Monday, June 29, 2009

Mom Needs Chocolate

God has been working hard on my heart lately, trying to sand down the rough edges. I hate to admit this, but I am a complainer. Even on occasion, and this is painful to acknowledge, a whiner. When something isn't going the way I want it to go, I'm not afraid to let those around me know it. Then when I hear those words coming back to me from my daughters' mouths, I chew them out, not recognizing until later they are just repeating what they've learned from me. (I'm literally squirming in my seat as I write this)

But in the last week, I've been getting nudges from the Holy Spirit to rethink my discontent. At the beach on Tuesday, it was miserably hot. The sweat was running down my legs, and my soda went from ice-cold to lukewarm in less than 10 minutes. Admittedly, I did not go to the beach for me. I went to make Mia happy and invited the older two kids along for their fun as well. I brought along a lawn chair and book to keep busy, but I couldn't focus on the book, instead I was mentally numbering all of the things wrong with the day: 1. too hot 2. too humid 3. too sunny 4. too buggy 5. too hot, etc. I felt a gentle nudge to my soul saying: Instead of wanting to change it, why not truly allow yourself to be in the moment and feel it?

I closed my eyes and felt the warmth of the sun on my skin and compared to the bitter cold of winter, it felt wonderful. I listened to the sounds of children playing and laughing and splashing. I took a few deep breaths and then was able to lose myself in my book. The kids were actually ready to leave before I was! A few nights later I was suffering from insomnia again. At one am, I made myself stop reading and lay down to try to sleep, but my brain and body were having none of it. I again started my mental list of complaints, but the nudge came again. I took a deep breath and focused on what was around me: the cool breeze from the air conditioner, the warmth of Jesse's skin under my hand, the deep breaths of Mia sleeping on the floor. I started counting my blessings and eventually fell asleep.

I am a planner by nature, and I try to plan the future down to the last minute and second, and if it doesn't match up to my plans, I am discontent and frustrated. Needless to say, I am frustrated a lot. I rarely take the time to just enjoy the moment, worrying too much about the next one and disappointed that it didn't live up to my expectation. God's expectations are so different from my own, and they are obviously so much better than anything I could dream up. My perfect day at the beach, less heat, humidity, and sun, would not make for a very good day of swimming for the close to a hundred people who were there that day.

I guess it's another matter of control. I've talked about my need for it before, and I'm still struggling with it. In each situation, I was upset over the incidentals that I couldn't control. I'm learning to cede control over all of this stuff to God and then worry about the few things I can control. I can't control the weather, but I can place myself in the moment and look for the blessings that God has placed within it for me. This is not going to be an easy task for me, but one that I fight moment by moment. I'll be clinging to Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Mom Needs Chocolate by Debora M. Coty is a fun and sweet book about learning to cope with the challenges of everyday life with a healthy dose of humor and faith. Each of the 60 chapters are just 3-4 pages for quick reading and are followed by a few discussion questions perfect for personal reflection or small group study. Coty has an amazing God given sense of humor, which is wonderful because some of her personal anecdotes will make the reader laugh aloud. From marriage to pregnancy to raising kids, Coty has stories and advice to encourage and inspire readers. Her conversational style of writing makes a reader feel as though she's spending time with a good friend. She's not afraid to show her faux pas and less than Godly treatment of others, but each is used to let readers know they aren't alone. Other moms feel the same, and God is with each and every one of them. This is definitely a book to pass on to a friend when you've finished; she'll thank you for it!