Monday, May 24, 2010

Why being a stay at home mom (SAHM) is the hardest thing I've ever done

I've been a SAHM for the last 8 years. While I've held some part time jobs in that time, they were all tailored to being available to kids. It is the hardest thing I've ever done. Here's why:

  • Noise. I really like quiet and kids aren't quiet. Even those few precious moments a day when they are asleep aren't truly quiet. Someone is up and down to go the bathroom. Someone has music playing and I have one that talks in her sleep.

  • Constancy. There are no breaks in the day when you are keeping up with three kids. Someone needs something almost all the time. Usually, all three need something at one time. My three year old can invent trouble in the blink of an eye and requires constant supervision. I would like a scheduled break in the day...30 minutes to eat, or even 5 minutes to go the bathroom all by myself.

  • Immediacy. I am someone who is slow to make a decision. Not always because I am hesitant or fearful but usually because I play everything through in my mind before I decide which way to go. When I decide what to eat for breakfast, it is because I have already planned lunch and dinner in my head. Kids do not allow that luxury. If someone is dangling upside from the fort, 6 feet off the ground, they need correction and help getting down immediately. When someone is strangling someone else with the wii-mote, instant reactions are required.

  • Competing information. There are a lot of people out there who think they know the one way to raise a child. And I've probably read their book. But the truth is that each of my kids is really different and requires a slightly different approach. One child is entirely motivated by a desire to please. Another could care less about pleasing us as long as she has physical affection. We are still trying to figure out what motivates the little one. But the point is all of those theories are really different about how to raise your kids and they often are in opposition to each other.

  • Playing. I'm a really serious person, admittedly too serious. I'm not good at playing. I wasn't even good at playing when I was a kid. Coming up with fun and being fun all the time wear me out. I'd really much rather read a book than play a game. I'd rather work in my garden than draw with sidewalk chalk. I find it exhausting to force myself into play.

  • Significance. I believe that raising my kids is really important. In fact, I believe that it is so important that it brings out my need to be perfect. I want to do it right. I love these kids so deeply that I desperatly want to raise them to be the amazing people that I see in them. While I struggle along, I worry about messing them up or doing something wrong. My perfectionism can be paralyzing at times when I am so afraid of doing the wrong thing that I do nothing at all.

Being a SAHM is certainly the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. It requires skills that I don't possess and strengths that mystify me.

What about you? What is challenging to you about parenting?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Missional Church

For the last 3 years, I have participated in conversation regarding the "Missional" church idea. At it's core, missional church is about engaging the world around the church for the intentional purpose of service. Missional church says that the church can no longer hide behind its walls or bury its head in the proverbial sand.

While I agree wholeheartedly that the church should be about engaging the world, I have long felt like some part of this idea didn't sit well with me. When you are part of a frenzy of new ideas and building momentum, it is hard to stop and name the misgiving. But, after 5 months of being introduced to and encouraged to practice contemplative prayer, those concerns have finally crystallized into words.

We are missing the heart.

Missional church, as I've seen it presented and defended, is all about action. It is motivated by our guilt at having ignored this call of Jesus for so long.

The heart of missional church should be that we have sat and listened to the heart of God and therefore been moved by God's love for the hurting and marginalized of our world. In other words, we have to formed to be like God in order to be motivated to bring God into the hurting people around us.

Too much of the missional conversation is all or nothing. "Your church is only missional if all you do minister to the poor." That sounds like Good Will to me, not the church. "Your church will die in 20 years of less if you don't go missional." Where in scripture do we encounter the idea tha that we are to live and react out of fear? Pendulum swing theology never fully captures the life of Christ being lived out in human beings. Instead, it reveals our deepest fear of fully surrendering the mysterious sovereignty of the One we claim to worship.

The truly missional church has spent time being formed into the image of Christ by being near the heart of God so that they are compelled by love and mercy to reach out to hurting people.

Have faith! God has sustained the church, in spite of it's many failings, for these many years in order to continue the mission of Redemption. I don't anticipate that nature changing any time soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Prayer for Christmas

O Season of Light

Shine down on us

Reminding us of the Source of Light

Warming us with love.

O Season of Light

Shine among us

Reminding us of the Power of Light

Drawing us toward unity.

O Season of Light

Shine from within us

Reminding us of the Intimacy of Light

Driving out our darkness.

O Season of Light

Attract us with beauty

Blind us with tangible love

Engulf us with hope.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Three years ago yesterday, I gave birth to our third child, a boy. He was and still is, precious! Bright, sweet, and empathetic. His favorite thing to do is sing with his daddy and that leaves my heart skipping a beat every Sunday morning. Caysson loves books, computers, and taking things apart. He can't live without his sisters' attention and will injure them to get it! He is a three year old boy and very good at it.

But three years ago yesterday, also began a difficult journey for me. Six weeks after Caysson was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. Any credible physician will tell you that depression isn't caused by a single event but by pressure that builds over years and years to be triggered by an event. While I function every day and love my kids, I am still wrestling with the many pressures that exploded in the turmoil of hormones after giving birth.

I write this today as a declaration that I choose life: full, abundant, joyful life. Choosing life means that I choose to leave poisonous things out and welcome in life-giving activity. It means that I decide every day, many times in a day, this over that.

Choose life!

Monday, September 14, 2009


I do not buy into the whole positive thinking mindset. In fact, I find most of it annoying. I am a realistic kind of person and I don't see how thinking better thoughts about a situation will change it. I think in color and I assign this kind of thinking a garish yellow. You know, the kind of color that burns itself into your eyeballs and gives you a headache.

So, when I was asked to spend some time thinking about hope as a Christian virtue, I really struggled. I couldn't seem to separate hope from positive thinking. I wasn't even sure that hope was a biblical concept, (Okay, now I can remember where that is...Galatians, James and a few other hundred places) and in the moment wasn't sure if hope should be pursued.

Now, I'm a step back from having the idea introduced again and wonder why my hope is so atrophied. Here are just a few quotes that have me thinking about and puzzling over this idea of hope:

"Hope is a positive and potent human faculty that must be distinguished from its dangerous sister, expectation, which steals us from the present and pushes us down the path of disappointment when things don't go our way."

"What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life."

"Everything that is done in the world is done by hope."

What about you? Does hope come easily for you? Or do you fight to be hopeful? What color is hope to you?

Friday, September 11, 2009


This is a day to remember. As a nation, we remember the lives that were lost. As individuals, we remember our involvement in that tragic day.

8 years ago, today, I woke up at 3am with a knot in my stomach. I was 8 weeks pregnant and headed to the doctor to look for a heartbeat at 9am. Just two short months before, I had miscarried at this point. I remember trying to pray but really just putting words to my worry as I laid in bed. I fell back asleep around 5:30am and woke with a start at 7:30. The doctors office was at least a 45 minute drive in Houston rush hour so I started racing around to get ready.

Chad and I were both so nervous that morning. We rushed around to get ready to leave- never turning on a radio or the TV. I tried to swallow some breakfast as we walked to the car. It hit my nervous stomach like a brick. As Chad was pulling out of the driveway, he turned on the radio, hoping to hear a traffic report soon.

Our favorite Christian radio station in Houston was KSBJ. As a song was just beginning, the announcer cut in with news of the first tower being struck in New York City. We looked at each other in shock. We kept listening and heard that an airliner had hit the tower. About the time that news came out, we were driving past Bush International Airport. Traffic would stop as planes came over the highway and resume again when the skies were clear.

When the news broke that the second tower had been hit, I remember telling Chad to pull over because I was going to throw up. Before we reached the doctor's office, the Pentagon was hit as well.

The doctor's office was full of nervous looking people huddled around a radio, as there was no TV in the room. The nurse called us back and prepped me for a sonogram. Outside the room, I could hear the nurses talking about evacuating the medical center for fear of it being hit.

While the news was horrible, it was still surreal. We hadn't seen any of it. We had only heard. Hearing was terrible but not real yet. I was still very focused on the sonogram at hand.

We learned that day that Raemey Joy was on her way into the world. Her tiny little heart beat strong in that sonogram. She was coming! She was growing and alive!

September 11, 2001 was a terrible day in the history of our country. But in my life, it was the day that life began as a mother.

It as a day of hope in the midst of tragedy.

And that is what remembering should be about: hope.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Roads

I'm someone who gets bored easily. Daily routine is nice for about a week and then I am ready for something new. I need menus, workouts, expectations, and schedules to change a lot. Knowing exactly what is going to happen and when it is going to happen leaves me feeling fuzzy headed with totally met expectations.

Now, don't get me wrong: I want to be the one who sees the need for and initiates change. I also want to be in charge of how it happens!

In that light, I have chosen two new paths lately. First, I have begun the awesome task of serving as a leader for our church's women's ministry. This involves the chance to dream with some amazing women about what it would look like to release our women for ministry. I believe that God has great things in store for the women of Highland Oaks.

Secondly, I have started back to school. The plan had always been for me to finish my Mdiv work. But as I looked into it more, I could not get comfortable with the idea. Finally, I turned the whole thing over to prayer and just sat with it for several months.

During that time, God lead me to some amazing books. One of them, "Joining Forces", was a life changing read for more reasons than I will list here. In that book I read the term 'spiritual direction' for the first time and was overwhelmed with the need to know more about. As I researched, the Spirit kept confirming that I was on a God-given path. That research led me to a training program based here in Dallas.

And so, last Saturday I sat through orientation. I turned in the first paper that I had written in years and received a syllabus. And the entire time, I couldn't stop grinning! This is a three year program and the entire first year is about spiritually forming the student by living in the spiritual disciplines as a community. I am so excited to go to class tomorrow!

I hope that you'll indulge me to share some about this journey with you. In the meantime, what new roads are you traveling?