On an unusually warm January day, the girls spent the afternoon playing in the backyard. They came running inside and called for me to come see a special cloud they had spied in the sky. This was, of course, not an ordinary cloud. This was a cloud that they were just sure had to be a portal to another world. (Yes, we have read all the Chronicles of Narnia books, and yes, the girls have active imaginations.) Ellie quickly says, “Mom, can you just pop us over to the other side of the fence so we can get closer?”
“No, baby, you can’t go in that field. It doesn’t belong to us.” This was, naturally, met with a wave of sad emotion, and through her sobs, “But if you don’t, we’re going to miss our chance to go through the portal!”
I, willing to help, gave a perfectly logical solution, “Baby, why don’t you go ahead and just pretend that you made it through the portal? You can pretend you are now on the other side and you can start exploring!” At this point, both daughters look up at me like I had just suggested they take a bath with their clothes on. With eyes rolling, “Mom, don’t be silly.”
Oh, I’m the silly one? You’re the ones who think if you cross this fence you will get close enough to the cloud to be able to get to another world by going through a portal in the sky?!
Then they asked, “Well, can we cross the fence and go play in the side field?” To which I replied, “Girls, why can’t you just play on the thirty acres that DO belong to us?”
Without missing a beat, Victoria responds, “You know, Mom…the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
Those two crazy girls could play absolutely anywhere on our farm. They have plenty of space to roam, but that afternoon all they wanted to do was cross the fence.
Ugh. Why is this so true?
Why do we stand right there in the middle of all that is ours, yet look longingly at the next field over?
Do you ever just need a do-over in life?
This last Christmas was a do-over for our family. Christmas of 2016 was to be our family’s first Christmas in our new home; however, my Dad was in the hospital fighting for his life, (another story for another day) and we spent two weeks at UT Medical Center. When Christmas 2017 rolled around, the girls kept referring to it as our “second first Christmas” in our new home. They called it our “Christmas redo,” and we went with it.
In fact, it was a redo in more ways than one. A couple of years ago, I got my husband, who deep down has farmer in his blood, an awesome Carhartt coat and work overalls. We had just bought our farm, and even though we weren’t living there yet, I knew he’d love it and start making use of it! Well, first let down…the work overalls didn’t fit, and then a few months later, in the craziness of moving, the coat went missing. Guess what Casey got for Christmas this year? Coat and work overalls (that fit this time)! A win for the redo year!
I was also the happy recipient of a redo gift. For my birthday last year, Casey and the girls got me one of those bath tub trays – holds a book, drink, candle, etc…. Sadly, it didn’t fit the tub and was promptly returned to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Christmas this year? New bath tray. Redo!
On December 27, 2017, Casey and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary. It seems impossible that it has been fifteen years since we stood at my Grandparents church and said our forever ‘yes’ to each other. Fifteen years since the cold December day that I walked down the aisle…walked towards a much anticipated future with my
husband. Fifteen years since we stood together, surrounded by friends and family, worshipping and sharing communion for the first time as Husband and Wife. Fifteen years since that beautiful day.
How can I feel like that special day was just last week, but at the same time, feel like it was a lifetime ago?
How do fifteen years seem to pass so slowly? Yet, in the blink of an eye, here we are. Time is funny like that.
Time is full of seasons we think will take forever and seasons we wish would last a little longer. You know the seasons I’m talking about – college semesters that seem to drag on, nine long months of pregnancy, or potty training our children. We all, at some point or another, go through a time when we feel like we are moving through life at the pace of a snail in a Nascar race…wondering when, or if, we will ever see the finish line.
I felt like Casey was going to be in medical school f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Then somehow that long awaited day came, and I watched as he walked across the stage, finally becoming Dr. Moss. We were quickly greeted with another season that I knew would never end — pediatric residency. Yet, here we are. It’s been almost eleven years since he finished his residency program. The snail made it.
There are some lessons I’ve learned over the last ten years of motherhood. Some things have been easy to roll with, and some things have rolled over me.
As mothers, don’t we all have an idea of the kind of Mom we want to be? It can be a rude awakening when the real you is staring the ideal you in the face, and you feel like she is taunting you. It’s easy to let guilt, shame, insecurity, and regret move in…making themselves at home in your heart and thoughts.
I cannot, I must not, stay there.
It is necessary to let go of the ideal person I’ve constructed in my mind and, instead, be who I truly am…a daughter in process…a daughter being perfected in Christ.
Some things I’m reminding myself of on this journey…
- I need Jesus. For real. Every day.
- My children are little people. They have feelings and opinions, and those can be different than mine.
- Things won’t always go as I imagine.
- I will say things I wish I hadn’t. And probably do it again tomorrow.
- Unconditional love: It doesn’t matter what they say or do…I want them snuggled on my lap, wrapped in my arms, smothered with kisses.
- How I live matters. The choices I make are important and significant. How I speak, the words I choose, my tone of voice…there will be an echo. I will hear myself in their words. I will see myself in their actions. What do I want to hear and see?
- “I don’t know” is ok. I don’t and won’t have all the answers.
- I am more selfish than I realized. Die to self and serve.
- Grace. There’s always grace to receive, and there’s always grace to give.
- Saying “yes” is ok. Yes to silly, yes to messy, yes to spontaneous, yes to crazy, yes to creative. Little “yeses” go a long way.
- Saying “no” is hard. No to self, no to what I want, no to what might be good but not God, no to people, no to man pleasing. Those are hard “no’s”.
- Little things mean a lot. Notes, smiles, hugs, tickles, treat…the little things make a big impact.
- Teaching good habits and responsibility is hard. Allowing them to do something, even if you could do it better, is important. It might slow you down. They may not want to do it. In the end, its worth it.
- The Bible is the best training book. All the truth, wisdom, encouragement, challenge, exhortation…all we need to impart and instill in our children are found within its pages.
- My kids will have their own story. Apart from me and apart from Casey, the girls have their own journeys. They have choices to make…they are fighting their own spirit vs. flesh battles.
The way the Lord uses motherhood to stretch us and challenge us is both beautiful and painful. He uses these precious blessings to refine us and cause us to deal with our own flesh….how wonderful (said dripping with sarcasm).
It really is wonderful, though. I don’t want to stay in my flesh. I want that junk exposed and brought to the light. The question is, “What do I choose to do when that happens?”
When I’m in the middle of learning one of those wonderful lessons taught by Motherhood, what do I do? Do I wallow in pity, guilt, and frustration? Or, do I go to the Lord, deal with it, and keep moving forward?
Do I allow Him to take my ideals and give me His ideas?
Do I let Him perfect me in that moment?
The truthful answer to that question is, “Not always.” Sometimes I cave. Sometimes the companions of guilt and regret show up, and I invite them in to stay a while: “Pull up a chair. Make yourself comfortable.”
Eventually, though, through His unending grace and compassion I discover He is there too. When I find Him there, amidst the guilt and regret, I am changed; and I find my unwelcome companions gone.
What are you learning on your journey? How is God using motherhood to stretch and challenge you? How is he perfecting you today?
Download your printable copy of “Reminders for the Journey”
When you’ve seen numbers like 6 ° and 7 ° on your weather app recently, waking up to 66 ° is like waking up to a dream come true.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually love winter, but there was something about walking out onto the porch this afternoon, breathing in the fresh warm air, and feeling the warmth of the sun that was refreshing and invigorating.
Both girls had been in their cozy flannel pajamas all morning (which, if you know us, is nothing unusual…you can find them in their pajamas most days around here! Home = pajamas to the Moss girls). When they stepped outside, they erupted with squeals of delight! Ellie Faith came running back in, “Mom, it’s like a whole different world out there!” Five minutes later, two little girls came bounding down the stairs in shorts and tank tops ready for some adventures in the warmth.
Seeing them step outside and be quickly greeted by the warm sunshine today brought some needed perspective.