Showing posts with label 7 Days of Hope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 7 Days of Hope. Show all posts

June 18, 2012

7 Days of Hope- Day 7: When Life Hurts Too Much


I experienced loss at an early age. 

I met her on my first day of school in the fourth grade. Her name was Susan and she glowed. I noticed that she had no hair, but what I saw even more was her smile that lit up the room. And her heart....the one she shared openly and lovingly with others. I later learned that hers was a heart filled with the Holy Spirit.

I sat beside her on that first day and we were best friends from that moment on.

Throughout our three year friendship, she continued to battle cancer....never letting it steal the best parts of her, though. Looking back, even though she was only ten when we first met, she had such a strong faith in her Jesus. She introduced me to Him in a way that I had never known and that is where my faith journey really began.

At the end of her life, at the age of only thirteen, she never doubted God, was never bitter or asked "why me?" I'm sure she had private conversations with her parents and her Heavenly Father about her illness and I know that she was so very tired at the end of her life...but she still shined. That light that always surrounded her never dimmed. Not once. I think of Susan often and thank God for her in my life. I lost her, but she helped me find the One who would lift me up and comfort me when I lost my sweet friend.

This is the same One who was there for me when my spirit has felt crushed under the weight of disappointment, when I've lost other friends to illness or by their own hands, when those I love have lost that precious life growing inside of them and they are mourning. I mourn with them too. He comforted me when I lost my Grandpa and then my other Grandpa. And He loved me through the very painful process of watching my sweet Grandma come to the end of her own life this last year. God is the One who has sustained me during times of utter difficulty and stress. And He is the same God who helps me in the day to day hurts that feel trivial and huge all at the same time.

The loss of dreams. The loss of expectations. Life taking turns you never saw coming....God does see it all. He sees where we are and the pain that overwhelms our weary hearts and souls. And He wants us to give it all to Him. I love that when I don't have a clue what to pray for or even how to pray, He intercedes for me.
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." -Romans 8:26
I often feel like I am facing a fiery furnace, much like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they faced imminent death because of their faith in God, the One True God. Every day we are faced with a fiery trial of some kind. But, our trials aren't actual blazing fires and yet, these three young men had enough faith to believe that their God would save them and even if He didn't, they trusted Him and would not bow down to a false God. The king was threatening their lives, and still, they would not betray their One and Only True King.

I want that kind of faith. I need that kind of faith. The kind that trusts that what ever God's plan is for me, for my sons, is best. Instead, I waver like Peter did when Jesus commanded him to get out of the boat in Matthew 14.
"Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” -Matthew 14:22-33
Do you look around and see all the hurt, the loss, the constant struggles, the weariness in your soul and begin to sink? Do you doubt that God can change your heart, or your son's. Or do you set your eyes on Jesus? All too often I am focused on my wonder Hope alludes me. I'm so thankful for a God that would reach down and save me anyway...even when my faith is weak.We can still focus on Jesus in all our weariness and find the Hope that He promises.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. -1 Peter 1:3-5
Our circumstances do matter to God, but our hearts are what He's after. We can know that no matter how hard this life is or how much it hurts, Hope is real because of what Jesus did on the cross for you and me.

Questions For Today
  • Have you experienced hard times in the past? Share some of the hard things you've been through lately...your hurts, losses or disapointments. 
  • Have you ever experienced a time when you questioned everything you knew to be true about God? Share that experience. 
  • Have you decided that Jesus holds the words of eternal life? What does that mean when life doesn't go the way you want it to go?

Dear Moms,

This week has been such an encouragement to me. I can truly say I am filled with more hope now than I was one week ago. I really hope this series has blessed and strengthened your faith as it has mine. Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker  wrote a book together....two weary mamas, one with boys, one with girls, both in need of some hope. Their weariness was turned for good. God used them in such an incredible way as to bless thousands of women finding themselves in exactly the same place. Thank you, Brooke and Stacey, for sharing your stories, your honesty and your lives with all of us.

We do need to know we are not alone. Our great big God is with us and for us always. He will never leave or forsake us. But God also created us to love others, spur one another on and to stand with each other. There's validation in knowing that other moms are also struggling with the same things we struggle with day in and day out. We are moms of influence in our sons' lives. It's how God created us. These struggles we face, the hurts and all the's not wasted.

There is hope, if we look to Jesus first. Then everything else in our lives will be colored by our faith in the One who whispers to our hearts..."You've got this...sweet one. I'm right here holding you up and won't ever let you go."
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit".-Romans 15:13
I would love for us to continue on in our discussions for as long as you'd like to. So, if you have suggestions for how we can continue encouraging one another or would like to share your heart here, please feel free to. Praying that this has been a great hope-filled week for all of you.


If you've missed any of our series so far, here are the links:
Day 1: "When the Gentle Words Won't Come"
Day 2: "When you Don't Measure Up"
Day 3: "Beer & Cigarettes?"   
Day 4: "Why you Can't Live at the Spa" 
Day 5: "When you Just Want to Give Up"
Day 6: "Sometimes it Takes an Altar" 

June 17, 2012

7 Days of Hope- Day 6: Sometimes it takes an altar

We're on Day 6 of our HOPE filled week. I am praying that God is speaking His sweet Truth to your heart in a fresh way this week. Have you noticed that when you spend time in His Word, pouring out to Him and admitting your weaknesses...He is faithful to fill you up?
"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your will." -Psalm 119:28

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." -Romans 10:17
There are many days when I feel like I'm just floating through, just barely able to keep up with these four sons of mine. I often think...if someone had a hidden camera somewhere, then they might just possibly begin to understand the flurry of activity that is our day. Then they would see how "spirited"  they are, one especially, okay two. They would see the way they question me, the constant demands for more of me, the amount of time it takes to gather them all together just to begin a new activity or get out of the house.They would see the constant mess and the things left undone.

Oh, how I love them so. They challenge me on every level. They can bring out the very best in me and often the very worst in me. As I think about this last statement, I am also brought to my spiritual knees as I am reminded that this is exactly what God wants of worst, poured out to Him so that He can use it for good. If I hold on to the worst parts of me, it will only serve to poison my spirit.

A friend of mine, who helps keep me accountable in so many ways, challenged me to something last year when I was really struggling to find Peace in my day. Our boys were 1, 3, 5 and 7...that alone was exhausting. Add on top of that our baby who wouldn't sleep for more than 30-40 minutes at a time, and I was beyond exhausted. I felt as if I was in a cloud all the time, never able to form a whole thought and feeling as though I was failing in every area of my life. The enemy capitalized on this and my friend helped me to see that it was definite spiritual warfare I was dealing with. I would try to read my bible, to gain some small glimpse of hope and comfort....nothing. Even my desperate and pleading prayers felt as though they were falling flat.

This is when she challenged me to get down on my knees, physically down on my knees....even lower if I could, and pray. At the time, I didn't know what difference that would make, but I loved God and agreed. I was desperate and weary....ready for a positive change.

Later that same day, I waited for a quiet moment (not easy to find) and retreated to my room, closed the door and got down on my knees. Already, I could feel something different...reverence, humility. I brought my tired self all the way down to the floor and began to pray. And as I poured out my pleas for God's help, He began to lovingly fill my heart with Scripture that I had read before...nothing I had memorized, but I knew it was the Holy Spirit bringing these words, His own Word to my mind. And as I began to speak them back to God, I could feel His strength building within me. I could feel His power and my confidence in Jesus, returning as I literally prayed His Word back to Him...Holy Spirit heart language.

He was showing me that even during all those time when I sat down to read His Word and nothing really jumped out at me, that it wasn't wasted. It was God's way of preparing me, hiding His Word in my heart, for when I was ready to truly seek Him.

His Grace and Love had been there all along. I just wasn't in a very thankful or humble place to hear or see Him. But once I did, I began to see things in a different light. All the ways that I felt I was failing, I really wasn't. The things I saw as left undone...just a weary mom not able to get to it all. The spirited boys and the ones with the constant questions and "leadership" qualities....God made them that way....and I am so thankful.

That day, as I took a humble posture before my God, I began to realize just how filled with my own pride, lack of trust and even my prayerlessness, I truly was. Sure, I had thrown up a desperate prayer here and there, and God does hear every single one of those....but I had not humbled myself, nor was I truly abiding in Him.

Often, we want something more tangible to hang on to...even studying the Bible, going to church or fellowship with a friend can feel more "substantial" than prayer. All of these things are good, but it's prayer that enables us to have deeper understanding and power to live and walk out what we learn. When we aren't praying actively and authentically, we are relying on ourselves; weak, flawed, powerless without Jesus and self-centered. 

I want to challenge all of us to find a quiet place (our altar) where we can take a humble posture down on our knees (or lower if you're led) to pray. Praise Him for all He is, is doing, has done and will do. And pour all of yourselves, even your "worst" parts out to the ONE who can redeem it all, the ONE who will fill you to overflowing with the Peace and HOPE you are longing for in whatever season you are in. I need this too. Avoiding it is a sure way for anxiety and despair to creep in.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6-7
Not only do we need powerful prayer lives for our own selves, but we need it for our families...for our sons. They need to know that their mamas are taking it all straight to God, that we are believing Him for His sovereignty over our lives, even the allowances of things that we want to resist or reject. They need to know that we are trusting Him for HIS will in our lives and in theirs.We want our boys to grow up and be mighty warriors for the King, men who trust and have active and honest prayer lives. They need to know we are praying deeply about all things and in all circumstances.

And one more challenge...let's take some time in the next day or two to pray Psalm 86. Read it word for word and personalize it for your own circumstance. I pray that we'll be blessed in doing this. God wants to hear our hearts.

Questions For Today

Have you ever just wanted to walk away? If so, what has kept you from leaving in the past? 

How is your prayer life today?

Think of a special place in your home that could double as an altar. What could you do to make it a special place for you to talk to God. And if "time" is difficult to find, how can you set aside time to go to the altar? 

So thankful for each one of you joining me in this journey, 

7 Days of Hope- Day 5: When you just want to give up

The room was very dark except for the few lights creeping in from behind the shades. The hours moved by ever so slowly and my arms were about to give out from sheer exhaustion. Our four month old precious second born son had just had his first of many cranial surgeries. And although he was doing well, he still hurt...still needed the comfort only his mamma could give. 

I knew this was where I needed to be, where I wanted to be. But in that very early morning, there was a long moment, after 17 straight hours of holding this sweet baby with all of those wires attached and his almost non-stop crying when I too, began to cry. There were tears on and off throughout the night, but these were different. These were sobs accompanied by a voice deep within that finally wanted to give up.

I whispered out loud, "I can't do this anymore."

Physically, I was exhausted. Emotionally, a wreck. Spiritually, my heart ached and the comfort I was desperate for, eluded me. I had never known a weariness like this. I was at the absolute end of myself.

I said it again....this time speaking directly to God. "I am so tired God. I just can't possibly do this for another minute." You see, by this, I didn't mean that I didn't want to take care of and comfort my child. I just didn't know how. The weariness had taken over and I was left with nothing left to give. I knew there was a whole future ahead of me filled with uncertainties and struggles that, in that moment, completely overwhelmed me.

Just then, the twenty third Psalm came into my mind, but I questioned it instead of taking comfort in it. And again, I spoke out loud. "God you say that you're my shepherd, that you'll lead me beside still waters and make me lie down in green pastures. Where is my green pasture?" My voice trailed off in desperate cries of loneliness and anguish over my hurting child and my own hurting heart.

And there, in that dark and lonely place, my God answered me. "You can do this. You are doing this and I am your green pasture."

My green pasture was not wrapped up in a different circumstance or another time and place. I could have my green pasture and find rest even in this moment because Jesus IS my green pasture. He is the still water that can provide peace and comfort in any circumstance. And in my dark hour, in the valley of the shadow of death, my fears were brought out into the light and my heart was immediately filled with hope and peace. Yes, I was still tired, exhausted. But, I knew that where I had given up, God had taken over.

We've all been in this place in some form or another. Moms...exhausted, unable to see past the next moment, no idea how to move forward, fearful of the future, wondering how on this earth you will reach the hearts of your sons. Since that dark hour of mine, there have been others in various forms. Some from other surgeries and others in the form of fear and frustration at not being able to penetrate my sons' hearts. Sometimes their spirits are completely hidden from me and their willful ways face me in a stand-off that I feel I'm losing. Then God reminds me that it's not my job to save them. It's His.

That is where we can find HOPE, Moms. In Him alone. It doesn't matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, we can lie down in green pastures where there is rest, hope and peace because God is our green pasture. That voice that tells us to give up and give walk not the voice we need to listen to. Instead, we must listen to the Voice of the ONE who sits with us in those places where we find ourselves to be not enough and He is whispering...."rest in Me. I Am your green pasture. Find Hope here and rest. I Am enough and will carry you now."

We need to get in to God's boat and keep following Him. 
“On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fisherman had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.’ And when they had done this, they enclosed  a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken.”
~Luke 5:1-9
God will give us what our hearts need when we give up and come to the end of ourselves. He knows exactly what we need and loves us more than we will ever know. He longs for us to let go of the thing that threatens to consume us and instead allow Him to breathe LIFE and HOPE into our weary souls...right in the middle of our circumstances.

Questions For Today

Have you ever felt like Peter did after a night of fishing? Or have you wondered where your green pasture was?

Describe a time when you wanted to give up.

What does "God meeting you in your mess" mean to you? Do you expect God to change your environment or to get in it with you, giving you the tools that you need to make it?

Praying for each one of you today. Let's fellowship with one another here within the comments below. And if you have a post you'd like to link up related to our 7 Days of Hope series....please link up below.

Blessings to you,

 If you've missed any of our series so far, here are the links:
Day 1: "When the Gentle Words Won't Come"
Day 2: "When you Don't Measure Up"
Day 3: "Beer & Cigarettes?"   
Day 4: "Why you Can't Live at the Spa" 

June 16, 2012

7 Days of Hope: Happy Saturday!

Hi ladies,
Happy Saturday to you!!! My post for day 5 of our series "7 Days of Hope for the Weary {BOY} Mom" will be up a little later today. One of our sons had a sleep study at the hospital last night and we have karate belt tests this morning....whew! A little weary this morning. This would be a great day to catch up on any days you've missed and also engage with one another in the comments with other moms. Just look for the comments area at the end of each blog post. Your stories, your hearts and your honesty is what is blessing me the most this week. I am filled with hope and thankfulness as I read all of your sweet comments. We are truly not alone in this journey toward HOPE. 

Looking forward to catching up with you all a little later on today friends. 

June 15, 2012

7 Days of Hope- Day 4: Why You Can't Live at the Spa

I just have to tell you how OVER THE MOON BLESSED by each one of you I am today. Your sweet and heartfelt comments this week have brought tears to my eyes, encouraged me and most of all, showed me how NOT alone I am in this mothering of boys journey. God is so good to reveal Himself in this way through this 7 Days of Hope. I hope that you too, are feeling encouraged and more hope-filled.

If you have not had a chance to read some of the comments from other weary moms like yourself, please please please go back to the first three days and be blessed by one another. "Comments" are at the bottom of each post. And by all means, continue sharing your hearts as you have. I can't express how good this is for all of us to know that we are not alone, that God is so faithful as to provide this opportunity for us to connect with one another.

If you've missed any of our series so far, here are the links:
Day 1: "When the Gentle Words Won't Come"
Day 2: "When you Don't Measure Up"
Day 3: "Beer & Cigarettes?"   

I don't know about you, but life just doesn't ever seem to slow down enough to even think about getting away for a day (or hour) of pampering. As I've dared to dream about this a bit today, I was able to come up with a short list I am calling... 

"It would be nice to..."
  • Have a massage for my aching neck and back. 
  • Get my hair cut after almost a year of neglect.
  • Browse the shelves at a book store...alone. 
  • Sit in a coffee shop, just me, my latte and my bible.
  • Take a walk without a stroller, backpack, bikes, scooters and another bag full of food. Just a walk. 
  • Sleep in til whenever. 
  • Get a pedicure...the kind where they also massage your feet, ankles and legs. 
  • Go shopping for something pretty. dream! Some of us may actually be able to experience a little pampering once in a while and I sincerely hope you can. We all need a break, something for ourselves that takes us away from the weariness once in a while. When I have gotten away the very few times I have, it is worth it and I am always so thankful, but that feeling of easy breathing, completed thoughts and relaxed shoulders does go away.

Ultimately, the one and only thing that will satisfy that desperate need to "have a spa day" our One and Only. Jesus is calling us to Himself. I find myself so consumed with my own thoughts...creating conversations in my mind, replaying situations, dwelling in places I shouldn't, believing the lies that threaten to defeat me and beating myself up for all of it. I know this isn't God's will. And I also know that my boys suffer because of it.

So, what lies are you believing? What's your stronghold? Our enemy's power was disarmed at the cross. He was defeated there.
"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." -Colossians 2:13-15

This is good news for us weary moms because God tells us that Satan doesn't actually have power over us....he just wants to make us think he does. Nothing is bigger or more powerful than our God. I want my stronghold to be God instead of the defeat that I often dwell in. We need to be desperate...but only for one person, Jesus. Our "spa treatment" needs to be a daily filling of Him. Can you imagine what that looks like...parenting and living out of the Holy Spirit overflow? I long for that consistent "filled to the measure" place.

So, how do we  do this? I barely have time to shower or do the laundry....when and how do we find this pampering that our Heavenly Father wants for us to soak up, breathe in and fill up on? Our only hope is to find strength from God, the strength that He is and the strength that He provides in our weaknesses.
"He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;  

 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint."
-Isaiah 40:29-31

Questions For Today

What do you do to relieve stress? 
Do you see God's Word as providing you with comfort? Why or why not? 
How often do you retreat into the comfort of God's Word? 
In the comments below, let's also brainstorm some ways that we can be before God each day. 

Blessings sweet Moms, 

June 14, 2012

Guest Post: 7 Days of Hope

On Day 1 of our 7 Days of Hope, we talked about the times when the gentle words just won't come and what weariness looks like in our lives. In response to our Day 1 discussion, my dear friend, Charlotte Rysavy wrote the following post...and I, for one, was so blessed to read such truth and honesty about her weariness. I wanted to share it with you.

Charlotte and her husband have four sweet sons. They are a military family and homeschool their boys. She  is an amazing mom and a great friend. She also moderates the Homeschooling Boys group over at The Homeschool Lounge. I was honored when she asked me to join her as co-moderator several months ago. I love this role that we share together, there. Charlotte knows BOYS and loves her family very much. I just know some of you will be able to relate to what she has to say. I know I do. Thank you, Charlotte, for sharing your heart so openly and honestly here.

Weariness in our home is meltdowns and screaming…mostly by the boys. The sheer volume is enough to send me to my quiet place where I might get a moment of peace…the "chair" in the bathroom.  I had no idea when I started teaching my sons that Mom is a girl and should be given some privacy that I would treasure those few moments so much.  The boys are amazed at how quickly I can get in and out of a public restroom when it takes so long for me to get out of the bathroom at home!  This week is early mornings out of the house each day to attend VBS for three hours.  Last week was early mornings each day as my youngest mastered the potty and had early just-woke-up potty times.  

The boys and this night owl are drained.  But then, this morning, there was a ray of success…

This morning we scurried out of the house on time for VBS.  I was reveling in the successful morning as I gingerly stepped down the stairs to the car already loaded with my boys getting seat buckled.  I climbed into my seat, buckled, and put the key into the ignition…nothing.  I couldn't even turn it.  The anti-theft ignition lock had been triggered.  I saw the steering wheel cranked as far right as it would go (and now locked itself) and I recalled the many questions about the steering wheel that had cropped up the past couple weeks such as how easily it turned and if turning the wheel was different when the car was off.  I immediately knew what had happened.  

My oldest DS had been sent to the car to retrieve a toy for his 2yo brother the previous afternoon.  It had taken him a long time.  That moment sitting in the car with a key that would not turn and watching the clock tick on "now you're late, now you're late, now you're late…" I felt so many emotions -- all negative.  I asked the question I already knew the answer to:  Did he play with the steering wheel while he was in the car yesterday?  

He answered truthfully and I explained the resulting issue briefly before sitting in silence.  He suggested I check the manual to see how to fix the problem.  The manual, which I keep in the glove box, did have the information we needed.  I was able to start the car.  Then, that smug little boy said, "I bet you didn't even think of checking the manual."  I calmly explained that when something frustrates me, sometimes I just need to sit quietly.  I don't need to solve the problem immediately; I don't need to lash out at the person who caused the problem; I just need to take a moment to put it all in perspective.  The perspective today was that this wasn't done maliciously and I love his curious mind (and his honesty).  The perspective today was that VBS would probably start with lots of singing to give those of us with punctuality issues a chance to arrive so the extra five minutes wouldn't matter.  

The concept of sitting quietly to gain perspective before reacting led to further discussion.  I have told him over and over that he must not react in anger; he must look at the circumstances; consider the heart of the perpetrator and his own heart before reacting, but none of it has ever stuck.  Hopefully, not facing the wrath of Mommy for breaking the don't-touch-the-car-controls rule and destroying the bliss of being on time (for once) will help to change his heart.  I had no gentle words for him in my frustration, but, today, I had no harsh words either.  A stepping stone in the training process for us both.

I thought the ray of success was leaving the house on schedule but the Lord knew otherwise and shined a ray of His Light on a minivan full of eyes and ears watching for my response.  Now if I can hold on to that peace and perspective, I might get these four boys raised yet!

7 Days of Hope- Day 3: Beer and Cigarettes

Moms, today we are on day 3 of our hope-filled week. I pray that you are able to spend time here and especially in God's Word each day as we seek Him for his Supernatural filling.

If you've missed any of our series so far, here are the links: 
Day 1: "When the Gentle Words Won't Come"
Day 2: "When you Don't Measure Up"

I know every mom has been to that place. The one where you just know your face is visibly red because your blood pressure is rising. You're reaching your boiling point! From the inside out you no longer feel in control of yourself and it feels as though you could explode or fall to pieces in a broken mess on the floor. I've been there. I've called my husband home from work, begging for help. And sometime we flee, my boys and I. We just abandon ship and get out of the house for the day, in search of something ELSE.

My boys are unbelievably loud, undeniably curious, incredibly active and rowdy and uncontrollably willful. They fight, they tease and they argue. Oh, and they're MESSY!!! And most any minute of any given day, they all need me at the same time. And often I feel pulled in a million different directions and don't even really feel like I've helped anyone or resolved any conflicts.

We can be so hard on ourselves, can't we?!

Whenever my doctor asks me if I'm getting regular exercise...I tell her this, "If rising in the morning and never sitting for more than a second as I chase my boys, clean the house 57 times a day, prepare 3 meals and a thousand snacks, fix toys, play, teach and play some more, load and unload kids into the car a couple times a day and referee every other considered "exercise", then YES...I"m an Olympic Athlete when it comes to working out. But if you're asking me if I am able to find time to exercise on purpose, then no. I guess not." She smiles and says, "you're getting plenty of exercise." My doctor also happens to have four kids, three of them, boys. She knows. 

I'm really no Olympian. Not at all. But, we are moms who are weary for a reason.

When was the last time you came to the end of your rope? What was the cause? Did you feel like you wanted beer and cigarettes? Or maybe you wanted to drown yourself in an endless supply chocolatey goodness and a place called "somewhere else".

I get tired of the frustrated, defeated and weary places I find myself in. Do you? I believe the enemy tries really hard to rob us of our confidence in make us think that we are nothing! He can't steal it...our confidence in Christ is our right! (Hebrews 10:35-36)

One of my sons asked me recently how being a Christian makes you different. I thought about this and realized that he was looking for something visible, even tangible to grasp ahold of. I told him that our actions and words should look, feel and sound different if we are filled with the Holy Spirit. I told him that when we are believers in Jesus, people will see and experience the nine characteristics of the Spirit in us...Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

I don't want to walk out a faith that is stale and flat in front of my sons.We want our sons to KNOW without a doubt that asking Jesus to live in their hearts forever makes us different, not perfect, but set apart for God and from the world.

I know that each one of us claims our boys as treasures. And for every challenging issue we encounter with each of our sons, there are ten times more reasons to see them as beautiful blessings from God...each with their own amazing God-made qualities.  I adore my boys and want so much for them, but my strongest desire is for them to know their God and know Him early on in their lives. It's all of the daily goings on that make me weary and cause me to trip up. And it's in those moments that my sons have gotten used to their mom stopping everything, asking them to gather round and "Let's pray for God to change our hearts and minds right now, in this moment. Let's ask Him to forgive us for our harsh tones, our unkind spirits and lack of __________."

Questions For Today

Where do you turn for relief when you're at the end of your rope?

God wants us to boast about our weaknesses so His power can be freed up to work in our lives. Share five ways you aren't enough without God.

June 13, 2012

7 Days of Hope: Day 2- When you don't measure up

Today is day 2 of our Hope For the Weary BOY Mom Series. I pray that God is already doing a tender work in your heart this week. I know He is in mine. Brooke and Stacey's ebook is exactly what I need to remind me of God's Truth and my absolute need for Him.

If you are just joining us or find it difficult to post in the comments each day during this week, PLEASE KNOW that you can post anytime. If we're on day 4 and you have something to say about day 2...PLEASE DO! It's okay. We're all weary here and completely understand that it is not always easy to find time to jump online and comment. Don't let the time frame of our series here hold you back.

If you missed our first day of Hope, you can find it HERE: "When the Gentle Words Won't Come"

On to day 2....

I find myself comparing my life, my season and yes, even my faith (or lack of it, at times) to others. Often. Why do we do this? It's never helpful. Always destructive. And completely unproductive. And yet, we still do it.

Sadly, I've even caught myself comparing my boys to other boys.

When I am shopping with my crew of boys and I just know that they can be heard at the other end of the store, I shudder. My 2 year old won't sit nicely in the cart so I take him out and he's literally destroying entire sections of the store while my middle two are fighting and my oldest just wants to hurry up and go home....I panic and look around to see who is watching. Who sees this display of "bad mothering" unfolding before their very eyes?

I see a mom stroll by with her three very patient and quiet children, one of whom is sitting happily in the cart singing sweetly. Why are my boys behaving so badly and hers are, along for the ride. I don't understand. I'm desperate and just know that everyone in the store is looking my way. Of course, this is where my thoughts go....I'm worried that there's some sign hanging above my head that reads..."Step right up folks...Bad Mom Right Here: attempting to get a hold of her boys, but has no clue in the world how to."

Or, I look around my house and am overwhelmed at the incredible sea of dishes overflowing from my sink and spilling onto my counters. The laundry piles are everywhere. One such pile of unfolded clean laundry is so huge and is a fairly permanent fixture of rotating clothing, that my boys have named it Mt. Laundry. Why haven't I gotten a handle on all of this?

Recently, I was talking to another mom who was describing one of her friends in a very kind way as "...A super-woman kind of mom...her house is always clean, her kids are doing great in school, and she even works outside the home and is successful in her career."

Yes, I began entertaining thoughts of what my life looked like compared to what this other mom's life was like. If that is the definition of Super Mom, then I am a miserable failure.

But it's not. And I'm not. And neither are you. YOU are exactly the mom created for the exact sons that you have. I'm quite certain that what others see is not always the whole picture. Every once in a while my house will be clean and my boys' school work, nicely displayed on the walls, the boys are ALL having a good day together...and the doorbell rings. Perfect! Now someone will see how "good" I am. Finally, someone will witness this momentous occasion, where all appears perfect. But, this is just one moment in time, on one day and honestly....there's no perfection here.

Life is messy. And personally, I think it's messier with BOYS! But aren't they amazing? We have to stop comparing our lives, ourselves, to others. That mom in the store, shopping with her kids who are all behaving well....she struggles in some way too. The mom whose house is clean and her kids are excelling in school...she's exhausted and in need of a break. And that sweet mom, going about her day, loving her children, trying to keep up with the endless chores, planning meals, trying to find a moment alone with God, desperate for something to go right in her day....she's weary.

No matter how old our sons are or what season of life we're in with them, we cannot compare ourselves (or our sons) with others.
"When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."  -2 Corinthians 10:12b

Weary moms...our self worth, our confidence, our security, our satisfaction and our HOPE are all found in one the One who created us and loves us more than we can comprehend. If we know Jesus and He lives in our hearts, then our identities are in Him. We are worth a lot to God and that is what matters.

Satan wants more than anything to make us feel less than, not enough and inadequate. He revels in our entertaining ideas of what a "perfect life" looks like. What ever circumstance we are in right now...wherever we are in the thick of raising our sons, we can know that our God is for us. Our strength comes when we recognize our own weaknesses. For me, it's a general feeling of defeat. An "I can't" sort of attitude. When I pour this out to God and come to the end of myself, He is so good to give me grace and an extra helping of overflowing love that always completely transforms and renews my heart and mind.

 "So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10

Questions For Today

Do you have areas of your life where you constantly struggle? Maybe your dishes are piled sky high or your laundry looks like a small mountain. When you look at those visible signs of struggle, what are the first words that pop into your head?

How often do you catch yourself comparing your home, job, income, parenting or strength of faith to someone else?

Looking forward to our fellowship with one another here within the comments today. And if you have a post related to our discussion here, please feel free to link up below.

Praying for each one of you. Let us all find HOPE in Him today.

June 12, 2012

7 Days of Hope- Day 1: When the gentle words won't come

Welcome to our first day of HOPE for the Weary BOY Mom. I'm so glad you're here. 

Does this ever happen to you? You're going about your day and then without much warning, something shifts, there's a very noticeable change in the air....and you know it's coming. Your day is about to take a sudden turn and it looks like it won't be for the better. It actually appears to be a train wreck heading your way and you're panicking because you don't know how to stop it. Or, maybe you woke up on this particular day and you were already in the middle of that train wreck.

I don't often have dreams that I remember with such clarity, but there is one that I had recently that left a very big imprint on my heart...

I'm in my car, peacefully driving, when I happen to glance up in my rear view mirror and see a terrifying sight. There is a tidal wave of vehicles heading my way...they're piling up one on top of the other. The noise is awful. The wreckage it's causing is something I've only seen in movies. My heart is racing. My mind is swirling with fear and panic. And then I realize that I am about to be consumed by this incredible wave of wreckage if I'm not saved right now. 

I stop my car in the middle of the freeway, get out and run for my life. Of course, I'm met with a cement wall. I feel trapped and the way out of this mess alludes me. Where is my out? How am I going to make it through this without losing my life? I'm tired, weary....physically, emotionally and spiritually spent. I'm at the end of myself. 

Suddenly, I'm aware of someone next to me. I can't see him, but he's there...encouraging my weary self to start climbing up. He goes first, and pauses...waiting for me to follow. I do...and I realize that this cement wall that I thought was impossible to climb is actually doable. We climb straight up TOGETHER, all the while he's whispering to me. I can't actually understand these words at the time, but they are a sweet and gentle sound to my heart and soul. 

A few minutes pass and I can see that the road below is unrecognizable. I keep climbing. My friend is with me still. Then, out of nowhere, there's a ledge...a place to rest. Safety from the storm that threatened to overwhelm me. My friend is still with me, this time, holding my hand. I still can't see him physically, but I feel His presence and I know it's Jesus. And this ledge, that is my mercy seat, comforts me. I know it's God, holding me up...providing a place for me to hide. I don't even have to explain a thing to Him because He already knows. 

I awoke from this dream and knew that it was a gift. I'm sure you can all relate to that feeling of not being enough for everyone, not knowing what the right words are, feeling like we're losing this battle to win the hearts of our sons. It's a hopeless and defeating place to be and I find myself there often. And when I'm there, when no one else is around...only me and them, my words can lack the gentleness that my sweet sons need to hear from their mom. When my heart and mind are filled with my own feelings of inadequacy and fear, doubt and independence....the gentle words won't come. They just aren't there.

We need to keep looking up, seeking Him and pouring out. When we are filled with a sense of "lack", the overflow of our hearts is a muddy mess and will only serve to worsen the tidal waves that come at us daily. But when we're filled to overflowing with the love of God, we can love our sons out of the overflow. I think that is when the gentle words will come.

I hope you've all had a chance to read the first chapter in your books today. Moms, we're really NOT enough for these jobs. We don't have everything it takes to change the hearts of our sons, or even our own hearts. We need to release the idea that we can do this all on our own, remember that our enemy is very real and become dependent upon the One who created us...because with God, we are enough and we can be the moms to our sons that we long to be.

Questions For Today

What does being weary look like in your home? Describe the physical as well as the emotional toll weariness takes on you.

Be honest about the state of your heart and life right now. Are you disappointed with the hand you've been dealt? If you're comfortable, share some of your story.

God bless you my friends. I hope that you will all take some time to pray and engage in discussion here today within the comments below. I'll be adding a place to link up your blog posts tomorrow. Praying for you all today.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching."-Hebrews 10:24-25

The whole 7 day series, Hope for the Weary Mom, can be found HERE! 

Linking up with:

Welcome to 7 Days of Hope for the Weary Boy Mom

Hello all you amazing moms of sons! 

Before beginning with our first chapter from the ebook, Hope for the Weary Mom, I just wanted to thank you all for saying yes to God in accepting the challenge to seek Him in this very specific way. Our Father sees our hearts and knows exactly where we are. I can't tell you how thankful and inspired I am that so many of you will be here each day. If you're here, it's no accident.

Also, I just need for you to know that this 7 Days of Hope is just as much for me as it is for all of you. Most days, I struggle to see past the next second. Often, I'm exhausted, worn out and unsure of myself and my abilities to parent these sons of mine. I'm weary. That is why I am so thankful for a God who knows and understands weary. 

But in that moment buried within many other moments of your day, do you wonder...."How am I going to get through this? What next?" and maybe you answer yourself with phrases like, "I can't do this anymore. This isn't working. His heart is so hard. What about my rights? Where is God in all of this? I need a break. My weary heart and soul can't take anymore."

I find myself here in this place, all wrapped up in my own thought life and I need to know that there is HOPE...the kind of HOPE big enough to fill these empty and desperate caverns within. Is your well dry and in need of this kind of hope too?

I pray that this week together will bless us all immeasurably. I'm going to go out on a limb here and just say OUT LOUD that I'm expecting big things from our very big God this week. He can do it!

We'll dig into our first chapter: When the Gentle Words Won't Come, today in a separate post. 

Thankful for each one of you here,

June 10, 2012

7 Days of Hope For the Weary Mom of BOYS...and a winner!

Hi sweet moms of boys,

Just checking in with you all to see how you're doing and let you know how excited I am for our 7 Days of Hope to begin for our weary souls. I can't wait! know I sure could use some Hope, and not just a little bit...but a lot.

If you're reading about this event for the first time....and you're a mom of boys who is weary and in need of some HOPE, we would LOVE for you to join us June 12-18 for 7 Days of Hope for the Weary BOY Mom.  More details here.

I am really hoping and praying that this will be a place where we can come together and be honest, transparent and dare I say, even a little vulnerable about where we're at. This time of fellowship, renewal and encouragement will work best if we are willing to take a step of faith and allow ourselves to share our struggles and hearts. God made us to be in relationship with Him and with one! I'm thinking of this as our own Boy Mom Community Group,  where we can come together and build one another up and hope together.

I hope that you'll think of it this way too.

If you don't have your ebook already, be sure to get it. This book really is so good and filled with so much that I think all of us can relate with. Here is the link to my previous post with all the details about this event and how you can obtain your own copy of the book.

Speaking of the book....Lindsay is our winner of the ebook giveaway. I'm thrilled that this will be going to her as she has FOUR boys and is expecting another baby boy later this year!! Isn't that just amazing? You truly are blessed Lindsay and I am so glad you'll be joining us during this time. (I've left you a comment below)

I can't wait to connect with you all here beginning Tuesday, June 12th. I'll post something for you all on that morning and then we can take the day to meet here when you can to engage in discussion. I can't tell you how thankful I am for each and every one of you who has decided to join us. Please know that I am already praying for you and for God's leading during the entire 7 days. I want more than anything for Him to lead as we seek His face for the Hope that we long for.

Blessings to you friends,

June 5, 2012

7 Days of Hope for the Weary BOY Mom: June 12-18, 2012

Dear fellow boy moms,

I want to welcome you here with open arms as we look forward to a sweet time ahead of us ...a time where moms of boys can come together and connect for 7 Days of Hope...right here, beginning June 12 - June 18.

My name is Megan Spires and I am overjoyed to have the privilege of hosting this event for moms of boys right here on my blog. 7 Days of Hope is based on the ebook, Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, by authors Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker. I can't wait for all of you brave boy moms to join with me in setting our eyes on the One who who created us, who sees where we are, knows the longings of our hearts and our deepest desires to be the moms He created us to be for the sons He so lovingly blessed us with.

Get a copy of your own ebook, Hope For the Weary Mom
You can get it free when you subscribe to the MOB (Mothers of Boys) Society blog, or pay just $.99 for the convenience of having it on your favorite Kindle Reader

One copy of Hope For the Weary Mom ebook to give away
When you let me know in the comments that you are joining us during this event, I'll enter you in our drawing for a free copy of this book. If you also share a bit about yourself  in this same comment, I'll enter your name twice. And if you share this event with other moms via any social media of your choice, and let me know in the same comment...that would make three entries for you. No need to enter three separate comments. We are moms who are limited on time...and weary! Enter by June 9th. The winner will receive their free ebook on June 10th. 

**Giveaway is now closed**
Meet here every day from June 12 - June 18. 
It is my prayer that this will be a place where we can encourage one another as we come together and share our challenges and struggles along with the victories and dreams of our hearts...wherever we're at in our journey of mothering our sons. God sees exactly where we're at....and He wants to meet us right in the middle of our mess. We don't need to clean ourselves up first. Jesus' loving grace is evidence of how much He already loves us. There's nothing we can do to change that! Isn't that great news?!

So, if you're feeling weary, and looking for some light in the darkness...a ray of HOPE to fill your heart...this is the place. I am a mom to four very active and adventurous boys who break my heart and fill me with joy all at the same time, every single day. I am weary. And this mom's heart is in need of God's tenderness and loving care...the kind that only He can give when no one else understands what I need.

Can you relate?

What to expect during 7 Days of Hope
During our event, I'll be posting something everyday relating to each one of the 7 chapters in the Hope for the Weary Mom ebook along with a question for all of us to consider and talk about. If you have the ebook, and would like to write your own posts, (or even if you don't) I encourage you to share your hearts on your blogs and link up here anytime during those 7 days. And I would love for all of us to engage as much as possible in fellowship and discussion within the comments here during this event as well.

I pray that you'll join me and other boy moms right here beginning June 12th for 7 Days of Hope For the Weary Boy Mom. I'd love to know you're joining us. You can do this by letting me know in the comments below or linking your blog up to this post. 

Also, be sure to "follow" this blog, House of the Rising Sons, by email, RSS, Facebook and/or Twitter so you don't miss a thing during our event.

I can't wait to see how God is going to show up and work right in the midst of our mess during these 7 sweet days. Will you meet us here for this event? I am already praying for those of you who will take a leap of faith to join us.

Blessings to each one of you brave and lovely boy moms!

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