I’m wild about sweet tea and I have a thing for globes and maps. I love color and words and my house has a lot of both. I’m parenting teens and a tween with my husband slash best friend of more than 20 years. I’m the founder of Mercy House and Fair Trade Friday and sometimes I write books. I love traveling and experiencing new cultures, trying new foods, and I’m a big fan of all things fair trade. I share my broken and beautiful story in my memoir, Rhinestone Jesus, and I share how it’s changed the way we parent in Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. My life is messy and redeemed and I’m grateful for the chance to live it.
I was nearly 30 years old when I became a mother. Just getting there proved to be challenging. 674 pregnancy tests later . . . it happened, I was ready. Or at least I thought I was. Since I was an excellent parent without having children, I figured it would all be a piece of cake.
I periodically added to my mental list of things my children would never do. ( They would not eat their boogers, pick gum from under the table, wear house shoes to the mall, fix their own hair, scream in a store, throw a tantrum in public and . . . ) Obviously, I had never been around real children.
I had all the ‘mom stuff.’ I quit my job and dedicated my time to staying at home. Once I got into the swing of all things baby, I tried to fill my long days.
My struggle to be a mommy, was, well, a struggle. I was lonely.
There were days where the only thing I accomplished was leaking milk. And that wasn’t even voluntary. As my baby grew and I grew another baby, I had desperate moments: being pooped and vomited on, in an airplane, without spare clothes. Watching in horror as my toddler’s temper tantrum stopped the world from spinning on it’s axis-in the library, where it is quiet. Managing to get thru Wal Mart, with a screaming, hiccupping child with toys clenched in each fist, just so I could feed my family. Lying to my children and convincing them that the overhead store speaker was telling them to SIT DOWN in the cart OR ELSE. Opening and consuming unpaid for food and leaving a messy trail for the store security to follow, occurred on a regular basis.
Moving across the country to a tiny home with a toddler, a huge belly and no friends made things even worse. But in time I made ‘mommy’ friends. I watched them struggle and it did something in my heart. You know what I learned? They weren’t perfect. Sometimes they were even bad, like me. Their kids, were just like mine, perfectly human.
And thru the years of diapering and disaster, I discovered the most amazing thing of all: I was really never alone. In the darkest moments, He never left my side: As I held my oldest child’s hand and looked into her pleading eyes for me to stop the IV from poking into her arm, He was there. When my son, fell from the loft of a hay barn and couldn’t walk, He was there. When my third child born too early, fought to breath through tiny tubes, He was there.
I love reading other mother’s heroic stories of extreme circumstances and mundane living. They make me feel normal. It is comforting to identify my struggles with others.
You may feel isolated. Tired. Alone. But there is a gigantic group of people who are just like you. They are called mothers. They know what it feels like to love a child more than life; feel their child’s pain; to move earth to be with their baby.
There is also a HUGE God who is always there, especially when others aren’t.
And that’s why I blog. That’s why I have to do it. I do it because laughter is easier to swallow than tears, and because sometimes we just need to be reminded that WE ARE NOT ALONE.
Oh, and about that mental list, my kids have done it all!
(Including dressing like a cow and vlogging to win a year of sweet tea!)
In 2010, a very unexpected yes changed my life, my family and our future forever. And this journey has become a place to say yes in the middle of my mess: the perfect place for his glory. I hope you’ll say yes to God with me.