I met Laura when she and her husband Dan came to the church I was attending to serve in youth ministry. When you first meet Laura, she has a beauty about her not only on the outside but also from a sweet spirit. I think you will be blessed today by a woman who admits she doesn’t have it all together…but needs God’s strength every day!
Life With Laura
Hello all! I have to begin by telling you how out of place I feel writing this post. I’m sitting here right now feeling like my heart is beating out of my chest!
When Cindy approached me about writing a guest post on her blog as part of her new Inspiring Women series, I think I even laughed out loud. My first thought was to say no right away because I really didn’t feel that I had anything inspiring to share.
I told Cindy I would pray about it, and as I did, God whispered to me that that is just it – in my own doing I have nothing of value to share. That women aren’t looking for someone to share all the amazing things they’ve done and how they’ve got it all together – but to hear how God works in the ordinary, messy moments of life.
My prayer in writing this is that He would guide my words and that somehow the things that come out would be an encouragement.
A Little About Me
Let me introduce myself. I’m Laura. I’ve been married to my best friend Dan for 14 years. We have four crazy kids, ages 2-9, and an angel baby Mya in heaven. Since I was old enough to walk, I’ve wanted to be a mama, and it was never a question in my mind that the only thing I wanted to do when I grew up was to be a stay-at-home-mom. Homeschooling wasn’t always part of the plan (God had to do some serious heart changing there!), but here I find myself homeschooling 3 kids and a super eager two and a half-year-old.
While having my kids around me all of the time CAN be a source of joy – and it is sometimes, it is certainly not what I imagined it would be like as a 6-year-old little girl, so eagerly awaiting the day that I’d have a family of my own.
My Daily Routine
A normal day around here consists of making food, cleaning up messes, breaking up fights, wiping bums, choosing which battles to pick with my strong-willed child, and making more food. Then I will move on to having heart chats, messing up what SHOULD have been a heart chat but turned into an angry lecture, re-doing all the things that I’ve already done but have come undone (think: laundry/dishes/floors/toys/papers/repeat). I am also having kids talk back to me, facing discipline issues that I feel like I have NO CLUE how to handle…you get the idea. Parenting is HARD.
Struggles of My Day
The other day I went to bed dreading the day ahead, knowing that it was grocery day, and because we had a busy schedule that week, I’d have to take all four kids with me to get two weeks worth of groceries.
I was pleasantly surprised to wake up the next morning in an optimistic frame of mind, maybe even looking forward to the challenge of doing this and doing it well. “I’ll inspire the older kids with a pep talk at breakfast,” I thought, and “I’ll make it educational for my four-year-old and get him to spot certain numbers throughout the store.”
I walked out of my bedroom and was greeted by a shrieking sound coming from the kitchen. The two older kids were emptying the dishwasher (their morning chore), and as I walked into the kitchen, I see one of them punch the other one in the back.
Of course, this was the beginning of my happy-balloon deflating, but I finally got that settled down, and then I see the two of them wrestling viciously over a fork. A FORK. The favourite fork that they both insisted on using for breakfast. That’s it. No more calm, optimistic mama. I yelled at them to GIVE ME THE FREAKING FORK (I hate that word, and I hate that it came out of my mouth). I proceeded to throw the fork on top of the fridge to ensure that no one would be using it.
I was done, and I was angry.
Why can’t they just get along?! Why can’t they think of someone besides themselves?! Why can’t they just stop being so selfish?! And HOW did I just turn from calm, happy, inspired mama to angry mama so quickly. There was no way I could handle this day the way that I wanted to. I was deflated and angry and frustrated by the sin I was seeing in my kids, but even more so I felt defeated by my own reaction. I quickly regretted the way I had handled both of those situations. I hated how quickly I lost control of my own attitude. And this was one of many situations that week where I had blown it.
Joys In My Life
Yes – there are sweet, beautiful moments of my days:
💗 Hearing my 2-year-old say “I love you, mommy.”
💗 Being able to sit and snuggle with the kids while I read them a book.
💗 The times where I connect with one of my kids and get a glimpse into their hearts.
💗 Watching them reach academic milestones before my eyes.
💗 Having tight-squeeze hugs.
💗 Hearing my 9-year-old finally tell a joke that’s actually funny.
But it’s not enough to give me that joy…the TRUE joy that does not depend on circumstances.
Moments With God
Parenting has made me realize how selfish and flawed I really am. This is where it gets to the good part.
I knew the only productive thing I could do in the “fork moment” was hide away in my bedroom for a few minutes. Defeated, discouraged, feeling condemned by my own sin. I laid there, face down, crying out to God to help me. Feeling hopeless, apart from Him changing the ugliness in my heart. Then I heard, in my mind, whispered: “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Cor 12:9). Relief. I went ahead and asked for a restart for my day, confessing my sin to Him, and feeling that forgiveness…but not yet feeling like I had what it took to get through the day with a positive attitude and in a way that would honour Him. I peeled myself off my bed, apologized to my kids, and went forward in faith (not feeling it at all!), that His grace was sufficient for me, and that in my weakness He would be strong.
I can’t explain it (well, I can…), but it was probably one of the best grocery shopping trips to date…I actually enjoyed my kids while we were shopping, and the cashier even commented on how well behaved the kids were. PRAISE GOD! The rest of that day with the kids was quite pleasant. I consider this a victory. This was NOTHING that I mustered up on my own. I had nothing. I believe that at that moment in my bedroom, he graciously took over and really did answer my plea for strength and a changed heart. Don’t read me wrong – I don’t consider the fact that my day went smoothly after that was the victory. To me, the victory was what happened in my heart.
This is joy.
The joy that comes when I remember that YES I am a sinner, and YES my kids are sinners – but I no longer carry the condemnation from that sin and that my debt has been paid in full.
My standing before God, nor his love for me changes based on my performance.
The joy that comes from the ability to have “restarts,” over and over and over again. Between God and us, and between us and those around us (one of my sons will often come to me and say “can we start over mom?” YES!)
The joy that comes from the surrender to His plan, and knowing that through our weakness He is strong. Doing the hard things that He’s asking us to do, trusting that His way is the best, and He is there with us to be our strength.
The joy that comes when I REST in Him, in His love for me, and in His plan which is so much bigger than mine.
I need to stop striving for:
💗 The joy I think I’ll find in having perfect kids.
💗 The joy that I think I’ll find when I FINALLY figure out how to discipline, and disciple them in every situation.
💗 The joy I think I’ll find when my house is 100% cleaned, decluttered, and organized.
💗 The joy I think I’ll find when I am the weight that I want to be.
💗 The joy I think I’ll find when we have the money to be able to do the things we want to do,
💗 The joy that I think I’ll find when I finally get some time to myself…oh my, the list could keep going on and on.
You have to realize I am speaking to MYSELF right now. No joke – I am in the midst of this as I type. And I am thankful for this reminder as God tenderly works in my heart.
We cannot make joy for ourselves. And praise God that the joy that comes from Him is so much better.
Ps. I can’t end this post without making a note of how important it is that we are seeking the Lord every day and finding time to be in His word. I’ve had seasons where I have been disciplined in that, and seasons I haven’t. It’s unreal the difference it makes when my eyes are on the Lord, and His word is fresh in my heart. His Spirit does something in that. God knows your life stage and where you’re at, maybe it means just meditating on one verse for the day. We have to remember that there’s a spiritual battle going on and the enemy knows the power that is in God’s Word.
Let’s be praying for each other as sisters in Christ, and even keeping each other accountable in this!
“Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
*Are you considering being a homeschooling family also, click here: STRESS-FREE HOMESCHOOLING TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND RELAX
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