Motherhood: Is THIS it?

Is this it.jpg

Most days on this journey of motherhood I recognize just how sacred this task is. This task of raising little people. I understand that it is big, and important, and it DOES make a difference. Most days, if you were to ask me, that’s what I would tell you.

BUT, then there are those days. Those days like today when I breathe deep, toss my hands to the heavens, and in the most frustrated of tones questions God.

 While holding back the tears, I dare whisper these words to my Creator…. “Are. You. Serious. God?”

I’m looking at my life, my dreams, my gifts. I mean, I desperately want to be a world changer. I want to write a book. I want to travel to other countries. I want to REALLY live life to the fullest. I want to undoubtedly make a difference with these days I am given.

“God, I’ll sing, I’ll speak, I’ll write. I’ll do whatever you want, but are you sure this is IT?!?”

THIS is my calling?!?!

Wiping butts, and fixing meals, and picking up crushed up off-brand cheese flavored crackers off the floor for the third time this week. I wake each morning to clean the same messes over and over again, only for them to be undone in a matter of minutes. And then, I give my day, my hours and my moments, desperately trying.  Trying to help and teach and appease these little people, who really have absolutely no understanding of what I am giving.

I look at my life on these days where the frustration runs deep, and my heart grows discontent. I look at these weeks where it seems I do and do and do, what no one else sees, what no one else recognizes.

And, if I’m honest, in those moments, I don’t get it. I don’t understand why I am here neck deep in this thing called motherhood. Why raising these little people and keeping this house in some semi- recognizable manner feels so all consuming. More difficult than anyone ever let on.

May I be so bold as to question the God of the universe? May I be so bold as to say that I feel like I’m wasting away here? Like my talents and my gifts aren’t being utilized, like my passions are just sitting here waiting to come to life……

But, God.

God in His infinite wisdom and understanding speaks to my heart in the way only a humble Father can.

You see, when it feels like I do what no one sees, He sees.

When it feels like I work and work, yet no one knows it, He knows.

The Creator God looks down upon me in the midst of my days and he sees it all. He NEVER leaves my side. Not when I’m sweeping the floor, or cooking the meal, or teaching that kid how to tie their shoes. He sees me when I’m feeding that baby AGAIN, loading what seems like the 1800th load of laundry for the day or whispering that lesson into the ear of a little one.  And here, now, as I question my purpose. As I wander if any of it even matters at all. As frustrated tears well in my eyes, He’s here.

And, He reminds me that it is not wasted. Not one single moment.

Because if nothing else is gained on these days that seem futile, I am.

He is making me. Redeeming me. Refining me.

2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

 

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Failing Motherhood (And why I want my kids to know.)

FailingMotherhood.jpgLately, more than ever, I have felt like there’s not enough of me.

As a mom, I have felt like on some level I am failing.

Because my little one is having seizures, and there’s nothing I can do to stop them.

And, amidst the specialist appointments, and ambulance rides, and normal day to day responsibilities, it has felt heavy. This burden of motherhood has felt like a larger burden than I am accustomed to carrying.

And then, I realize that along the ride, my other kids have had to take a back seat.

And I feel guilty.

I feel guilty that those regular daily pre-school lessons have suddenly stopped.

I feel guilty because I spend more time holding that baby and less time snuggling with my big babies.

And then, if I do the opposite, I feel guilty that the baby has not been held more.

I feel guilty because my lap is not big enough for all of them. And my energy level does not always allow me to run and play like I have in the past. And, there have been no planned activities or extra outings.

And, I am tired, but when I finally dose off for a nap, I feel guilty, because what if that little one has a seizure while I sleep.

I feel guilty because my 3 year old has eaten nothing today besides the chips he sneakily grabs from the cabinet while I’m nursing the baby, or changing a diaper.

And, I think How am I supposed to do this?

How am I supposed to meet the needs of 3 little people at one time?

I take a moment for myself to breathe, and then I feel guilty all over again, because moms are not supposed to get moments to themselves to breathe, are they?

Even as I write these words, the guilt overwhelms me.

I can never be enough for them.

But, that’s it. Isn’t it?

I can NEVER be enough for them.

I can NEVER fix all of their problems, no matter how badly I want to.

I can NEVER love them enough to fulfill all the love that they need.

Because I’m just me. I’m a flawed, messed up person, who happens to be blessed with the task of mothering these babies.

So, today I stop trying to be enough.

Maybe it’s OK for them to see that I’m not. For them to know that I am going to let them down.

Because my hope is, that in my failure, I point them to the one who will never fail them.

That in my insufficiency, I point them to the one who is sufficient, unwaivering, ENOUGH.

May they see my weakness, and in that, seek His strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 

Motherhood: My UGLY Pregnancy

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Here I am on this most beautiful and miraculous journey. Today, I am just shy of 26 weeks pregnant with my 3rd little blessing.

Here I am on this journey where I am supposed to be in awe each day, because what is happening inside of me truly is awe inspiring.

I am supposed to be filled with joy. I am supposed to feel grateful. I am supposed to be overwhelmed by the goodness of this gift God has given me.

And, in my head I know these things. When I really sit down and think about this pregnancy, this tiny person being knit together inside of my womb, the one I asked God for, I know. I know I have been given a gift. I know I must be grateful.

But, my brain and my heart are having a hard time connecting.

I am in this place of beauty, but beauty is the farthest thing from what I really feel. What I feel today is NOT beautiful.

Today, I am ugly.

Not simply in a physical sense, although my clothes are fitting snugger, and my belly is growing larger, and there seem to be more and more days that come where my hair is not fixed, and my sweat pants serve as real clothes.

No, this ugly I speak of is all encompassing.

My heart is ugly. My thoughts are often ugly. My spiritual, and mental, and physical state is ugly.

I am more exhausted than normal. I am losing more sleep as my body becomes more uncomfortable to be in. My back is achier, my stomach more nauseated. I am weary.

And, I find myself here. At this place where as a result I am more cranky, more prone to be easily angered, more frustrated with my family, and my home, and the tasks that are before me.

I find myself here, where I must try much harder to be kind. The more I try the harder it seems.

I don’t want to be this. I blame it on the hormones, the symptoms, and the fact that there is a little human being inside of me taking everything good I have to give. BUT, at the end of the day I must take responsibility for who I am.

Simply put, here in this place, I need MORE of Him. More of Jesus. More of His grace for myself and for others. More of his compassion, and loving-kindness. More of His strength and patience to make it through each day.

At the end of the day, I must remind myself that I am not defined by this UGLY that I feel. I am not defined by this struggling place where I currently reside.

I am defined by my God, the one who has already paid the price to wash away all the UGLY that I could ever be.

Here, where my heart is aching, and I don’t always understand what I am feeling, He knows me. He loves me. He will help me walk through this place and lead me to a place of joy.

My righteousness is in Him alone. My hope is in Him alone. Today, I will cling to Him alone.

Psalm 62:5-6 “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

Motherhood: A Letter to the New Mom

 

Letter to new moms

Recently I received a message from a good friend of mine, a friend who has introduced her first tiny child into this world. The question she asked was simple, but among those simple words I could hear her silent cry for hope. “How?” she asked. How do I do this mom thing, and do this wife thing? How do I still be myself when I am so engulfed in being a mom right now? How can I be balanced? How does my life move forward from here?

These were the questions I heard amidst her simple words.

And, although she is just one mom, I felt the words that were spoken deserve to be shared with every new momma.

SO, mother of that precious new baby, dear exhausted momma, these are the words I want you to hear today:

Dear momma,

What you are experiencing feels everything but normal, but I promise you that it is. It is normal to feel the way that you feel. It is OK. You just welcomed the most precious gift into the world. You just gave life to a tiny human being. That is amazing, and valuable, and beautiful. Be proud!

So now what? First, let me say, momma, please, please, please, cut yourself some slack! Release your expectations. You are on a new journey. One that you have waited for your whole life, but never experienced for a moment.  You are learning how to nurture and love, and meet the needs of this little person. You are now responsible for the life of another.

It’s OK if you’re unsure. It’s OK if sometimes you’re scared. It’s OK. You are doing GREAT!

Your body is changing, and your hormones are changing, and let’s face it, your life is officially changing. It’s changed.

You are likely exhausted. You may feel happy, or you may feel sad, or you may be unable to comprehend fully what you really feel. Again, it’s OK.

Don’t worry about what Nancy is doing, or your friend Susie. Don’t worry about what your grandma says or your aunt says, or that stranger at the checkout counter says. YOU ARE the  Momma here, and you are doing great!

Allow yourself to rest, and don’t feel obligated to live up to the expectations of others. Only you know how you feel, body, mind, and soul. Get healthy, whatever that means for you, NOT what that means for this society or your workplace, or for any other person!

The truth is your life will never go back to the way it was, and you may never feel again like the person that you were. But, that’s ok too, because these miraculous, exhausting, beautiful, and stressful days are life-changing.

Embrace them.

You are doing GREAT momma. You are doing great! Hold your head up high. You are changing the world one long exhausting night at a time. You can do it!

With Love,

Sarah

Mom at 21: The Things I Regret

 

 

 

 

Mom at 21So young, my 21st birthday came, and along with it my first positive pregnancy test. As I saw that line come to life across the white stick, I had NO idea how my life would change. I wanted to be pregnant, I had gotten married the month after my 20th birthday, I was on track to finish college within the year, and I was SO ready to experience motherhood.

As I welcomed my first baby into the world I looked into the lives of my fellow 21 year old friends. They were young, even though we were the same age; their life style was young compared to mine. I looked on as my peers embraced all that is college life, many of them landing career building jobs after college. I watched as they “had fun” and dated around. They spent their summer days care free, and their nights staying up late.

And, the truth is, I really never wanted their life.

That is until now. NOW, as a 25 year old mom of two, I have to confess, some days, if I search into the deep down parts of my soul, the parts that I am so often scared to speak of, I feel a little jealous. Some days, in the really hard moments of this life that is mine, the darkness of my heart speaks regret.

I regret that I was too busy working and striving for the future, to really stop and enjoy the present.

I regret that I didn’t embrace those college days in fullness; rather I settled down early and rushed through my classes simply to get it done.

I regret that I didn’t travel the world, experiencing culture and new exciting things while there were no strings attached.

I regret that I didn’t REALLY go for my dreams, or even realize my dreams until my life was engulfed with motherhood.

I regret that I never built my career.

I regret that I didn’t spend more nights staying up late, being care free.

BUT, can I tell you the thing I will never regret?

I will NEVER regret that precious baby, and the one after her, and the others that may or may not come in the future.

I will NEVER regret being mom.

I will NEVER regret the feeling of looking into my newborns eyes and being overcome with such love, the love that only a mother can understand.

I will NEVER regret the free hugs and kisses that I get on a daily basis, just for being me.

I will NEVER EVER regret those beautiful human beings that my body brought into this world.

I won’t regret the time I spend with them, or the late nights taking care of them, or even the hard moments where I am learning amidst them.

Not for a single moment will I regret this journey that is motherhood, these little people who God is gently using to mold and shape me.

SO, my friend, if you ever feel that tinge of regret, you are not alone. It’s ok. BUT, remind yourself what you might regret if your life were different. Remind yourself of the joys you would have missed out on. Remind yourself of the beauty that is your life.

And, in the hard moments where God is bringing that dark feeling out from the deep places, and He is chipping away at the pieces of your heart that need to be no more, hold on my friend! He is molding you! And, as you allow Him to do so; you can live with NO regret.

Isaiah 64:8 “And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.”

No regrets,

Sarah

Motherhood: Being Refined on This Journey

 

train

I sit at the counter, amongst the clutter of my kitchen, clearly left un-cleaned in the chaos of this day. Silently I say, “Lord, help me make it through this day,” as I poor another cup of coffee. Between the good Lord and some coffee, surely I can make it through, I think.

I reflect on the nights that came before this day. Long, restless, interrupted nights. And, I wonder if a peaceful full nights rest will ever occur in this household again.

In the exhaustion of my day, I think about the lesson He has taught me thus far.

The moments, in the sheer darkness, when all else sleeps, but I sit up still, holding a sleepless child, and He reminds me of who He is in the beauty of His handiwork. The moments when I look at that intricately, perfectly formed infant and I am in awe of my Creator once again. The moments when I gazed into the darkness to see the twinkling of the stars He made and I see the mighty power of my God.

The hard moments, when I feel like I cannot go on any further, and He reminds me that it is in my weakness He is strong. And, so I keep going.

The moments when my weary heart and mind lacked the rest needed to function. What is a mom to do? He taught me to come before Him, for He gives rest to weary and He never fails to refresh my heart once more.

The moments where loving my children means discipline. Self-discipline for me, to do the hard things, the things that aren’t fun. To be consistent, and to teach life lessons, and to lead my children by example.

The moments where I cannot possibly deal with another fit, or another “mom!!”, or another mess, but I have to. And so, God gives me the patience that I did not know I had.

Through this journey of motherhood, the Lord is refining me.

Like the refining of a precious metal, He is piece by piece taking away the things that don’t belong.

He is taking my selfishness,  my frustration, and my discontentment. He is replacing my lack of discipline, and my lack of peace, and my lack of patience.

In the midst of the heat, in those hard moments, He I making me better.

Yes, this motherhood journey is surely a process of being refined, becoming more like my Savior each day.

So, today, I thank Him for the hard moments, for the heat, and the hurt, and the lessons being learned along this path. For, He is making me what He created me to be.

Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Motherhood: Doing the Undone

 

The early morning cry of kiddos falls upon my ears, as I pull the covers away from my face. I grasp for the clock on my night stand, 6:30 am. It’s time. And so, I get up and begin my day, a day that is like most.

The tasks that need to be done await me, so, I begin to do.

I fill sippy cups that will soon enough need to be filled again.

I clean and fold laundry that will only in a matter of time be piled upon the floor once more.

I await the moment when the kids are asleep to pick up the mess, that will surely be messy mere minutes after they awake.

I cook and serve meals. And, I clean up the mess, just in time to start preparing another meal to serve.

I sweep floors that will appear clean only for a short time, and I’ll get up tomorrow, find my old tattered broom and sweep again.

I take out overflowing bags of trash that will be filled to the brim again.

And, so I begin to think.

I am a doer of the undone. I wake up today and I accomplish my tasks, all things that will again need to be completed tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that.

I do the undone. I do it again, and again, and again. I do it, and then it is undone once more, and I feel my heart coming undone as well, as I begin to ponder.

“What is the purpose?” I think as I observe what I do being undone another time.  “What is my purpose?” I begin to question who I am, and what I do, and if it matters.

“What accomplishment is there in this? What meaning? Is all my work useless, worthless?” O, how my heart wanders in the monotony of these days.

Yes, we must have clean clothes to wear, and dishes to eat from.

But, there is more than that.

For some reason or another, my God has called me here. To this place. Not just to sweep the floor, and do the laundry. Not just to pick up toys and serve the food. No, the task is much greater than that, I remind myself. I am shaping lives, teaching lessons, instilling principles.

My job is important.

STILL, doing the undone is a large part of my tasks today. And, the Lord has called me here.

So, what must I do? What must you do, in the midst of these mundane, everyday tasks that will soon enough need to done again?

I must love the Lord amidst the undone. I must serve Him with each cup I fill, and meal I cook, and toy I pick up. I must glorify Him by the work of my hands today, even the work that will be undone tomorrow.

He sees my heart in the midst of my doing, so today, I do for Him.

He looks down on me as I sweep up those cracker crumbs and fold those towels.

He knows. He sees you in the midst of your tasks today too.

So, let us not see it as just another day of doing what will be undone. Let us see it as an opportunity, an opportunity to love the Lord and to love our families, even as we clean the mess once more.

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

With Love,

Sarah Lango

Evoking a Thankful Heart & The Easiest DIY Thankful Tree EVER

 

 

thankful tree 2

It’s November, and “thankful” everything fills our society. Social media is blown up by updates from people sharing their thankful statuses or thankful photos. Pinterest is overflowing with “thankful” craft ideas and the stores are cluttered with Thanksgiving décor. BUT, often we are lacking a thankful heart.

I don’t know about you, but in the midst of this “thankful” month I have had many days of discontentment. I have lacked the gratitude that this month represents.

It’s important to remember that a thankful heart is not circumstantial. It is not something that exists only in the midst of a life lacking struggle, heartache, and frustration. A thankful heart is a lifestyle choice. A choice we make even on the hard days, even on the days where discontentment takes root in our lives, even on the days of crisis.

SO, I want a thankful heart. And I made the choice to have a thankful heart. BUT truthfully I needed a daily reminder; something I could see with my own eyes each day, an action I could take that would evoke that attitude of gratitude.

Maybe you need a reminder too?

And, in the midst of that, I wanted to help my kids understand the choice of having a thankful heart. They are little, but their hearts too often lack thanksgiving.

SO, I made a thankful tree. I’m SO not a cute crafty DIY girl (although many days I wish I was). If you’re like me do something to remind yourself daily. It does NOT have to be fancy. It could simply be starting a thankful list in a notebook, verbally telling a friend or spouse daily what you are thankful for, or you COULD make the easiest thankful tree ever, like I did.

Check it out below! AND choose a thankful heart today!

thankful tree 4

My 3 year old daughter is thankful for princesses… and butterflies… and babies… and candles… and lots of other random things that I often forget to say “thank you” for.

EASIEST DIY THANKFUL TREE EVER:

What you need: A vase, clear marbles, construction paper, craft string, a pen, and a tree branch.

  1. Fill vase with marble (or pebbles) and insert the PERFECT tree branch. (fyi I initially used acorns to fill my vase, it was adorable until they started sprouting worms… maggots maybe?! Yeah, not a pleasant discovery at the dinner table so you may steer clear of that one)
  2. Using a real leaf from your yard, trace on fall colored construction paper to make a pattern for your leaves. Trace and cut out as many leaves as you’d like.
  3. Punch small whole in construction paper leaf and loop a short piece of string (2-3 inches).

NOW, each day take the time to write down 1 thing you are thankful for on a leaf and add it to your tree (tree branch in this case).Now you have a simple reminder each day to pause and be thankful! And, watching the tree fill with leaves is SO fun!

It's just a stick and some construction paper, but it represents our thankful hearts.

It’s just a stick and some construction paper, but it represents our thankful hearts.

What are you doing to evoke a thankful heart this November?! I would love to hear your ideas and what you are thankful for today!

With an attitude of gratitude,

Sarah Lango

Motherhood: When I’m Losing Myself

 

Some days on this journey of motherhood I feel like I’m losing myself.

Amidst the piles of laundry, and the diapers to be changed, and the “mommy I need you”s, I am slowly fading.

The tasks are many and I become them. I am no longer Sarah. I am mom, kisser of booboos, and maker of meals, and cleaner of messes. I am the maid, and the cook. I am the expert snuggler, and the reader of books. I am the one who fills sippys, and bathes babies, and changes clothes, and makes snacks, and solves problems.

I am wife, the one who schedules bills to be paid, and grocery trips to be made. The one who does what laundry can be done amidst this mountain. I am the meal planner, and the childcare provider, and the errand runner.

I am the keeper of the home. The one who scrubs toilets, and organizes closets, and sweeps floors. The one who undoes the mess that will be done again by morning.

And, some days, on those desperate days, in the trenches, I can no longer find myself.

I have poured myself out and I am empty.

The me that I previously knew, no longer is.

And, my heart grieves.

And as I hang my head, I whisper a prayer. I cry out to the one who made this heart of mine. The giver of these kids and this home and these tasks.

He gently reminds me that I am not my own. I am His.

He faithfully consoles my heart and speaks truth. The truth that I am not defined by these tasks. I am not defined by the daily grind of this life.

I am defined as a Child of the one true King, the Living God.

And, in my emptiness, He begins to fill me again. And, I am thankful.

Jeremiah 10:23 “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price…”

 

Growing in Grace: Growth Amidst the Hard Moments

budding tree

Source From geograph.org.uk Author Andy F

Sitting in the kitchen, sipping on my warm cup of coffee I begin to hear the all too familiar sound. The sound of bickering. My one year old and three year old are learning the hard way that having a sibling means sharing, and most days they aren’t fond of the idea.

I wait still in the early morning darkness, listening intently, hoping that maybe, just maybe, they will solve this dilemma on their own. However, I realize quickly that it’s not going to happen. Not today. So, I enter the room in full mommy mode and I talk to them. I talk to them about sharing and about being kind, and about not taking things from others. My little Jase shakes his head with his onery grin gleaming and takes off to find his next activity. My oldest, Riley, speaks up, “ok, mommy.” And they begin to go about their play time again.

But, not for long.

This time I enter the room to the sound of one screaming and the vision of the other hitting, pinching, and scratching. She is mad. “He took my toy!” she exclaimed.

And that’s when it happened. As I tried to clear up the situation, SMACK. She hit me.

In the moment, I was mad. And so I allowed myself to walk away and cool off before I dealt the discipline that I felt was necessary.

BUT, for me, that smack was more than just misbehaving. It was more than a disobedient tantrum throwing child (who I absolutely love and adore by the way).

In my logical thinking I knew that it simply was one of the lessons to be learned in life. I knew that she needed to be taught and so I must teach her. I knew that this fit throwing, feet kicking phase is simply that, a phase, and one that will soon pass.

BUT, in my fragile mommy heart, it hurt. My heart ached to see my child look me in the face and smack me. To think, that the one I love so deeply, the one who I literally give my very daily life for, would choose to hurt me.

Yes, she’s only 3. Yes, she doesn’t fully understand. But, Yes, it still hurt.

And so, I think about the one who loves me most. My Heavenly Father. The one who LITERALLY gave his life for me.

I think about the way he loves unfailingly, and the way He gives so generously to me, His child.

And then, I think about how often I have looked Him in the face and made a choice that hurt His Father heart. How often have I smacked Him in the face by the words I said or didn’t say, by the actions I took, or didn’t take?

I remember that He is teaching me. In His infinite wisdom and loving-kindness, He is reminding me of who He is and who I am.

He is reminding me to love as He loves. To bestow grace as He has given grace to me.

He is reminding me to make the choices that honor Him, the choices that fill his Father heart with joy.

He is reminding me of His sacrifice, and His goodness, and His ways that are faithful.

He is growing me today. In the midst of my hard mommy moments, He is shaping me.

Friends, live for your Heavenly Father today!

What lessons is He teaching you in the midst of your hard moments?

Romans 5:7-8 “For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”