Don’t Look Away

Sometimes, when my child falls down, I pretend I don’t notice. Please don’t judge me. I’ve come to realize that, if they think I didn’t see, they often carry on with whatever they were doing prior to the fall. If I make eye contact, however, weeping and wailing may commence.

Sure, I’m watching out of the corner of my eye. But no eye contact – that’s the rule. This parenting tactic has served me well over the years. Here’s the thing, though:

This doesn’t apply to grownups.

You know what I’m talking about. You hear that someone is going through some stuff and you’re afraid of being uncomfortable, so you avoid her. You’re worried you may say the wrong thing, so you avoid her. You have enough of your own stuff to deal with, so you avoid her.

When we see another woman take a tumble, we don’t pretend like we didn’t notice! We don’t avoid eye contact hoping we can all just carry on like normal. Let’s just go ahead and face it: if your eyes connect, there may be some weeping and that’s okay.

If we love Jesus like we say we do: we will not look away. Jesus never looked away. Not from the leper or the lame. Not from the pharisee or the prostitute. Not from you or me.

But you, O Lord, know me; you see me… (Jeremiah 12:3)

Hurting women don’t need us to watch them out of the corner of our eyes. They need us to stare into their eyes, hug their necks, and shoulder their burdens with them.

It’s easy at first. We post a prayer request for them. We take up a donation for them. It happened to be a Saturday so, perhaps, we drop by and sit with them. <—These are all good things, by the way!

But it doesn’t stop there. They still need to be seen on Tuesday when the baby is crying and you’re trying to make tacos. They still need to be loved on as the weeks pass and everyone else’s life as returned to normal.

Don’t look away when it’s no longer convenient. Don’t look away when it’s uncomfortable. Don’t look away because you don’t know what to say.

It’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say, but I see you and I won’t look away.

Don’t look away.

You are loved. ❤

 

For When You’re Broken and Broke

I’m making my way through Leviticus and, wait for it, I’m learning stuff! I just finished reading chapter 15 and, before you flip there, I’ll just warn you – it’s about bodily discharges. You’re welcome.

Leviticus 15:25-27 caught my attention. It’s about a woman who bleeds for reasons other than normal menstruation. We’re talking about a medical issue beyond her control. Do you know what it says about her?

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She’s unclean.

Her clothes are unclean.

Her bed is unclean.

Anything she sits on is unclean.

Anyone who touches her or any of her unclean things is ( you guessed it) unclean.

On top of all of that, we read in Leviticus 13 that unclean people had to proclaim their uncleanness when out in public. Can you imagine?

I’m unclean! I’m unclean!

What if we had to speak our shame everywhere we went? What would it be for you?

Addict? Adulterer? Gossip? Divorced? Unwed mother? Criminal record? Bankruptcy?

What if that thing that you label “nobody’s business” was, in fact, everybody’s business?

This is the world in which the woman in Luke 8 lived.

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And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. Luke 8:43

Twelve years of uncleanness.

She’s unclean.

Her clothes are unclean.

Her bed is unclean.

Anything she sits on is unclean.

Anyone who brushes up against her is unclean.

She’s broken and she’s broke.

And she has to announce her uncleanness everywhere she goes.

Now, go back and read her story (Luke 8:43-48) in light of Leviticus 13:45 and Leviticus 15:25-27.

A weaker woman would have been consumed with hiding. This was no weak woman. This strong woman was consumed with healing.

Do you need healing? Stretch out your hand, unclean as it may be, my friend. Jesus is within reach.

You are loved. ❤

 

Are You Living Devoted or Distracted?

It’s the middle of February and I’m still working my Read through the Bible in a Year plan. I just entered Leviticus which, in all honesty, is usually when I tap out. This time, however, something in the very first chapter caught my attention.

The beginning of Leviticus is all about the offerings – and God was very specific as to how it should be done.

Is your burnt offering a sheep or a goat?

It must be a male. Without blemish. It must be killed on the north side of the altar. The blood must be thrown against the sides of the altar. It must be cut into pieces with the head and the fat placed on the fire. But the entrails and the legs? Those get washed with water.

Then, if your offering is a bird? Well, there’s a whole different set of instructions for that.

Fence

I have to tell you. I have made corn casserole approximately 12, 657 times and I still have to pull the recipe out when I make it. There are only four ingredients. I just can’t remember the details. Not to mention, I will most likely stop several times to settle an argument, get somebody a snack, change a diaper and, in some instances, completely forget that I was making a corn casserole to begin with.

Can you imagine someone like me trying to make the offering exactly as required? The north side of the altar alone would throw me for a loop. The word north means nothing to me. I need a landmark, people.

These people had to be completely devoted to what they were doing. There was no room for distractions. You get caught up in someone’s conversation or what kind of offering someone else is making and there would be dire consequences. Talk to Uzzah about what happens when you attempt to go about God’s business while distracted (2 Samuel 6:6-7.) Oh, wait. You can’t ask him because God struck him dead!

Whatever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23.) We are to live devoted lives and not distracted ones. Just ask my children what happens when mama is distracted while making their breakfast. They will tell you that cumin toast is totally not the same thing as cinnamon toast.

Think about the things you’ve done this week or have planned for the days ahead. Do they serve to strengthen your devotion to Christ or are they distractions?

You are loved. ❤

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

13226801_1107791052625520_6856197906297404978_nI found myself sitting in the bathroom eating a candy bar last night. I had the shower running to give the illusion that I was doing something productive. I know that some of you just cringed at the thought of eating in the bathroom. I regret to inform you I just don’t care about stuff like that. I also don’t care if the McRib is made out of real meat or if my children are wearing matching socks. I do, however, care that Toby from This is Us is not really overweight. I feel lied to now that I know he’s wearing a “fat suit.”

I just choose to not get worked up over certain issues. As I sat there alone with my Almond Joy, I was thinking about a conversation we had in Sunday School on the humility of Christ. How was He able to not get worked up all the time and to maintain humility when the people treated Him so poorly? Here’s what I think. Jesus was completely confident in who He was as God and in His ability to do what God had sent Him to do. It didn’t matter if the people mocked, questioned or refused to believe. He knew He was God.

People who are confident in who God created them to be and the task God has given them to do can be humble. They don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room. They don’t feel the need to air all of their thoughts on all the things. Humble people hear other people. They are not threatened by the opinions of others. So, when that mom sees your photo on Instagram and is all, “I can’t believe she doesn’t

roses1have her child rear-facing; he’s only thirteen,” you can smile and move on with your life.

I’m about to tell you something that will set. you. free. You don’t have to attend every argument to which you’re invited. You can humbly decline the invitation when you are confident in your God-given mothering instincts and abilities. 

You can handle this mothering gig, my friends.

You are loved. ❤

 

 

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

  1. Have a heart that is humble.

  2. Have a faith that is firm.

  3. Be careful with criticism.

  4. Choose the Word over the world.

  5. Have a character that is kind.

  6. Let go of guilt.

  7. Embrace grace.

  8. Follow Christ – not the crowd.

  9. Be more concerned with authenticity than appearances.

  10. A side of yogurt makes any meal healthy.

 

Tap Out Before You Pass Out

I ran into Walmart with my five children and no list because, apparently, I don’t love myself. It was also nap time which means I had a 2-year-old ticking time bomb on my hands.

As I made my way to the coffee aisle, a sweet woman stopped me. She had two kids in her cart who were fighting over a pack of hotdogs which, I’m fairly certain, someone had already begun eating. In exasperation, she said, “How do you have everything under control?”

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Once I stopped laughing, I laid my hand on hers and looked deep into her eyes and shared the truth of the situation. I was on day two of dry shampoo because I’m too tired to wash my hair. I was wearing two mismatched socks that I may or may not have pulled out of the hamper that morning. Also, I’m pretty certain I forgot to brush the teeth of the younger two. That means only 60% of my children brushed their teeth that day. Now, I’m no math whiz (although I play one Monday through Friday in our homeschool,) but I’m pretty sure that’s a failing grade.

I was reading a Facebook post the other day where a friend of mine was listing the things that she was letting go of in the new year. She was learning the art of saying, “No.” Someone commented on her post saying that she didn’t see a need to say “no.” She felt that she needed to prepare herself in case she were a pastor’s wife one day and would need to do it all.

It was precious. I typed and deleted a comment several times. Eventually, I just closed my computer and walked away because life is too short, y’all.

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My children take judo and one of the senseis gave the best advice the other night. They were learning how to defend against choke holds during a competition. He said, “Always tap out before you pass out.”

See, in competition, if you allow yourself to pass out you are disqualified for the rest of the tournament. But, if you tap out, you may lose that round but you are able to continue competing. Instantly, I claimed that as my motherhood mantra.

Tap out before you pass out.

There is no shame in tapping out. It’s okay to say no to things that sap your energy so that you can yes to things that inspire you. It’s okay to say no to good things in order to say yes to God things. It may be necessary to tap out of the book club, the PTO or social media so that you are able to continue in the things that matter most.

Also, there’s no glory in passing out. When you’re running around looking haggard and miserable, it doesn’t do anyone any favors. It’s okay to say, “No, thank you.”

So, dear friend, if you’re feeling like a weary wreck. You have permission to tap out.

You are loved. ❤