Sometimes you just need a little hope...

If there is anything that I have learned about being a parent, it's that there are definitely highs and lows to go along with it, just like with everything else. I just wish I could get used to the roller coaster and when I see us rounding another corner and going uphill that I could better mentally prepare myself for the fall.

It is really hard to describe the thoughts that go on in a mother's mind. If you are a mom, I am sure you know what I am talking about. Worrying that you are doing enough. Wondering if your child will be successful. As a therapist, I can add looking for every possible sign of some sort of developmental delay or autism spectrum to that list (knowledge is not only power, but it can also be dangerous! lol).

It really is silly how many times with think, "is he OK?" or "is that normal" and let's not leave out "does she have emotional issues?"

When things get difficult when raising our children, when they seem to be pushing against every thing we are trying to teach them, and boycotting the structure that they really do long for, it can be exhausting. I want to throw up my hands and say, I'm DONE!

Then, you get to see glimpses. I call them glimpses from God. Little signs that you are OK, your kid is OK. Everything is really going to turn out fine. Sometimes I see this in Carter's behavior. When Carter remembers to ask politely. When he says something really sweet to us or to Griffin. When he gets a concerned look on his face when I am upset or Griffin is upset. You can see the work coming out. The work that God is doing in their lives, and the hard work you have put forth to create a "normal" kid (whatever normal is). Often times, it is when I am remembering how to treat my children with love, patience and respect that I get it in return. You would think that I would remember that when I am having difficulty keeping my patience. That tone I hear in Carter's voice sounds somewhat similar to that tone in my know, the disrespectful one. Ouch.

I wish I was perfect. But I'm not. None of us are. We are going to lose patience. We are going to forget that great teaching point that we were trying to hit home with during a certain discipline time. We will probably flub up on the sex talk. We might even yell or lose our temper at our kids. And then we will see it reflected back to us and hopefully learn something from it. My favorite verse to think about on days like this is "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness!" 2 Corinthians 12:9 AMEN. The more I realize that I will never be perfect but I have the perfect Father who IS and who allows me to do all things through Him...including parenting my two kids. Well then, what else do I need?

With all the snow days we have been having, things have gotten strained some days in the Mayo household. I mean, there are just so many things you can do in your house without getting bored. So, we have had some trying times. Days when I thought all I was doing was disciplining. Days when I felt like a failure. Days when I wondered would we actually survive having TWO kids. It kind of makes me chuckle.

Then, the glimpse happened. I got to see the Lord working in my son's life this week. In an amazing way. Friday morning Carter was up in the bonus room and came and got me and told me he had made a word. We had gotten him some letter tiles for Christmas to practice reading sight words. We will make the words and have him read them to us. He likes creating words that often aren't words at all, but it helps him learn and is a lot of fun.

When I got to the bonus room and saw what he had made, which was actually a sentence, not a word, I almost cried. My heart melted. I was amazed.

This is what I saw:

I luf U Jesus

He created that all by himself. It truly humbled me to know that God is at work in my child's life. I know we take him to church and we pray and have an active Christian life, but it just rings clearer to me that children's hearts are truly the most easily molded. They are tender. They have faith. They have trust. Nothing, hopefully, has come into their lives yet that has made them think to challenge the values they are growing up with. I pray that Carter knows he is loved, and that Jesus loves him. I am thankful he loves Jesus back. And that He knows who God is, who created the earth, who is all powerful.

Imagine if we still looked at God that way. If we truly focused on His attributes instead of relying on our own strength and trusting in our own strength.

If we came to Him just like a little child? If our hearts were soft? Moldable. Moveable.

What kind of work could He truly do through each of us if we were this transparent in our love for Him?

I love Jesus. Jesus loves me. End of story.

Lost and Found....

You know, there are not many possessions in this world that I hold more dear than the ring that my husband placed on my fingers eight years ago, this past Christmas Eve, and asked me to become his wife. I had waited a LONG time to hear those words. My ring was beautiful and it truly was my most treasured possession.

Fast forward to seven years of marriage, two kids, a house and busy life and one active 20 month old helping mommy get ready for the day, like he does every day. Except this day is different. My wedding rings were on the bathroom counter. Griffin was in and out of the bathroom, into everything, like he is every day. I wasn't paying much attention. However, when I reached for my rings and saw that only my wedding band was there I panicked, but just a little. I take my rings off every night and I either place them on the kitchen island or the bathroom counter. They had gotten separated before and I had had that sinking feeling before that I had lost my ring. But, always found it.

So, I wasn't too panicked when my wedding ring was not with my band. After going through everything in the bathroom, including the sinks and drains, drawers, etc. I got a little panicked. We had to leave to go on a play date, but I wouldn't allow myself to feel the anxiety reaching up in my heart about my ring. I called my husband (who is ETERNALLY calm in these situations) and he reassured me he would look for it when he got home.

Well, he didn't find it either. We tore the entire house apart looking for that ring. It's gone. Little Griffin got it and we don't know what he did with it. We know it didn't go down any drains and we have shop-vacuumed all the vents. We have gone through everything in the bathroom, bedroom, closet, living room, dining room, guest bedroom, bonus get the picture. We have gone through everything...twice.

We look at Griffin and say, "what did you do with mommy's ring?" and he just laughs. Because he doesn't know. He has no idea what he did. And I really can't hold it against that beautiful, sweet baby. He has no clue that he broke his momma's heart by his actions. He was just being a toddler, wanting to taste, see and explore anything he could.

I was really okay for about a week. Then I decided to call our home owners insurance to see if they covered such a loss. It turns out that since we didn't have it listed separately on our policy, they were not going to cover the loss. That was a really bad day. Actually, that is an understatement. I have not cried like that, well, since I had miscarriages. I mean, it was bad.

To know that you have lost something and it might not ever be found is one thing. Then to find out that you can't even get reimbursed for the valuable possession that was lost, in order to replace it, is just heartbreaking.

In all of this, I struggled with how I was supposed to feel. I mean, it's just a ring. Aren't there more important things to be concerned with? Poverty? World hunger? I had people tell me that this loss was just as important to the Lord as it was to me. I was told different ways to pray for the return of the ring. To "name it and claim it". To ask the Lord to show me where my ring was.

And it's not that I don't believe those methods work. I just felt like if I was supposed to find the ring, we would find it. However, I really didn't allow God to love me and tend to me like I should have. This loss was important to Him because I am important to Him. But, it was like I wanted to just hold all my pain and fear and anxiety inside and just keep it with me. And I was sad. I was really sad and heartbroken. I struggled with being heartbroken over something that doesn't last anyway.

I could really tell that I was getting depressed over this. And that upset me too. What I realized was that I was getting depressed because I wasn't allowing God to hold me and tell me it was going to be okay. It's okay to be sad over this loss. It isn't trivial. That ring was special. It was a symbol of our love and even though our love lives beyond a ring, it was treasured. Had I poured out my heart to God regarding my pain over this? Nope. I just wanted it all for myself and it was really starting to affect my day to day life. And not in a good way.

So yesterday, I decided to lay it all down. The mish mash of feelings. The multitude of anxieties (Psalm 94:19), the exhaustion of everything seemingly to not be going our way (the economy the past two years has greatly effected my husband's business). Losing the ring on top of that just reinforced the negative feelings that God is not for us and that we are under this dark cloud. I am really tired of the dark cloud. I am ready for sunshine. But those are lies. God is for us. And I knew that.

This is a trial. Just like everything else, I can either choose to grow through this or get stunted in my growth. I was choosing to be stunted.

Yesterday, even though I know Truth. I know Peace. Even though Jesus really should be the first One I run to, it took three weeks for me to lay it down. I read this scripture:

You (God) keep him in perfect peace the one who has his (and her) mind set on him. Because h/she trusts in God. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the ROCK eternal. Isaiah 26:3-4

Yeah. The Lord is the ROCK eternal. So even though this circumstance hasn't turned out the way I would like it to, I haven't found my "rock", my wedding ring, I have Him. And he's given me some pretty cool promises of things to come. And I do claim them. But even if there were no promises, He would be enough. I wouldn't trade His peace for any precious stone here on earth.

I think of this in parenting too. The daily struggle (I'm not the only one who struggles am I?) The doubts, the fears, is my kid going to turn out okay? Do I know what I am doing? What if?

What if my mind is just set on HIM? Hmmmm....perfect peace. Okay. I will take that. The Rock has it covered. Wow. How many other burdens am I carrying that He would love to lift off of me, if I would only allow Him? I may not find my ring, but I found, once again, that perfect peace casts out all fear.

Okay, I sooooo wouldn't turn down finding my ring, either. That will truly be a very, happy day. But for now, God's peace that He has given me is enough. And it's what I will turn to from now on when I am feeling sad about this loss. About my job as a parent, a wife and mother. My responsibilities. My dreams and my desires. Everything.

They are all laying at the foot of the cross.

Happy New Year

I am very excited to be sitting at Panera for the first time in a really long time and have the time to write, research and think. Sometimes I think I think too much, well, in fact I know I do. But I also know all of this thinking produces work, research and writing. So, therein lies the rub.

I am very excited to start working on the official launch of Reflections of a Mom ministry. Hopefully, by February, I will have a clearer picture of what that will look like. I can show you a a sneak peak into my new website. I am very excited about this. It is a work in progress, so if you see something that needs to change let me know.

Click HERE to take a look at my new website!

I am currently working on four different topics that I can present to moms, in all stages of life. However, since I am in the preschool years, right now, I have a lot of good stuff for moms just starting out and those in the throws of the first years of parenting. Just like me.

Intellectually, I can tell you about and help you with your teenager, but in truth, I have never parented a teenager. However, I do know the ONE who gives the ultimate in parenting advice, Jesus, and guess what? He never parented a teenager either. And he never parented, period. But, is He not the perfect picture of a parent and how he loves us, and that in turn helps us love our children.

If nothing else, it brings us to our knees. Something that has become increasingly clear to me the past few months. Nobody has all the answers to the deepest parenting fear, however, I can surrender to Christ and His authority in my life and become the PERFECT parent in HIM. For I am complete in Him. My identity is in Him and I have been given fullness in Christ (Colossians 2:10). That, to me, brings peace to my heart in knowing that even with my education and training, I don't have to depend on that to parent my children.

I don't have all the answers and I never will (praise God!). I can completely trust in Christ. Even when I fail and mess up, knowing that He has covered me and protected my children, in spite of myself.

Happy New Year! May God pour out His truth, power, strength to you as moms. He lavishes His love on us. Give Him your life, your fears, doubts and worries.

You can do ALL things through Christ!!!!!!!!!!!