Monday, March 7, 2016

Facebook Envy

More and more I hear the term, "Facebook Envy."  It's basically a specific reference to that not so good self-doubting feeling of catching the happy-ever-after glimpse into other people's lives.  Even if you are not a Facebook junkie, I'm sure you've experienced the sting by witnessing the side of people that they want you to see.  Perhaps you've encountered it when you see that totally put-together family sitting a few pews ahead of you, or those madly in-love parents having a quality conversation with their laughing  children two tables over at the restaurant.  Today, I am reminding myself that there is another side!

Yes, there will be families that seem to have it together better than I do. And yes, there will be mothers exercising the patience of Job when the same situation may have put me over the edge of insanity. BUT we are all human.  We all have our struggles.  Sometimes those struggles are just more hidden, behind doors and not posted on Facebook for me to see.

It's funny! When I had my older four, and Little Man was out of the tantrum stage, I felt like the mommy expert. I could trust my kiddos to go play in the other room and know they'd behave.  I could run with all four through the grocery store in record time, and come out with my list complete and a smile still on my face.

Then I had Baby Girl. 

She brings us laughter and cuddles and loads of joy, BUT she also brings me back off my pedestal.  She reminds me what a frazzled mama looks like.  She reminds me how I am not in control and how each stage of parenthood brings its own challenges.  She also reminds me that these sleepless nights and tears over who-knows-what will all too quickly pass (although on some things I wish faster than others).  I'll survive this stage, even if it may not always be pretty and "Facebook worthy."

God does not call us to be as perfect as the people beside us.  He doesn't tell us to compare ourselves to each other, but to His Son. He knows that we are all flawed in our own unique ways.  He knows that He is the only true one to which we should compare and measure. He gives us each other so that we can learn from and encourage each other, not compare and beat ourselves up over.

Next time I see those happy-go-lucky pictures of someone who seems to have it all together and doing a better job at it than I am, I will try to remember that we are all in this together, having our own moments of joy and struggle, and only with Him can we get it right.  So pat a  friend on the back, give her a compliment, share a "When I was in your stage..." story, and together let's point each other closer to our Goal. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"This is Why!"

I'm forever seeing God and His works around me.  Often times, I see it in the small everyday things, like these spacious Texas skies, the healing of baby's runny nose, or the sparkle in my children's eyes.  But yesterday I saw it blaring loud, staring me smack dab in the know, the kind of act where chill bumps travel down your spine and every hair on your arm stands straight up.
Yesterday was much like every other day, full of school, mothering, and errand-running all over town.  Because of a rare consignment sale being open, I decided we would squeeze a shopping trip into an already jam-packed morning.  Happily, we raced to get in the van, and paused like we always do when I drive, to say a prayer for safety and thanksgiving (and also forgiveness for crabbiness, but I'll save that for another post ;-).  We zipped through the sale, got in line with even a few minutes to spare to get Big Sister to her class on time.  That's when all of my planning and clocking went down the drain.  With only one person in front of me, with only a few items in her hands, the minutes slowly ticked by...5 minutes, 10 minutes...It made absolutely NO sense!  I began to steam and tap my foot.  Finally it was my turn, I gave the keys to the kids, told them to go get buckled, and we were going to fly out of here as soon as I checked out.  And then, another 5 minutes clicked by as the credit card machine decided to fail over and over again.  Finally, 15 minutes behind schedule, we were loaded in the van and screeching out of the lot.  (Okay, maybe not screeching...I do try to be extra safe behind the wheel).
I told the kids I was sorry it took so long, and explained that I had absolutely no explanation for that long of a check out.  I reiterated, as I sometimes do during disappointments,  that I don't know why these things happen sometimes, but perhaps there is an unknown reason and we should try to make the best of it.  Then, 12 minutes down the road, God showed me.
Flashing lights and sirens blocked my way.  Shattered, tangled, and mangled vehicles were tossed here and there in every direction in the middle of the intersection.  First responders were just arriving on the scene.  And tears streamed down my face as I turned to look at my five precious sets of wide eyed babies, still alive.  "This is why!" echoed the passengers in my van.
Oh, how we prayed and thanked our good Father for stalling that line, for blocking that credit card machine, and for saving us to be here witnessing of Him yet another day.  We prayed for those in the accident, who were thankfully okay, knowing that had we been there at that moment of collision, it would be a very different story for each of us.
May the God of us all, who sees beyond the moment, continue to open our eyes to his power and might.  And may I be a testimony to my little ones to point it out again and again.