To the Parent-Who-Just-Can’t-Today

To the Parent-Who-Just-Can’t-Today,

To the new mommy who is trying to figure out breast-feeding, is still rockin’ those awesome post-partum mesh undies, and cries at all the things, I see you. To the weary parent of littles who can’t use the bathroom without interruption, who hasn’t gotten a good night’s sleep since before parenthood began, and who feels their biggest accomplishment today might just be the shower they squeezed in during naptime, I see you. To the parent who faces the child entering the land of hormones, where their mouths can be as big as their mood swings, and are tempted to ask the doctor to medicate one of you so that you’ll both survive, I see you.  And to the parent who is saying goodbye as their adult-but-will-always-be-their-baby heads out into the world, who is flooded with all the feelings, who wrestles with wondering if their precious will be ok and if their parenting was good-enough, I see you. To those parents who feel like they just can’t today, and secretly wonder if they are failing at this parenthood gig, this is for you.

Just breathe– right now, right where you are. Just take a deep breath.  This is life in the middle of the beautiful and hard, the stretch-you, teach-you, touch-all-your-buttons-and-remind-you-that-you-need-Jesus messy middle. Just breathe.  You are not alone.  I am there along with all the others who do the work of showing up for this parenthood gig.

One question: What has captured your focus, the mess or the Maker?

That was the question that whispered over and over in my mind as I observed a newborn baby and her daddy this week.  The baby girl in his arms perfectly surrendered to his care, staring wide eyed up at his face, tiny fingers wrapping and unwrapping around his finger; perfectly held.  The love of the father pouring over his precious child was evident in every detail. The look, the attention, the hold, the provision–he had her and she knew it. Stunning.

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The mess was my focus. The strength was my own. The peace was gone along with my patience, replaced by fear and doubt while everything pulled for my attention and drained my emotions. Sometimes the busyness in the hard is the enemy of our focus and the thief of our peace.  Sound familiar?

The moment I decide to, I can be in the presence of my Father, eyes firmly fixed on Him while he lovingly tucks me in and holds me in the middle of the messiness.

Let this sink in a moment:  The God who heals the sick, who raises the dead, who gives sight to the blind, who touches lepers, who loves on outcasts, who walks into all the pain and all the hard of all the people who call on Him, who remains steadfast in every season, and can do all things is the God who says, “Come to me.”  Why would we not go to the one who CAN when we know darn well we CANNOT? He has us, but do we know it?

So, dear ones, I encourage you to keep your focus fast on Him and not on the mess.  Let your body relax as you lean in and he wraps you in his amazing peace. Let him quiet your heart, equip you with the strength you need today, and listen to His neverending wisdom.  He will hold you in His perfect love even when the storms rage…and that changes everything.

 

Jiggly Bits, Inflated Udders, and a Bathing Suit

There are some choices that you realize were not your brightest only when reflecting back. This was one of mine.

Post-partum was such a wardrobe challenged time, at least for me, as my belly was stuck somewhere between marshmallow and deflated balloon.  On one hand you are delighted in your precious child, while on the other hand you are daily trying to vacuum slurp your abdominal jigglies into all the clothes while they beg you for mercy.

Jesus provides mercy; clothes do not.

So, here I sat, unwilling to go shopping for new clothes while my old ones most certainly did not fit, but desperately needing to go for a swim. No problem, I will just wear my maternity swimsuit! I could sequester and hide all the bits with ease! Problem solved.

At this point in the story, if you were watching this unfold on the big screen, I am certain the music would change–a foreboding tune to prepare you for the disaster ahead.

Everything was fine outside of the water, you know, where gravity puts everything down.  The problems began once I got INTO the water. At first, I realized that my newly inflated udders were going to make swimming more difficult simply because they were incredibly effective flotation devices.  I mean, I didn’t even have to put forth effort, and I could float with ease, the udders leading the way. It was like trying to swim with buoys strapped to my chest.  No problem, I just tried to shove them to the sides and hope my armpits would help harness them in a bit. “Divide and separate” failed me.  Nope.  One over-zealous set of flotation udders to the rescue! Whatever. I would just swim or float until my alone time was done. It was nighttime, and only a couple of people were in the pool anyway.

Enter a party of 3 skinny college kids, who clearly knew NOTHING of wobbly bits, jumping into the lap lanes on either side.

Perrrrfect.

I adjusted my goggles and pushed off from the wall, prepared to glide effortlessly through the water…when I realized that my wobbly bits had wobbled right out of my swim bottoms with a force akin to biscuit dough breaking free from its vacuumed captivity.  This was not happening…

Oh well, it was dark! Wait. The pool was lit. Awesome.. Trying to sink unsuccessfully below the water (see flotation udders mentioned above), I tried to pull up my bottoms while not drowning myself in the process. I flailed and rolled and popped my head up occasionally for air.  The more I struggled to harness my wobbly bits the more my udders threatened to tear free from my somewhat loose, v-necked maternity swim top.  I managed to push, shove, and trap everything back into submission again.

This worked until the next stroke, when my jiggly bits begged release once again and declared their freedom as my bathing suit bottoms rolled down, helped by the friction of the water as it glided innocently by.  It was at this point that I created a new stroke entirely, I’ll call it the super-uddered-flotation-wiggle-stroke. Just 10 slurps back into my bathing suit britches later, and a handful of udder re-entrapments and I was out of the pool.

I clearly rocked my mommy time (all 5 minutes of it) and the faces of the college kids sitting on the edge of the pool proved it.