More than just a mommy

I am thankful for infertility in so many ways. It was the first really bad thing to ever happen to me. It helped me understand this sinful world and my loving God, and how those two somehow work together in an amazing way. Motherhood was my biggest dream. My ultimate ambition...fall in love, get married, stay happily married forever, and raise children in a Godly home.

As I realized that motherhood, for me, was not going to come quickly and may never come, I crumbled. Everything I had ever hoped for was wrapped up in the idea that I would be a mother...everything. After years of wrestling through all of this with God, I came away a different person...a better person. I still wanted and hoped for the family I had long desired, but I also wanted and hoped to be and do whatever He wanted. Somehow through all of the tears and anger and searching scripture and crying out for justice, I realized my own sin. I realized what I expected of God was for Him to fix my problems, instead of fixing me. I was the one who needed fixing, still do.

I am a mother now, by the grace of God. We have adopted 3 precious children. And now I see how infertility's legacy of blessing in my life is trickling down to my own children. Had I not learned everything I have learned, I would have probably put my children before my God. I would have felt worthwhile and lifted up because of my role as mother and not because of who I am in the Lord. I think this is a trap that a lot of mothers fall into unaware. We, as women, are so insecure. So many women are searching for significance in the wrong things. Motherhood, especially in the church, is the most exalted role a woman can have. I think so many womem use this role to give them significance, when what they don't realize is that they were significant long before they were ever blessed with children.

Let's not think that we are special just because we are mothers! This role is just one of the ways the Lord is choosing to use us in the world. And our daughters need to know that they are significant because of God and not because of any role or title they are blessed with. I am first a child of God, then a wife, and then a mother.

I know now that I am more than just a mommy.


Seeking Discipline

It seems that one major thing the Lord has been throwing in my face this entire year is SELF-CONTROL. Basically, I am a mess...still recovering from about 17 months of ridiculous life-change. I am positive that any of you new moms, new married's, or new anything's understand. After major change enters, there is a fall out somewhere.

I have heard the words 'self-control' from my children who learned the fruits of the spirit last summer, from several sermons at my church and sermons on the radio, and just in random conversation with other believers. I actually use this word all the time with my own kids...what kind of teacher am I? Practice what you preach, Amanda! I have known for a long time that I needed to address this particular area of my life, but just plain did not have the guts.

I used to shy away from spiritual discipline...always been a bit of a Mary, instead of a Martha. I preferred my interactions with God to be always completely organic. I felt that if I made it so scheduled or orthodox that it would not be as intense or amazing. But now, I recognize the beauty in discipline, especially spiritual discipline. The intensity and amazement in our relationship with God has nothing to do with how we come before him and when, but it has everything to do with why we come before him. As my passion for Christ has grown, my ability to have a regimented time with Him has also grown. My knowledge has increased and in turn my desire to spend time with Him has increased. The more we learn of this God we serve, the more we are inclined to pursue Him. As everything else in my life has grown more regimented, so has my time with God.

From Mary to Martha in so many ways. I love Mary. She is super cool...completely free-spirited, loves Jesus, always in the moment. But if we were all Mary's who is going to make dinner, you know. I think Jesus rebuked Martha, not because of the choice she made to serve instead of sit, but because of her resentful attitude toward Mary. Yes, serve. You gotta get dinner ready, but keep your eyes focused on Jesus, not on your neighbor, not on your sister, not on your husband...ouch! Hope that last one pierced you as much as it pierced me.

It takes discipline and self-control for me to serve constantly. Especially when my tendency is to sit in silence and relish the beauty of God in quiet contemplation. I am so not knocking the silent relishing at great and amazing. In fact some people may need to use self-control to sit silently relishing God. For me, that comes naturally. I have spent 17 months trying to be a Mary who is also the mother I want to be. I actually know amazing mothers who are Mary's. I, sadly, am not one of them. I think I will need to fall somewhere in between the two in order to fill this role of motherhood the way I want to. Is this yet another thing that I need to find balance in? Can't I live a happy life of extremes?!

Anyways, back to self-control. I am deciding that this year, 'Year 29' for me (I am turning 29 at the end of March) will be marked by an all-out effort to practice self-control. This will entail spiritual as well as physical discipline.

Areas requiring an extra measure of discipline:

drinking (cokes, not alcohol...come on people!)
writing again
reading the good book daily
prayer every day, and at least 1 especially long prayer time per week
holding my tongue...particularly when it comes to my kids
taming the temper...particularly when it comes to my kids
doing the laundry and actually folding and putting it away in the same day

Please don't be a critic of how horribly legalistic this whole thing seems...seems. See, I need discipline in this way. You may not. You may be a great task person. You may need a different kind of discipline. I know that none of this alone will get me closer to God. I am not trying to win favor from God. I already have favor. I genuinely desire more discipline in my life because I want to honor Him with my life, every aspect and every detail.

Of course, some of these things are significantly more important than others. I am completely aware of that. I am also completley aware that I will crash and burn a lot this year. But I am, right here and now, before all of you...or maybe just before Tracey Shellum (the only one still reading) commiting 'Year 29' to the use and incorporation of Self-Control!

Let the games begin! Oh yeah, the Olympics are on right now...the spirit of the Olympics has even permeated my writing.