even a toddler) never came close to the reality she's created for me the past few months.  I expected some pandemonium with a two year old, but REALLY, people, she's made it interesting!  All my best efforts at disciplining/training her in Christlike love leave me frustrated and feeling like I've failed her.

The other day, I asked her to do something (which she didn't want to do), and she responded by slapping her own leg.  She tried that on Mommy once, with disastrous results, so now she just slaps herself so that she can still get her point across.  ;)  She also informed me with a very stern little face, "I no like it, Mommy!  I mean it, Mommy!"

While these are certainly comical responses (I am SO saving these for when she's a teenager!), in the moment it's frustrating to be attempting to console a fussy baby, and be confronted with such a sassy little attitude.  Nate and I have been very intentional about distinguishing normal, childish behavior (which requires guidance, but not necessarily discipline) from sinful behavior.  We are doing our best to train Olivia to honor Mommy and Daddy, and to obey our voices even when she doesn't want to.  I had a conversation with her about how learning to obey Mommy's voice will help her learn to obey God's voice in her heart to tell right from wrong - so now when I remind her to obey me, she replies with "Obey God!"

We rarely make it through breakfast without dealing with some kind of issue lately.  I remember thinking, "Why won't she just give in and obey me already?  What else can I do to get it through her head??"  Jesus came to me in that moment and reminded me, ever so gently, that I do the same thing.  Outside of his grace, my heart is just as stubborn and defiant - and sinful!  I need him . . . oh, how I need him to fulfill me, and be the source of my happiness rather than acquiring a reputation for having a well behaved child.

Don't Waste This Season.
Many times, my thought process goes something like this:  "I'll just get the dishes done, and then I can bathe Levi, and feed Olivia, and then I can work on getting some laundry done, and then maybe I can eat something . . . " etc.  I re-heat the same cup of coffee about 4 times a day (because at least re-heated coffee, though the bane of my existence, is better than no coffee at all!), and oftentimes am not dressed (let alone showered!) before 10 am.

It's easy to wish away this time and dream of when I have self-sufficient kids on a reliable routine, rather than the messy unpredictability of a newborn and toddler.  The "grass is always greener" mentality is a dangerous one, and certainly not something I want to entertain for long - but nevertheless, it rears its head from time to time.

I have been reminded lately, both through precious godly women in my life, and through scripture, that Motherhood is a high calling, and it is to be treasured!  God is using this as a crucible for my heart right now, and I want to rejoice in that, instead of biding my time.  There is no greater refining fire than your own family.  What a privilege it is for me to have these two tiny souls entrusted to me to shepherd right now!

Being a mother involves huge sacrifice, something our culture is repulsed by.  But what a joy it is to mirror the sacrifice of my Savior on a daily basis!  I am called, every day, to lay down my life for my children.  And lately, by God's grace, I have been learning to take joy in that calling.  He values me as a mother!  He sees my sacrifices, and blesses them.  My work is not in vain.  Such simple truths, but they are balm to my weary spirit!

So . . . that pretty much sums it up for now.  God is so good to me - really, I am overwhelmed by his love for me (and my children!).  What are some ways that God is working in your heart as a Mama right now?  I'd love to hear from you!  Until next time -

Grace and Peace,
Amanda

8 comments:

  1. Ah, God is teaching you well. Thank you for sharing! His grace in you is evident in your post and in your life!
    Oh, and I can relate to reheated coffee. My kids are always pulling my mug out of the microwave because I have reheated it only to let it sit in the microwave cooling again because of something else needing my attention. :-)

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    1. Haha, Jenny! I fear re-heated coffee is an epidemic among us Mamas!

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  2. Oh, Amanda, how well I remember those days. Really...a newborn and 2-yr. old! All I can say is, "Be gentle on yourself!" I think we moms expect too much too soon when we have little ones. You are in 'survival mode' right now and to even think of accomplishing normal daily tasks like washing dishes, giving kids baths, getting laundry done and even getting a shower in yourself are huge expectations. There is no easy way...except putting one foot in front of another and being satisfied with much less than you would like. If ever the two of them are sleeping at the same time just close your eyes to everything else and try to rest yourself! It's the best gift you can give your whole family! The days WILL get easier little by little and before you know it you will have a routine going again!

    You are so right when you said that there is no greater refining fire than our own family. I'm certain that our family is one of God's greatest gifts to us in more ways than we will ever know.
    Cheryl E.

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl! What an encouragement you have been to me these past few months. I am thankful to glean from your wisdom! :)

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  3. I am thankful to be getting to know you better. =) Your open honesty is so refreshing....

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    1. Amy, I too am thankful to be getting to know you! Your loving spirit is such a blessing to those around you. :)

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  4. Amanda, I got your comment and loved hearing about all that you love about Chicago. You had so many great ideas. Please e-mail me if you'd like to do up an additional post about your city with pictures & such. I loved your ideas & would love to host another post about Chicago if you'd like... the more ideas to give families great ideas of affordable things to do, the better. Let me know.

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    1. Thank you, Jess! I e-mailed you. :)

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