The Best Mom Ever

So this last week has been pretty emotional for southern mommas of all ages. Why? Because school is back in session, and I don’t care if you have kindergartner, a 7th grader, a senior in high school or a freshman in college – mommas get emotional this time of year. (“Where does the time go?” “Can they stop growing?” “How did they get so big???”)

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I’ve been on FB quite a bit over the last week because I love to see all the first day of school pictures (of the kids that will still allow momma to snap that photo) and all the ways a freshman dorm room can come to life (girls’ rooms only – see my previous post if you have a boy). But something else has littered FB posts like toilet paper at Toomer’s Corner after a big Auburn win…

(Sorry. It’s almost college football season. I couldn’t resist.)

It’s blog posts written from daughters to their moms. Blog posts where a daughter apologizes to her mom for numerous offenses. Posts from daughters who AHA! realize that mom is indeed, always right. The Top 10 things a daughter wants to tell her mom now that she is in college, out of college, newly married… It seems as though daughters have a lot of pent-up emotions they need to release into the world of the internet. (Girls with a lot of emotions seeking an outlet for those emotions. Shocking, I know.)

Which made me think: What makes the best mom ever? Have I been the best mom ever? Who hands out the BMEAs? (That’s the Best Mom Ever Awards, BTW)

Self-reflection is, well, interesting.

Have I been the best mom ever? Uuuhhhhhh, HECK NO! I have no doubt there are many mommas out in the world who have done a way better job of bringing up children than I have. Mommas who defended only when necessary, disciplined only when appropriate and basked in the glow of their God-fearing children as they devoted their lives to be missionaries somewhere in the jungles of South America…

But God didn’t give me those children. And he didn’t give me that momma’s heart, brain or experiences. He gave me a unique path with unique children and unique circumstances. Did I get it right every time? Nope. Do I still mess up? Yep. Do my children think I’m the best mom ever? I have no idea.

But what I do know is this: from the moment they were born I promised to love them and raise them the very best way I knew how, keeping in mind that parenting is the ultimate on-the-job training experience ever.

Do I want my kids to think I’m the best mom ever? Not really, because I know I could have handled MANY situations better. What do I want them to think about me? That I love Jesus and I love them and “I have no greater joy than to hear my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)

Because in the end, it doesn’t matter if my daughter writes an apology or a thank you blog about me (it would have to be my daughter – my son doesn’t even have a FaceBook account). It doesn’t matter if some strangely-formed committee handed me a BMEA at their annual awards dinner. All that matters to me is that in Jesus’ eyes I did my very best to raise my children in a Christ-centered home so that one day they, too will love Him and seek Him and serve Him with all their hearts.

Best Mom Ever? Nah.

I’m waiting on an award of a different kind – a “well done, my good and faithful servant” when I see Jesus one day.

Blessings!
Leigh

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I’m not THAT Dumb

A couple of days ago I got a word from the Lord. How do I know? Because I heard it not once, not twice but 3 times in about a 30 minute span. And then I heard it again a few days later. I’m no brain surgeon, but I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday either. So when I heard the same word repeated over and over in my quiet time I was fairly certain God was trying to tell me something.

It started with a devotional out of Jesus Calling. In part it said, “Do not close off any part of yourself from Me. I know you inside and out… Secret sins that you “hide” from Me can split off and develop lives of their own…” (Oh ain’t THAT the truth!)

The Scripture that went along with that devotional was from Psalm 139. In part it reads, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me…Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts…”

And if that wasn’t enough, in the middle of all those words the song Here for You started playing on Pandora randomly (or notsomuch). The line that caught my attention that morning was, “To you our hearts are open, nothing here is hidden…”

And before I could think that’s it, that this word was just a one-day thing from the Holy Spirit, a few days later Pastor Layne Schranz led our church’s morning prayer time by referring to 2 Kings 6:8-17. Specifically verse 17 says, “And Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.’” Coincidence? I think not.

So like I said, I ain’t the brightest bulb in the pack, but I can usually pick up on something this obvious. The word I was hearing repeated in my spirit was the word “hidden.” So I started to pray for God to reveal to me what was hidden.

And I got some immediate answers on what I was knowingly and unknowingly hiding from God. But I don’t think that’s all there is – I don’t think this is a one day event. I think God has more to show me. And if I am truly seeking Him each and every day, I would want that.  As King David wrote in Psalm 139: “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.”

What a heartfelt and somewhat scary prayer – asking God to come into your heart and do a thorough search and destroy mission on issues that you have tried so hard to hide. And there’s just no telling what He might bring to the surface – are you ready and willing to deal with whatever is revealed? This prayer is not one that should be prayed willy-nilly because God never disappoints. He will bring issues to the surface that you either purposefully hid or didn’t even realize were hiding in your spirit.

But that’s the beauty of having a personal relationship with Jesus! If we are truly running after Him every day we want Him to reveal those areas where we need some work. We long for His help and instruction. We seek His rewards – mercy, forgiveness, peace.

So if you pray Psalm 139, saddle up ‘cause what will be revealed may not be pretty, but through Jesus’ blood and the cross there is no condemnation, only forgiveness when we truly repent.

Reveal to us what is hidden, O Lord so that we may walk in relationship with You today, tomorrow and all the days to come!

Blessings!
Leigh

Collegiate Olympics – for Parents

I just completed moving my daughter for the 5th time in 2 years. Out of our house – into the dorm. Out of the dorm – into our house. Out of our house – into her apartment. Out of her apartment and into both our house and the sorority house (‘cause there ain’t no way all that stuff from her apartment will fit into ½ of a room in the sorority house).

Over the past 2 years I’ve attempted to warn (I mean encourage) other parents around me as they enter into this place that only the strong survive – the world of collegiate moving.

Now I’m gonna exempt all you mommas and daddies of boys out of this competition, ‘cause no boy brings as much stuff as a girl does to college. No how, no way. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess boys don’t arrive with 2 upholstered chairs, a futon and a monogrammed fabric headboard to haul up 7 flights of stairs in the Mississippi summer heat…

So anyway, now that we’ve pretty much completed the latest move I had a BRILLIANT idea. Someone needs to create a series of athletic events known as The Collegiate Olympics for Parents.

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I’ve given this some serious thought. Events could include:

  • Mattress Squats – Competitors will squat while holding a twin mattress by themselves on their heads. Winner is the parent who can come back to a standing position after 3 minutes (yeah, you just think 3 minutes ain’t long).
  • Refrigerator Lifting – A team event. Two people must pick up and carry the large version of a dorm fridge (‘cause you know that’s what we bought) up the 7 flights of stairs, then maneuver your way through the obstacle course of broken furniture, trash and extra stuff other girls had to bring but have nowhere to actually put in their room down the dorm hallway to your child’s room. First team to set the too-big fridge down without it slipping out of one competitor’s hands and knocking the other member down a flight of stairs will definitely win.
  • Carpet Haul – In this event, a parent must haul a 6 X 9 carpet up 7 flights of stairs and then unroll the carpet, lift up two twin bed frames and get the carpet under those frames so that the U-Haul double parked in front of the dorm can get unloaded. First parent to get the carpet down and bedframes back in place without the beds collapsing on top of themselves wins.
  • Storage Bin Organizing – I’d win this one every time. Whoever can completely maximize the space under a raised twin bed with cheap plastic bins from Wal-Mart wins. Unused space will be measured and points will be deducted based on the measurement of the unused space.
  • Technology Set-Up – The first parent to locate and unpack your child’s computer and printer in the midst of the dump of stuff out of the U-Haul, connect it to the dorm’s wifi and actually get the visitor parking pass to print before you get a ticket will be declared the winner.
  • General Contracting – This one is a bit tricky and you really need to think about the person you are registering for this event. Competitors should be trained and ready to install window treatments, rig 14 extension cords to plug in 37 electronic devices, assemble MDF bookshelves and evenly space out Command Strips on the dorm wall so that all pictures will be aligned and evenly spaced.

So I may not bethe most physically fit person, but I’ve learned a lot over the past couple of years moving my daughter from place to place. Two things I’ve learned are imperative to surviving these moves: I have to ramp up both my stamina and my sense of humor. Moving is stressful. Moving your child into college is extremely stressful because not only are you pushed to physical activities you had no idea you could still perform, but there’s the emotional side of leaving your child in a new place – a dorm, an apartment or in my case this year, a sorority house.

Physical exhaustion + emotional drainage = potentially psychotic behavior.

If you’ve got a child going to college (no matter what year they are) praya lot. Pray for them, pray for yourself. Pray for their protection, pray for your sanity. Pray they will make good decisions, pray you will stop making decisions for them. Pray for God’s will in their life – and yours. Pray for anything and everything you can think of.

Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.” (Philippians 4:6-7, CEV)

Prayer does help tremendously – I can attest to that. Many days it’s the only thing that keeps a new collegiate parent from slipping into the dark hole of depression.

So yes, prayer helps.

And so does a rigorous pre-move work-out routine.

Blessings!
Leigh