Tag Archive | faith

How to Introduce Your Child To Jesus (easy steps that a still-learning mommy can do)

One time when I was a middle-school teacher (a pregnant and grumpy one, this particular day), I tallied the number of questions I was asked in a 60-minute period. I wish I could remember how many it was, because I am 90% sure that this was a mere warm-up for the pure inquisition I have been experiencing at the hands of a bright-eyed, way-too-smartt and abundantly curious little boy who lives here.

I am questioned out.

I think I know what the Apostle Peter was talking about when he said we needed to be ready “in season and out of season” and “to have an answer for everyone who asks you…” Pretty sure he was talking to moms of toddlers. (He just didn’t want to come out and say it.)

In the last 48 hours, these are just a mere sampling of the questions I have been asked.

  • How do ears hear, eyes see, and boogers get in our noses?
  • Why do the trees stand up straight and tall?
  • Why do football players line up in a line?
  • How do they make the animal chicken into the food chicken? (That one was tough.)
  • What kind of animal is a Hokie bird? (“I have been instructed to respond, ‘a ferocious, fighting turkey,’ in case anyone else is curious.)
  • How do you keep the car in the lane?
  • What makes it snow?
  • Is there snacks in heaven?
  • Why do boys not wear makeup?
  • Why do men not have big tummies with babies in them?
  • Do scorpions swim in the water?
  • Do germs look like dirt?
  • How is a fire hot?
  • How do they make jelly beans?
  • What happens if girls play football?

And again, this is just a sampling, limited by a mom’s tired memory or failure to find a pencil at the right time.

This is just a beautiful, exhausting age.

I feel like a failure sometimes. I don’t have the right answers. I’m too tired, or too distracted to answer sufficiently. I don’t seize each chance, and once-in-a-childhood moments ripen and rot away.

And it’s fine if I don’t succinctly describe a twelve-man offensive rotation (which, trust me, is probably what’s happening. I’m not even sure that is a thing. Is an offensive rotation a thing? Anyways.) Likewise, it’s not the end of the world if I can’t remember how exactly it snows.

But Jesus, and heaven, and God and all that?

Yikes, I don’t want to be sleeping on the job for those questions.

I’ve thought of a few ways to intentionally teach Sam about Jesus. These are not rocket science, and I’m sure there are a bazillion books that say it better. But here are my thoughts.

  • Pray out loud, regularly. Relax, though. I don’t mean long-winded advanced churchy prayers. I am talking here about verbalizing those quick God-directed thoughts you have anyway. God, please help us find our car keys. God, I’m frustrated – help me to be patient with Ty. God, help us find our car keys. God, please help us not get lost. God, Tommy is sick. Help him feel better. God, please help us find our car keys. (I am pretty sure Sam is going to think “please help us find our car keys” is a verse in the actual Bible. But there is nothing I can do about that right now.)

And a really cool thing has happened since I’ve prayed out loud to find my car keys.

Sam, too, asks God for help.

In the past few days, he’s asked God to help him find his stuffed animals, to help him be a good football player, and to please make it snow (a particular prayer that is echoed by all members of this household). Now, of course prayer isn’t all about making God give you everything you want. But I am thrilled beyond thrilled that he thinks knows God is listening to what he needs.

  • Pray with him. Todd is way better at this than I am, so I am just going to tell you what he does. At night, they say prayers. Todd has Sam repeat after him. It is very basic stuff. “Thank you for Mommy.” Thank you for Mommy. “Help me to have a good attitude.” Help me to have a good attitude. etc. etc.

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Todd is showing Sam that he prays, teaching him how, and making it a positive experience. It is often not long, and that’s okay.

  • Throughout your day, talk about two things:
  1. God made everything.
  2. God loves them.

This is directly copied from my mother, when I watched her teach two-year-olds Sunday school. I love it because it is so do-able. I tried to teach Sam the story of Joseph and the coat today while I was making turkey tettrazini…I’m pretty sure I lost brain cells and mixed up a good portion of the details. But I can usually get “God made everything” right. even on a few hours of sleep.

  • This next one also helps when you’re tired and brain-fogged. Get a good children’s Bible and good children’s devotional. Reading a story at night as part of a routine is an easy way to teach, without exerting energy that you do not have, or explaining topics that you do not fully understand. See the links above for my two favorite choices.

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  • Music. Why re-invent the wheel, ya know? Jesus Loves Me was already written! Play it! This CD (Cedarmont Kids Bible Songs) is worth it’s weight in gold. I know there are other terrific kids CDs…any favorites you have? We listen to the Pandora station “Jesus Loves Me” radio, also. Added plus of this is that it teaches you verses to all those songs you kind of know and kind of forget.
  • Ask God to help me teach my kids about Him. I hesitate to even say this, because it is so obvious. But if I need help, I should ask for it. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. {James 1:5}

What helps your kids learn about Jesus? Does your family have favorite books or music?

 

 

on loss: {How To Enjoy Life When Others Hurt}

warning. this post is not a funny one. (In case the title confused you.) I did have an idea for a funny one today… I could have written down all of the 386 questions that my poor husband was asked trying to watch his favorite team lose their playoff game. (“Daddy, which one is R.G. III? Daddy, do you like the Giants? Daddy, what do the quarterbacks do, Daddy? Dad, once I did a big tackle. Dad, is this game fun? Dad, who’s winning now, Dad? Dad, let’s play catch. Dad why did you yell? What happened, Dad?” times 140, with each question repeated after three seconds if it wasn’t answered.)

Overall, I give Todd an A- for fatherhood today. I would say he answered at least 90% of the questions, mostly in a pleasant tone of voice. So good job, Todd.

Anyway, this blog post is not about the Redskins loss. It’s about something sadder. 😦

Do you feel like this? For months and months you think nothing of death. Then something happens (or two or three things happen) and for a few weeks you live in that somber, uncomfortable cloud of how short and scary life is?

The first straw this time was that horrendous, unimaginable murder of little first-graders. So, so awful.

Then I read about a little toddler – again unthinkable – who died when her bedroom dresser fell on her.

Most recently, a friend of many friends, a young mom, my age, lost a long battle with breast cancer. She’s survived by a brave husband and one of the cutest little three-year old girls I’ve ever seen.

I am just sad.

I know we should die, but it should be old ones, safely and painlessly, in their sleep. Not still-needed mommies and babies and little ones getting ready for kickball.

It’s not fair.

I’ve said this before,  but I’m most angered because I know it could happen here. Could happen to me, or mine.

And then my hypochondria starts flaring up… My lymph nodes feel extra swollen, my fatigue extra-unexplained. Everything seems extra precarious and fragile.

I can’t make it untrue – death is real, and it’s sad. It just is.

A few things, along with the sadness, have been circling my head these days. I thought I’d share them.

  • This is going to sound a little cheesy and dramatic… But I keep thinking of this quote from C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy:

“Child,’ said the Lion, ‘I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.” (Italics mine.)

It’s awful to imagine what the moms from Newtown feel, or any parents without kids, or daddies without their wives… I don’t think I could live through that. But I don’t live their stories. I live mine. God has been so good to me. And the God of my yesterday is the God of my tomorrows. He will still be faithful, and still take care of me.

  • This song. My favorite thing is that my boys love it, even if they don’t really understand it. I like to think maybe they sort of do though.
  • This Scripture: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleepThen the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (I Corinthians 15).
  • And, this thought. Sometimes when I hear about something awful, I feel obligated to have a really awful day. This is wrong! The best thing I can do for anyone is enjoy my today. I can honor what they lost by treasuring what I have. I will enjoy the chubby little toes I get to see tomorrow, and the beautiful sky we can look up and see, and that my legs move and walk and (sometimes) run. I’ll enjoy peace and warm socks and cup of coffee, and enjoy how I can read God’s word, and laugh, and not be sad tomorrow. and so should you.
image by Andrew Clark

Sunday, a day of rest …

Before this piece treads into the humorous and sarcastic, I want to give a disclaimer.

There actually is a real piece about Sundays and Sabbath rest working itself out my head. I don’t want to spoil it, but I’m sure I ponder about making crock pot meals ahead of time, and laying out your clothes, meditating on Scripture, and other neat ways for busy moms to relish their God-given days of rest.

The thing is, though, it’s tricky.

No matter how you slice it, any mom on any given Sunday will change 8 or more diapers (at least 2 poopy), listen to 15 1/2 tantrums, clean up three meals and four snacks, wipe up crumbs and smushed noodles on the floor, give two baths, wipe 18 boogers, and, most notably, dress, drive, and disciple aforementioned little ones for a Sunday church service.

I probably made that sound a little worse than it is, because I was trying to make myself feel better for the trespasses I committed today, of all days, Sunday, the Lord’s day of rest.

Our Sunday actually started out really nice. It was a pleasantly late 7:45am when I brought Ty into our bed.

He looked so cute in his pajamas. He was showing us his blankees and giving us kisses. Then, Todd even herded him out so I could wake up gradually in a warm, undisturbed room. (Brownie points!)

I enjoyed about seven minutes of cozy prayer and rest time before Ty realized I wasn’t around. He started clawing at and banging at the bedroom door. Thankfully, Sam wasn’t going to allow for this misbehavior, and continued to yell at Ty and, from what I could tell, yank his hands/body off the door.

By the time we all had breakfast, we looked at the clock and realized we had 21 minutes to shower two adults and dress four people. Perfect.

We were all getting in the car when Todd reminded me he had to drive to church separately, because he had choir practice. I didn’t even know we had a choir. Nonetheless that my husband had a practice for it.

I am embarrassed to tell you that this surprise choir practice was the cause of at least three tense exchanges, and one tearful blowup during naptime. I know. Silly.

In addition to this juicy argument, here’s a few other things that happened today.

  • Ty has an extremely loud meltdown in the middle of Christmas pageant rehearsal. No worries. It’s not like they were trying to hold the attention of 25 two to six-year-olds in there.
  • Ty drinks 2 entire sippy cups of church juice and poops his pants in the nursery.
  • Ty has a meltdown when we get home. He does that thing where his whole body goes limp and stretches a foot longer while I drag him sideways up the stairs for a nap.
  • Although clearly tired, he plays/screams/calls my name for an hour before finally drifting off. I fume for most of the hour.
  • Post-nap time, Todd and I try to implement our new plan to instill Sam with a good work ethic by making him pick up little sticks all over the yard. He hates it. He picks up four and starts drawing circles in the dirt. Every eight minutes one of us yells, “Sam! Pick up sticks!” I’m pretty sure our neighbors think we are running some sort of bizarre child labor program.
  • Sam finally starts to accumulate a reasonable amount of sticks in the box, and Ty decides to overturn it. All h$%## breaks loose. We tear Ty away from the box, encourage Sam to continue working, and decide this would be a good time to wash both cars. (???!)
  • I take a break and go over to my sister’s house. When I walk in, Tommy has just peed his pants, and my brother-in-law is in the middle of a family talk about “improving our behavior.”
  • For some reason I decide tonight is a good night to attempt chicken marsala. Ty claws at my legs begging for banana slices while I cook.
  • During dinner, Sam refuses to eat the chicken marsala because he doesn’t want to eat “mascara.” After we clear up the confusion (and I dump ketchup all over it), he eats it.
  • I yell at Todd because 1) he is wearing his hat at dinner 2) he didn’t tell me how delicious dinner was and 3) he was ravenously eating and not talking to us.
  • I yell at Ty because throws his spoon and water bottle down seven times in dinner.
  • Ty starts yelling at us.
  • Sam, apparently jealous of the reprimands, also yells at us.
  • Todd and I make eye contact and share tired, commiserating smiles.
  • I tell Sam when he finishes his bath we can make another special Advent ornament. “I don’t want to do that today. Or tomorrow. Or ever,” he tells me. Nice.
  • Post-bath, Sam melts down. “I’m not tiiiiiiiiired. (Sob, sob) I don’t waaaaaaant to go to beeeed… Sob, sob, sob.”
  • Todd and I pass on the stairs like ships in the night, each obediently retrieving something for one of the children. We have to laugh.

We’re pooped from our day of rest.

I totally do not believe in eating as a way of dealing with stress. But if Todd asks me again if I want that $5 Papa John’s pizza, I think I should probably support him. Don’t you think?

a real Christmas story

I admit I’m the grinch of all seasons. Peeps are gross, Halloween is freakish, and, sorry, but Christmas music is just awful. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen chestnuts, or silver bells, or, for that matter, SNOW 😦 😦 . I like music that’s real, and Christmas music isn’t!!!

Because Christmas just isn’t all those glittery moments. For one thing, that putting up the Christmas tree is the seasonal equivalent of getting ready for church on Sundays…it should be calm and wonderful, but there’s just always a fight. or two. or five.

I had visions of us snuggling under the tree while we reminisce with Sam and Ty about each ornament. The boys would play happily with the nativity scene, Sam tenderly explaining to Ty the Christmas story. Todd and I would share a laugh and a wink as we hold hands and put up our anniversary ornament.

And this year, to be honest, it started great. We spent the weekend with my family in the mountains; the highlight of the trip was to choose and cut our own tree. We had a blast at the Christmas tree farm. Which was also, still, a pumpkin patch.

It was like a two-for-one.

When time came to pick a tree, we threw caution to the wind. My dad generously provides us all with Christmas trees, so we thought, what the heck. Let’s get a mammoth tree. Our ceiling is huge. Our kids are little…Let’s go crazy. Cause we’re like that – crazy.

Everything went fine until Sam and Todd were in the garage a suspiciously long time “putting the tree in the stand.”

When I walked out to the garage, there was sawdust everywhere, and a chainsaw running, and the end of the tree was whittled down like a pencil point. only still huge.

Shocker: our huge tree had an even huger stump. I had never, until that moment, spent more than eight seconds thinking about the importance of a good Christmas tree stand. And how your tree should fit in it. Whoops.

To make a long, three-day story short(er), here are a few of the things that happened:

  • We decide, in the interest of our new financial policy, we are not buying a new tree stand.
  • Todd goes to Lowe’s to buy a piece of PVC pipe in an attempt to improve the old tree stand.
  • We (Todd) put the tree back in the stand.
  • It’s crooked.
  • It falls over if you touch it.
  • We (Todd) take out the tree and saw more plastic off the pipe.
  • Todd puts the tree back in.
  • Less crooked, but still sways back and forth when you wiggle its branches. Todd and I debate for a little before eventually deciding that, yes, an extremely unstable mammoth tree is in fact a hazard for two small boys.

leaning tower of Christmas

  • Todd saws the tree down so it’s smaller and replaces it in the stand, again.
  • Luck! It stays up. Until my Aunt Jamee comes over, and we briefly remark how beautiful it is. It falls over before our eyes.
  • Todd puts it back up.
  • Todd goes to Lowe’s and buys hooks to screw into our windows, to stabilize the tree with strings.
  • It’s a good thing I don’t use words like “ghetto,” because if I did, that might have been what I used to describe this proposed set-up in a brief discussion with Todd.
  • Todd secures the tree with thick, black, camping rope.
  • Todd and I have a brief discussion about how the tree looks…well, you know… the word I don’t use.
  • Todd puts the lights on.
  • Sam and Ty dump out all of the Christmas ornaments.
  • Ty throws, and breaks, a vintage airplane ornament.
  • Sam yells at Ty.
  • Sam tells me that the reason God put a giant star in the sky is to tell everyone to decorate their trees. Good thing at least he understands the reason for the season.
  • Todd finishes putting up the lights. I come a little closer, and we have a brief discussion about whether or not those are icicle lights on the bottom half of the tree, and whether or not icicle lights belong on a tree. (In case you’re curious, they don’t. Ever.)
  • I take off the lights and put them back on, sans icicle lights. Sam and Ty step on cardboard boxes, play tug of war with strings of lights, fight over a mini-Christmas tree, try to plug in mini-Christmas tree, bang on the door where Todd is going to the bathroom, pull out all 25 verses in the Advent calendar, and “help” me take off more lights on the tree.
  • I realize that the pandora Christmas music station I’m listening to is, for some reason, making my blood pressure go higher, as this night is not silent, and there is no fa-la-la-ing happening at the current time.
  • Todd comes back and sits down, wearing his, “I give up” face.

  • We decide it’s time to put the boys in their special Christmas pajamas.
  • We realize that Ty can unzip and take off his special Christmas pajamas. Cool trick.

  • We manage to get the boys in bed. I ask Todd what we should do next about our crooked, redneck, wobbly Christmas tree and the mess all over the place. “Cry,” he says.
  • After a few brief moments of individual decompression (I check facebook, he watches football), we regroup. Eight fittings, three saw-ings, two hooks, and one PVC pipe later, Todd goes to Lowe’s to get a new Christmas tree stand. (We are really at good decision-making.)

Which is why, again, I don’t like Christmas songs.

Because life is messy. And Christmas is messy. And humans are messy. And as wonderful as little kids, and Christmas, and marriage, and life in your cozy home is, there are just moments where you think, what is that strand of Christmas lights doing under the refrigerator? And you have no idea.

That’s why, although I hate Christmas music, I love this song. It’s real.

I love that He knew our messes, and came to our messes, and (dare I hope it?!) still loves grumpy moms who yell at their kids and husbands while “Silent Night” rings in the background. Thank you, Jesus, for gifts I don’t deserve.

Why Quiet Times are Difficult…Contest Winners!

First, a little story. Tonight, I made a hearty pot of local kale and white bean soup for dinner. About an hour later, I was starting to get grumpy because my stomach was growling. As if on cue, Todd turned to me mid-football commercial and said (with all the passion and sincerity he is capable of), “Honey, I’m hungry.” He was looking at me with the most pitiful eyes.

So what could I do?

He is at Burger King getting us whoppers. (Don’t worry! We had a coupon. buy one, get one.)

Because, sometimes you have kale soup, and sometimes, you have kale soup and then a whopper. That is just life, folks.

Anyways.

Speaking of lack of discipline, I lamented recently that I was struggling to have productive quiet times. Although I very specifically requested no mercy, Grace shines on the Mother With Sporadic Quiet Times, as it turns out.

I got lots of grace.

Lots of you understanding, agreeing, suggesting. A few people reminding that sleep is gift. (Bless you.) The biggest practical application I made was to immediately purchase a copy of Jesus Calling. Where have I been that I haven’t had of this wonderful book?

My kind Aunt Sharon even offered to buy me one herself (as well as the other girls in my family). She is too sweet.

I found it interesting that all of the older (ahem…wiser? more seasoned?) adults must have convened across various states and time zones, because if I were a teacher and their answers were tests, I’d have said they had cheated.

Oddly, these wise and godly adults understood the struggle. Bless you all for responding.

I’d like to copy below a few words from my Aunt Jamee:

You are hungering for more spiritual discipline as a busy mom… but being an at-home mom of small children is a spiritual discipline… So I would suggest that a woman whose day is filled with hard, time consuming work should practice the discipline of looking for, and becoming aware of, God’s presence.  How does that happen?  First ask God to help you be attentive to him in the midst of the mundane and distracting.  When the warm sunlight hits your arm be aware of the warmth of his love.  When the clean clothes come out of the washer be aware of his cleansing forgiveness.  When you place food on the table be aware of his provision.  Do you see how it works?  You discipline yourself to be aware of his presence at all times… What really impacts my life is the spiritual discipline of attentiveness to God’s presence.  Its even harder than finding time for “quiet time.”

Even harder than finding quiet time.

Yes. If carving out thirty minutes for exegesis seems difficult, then inviting him into every moment is near impossible.

That said, here are my resolutions from here forward.

  • Get my hands on that Jesus Calling book.
  • Find a verse to meditate on every week. If all I get is one verse, eat it, mull over it, devour it as life-giving food. If I get to hear a snippet of a sermon on Sunday, focus, and close my eyes, and hear every single word of the truth.
  • Worship with my children. Sing songs with them. Pray out loud in front of them. Listen to their little Jesus CDs and praise the Lord that He’s got the whole world in his hands.
  • When I sleep, thank the Lord that I can, and tell him I trust Him.

 

 

Why Quiet Times are Difficult for Busy Moms: A confession and a contest

photo by mirranda

Recently I talked about how you don’t need to give excuses for yourself all the time. I’m getting much better at that. Now whenever I defend myself, I at least feel bad about it.

Like now.

I need to tell you before I begin this post about the girl I used to be. Because I don’t want you getting the wrong idea.

I used to have a lot of spiritual discipline. In high school, I read through the Bible entirely each year. That meant I read my Bible every single morning, even on vacation, even on Saturdays. I kept a journal. It even had prayer requests for other people. Then I went to college in the capital of Spiritually Disciplined People, Grove City College. All of us were very good. I would go to the chapel a few mornings a week to pray and concentrate on the Bible. I probably went to four Bible studies a week with different groups of people, and I always had very relevant, recently discovered insights on the passage to share. I’ll leave out the parts about how I was a Young Life leader, went on to teach Bible to seventh graders, went on mission trips, and all that stuff, because that would just be overkill.

Okay, so now do you have a clear picture of how holy I was? Good.

Fast forward.

I’m just bad.

No. Really.

I know what you want to say, about how God loves me more when I’m real, how I was actually really prideful then, how God doesn’t need our time, and blah blah blah.

It doesn’t matter. I know in my heart of hearts that I need His word, and I need prayer.

Are you ready now to hear my excuses? They’re really good. I know you agree, because I bet you have some of the same ones. This time I share them, not to defend myself, but for help. You’re no different from me…You have the same number of hours in the day, the same lack of accountability, the same love of the pillow and hatred for the alarm and on and on. But I need some help.

So I’m having a contest here. Submit to me a Bible reading plan, a good book, a source of motivation, a tip, anything – that will get me moving in the right direction. If your tip is the most helpful, you get a prize. Because that’s what spiritual discipline is all about, right? Prizes? I’m glad we’re on the same page.

So now here are the things I’m struggling with, so you know how to help.

  • I don’t know what to read. I’m a person that is very helped with a plan. I know there are plans to read through the Bible in a year, but often the readings are lengthy, and if I get behind (which is inevitable these days), I get all discouraged and frantic to catch up. Sometimes lately I feel like a brand new Christian who became a Christian on a youth group weekend and was just handed a Bible. I have no idea where to start. So I’ll just flip open and read a Psalm or two, but it always seems a little off.
  • I am afraid if I start praying/thinking about all my problems, I will just end up more worried, more selfish, and more focused on what’s wrong. It’s almost easier to avoid worry by avoiding prayer. I know, it makes no sense. That’s just the stage I’m at.
  • I’m afraid if I sit down to pray, I will fall asleep. See, quiet times for moms are the equivalent of white noise machines for babies = asleep in five minutes. Since you are going all day long, once you settle in on a comfy chair, in a quiet room, with a cozy blanket, no one is screaming your name, etc. etc…the rest is history.
  • I can’t find a good devotional book. I’d love one that was both relevant but also based on Scripture.
  • I’d love a routine, but don’t know the best time to have a “quiet time.” Naptimes feel so precious, and so much I NEED to get done. I try to shower and dress before I get the boys in the morning, which seems like accomplishment enough? Nights, I’m exhausted… When is the best time?

So there you have it: What does God want from a busy, hardworking, overwhelmed mom who desperately needs to lift up her family in prayer, be reminded of God’s truth, and turn over her worries to Him? What’s the best way for her to do that? What has worked well for you?

You can email me, or leave me a comment on facebook or below. {Somebody at least tell me I’m not the only one? 🙂 } I’ll compile the suggestion and post them, along with the winning tip, in a week – next Sunday, Nov. 11.

the hard thing about being a mom

I feel like most people operate with a secret mentality that their job has one thing about it that is just the worst, that no one else endures. And during the day we pacify ourselves with the knowledge that there is no way that anyone on the face of the planet is facing a moment so trying as ours.

We all deal with these frustrations differently. I break down everyday at 6:00pm and have a handful of chocolate chips and learn how to be a better person on pinterest. Then there are people like my husband, who never complains about anything but reserves up all his displeasure  for a biannual three-hour venting session when he’s finally had enough of Mrs. So-and-So who has a perfectly acceptable yard and won’t shut up about how horrible it looks.

So everyone has something.

Today I put my finger on what it is exactly for the stay-at-home mom. I think it’s like being poked with a tiny toothpick in your leg all day long while you pour water back and forth between two pitchers. At the end of the day, you feel like you have worked really hard, and it was difficult, but you have gotten absolutely nothing done. It’s the opposite of what friendships should be; you sow a mile wide and an inch deep. Maybe it’s further down the road when it gets more eventful, like when you sit down on the couch with teenagers and talk about their hopes and dreams. Hmmm. Maybe that’s it.

But for now, when my husband comes home, I always get a little irked when he asks me after a kiss and smile, “So what did you guys do all day?”

What did I do all day? Hmmm. I must have done something. I look like I’ve been through a war zone. What DID I do?  Let’s think. Oh, Ty had a massive blowout. We all had to take baths and poop went all over the rug. So there’s that. What else…? We made a fort with pillows. That took awhile. Oh, I ran the dishwasher! We all got our teeth brushed! And…hey, I knew there was something! I made dinner! Yes! That was the big event!

And by the time I have answered, I am feeling in addition to exhausted and my legs hurting – (side note -why am I always so sore but never look toned like Kelly Ripa???? Mystery!) – anyway, in addition to being tired, I now feel like a completely ridiculous and a pathetic person who is exhausted from doing nothing.

But you know what? I had a thought today. I can tell you when I had this thought. I don’t have thoughts very often. I was picking up individual rice grains off of the floor. Sam was poking me with his fork. Sam was poking Ty with his fork. I was just about to threaten Sam discipline with love for the nineteenth millionth time that he was going to get spanked if he hurt Ty. And  I thought about how it had just been a very long day of lots of little tiny things, over and over. Dishes, over and over. Wiping things off over and over. Praying for wisdom and repenting for anger. Over and over. Then this verse came to mind.

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10).

I’m not one to tell you God spoke to me and gave me a word of encouragement. But God spoke to me and gave me a word of encouragement today. I think my little nothings are noticed. This is both encouraging and scary. Because to be honest – on top of getting “nothing” done, I lost my temper, and was lazy, and missed opportunities. But also encouraged, because Jesus I bet Jesus had a lot of little jobs to do, too. I bet he did them well. And I bet that meant something. So there is our encouragement! And you can just apply this to whatever that secret annoyance of your job is! (But it isn’t anywhere near as annoying as mine! 😉 )