Monday, March 31, 2014

Motherhood: Choosing to Cherish

I am a pretty real person when it comes to what I write. So, I often write about the challenges, the struggles of mommy hood; the things that make this journey so difficult that we as moms have no other choice but to look to God for our strength, for our help, for our joy. But, what about the good stuff. The things about mommy hood that are so beautiful and so amazing they point us directly to our Creator. After all, these things are a very real part of the journey as well.

What about those moments, that make us stop directly in our tracks and give thanks for the good. 
My daughter Riley's 1st birthday
Those moments when you sit awake at 3 am, exhausted, rocking a newborn, only to glance down and see the smile wash over their face and suddenly a smile washes over yours as well….

The times when sweet baby snuggles are like a comfort to your soul, and there is nowhere else you would rather be…

That day when your baby says “momma” for the first time and you remember how joyful this journey can be…

The sound of little giggles that fill your home and at the same time fill your heart…

The first time they roll, and crawl, and stand, and then the highly anticipated very first step when you realize that the little life you are shaping is growing up right before your eyes…

That moment when you see that they actually understand something you have been working to teach them…
You watch as they live out kindness and love to those around them…

That tight squeeze around the neck and “mommy, I love you” whisper that seems to wash away the weight of the world…
My son Jase, starting to stand by himself for the fist time
There is beauty, friends. There is joy. There is something SO amazing about this journey. I cannot help but stop, right in my tracks, in the midst of my busy day, and say,”Lord, thank you.” I am amazed by the presence of the Lord on this journey, as He has allowed me to teach, to love, to raise these beautiful children that are ultimately His. They are His Creation.

Today, I encourage you to look for the moments, the moments that bring joy, the ones that fill your heart and then overflow as a smile upon your face, those motherhood moments that you will cherish forever. And, as you cherish the moments, cherish the Creator who gave them to you. Stand in amazement, not just of your beautiful babies, but of the God who created them in your womb, the one who gave them the ability to say that first word, the health to take that first step.

Live in those moments today, find joy, and give thanks.

Psalm 118:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever.”

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dancing Around the Dirt Pile: A Lesson in Obedience

Today as I hurriedly tried to straighten my home before we had company I grabbed the broom and began to sweep the floor. In our home the majority of the flooring is hardwood, so sweeping with a broom seems to be the best way to go.

As I swept, a pile began to form, mainly composed of dirt that had been tracked in throughout the day, along with the food crumbs and trash my babies have dropped. There is never anything special about the dirt pile. Sure, once in a while my daughter Riley who is 2 will happen upon a small treasure in the pile but overall it’s a pile of dirt and trash. However, as I observed my daughter there was just something about the pile that she could not seem to resist.
This is not a new occurrence. It happens EVERY single time that I sweep the floor. I start out by observing. As the dust pile begins to form, it never fails that miss Riley will begin to get closer and closer. I stop, look her in the eyes, and give the warning that she’s heard a hundred time before, “do NOT step in my dirt pile, UNDERSTAND?” The warning has grown more stern and serious over time. She usually steps away at first, but then it happens. She steps a little closer, and a little closer. Inch by inch she’s making her way nearer to the pile of dirt. Soon, she’s dancing in circles and her circles are now around the pile. Eventually, she can’t help it, she gets TOO close and scatters the pile of dirt all over the floor again.

Sometimes this is an occurrence that takes place multiple times on the same day. I’ll sweep up the mess again, and then slowly but surely she will inch her way closer, gracefully dancing around the dirt pile, getting as close as she can without dipping her tiny toes in the dirt. But, before long, she has done it again, she slipped, she got too close, maybe in the midst of her twirl she fell directly into the pile. And there’s the dirt. AGAIN. Scattered all over the floor.

Obviously, as a parent I have to discipline her for her disobedience and her normal response is “I’m sorry mom, I didn’t mean to- I wasn’t trying to step in the dirt pile.” As I watch her, I understand her response. It is true. She was not trying to actually step in the dirt pile. What she was doing however was trying to get as close as possible to the dirt pile without actually stepping in it.

How often do I do the same thing? Maybe I am not blatantly and purposefully walking in disobedience to my heavenly Father, but I surely am trying to get as close as possible to that pile of sin without stepping in it. And, just as in the story of my little Riley, eventually I too will lose my balance and fall face first into the mess that I was trying to tip toe around.

As I have warned my Riley, my Father has usually given me a warning as well, but there is something about that particular sin that is just calling me….

As it is frustrating for me to watch Riley fall in the dirt over and over again, I’m sure my heavenly Father looks down wishing I would have just listened the first time. It would have saved me from a dirty mess.
But, just as I clean up her mess again, brush off her knees and give her another warning, the Father so graciously does the same to me each time I fall.

The moral of the story- #1 Don’t get so close. If there is a sin in your life that seems to draw you in, keep your distance! Our human nature will always want to get as close as possible, but that will always lead to falling down.
Moral #2- If you’ve already fallen down, don’t worry, the Lord is right there ready to help brush you off, and give you another chance. Thank God for His amazing grace! Now, remind yourself the moral #1 again J.

2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee the evil desires of youth, pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace…”

Monday, March 24, 2014

Motherhood: For Those Days

You know those days? The ones that are too long, come with too little rest, and too much responsibility? The days when your weary heart feels like it can do no more, even in the beauty of motherhood.

Today, I know those days exist. Why is that? Well, my dear friend, I am in the midst of one. One of those days where I have wiped many snotty noses; I have cleaned up toys, and dirt, and baby spit up; I have changed diapers and wiped up spills; I have given medicine, kissed booboos, taken temperatures, and rocked crying babies; I have made bottles, and lunches, and snacks; I have battled a stubborn toddler, and I have held and cuddled with that same toddler as she just needed mom; I have played with play dough, read books, started movies, colored pictures, and anything else that these sweet babies may need.

Today, my friend is one of those days. One of those days that I’m sure you too have experienced if you have ever been a mom or caretaker of littles. As I sit here trying to catch a few minutes to myself, I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t a hot mess today. It’s one of those days where everyone is still in their PJ’s from the night before come bed time. One of those long days. I have not showered, brushed my hair, or my teeth for that matter. My house is not clean and my to do list is not done.

Today is exhausting. It is long. Days like today are just TOO much….

And then, in the midst of my exhausted sigh and short “dear Lord, help me” prayer, I remember. I remember the truth. I remember that this day cannot possibly be too much. This is the day that the Lord has given me. This is the home that the Lord has given me. He has given me these beautiful babies and He has gifted me with the task of nurturing them, teaching them, taking care of them, and yes some days that means wiping poopy butts, and snotty noses. The Lord has given me this day and before it even started He knew what this day would entail. He knew that I would be needed for what feels like every. SINGLE. Moment. of this day. He knew that I would feel tired and worn. He knew that at some point in this day I would feel like a failure, like I haven’t done enough or accomplished enough. My Lord knew that I am weak, that this day might be hard, and that I might even feel like it has been WAY too much. But, He also knew that HE would be my strength to make it through this day. That He could bear my burdens if I would only give them to Him. He has been right here with me, waiting…Just waiting patiently for me to remember the truth: that He is God and I am not; that in my weakness, His power is perfect. And, that above all else, on those days that seem too hard, too long, too much, I can find the rest, the sufficiency, the renewal, the ENOUGH to make it through if I only come before my Savior and rest in His presence.

Thank you Lord for your truth about this day.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Beauty You Need To Hear Today

You. Yes, you, the one quickly scrolling through statuses and newsfeeds; the one who for some reason or another chose to open up this blog and quickly scroll through the words to see what you could find today. You are beautiful.
Yes, you. The young lady with a twinkle in your eye and dreams in your heart, you are beautiful. In your world beauty is often defined by the way you fix your hair, the makeup that you wear, or those cute clothes you may or may not be wearing. Either way, you are beautiful.
To the mom of littles, with tired eyes and spit up stained pjs, you probably don’t feel it. You probably feel worn and ragged. You maybe haven’t heard it today, or this week, or for months, but today I will tell you the truth, you are beautiful. You maybe haven’t dolled yourself up or fixed your hair in what seems like an eternity, but trust me my friend, you ARE beautiful.
And you, the middle aged woman whose house is growing emptier by the day. You have lived life. You have experienced heart ache and disappointments. You may look back and remember the younger days when you truly felt beautiful. You see beauty in others. You tell your daughters and the young ladies you know how beautiful they are. But, today, let me tell you,  you are beautiful.
Finally, to the woman who is “old” in the eyes of the world. Your skin may be wrinkly and your body is marred with the marks of a life well lived; a life of work, and love, and joy, and heartache and selflessness. As you look in the mirror today, you may not see it, but just as it has always been, you are still beautiful.
You are beautiful not because your hair falls just right, or your clothes fit a certain way. In fact, by the world’s standards you may or may not be beautiful. Your nose might be too big, your hair too plain, your face too wrinkly. You might be too tall or too short, too thin, or too “fat”.  You probably will never live up to the beauty standard that our society had set. But, you ARE beautiful.
You are beautiful because the Lord says so. Your Father in Heaven looks at you and sees beauty. In fact, before anyone else had even thought of you, He had. He took the time to design you. He knit together your unformed body, one intricate piece at a time. He made you with that nose, those freckles, and that plain hair. In fact, He even knows how many of those hairs are on your head.
More than that, He thinks you’re precious. He knows your heart. He rejoices over you. Why? Because you are His daughter, His wonderful Creation, and you my dear ARE beautiful!

“For your created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Motherhood: The Journey of Dying to Self

The beginning of the journey-
 I find myself reminiscing more and more about my experience of giving life to my 2nd child as we quickly approach his first birthday. Jase is such a handsome, sweet, adventurous child and I could never be surer of the perfect fit he is in our little family. However, I’m embarrassed to say I have not always felt that way….
I have not shared with many people the emotions, feelings and experience leading up to and during the birth of my little Jase. Maybe this is because I was shameful. I would not want anyone to think poorly of me. Maybe it’s because at the time I did not know what to do with these emotions and feelings. Either way I think it is time I share. I share not to be a “downer” in your day or to discourage your from having more babiesJ. I share because I know I cannot possibly be the only one who has felt this way. I pray that my honesty and experience can be a blessing and encouragement to you.  
So, let me take you back to that day, April 12, 2013. The days and months leading up to that day had been pretty miserable ones. This second pregnancy greeted me with a lovely dose of nausea, vomiting, heart burn, and exhaustion throughout almost the entire 9 months! For those of you who have ever experience long term physical illness you will probably recognize that after a period of feeling miserable and not like yourself physically the devil will begin to attack you spiritually and emotionally as well. This happened. Needless to say by the week of my due date, I was done! I, like most women who are 9 months pregnant, was MISERABLE. Seriously. MISERABLE. I was not sleeping. I wasn’t enjoying eating. My body ached. And mostly I just wanted to cry. The days following up to the 12th along with everything else included very consistent contractions almost 24-7.
So, in one sense I was more than ready to get this monster of a baby out of my body! But, there was a part of me that didn’t feel ready AT ALL. Rather than being filled with joy and excitement that morning as we headed to the hospital, I found that my heart was filled with something else, something really ugly. Mainly, the big S… selfishness.
As we entered the hospital my heart and mind were filled with a lot of questions and concerns. All of my “what ifs” floated to the surface and merged in a mess of emotions. I was about to experience a life changing event. Somewhere between concern, anticipation, and discontentment I found myself with many deep rooted questions. “How will I do it?” I can barely take care of one child, how will I manage 2?” “I don’t think I have enough to give, what if I don’t?” “What if I don’t love him like I love my first baby?” “Who is going to help me?” “What in the world have I gotten myself into?” “Why did I do this?” AHHH!
I literally felt like screaming and crying. It was too late. I was having a baby today.
My nerves were completely shot and to be bluntly honest, my heart was heavy. I was grieving. Once again, I was grieving the loss of self that motherhood requires. I thought about what this life change meant for MY home, for MY family, for MY business, and mostly for MY self- MY dreams, MY desires, MY goals, MY time…
I was not really prepared for the events that transpired that day. Giving birth to a child is always a little scary, but this specific delivery met us with what in the blink of an eye became an emergency situation. One of those moments where you look back and realize that you literally could have lost your life. And the life of that precious baby.
Thankfully the Lord was watching over us and both Jase and I made it through the delivery. The hours that followed consisted of stitches, blood transfusions, and pain meds. As I laid exhausted, sore, and already weary of the uncomfortable hospital bed, my heart changed. Suddenly like the breath of life given by the warm springtime breeze, the Lord breathed something new in me. AMAZEMENT. I was amazed, stunned.
The old saying “Momma knows best” translated into what I felt about my Heavenly Father. All along He knew. As I held that tiny, handsome, miracle to my chest I felt joy. As I glanced at his intricately designed body, tiny fingers, tiny toes, I felt blessed. All of the doubt, fear, selfishness, and pain drifted away in the blink of any eye.
How great is my God, that when my heart is confused and my selfish desires are overtaking me, He knows what is best and he lavishes me with far more than I could ever deserve.
Of course the journey of dying to self does not end there. It only just begins. There are many days of motherhood where the ugly S word rears his head up and tries to take over, but that’s a story for another day….
I’m thankful today that God was working on me that day almost a year ago; and He continues to do so each day along this journey.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

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Monday, March 17, 2014

The Beginning

Have you ever just felt a burning desire to do something more? Something that is beyond your self? That passion deep inside your heart to really set the world on fire? To feed the hungry, to give homes to the orphans, to change millions of lives all in the name of Christ?!
Recently I have felt this passion rising up within me. It’s like a tidal wave just hit me in the face and suddenly I’m re-evaluating everything that I do in life. It’s a feeling that’s unexplainable; it’s beyond me. It’s not about me. It’s that feeling that He made me and even in all my imperfections He wants to use me.
The problem with this kind of set the world on fire passion is the “NOW WHAT?!” feeling that soon follows. And then, the “maybe you’re calling the wrong person” that soon creeps up as well. Where do I begin? This is the question I have been asking. These are the words I have spoke over and over again in my time of prayer- when? How? What? “Lord, I will do whatever it is you want me to do, but what is it?” These are the words that I find slipping out day after day as my heart feels like it is ready to explode with hope for the hopeless. And, over and over again I seem to hear a still small voice saying “write”. Write what? “just write”….hmmm, ok …. So here I am. This is my first act of obedience. Today I will begin to write.
As I begin to write my prayer is that I will be able to be an encouragement to you. That as you follow my blog I will be a source of hope, healing, and help, and that above all God would be glorified as I start to write.

What is the Lord calling you to do that maybe you have been ignoring? What does that still small voice say if you would just listen? I pray that God would give you that same passion deep in your heart to be a world changer today, and then you would listen to the “what’s next” and follow where He leads. 

Sarah Lango