I wait for bedtime for so many reasons.
To rest, sit down, to breathe but most importantly to meet with Jesus and reflect, refresh and restore my soul.
Sweatpants and honesty required.
Come sit with me momma.

July 2, 2015

I'm So Jealous of My Husband Over Here

Can you see me?
Can you hear me?
I'm over here.
Ya know, the greasy haired mom in sweats who hasn't showered today. The one one with baby puke on both shoulders, leaky boobs and chipped toenails. The one who hasn't left the house in two days and is laying in a pile of clean laundry on the bed. 
I'm over here.
Can you hear me through the cries and whines of all these babies?
I'm the one sitting on the couch with one crusty eye open as my husband whisks by freshly showered. He leaves the house alone and drives to work in peace and quiet. He reads books and talks to grown ups and has lunch meetings at Chipotle. He goes to the gym and takes care of himself. He makes lists and crosses things off as he gets stuff done. He drives home and maybe listens to Andy Mineo and sings along with the windows down. When he walks in the door all the children think the rock star of the universe has just arrived and they all wrestle and laugh and have a great time. 

I'm over here.

Sitting on the couch where you left me. Sitting down for the first time since you left.
I haven't showered in two days or left the house. I haven't spoken to a grown up today and have refereed 28 brother fights, changed 5 diapers, 3 onesies, and picked up all the toys twice. I have made/cleaned up breakfast, lunch and two snacks all while pleading for them to eat something healthy and nursing a baby. Dinner is in the oven. I have not even looked in the mirror today let alone pee but once. I have crossed things off my list only to have them undone again. The only music I have heard is Rescue Bots (roll to the rescue) and that curious monkeys non talking voice. I was headed to church tomorrow but a kid is sick so I will be home again all day. When I arrive home from the grocery store, no one notices but just asks for a cookie. Oh, and did I mention I barely sleep while my husband snores?

Can you hear me, oh glamorous rock star pastor husband of mine?

I'm jealous. I'm all kinds of jealous.

I feel like I sacrifice more than you.
I feel like I have more responsibilities than you.
I feel like they like you more than me.
I feel like I give and give and give until I am on empty and then you want a piece of me too.
I feel like you have freedom and I have none.
I feel like you get to be yourself and dream and achieve.
I feel like I am lost in this mothering role while you are out "partying."
There you have it. Honesty. 

So where do I go from here? What do I do with this jealousy?
Well, I started this post in the midst of the maternity leave jungle. When the adjustment to a new baby and self sacrifice was at an all time high. Now, four months post partum after experiencing this jealousy after each of my three births, I have gained some perspective. Some. I've prayed and prayed about this- trying to kick it out of my life. I don't like the feeling it gives me toward the man I deeply love, cherish and who gives so much.

Here is what I feel like God is whispering to me about all of this:

I see you over there.
I hear you.
I see you with that look in your eye, you feel unseen and on the edge.
I hear you with that tone in your voice, you feel unheard and alone.
I'm here.

Why is mothering so hard?

I just want you to be like me.
Relax daughter. This jealousy is rotting your bones and stealing your joy.

Motherhood is sanctification. A holy refining process. Growing. What if this painful giving of ourselves over and over is, in the end, a true gift? With each boo boo we kiss, each freedom we long for, each diaper we change we become more like Jesus. A gift. We grow. Our soul grows deeper and wider, our hearts softer, our laughs more genuine. He gives us His eyes for our kids and the world. Jesus says in losing our life we find it. I can honestly say, five years in, motherhood has shaped me and grown me into a more patient person with wider, more resilient eyes. It has also exposed my selfishness, my impatience, and my lack of self control. Sanctification.

This jealousy we feel towards our husbands, it is rotting our bones friend. Rotting our marriages, our passion, our motherhood. Real slow like. Are the scales of responsibility all fair? No, not really. Our husbands sacrifice too. They give and love and have servants hearts when they are home.  I don't know if I'll ever understand why mothering seems more dig down deep difficult and heavy laden, but God knows this sanctification draws us closer to Him so we can raise kids more like Him. 

You see, all this angst and jealousy has nothing to do with your sweet husband. Sorry. It is you and me resisting this sanctification. Fighting it. We want him to go through it, not us. So we are gonna make sure he feels it too. It is too hard and too painful and I don't like it. I am mad about it. This giving up of myself.  I want my life back, my freedom back like him. It is you and me misdirecting our angst to our husbands. It is not him. Maybe, just maybe if we give in to this holy sanctification, we can experience deep joy again. We can end some of this jealousy. No promises of ease in mothering. No promises of no more jealousy. Only promises of becoming better, stronger, wiser, more filled with love and all things good. I thought I wanted my self back- but I really don't want my old self. I want the more patient, less selfish girl I have become over the past few years.

Practically speaking, our husbands ought to ask how they can help us in our day. We ought to trade places with our husbands once in a while to each gain perspective. We ought to date each other. We ought to look for good in our role like Daniel Tiger says, "if something seems bad, turn it around and find something good." The good, the good is your are growing sister. The good is you get to be your kids soft place to fall. Their confidant. You cannot be replaced as their momma. The good is, you have a sweet husband on your team. So as painful and jealousy inducing it may be, let the sanctification happen. Relax. Enjoy the small moments and let Jesus be the vitamin D for your bones- growing you and strengthening you into more, into better. There, as you lose your old, jealous life, you will find your new one.

Honestly with love,

PS- Husbands-- I hope you read this, feel heartfelt compassion for your wife's servants heart and act in service to her in any way you possibly can.  :)

I know this is a long post, but would you just take 5 more minutes and read what the message says about sacrifice, transforming our thoughts, and loving deeply? Think about this motherhood thing as you read:

Romans 12

June 19, 2015

His Eyes: A Father's Day Post

There will be 23,347 blog posts today about dads.
Great dads, mediocre ones, single moms, absent dads, alcoholic dads, workaholic ones and so on.
You may read one or two if you feel the title is intriguing.
You will get all the feels for fatherhood. Good or bad.
For your husband. For your dad.
For the role itself and it's immense responsibility.

I have a really great dad. He is an even better Pappy to my boys.
I have a brilliant father to my children. Truly, he is a better parent than me.

When I wanted to get pregnant when we were first married, Paul was scared and unready.  Through the draining infertility treatments and difficult twin pregnancy he was the steady. But you know what? He felt it too. 

The disappointment in the negative pregnancy tests.
The deep sorrow of sticking needles in my belly and seeing me cry on the couch.
The bright, joyful elation of the positive pregnancy test.

Dads feel it too moms. They do. The same stuff we do.  I could see in his eyes. I still can.
They may not use as many words or big emotions. It's there. In those eyes. Look.

When he held each of our four tiny babes in his hands for the very first time.
When he looked in my eyes as he showed them to me behind the c-section drape.
I could see it in his eyes.

When he snuggles a fuzzy headed, freshly bathed baby on his big chest.
When he reaches out his hands to talk to the baby about her day.
I see it.

When he rocks her to sleep so I can rest after nursing all night.
When he plays Legos on the floor.
When he takes his boys out to ride bikes.
When he gently reads them The Storybook Bible.
That look in his eyes, it says:

My cup overflows.
Joy. Love. Amazement.
I'm a dad. 
I'm a dad.

I can see the love of Jesus is those eyes. I can see that love being poured out onto my children. Covering them. Like a soothing balm. Sometimes with words, sometimes with actions, sometimes just by being present. Being a Father is a gift to him. A heavy responsibility, but a gift. He feels God fathering him within fatherhood and he pours that out into our kids. 

Granted, he has taught them to fart on each other and be too rough and does not hold the same safety standards I do, but he is still a gift to us. To see him parent teaches me. I do the same for him I am sure. No one teaches you how to parent. You do what was modeled to you, adjust as you go, and pray for the best. We mess up. Our kids are far, far from perfect. We get mad. They get wild. They are dirty. We are a family of sinners. On days like Father's Day we just take a step back to look at the big picture of this parenting, fathering, mothering whirlwind and celebrate. Remembering the joys and loves and reasons we keep pushing and loving for our kids. Reasons we become better. Through the heartache, the fatherlessness for some, the brokenness for some. Through it all- He reaches out His hands, asks us about our day and He fathers us. 

That love in our eyes, in our hearts, it is directly from Jesus, our Father. He wants us to remember how much He loves us and He shows us through how we love on our kids. I can see it in my husbands eyes. He can in mine too, I hope. Look for it today. Remember where it comes from. Foster it, stir it up and drink it in. Let Jesus be a soothing balm to your soul today wherever your heart is at with this whole Father's Day thing. Your Abba Father is holding you a little closer today. Just look in His eyes. 

Honestly with love,
Rachel xoxo 

June 11, 2015

Stop Growing Karis

Nursing Mama
Sweet Karis

Sunset Snuggles

Big girl KK

My girl. She is growing just too, too quickly.
This last babe has a way about her that just makes me feel like her tiny newborn baby status has just slipped away between my fingers. Never before have I wanted it to go so slowly. Knowing she is my last bitty baby to snuggle makes it oh so bittersweet. With the twins and Ethan I was on survival mode.
I still sort of am but in a bit more of an experienced sort of way.
I have never nursed a babe so long or so sweetly.
I have never had a baby girl whose eyes just light up when they look into mine.
I have never felt so full of sweet love than I do with these four small souls.
Just a short and sweet post marking the night my last baby moved into a crib. In our room of course but still.
Goodbye newborn stage.

Honestly with love,

June 9, 2015

The Idyllic Summer Break: When Frustration is Bubbling Up

We've all been there, haven't we? 
It's the first day of summer break and you have all the kids.
You think, "I'm gonna make this the best summer for them!" You dream of sprinkler runs, fireflys being caught, time in the tree house, beach trips and picnic lunches. You will be smiling, resting in an adirondack chair while they play and the summer breeze blows. Ah so idyllic

Day one starts. 
It's 7:23 am and you have already broken up a brother fight. It's cool, it's cool. I'm shaking it off. You start out the day determined to stay in control. To stay connected to them. To not yell.
The morning keeps going okay. They spilled Cheerios all over the floor. They fought over a toy, again.  You think, "it's fine, I can handle this." 
It escalates
They fight again. Someone refuses to pick up a mess. You can feel the patience draining from your very being. Flushing out. You are filling up with frustration. You are wearing down. Moment by annoying moment. You keep trying to maintain control.  Trying to shake it off. Trying to redirect them to positive behavior. 
Then someone pees their pants and the baby is crying. The straw that breaks the camels back, right? The bubbling anger begins. Then, then each movement they make that is wrong gets an eye roll or "no." You start bubbling over.
You yell. You put in time out when it really may not deserve it. You are unhappy. They misbehave. It gets worse.
Your idyllic summer is NOT going as planned and it's only day one. 
You were trying so, so very hard today to keep it together. To stay happy. To stay calm and in control. 

Days here with four kids ages 5,5,3 and a 3 month old seem to drag on days like this and 5:20 when my husband gets home cannot seem to come fast enough. I need to breath. I need to get something done. I'm bubbling over. 

I don't want my days to be like this. I don't want my kids to see me like this. I don't want my husband to come home to this. So what's the solution?

Give up. 
Give up that idyllic summer. The idyllic, perfect looking home. The idyllic mom.
Give it stinkin' up.

Settle for "good enough."

Then, run to Jesus. Run to Him when you can feel that bubbling begin. Run fast.
Your kids, your husband, your soul exist to love. When you and me run to Jesus when the temperature rises, He promises to be our perfect peace. Our calming Savior. Our joy. Breathe Him in.

That perfect, idyllic summer will have a few memories for your kids but what will really, truly stick with them is how they were loved. You love well. You were made to love. Made to love these kids specifically. That's it. That's it. Show them. Make it the idyllic summer of LOVE. The rest will flow and fun will ensue. 

The fighting, the spills, the toy mess, the inability to be quiet. Yeah- I get it. It's annoying. But it's life. It's life being lived and how we react to it,how we love them through it, grows them and us. Give up your perfect plans. 
Your kids are tiny sinners. You are a big one. 
Stuffs gonna happen. So when it does- show them love, show them Jesus, pray with them, pray while they play. Keep Jesus as your play date partner. All day e'ryday. 

Here is what Collosians 3:14 says, "But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection."

So you want that idyllic, perfect summer for your kids? Put on love. Above everything else. 

Honestly with love,