Friday, May 4, 2012

I'm Not Pretending That It's Easy...

**This is a series on grace-based mothering. If you're just jumping in, welcome! You can also find the posts here, at my lovely friend Lindsey's blog Out of Alabaster**

It is startling the anger, desperation, and hopelessness a little two-and-a-half foot person can stir up in me. 

But let me tell you... Alexa. Is. Sassy. 

Destructive. Challenging. Defiant. Non-stop. 

She can find things that mark no matter how high and hidden I try to store them, and she is quick and effective with her graffiti. She plays "Joshua fit the battle of Jericho" with every creation my sweet-and-ridiculously-patient six years old designs. She "plays" hide-and-go-seek at bedtime and won't come out no matter how I call, threaten, or discipline her afterwards. It's a good thing our closet door is frosted glass... I could've been up all night that kid was being so still, standing there innocently next to the vacuum cleaner and wrapping paper. 

She takes off her soiled diapers and leaves gifts for me to find, she's put her Aunt's finger nail polish on her face as "makeup", and she has shut one of our kittens in our front loading washer(the kitten was completely fine, and has been rehomed). 

I need lots of grace to survive this child, and for her to survive me! 

I wrote in my last post that we can not give what we do not have, and we can not have what we do not accept.

Grace comes from Grace. To have grace to extend to our children, we must accept Grace. We must be in relationship with Him to receive from Him. 

Okay I admit it--I'm needy. Desperately needy. I will accept grace from Grace... but how?

When I set my alarm to wake up early for Jesus time... no matter where I put my phone, no matter how early I plan get up, Alexa always seems to find it first and hide with it, maniacally scrolling through my pictures. She usually gives her location away because she can't help but click on the videos... a good portion of which are of her being extremely loud doing something I probably shouldn't be recording to later laugh about. But laughter at her antics are a survival mechanism for me. Don't judge me. 

 I also am attempting to keep up homeschooling with a brilliant six year old, and caring for a five month old baby who is just learning to scoot-crawl very quickly... but without the toddler these I could do and still go about the "normal" way of having time with the Lord. Sitting down to read my Bible, go through a devotional, an in-depth study.  

Due to emotional and physical exhaustion from the two year old, I am in a place in life where physical stillness for more than five minutes results in a dead-to-the-world kind of sleep. A place where on-the-knees prayer results in waking some time later with my folded up legs aching from a long lack of circulation and a carpet imprint on my forehead.

Please don't misunderstand--Alexa is a treasure and I love her fiercely and I pray to God I will continue to have the privilege of raising her--I'm just being straightforward about the toll it takes. 

Even if/when I do have a long and peaceful quiet time at night or in the morning... 30 minutes into a challenge/discipline routine can seem to drain every bit of grace I'd stored up. 

So if you can identify, may I offer a few suggestions on how to keep communion and intimacy with Grace during your hectic mommy days/months/years? 

1) Worship. Praise. Adoration.

When I don't praise God for Who He is and What He has done for me... my prayer life and my level of graciousness with my children is deeply affected. 

This is one of the easiest things to do with kids. I put on some great worship music, loud, and let them sing along with me and emulate my raised arms and hands stretched high to the Most High. Even just a couple of songs can soften and rejuvenate my heart that wants to harden and express anger out of my tiredness. It gets me looking up when my whole day can feel like looking down, feeling down, focusing down. Praise helps me to lift my eyes up to where my help comes from. 

Music can be an emotional scrapbook of your relationship with God. Sing songs you haven't sung in a long time. Remember what the Lord has done for you... "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy  help I'm come..."

Sing the Lord a new song.  Maybe this one? It's Alexa's favorite right now. She calls it "O my song". It blesses my soul.

It is possible, even through all the struggling pain and chaos, that Life can be found. Grace makes beautiful things out of dust. He makes beautiful, Spirit-full, grace-full parents out of us. 

In this way, and through writing down lists of things we are thankful forwe are speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We are singing and making music in our hearts to the Lord, encouraged to always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

More coming soon!

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