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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Like Cats and Dogs...

I was sharing last night with a friend about my aversion to "mom" blogs, which stems from how I often feel lousy and ill-equiped as a mother after reading them. One blog might feature a million and one photos of the perfect family, the compliant kids, the homemade bread they made together with tender loving care. Another blogger might focus on the ways her family does ministry, feeding the homeless and traveling abroad and having the "perfect," meaningful, calm time of family worship every evening. 

These are amazing blogs, and their authors amazing women.

But sometimes, oftentimes, I need a dose of reality. Not THEIR reality, but something that is closer to mine. I need to feel like I am not alone, like other women are dealing with a messy, chaotic life. I need to commune with women who are battling on a daily basis to keep Jesus front-and-center while often wanting to pull their hair out, throw in the proverbial towel, and curl up in fetal position in the dark.

I need to know that I am not the only one whose children are fighting like cats and dogs.

Lately, at my house, my children have been at each other. Like, AT EACH OTHER. It doesn't matter what is happening; they seem to have no problem finding something to argue about. 

"But MOM, he wouldn't stop saying "dagummit" to me!" (Emerson, after having thrown a tractor toy at Sutton's head, successfully hitting her intended target)
"But MOM, he wouldn't give me the train he was playing with!" (Sutton, after having bitten Foster, nearly breaking the skin)
"But MOM, he said that I was dead now, and I can't be alive again!" (Emerson, while very much alive, after having slapped her brother in the face)
"But MOM, she kept telling me to look at her drawing and I didn't want to and she kept saying 'look, look, look!'" (Sutton, after having ripped up Emerson's latest piece of art) 

Oh. My. Gosh.

This is all day, every day at my house right now. Peace is a rare commodity. Dissension is brewing, and it literally takes every ounce of energy that I have, most every day, to battle the enemy and his plans to break my family down. I pray. I counsel. I counsel again. I remind my children how Jesus would handle each situation. And I pray some more.

There is no bread baking. There is not family photo time. There is no trip to feed the hungry. I am too busy trying to keep my children from annihilating each other, trying to inject God's truth into my often-unaffected kids.

This is reality. Or, at least, it's my reality. And so I just can't do "perfect" moms at this stage of the parenting game. I can't be made to feel inadequate or less spiritual right now, because I then become too self-focused and distracted from what is happening in my home, right under my nose.

I am a mom who lives most days in the trenches.

Maybe you are too.

Maybe today you just need to be reminded that you're not alone. You're really not. Motherhood is full of ups and downs, and the stark reality is that our job is to raise up little sinners to love and know Jesus, and to love the world for the sake of Jesus. 

Jesus and sin are like oil and water - they just don't mix. Because of this tension, it will always, ALWAYS be hard to avoid life in the trenches. In fact, we are guaranteed trials until the day we are perfected and meet Jesus face to face:

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I [JESUS] have overcome the world." -- John 16:33

When we're weary, when we feel inadequate in light of all of the"Pinterest Moms" that appear to have everything together, we need to remember that even their lives are not perfect, and that we are promised a life that includes trouble. This is not to discount what wonderful mothers they might be, but us moms are on a level playing field, each of us dealing with our own junk and our own imperfect children and our own imperfections. 

I pray that, as I write, I will never convey a perfect, dreamy, unrealistic life, but instead that I always share in transparency the reality of my story so that you, my dear reader, are encouraged and reminded that you are not alone in the trenches. Because you're not. And we women have to stick together if we are going to fight for our families and fight a very real enemy who wants to destroy the family unit. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus already came and paid the price for you, for me, and for our families to have LIFE, and have it to the full. 

When we can't see that fullness of life in our homes, Lord, give us the faith to trust you for it, and to press on in the hope of the work you are doing. You are faithful.

In the meantime, let's turn off our computers for a while and remember who the LORD says we are, not who we think we are in light of the Martha-Stewart mommies out there. Can I get an AMEN?!

Feel free to laugh!