…quiet the noise

… in the event you were wondering, these people are not just two years old, but two and a half.
a whole half.
I’ve been a mama for 30 months… and, sometimes it’s still doesn’t seem like it’s fully sunk in yet. 

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Life is noisy.

With kids or without kids, with a spouse or without one, life is loud, chaotic and hard. We have so many things fighting for our focus. So many people vying for our attention. We are constantly distracted. Constantly pulled away. Forever engaged in a never ending battle of deciphering what’s important and what’s priority.

I am the teacher that can’t take a lot of noise…. makes for a really difficult day for everybody.  Tapping, running pencils over spiral notebook bindings, all of it drives me crazy. I literally cannot focus in a noisy environment. I don’t typically watch TV.. I don’t even have cable… but even when I did, I could go all day without turning it on. Unless there was a specific show I wanted to watch on at that moment, why is it on? NOISE! YUCK. vomit. Just turn it off. I can’t deal.

Unless there’s background music.

In quiet or chaos, background music somehow helps my brain balance the irritations and the focusing effect it has on me. It helps my mind to focus on something else besides what is actually causing me to be unloving, impatient, and on edge.  My students already know that there’s going to be music playing and they quickly learn the songs. It’s so sweet to hear them sing along (they have no  idea that they’re worshipping!) as they get to know the music on my Pandora stations. But, let me clarify what I mean when I say “noise”. We aren’t talking party noise or baby shower noise, not even chit chat before church noise….. Not the structured class activity noise or even the playing outside nose. I mean the bickering, the fussing, the I’m-not-listening-to-you-because-I’m-so-engrossed-in-my-noise kinda noise…. Not the girlfriends at dinner clinking glasses, laughing, and catching up noise. I mean the tearing down, the comparing, the trying to fit, the feeling unloved, the negative, the unloving, the judgmental, the unsupportive, the lies…

the noise cousins sun

The noise that I have allowed to overtake my Savior’s quiet voice. The noise that kept me burdened and feeling like walls were closing in on me. The noise that kept me from believing in myself, from seeing me for who I really was. The noise that kept me from doing what I love and “feeling like”doing much of anything else. The noise that kept me on this hamster wheel trying to be enough, do enough, be more than enough, special enough, and whatever else enough that would allow (or force or make or justify) me to be accepted, loved, pursued, wanted, cherished… all of that. It was noise and the noise was suffocating me. I couldn’t breathe or move freely. I couldn’t focus.

That soft, barely there background music is my peace and steadies me …. very much like the Lord in this crazy, hard world. When we are bridled with so much fear, hurt, rejection, and brokenness that the darkness of the night is the only place we sense enough safety to truly feel, when we are caring less and less for people but are going out of our way to do more to out do and hurt them, when we’re ignore their pain and choose not to care, when we need “something” but have no idea what that is….. we have a focusing problem. We’re distracted. There is too much noise. Just like outward noise can distract us and cause us to make mistakes and go off course; allowing the wrong things settle into our hearts and minds, it’s what is repeated over and over again. It’s what we eventually believe is important, it’s what we eventually accept as our own identities and put on as our very own qualities that can very well led us down the wrong path.

Unless we have background music.

...He will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will quiet you with his love.
he will rejoice over you with singing…
Zephaniah 3:17

When we are rooted and build our thoughts, minds, beliefs, and lives on something solid, on what will never crack, change, or weaken, we can withstand the noise. We can have something keeping us focused in the midst of the enemy telling us lies about who we are, people being their <intentionally & unintentionally> meanest selves, and our own minds struggling to believe the best when it may be constantly fed the worst. That solid ground makes it a lot easier for the junk to roll right past us. It’s easier to drown out the lies when you constantly have the truth resounding in your mind

The truth is
you can do it.
you are capable.
you can learn how.
you are worthy.
you are enough.
you are smart.
you will do it.
AND….
You are strong enough, patient enough, enduring enough, and brave enough to wait it out until
the Lord brings all of your needs + efforts + sacrifices + opportunity together at the same time
to create the right time.


rhy 30mths

Even in all of the busyness, doing, traveling, working, driving, and mom’ing so hard….. we get lost. We get lost in expectation, in isolation, in fear, in discontent, in frustration, in weariness and we feel alone. Our glorious imaginations (combined with tricks of the enemy) create so many elaborate scenarios that cause us to feel deep rejection when there is none… deep failure when success is on it’s way…. we feel guilt for doing what we know is right (anyone ever try discipling the cutest 2 year olds ever?) … yet struggle with believing who God created us to be and who he promises He to be to us. (He is good, he is good to us, he plans good things for us! and is with us when struggles and hard times come!)

It’s like the Lord is saying,
“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my sweet girl.
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my son.
Can you hear how loved you are?
Do you see how pleased I am with you?
Allow me to celebrate you, simply because I created you & am delighted in you.
Do you know how much I love you?
Do you know how much I value you?
shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….
Listen to me. Focus on me.”

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I wonder what would happen to our self-talk, to our mindsets, to our friendships and our families when we listened more to who the Lord says we did the noise of the world. If we allowed ourselves to be calmed by the voice and peace of the Lord rather than running around like a crazy person chasing down our fleeting feelings with temporary fixes. When we begin speaking life into others because of the life inside of us rather than using our words to respond with hurt or worse, not respond at all.

hello brokenness.

Wonder how much more fulfilled and confident we would be if we looked to the Lord and enjoyed listening intently on his rejoicing and singing over us… if we worshipped, prayed, and read a bit more and allowed the Truth to dictate how we felt and how we saw ourselves. How much more equipped and joyful would we be when the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy our children & their futures, our marriages and friendships, our hopes and dreams, our own self esteem and views of ourselves. I believe they could stand more of a chance……. and, if they don’t. When things are broken and people go astray, we would still be left laying, kneeling, standing on The Rock. Even if we’re crying (really bawling… let’s be honest. If we cry, it’s a bawl.), left alone, feeling empty, and at what we believe is the end of our rope.

Can we quiet the noise?  Sometimes. Not always. Can we shift our focus so that the chaos isn’t as loud? Absolutely. Noise is inevitable. There has been, will, and forever be an endless list of things and people craving our attention and competing for our love. BUT, when we are rooted in the one love that will never end, that will never push us to the side, or hurt us, it is so much easier to drown out the bad and hear the good and see what’s possible.

My prayer for you…. especially us single mamas…. is that we won’t get lost in the noise. That we won’t lose hope or forget how valuable and loved we are. That we will allow our hearts to be captured by the Lord and filled to overflowing with his peace and joy. That we allow the Lord to quiet our fears, sadness, negative thinking, disappointments and worry with his love. I pray that our background noise keeps us focused and able to be wholly who the Lord called us to be in this crazy, dark world. That we allow ourselves to hope and dream big… give those dreams to the most creative Maker of the universe then give him room to gives us the desires of our hearts.

Your mind feasts on what it focuses on (Lysa TerKurst) so focus on the those things that bring joy, happiness, a positive outlook, Godly perspective, and comfort…. those things that are right, noble, true, lovely, admirable, and excellent…..

focus and feast on the goodness of the Lord.

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seasons

11999675_10101713218713148_4070255769034594818_oOver the course of the past few years, I’ve really been leaning into the Lord and pretty much begging him for some pretty heavy things. And, expecting those prayers to be answered in my favor. I knew the Lord had the absolute power to do what I was asking, to give me & others the desires of our hearts and I believed that he was is the Giver of Good Gifts. So, I prayed for some good gifts.

I saw in scripture patterns of how the Lord blessed… I saw miracles happen… I saw healing and  mended hearts. Many of my prayers were no different than those of the Word and no more difficult than those prayed and answered in huge ways by friends and friends of friends. What I was asking was for sure possible.

One of my favorite Bible stories, one of the ones that interest me the most is found in Luke 1 when an angel comes to Zacharias to tell him of the conception of John the Baptist, then Gabriel coming to see Mary a few versus later. This glimpse into such a pivotal story is so sweet because in it is woven so much love and attention to detail that the Lord has for us. There is grace, mercy, community, promises fulfilled, and comfort given.

But, the best part of this story…. the part that I saw today totally stilled my heart.
In verse 20, the angel is telling Zacharias that he’ll be a mute for his disbelief (about a prayer he prayed… mind you) until the day the promises the Lord gave re: John the Baptist came true…. in their season.  Those three words are huge. The angel told of all the amazing things John would do – not drink wine or stronger drinks, turn the Israelites back to God, be filled with the Holy Spirit even in the womb… he would prepare the people for the Christ….. All of these things John the Baptist would actually do are promises made by the Lord… these things were the will of God in God’s plan for John’s life. But, they would each happen at an appointed time, in their own season… not all at once. (Also, keep in mind the Lord’s grace given when Zach was given his ability to speak after naming his son the moniker the angel said he would given to him…. versus the “until all these things would be preformed.)

When I think about where I am right now, this season of my life… where my babies are… the fact that I even have babies…. This time is abundant in answered prayers, promises fulfilled, and dreams come true. I’m grateful that even though the Lord’s plan was to give me the desires of my heart, he didn’t give me every desire all at once.

We are missing opportunities to worship the Lord and show gratitude for the blessings that are in season today because we’re so wrapped up in tomorrow. We’re robbing the Lord of praise, ourselves of peace, and the enjoyment of these blessings we’ve been given!

party of three

It’s easy for us to be in the season, yet focusing on the next. I mean, we have calendars, deadlines, and goals. Time blows by us so quickly… if we don’t stay on ‘top of it’, we’ll miss a lot and life can be impacted in a real way. I get it. But, in worrying about tomorrow, there are blessings and promises that  are ripe and fresh just waiting to be praised over today.

There was a time I begged the Lord for joy. I was so used to praying that prayer that I didn’t even realize that I had joy. I missed the blessing. There are answered prayers that were prayed so long ago prayed that we’ve forgotten what we’d asked for, yet it’s in our laps.

So, tonight … instead of asking for what I need or want next, instead of asking for anything at all…..
I’m going to thank God for this season and the blessings that are flowing from it. 

This season of motherhood is full of everything I’d prayed for… beautiful children (judge me if you’d like) who are happy. Children who are smart and funny, who are learning to talk and feed themselves, who love their mama and love each other. I prayed that they’d take care of each other and they do. I’m so grateful for that. This season of life I’m grateful for. It doesn’t look like what I’d hoped it would, but the Lord is answering my prayers and I see it. And, I’m so thankful. So, so, so thankful.. while certain blessings may not be complete, I see forward movement & preparation, so I’m thankful for the traction. That or I see my lengthened patience and I’m so thankful for that answered prayer.

In that story found in the first chapter of Luke, we read of a glimpse of decades long struggle with infertility, shame, disappointment, hurt, and loneliness. (No, this isn’t found in your Bible but Elizabeth was barren and she was a woman so I’m pretty sure she felt all of that at some point, in some capacity.) But, the conception of John was just the beginning of her prayers regarding motherhood being answered. There were many years and decades later that were overflowing with the joys of God’s grace and promises fulfilled in their season during her years as a mama. We have to remember that not one thing … the hard or  the highs .. will last forever. It’s a small moment in that will soon pass… inevitably to both better and worse times, but not matter what we also have the promises of the Lord as comfort and a foundation to stand on. When Gabriel spoke with Mary and when the angel of the Lord spoke with Zacharias, before giving them the most amazing news of their lives… he told them to “fear not”. Possibly because a freaking angel was standing before them, possibly because what they were told sounded completely ludicrous… but I’m also considering that he may have known that there would be some scary, difficult times to come. Maybe. I don’t know the extent of an angel’s knowledge of the Lord’s plan for Mary or Zacharias, but he came on behalf of the Lord and the Lord definitely knew. And, he knows the plans he has for you.

Fear not. Enjoy this season today.
Amen?

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whoosh….

whoosh goes the time.life It’s fast. Unforgiving. Borderline rude in how it just steals moments and gives you no notice of what’s to come.
And, if we aren’t careful, we’ll miss everything.

Am I the only one who tries to squeeze in a bit “more” in an already packed space of time? I always feel like there is something else that should have, could have, or would have been done if I wasn’t doing this….  Even if the this is legit. I’m always multi-tasking… cleaning the microwave while my dinner is sautéing… sneaking a moment to respond to an email while I’m waiting for the girls breakfast/lunch/dinner to warm clearly warrants the Guilt Fairy to sprinkle all kinds of guilt dust over my head. There’s nothing wrong with that but I guess it looks very un-awesome mother-like to be on your phone … during downtime?!?!?!
Can I get a “Me, too, sister’? What is the deal?!?!

I told you guys way over here who I was…  no sneak attacks. I’m a perfectionist, I hate to make mistakes, and I’m constantly looking for better ways to do/be/speak/communicate/write (literally pen to paper write)/____ better. And, it’s stealing my time. It’s siphoning moments that should be used to soak and etc forever in my memory all the 14month old twin savory sweetness because everything has to be just so or else I’m frustrated.
Then, I negatively self talk which causes me to lose even more time.
Que : Let It Go

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I’m learning that we all have some many questions about life… about  motherhood… our relationships… careers… passions and purposes in life that we want answers to right now. We are so pressed by the clock and that we can’t see the freedom in it. Our lives and perspectives are so dictated by culture, lists (how many words is a 14 mo supposed to say??), and Pinterest perfect expectations that we are losing time to do what really matters: love. We don’t realize that in time, all things will be answered. Either here on Earth or in Glory. So, why stress and get all ugh over an answer when there is so much joy, peace, and laughter offered in the moment?

We’re (I’m) busy rushing a baby off my hip, rushing to get to the next stage in life, impatiently waiting for this or that to happen and I’m missing it… I’m missing opportunities to love inaction.
Opportunities are to serve pass me by because I am far too easily distracted.joyful
I don’t want to look back on my day and realize that I used a lot of rushing words (Hurry! Let’s go! We have to go! Finish up! etc) and not nearly as many loving/life giving/encouraging ones (You’re holding your spoon so well! Thanks for helping me take your shoe off! Do you  like your fruit?)…. One builds relationships, the other builds stress. One causes another to smile, one causes feelings of inadequacy, as if they aren’t doing enough. One teaches impatience, while the other is teaching embracing the moment while being productive.
(There will be plenty of times we will have to legit to rush… let’s not do it all the time!)

In our moments of busy-ness, we cannot let what needs to be done overshadow our role. Right now, my most important job is to be loving and lead my little people to Christ… yes, I have to cook, clean, wash, fold, comb hair, grocery shop, pick up toys, and complete a never ending list of tasks. BUT, my priority is to first love.. guide in love, discipline in love, redirect in love, enforce boundaries in love. I need to encourage, I need to mold and shape more than I need to do laundry. I can’t honor God in my role if my first priority to sweep the floor. Everything is in vain if I’m not loving. A sparkling clean house means nothing if love is not filling those four walls. We have to use wisdom in when and how to do what our kiddos and households need and stages of life are different, but we should know that it’s when our priorities are out of order stress rears it’s ugly head. Am I right? Have you noticed that when we’re too focused on our list before our kids, we’re short tempered?

In order to be productive, we  need a game plan, some Slim, and prayer, but
when we center our to do list around our life,
we’re happier mamas who raise happier families
.

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