Today’s post is from such a sweet mama. Her name is Christina and she is just lovely and wise. She has a study out called, ExtraOrdinary, that you can learn more about at the end of her post. Please welcome her here today!
The clock was already blinking 2:30 p.m. I had oodles of work to complete, and not even half of my list was checked off. Pushing aside my laptop, I hopped into the van and hurriedly shoved the keys into the ignition not wanting to be the last parent in line for pick-up…again.
I knew that as soon as we all got back home and in the door: snack time would roll into homework, which would turn into outside play, which would eventually demand nourishment (dinner), then ultimately lead into baths and bedtime prayers. By the time I had my list to think about, I would be too exhausted to even wash my face before falling into bed.
All these thoughts during a short two mile drive to the elementary school.
By the time I arrived and began inching my way through the pick-up lane, I was completely discouraged and feeling like the worst (mom/wife/writer…you name it).
Pulling up to the curb, my little people hopped into the van eager to show me their graded work and remind me that they needed supplies for projects due soon. I sat quietly sulking as they chattered on about kickball at recess and spelling bees.
Pulling into the driveway, everyone jumped out…but me. I sat in the driver’s seat, rolled down the windows, and wearily dropped my head back.
When I give in to my inadequacies, they stack up before my eyes like a mountain of unclimbable rocks. Before I know it, my pity has turned into an all-out party and I am the only guest.
One of the (undone) items on my to-do list was to write an article submission detailing my parenting skills with ease. Ha! How in the world am I the one who is to write on any subject involving parenting, or anything else for that matter?
I gave myself a few more minutes to sit in silence, completely out of sorts. After a bit, knowing I needed to get a hold, I turned on one of my go-to worship songs and let the words soak into my tired soul.
One at a time I lay my weaknesses out before God.
He kindly reassured me (for the gazillionth time) that I am weak so He can be strong. So basic. So easy.
Part of living authentically as a Christ-Follower, a wife, a mama, and a writer is to allow people around me to see those weak times. Not so they can feel better about themselves, but so they might be encouraged as I determinedly forge on.
If I walked into that house, I would fail. I needed Jesus to go before me.I needed His grace to fill me. I needed Him. No one was to blame for my attitude of insufficiency but me.
After a full 6 minutes of “me and Jesus time”, I knew it was time to re-enter my reality. With every step up the driveway, I released more of me, and welcomed more of Him.
Our afternoon crazy hour was just as insane as it always is (even a little more since Mommy had refused to come in the house for a bit). But because of a moment with Jesus in my van on the driveway, somehow I was able to rise above the chaos and thank God for it all.
God demands all of me, in all of it. When I allow just a sliver of myself into the equation, things begin to quickly unravel. I could not even count the number of times God and I have had these conversations. I am so very ordinary. When left to my own strength, I fail so hard!
His love for my human failings, His grace for my selfish moments, His peace for my chaos… they never stop. This is good news.
Three Ways to Let Him into Your Chaos
1.) Take Yourself Out of It
The more “me,” the less Jesus has room to be. Pretty simple. Yet really hard make happen day in and day out. Life is not about us, but we totally make it about us! Every morning, before your feet hit the floor, ask God to fill your thoughts, actions, and words.
2.) Get Out of Bed Before Your Kids
I need at least 30 minutes (if not a whole hour) of Jesus and coffee before I can be a sweet mama. I learned this the hard way. On days that I feel like I want to “treat” myself and turn off the alarm, we all pay dearly. Chaos is rampant. Quiet time in the early hours is my saving grace.
3.) Call a Mommy Timeout
It is totally okay to find a quiet spot in your house and demand a moment to yourself. Now that my kids are a little older I find that in my closet. At least once a day I wave the white flag and fall down to my knees on top of running shoes and wrinkled shirts. It is my place to hide, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Sometimes I will sit there until I hear God’s voice. He’s never let me down. I always leave renewed, even if it just gets me through the next hour.
If you are feeling chaotic, and the clock is blaring at you because dinner should have been started– take a deep breath and let Him into your chaos. Truth is, He is already there.
Christina is a Christ-follower whose passions include writing, teaching, chasing miracles, and justice advocacy. She is always ready and willing to say yes to God’s next assignment as long as it involves caffeine and deep conversations.
If you think Christina would be a good addition to your women’s conference, retreat, or you just want to invite her to a really good coffee shop, go to www.christinalang.me for more details.
ExtraOrdinary: When Ordinary People Say “Yes” to an Extraordinary God
ExtraOrdinary is a six-week study written for women from all walks of life.
Written by a wife and mother of six kids, Christina Lang totally gets it. She understands that sometimes life feels like it is winning and tired wives & mamas often feel like they are losing. This feeling of hopelessness causes them to grasp anything they can to try and make it all work.
ExtraOrdinary will teach you how to let go of the false sense of control, and fall into your Heavenly Father’s arms. Each of the six weeks introduces a different Biblical character to illustrate how God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. You will find that they are more like you than you may have ever known. Simply put, they were human. As you learn about the humble lives of Peter, John, Hannah, Hosea, Mary, and Lady Faith, I interweave stories from my own ordinary life that has been grounded by mistakes and a need for grace. Together we all find a common ground, and that is our need for a Savior.
There are affiliate links used in this post. Click here to read my disclosure policy.
My in-laws, Susan and Gary. They are two of the wisest, humblest, above reproach people I know.
Three years ago I was in a fog of temptation.
I was having a hard time in my marriage, and I started flirting with another man. By the grace of God, and by what I believe was Him providing a way out of the temptation, my husband asked me if I ever thought about cheating on him.
I told him I had thought about it.
It was his question, that had arisen after reading the book, Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough, that led to us having one of the best, most honest conversations of our marriage. And after that conversation, it was as though I was shakin’ out of the fog. My eyes were opened and the temptation was gone. Light had pierced the dark.
But ya’ll, I could have fallen astonishingly.
“She did not consider her future. Therefore she has fallen astonishingly…” Lamentations 1:9
Now another story…
About four years ago I was slandered by someone who believed things about me that were not true. Instead of talking to me about her misconceptions, she talked to others. There are people out there now who believe what she said and will always have a bad view of me. At the time this was going on, I was angry, and confused, and completely taken off guard. I tried to contact the person to clarify; no response. This was a fellow believer, and yet she would not talk to me about the offenses she believed I committed. I considered taking to my blog to defend myself. I’m sure I got a little passive aggressive on Twitter. I did write a general post about slander. But at the end of the day, after much prayer and wise counsel I decided to keep quiet and let the Lord be my defender. Nothing came of it and life moved on.
“Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.” Proverbs 20:22
Why am I telling you about these things? Because nearly every day I see the church being taken down in one form or another. I see leaders falling, and I see people accusing, and I see real offenses committed, and I see potential slander. But above all I see that there is a big target on the church, the people of God, by a real enemy who wants to take us down. And I know that sometimes we take ourselves down, because it almost happened to me. And I know that none of us gets a pass when it comes to temptation, and some of us have fallen astonishingly. I also know there are wicked people who do wicked things and call themselves Christians. If only there was no sin, so confusion, no falling, no hiding.
But there is something we can do. There are some things we can do. Here is a start…
Pray for Those in Leadership
I am sometimes guilty of pettiness, gossip, and jealousy. I see certain leaders, and instead of being for them, I take offense, I disagree on certain things, and I sometimes think and talk badly about them. Any choice morsel will do. But by the grace of God, no more. I will be for those who bear witness to Christ, especially those in leadership.
Together, we can pray for leaders and encourage them and believe the best about them. Let’s pray for them to stay low, to be humble, to be wise and to put that wisdom to action; and let’s pray that they will be delivered from temptation. We can pray that they will be encouraged daily to keep on, to keep their eyes on Him, and to live above reproach by faith, grace, humility, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Give the Benefit of the Doubt
When we read or hear something about someone, let’s not automatically believe it. Let’s do our research, ask the Lord for clarity and wisdom, and give the person the benefit of the doubt until we find out if they are guilty. Let’s not gossip. And when we do, because we have untamable tongues, let’s ask for forgivingness and begin again.
“Treat others the way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31
Be Above Reproach
The enemy wants to take us down.
As believers, and particularly those of us in leadership, we must be above reproach. We must be on guard, on alert, and walking with our eyes wide open. The enemy is just waiting for an opportunity to devour us. And devour he will, and in this inter-connected age, nearly nothing will be kept hidden.
I always say this, and I’ll say it a million more times: we can begin again.
So you messed up. Okay, get up, ask forgiveness, get low, and move forward. It will be a waste of your life to stay in shackles because of your sin. Repent. Start over. Live a quiet life if need be. But again and again He gives us mornings and mercy to begin new.
It is never too late to make your fall a fall to the knees.
And friends, pray for me? Pray for me to be humble and wise and to resist temptation and to be above reproach? I always want to stay low.
There are affiliate links in this post. Read my disclosure policy here.
I had a boyfriend in college who told me he could never see me as a mom.
I asked him why he thought that, and he just said, “I don’t know. I just don’t see it in you.” His flippant words hurt. I had always wanted to be a mom, and this person who I cared so much for didn’t think I was worthy of that title.
Fast forward to now, and even though I have three beautiful children who I am absolutely in love with, his words creep up on me. Hidden behind the spoken words I hear, “You’re not good enough to be a mom.”
Some nights I lay awake with anxiety, spinning with thoughts of all I mess up in and all the ways I could do better. I just don’t want to regret my mothering years; I want to do right by my children.
Then the morning comes and everything feels new and I know I can begin again.
And I remember, I am not enough. I am not adequate. I will fail in a million and one ways. But merit doesn’t make a mother. God makes a mother.
Read the rest over at (in)courage today!
Want to win a copy of Desperate for you and a friend?
Today I’m giving away six copies of Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe! There will be THREE winners, so you are entering to win one for you and one for a friend! WOOT! Just fill out the form below! By the way, the Kindle version of Desperate is only $1.99 right now!!! Get it HERE!
I have been let in on a great secret.
Maybe it’s not a secret, but it was unknown to me until I actually tried it. My Ella, avid reader that she is, was always picking books at the library that were of the Geronimo Stilton sort. Fun, but in a candy-appetite sort of way. Sure, she was reading, and I always encourage reading, but Sally pointed out to me that just like our diets, what we feed our minds daily is important in being healthy. If my girl always reads “candy books”, her mind would be engaged, but not necessarily strong. Plus, what we consume frequently we tend to have an appetite for. I want my children to crave the good things. I also want her to learn about history and interesting people and science and so much more through “living books” and the wide world around us.
All to say, the secret…
It is, the book basket. And specifically, it looks like this: A basket by the bed filled with a biography, a history (can be historical fiction), a science/nature, a classic literature, and a fun book.
There it is, that’s it. That is what my girl has been cycling through the last few months, and it has been the greatest asset in nurturing her mind. Whenever we go to the library (usually every two weeks), she must pick at least five books on those topics. Of course she brings home more books to read, but those are the requirements. And friends, she is not only becoming an excellent reader, I know she is developing a strong mind. Her vocabulary is vast and her knowledge of historical events and people is growing weekly. And all through story and interesting texts.
People often ask me what I use for curriculum. Mostly, the library. We read. We read good, living books on a variety of subjects. We talk about them, and then we look up more information on what we’ve learned if we’ve become curious. We have a few other texts here and there, mainly for math and mapping, but our go-to is the library.
But how, you might ask, do you get your children to read the five books?
Rewards of course! 😉 My children get to pick a special experience if they read a certain number of books. My nine year old has to read 50 chapter books (or, if they are science or biography, they can be 30 pages depending). Her choice of reward? Hershey park with her dad! My son, who has struggled with reading, also has to read 50, but they are of the BOB book variety. His choice? A night out with me in a hotel. Yes, these are expensive items, but they have to read quite a bit to earn the reward. They keep track by keeping a poster in their room and they put a sticker on it for each book they read. It has been a great success! Now listen, I didn’t come up with any of these ideas; I got them from Sally Clarkson. If you’re not following her, you must. She’s lovely and gracious and wise and has done the work in raising her children well. I love her so and you will too.
If you want more ideas, or book recommendations, pick up Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families by Sarah Clarkson (Sally’s daughter). It is wonderful, and is filled with practical advice for encouraging your children to read.
And just for fun, you must run right now and get your hands on the deeply touching book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It is one of the best books I have ever read. The kids and I were hooked; we couldn’t put it down. It is an exceptional work by Kate DiCamillo.
Okay, your turn! What secrets do you have when it comes to encouraging your children to be well-read? Also, what is a current kids book you are loving right now?
P.S. Another way we sneak in “reading” is by listening to audio books in the car. We are currently listening to Anne of Green Gables every time we go somewhere. It’s been a fun way to get more reading into our lives!
There are affiliate links in this post. You can read my disclosure policy here.
Many of you have asked me if and when I would release an updated Type-B Homeschool Planner. I have decided this year to just release the “plan” version, instead of the full planner.
Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time or resources this year to create a full planner, but I wanted you all to have access to the 14-Step planning guide. So, I have made the guide available in a PDF and you can download for only $2.99!
Download The Type-B Homeschool Plan by clicking the button below!
Just get yourself a notebook, and you’re all set!
What’s in The Type-B Homeschool Plan?
The Type-B Homeschool Plan is the planner for the rest of us.
It’s the planner for the mom who struggles with details, gets overwhelmed with lesson-planning, and is generally laid back but knows she needs to get her ducks in a row if she’s going to homeschool well.
It is simple, clear, and offers step-by-step planning help.
The Type-B Homeschool Plan is everything that was in the original planner, minus the planning pages. I have added a few things here and there to it, but for the most part it is identical to the planner version (so if you already have it, you don’t need to buy it again).
Here’s to sweat-free homeschool planning!