Can They See Jesus in You? Lesson 4 of 5

Speaking of lessons… I have learned mine… writing 5 blog posts in a week just isn’t my THANG! We’ve already jumped into the summer schedule here and that means I am taxi-Mom! This gives me about 30 min of unscheduled time a day! But, oh what fun we are having!!! So, onto the 5 biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past 5 years of ministry.

Lesson 1: Grow where you’re planted. Don’t wait for a big change in your life to start making positive changes, start now! You can read more here.

Lesson 2: Invite people to YOUR church! This is not only the Pastor’s responsibility. Help us grow the church! You can read more about this here.

Lesson 3: Follow God’s instructions. When someone does something hurtful against you, God has a specific way to handle that… if you want to know what that is, read here. (So far this post has quite the most feedback! I’m assuming because it happens to us all, and it can hurt us to the core! But there is a solution!)

Lesson 4: Understand the importance of pointing people to Jesus!

About 3 years ago I started really studying how Paul did ministry in the early churches. If you really want to change your outlook on the people around you, and all the PRE-believers you come in contact with, study how Paul loved, how he stretched himself in order to present the gospel to as many as he could. Then start implementing some of these ways into your ways… It’ll change your heart like no other.

One thing Paul did, and did well, was to give Jesus. He would meet people where they were without ever bending on his beliefs. He believed so strongly in Jesus and his life backed that up. Paul had such boldness because he so boldly believed in who he preached. He believed that Jesus was the answer for every problem we could ever face.

So I began to pray that. I prayed (and still pray, and hope to always pray) that everything I say and do will point others to Jesus. HE is the answer to every situation!

When I’m disciplining my kids, I should be doing it in a way that would never make them question things I’ve told them about Jesus. If I say that Jesus forgives, I should forgive. If I teach them that as we grow in Christ, we begin to produce good fruit, then I should show them what Jesus has produced in me and if I lack those, I now know where I need to grow! (Parents, we NEED Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and SELF-CONTROL!!! but that’s another lesson altogether).

When I’m on facebook, I need my every status, my every comment, even my every page followed, to represent the Jesus in me. I can not invite people to church using “church jargon” and with the same mouth (typing hands) spew hate in a comment towards someone on facebook (or twitter, or instagram… or whatever other form you may use).

When my husband and are at the local restaurant, even when the conversation is just between the two of us, our conversation needs to be pointing others towards Jesus. How can my husband preach from the pulpit about grace and peace and wholesome teachings if when he is outside he pulpit he is cutting people down, stirring up strife, and carrying on unwholesome conversations at the restaurant table? He can’t! And neither can any of us!

Now I’m not talking about every single encounter I have talking strictly about Jesus. “Paper of plastic?” “Well… let me tell you about Jesus!!!” That would leave the grocery clerk annoyed… and probably all the people behind me waiting to get through annoyed, too.  No, I’m talking about our conduct, our words, our LOVE for one another. The way we interact with every single person we come in contact with (kids, husbands, parents, co-workers, grocery clerks, librarian, car mechanic… you see where I’m going) should not contradict the Jesus you say you serve.

Imagine this scenario: It’s Monday, the weekend was action packed, and instead of getting enough sleep, you accomplished a LONG to-do list. The alarm awakens you about 8 hours too soon. You grumpily get up, drag yourself to the shower and complain about how horrible work is going to be. You do this too long, making yourself run behind. By the time you race yourself into work (whether it be raising the kids for one more day, or a high pressure position in town), you are already ready for bed. You grumble and complain, even if just in your head, over every task you have to do that day! By the end of the work day, you’ve had it! You begin rushing to get home, already grumbling about dinner. Suddenly someone crosses your path, too close to comfort. You lash out. You yell. Maybe it’s your kid. You’ve told them one too many times to pick up his baseball glove. Maybe it’s your neighbor who borrowed your  hose without asking, maybe it’s a complete stranger who was in a hurry of their own. You lose it. You begin yelling, screaming, belittling, just throwing the perfect adult fit (which, by the way, looks just as ridiculous as the kids form of a fit… just sayin’!) In that instance, if God prompted you to, could you effectively witness to the person you just lashed out at? With a good conscience, could you tell them how great Jesus is, and what a difference He’s made in your life? And if you could… would they believe you?????

When I started thinking this way, I chose not to comment as often on facebook when I was upset. I chose not to respond to a negative situation until I had prayed. And sometimes I prayed for days… and then chose not to respond at all. When I started thinking, “What will THIS action say about the Jesus I’m trying to show?” I truly started to change the way I behave. Don’t get me wrong, we do not behave in such a way to please men… at all costs, we please God. But in that process, we need to be able to point others that direction as well.

Myth: As a Christian trying to point others towards Christ, we must come down to a level that no longer addresses sin. 

Paul never shied away from correcting sinful behavior. But he reminds Timothy (and ultimately us, as the Word of God is written for us as well) to be prepared in season and out of season to correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Tim 4:2) You can approach sinful behavior in love. You can conduct yourself in a way that expresses love and patience instead of judgment and condemnation. But you must be prepared in season and out of season. You have to live with such a conduct that you can point someone to Jesus no matter what season you are in.

Pray for that idea to penetrate your heart. Ask yourself the hard question, “Am I living in such a way that others see the Jesus I serve?” Before you hit enter read your comment, ask yourself, “Does this show Jesus in me?” (***Even if you are responding to a complete stranger***). Before you let out a loud annoyed sigh at your child for spilling ANOTHER cup of water at the dinner table, ask yourself, “How can I show her Jesus right now in the midst of this mistake?” I’m telling you… this will change your life… and change your ministry!

Myth #2: You have to be perfect in order to point people to a perfect God!

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! NO! We will make mistakes, we will have bad days… we WILL inevitably scream at our kids with all the windows open so the entire neighborhood can hear (of course I’VE never done that… but…. ), or honk extra long at the car who wasn’t moving fast enough at the green light, or give someone at work an earful because we failed to get enough sleep the night before. It will happen, because, despite what we may think at times, WE ARE NOT PERFECT! Seek forgiveness (from God AND the person you’ve wronged) and start anew. Then do that again the next day, and the next… it won’t ever stop, we’ll mess up a lot. But the harder we try, the better we get, and sometimes, we even point people to Jesus through our mistakes (if we seek that forgiveness). Don’t give up, POINT up!

 

We aren’t perfect at Crossroads Church, but we definately strive to point people to Jesus. Please join us! Follow us on Facebook for more details!

Whatever you want…

It doesn’t take much research to find that the Bible encourages us that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name we will receive.

Matthew 18:19- Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 21:22-And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Mark 11:24-Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

John 14:13- Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 15:17- If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:16- You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 16:23-24-In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you,whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

1 John 3:22- and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

1 John 5:14-15- And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have

And that’s just a quick google search of the words “Ask anything you want in my name”. I’m sure there is a longer list and deeper research that can be done. But as easy as it is to search for it, it’s just as hard to have the faith it takes to do the asking. As you can see in these verses there is nothing that suggests you can ask God for unlimited monetary wealth and he will just “poof” place it in your hands. There is a limit to what we ask. As we see in 1 John 5:14-15, He shows us that we ask according to His will. And so, our faith comes in when we aren’t sure what that will is. 1john-5_15-15

We are all human, and we’ll have human “wants” that aren’t always part of God’s will. That doesn’t mean we don’t ask, it means we start out trying to discern what that will is. And although we still may not always get that part right, as we do the searching, we draw close enough to God to be content with the answers (even when it’s “no” or “wait”) God gives.

I’m slipping from my intended purpose here… but consider that an “intro” to what I’m about to say… PRAYER CHANGES THINGS! As we draw close to God, as we seek to do His will and not just our own, our prayers begin to take on a shape that changes the way we live, the way we see life, and the way we handle the life we’re given.

It’s so fitting that I’m writing this and that it will fall on my blog history right after “Mothering, the struggle is real”. The struggle is always there, but in the last 6 or so weeks since writing that (man, I need to write more!), God has done some really great things in my life.

You see, I have 4 children. As wonderful as they all are, 2 of them are pretty strong-willed. My first strong-willed child has grown out of most of the issues we had when he was younger, and is proving to be a quite the young man. But it seemed the same things I used on him are not working on the other strong  Iron-willed child. And I’m struggling, 6 weeks ago, struggling wasn’t a strong enough word… I was drowning.

Then a friend asked some advice on Facebook about how to parent a child whose heart is not changing. And I immediately remembered what worked on my 1st child that I had neglected in my current parenting struggle. And here is where I’d like to really start this blog post…

When my first-born, who was such an obedient wild child, would show these massive fits of rage when we simply asked him to pick up his books nothing we did taught him to control his outbursts. We tried giving him ways to express his frustrations… but nothing seemed to work. At my wit’s end (and at this point I had only 2 children, and was not nearly as stressed out), I began sneaking into his room at night while he slept and laying hands on him and praying. I would spend 30 minutes or more some nights, 10 min other nights. But I begged God to change his heart. To speak to the heart of my little boy when I could not reach it. Within days, his behavior changed.

The problem is, as he got better, I got worse at spending that time in his bedroom at night. Don’t get me wrong, I always pray for my children,  WITH them and in my own personal time… but I wasn’t spending that concentrated time in prayer on a consistent basis.

So fast forward to what brought me to write that last post. My poor little girl is struggling hard with BIG emotions, and small coping mechanisms. And her drained momma is running out of ideas. Until I was reminded by a friend’s search for answers, that I had the answer. Well, GOD has the answer… PRAYER! This Iron-willed child of mine can be relentless at times. And now, with 4 children, all doing school, and having activities, and needing different things at different stages… I’m tired! And I need answers. And God reminds me… “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you,whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Oh how I need that joy… that FULL JOY! So I began that journey. I sneak into her room at night, and I cuddle up next to her. I rub her back, I kiss her face, I stroke her hair, and I pray over her heart.

“God, I’m failing! But you love her even more than I can ever love. Change her heart. Take away her rage and replace it with peace. Take away her triggers and replace it with happiness. Take away her frustrations and replace them with dependence on YOU!” I go on to pray for me as a mother. “Lord, I’ll mess up! Help my patience. Expand my heart to see where she’s struggling, and give me compassion for her during the process.” I continue to pray many things over this child.

And here’s the thing… Let’s be real. Sometimes when our children are consistently a struggle, although obviously our love for them never ceases, our “like” level starts to drop. Cuddling your sweet blessing from God when they are calm and peaceful increases your compassion and the child’s likability. And in that moment, when that peaceful little angel is sweetly sleeping, you can fight the biggest battles for her that you’ve never be able to fight in the midst of the chaos of the day.

Although it took some time of suffering before I remembered this gem of information,  I eventually began the process of praying over my sweet baby girl. And now… today… I feel I have my real child back! We’ve had our bad moments, but there is such a tangible change.

You see, I’ve tried it all. I’ve tried more sleep (her and me). I’ve tried being strict. I’ve tried letting up. I’ve tried letting her choose, complimenting more, hugging more, begging, pleading, and crying. But I had asked not, so I received not. It sounds superstitious to say, but superstition has nothing on prayer! Not only has her behavior changed, but so has mine. I’m calmer, I’m more likely to see the issues, more in tuned to how God wants me to handle said issues, and I completely see her in a new light.

God is in the business of changing hearts. And only HE can do it. We can teach our children, we can lead our children, but we can not change their hearts. And once we begin to pray for our children’s hearts to follow after God, God listens and answers.

In the midst of busy days, I’d crawl into bed finally get cozy and then realize that I had not gone up and laid hands on my child like I had in the days before. “But I’m already tucked in. God doesn’t care if I lay hands on her as long as I just pray.” I thought. So I’d pray in my warm cozy bed. Then the next night I’d do the same… slowly getting out of the habit. And just as before, her behavior began to slip. We were going right back into the Iron-will. What was happening? I mean, is it mandatory for us to have a specific formula to how we pray over our kids? A certain posture? A specific time of the night? Are our prayers dependent upon our rituals? NO! They are not. But, God was teaching ME something through this exercise and I was not in direct obedience to that. I do not understand it all. I don’t claim any top secrets when it comes to prayer. But what I do know is that God asked me to have this particular discipline and when I do, I see results, when I don’t… I see those results, too.

I asked Pastor if he thought it was possible God was using this exercise to show me something specific to the method, or was there something Biblical behind this kind of prayer and the changes we are seeing because of it. The Bible does talk about laying hands on the sick. It talks about how when the apostles laid their hands on people the Holy Spirit would come upon them. The Word of God mentions Moses laying his hands on Joshua to commission him into service to the people of Israel. There is something wonderful about laying on of hands. But also, there is something about your child waking from a deep sleep and seeing their mama praying over them. She smiles at me, cuddles up tight, and plays with my hair. She is no longer lost in the shuffle of her siblings. She no longer is a middle child who struggles to find her place in the family. She is no longer a rambunctious character who can’t  won’t sit still long enough to read a simple book. She’s the apple of my eye. Just me and her… and God!

Whatever the reason behind doing it, God is doing it. Now, multiple weeks later just as she begins having her big emotions, (and although she even lets them out for a split second) she is showing that she DOES actually have self-control. Imagine that! A fruit of the Spirit. Not only have I increased my prayer time with her, but she’s following suit and has been praying on her own. She is SIX! And she’s extraordinary!

Each child is going to teach their parents something. I could go on and on explaining all the unique things the other three have taught me. But right now, I’m learning to pray. And I’m gleaning all the benefits of God’s mighty answers to my prayers.

Prayer changes things. Ask anything in Jesus’ name, according to His will, and He WILL do it! I challenge you to try it! And please let me know the results.

pastorswifeslife@gmail.com

 

Have I Told You About My Table?

If you are friends with me on facebook, you probably wanted to hide me after my gazillion posts about my dining room table. I’m pretty proud of the beautiful piece so I thought I’d share with… well, whoever may read this (Thanks for all those who recently started following). And, if you’ve read any of my other blog writing, you’ll know I’m not a DIY blogger, But God showed me a few things as I worked on this table… so I’ll mix the two together… now, let’s get to this beautiful piece of furniture!

I attend the MN Ministers’ Wives Retreat every year. And just about every year they have a dining room table as a giveaway. I’ve always loved the table we bought when we were expecting our 3rd child. The table was displayed in the clearance section with a sign that said 6 piece. I counted gleefully 1 table, 4 chairs and one coveted bench. I HAD TO HAVE that bench! The clerk said the sign was a mistake. I didn’t let that slide. So… 7 years later, I still have the table, 4 chairs, and an awesome bench! And just as much as LOVE the bench, the small table has been a thorn in my side. We love to have people over for dinner. We have to feed the kids before they come, or have the kids eat in the kitchen. There just isn’t enough room for more than our 6 at that table. When we have our beloved deacon dinner each Christmas time, I hated that we had to bring in another table and piece them together just so we could all eat in one room. So, every year, I entered to win the dining set… even if I didn’t love it. Each year I take the seats out of the van “in faith” that I’d win the dining set, only to come home empty-handed. I’d pray as I entered that God would give the table to the person who needed it most. And it was obvious I was not that person.

A few weeks ago a great friend (who attended the wives retreat and even added her name in to win the table for me! HOW sweet is she!?) called and asked if I’d like a table that was big enough, sturdy enough, and made very well (it’s from Gabberts… or something like that, good company!). When I saw it, I was pretty unsure. I figured I could spruce it up, but thought my husband would say no. He didn’t! So I began pintresting (that’s a verb, now!!!). Let me just say it now… I have very little talent, but one is following directions. If I can find a good set of instructions, I can follow pretty well! Here are the blogs I used…
Shades of Blue Interiors  for the chairs and My Third True LOVE for the table.

Are you ready for some pictures???

This was the table and chairs before. Nothing bad, but not really our style. Not to mention the chairs had some broken backs and ripped upholstery. Also, if we add one more different colored wood into our dining room, I may die. I knew I wanted to do a cream color, and I knew I wanted to use an old shower curtain for the cushions. No, seriously, the curtain was THAT cool!

I did the chairs first. I really actually love the painted caning, but one chair was busted. So I could only keep the captains uncovered, but had to cover the 4 others.

Do you see that awesome  shower curtain pattern? For the top I used a canvas drop cloth. CHEAP and sturdy!! I painted the chairs and the table legs and apron a “Country white” that turned out to be WAY too white, so I went back and got something more cream. I can’t remember the name, though. I also had gone with flat paint before and hated the feel of it. So this time I went with eggshell and it was the perfect texture I was going for. I love how they turned out! (again, for the tutorial on the chair backings, see the links I posted above.)
As for the table. I had to ask my manly man for help. Originally I sternly told him that I would be doing this project all by myself. It’s not that I want the credit (although, it is nice to know I did this ALL.BY.MYSELF!!!) But I didn’t want to have to worry about anyone but me ruining it. But when I started to sand this table, I quickly realized I could not do it in a timely manner. Good thing I asked for help since I was sanding a table top using 220 grit paper… yeah, I obviously had NO clue what I was doing. Pastor went and bought some 40grit and went to town… he had it completely done in about 45 min!

To be honest, I LOVED the natural look. If I didn’t already have dark woods (and multiple shades of it) in my dining room, I would have polyurethaned as is, look how pretty he made it! But we did have to stain it. I bought espresso wood stain from Minwax, but really didn’t think it’d be as dark as I wanted it. So I bought EBONY stain and mixed the two!!! Daring, I know. But it turned out perfect! I started with 1 part ebony, 3 part espresso, but after 2 coats, I decided to just throw in a tad more ebony for the 3rd coat. It was the EXACT color I wanted. And, if you plan to do it… know that it will get darker as it sits. But that was to our benefit!

This table has squares where the grain goes different directions in each square. I really didn’t like it until we stained it. I love it now. And you can pick a square and match it to the many different colors of wood that already exist within the room. It is absolutely gorgeous. I applied 3 coats of quick drying polyurethane. (that was the entire can) and decided to stop for now. I’m not wanting a super shiny finish, but can’t promise I won’t add another coat later.

So, that’s the main details on the gorgeous table. I spent about $77. We gave our old table to a college student who is friends with the lady that gave us this table, minus the bench. I’m keeping that! (future painting project there). And we are left with a beautiful addition. When the 2 leaves are in, we can easily fit 10 adults. I’m so happy with the finished product!!!

Now… like I said, I’m not a DIY blogger. So, let me shift this focus for a few seconds. I’m incredibly blessed by a God who speaks to me during the day-to-day life I live. Before starting this project I prayed (and during the project many times). I have a tendency to start projects and then ruin them. This project was too big to ruin. I’m not great at meticulous detailed work, and I knew attention to detail would be important here. So I prayed. I still got frustrated, I still messed things up, and I still felt like I’d ruined our table. But the more I asked God for it, the more I gave my little table grace. Sure its not perfect. Paint dripped, paint chipped, fabric frayed, hot glue strung all over. But when all is said and done, it has character. It was created in love for my family, and guests. Sure if you look at things up close, you will see it’s flaws and imperfections. But with God’s grace, it stands beautiful. That’s what God can do. Not just for a table, but in us. We aren’t perfect, we all have flaws, but when covered in God’s grace, we stand beautiful. I can’t wait to have friends and family surround my table. I know water will be spilled, scotch guard will be needed, but the conversations, the laughs, the tears, and plans made around this imperfect table will be something I’ll cherish forever!

So… who’s coming over for dinner!!!???

 

Think about such things

The world tells us to think positive. It tells us to keep our heads held high; to dwell on the good things. And on this, I’d like to agree.

Not always do we wake up with perfect hair, blemish free, and fresh roses to smell. We often times wake before our bodies want, to a mess we didn’t have time to clean up, and sometimes to kids who didn’t want to get up either. Our days don’t go as we planned, and the further we head into the day, the worse it seems to get. But think positive, right? Why is that so hard to do?

I recently listened to a great author speak about comparisons and how as women and as mothers we tend to compare ourselves to others to the point that we feel insecure and down about our actual lives. It’s true. We base our happiness on whether we measure up to others. We stay up late, get up early, set ourselves up for a tired sleepy day because we have to be busy like all the other moms in our circle.

if Sally says she crossed off twelve items on her to-do list when we only crossed off 3, we go to bed thinking of the complete loser we must be.

When we visit Nancy’s for a playdate and notice how clean and orderly her house is, we wake up the next morning thinking about the huge slacker we are for not getting to our messes the night before.

When June serves her kids a perfectly balanced meal, we cringe at the non-organic chicken noodle soup we are slopping up for our brood.

Instead of focusing on the fact that we crossed 3 major tasks off our to-do list while potty training, dealing with night terrors, and a sick husband, we dwell on the effects of the comparison on our lives. Instead of realizing that a clean home ready for company is not the same as a home a family lives in, we park our focus on the pile of laundry we have verses the hidden one they had. Instead of praising our children for behaving at a delicious dinner, we harp on the meal we could have made had we read more recipes.

However, the Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
 whatever is pure, whatever is  lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Think about what is true. Are your circumstances different? Probably!  Think about what is noble. Are you doing righteous things? Being virtuous? Are you a good person? Honorable? Upright? Are you a decent person? Focus on making yourself who God wants you to be. Not who God wants Sally, Nancy, or June to be. Think about what changes you may need to make in order to be the best YOU.

Think about what is right. Are you doing what is right FOR YOUR FAMILY? Then who cares what that family does? Think about what is pure and lovely. Ask God to make your heart pure, to seek Him with the heart He has given you. Make your own home lovely… to you. Are you comfortable? Then you have something to be happy about. If there is anything excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.

You can praise God that Sally was able to accomplish so much, and that Nancy was able to have you to her wonderful home. Praise God that June’s family was blessed with a wonderful meal. But don’t take that to mean that you are unable to praise God for the things you were able to do as well.

It is said that social media is the  number one problem in this area. But it doesn’t have to be. It is OKAY to find the positives in your day (the true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy things) and to focus on that. You don’t have to snap a picture of your messy living room and post it for all to see… but you can snap a shot of that awesome marked up to do list to remember the day THREE THINGS WERE MARKED OFF! Thinking of the positive things in your life is not “being fake”. I never look at a cute kid in a minion costume and think, “That mom is SO fake! As if her kid is ALWAYS this cute!” No, I smile, maybe I hit “like”, and I move on.

If you’re mantle looks awesome for fall, take a pic… who cares if your floor under the mantle is covered in Legos. Focus on the positives. Look for the good. If you need to write “Wake up, Shower, eat breakfast” on your to do list just to see them crossed off, DO IT! Train your mind to focus on the bests of the day.  (2 Cor 10:5). God gives you joy. Don’t let comparisons take that away. Focus on who you are in Christ… even if that means you aren’t the best housekeeper.

Stay off Facebook if it is tempting you to be downcast because you compare yourself to everyone else. Stop cruising pintrest if you feel “less than” because you don’t feel you measure up to the Pintrest Goddesses. Or choose to find your inner genius in what you ARE good at, and praise God for blessing you with that talent. And if you must… snap away, share, and smile at your accomplishments.
God made you YOU. Not me, or her, or her over there! YOU. And he loves you. That is something that has no comparison!

With that, I share my fall decor. It may not be YOUR style… but it’s mine. And I love looking at it. I love how it makes my home feel, and how it sets a warm tone for my day. And THIS particular time, there is no littlest pet shop animals littering the floor below… THIS time! But even if there were, I’m happy about THIS part of that room! What are you loving about your home? Your life? Your blessings? Think about such things!

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Know it all to knowing nada

I still have a mound of mommy confessions… I had to take a short break. We had a funeral for a great member of our church, then one child sick, then another… then another… then me! So I’ve been rather busy, and unable to sit uninterrupted long enough to type out any thoughts… truth be told, I’m not sure I’ve even HAD a thought.

So confession #… um, #…. Next confession… (see older posts for the previous ones).

When I was pregnant with my first, I just KNEW I knew it all. I was, in fact, a GREAT nanny. I got my first Nanny job at 18 years old. I took care of a beautiful baby boy and his older sisters. I was so good they even had another baby! Mom was working hard on her Masters and wanted to continue so we worked out a plan where I took care of the newborn a few nights a week so she could either finish class or attend clinicals. So I gained all my motherly knowledge as I watched her 4 (sometimes 5 kids). Granted, I NEVER woke in the middle of the night with crying babies, or comforted them late into the night when they were sick with ear infections, or teething. But during the day… I rocked. I did, however take an overnight nanny position once where I took care of a brand new baby as she woke in the middle of the night. I mean, why should those parents have to be bothered with that part. It paid an entire semester of North Central! I even moved away and took care of twins. If I could take care of twins, I just KNEW I could handle motherhood. I fed them, changed them, and kept them entertained… Then when their mom came home, I’d go home! I took care of a little girl who HATED me. She cried anytime her mother left the room, and cried until her mother returned. I didn’t lose my cool. I remained calm, I didn’t lose my temper, I kept all the other kids alive all at the same time! I was a pro. So of course when I had kids of my own I would be able to care for them with ease. I’d be able to take care of a newborn, twins even. I’d have the patience it took to deal with crying babies. I’d be great with helping with homework. But, my confession is… I HAD NO CLUE! When my first was born and cried for 18 hours the first day, I questioned whether God meant to give that child to me. The love I had for my first little Nanny boy was unreal. I really thought I’d die when I moved away… but I did, and I managed. But when I had to leave my babies to have a vacation with my husband, I bawled my eyes out… and I knew I’d see them in 3 short days. I would tote the little boys I nannied all over the place, even took them to a few women’s conferences, church, shopping… But nothing would prepare me for taking 4 tired and cranky kids grocery shopping.  I NEVER yelled when I was a Nanny. My job depended on it. On bad days, I waited until their moms came home, then RAN FOR THE HILLS… I have days I wish I could run… but know I’d miss them 2 feet out the door. I yell, I discipline too harshly, I ignore too often sometimes. And THEIR LIFE depends on it. I’m raising them, not watching them. I am responsible for their spiritual teachings, their nutrition, their discipline, their happiness. I get no pay, I won’t get fired, promoted, or maybe even appreciated for it. But I love it! What I THOUGHT I knew… boiled down to knowing NOTHING. And nothing prepared me for how these tiny little beings would steal my heart. Nothing about being a nanny taught me that my mind would ALWAYS be on the kids. That I’d want to be around them daily. That I’d not be able to contain my kisses. Nothing prepared me for the intense stress I’d feel when they were sick, or the process of making difficult decisions about their future. Being a Nanny was fun… being a mom ROCKS! And they are nothing the same!

Lesson learned… Never assume you know it all. For the woman who is childless, give us mommas a break. This is a hard job. Nannies… oh, boy. Be prepared to know nothing when it comes to your own kids (remember those kids belong to someone else. They aren’t yours).  And it’s okay, Mom, that we don’t know everything, God gives grace where it’s needed. And he’ll give it out hourly (minutely) if needed… THIS I do know!

** I am so very thankful for those women who entrusted me to care for their children a few hours a day, or week. I did learn VERY much from each momma, their kids, and my experience. I value that “education” and use much of what I learned back then on my own kids. And If they ever read this… I am SO thankful for the Eagan/Czerniejewski kids for being my guinea pigs when it came to cooking. I made them some very questionable things, and they were great critics. But my family is very grateful now. (And I’m a GREAT cook!).