Tag Archives: Christian Woman

Merciful Days: Inspection Fear

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Inspection Fear

Heat-herding curtains hanging in the stair-well. Electric blanket on the bed. Drawers of summer clothes half-way traded for tubs of winter ones.  Outdoor play pieces and summer toys piled in the garage.  It’s Fall.  Suddenly.  Sadly. Unusually early.  The cold, rainy season is here.  And amidst all these season-change-over activities, I regretfully felt inspired to clean off a bookshelf and contemplate every book we own.  This resulted in piles upon piles of books waiting for new spots on our shelves.  (Or a trip to Half-Price Books if I can get my heart to admit that I’ve been treating books like they are family members.)

It was a mess.  An unending loop of uncompleted tasks. Daunting tasks that are great excuses for not completing other ones.  Like bathroom cleaning. Bed-linen washing. Meal planning. Homework supervising. Blog writing.

I haven’t quite got the hang of having a kid in school.  And our home is showing the fruit of my inadequacies. Our home looks like my heart and mind does.  Disorganized. Unraveling. Cluttered. In-process.

On Wednesday night I found out our landlord was coming to do an annual property inspection on Friday. [Continue…]

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Merciful Days: When Hope Vanishes

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mark 9v24b“I don’t want to keep living this way.” I prayed honestly.

“Have I failed you?” The Holy Spirit asked me.

I was praying about an amazing job my husband had applied for.  It seemed like the perfect fit for him.  And, to be honest, we are beyond ready for the lifestyle a traditional job brings.  So I begged God to open the door for him to have this job.  And I talked about the tiredness of my heart that has come in these years of gig-based self-employment.  … Oh, it was such a great job!  Perfect for my husband’s career journey.  AND it would change everything for us.  Regular income.  Medical benefits.  Paid vacation.  Please God.

“In all these years, have I ever failed you?” His Light pointed at the depths of my heart.

He showed me that in the depths of my heart, it was still there. [Continue…]

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Merciful Days: Keeper of the home

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Keeper of the home 1It’s not that I’m ungrateful. It’s not that I want anything to change. It’s just that this is a different life than I expected.

It’s noon and so far I have sorted two loads of clean laundry, tidied rooms, done dishes, changed a pee diaper, changed a poop diaper, vacuumed, made breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, put in more laundry, tended to a crying pox-covered child, disciplined the non-poxed one, hovered over the poxed one to get her to pick up her toys, processed medical paperwork, worked on our August budget, angrily picked up my husband’s socks and assorted other abandoned clothes of his, turned a blind eye to the bathrooms that have needed cleaning for far too long, worked out a meal plan for the week using only what we have on hand because this month’s budget is $500 short, researched MRSA because the doctor’s office called with positive culture results from the pox (“We are running additional tests”), and felt frustrated at every turn.  Mad, even.  Except I’m too tired to maintain being mad.

Today I feel like a tattered remnant of myself.  This is the weirdest job I’ve ever had. And it’s not a job. It’s what I am: mother of small children.

Mothers of small children are a people group unto themselves.  This season of motherhood shapes a female human in very specific ways.  And regardless of occupational circumstances, whether she be full-time at-home or full-time work-and-home, mothers of small children are stretched thin.

Oh so thin.

A few years ago my friend, who at the time was pregnant with their first-born, said she was worried that she’d feel stuck at home after baby was born.  My response, as a mother of one toddler, had been so confident: “The answer is easy. If you feel that way, let’s get in the car and go somewhere fun!”

Nothing wrong with positive thinking. Right?  But today I’m feeling so deeply what my friend had feared.  It’s as she described: stuck. Stuck at home. Stuck in my heart. Stuck in a rut. Stuck in the hamster wheel of day after day sameness.  Like I’m living in my own version of the movie “Groundhog Day.” I’m desperate to find a way out of this loop.  Today the thinly stretched me is asking:  Am I living in the fullness of God’s creation of me?

Today I felt led to Titus 2.  And by “led” I mean… it came to mind and it made me angry.  And I see His familiar presence in the stirring of my heart.  The Holy Spirit is taking me to a passage to mentor me.  He whispered, “keeper of the home” to my heart to get my attention.  And, as He knew I would, my reaction was to rise up and revolt.  Those words, “keeper of the home,” feel like a cage.  Like a punishment.  Like I’ve been benched from real life.  And put in a place of bland resignation.  Yes, Holy Spirit, you have my attention. [Continue…]

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Adding to your Reader

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Hi friends, It has been so wonderful sharing life with you here on ColoursofColor.  The WordPress.com community is special.

My new home is with WordPress.org and one of the downsides is not being part of my old WP community.  But there is remedy!

You can add MercifulDays to your Reader on WordPress.com!  Or you can subscribe to receive emails each time I post on MercifulDays.

Join us at MercifulDays!  Looking forward to seeing you there!

HOW TO ADD to your Reader:

1. From your Reader Tab: Go to “Blogs I Follow” and click EDIT

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2. Enter http://mercifuldays.com into the field and click FOLLOW.  Ta da!  It’s that simple!  You can also edit delivery settings.

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HOW TO SUBSCRIBE to receive email notifications:

1. On the www.MercifulDays.com home page, enter your email in the top right hand section.  Click ENTER.  And that’s it! So easy.

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Looking forward to sharing life with you at MercifulDays!

Bathtime: What’s the point?

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Her tears were real.  Her confusion totally understandable.

Last night’s bath-time was short.  A quick bath to get clean.  Different from the normal.  As the water drained away, she cried.

“I didn’t have time to play!” She cried out the sad words with sobs.

“A bath is for getting clean.  That’s why we have baths.” Explained her patient Daddy.

“No, baths are for PLAYING!” She was so sure she was right.

“Well, yes, baths are a time when we can play.  But the reason we have baths is to get clean.” He spoke revelation and vision for our sweet daughter.

God’s voice flooded my heart:  A child thinks a bath is for playing but maturity knows baths are for getting clean.  Sometimes you cry out like your child is crying now: “Things aren’t happening the way I expected!  I’m confused.  I am sad.”  But I have a deeper plan.

Today I have been texting with one of my best friends about my current emotional state.  I’m confused. I’m sad.  Bills have increased but income has decreased.

I message her: “I am trying hard to chase after peace but today I am failing.”

Her replies reminded me of last night’s bath-time.
She said, “Remember this is probably about [your husband].”
She said, “And you just did a retreat so a little warfare too.”

Hmmmm.  Yes.  Perspective.  God is working in my husband’s life.  Everything I walk through isn’t going to be ALL about me.  Duh.  And, I led worship for a women’s retreat last weekend.  I saw God do beautiful things in the hearts of the women there.  And in my own heart too.  I need to be aware of the battle.  The enemy comes to steal, kill & destroy. (John 10:10)

Thinking about my childish bath-time expectations.  Remembering that when confusion and sadness sweep over my heart, I need to choose to chase after peace and hold on with both hands.  Our Father God is working His kingdom plan in my life.  Even if the bath water drains out before I am ready,  I need to recognize His presence and listen for His voice.

I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me…  the sheep listen to his voice and heed it; and he calls his own sheep by name and brings (leads) them out. (John 10:14 & 3 Amplified)

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts… You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where briers grew, myrtles will sprout up. This miracle will bring great honor to the LORD’s name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.  (Isaiah 55:8-9, 12-13 NLT)

Mud Inspiration

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Her long dark hair floated in the wind as she chirped and sung with joy about her crops.

Her hands and her heart are at home in the mud and greens.  “I hear God in the garden.”

I wanted to bottle it all up and make a perfume.  Their farm-house full of cool furniture and functional spaces.  Their family of eight.  Their menagerie of chickens, roosters, horses, rabbits and giant dog.  Their passion for Jesus and His church.  Their homeschooling.  Their self-sustaining farm.  Their transparent sharing of pains and joys.  Their row of mud boots by the back door.

At the end of the day my little family went home with organic eggs, muddy clothes, and hearts full of dreams.

She inspired me.  She inspires me still.

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I felt the absence.

Not once.  Not even when the conversation begged for it.  Not a hint.

She never said anything like, “You could do this too.”

I wanted her to.  I wanted to hear how this super-mom got through each day.  But she didn’t respond to my prompting questions.

She joyfully chatted with and adored my two children without any comparison to her six.

She graciously served a meal from their garden without any comments about the virtues organics or self-grown.

She shared deep insights about motherhood without any proclamations about the importance of homeschooling.

In fact, in the over six hours we were with them, she didn’t talk about anything that involved comparison of lifestyles.  Even when I asked her direct questions she changed the approach.  I specifically asked her what each of her crops were and she shyly said something like, “whatever grows well and the family enjoys eating.”  It was like this all day.  I wanted to learn the WHAT and HOW but she kept sharing only the WHY.

She is a poster child for all things good.  She could author a blog that would gather a mass following.  She could tour and speak.  She could, at least, be a confident advocate.

Instead, she is simply a woman who is living and loving her life.  Joie de vivre.

She is living for God.  To know God.  To love life with Him.

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“My tomatoes got blight again this year.  Two years in a row.  I think I’m done with tomatoes.  This year I’m going to use that garden section for other things.”  She smiled as she talked about the failed tomatoes.

And in that moment I saw: I want to be just like her.

Not necessarily a mother of six.  Not necessarily a farmer.  Not necessarily a collector of cool furniture.

What I want is: to love life like she does.

I want the courage to move on from the failed crops in my life.  I want to be happy to use that section of my life for other things.

I want to fill my life with things that are fruitful and full of joy.

As I watched this princess enjoy her kingdom, I was inspired like I’ve never been inspired before.

A reminder to be me.  To love and enjoy the things I love and enjoy.  To be the mother I am.  To be the woman God designed me to be.

A life of joy.

That’s what she should call her blog.

Sadly, I am guessing that she isn’t ever going to write a blog.  She seems to prefer soil under nails, not the keys of a computer like I do. 🙂

Selah.

The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!  (Prov 31:30b-31 The Message)

The Gift Of An Open Life

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Yesterday I was part of the birth-support team for one of my dear friends and mentors.  This is the third of her deliveries I have been involved with.  Being part of her team is a gift I can never repay.  It’s an incredible experience that, these days, is often only available for daddies and sometimes other close family members.

I am not part of her family.  I am not a surrogate sister.  I really have no right to be in that room.

Here’s how it came about:
– For most of my life I’ve dreaded the actual “having” of birthing babies.
– Five years ago, my husband and I felt God show us it was time to start our own family, I actively pursued getting free from the fear of childbirth.
– My friend was pregnant and offered to let me walk side-by-side through her pregnancy and delivery.  I got to be part of doc appointments, ultrasounds, and regular chats where I could ask any (and many stupid) questions.
– Then came delivery day!  Incredible experience!  So many of my questions were answered just be seeing it all first hand.
– For the months after I was able to watch her care for her baby.  Each moment was a first for me.  I had never been around babies before.

Some months later I was thanking her, once again, and she invited me to part of the journey with their next baby, whenever that would be.  She was already pregnant but didn’t know it.

At that baby’s birth, I was seven months pregnant.  Being part of a birth team whilst being pregnant takes the experience to a new level!

I asked her to be part of my birthing team.  I also asked several other women if they would like to be there.  It’s not that I “wanted” a bunch of random women in the room.  It’s that I so highly prized my experience that I wanted to offer the same thing to other women.

Hear me now: I was NOT thrilled at the idea of laboring in front of people.  Who knows what I would be like?!  Jekyll or Hyde?!   I was NOT excited about opening myself to the potential judgement and criticism that comes when you allow people to be part of the most vulnerable times of your life.  But how could I not pass on the gift she had given me?!  Honestly, it was an honor to do so.

Fast-forward a few months: Our baby had a health issue and I had to have an early c-section. Only two people allowed in the OR.  I had to cancel my birth team.

Fast-forward two and a half years:  Our second baby was late and never came on his own.  Against my desire, I ended up having another c-section.  Birth team cancelled again.

Fast-forward a couple of years to yesterday: I’m back in the delivery room supporting my friend through the birth of her fourth baby.

I’m in that room despite my inexperience.  I had two non-labor c-sections.  I literally have no idea what she’s going through.

I’m in that room despite my inability to reciprocate.  She’ll never be part of my birth-team.  I am destined for only c-sections.

But I’m in that room with a purpose.  She wants me to be me.  Funny, helpful, loving me.  She has given me a place by her side.

What a gift:  To be part of “regular” births when I haven’t had any of my own.  To be valued for who I am, not what I’ve been through.  To be invited into the most vulnerable day of her life.

There is no way to measure how great her influence has been in my life.

I hope her example will inspire other women to open their lives to others.  Woman, share your ups and downs!  Invite other women to be part of your pregnancies and deliveries and early baby days.  Invite them to be part of your work.  Invite them to be part of your play.  Invite them into your grief and sadness.  Invite them into your successes and celebrations.

The way to gain sisterhood in your life is to become a sister to others despite the risk of it all failing terribly.  Isn’t it?!

I know, real friendship is hard to find.  I know, woman can be nasty.  I know, we’ve all been hurt.  I know, we all don’t want to try again.

But don’t give up on sisterhood.  Keep pursuing friendship.  Keep showing up and opening your heart.  Real, good, beautiful community is worth all it costs to get.

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Philippians 2:1-2
Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as… models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. Titus 2:3-4

My community is not perfect.  In fact, I often want to run away.  There is conflict.  There are very hard times.  But I am determined to try to daily choose to  invest and seek love and give my all.  The heart of the Acts church is alive in all of us through His Spirit.  It’s so worth the effort.

How are you?  Have you committed to a church family?  Have you found ways to get involved and sow seeds towards friendship and sisterhood?  It’s hard work. Don’t give up.
Want to read through the Bible with me?  Today’s readings are: Psalm 106; Acts 11:1-18
The part that stood out to me today is:  “The Holy Spirit told me to go…” Acts 11:12 // Love being part of a kingdom and plan that is so big and spans the generations.