I’m Drowning

It’s been a while since I wrote anything. I miss writing. But finding time to do so is a whole new ball game now days.

The truth is, most days I feel like I’m drowning. I had lots of people warn me how much work the third child would be. They told me laundry would multiply exponentially. They told me my hands would be full. I was warned. The trouble is, I was warned AFTER I was pregnant.

The warnings are true too. My work load feels as if I went from 2 children to 8! I love my baby girl, and I am so happy she is a better sleeper than her big siblings. But I feel so guilty too. I spend my time referee-ing fights between the older kids, trying to keep up with laundry, attempting to keep the house marginally clean, cooking, fixing juice……. The work never ends. When am I supposed to get to hold my baby?

My first born was held, cuddled, talked to, read to, bathed religiously… I was good at being a mom to one. My second child didn’t wear cloth diapers, and by doctor’s suggestion we cut baths down to just a few nights a week, but he still got cuddles and stories, and all those things. Child number 3? Oh my. She hears books some times. She wears cloth diapers when the budget is too tight not to. She gets held when she is hungry. She swings a lot!

Today I was washing a giant load of clothes, like I do every Friday. I got ready to throw some in the dryer and opened it to find a set of sheets still in there from Wednesday! By the time all the clothes were washed and on the clothes line (who can afford to dry that many clothes?!) all 3 kids had gotten dirty to the point of changing clothes!

I started “potty training” Gracie early — it took her 2 years to figure it out, but I started early. Skeet handed me a toy yesterday and said “hold dis while I go potty.” I remember how I sat with Gracie, held her hands, read her books, gave her jelly beans for going in the potty! And Skeet just took himself the first time he went… of course, that made a mess for me to clean up, so there’s that.

I’m missing things. I can’t keep up with all they do. I can’t sit and watch them learn to color in the lines. Or listen to them “read” books from memory. I barely get them all fed at reasonable times each day; let alone making sure everyone brushes their teeth! I actually had to put teeth brushing on our chore chart, just so I remember to have them do it!

I don’t know how to fit in time with them and still keep my own sanity. Most of the time I’m so overwhelmed and frustrated I snap at the poor kids for everything. I try to teach them how to behave, but it’s hard to do when I have to start by saying “I know you’ve seen mommy do that when she was mad, but…” How is that supposed to work for young minds?!

I’m trying. I’m being more intentional now about some time with the kids (but think I might need to go back to a flip phone to help me focus better when I sit to play.) Yesterday I sat in the hall resetting bowling pins for a while. The day before we colored together. This morning I read a couple of books. I’m working on learning to swim with three kids; but most days, the truth is I barely keep my head above water. I just hope they remember how I tried.

Your Phone is Killing Your Family

I recently wrote about parenting with grace. I made it pretty clear that is not my area of expertise, and because of that it was a very hard subject to cover. Today’s topic stands on my toes just as hard. But the thing is, I can often go back and read my own blogs and learn from them as though some one else wrote them. I’m hoping that is the case again today.

We live in a time where technology surrounds us. In a time when we have the capacity to be the most connected generation ever, we are instead the most disconnected.

We all know it to be true. We have all sat in a restaurant, looking at our phone, then looked up and thought “look at all these people, staring at phones instead of talking.” We have all answered a call, or opened a text or app when we should have been focusing on something else (human, or otherwise.) Many of us have engaged in some type of battle of words on social media, that has stolen a few minutes of our day. Most of us are guilty of checking our phones while driving; despite the risks. And so, we are less connected to the PEOPLE around us, than any other generation before.

Your phone is killing your family. My phone is killing my family. Our phones are killing our families. Fast.

Let’s think of all the wonders a smart phone can bring to our finger tips. We can, obviously, call family or friends. We can text others. We can post pictures or funny things that have happened to a plethora of social media sites. We can buy or sell things via Facebook, Craigslist, Ebay, and any number of other sites. We can design our home interior, or find recipes and craft projects on Pintrest. But what do we do? We put off calls. We text to whine or brag, rather than converse. We gripe and argue. And we stare at useless content and waste our time.

Meanwhile our families suffer.

I think all of us are guilty of looking at our phones when we should be engaged in something else. When we stare at our phones (for any reason — Facebook, or reading the Bible — ANY reason) and only look up at our children to fuss or yell because they are loud, messy, breaking things…whatever. All we communicate is “you are distracting me from my phone.” Ouch…. “you, small, mold-able, learning, growing child — are distracting me from my phone.”

When we go out to eat, or even sit at the table at home scrolling through Pintrest, we aren’t focused. We are off in our own worlds. We are saying “sorry, family. You bore me.” Yikes… “Family, you have nothing to offer me right now. What is happening here and now is not important to me. I really don’t care.”

When our phones are in the bedroom (raise your hand if the charger is on the night stand…*hand up*) we devalue our marriage. We try to talk, and hear a ding. Even if we don’t pick it, we stop talking for a split second. We heard a ding so, however briefly, we consider responding. Oh my… “We are married. And that’s great, but our time isn’t as valuable as what exciting thing might have happened on my phone.”

This list could go on. But I think we are getting the point. In a world full of connections we have lost the art of connecting. I don’t know the stats. Maybe no one has done a study on it, anyway. But I would guess intimacy levels (true intimacy — not just sex) are lower in this day and time than any before. We have the ability to communicate so easily, and yet, even the words we say are muffled by, either our own distraction, or the distraction of those we speak to.

As soon as I stand up from the computer (and right after I change a diaper) I plan to go find a new home for my phone charger. I’ve worked for a long time to not take my phone to the table for family meals, but today I won’t take it while the kids eat their little lunches before nap. I could easily put my phone away and talk to my husband in the car (whoa! Crazy speak!!)

How will you address this for your family? What changes will you make?

Because we can’t keep killing our families with our phones. We cannot be that generation. We must make changes.

Mental Ramblings on Abortion

I just read an article about abortion; and as I always do after reading such things I began to ponder the entire situation surrounding abortion.

I’m pro-life, and have a hard time wrapping my head around the thought of killing an unborn child. It turns my stomach to think of a woman volunteering to have her own baby cut out of her body and thrown away as trash. But that is an all too common practice, both here in the U.S. and around the world. I wish it weren’t. I wish I could make every mother and father love the life that they created together. But I cannot.

So, tonight as I washed dishes and thought about abortion I let my mind wonder over reasons women may choose abortion. And reasons so many feel it is their only choice at all.

Statistically, it is much easier to go about finding information on abortion, than information or resources to help a mother raise an unexpected child, or finding an adoption agency. I won’t bore you with numbers but suffice it to say, I have read many articles where people have researched or taken polls on the streets to learn what it is like to choose between life, and abortion. It is very much easier to google “abortion” and find a clinic, than it is to google “pregnancy help,” or something similar, and get a good outreach program or adoption agency. So, that is probably a huge reason women (particularly young women, and teenagers, I would guess) choose abortion. If there is so much information available so quickly for one choice, and the other choices take so much more digging; then panic kicks in and you go with the first choice — abortion.

Second, I would guess nerves probably get the best of many women (and men, because we don’t need to leave them out of this equation.) Raising a child is a HUGE undertaking. Perhaps these women look back at their own childhood and see pain, instead of a steady, guiding hand. They don’t know how to be a parent because they realize they were dealt a pretty crappy example in their own parents. Perhaps the reason for late term abortion is simply nerves on overdrive. “I thought I could raise a child, but I have a dead end job, my family has disowned me, I don’t know who the father is, the costs are going to cripple me…” Until abortion seems like the only way to survive. (Remember, self preservation is a hard-core instinct in all of us. We all worry about our own survival.)

As a society, and particularly as Christians, we have largely dropped the ball on caring for women at “risk” of abortion. Think about it for a minute. If a new family comes to church and they have a 16 year old, very pregnant daughter, how is that family welcomed? They aren’t. They are stared at. People whisper as they walk by. Nobody goes up and shakes hands with them all and then offers to help. Oh sure, they may pass the dad a brochure on family counseling. Maybe they even give mom sympathetic smiles. They may welcome the other children. But the one girl feels like the elephant in the room. And heaven forbid she walk into church alone. Things would only feel a million times more stressful for her. Even a young woman, pregnant, in her twenties that might try to attend a singles group would be judged in many churches. I don’t feel like we have any concept of how hard we make it on women when we act this way toward them for carrying a baby, and then we preach long and hard on the evils of abortion. We can not lean both ways! We can not.

To just step back a minute, all mothers need to ask themselves, honestly, if they have always felt “ready” to have and raise a baby. I know I sure as heck have questioned my judgment! I’m expecting baby number 3 and I still question “how on earth am I going to survive this? How can we afford this? Is this even the right thing for our family?” Having a baby is a BIG DEAL. Bringing a baby home is a BIG DEAL. Not only are there expenses to prepare for baby (and I’m talking minimal preparation — a few clothes, diapers, car seat, crib… expenses $$$.) There are doctor visits; how many of us want to go alone to find out what we are having, because mom and dad won’t talk to us, don’t know who the dad is… whatever? Not easy. There are medical bills, hospital bills, insurance questions, on and on, and on. I think most of us, who are currently moms, can all agree that we could not have survived even 9 months of pregnancy, let alone the first week or so at home, without some support. Not all of these women who seek an abortion have any such support. In fact, many do not. Instead they have a boy friend threatening to leave, a husband mad because he never wanted kids, maybe angry parents… Abortion seems like the only option.

I don’t have the answers to all of this. I really do not. There is one wonderful program that has really learned to stand behind women. Save the Storks is doing things right. They are offering real help, and real support. Showing women real options to these real questions. I love what they do, and encourage you to check them out here https://savethestorks.com/

I also think we, pro-life-ers, need to stand behind pregnancy outreach centers. I volunteered some at such a center when my husband and I were newly wed, and broke did not even begin to describe our financial situation. I wanted children but there was no way that it was the right time for us. We lived in an RV (cheap rent, by the way) I had a crappy babysitting job that barely paid $5 an hour, he worked part time and was going to school full time… broke. But I’d go volunteer when I could. And now I encourage others to give to pregnancy outreaches whenever possible. These places pretty much have to survive on grants because, obviously, they don’t charge for their services; and people aren’t just lining up to volunteer, or give money. Even donations of items — diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, toys, blankets, etc — are a huge help most of the time. And this is one way to get behind these women who may otherwise choose abortion.

We need to also remember our own resources and use them too. I have a great desire to help women through unexpected pregnancy. Some day I hope to be able to find these women and help them financially, either with a cash gift, or by taking them to buy things to prepare for a baby. Right now I am not able to do that, because money is tight. Just like it isn’t smart to jump in the water to save a drowning person, it’s much safer and more effective to rescue them with your own feet planted on the ground; now is not the time for me to try to “rescue” other mothers. I wish I could but right now all I can do is help a little, instead of a lot. I don’t say all this for a pat on the back, I just want others to catch the vision and look for ways they can help too. Maybe you are done having kids and could give your crib, swing, and other “gear” to a young mom. Maybe your kids are grown and gone but you could mentor and “grandmother” a new mother and child. Find a way to be a part of the solution.

My final thought before I go is a sad one. This is at the very end because I don’t have a solution for it. It breaks my heart, and I hope others can see how it is truly an issue and together we can work to correct the damage. Think of the children. The unborn children. The unwanted children. Where would they be, if they had not been aborted? We like to proclaim the great things these lost lives would have done…but who would have raised them to do those great things? If millions of babies have been aborted since abortion became legal; how many of those millions would have been foster care system statistics? This hurts to write, but we can not ignore that we have thousands of “unwanted” children already in the system. Where would thousands more go? What will we do to fix that broken system so that babies can be raised in homes with loving families, instead of in group homes, or tossed around between foster homes until they age out of the system? Think of the children.

 

Pastor Appreciation Month: From a PK

I’m a PK — Preacher’s kid — and October is pastor appreciation month. Seems logical for me to write something about it. My dad has been a preacher all my life, and a pastor for most of that time. I’ve seen church ministry from the inside out for a long time. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. So believe me when I write to say thank you, I really do see what pastors, and their families have sacrificed.

For my family, it wasn’t just “dad is a preacher, and we tag along.” Ministry was a whole family deal. Sure, dad did the pastoring jobs, but none of us were allowed to just sit and watch. I’ve been 30 minutes to an hour early, to church, nearly every Sunday of my life. There was no option to be too tired or busy for church. There was no “that is someone else’ job” either. I’ve seen my dad vacuuming church halls in his suit and tie right up until people began to arrive. I’ve seen him emptying trash cans, picking up gum wrappers, and sweeping the same way. My mom, siblings, and I have all done the same. Your pastor’s family does so much, that you may never see. His wife is probably playing piano, singing, teaching Sunday School, keeping nursery, or some combination of all of those things. His children are likely mowing the church lawn, or being asked last minute to keep nursery or teach a class to children during revival. He is spending his own money on small church repairs that need to be done ASAP. So this month, thank your pastor’s family.

And of all the things you do see your pastor doing there are dozens more going on behind the scenes. He spends hours a week studying and preparing to teach and preach. He prays for you and the other members of your church. He worries about things for you. He takes calls late at night or early in the morning, when he would rather be sleeping. He prays with you over the phone, or drops everything to drive to the hospital. He counsels and marries your children. He buries your aunts, uncles, parents, and friends who had no church home. He sucks countless cough drops to squeak through preaching while he should be home in bed. He fights back pain, kidney stones, family worries, and stress to stay focused on delivering God’s word to you and the congregation every week. So this month, thank your pastor.

When you do see your pastor he smiles, hugs your neck or shakes your hand. He asks about you. About the new job.  About your children. He has his own concerns. His weekday job is rocky right now. His truck is broken down. His dad is sick. But he knows most people he speaks to on Sunday morning will unload on him, and then walk away without asking how he is doing. So this month, thank your pastor.

Then he stands up in front of the church. Maybe he leads music too. Maybe he just taught Sunday School. But now he comes to deliver the Message. He can see you are distracted. He knows that isn’t a Bible app you have pulled up. He hears you whisper to your friends, and he sees you get up for 3 bathroom breaks. He knows you keep checking your watch. All of these things are a huge distraction. But he keeps giving the sermon. He continues to do his job. Then he gets in the car, and turns to his wife… “did that make any sense? I struggled with that so much this week, and I don’t know if anyone heard it.” So this month, thank your pastor.

After all of this, he wonders. He loves you. Your pastor really does love you and your family. He wants the best for you. He wishes he could cast off your pain. He hates to see you suffer. But his job as your pastor, and thus roll as your friend, is always on the line. If he preaches too strongly on a subject will the church reject God’s word, and fire him? If he points out new ministry opportunities will people balk and leave the church? What if clearly false rumors begin to spread about him, or his family and the church kicks him out. After-all, he is human too. So this month, thank your pastor.

Really, having one month for pastor appreciation is such a huge down play of all that your pastor does for you. Thank him. Thank his wife. Thank his children. Thank the lady who makes coffee (or maybe your pastor does that too). Thank the nursery workers. Thank the Sunday School Director. Thank the sound team. Thank the guy taking out the trash. Ministry is hard work. It’s taxing. It can be stressful. Your pastor loves to serve, or he wouldn’t be there. So this month, thank your pastor.

How to be a Female

This week I have seen several articles and post about how hard it is to be a woman in the 21st century. How there are so many pressures. How life is generally harder on women. How we need to drink to dull the pain of our own existence. How media portrays an impossible image and asks us to reach the same perfection. I’ve read these things with some interest…and some complete wander. I mean, can it really be THAT hard to be a female?

Here is what I have deduced from my own meditations on these works: Women (in the U.S. and other first world countries) feel constant pressure to do more, and be better. Women should not feel this way.

I’m going to write about first world women, because that’s where most of the focus was in the things I read this week. I will not pretend that women in many other countries around the world make up their problems, or that their problems could be solved with a new way of looking at things. But I am going to assert that both of those statement are primarily true in the developed world. (If you think that is going to anger you, or cause you to need counseling, you may wish to stop reading here.)

Before you start throwing “women’s rights” stones at me, I do believe women in the U.S. are entitled to some of the basic rights of men. But as far as I know, there are no states that forbid women to walk alone with no escort, prohibit women from voting, keep women from attaining drivers’ licenses, or disallow women from seeking any degree, career they wish, etc. But, I do not believe men and women are created equal. We aren’t from a biblical view. We are not the same from a scientific view. We are really not the same.

My husband has worked 80 hour weeks since April or May. He leaves by 5 or 5:30am many mornings, and does not get home until 8-10pm. He works outside. His pick-up is his office. The world is his bathroom. He takes a lunch and bottled water every day. It’s hot. It’s dusty. It’s sunny. He runs on very little sleep. I COULD NOT DO HIS JOB. Let me make that very clear. I have done long days outside in the heat, and humidity. I have worked long hours in the sun. I have lived on a sandwich and chips. I COULD NOT DO HIS JOB. By this time in the summer, after months of his schedule, I would very likely be in a hospital. The sun, the dehydration, the stress, the hours, the lack of sleep — they would all become to great for my female body to bear.

I stay home with our two children, and work on incubating our third child. I deal with fits. I clean up the same messes every day, sometimes more than 3 or 4 times a day. I change diapers. I wash dishes. I cook meals. I wash laundry. I read stories. I haul children around town, in and out of car seats in hot, cold, rainy, windy parking lots. MY HUSBAND COULD NOT DO MY JOB. Sure, there are many stay at home dads. But mine would go insane. after the third melt down of the day he would probably need the nut house. He has stayed home before. He’s cleaned up puke. He has fixed little lunches. He has changed some rank diapers. But he could not do my job, day in and day out (nor would he want to. I’ve asked.)

So, there ya go. Two little differences in men and women. Now, I know there are plenty of differences between women, alone; and men, alone. I have female friends who could not and would not do my job. And I know many men who could not, and would not do my husband’s job.

But this blog is about women, so we need to get back to that subject. According to what I have read this week, the only way for many women to even survive their life is to drink, and to fight light wild beasts in the work place. I disagree with both statements. A) I don’t drink at all, never have. And B) We are not the same beings, so why do we hold ourselves to the same standards in the professional world? To me that is like asking a giraffe and a lion to perform the same functions in the ecosystem. We really aren’t the same. Do I keep repeating that point? That must be because I want YOU, yes YOU women on the other side of this screen, to quit comparing yourselves to men. WE ARE NOT MEN. We are strong! We are bold! We can make other human beings inside our own bodies! (Try that, dudes!) We can turn heads with our confidence and grace! We can change the world in so many ways! But we can’t do any of these things if we are all wrapped up in trying to be something we are not! Just think about that…

Moms, wives, teachers, professionals, hairdressers, nurses, waitresses, mail carriers, artists — women, we need to just stop trying to be anyone besides ourselves. We need to quit competing with men, and more than that we need to quit competing with one another. I am no fashion model. (Unless boot cut jeans, tennis shoes, and t-shirts are a great trend they just don’t mention in fashion magazines, and on the runway…Could I be so lucky???) I know women who always look adorable. No matter what they wear. And they make bold fashion choices. I’m scared of clothes. I have no idea what pieces go together, and when I can wear fall stuff, or if I need to stash my winter things and wear spring, or maybe it’s still too early?! I just never know. But you know what I have learned? None of it matters. Not to say i don’t have days where I hate every garment I own, because I have more days like that then I care to admit. But wearing what some one else wears, will not make me that person. Besides, there is something very striking about a woman who can dress in plain, ordinary clothes, and still wear a confident smile.

I am not a secretary. I could never do receptionist work. I HATE talking on the phone. I really don’t like people. I can’t stand stupid either. Why would I compare myself to another woman her loves her job in that role? I love to be home with my kids (most of the time.) Why would another woman who doesn’t even have or want children compare herself to the things I get done at home while she is working a job she enjoys? Horses scare me. Why would I compare myself to accomplished riders? You see my point? We are always looking around at what everyone else is doing and thinking “they have it all together. I need to be like them.” Mean while those same women are thinking the same thoughts about us, or about the lady across the street, or about whoever!

You know what makes it hard to be a first world woman, in the 21st century? Women. We do this to ourselves. And it’s ridiculous! I am not you. You are not me. I am not my sister. She is not my cousin. My cousin is not her coworker. The coworker is not her friend. Her friend is not me (unless it is ME. ha!)

Quit trying to be who you are not. Quit trying to dress to impress a certain crowd. Don’t break yourself at work for a promotion you don’t even want. Quit spending money you don’t make to look like some one who has more. Just quit. Just be you. You, the strong, bold, head turning woman who is passionate about what you are passionate about instead of chasing other people’s dreams. Just be you.

The Dream vs The Reality

Growing up I had very distinct goals for how my life would go as an adult. Dreams, I should call them; not goals. Goals are targets that with planning can be achieved. Dreams are the first step towards goals but are often slightly too lofty to be easily plotted and achieved… but I digress.

Yes. I had dreams of how my life would be as an adult. My dreams started in a simple enough house, situated some distance off the road, at the end of a long drive shaded on either side by mature fruit trees standing in neat rows of sweet glory. Behind the house was a heavily shaded back yard of lush grass, and nice shrubs and flowers. The yard would be small and strictly off limits for dogs and wild children digging, climbing, and other wise wrecking the serenity. Outside the white picket gate would be shops and barns and all the play space children and dogs could ask for. At noon my farmer husband would drive up to the house for a lovely lunch. Afterwards I would go with him to help with fence mending, cattle work, or some other farm chore. In the evening we would enjoy another wonderful meal, then the children would wash dishes before joining my husband and me on the back porch for some family time…..

POP!!!

Back to reality.

The reality is I live in an old house that needs a ton of work. And while I did marry a man in agriculture, his job is far from free enough to allow him to be home in time for bed, let alone any meals! And the dishes thing… well, there is still hope for that, once the kids get big enough to be trusted alone.

The reality is, parenting will never fit into some tidy little mold. Parenting is much more often breathing things like “thank goodness duck poop washes out!” after lifting your 15 month old son’s Tshirt out of the washer. Because parenting is much more often discovering that innocent “mud” you thought he had on his hands and shirt while you picked the garden…actually came out of the south end of a north bound poultry.

Parenting is much more often washing wet panties because you told your daughter she just went tee-tee when she asked to go to the bathroom (that she loves) that is creepily situated at the back of the store in the stock room! Parenting is much more often apologizing as you pull said toddler from her car seat, crying because she is doing her best not to full blown pee her pants. So you have to let her tinkle in the car trash can. Only to turn around and realize the guy, who was supposed to meet you in that parking lot to buy eggs…is pulling up right behind you.

Parenting is realizing that some times day clothes make better swimming gear than swim suits do. It’s letting go of expectations for the morning, to go outside and blow bubbles and eat popsicles. It’s giggling at your little man trying to jump like his big sister. Parenting is cooking one frozen pizza for the kids and saving a second to cook to eat alone with your husband when he finally gets home at 9:30 or 10pm. Parenting is looking at your children attempting something you know won’t end well, putting a hand on your tummy to think “and I have another one coming!” Then smiling like a fool because the entertainment will continue. It’s none of the things we dream of… and yet, some how it is.

I still dream about that house (mostly the deep shade and lush grass part.) And I’m sure some day we’ll make that a reality. For now, I’ll just enjoy the ride. And eat the best pizza at 10 o’clock at night.

Don’t Be a Martha-Mom

Yesterday I wrote about keeping house rather than waiting until the house was so bad that you need to devote a whole day to cleaning house. Today I want to address the other end of the neatness spectrum.

My grandmother says “life is too short to waste time cleaning.” She washes dishes and laundry, and there aren’t things scattered all over the floor. But sweeping, dusting, mopping, and cleaning out cabinets are not in the list of things she enjoys. This always bugged my mom when she was growing up. Now my mom is a meticulous house keeper. They live on a farm and I would still eat off her floor! She sweeps at least once, if not 2-4 times a day. If there are 5 dishes on the counter she washes them. The floor is mopped weekly. And Laundry is done religiously. I fall some where in the middle. I like the house clean, but I can survive in a mess too. I really think there needs to be a balance between preparing to be on the next episode of hoarders, and keeping your home so clean that the work of cleaning becomes stressful.

There is a story in the Bible about Jesus visiting the home of two sisters (Luke 10:38-42.) Mary and Martha had the honor of hosting the son of God! That’s a big deal!! But they both had very different opinions of what it meant to have Jesus in their home. Mary sat down at her savior’s feet. She wanted to focus her heart and mind on what was being said. She was attentive; the kind of person you want to pour your heart out to. She was the one friend who holds eye contact while you tell a story, when everyone else has gotten distracted and walked away. Martha, on the other hand, was busy. She was pouring water or wine for guests. Checking on supper. The towel she used for washing feet was dirty so she went out to wash it and bring in fresh water for the basin. Martha was the friend you call when you need help painting, or when you are sick and need some one to bring over some soup.

After a while, Martha got angry. She was busy cooking, cleaning, serving guests…missing out on enjoying the presence of Christ and the others who were gathered in her home. I can just see her grumbling under her breath, getting more and more irritated. Finally, she’d had enough; she burst into the room where Jesus was speaking and fellow-shipping, and demanded that Jesus make Mary help her with all the work! And I love what Jesus said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.”

Wow! That must have come as a punch in the gut to Martha. In her mind she was serving her guests and that was the best thing she could do. Instead, Jesus told her she was worried about things that weren’t important — not eternally important, anyway.

I think as moms we can turn into Marthas if we are not careful. We can be so worried about sweeping up messes, and keeping toys in the perfect place that we forget what is important — our family! Your children will never remember the time you went 2 weeks and didn’t get the bathroom scrubbed. They won’t worry about the time the yard didn’t get mowed for 2 weeks. It won’t matter to them in fifty years if you washed and changed the sheets every single week.What they will remember is that mom used to stop in the hall and sit down to read a book (or that she was always too busy to read.) They will remember the time you started a water fight (or that you yelled when their clothes got muddy.)

Be a Mary. When your parents drop in for a visit; stop. Sit down and talk to them. Don’t talk over what you are doing. Stop, and talk. When your child has a looooooong, long…long story about something. Stop. Don’t sweep and nod. Don’t rush them to “wrap it up already.” Stop. Be the friend who looks the other in the eye and listens to the story long after everyone else has gotten distracted. The cleaning will be there tomorrow. Our children grow up and leave. Our friends aren’t a guarantee. Some day you will attend a funeral for your parents and grandparents. Your spouse needs to see you listening. Don’t be a Martha-mom.

(The washer stopped 10 minutes ago…but Skeet just brought me a book so I’m fixing to read The Fire Cat.)