Sifting

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” – Luke 22:31-32

Have you ever thought about what Jesus meant by this? I’m not going to get into the theological meanings of Satan asking for Simon because that’s beyond me. But the idea of being sifted. Have you ever sifted flour? It gets shaken and pounded and filtered and eventually falls into a bowl. It’s clean, uniform and ready to be used.

I feel sifted lately. Tired. Weary. Like everything has just been given a little shake. Don’t get me wrong, nothing of real concern is happening. But the business of life – the busy-ness of life – has left me feeling sifted lately.

Random, crazy issues with our house.

Teenage and tweenage hormones.

A very busy husband.

More than anything else, my own inadequacy to handle such things.

One could say that we are all in the process of being sifted, of getting the lumpy and unwanted parts of our souls brought to the surface so they can be tossed in the trash. We all know the feeling of being tossed around like flour in a sifter, just waiting to fall into the bowl.

sifterThis is what I’m thinking about as we approach Easter this weekend. How good our God is, that He continues to welcome us into His Presence – even when we’re inadequate. Even when all those lumps are being sifted to the surface. Even when we are weary and tired. He always welcomes us.

Are you being sifted today? Do you feel like life is just a little too much lately? If you’re anything like me, cling to these verses. If one of the disciples could deny Jesus at His time of need and Jesus still welcomed him back into the fold, He will not turn us away in our weariness. Let us run to Him this Easter and fully believe that He can give us rest.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28

Hope and homeschooling

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve heard me mention Hope For The Weary Mom. It’s one of my favorite books and I’ve reread it several times. But something that dawned on me recently is that I’ve never read Hope as a tool for encouraging me in my role as a homeschool mom.

Hope-Weary-Mom-Official-Cover-300If you’re not a homeschool mom, let me give you a little glimpse into a regular day. 1) There is never quiet, unless the children are outside and you’ve locked the doors. (Everyone does that, right?) This will be a short window of quiet because they will start banging on doors. 2) You get to be there firsthand for every milestone and triumph – from walking to long division to riding a bicycle. It’s amazing! 3) There will always be questions. Even when you think you’ve outlined everything, made checklists and backup flow charts… there will be questions. 4) God will richly reward you with experiences and bonds with your children like none other. 5) Books. Books everywhere.

When I thought about Hope and the different messages in each chapter, I realized that there are some chapters that speak so clearly to homeschool moms. The ones that spoke to me were chapters three, five and ten.

Chapter three is on comparison. Comparison is death to the joy and peace that the presence of God brings. The problem is that homeschool moms love to talk about what they’re doing, what curriculum they’re using, how they organize their supplies, what chore charts they’re using…it goes on and on. But something that Stacey writes in this chapter really brings grace to my homeschool mom life. “What if we looked up instead of sizing up?”  What if I just focused on Jesus, what He has done for me and what He wants to do in the lives of my daughters? Maybe I can beat the comparison trap and in the process stop beating myself up over everything I wasn’t doing.

Guilt. Am I teaching them enough? They’re not excelling quickly enough. We’re eating cereal for dinner again. Are they getting enough protein? Will they ever, ever understand long division?! It must be my teaching that’s holding them back. I am the worst mom ever. Guilt can suffocate a Christian’s walk. What I was reminded of here was that guilt can twist facts into monsters. Maybe you do need to add more curriculum (but I doubt it) or have a better meal plan but those things are not making you a bad mom. The fact that you’re concerned for your child’s education and health demonstrate just the opposite! Guilt needs to be rooted out so grace and truth can be applied. Stacey outlined five quick Bible based thoughts to meditate on each day of the week. I love that they are simple, short things I can focus on even in the midst of a busy day.

Chapter ten is titled Moving from Weariness to Worship. It is the second to last chapter and is a fitting message for every homeschool mom to read on a regular basis. Stacey says,

“The void we feel in out poured out lives as moms is real. Blaise Pascal called it ‘a God shaped vacuum’ and there is only one thing that can fill us up. I believe the answer is laying down the habit of weariness and embracing a heart of worship for the Lord. Because anything less than the very presence of Jesus will never satisfy.”  (emphasis mine)

That sums it up doesn’t it? Homeschooling is wearying work. It pulls a mom in a million directions. But we don’t have to stay weary! We can bring the presence of Jesus into our busy lives any time we need it!

Hope for the Weary Mom is an excellent book for any mother. But it’s taken a new, special meaning on for me as a homeschool mom. And I’m so thankful for it. Have you read Hope yet? I can’t recommend it enough. You can find out more about it here.

 

{I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and a good review was not guaranteed.}

Choose Hope

I am excited to be part of the Hope for the Weary Mom Blog Tour with Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker. {You can find out more and join the tour by clicking here!} Do you want to know what I’m not excited about today? Having teenagers.

There is no weariness like it, really. I guess you could argue with that, but I think all moms can pretty much unite on this one. There are just days, sometimes entire seasons, that stretch out long and hard and weary in mothering. We do not glory in this weariness but coming to a place where we can admit that it’s there is powerful. Because when we admit that we are weary, God can step in to fill our hearts with hope.

Hope for The Weary Mom, by Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker, is a powerful book that helps moms to come to a place where they can admit to the weariness and find hope. Hope that God is able to be strong in the middle of our weakness and that He has grace to sustain us.

unnamed (2)This new edition is completely updated, with new material and more hope. Brooke and Stacey have shared more of their hearts for their readers on topics like Mommy Guilt and Comparison plus much more. It’s sure to be a powerful book for any mom that feels like she needs to be reminded of God’s goodness.

As I thought about reading the new edition of Hope For The Weary Mom, I pulled up my old blog posts from the first book. The Dear Weary Mom posts can be found here. My favorite? Perfect. I feel like it was one of the first times I really just let out what God has put in my heart:

It’s hard. We are raising the next generation of world changers. Let’s not be embarrassed or afraid to say I’m struggling with anger. I’m sad and weary. I need more of Jesus and don’t know where to start. It’s okay to admit we are weak. That’s when He is strong. It’s okay to need help.

I’ll start, okay?

I am so tired.
I feel like a failure most days.
I lose my temper too easily.
I eat salty things when I’m frustrated.
My bedroom & bathroom are really messy. I close my bedroom door when people come over so they can’t see how bad it is.
I struggle with comparing myself to others and coming up short. Very short.

Jesus can and does still redeem my mess. That is my hope and the promise I cling to for my daughters. That He can use this foolish thing to shame the wise. That they would see Jesus in my mess.

 

I could have written this again today. Different struggles than I had two years ago – we didn’t have a teenager yet. Ha!  – but struggles just the same. And you know what? God is still the same. He can sustain me. Hope for the Weary Mom is a book about letting God meet you in the messy places of motherhood and finding true hope. You can find out more information here!

Psalm 126

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Psalm 126: 5-6

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy. 

He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.(NKJV)

 
Isn’t this such a perfect picture of parenthood?

Sow in tears.
Tears of joy.
Tears of frustration.
Tears of exhaustion and weariness.
Tears of confusion.
Tears of anger.

But we continually go forth.
Kissing the bruised knees and praying for broken hearts.
Praying for breakthrough.
Wiping the hands, correcting the words and guarding the doors, ever vigilant.

Bearing seed for sowing.
Reminding.
Sharing His Word. His Grace, not just His Law.
Telling how God’s way will always be the best way, even when it’s the hard way.

Trusting that we will come again with rejoicing, bringing our sheavesour childrenwith us
Trusting that if we do not give up, we will reap a harvest of blessing.
Trusting that God gave us these children for a reason and He loves them even more than we do.


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB

{Dear Weary Mom} Hope

While I was doing my morning devotional (and sucking down coffee) my younger girls were watching Tangled. Disney remade the classic tale of Rapunzel into a full length movie a few years ago and it’s become a favorite in our house. If you haven’t seen it, bear with me. I’m going somewhere, promise.

In the scene where Rapunzel and Eugene are out in the boat, waiting for the lanterns to be released Rapunzel admits that she is terrified. She’s been waiting her whole life for this moment she is about to experience. Terrified?! Why? Eugene asks. Rapunzel’s answer captured my attention:

“What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?”

Dreams. Hopes. Wishes. Expectations. We live in a world that encourages us to dream but when our expectations aren’t met, it can be so tiresome to keep going. It can be so easy to listen to the world tell us that we put our hope in the wrong thing.

As I was listening to the movie continue (it all ends in fine Disney fashion, in case you’re wondering) my reading took me to Galatians 6. One of my favorite verses caught my eye and has been burning in my heart all day.

Maybe you’re newly married and you are discovering that marriage is work, rather than all romance and flowers.

Maybe you thought that by now, you’d have friends that you could rely on.

Maybe you are working a job that you never wanted, just barely surviving.

Maybe you dreamed of being a mother your whole life, only to find that it’s hard and sometimes you really don’t like it.

Maybe you thought your children would be better at _______ by now.

Our expectations can make our reality out to be dingy and grey rather that sparkling and fun. Reality isn’t always sparkling and fun, with the perfect fairy tale ending. Reality for many moms is work and hard choices and discipline and surrender.

Galatians 6:9 (NKJV) says And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

The Living Bible says And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.

 So today, I’m just trying to not give up. Have you been there, moms? I’m trusting that God can use and be present in my reality of kids that still don’t listen and days that seem like no one cares and budgets that I just want to toss out the window if I don’t give up. It’s all worth it because it’s all for His Glory, even when everything seems so opposite of glorifying. Even when I am discouraged, I try to not give up.

Dear mom that is weary and discouraged and just about ready to give up – give up your expectations, but don’t give up on God or His promise. You will reap a harvest of blessing.