The Perfect Gift

“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!” -The Grinch

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Christmas. I love everything about it. The festive decorating, baking, the lights, elf on the shelf, wrapping presents, Christmas carols, gingerbread houses, trimming the tree. I love it so much that every year I overwhelm myself with activities, events, and traditions because I want my children to “experience the magic” of Christmas.

I know I am not alone here when I say I get carried away in all the Christmas craziness. Admittedly, somedays I lose sight of the real reason we celebrate Christmas- the birth of Jesus. I fill my calendar with crafts and baking, gingerbread house creating, parades, concerts, Santa visits and more to make each year full of memories for my children, all the while stressing myself to the max.

So here I was on a Saturday lugging my three children by myself to lunch with Santa at the firehouse. We’d already seen Santa last weekend with his reindeer because Hello? MAGICAL!  There, I had traumatized my toddler because, he will want to see a picture of himself with Santa one day! I mean, doesn’t every child have a screaming Santa picture? (totally kidding, don’t judge). But back to the firehouse, another Christmas “to-do” I added to the list because fire trucks, hot chocolate and Santa sounds fun, right?

If there is one thing I have learned about parenting, is that nothing ever goes as planned. And sometimes these activities sound much better in my head. We arrived and waited in the long line to see Santa. Again. It was cold, crowded and very loud.  My littlest refused to walk and DID NOT want to see Santa. He was hungry, crabby, and tired. The best combination. My girls were indifferent about the whole thing. And I began to question, what am I even doing here, honestly?

There we were standing in this crowded room of Christmas mayhem, stressed and crabby, making “magical Christmas memories,” (insert sarcasm here) when my four year old pulled at my jacket. I bent down while still holding my crying toddler, and she quietly said, “Mom, this isn’t what Christmas is about. You know, Santa. It is about Baby Jesus’s birthday. He was born on Christmas.”

The weight of her words nearly knocked me over. Truth spoken from a four year old. I squeezed her hand and smiled. Both humbled and proud. Humbled that it took words from a four year old to remind me that this Christmas fluff doesn’t matter. And proud that she KNOWS the true meaning of Christmas. She IS  listening to me. “Oh, sweetie,” I said, “that is so true! Thank you for reminding me of that.” Thank you, Jesus, I prayed, for this moment and for the words from my precious one.

If you are paying attention, your children can teach you more than you ever imagined. I learned a valuable lesson that day. One I am proud to say came from my daughter. A truth I preach to my children, but apparently don’t always practice. That none of this stuff really matters. The toys, the events, the elf on the shelf, the Santas. They hold zero eternal value. But Jesus does. He came for the world to save you and me. And that, THAT. is what I need to focus my eyes on. That one night in Bethlehem, the Savior was born, and He would change eternity. The King of all Kings brought hope by coming into the world in the simplest of ways, in a stable, born amongst the animals. So for now, all the other trimmings and trappings, the ribbons and wrapping can wait; for I’m basking in the glory of the birth of God’s perfect son.

xo, Becca

P.S. If you are reading this and have never heard about the birth of Jesus or have no idea about his Great Love for you, I encourage you to read Luke chapter 2 in The Bible. And then let’s meet for coffee to discuss.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

 

 

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Great Moms and Grocery Stores

An elderly woman stopped me in the egg aisle at the grocery store this week in the middle of my toddler’s screaming meltdown. He was in a timeout for throwing the pack of hot dogs at his sister’s face.

To be honest, when she came towards me, I wanted to turn the other way-the last thing I needed was someone giving me parenting advice during this “situation,” or smiling telling me, “it goes so fast,” (because yes, in this moment, I hope it does) or “one day you’ll miss this,” (because I seriously doubt I’ll miss screaming children in the middle of the grocery store), Instead, I took a deep breath and braced myself for whatever snarky comment was coming.

But instead, you know what she told me? “You are a great mom.” She didn’t even know me, and yet, here she was speaking truth into me at the exact moment I needed to hear it. And if I am honest, some days I feel anything but.

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Motherhood is a lot of pushing off selfishness and pride, self sacrificing to the brink of a complete breakdown, and daily mental and physical exhaustion. It is also a lot of praying for grace, patience, joy and love. So often I feel unworthy, undeserving, and unqualified for motherhood. I know these are lies that the enemy uses to taunt me, weigh me down, and guilt me. I know these are untruths, but yet, somehow I still allow myself to believe them when I am having a hard day of mothering.

I made an ABC list recently to remind myself who God says I am. When I feel like I cannot do this gig one more minute or feel burdened by lies, I remember the truths of who God says I am. After reciting these, a few deep breaths, and perhaps a sip of coffee or a piece of chocolate, I carry on. So I promise, you can too.

Anointed

Beautiful

Chosen

Delivered

Even me

Forgiven

Grace given

His child

In his sight-perfect

Justified

Kingdom bound

Loved

Mercy given

New life

Owned by God

Paid with a price

exQuisite

Redeemed

Saved by sacrifice

Trusted

United

Victorious

Wisdom thru Christ

eXempt from hell

Younique

Zero without God

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I smiled at the woman, thinking to myself how grateful I was that I didn’t walk away. Tears filled my eyes, “thank you,” I said. She reminded me of a truth I often don’t allow myself to believe or forget amid the chaos of motherhood.

She had no idea how much I needed to hear those words, how it encouraged me all day, or how it snapped me out of my frustration over (another) public toddler meltdown. So to the woman at the grocery store, thank you, you will not soon be forgotten.

I am not sharing this story in anyway to “toot my own horn” or to seek compliments on my mothering. I am certainly “a work in progress” with way too many flaws to list. But I am sharing for moms in this same stage as me, where both the best part and hardest part of motherhood is being needed all.the.time, when you are so exhausted by the weight of motherhood, you just want to curl up in a ball and ugly cry, and where your life, time, and body is not your own-you are a great mom. Don’t believe the lies the enemy puts inside your head or the snarky comments from naysayers. Remember the ABC Truth list of who God says you are. You are not failing, you are enough and your are worthy.

I am also sharing for the moms past this stage in life with grown kids and empty nests, look for the young moms at the store, in a crowd, or at a restaurant. Build her up, encourage her, smile and say, “I understand.” I promise, you will make us cry and our day. ❤️

xo, Becca

Tennis Shoe Trust

School mornings around here are always hectic. On any given morning my tasks include pouring ceral, brushing hair (“pink bow, mom!”), packing lunches, finding that missing mitten while carrying a cranky toddler, handling at least one tantrum about a “bump in my sock,” and telling my children at least 237 times to put on their shoes. No matter how prepared I am the night before, the morning always ends in a mad dash to get out the door on time for school drop-off.

I go through a mental checklist in my head. Backpack? Check. Lunch? Check. Pink folder? Check. Snow gear? Wait. It is finally warm out. No snow gear. Is it Thursday, do we need show-and-tell? No, it’s Monday. Oh! That means we need library book! Sweatshirt? Check. Tennis shoes? Check.

Except on this particular morning, I forgot the mental checklist. After school drop-off, I took the younger children to the playground for a playdate. It was lunchtime when we arrived home at which point I noticed a missed call on my phone. School called. Oh no!  I thought as I started listening to the voicemail. Savannah forgot her tennis shoes…wearing sandals…please bring for recess…

I glance at my watch. 11:44. Recess is in 14 minutes. “Kids, we need to go!” I say to my other ones in the middle of eating lunch. We scramble to jump in the car. My two year old crying because he is mid-chew. “Savannah needs her shoes for the playground.” I explain in the car.

Ugh. This is the second time this year we have forgotten her tennis shoes. I hope we make it in time, I think as we pull into the parking lot. As we enter the school, I see they are still eating lunch. The receptionist kindly tells me I may take her shoes to her.  As we enter the cafeteria, the kids and I scan the tables for her. And there in the back at the hot lunch table, I see her. And she has a huge grin on her face once she sees us. We deliver her shoes, and Savannah is happy. “My shoes! Thank you, Mommy! I can play on the playground!” She exclaims. She hugs me. We chat with her friends for a few minutes. The girls squeal over her “cute” baby brother.

That was close, I think as we make our way home. I am relieved. I made it in time. I didn’t let her down. She can count on me. And my heart feels full.

The day carried on without incident and on our walk home from school I asked Savannah if she was worried Mommy wouldn’t bring her shoes to school. “No.” She said immediately. “You brought them last time I forgot. So I knew you would bring them to me,” she said as she skipped off down the road.

I knew you would bring them, I repeated back to myself. Her words hanging in the air. She trusted me. Even though it was in the final hour that she needed her shoes, she believed I would bring them. There was no worry. No doubt. No fear.

And right there, I realized I could learn a lot about trust from my kindergartner. She trusted me fully with her whole heart. She believed in me. Can I say the same about trusting my heavenly father? How often do I question God? How often do I worry about plans, relationships, finances, health issues. I ask and ask. Are you sure God, I ask again. Are you listening God? Is it time yet, God? Any minute now, God? I worry. I rant. I stress. I doubt. I get anxious in the waiting on God. In the trusting.

But do you trust me? He whispers.

What if the answer I am waiting for is not about the answer, but in the actual waiting. Waiting so I can actually trust him. Trust. Him. That he knows. He hears. He answers. He always provides. Maybe the answers come once I finally let go.

But do you trust me? He whispers.

What if I trusted God as fully as my daughter trusted in me to bring her shoes? What if I never doubted God and his timing as my daughter never doubted mine? Has he not demonstrated through past answered prayers that he will always come through for me as I had done for my daughter? Yes. Always. 

But still, I let my imperfect, broken, sinner flesh dictate my feelings and actions instead of handing it to God and saying, Here God. You got this for me. I. Trust. You. 

But do you trust me? He whispers again.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

This verse doesn’t say to trust God with part of your heart and only acknowledge him some of the time. But with all your heart in all your ways. I am working on having “tennis shoe” trust in God with everything from a close parking spot at the grocery store on a rainy day with kids in tow to big life altering events–like preschool closings. And in doing so, he will lead me on the right path.

And the next time one of my children forgets their shoes, lunch, homework, or mittens, (because I know there will be a next time) it will remind me to keep trusting God in the midst of whatever struggle I may be facing.

My five-year-old taught me an invaluable lesson about trust that day. And I know that inevitably there will be a day that I fail one of my children-even with my best efforts-because I am human and imperfect. But she can always count on God. We both can. He will always be there. He never disapoints. He never falls short. He never leaves. He never fails.

xo, Becca

This Act of Worship

If you have read any of my other blog posts, you’d know by now that motherhood has profoundly impacted my life and changed me for the better. It’s my greatest accomplishment and my favorite part about this one life God has given me.

But motherhood is also my biggest struggle. It encompasses my greatest fears and failures. We get this one life and one chance to raise our children. I am constantly evaluating myself. Am I doing it right? Am I doing enough? Am I raising kids who are brave, kind and will love Jesus?

Somedays, if I am honest, are long and exhausting and thankless. Somedays my kids don’t nap. Somedays the house is a disaster. Somedays we eat mac ‘n cheese for dinner. Somedays I hide in the bathroom for a minute and eat chocolate. Somedays I don’t do anything right. Somedays are just hard. And if you think you are the only one with hard days, I am telling you now, you are not alone.

Somedays I ask myself does any of this even matter? The thousand small, unseen and thankless acts in my motherhood journey that I do every day? The answer is yes; it matters. All of it. The face wiping, the lunch packing, the baby swaddling, the crust cutting.

One day last week while I washed dishes, folded laundry and wiped noses, I took these questions to Jesus. And he reminded me of this verse, The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

Notice that the verse does not say, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, I am grateful for.” Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.

So when I am consumed by motherhood and the seemingly mundane daily tasks that go along with it, I am reminded by Jesus that motherhood is my act of worship to him right now. In little daily moments, I am serving the kingdom of God as a

Changer of diapers

Kisser of boo-boos

Reader of bedtime stories

Maker of lunches

Wiper of sticky hands

Player of Candyland

Pusher of swings and maker of snowballs

Keeper of secrets

Singer of lullabies

Disciplinary of tantrums and mender of hearts

Raiser of tiny humans to know and love Jesus

So when I worship the Lord in all of these motherhood “jobs,” they take on a much greater spiritual and eternal significance. Why? Because I am not doing it purely for my children, I am doing it to serve God. I am serving him personally through each one of these tasks. God entrusted three incredible people to my husband and me to care for, to teach, to love. And the best way I can serve God in this season is to be their mom.

I am worshiping him daily through this gift of motherhood. Sacrificing myself and delighting in them. It is hard and messy and exhausting and consuming. But it is also beautiful, and fulfilling, and important. Yes, there is failure and tears, but there is also grace and joy and love. So much love.

xo,

Becca

Embracing the Crumbs

Crumbs. The story of my life right now. Messy floors, sticky hands, spilled milk and crumbs- on my floors, table, in my diaper bag and in my car.

Just today my younger two were eating a snack, while I furiously cleaned across the house. I hear them laughing and talking. And it is joyful. “Mommy!” I heard one call. “I need more crackers.” As I walk into the kitchen, I see disaster-crumbs all over the table, floors and faces. Breathe. I tell myself. They are just crumbs, I remind myself.

Isn’t this motherhood with small children? Cleaning one mess just to discover a new one?

I pause. Willing myself to remember this- the crumbs and their messy, smiling faces. One day they won’t need me, I think. One day their hands won’t need wiping and the floors won’t need sweeping. One day my house will be clean-and stay clean. But when the crumbs are gone, so will be their little hands, chubby cheeks and sibling giggles. I will miss the mess.

And the verse Luke 2:19 comes to mind. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” 

What if we look at motherhood as Mary did and not just for the big moments but the crumbs too? Soak in the mess, the sticky, the hard and the sweet tiny faces. Treasure these moments, as Mary did. Ponder them in your heart. Be present with your children every day.

I’ll take crumbs any day, anytime, if it means I get to be a mom to my precious children. My children are my greatest gift. So embrace the crumbs. Clean houses are overrated anyway.

xo,

Becca