Something About Seven

unsplash: patricia prudente

There is just something that my heart can't take about the age of seven.

Somewhere between the final days of summer and the first few weeks of first grade, my seven year old has grown up.  She stands in the balance of playful and silly and suddenly so independent, inquisitive, and Christ-seeking.  Not just having the words of the Lord in her mind, but written upon her heart and radiating through her actions.  It's like she just gets it. 

I look at her and I can't help but wonder just how limited my days are with this innocence, this purity, this genuine joy and optimism.  It's funny how I so quickly regret the ways I spent the last seven years, instantly wishing I had listened to all of those wisdom-filled women who lovingly smiled as they told me, "Enjoy it because it goes by way too fast." 

This phrase always irked me at the time because I wondered what made them feel like I wasn't enjoying those days?  What made it so obvious that I was, in fact, looking forward to the days of independence and diaper free living?  They were so right.  These days do go at lightening speed.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that it wasn't me or anything that I was radiating.  I think these women who were so full of wisdom truly understood because they once wore my shoes.  They, too, remember hoping the daunting days would pass so much more quickly than they were seeming to, but as their children aged, they realized that those were the most beautiful and perfect days of their lives.  They look with eyes all too knowing of what is to come in this life of parenthood.  

When we are in those early years, we seem to sacrifice everything.  Our time, our sleep, warm meals, our beds, our bodies, our total being. Almost everything about our lives is pushed to the side as we raise our littles and while it fills us with such joy, many of those days were filled with what I called emptiness.  Today, my perspective of that emptiness shifts to seeing the fullness that I was actually experiencing throughout those long, long days.

Life really is all about perspective, huh?  Because I realize today, that this.  This life right here, in late-November of 2016, is limited.  Days of sisters playing creatively, role playing with their Playmobil, running through the park in our neighborhood pretending to be kids lost in a foreign world, donning backpacks and creating fake fire pits, it will all end sooner than it began.

My heart cannot handle this thought.  

As the years passed staying home, seven to be exact, I have felt lonely as I searched for a further sense of being.  Being a mother, somehow, just never seemed to be enough.  Now, looking at my changing, evolving, aging seven year old and I desperately search for a pause button.  Even on many days, a rewind button.  This really is the best age. 

The world jades us and our children are only given a limited time to live in the bliss of a perfect world before that all becomes rushing to a halt, sometimes in one fell swoop:  the loss of someone important, being bullied or witnessing bullies, stripped innocence in unfathomable ways, being exposed to the darkness that this world is consumed with.  We provide for and protect them the best that we can, but to protect them from the reality of the world only harms them in the long run.

Knowing that these days are increasingly more limited stills my soul in a way that cannot be described.

I remind myself not to be consumed with what the future will bring, but to be present in the today.  These are the days in which my affection, my encouragement, my support are the most pivotal.  In these years of change, these years of recognizing pain from the outside world, my role is even more important than ever.  She needs to know that I am always here.  That I understand.  That I will listen and that I will never, ever let go.

So to my sweet girl, who is changing in the most beautiful and tear-jerking of ways, I want you to know that I will absolutely never let you go.  When you make decisions that break my heart, when you come home broken, when we disagree, when we don't understand one another, nothing will ever make me stop loving you.  This world will hurt you and there will be times where my love isn't enough to get you through, but I will always, always try.  

The Evolution of Thanksgiving: Displaced Gratefulness to "Thankfully Giving"

unsplash:  pro-church media
Maybe it's just me, but the older I get, the more meaning Thanksgiving has.

As a child, I am fairly certain I whined my way through the Thanksgiving meal, disliking much of the food presented and complained of the ultimate holiday boredom.

As a college kid, I thought of Thanksgiving as the premiere time to come home, be adult-like showing all the ways college had changed me, hanging out with old friends who thought being 21 was the climax of life, and inevitably, sleeping off too much vodka from the night before.  Total shame here.

Clearly my gratefulness was displaced. 

Then newly-married life came.  I finally grew up a little and would bring my assigned dish, enjoy the meal and company of family, but since I was now a "working girl," I opted to lounge, nap, and relax which meant my parents were still doing the majority of Thanksgiving prep and clean up.

Clearly I was still only thinking about how the holiday would benefit me. 

Then came kids.  They really change everything, don't they?  I began to show a bit more gratitude, offering to bring dishes and help out by not expecting Thanksgiving to be provided solely by my parents.  It's like it finally clicked that Thanksgiving wasn't just about me.

We began hosting at our house, helping with pre and post festivities while genuinely enjoying all things family related.  Thanksgiving was no longer boring "because everything was closed and Taco Bell sounded so much better than leftovers."  Instead, that time with family became so precious.  So life-giving.

I finally realized that Thanksgiving isn't just about the food or the pilgrims or the Mayflower or the relaxation.  It's about the Heart.  The Unity.  The Young.

Preparing the Heart. 

As the holiday approaches, we begin preparing our hearts with gratefulness for our loved ones, our blessings, and even our sorrows.  Whether it has been a year of trials or a year of goodness, there is always, always, something to be thankful for.  We don’t just prepare in gratitude, but we also prepare our hearts for "giving" to others.  Thanks-“giving” is a day set aside to serve one another, give to those who need, open our hearts for second chances, reunite those who have fallen apart.

Gathering in Unity. 

What a blessing it is in itself to have the ability gather. We come together as one: one family, one community, one country to celebrate the joys of Thanksgiving.  We open our doors when we might normally not, we allow people in, we gather for reconciliation, for celebration, to restore hope and magic and meaning. We gather to create rejuvenating, life-giving fellowship and we gather to hold those who are fragile.

Teaching The Young. 

Through Thanksgiving we are given the opportunity to teach this unity, this gathering, this preparation of the heart through our actions.  We are able to show our children that despite all of the challenges, all the joy, all the trials, all the success, all the heartache, all the praises that the year presented, we are truly thankful to the one who gave them to us.  Our children's ears are open on Thanksgiving, soaking in our family's memories, preparing to share them to their future family's, learning how to give to others and thank others.

While I never really appreciated Thanksgiving for it's intended purpose, my oldest daughter always has.

Thanksgiving is in her soul.

Two years ago on Thanksgiving, a little before 6 am, roughly an hour before her usual wake up time, she woke up looking forward to what she called "the family feast day."

Upon walking downstairs and seeing our very simply set Thanksgiving table, she sighed a whisper of, "I love it, mama," accompanied by a smile full of excitement.

Moments later, she was sitting silently, undoubtedly dreaming of the fun that awaits her today.

For this one, Thanksgiving has little to do with food and everything to do with the family and good company.

May her priorities always be to focus on the ones around her and the gifts of joy each one of them brings her heart.

"We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near.  We recount your wondrous deeds."  Psalm 75:1


This week we gather.

Together, we pull resources from our talents {or grocery stores} to create. We drive hundreds of miles, we stress, we cook, we pray, we eat, we relax, we serve, we reunite, we share memories, we laugh, we cry, we remember, we bring others together.

There is chaos. There is calm. It gets messy. It gets loud. It may get stressful, but "gathering" has a purpose. It is meant to fulfill, inspire, bring joy, provide fellowship, mend fences, breed life.

No matter what your circumstances are, let your Thanksgiving gathering inspire you to be alive.

Fire in My Heart, Grace in My Soul

I have lived most of my life with fire in my heart and little grace in my soul.

Fire has always been embedded within my soul, but grace, y'all.  Grace was always, -a l w a y s-, so hard for me to freely give.

You wronged me and I clung to it for the rest of my lifetime. Very few times did I even sit back and realize, "wait a minute, maybe my lack of giving them the grace that *I* think they don't deserve is wronging them just as much as I felt they wronged me."

The fire in my soul was too hot to ever allow me to see anything but, well, me.

And the truth is, that fire has never been extinguished. It is still there, but the Lord has changed the flames that ignited death into flames of a burning passion to cling to His goodness.

At various times in my life, God has used potentially spiritually lethal situations to teach me all about that free gift from Him called grace.  In these times, my flesh so badly wanted to condemn and shout and be angry, but the fire that was blazing within me was now the Lord's. He filled me with supernatural grace and taught me that I was never really the one who had the control over giving out that grace because I wasn't allowing Him to work within me.

It was me. Stopping Him. Taking that fire in my soul and letting it pollute. But as soon as I allowed Him in, my life changed. Grace became second nature and now I truly cannot imagine a life without it. And it is funny. A small handful of times over the last seven to eight years, grace has been withheld from me in hurtful ways. In those moments, I am tempted to be angry, wondering why others cannot wholly give grace, but then I realize that I have been that person who so desperately clung to my injustices, completely incapable of seeing the heart of others. Completely consumed by the fire of self. It is then that I see a full portrait of grace and feel yet again what it really, actually means.

The Kind of Friendship That Leads to Light

Something that I have learned over the last two decades is that life is full of  "seasons of friendship."

Even with only a short 36 years of life behind me, I have come full circle in really understanding and appreciating this concept.  When I first graduated college and worked in downtown Dallas, I made my first three post-college "work" friends.  I remember their strengths, their facial expressions, times I embarrassed my 23 year-old-self in front of their "way more mature" selves, and all of the words they each imparted on me as we spent 9-5 together each and every day.  I grew to love these women greatly and when we parted ways, I truly thought that we would keep the bond alive.

Of course, that didn't happen.  Then came the friends at my next job, then the next and next.  Insert life changes.  Old neighbors, new neighbors.  College friends and friends I've made since becoming a mom.  Inner rings and outer rings and the list goes on.

While all seasons have been wonderful, some friendships needed to pass and others are missed dearly.  Most of these people, still are my friends {thanks to social media allowing us to connect}, but our daily lives just don't collide.

I think it is the withering away of the inner circle that is the hardest "season change" of all.  Often times these friendships just fade away, while other times there is real heartbreak involved, and then there are those wonderful friendships who are able to fully survive on a few multi-hour long conversations every few months or so.  These are the friends whom you call your best friends because no matter what happens in your life, the bond you once had or currently have, just never can be fully broken.  Even if life has broken them for you, in your heart, you feel that that bond will always be there, even if it is a one way road.

How exactly do you define these friendships though?  How do you really know which friends are the forever kind?

Steve Aitchison defined it as this, 

"True friends are those rare people who come find you in the dark and lead you back to the light." 

I couldn't agree more.  As a friend, any kind really, it's easy to show up in the dark.  It's easy to see a friend break and rush in to stand beside them.  It's easy to say "you're walking the valley" alongside them.  It's simple to encourage and smile and nod, but it is hard to pick them up and carry them through the morning moments of dawn before the light fully radiates their lives again.

You see, we all end up in the dark at one time or another because we all fail.  We are all imperfect.  We are all fallen.  We mess up as moms, wives, friends, sisters, career women, and everything in between.  We make unwise decisions, we get involved in situations in which we don't intend or we do intend and they turn our drastically different than we expect.  Depression and anxiety lead many into dark, dark holes.  We accidentally hurt, we purposefully go too far.  Even the best of us.  It just happens and we not only need grace, but we also need friends who don't just come find us in the dark, but who do the work necessary to lead us back to the light. 

Let's pause for a minute and that soak in.  "The kind of friend that leads you back to the light," y'all.  That's the real deal.  That's genuine, even if it ultimately leads to failure of the friendship--the love is in the truth, not the failure.

Not everyone wants to be led to the light though.  Not everyone wants to break out of their sorrow or their grief {after due time is provided for said sorrow is given}.  Not everyone wants to be told they made a mistake or they need to grant grace or they need to forgive and at worst, told they need to get help.  The thing about it is, the most genuine of friends do what is difficult, not to harm, but to save their loved one.

If you feel convicted, maybe the Lord wants you to do more in a relationship to help your beloved friend.  Maybe He wants you to risk your friendship to get them the help they need or lead them away from their toxic relationship, even adulterous lifestyle, or complete complacency in the cycle of depression--darkness comes in so many different ways and so many people need truth to get to the light.  Possibly you've already made that risk, and now everyone who doesn't know the story is looking at you as if you walked out when really, you were pushed out.  Be still and hold firm.

Or maybe it's you.  It's you standing in the dark, lonely, searching for someone, anyone to grab your hand and speak truth into you because you know you cannot do this on your own.  Waiting for someone to love you enough to risk you.  You're done with smiles, and "how can I help you" or "what can I do's" and you're ready for help that expresses itself in action.

Possibly, you're reading this ready to run out on some friendships because they are there with you, but won't let you stay in the dark.  "But the dark is so comfortable, " you say.  Or maybe, even worse, you're too busy accusing them of not being friends when they are the only ones who were ever really there for you.  Don't run, mama, and don't push these people away.  Because those people, the ones who will not allow you to stand in the dark, they are the ones who love so much more deeply than you could ever know.   

I have been the one who was complacent in my darkness and needed to be led to light. I have been the one who took the risk to bring a friend to light {probably too many times and not always the right way} and I have been the friend who just walked away.

Every relationship is different from the other and I don't think we are always the one responsible for leading someone to light, but those who stick with me and walk me out of the dark?

Those are my people and they should be yours too.

{Testimony Tuesday} Jennifer.

Meet Jennifer. She is a part of my #testimonytuesday and I have been just chomping at the bits to share our time together. It's more of a God-wink, actually, but the label really doesn't matter. What matters is how divinely we both felt God working.

Something about Jennifer, despite my craving for just "being still" and at peace during my massage, just kept me engaging her in conversation. I felt the stirring of my soul as we spoke, but I hadn't the slightest clue of how the Lord was preparing me for Jennifer and Jennifer for me.

As Jennifer spoke, I learned that she is nurturing, a people-pleaser, a lover and so very kind-hearted. I was inspired by her gentle words and thought to myself that her calm nature is so much of what I long to be but struggle to find.

Somehow, we found ourselves discussing the realities of friendships, marriage, parenthood, and life-balance as we realized we both wholeheartedly rely on Jesus to make it through the day. I sheepishly admitted that my prayer life could use some strengthening and that I tend to forget that my conversations with God are not limited to just nighttime when I am in the midst of falling asleep. While I find myself digging into scripture constantly, the intimacy in which I have with God is not where I would like it to be.

That's when Jennifer told me about her passion for writing and art therapy. "I write letters to God," Jennifer said. "I have a special place where I hand-write and keep them," she went on, noting that others are welcome to read them.

I know. You're probably not seeing the testimony in that, but something about her beautiful character combined with such a tender way to be near to God, struck me somewhere deep. While I have long heard of prayer journaling, I have never really thought to use writing, which is so clearly my therapy, as a way to communicate my prayer to the Lord. I was so inspired and encouraged by this time with Jennifer and how the Lord used her to glorify Him to me in a place in which I am so weak.

As we continued to speak, Jennifer revealed more about her heart for writing and passions within to do something with that writing. After hearing her heart, I was filled with goosebumps seeing that the Lord wasn't just hoping that Jennifer would encourage me, but that I would share what He has done in my life through writing and glorify Him by encouraging her.

So I did. I shared my writing journey and how uncomfortable it was to make this page, even how Satan has tempted me to stop already. I shared how Fort Worth Moms Blog has led to so many opportunities that I never in my wildest-dreams expected and all of it started with a little whisper from the Lord and no hope from the flesh. Piece by piece the Lord has hand-crafted this design, even the meeting of Jennifer and myself. I can only hope that her time with me that day was as inspirational and encouraging as my mere minutes with her was to me.

You see, God is everywhere. We can choose to think irony or happenstance or nothing at all, or we can choose to acknowledge that our Creator is continuing to create new and more within ourselves constantly. He brings people into ours lives for a fleeting moment that can have a lifetime of impact and he can place some in our lives for a lifetime, in which He intends for US to impact.

So, Jennifer, if you're reading this tonight. Go for it. Chase that dream and shine your light. It's already brighter than you will ever know.

The Inspiration Behind the Heart of Imperfection

I have always believed that genuine beauty exists when the heart can truly be seen, but the problem is, we work so hard to hide what is found deep within that rarely anyone receives the gift that our imperfections can give.

We are afraid for people to see our messy, to know our brokenness, to sense our loneliness, to see where we struggle most. The enemy convinces us that we are only worth love and acceptance if we show the world our perfect. Our perfect marriages, homes, vacations, friendships, children, and the list goes on and on. Darkness convinces us that our imperfect is a shame. An embarrassment. A weakness.

But it isn't our perfection that inspires others at all. In fact, portraying perfection is often times exactly what hinders others most. It is when we open ourselves up and reveal our true self, hold our head high amongst our imperfections, share our struggles to seek support and build community despite our numerous weaknesses, that we inspire others most.

It's not about who we are when everything is perfect. It is about who we are when nothing is perfect.

10 DFW Indoor Trick or Treating Events and 8 Ways to Throw a Last Minute Halloween Party {Rainy, Cold Halloween Alternatives}

Everyone is in a frenzy this year trying to figure out how to do Halloween with a cold, steady rain drenching our trick-or-treaters.  The simple answer is to bundle up, grab a poncho or umbrella and get after it anyway, but that isn't always realistic for every family. 

If I had it my way, I would take the kiddos to the local candy store, stock up on a ridiculous amount of candy, curl up in our pajamas with hot chocolate, watch a fun movie and call it a night.  But my kids don't exactly see the awesomeness in that plan.  

Something I can get on board with, however, is a spooky Halloween party at a neighbor's house with dim lights, haunted music, and games galore!  There really is no replacement for running from house to house with reckless abandon, in the dark, begging strangers for candy, but we will make it a fun night nonetheless.   

If you're still deadset on taking the little ones out, below, you will find 10 {INDOOR} local DFW events for trick-or-treating, checked and verified Monday, October 30th.  

For those of you a bit more like me, be sure to scroll down and check the 8 Last Minute Halloween Party ideas that are sure to make your kiddos forget all about going door to door! 

10 {INDOOR} Local Halloween Events 
**as of October 30, 2017, 1:00pm 

Rain or shine! Our church is offering a safe and free environment where you and your family can come and enjoy all the benefits of trick or treating without the hassle of going door to door.

The Church at Trophy Lakes and Trophy Lakes Academy invite the entire community to this free, family-friendly fall party! There will bounce houses, lots of candy, and games for kids of all ages. This event will be from 5 PM - 7 PM and is open to everyone. We look forward to seeing you there!

Join us for our 1st Annual Kick-or-Treat Halloween Party! We'll have snacks, games, food, music, karate time, raffles, and a costume contest! Totally Free and Open to the Public! Costume contest at 7:00 P.M. with Raffle Drawings to follow.

Rain or Shine! Join us from 6:30-8:30pm for our Annual Fall Festival! There will be food, fun, and games!

Drive off the invaders from 6-8pm.  Save the Library. Costumes recommended. Treats provided. Join our Halloween escape room, solve the puzzle, save the library. Ages 12-19.

Check out awesome ooey-gooey, icky-sticky, creepy crawly activities throughout the Museum from 6-8pm. Everyone is encouraged to wear their spooky (not scary) costumes and receive an awesome sweet treat! (No masks or weapons, please). 

There are no tricks here, only treats! Celebrate Howl-O-Ween all month long at Great Wolf Lodge! The resort transforms your stay into a spooky yet silly adventure. With seasonal, free events taking place each day, there's plenty of fun for the whole pack. So be sure to pack your costume and get ready for a spooktacular good time! **room required**

Join us at North East Mall for a safe indoor Trick-or-Treating experience the entire family will enjoy! Bring your lil' pumpkin to the mall and Trick-or-Treat at a small selection of participating stores starting at 5 PM. There will be an assortment of candy, stickers and other fun treats distributed by participating retailers, while supplies last.

Come dressed in your best costumes and enjoy some spooky family-friendly activities. There will be a Haunted Town Big Build with a master builder, costume contests for kids, the Pumpkin Trail, a spooky scavenger hunt and much more. **check site for hours**

Dress your family in their Halloween best and head on down to the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards on Tuesday, October 31! Join Stockyards Station from 5-7pm for costume contests, pumpkin decorating, games, hayrides and trick or treating at participating Stockyards Station shops.

8 Last Minute Halloween Party Ideas 

Mummy Wrap.  
Supplies: toilet paper (probably two per child)

Game: Have two team members work together to wrap up one of the team members like a mummy in toilet paper. Whoever is “the mummy” must be completely wrapped

Food Challenge. 
Supplies:  blindfolds for each child, plastic spoons, napkins, foods, ten paper plates, ten items of your choice for the challenge (condiments, pickles, broccoli, turkey, refried beans, pudding, chocolate syrup to name a few)

Game: This can be done a variety of ways, but the easiest way to prep ahead and is to fill each plate with a specific food.  Sit the kids at the table and put their blindfold on them.  Have each child fill their spoon or fork (you may have to help here) and taste the food at the same time.  The child who guesses the correct food gets candy!  

Trick or Treat Balloon Pop.
Supplies:  orange and black balloons, trick pieces of paper, treat pieces of paper

Game: "Before the party put pieces of paper into balloons with treat names (Snickers, cupcakes, candy corn, etc.) and tricks (things they have to do like sing I’m a little teapot, pretend to fly around the room like a witch on a broom, etc.). There should be a lot more tricks than treats (like 5 to 1) but make sure you have enough treats for the number of teams and make sure you have those treats on hand. Put all of the balloons (not blown up) in a bag. Teams must pick a balloon from the bag, blow it up, and pop it. If they get a treat, they all get that treat and then move on. If they get a trick they must do the trick then another teammate picks another balloon and repeats until they get a treat."  {game originally posted here}

Freeze Dance to Halloween Tunes. 
Supplies: Halloween music 

Game:  Dance to tunes and when the music pauses, everyone pauses.  The last person moving is out. The winner receives candy! 

Hide and Go Seek In The Dark.
Game: Dim the lights and have the kids hide either in pairs.  Parents count ten and go and seek the children.  The last pair found, wins candy! 

Creepy Fear Factor Sensory Game. 
Game:  Fill each container with one item listed below.  After all containers are filled, blindfold the players and have them dig around and guess what it is.  If they can guess it right, they get candy!  

Supplies:  jelly, peeled grapes, boiled and cooled pasta, shaving cream, gummy worms, jello, Tupperware containers, paper towels

Halloween Charades. 

**as of October 30, 1:00pm

{Quick Breakfast Recipe} The Fluffiest Pancakes Ever


In the midst of the early morning Kindergarten wake-ups last year, I succumbed to microwaved frozen pancakes every morning.  It was all my daughter wanted and truthfully, after living six blissful years without an alarm clock, I needed all of the shortcuts I could get.

After nine months of preservative and microwave radiation guilt, I vowed to cut the freezer cakes and go for the real deal.  This recipe is not only super quick and easy but can also be poured into condiment containers and refrigerated for up to a week.

These fluffy hotcakes can be spiced up with cinnamon, bananas and whipped cream, topped with strawberries, and are fantastic with Nutella sandwiched in between.

3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 egg
2 tablespoons of butter, melted

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

cooking spray

1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for five minutes to "sour."

2.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3.  Whisk egg and melted butter into soured milk.

4.  Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.

5.  Heat a large skillet to medium heat and coat with cooking spray.  Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet and cook until bubbles appear on the surface.  Flip with a spatula and cook until browned on the other side.

Pour remaining batter into a condiment container and use throughout the week.  *I usually double the recipe for an entire week's worth.

Enjoy! ;)

*original recipe found here

Am I My Child's Own Worst Enemy?

photo: diana feil @unsplash

The house is quiet, my girls are peacefully fast asleep, and I've just turned out the light, ready to turn in for the night.  Immediately, my thoughts are stolen and taken captive by suffocating mom guilt.

I can't breathe. I can't smile. I can't hope.

Every opportunity where grace was supposed to shine today, ruined by my impatience, agitation, and frustration, replaying in my memory.

Why couldn't I just go get that band-aid, even though there was no blood? Even though it was on the crease of the hand in which every mother across the universe knows... band-aids don't stick. Would it have been so difficult to hug her and say, "I know it hurts sweetie?"

To me, yes.

Why did I lose my cool so loudly and boldly to my daughter whom I know struggles with impulsivity, high emotions, and easily misplaces stuff when she lost her jazz shoes....again? Could I not have had a stern talk with her about responsibility instead of crushing her into tiny little pieces?

No, I simply couldn't contain my cool.  And as much as I want to say it isn't my heart to act this way, maybe, just maybe, my actions are revealing is my heart.

Where, Lord? Where was my grace in that moment? In all those moments. Daily. 

Sometimes I feel like the only mother on the planet who cannot get this piece of motherhood right. The only mother who feels like something is genuinely missing within me. Something so integral to motherhood, that maybe I should have never even had children of my own if I cannot fully display love-in-action, especially when it is tremendously hard over something tremendously mundane.

I love them so fiercely, but I fear that my lack of nurturing ability clouds my love.  My actions are not teaching them how to unconditionally love in return. 

When all is quiet in the house and no ears can hear, I lay awake sobbing in guilt:

"Am I My Child's Worst Enemy," I ask myself

"No, I am not," says the rational me. 

 Then I hear it yet again. 

The vicious cycle of my guilt leads to further impatience which completely defeats me, day in and day out.

My moments of intensity are always, ALWAYS covered in genuine apologies. We hug, I usually tear up, we discuss how I could have handled it better, and she always, always, always forgives fast.

But still. What is that pattern teaching her? That it is okay to show lack of sympathy and misplace it with annoyance as long as you apologize?

No. This is not the mother I want to be. This is not the mother God wants me to be. 

In this life, I do not struggle with material envy. 

I do not struggle, friend, with wanting your house or wanting your car or impeccable style or your fancy trips. I envy your heart, dear friends. I envy your natural ability to put yourself aside and beautifully nurture. I envy how your house can be a wreck but everyone is welcome inside. I envy something missing in me that is found in so many of you. 

Yes, there are so many affectionate ways I love my children. For the most part, I know they feel and see my love way more than I am giving myself credit for.  I know they feel valued and cherished and I know they are happy kids living in a happy family with a very happy life.

But 'for the most part' isn't enough.  I want them to feel all parts of my love.  I cannot stop asking myself, will they remember those more plentiful moments of love or will they remember the ones where I am agitated and impatient and too busy cleaning or writing or being room mom?  What am I doing to my seven-year old's confidence?  Her heart?  Will she eventually feel lonely and misunderstood and unheard by the one who is supposed to hold her hand the tightest, listen to her the longest? 

So I pray. I ask the Lord to fill me with attributes in which my flesh is fully incapable of. 

When I rise, I cling to the mercy He gives with every new sunrise and I wake with the heart to try harder. To say yes more.  To get the needless bandaid.  To put my work aside and focus solely on their needs.  To see their needs over my response.  To validate their emotions especially when I do not understand or see the reality that contradicts their feelings.  To let go of the intensity and welcome gentleness. 

I ask the mighty God to change me from within, for she is His precious child that I oh-so-admittedly do not know how to handle the emotions of.  I ask of Him to give me the strength, the patience, and the wisdom to handle her in only ways that she sees His love. 

Because right now, my flesh is failing and my only hope is in Him.