Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey


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2011 Home Goals

The Nester (one of my favorite ever home blogs) is having a linky party where we can share our goals for our homes in 2011.

We have a lot of things we need to do to our older home.  So many that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

2010 pretty much whipped me in every way, so I am keeping my goals for this year very, very simple.

One is that we really want to finish laying tile throughout the house.  Last year we did our big living room and it made such a difference.  Hopefully fresh paint will be part of the makeover too, but I’m not obsessing about it.

The other is not really a decorating goal, but a home commitment.  I’m determined that the kids will learn to keep their rooms in order if it kills me.  I’m not shy about admitting that I struggle in this area, and I always laugh when people tell me how organized I am.  They have clearly never been to my house.  We have been working on this diligently over the past couple weeks, and we are all happier.  Who doesn’t appreciate order?  I still have a long way to go to get their rooms decorated and feeling “right” but I am not pressuring myself too much.  I will wait and see how much energy I have over the next months and go from there.

Last, this is a small commitment but it’s important to me.  Hopefully this week I’ll hang curtains in my bedroom instead of the makeshift coverings that are there now.  The first and last time I bought drapes it cost a bundle.  I decided to be patient this time and wait for the perfect frugal solution.  I’m employing The Nester’s concept of a “window mistreatment”. The accent color in our room is cranberry, and I found huge cranberry tablecloths on Christmas clearance at Target for $2.99.  The fabric is as pretty and heavy as many drapes, and the pattern is very subtle and not Christmasy at all (at least I don’t think so).  I may need to line them with a sheet for better light blocking, but since I’m planning to just use a curtain rod and ring clips, this should be easy.  I am so excited and happy that I held out and found a frugal solution!  Even if I spend a few bucks on fancy tie backs and tassels (cheap at Tuesday Morning or other overstock stores), I will only spend a few dollars.

Check out what everyone else is doing here!


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Extending Grace

The other night my toddler threw the Mother of All Temper Tantrums at the grocery store.  I was reminded once again why I no longer judge moms of children who misbehave in public as I once did.  For that matter, God has graciously helped me to let go of criticism toward others in a plethora of areas where I once thought I had a right to an opinion.

When you grow up in close proximity to highly critical people, I think you grow to believe that that’s how everyone views the world—through judgmental eyes.  There’s a voice in my head all day long that berates me for things I assume others would criticize me for—my housekeeping, my children’s behavior, my weight or appearance, the way I keep my yard, what I feed my family, how often I go to the store or eat out.

Everything.

The voice in my head has a little sneer… “Can you believe she’d let her kids act that way?  Appalling!”  “She has put on so much weight!”  “I really thought she’d be a better housekeeper.”  In my head, I know a lot of people could care less about these things.  I have so many precious friends who not only don’t make me feel judged, but they also don’t criticize others to me.  They aren’t gossips.  And that makes me feel very secure in our friendship, because I know that if others can trust them to be loving and non-critical friends, I can too.  And if there are people who judge me on such superficial matters, I don’t want to be friends with them anyway.  My head gets that.  It’s my well-trained emotions that sometimes don’t.

I know that women can be so hard on each other, and I’ll freely admit that I used to be this way too. This critical, contemptuous spirit is one of the first things God rooted out of my life as I began autonomous adulthood.  Critical contempt toward others falls under the categories of sin God tells us to put away from ourselves as Christians in Colossians 3:8: But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”  It’s malicious and slanderous.  When I realized the destructiveness of my attitude toward others, it hurt my heart, in a good way.  It brought me to repentance.  I never want to do that to anyone ever again, even silently, in my mind.  I was judgmental and critical for way too long.  I have realized, first, that most of the things I was concerned about were foolish externals that didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. And about those things that do matter–we are all in different places and what might seem like a no-brainer to me may be your greatest struggle.  Your personality, your family dynamic, your health or the health of your kids, the way you were raised—all these things and others factor into decisions you make and issues you deal with.  How can I pretend to understand you so thoroughly that I can judge you?  I can’t.  That’s God’s job.

Not only did I see how my attitude hurt my friends, I realized how a critical spirit would damage my children.  Contempt is catching; I’d raise a house full of arrogant, critical little people.  And criticism breeds insecurity and relationship problems as well.  If I failed to let God root a critical spirit out of my life, my kids would figure out one day that my criticism would be turned on them.  That wasn’t the future I wanted for my family, for me or for them.

I began to give others grace when I fully embraced God’s grace toward me.  No matter how I might appear to others, He knows my shortcomings, weaknesses, sins.  And because I have accepted the sacrifice of His Son and the redemption that affords, He offers me unconditional love and complete forgiveness anyway.  He loves me through my struggles.  He doesn’t turn His back on me.  He’s patient with me when I feel as if I’m losing my grasp.  There may be a few people who harshly judge me for things that are of little importance, but God never does.  Even when I sin, He’s waiting with open arms to welcome me home.  My prayer is that I never lose sight of his crazy love and grace toward me, so that I can continue to extend it to others.  Love to each of you, sweet friends.  Let’s walk in grace together!


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She Never Had a Fake Day in Her Life

 

Not long ago I asked a friend from a large family of godly adult children what her parents did right.  She told me several important things, but when she was talking about her mom, one thing stood out.  She said, “Mom never had a fake day in her life.”

 

How I desire to be that kind of mom!  Not pretending, not putting on a show, but real, authentic, genuine.  I don’t want my kids to grow up and decide that my life was a farce, a fantasy, some kind of pretend world or a cover-up for something I don’t want others to know.

 

I don’t mean that I think parents should share everything with their children; obviously that would be inappropriate.  But in my friend’s formation, her mom’s integrity of living made an enormous impact.  That’s the kind of mom I want to be.

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