Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moving Beyond Your To-Do List

Remember how I likened motherhood to being dropped into the deep sea and told to swim to shore?  {Motherhood is also like winning the lottery, vacationing in Italy, having cupcakes for breakfast kind-of-wonderful.  But I am sharing the hard parts now.}  Let me explain a little secret I discovered in the midst of the hard adjustments.

Check?  Check.
In the other classrooms or chapters of my life, organization and preparedness ruled.  Taking good notes and finishing the reading counted.  Checklists and to-do lists were a girl's best friend throughout school, work, and even marriage and home life.

Finish reading Macbeth. Check.
Lead girls' Bible Study.  Check.
Prepare proposal for a new engineering project.  Check.
Buy Birthday gift for hubby.  Check.
Menu plan and grocery shop for the week.  Check.

But some things in life aren't meant to be easily checked off.  Like motherhood. Some are meant to dirty up our knees.  

Goodbye, Checklist
One day after our daughter was several months old, I remember feeling the panicky feeling of I can't get anything done!  I even submitted my to-do list to my husband to show him how long it was.  It had 50 items on it.  I felt so overwhelmed.  I had been trying and trying to make traction on my list, but it seemed that Baby was stealing all of the hours in the day.  (which she was in many ways, rightfully :)

The next morning, I woke up and basically threw in the towel.  I remember deciding to abandon my list.  To forget about all the pressure to get things done, and to enjoy the day.  To enjoy my little girl!  To enjoy myself, my God, and my life.  

I immediately felt free.  I went from banging my head against the wall in frustration to laughing and dancing inside.  

But What About...?
Some may ask, that sounds nice, and all, but when did you get your work done? That was the miracle.  On that day, the day I surrendered my list and my stress to my Maker, I noticed that as I was still and peaceful, I heard a small Voice begin to guide me.  

Wouldn't now be a great time to mop the floor?  She's taking a nap, I heard.  

So I did.  I've never taken such joy in clean floors!  

Then, Do you want to organize her outgrown clothes in bins for the attic?  

Yes, what a good idea.  

Somehow these suggestions didn't stress me out when they came from The Voice inside, as they did when I saw them on my list.  And would you believe I accomplished more in that one day by just listening and following His Voice than I did in the months before?  

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."  (Isaiah 30:21)

If you know Christ as your Savior, His Spirit lives inside you.  He will guide you, speak to you, and show you the way you should go.  Even down to the small things.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  (John 10:27)

Law vs. Grace
Sometimes we believers put too much pressure on ourselves in everyday life.  We still live in the mindset that we have to live up to the Law, that we have to do everything right.  In the Old Testament, God gave the Israelites the law with many commands to obey, not because they could humanly keep them all (none of us can keep even the 10 Commandments perfectly), but so that we would see that we fall short.  And be ready to reach out for a Savior, Jesus, when He came.

We often think that we must do all the right things, whether that is keep a perfect house or give the perfect presentation, be the ideal wife and mom and never mess up.  We may put pressure on ourselves to read the Word everyday, never let anyone down, or speak harshly. Well, that is why Jesus came.  None of us can live up to our own expectations, let alone God's.  We need Him!  We need His power and grace, and this comes through His salvation and the gift of His Holy Spirit.  

When we have His Spirit inside of us, we can lay down our long checklists and begin to rely on Him to lead us, to guide us by His Voice.  We will accomplish many things, but they will be the things He had in mind.  And the beautiful part is we will be free to enjoy the day!

Ahhh...surrender.  This Mom recommends it.
Related posts: What Is This Moment For?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Love Day!

Wishing you a happy Valentine's Day as you celebrate the unconditional love of God for you!

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love." - Jesus (John 15:9)


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Starting Over

When learning the skills of caring for a baby, I discovered that some new rules apply.

The first is, The old rules don't apply.

Or, forget what you know.

I found it difficult to accept that, although I had a college degree, various ministry experiences, 7 years in the corporate world, and 3 years of marriage behind me, I was in a new "classroom."  And little of what I had learned or experienced in those settings applied.  It was like going back to Kindergarten with a huge new syllabus awaiting me.

Welcome to Motherhood 101.

When you are in your 30's, have gotten married, and experienced a career, you may begin to think you have found your way in the big, grown-up world.  You are on your feet.  You aren't living under Mom and Dad's roof.  You commute.  You know your way around the kitchen.  You host houseguests.

You don't expect to go from having your ducks in a row to feeling like a chicken with your head cut off overnight.  But it can happen!  It felt like starting over in a brand new world, this caring for a new little person.  There was so, so much to learn.

Did any of you feel this way after having your first baby?

{In my next post, I will share the biggest, sanity-restoring secret I discovered in the whole process.}

Friday, February 4, 2011

Welcome to Motherhood

She's here!

Our daughter joined us on June 27, 2010, and our life is forever changed!  She has her Daddy's eyes and her Momma's spunk, and she lights up our hearts in a million ways.  We praise God for his precious gift!!

Mommy Blog?
As proud of a Mommy as I am--and oh, so in love!--this blog will not become a "Mommy blog" in which I keep you up on my growing baby girl's milestones with pictures and stories.

Instead, I will use this space to open my heart and share with you the challenges, revelations, ah-hah moments, and the pure joys of motherhood.  A journal revealed, a journey shared.  Shall we?

Much More...
Let me dive in by saying that motherhood is so much more _______ than I could have imagined.  More wonderful, more inspiring, more challenging, more demanding, more emotional, more fun!, more overwhelming, more everything.  It is from the Lord; it is a high calling.  It is a Gift, a roller coaster, a treasure, a J-O-B, and it is not for the faint of heart!

Baby Girl is seven months old, and I am now ready to step back and process what on earth just happened!  When the reality of motherhood dawned, I felt like I had been dropped into the deep part of the ocean with onlookers on the shore waving and shouting, "Swim, girl, swim!"

I wanted nothing more than to swim.  But I didn't know how.  And even if I did, I would never make it to the far-off shore.

Learning Curve
Before Baby Girl's arrival, I had researched extensively, read a variety of books, taken a 12-week childbirth class, and asked questions of other mom friends.  But with the arrival of my newborn, I found a steep learning curve.  In spite of my efforts, there was actually no way to fully prepare for the experience of being a new mom, except of course, to become one.

Sleep schedules, breastfeeding, swaddling, bathtime, baby clothing management, visitors, diapers, and frequent crying.

For me, there was childbirth recovery, roller coaster emotions, and the challenge to squeeze in a shower and get dressed everyday.  None of these things existed in my life before baby.  All were new!  Even the small things like trimming baby's tiny nails and not drawing blood!  Where is a nurse when you need her?

Sink or Swim
The reality hit.  These things and more (which I'll share in days to come) made for a challenging adjustment period.  But if God has shown me anything during this time, it's that my only options are not to swim all the way to shore or drown in this sea of change.

What I didn't realize is that I was created to float.

(to be continued...)

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