Hello there…. Back in the blog-o-sphere today and thought I’d share my beloved sweetest sister with you. I obviously think she’s wonderful but she inspires me daily.
1. Thoughts on motherhood….
Motherhood has been the greatest joy and privilege of my life by far, and also the greatest challenge! (Funny how that works) If you thought you were a pretty great person, getting married practically took care of that. You begin to see some sides to yourself you had conveniently not noticed before. But having kids takes that to a whole new level. They are little mirrors, literally imitating and learning and practicing to be YOU. And they are helplessly and perfectly selfish, constantly demanding in their cute (and not-so-cute) ways to be put first. Motherhood requires you to die to self like never before, and day, after day, after day (and night) at that. BUT.. as Jesus says, you only really find your life when you lose it (Matt.16:24-26) and great joy is found in investing all of myself in raising these two precious little ones. I have never felt a part of such a mighty work as this!
2. Tell us about your littles….
Phoebe is my precious, vivacious, exuberant little firstborn. She is wild joy to me. She is 2 1/2 and busy with the business of growing up.. testing boundaries, imitating practically everything she sees & hears, learning to express herself in sentences, learning her independence. Noah is my sweetest, most handsome little 6 month old. He is unending delight to this Mama’s heart. He is learning to sit up, to say “dada,” to eat real food, to play games, and to roll over. He is the happiest baby I have ever known! The two of them absolutely adore eachother. I know this may not last forever (grin), so I’m enjoying every minute of it while it does. They have a sweet little connection all their own and no one can make one laugh like the other one, or one cry if the other is crying. Little buds.
3. Who inspires you as a mama?
First and foremost, my own Momma. She is truly amazing, and more so as I get farther down the road of motherhood and realize all that she was able to juggle and persevere through. Also, so many moms I have the privilege of walking alongside: Katie Duke, Mary Cargle, Lindsey Hooper, Jolena Cantrell, and the list could go on and on. I also am greatly encouraged by Ann Voskamp, Sally Clarkson, and many more mothers via the written word.
4. What is the one thing you’d want a mama-to-be to know? Ok, maybe top 5-10 things :)
It is going to be the best thing you ever experienced, and the hardest, too.
Be willing to take help and find help.. its ok to need it!
It’s just a season and it WILL fly by and end. Enjoy the season you’re in and be all there.
Live life with other moms, some in your season, some way more seasoned. You need them and they will get it.
Remember who you are. Don’t give up what makes you you.. enlarge your children’s lives by your particular talents, gifts, makeup & design. Do what you love when you can (you will have to learn to be more intentional & to fight for what matters the most)
Love God, love your husband, love your kids.
Receive and give grace lavishly.
Give up comparisons & give up guilt. Be teachable, be connected to community & let others enrich your parenting. But ultimately go to the Source of all wisdom & listen for His voice!
Three hot drinks a day keeps the insanity away (sort of..) Morning, afternoon and night have some tea, coffee, hot chocolate, whatever. :)
End the really hard days with a bath (advice from Ann Voskamp)
Make & keep memories (take the time to take pictures, write down the cute things they say in a book, keep journals or baby books, etc.)
Last but most importantly: Stay in the Word!
5. How do you find balance in your day?
I’m only learning to find balance, but I would say what I’m learning is that I need to know what my goal (in parenthood) is and then to have a plan. To know what my aim is helps me weigh what we can feasibly handle or take on and what we need to live without. It helps me to put the small tasks into a larger framework and weigh them against the overarching plan that I have for my kids. Do I want to spend (precious) time on facebook or blogs and set that example for my children, or do I want to spend time with them doing a craft, focused and living in the moment? I think also I am learning to live prayerfully, taking even these little decisions before the Lord Jesus and asking for His guidance and help. Learning to trust His leadership and His interruptions to “my” plan and to submit it all to Him. I also think a wise momma learns how to tend to her own needs/soul so that she is able to be a living fountain that overflows into the lives of her husband & children. Learning not to feel guilty if you need time away (and have the resources to get it) to rest and “recharge.”
6. Favorite mama/parenting books?
Well.. I have a stack of “waiting-to-be-read” parenting books that far outweighs my stack of “read” parenting books. :) Working through it steadily though.
"Desperate" by Sara Mae & Sally Clarkson. (I think it’s an essential read for every single mom. Just good basic encouragement and help.)
"One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp (on being present now and enjoying life right where you are.)
"Shepherding a Child’s Heart" by Ted Tripp
"Don’t Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger Plowman
"Bringing up Girls" by Dobson
"Grace-Based Parenting" by Tim Kimmel
On my soon-to-read list:
The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic
Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman
Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney
and many more.. :)
7. Best part of being a mom?
Being the one they need.. the one they come to and ask for and cry for when they are hurt or their world is dim. That look on their face when you come into the room and they see you. Surprising them and delighting them and giving to them. And when they wrap their scrawny, impossibly soft little arms around your neck and kiss you or say i love you momma.
8. Hardest (worst?) part of being a mom?
At first I wanted to say giving up things for them.. whether that be sleep, a clean house and empty laundry basket, money, your plan for the day or night, etc. But then I think, no.. these things in their own strange way become the gifts. God’s way works: when we give to others, it really is better than receiving. In the long run, it does good things in my own soul to live not for myself but for the betterment of another. Strangely, I find my life when I lay it down. No, I think maybe the hardest thing about being a mother is the perseverance it requires. Sticking in it day after day. Looking to the END goal. Disciplining because the bible says that the parent who spares the rod hates their child (Prov.13:24). In other words, choosing to discipline because you know that you need to guide them and train them and intentionally raise them, even when it is unpleasant or inconvenient to yourself to do so. Seeing that in the END it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace (Heb.12:11) even when it is unpleasant to do in the moment. And discipline is only one example of where perseverance is required in parenthood. So yeah, I think it’s hardest to endure and persevere in the role of parenting and not escape it because it is a lifelong journey that requires every ounce you have to give!
9. Favorite kid/baby product you can’t live without!
I could honestly live without a lot of stuff, and so many moms have to. I would say my double BOB stroller is my one absolute essential kid product. But I think GRACE is the one thing I couldn’t live without. Grace for myself for my myriad and endless failures. Grace for them. And love.. love covers a multitude of sins. :)
10. Tell us about Brevard life :)
Brevard life is pretty simple.. I’m a full-time stay-at-home-mom so my days are busy (currently) with running errands, housework, library trips, swim lessons, play dates, bible studies, music lessons, etc. Brevard is a smallish town in the mountains bordering Pisgah National Forest so we see a fair bit of tourist traffic here. There are tons of trails and waterfalls, lots of mountain biking & rock climbing. So we try to get out and enjoy it as much as possible and we truly love where we get to live. Brandon works in wilderness therapy so his schedule stays pretty full. When we are free, we are busy with family, friends, church and small group, getting out and letting the kids discover the world.
Thank YOU Martha for sharing!! I know so many of my mama-friends will be blessed, encouraged, and inspired to live out this beautiful calling as we head into another week!