Ugly Cry

It’s an ugly cry kind of day.
A training potty full of little boy urine dumped all over the living room rug a week ago. After three deep cleaning sessions, it still smells like urine and is making me sick to my stomach.

We are having the girl dedicated on Sunday, and we have no family except my in-laws attending. And I had to ask twice for the rest of our family to respond to our invitation to celebrate not only the dedication, but small boy’s 2nd birthday which is Monday. To say my feelings are hurt is an understatement.

The kidlets have been trying my patience for the last two days between potty accidents, fighting and teething.

Matt spent two and half days changing the brakes on his car, resulting in several trips to the local automotive store and headaches.

And I am wearing a cloak of depression on my back that is threatening to choke me.
I have yelled, thrown toys across the room and given my oldest the silent treatment. I have cried, prayed, and vented to my husband.

It’s slow going, but the praying is changing my attitude and things aren’t as bad as the pity party above makes it out to be.

 

Blessings,

Erin

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done. Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ. For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe. When you came to Christ, you were ‘circumcised’, but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure–the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.” (Colossians 2:6-14 NLT)

 

I remember when I accepted Christ. I was 9, and I was sitting next to my mom in a pew at our church. I remember listening to the sermon and feeling something stirring in my heart that I didn’t quite understand. But I knew that I wanted to go to heaven, and so I asked God to come in my heart.
Cut to several years later, and I knew I was going to heaven and I knew that Jesus loved me and didn’t consider me a sinner anymore, but I felt like I was missing something. That no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be the “better” me that I thought God expected me to be. No matter what I did, it was never good enough and I never measured up. I didn’t read my Bible enough, wasn’t disciplined enough in my quiet time, didn’t serve enough, didn’t share my faith enough, wasn’t displaying the fruit of the Spirit (and was severely lacking), on and on and on it went.

But did you see what the above passage has to say? My sinful nature was cut away, I was raised to a new life, ALL my sins were forgiven (that means past, present and future), I am new! So why do I continue to operate out of a place and belief opposite of all that? Part of my struggle is in remembering who I am in Christ and not getting so wrapped up in finding my validation and self-worth in the every day things. Staying at home with my children is more rewarding than I ever imagined, but I find that all too often, I look to their behavior (in public or at home) or what milestone they hit as a barometer of how well I’m doing as a mom. On the wife front, it’s hard to not feel like there are certain chores that have to be done every day in order for me to feel like I’ve done enough by the time Matt gets home. When you work outside of the home, you get an evaluation to gauge how well you’re performing. And of course, you want a good one. As a stay at home mom, I get a good evaluation if the house is clean, dinner is cooked, the kids are out of pajamas and playing quietly and I haven’t lost my temper. Oh, and I’ve done all the things I should do as a believer in Christ.
Do you see the problem with this? Whose expectations are these? Not Matt’s, that’s for sure. Definitely not God’s. They’re mine. I have set for myself a set of rules and expectations that, if unmet, means I am a failure at being a wife, mom and Christian. If they’re unmet, I’ve let down everyone in my life and God. But all I need to do, if I even really need to “do” anything, is remain rooted in Christ–let my roots go down and draw my nourishment from Him. While all of the above things are good things to do, and yes, I do read my Bible, they aren’t what define me or make me holy or right before God (having a quiet time is a GREAT thing, but it doesn’t replace having a relationship with Christ and I am not advocating never reading your Bible or spending time with Him or serving in the church). I am already right before God. I am already holy. Because He went to the cross for me, because He said I am worth it. He is pleased with me in spite of crumbs on the floors, a bathroom that needs scrubbing, laundry that needs to be folded, reheating last night’s dinner for tonight’s dinner, letting the kids watch TV and not getting around to my time with Him.

 

I don’t have it perfected yet, but I love the reminders from Him in Scripture that I am a new being and righteous in His sight. What do you think about this passage? Does it give you hope or make you feel a burden?

 

Blessings,

Erin

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Try, try again.

Right? That’s how that old saying goes, and generally speaking, it’s not a bad rule of thumb to follow. Unfortunately, that has been exactly how I have treated my life, spiritual or otherwise, and it never seems to work.
Does this sound familiar?

Self: “I will get up at 5:00 to do my devotions, work out and shower before the kids get up, I have to go to work, etc.” Go to bed at a reasonable time, set the alarm, and feel great about the plan.

The alarm goes off, you sluggishly roll over and stare at it until you convince yourself that hitting snooze won’t hurt anything (after all, it’s only 9 more minutes) and then you will definitely, yes, definitely, get up.

And……an hour later, the baby is crying, the 3 year old is pattering into your room announcing the new day, “Psst! Momma! Are you awake?” and the almost-but-not-quite-two-year-old is alternately singing/screaming in his crib. Rise and shine, indeed.

Three hours later, you may just be getting around to your morning cup of coffee or you may be refereeing sharing the train table between the boys while trying to sweep up stray Cheerios or do the dishes (more likely the dishes will still need to be done by lunch time) and the phone starts ringing just as someone takes a header into a wall.

If you’re like me, that’s when you LOSE IT.

For crying out loud, all you want to do is finish clearing up from breakfast and maybe sit down and take one sip of coffee before the next crisis arises! Oh, and that devotion time? Yeah, haven’t gotten around to it yet. Now you’re thinking about during nap time. But aren’t you supposed to do it in front of the kids so they can “catch” you spending time with God? Oh, and working out? Well, I guess that’s going to be going up and down the basement steps lugging laundry.

By the time the husband comes home, you’ve put the 3 year old in time out at least 10 times, the 2 year old has spent the entire day screaming and whining and the baby refuses to be put down. You’ve snapped at the kids, muttered under your breath about how easy your husband has it (or a friend, or whomever) and you’ve had your fill. Dinner is late, bed time can’t come soon enough and you still have yet to do those blasted dishes.

Who’s with me? And the coup de grace is when you do finally get to sit down and rest, that’s when the guilt starts to seep in. It’s been there all day, but it really comes to the forefront when things are just getting quiet.

“Man, I really blew it today with the kids. I didn’t show them patience or love. They must think I’m a monster.”

“Wow, God, I really let You down today. I’m so sorry. I know I didn’t spend any time with You. I promise tomorrow I’ll do better.”

“Was I really that mean to my husband? I must be turning into a shrew. Well, I’ll make it up to him. Apologize. Make him his favorite dinner. Something.”

And, so, with a renewed vow to do better, you go to bed thinking that tomorrow will be different.

And it will be. And maybe for a little while, things are going better. You’re more committed to having a gentle and patient spirit with your children. You show more love to your husband. You become more disciplined about spending time with God.

But if you’re like me, this only lasts for a very short season. And the day depicted above happens again. And again. And again. And each time, we try a little bit harder to be better, do better, be different.

Can I be honest? I am so tired of trying harder. I am so tired of feeling inadequate in my roles as a wife, mother, friend, Christian….of feeling unworthy at the end of every day in some respect. Oh, I actually spent what I felt to be an adequate amount of time interacting purposefully with my children? Then I neglected God and that isn’t good. Oh, I spent the next day spending time with God? Well, yeah, but it was at the expense of my children (or my house, or my husband, etc.). Can anyone relate?

What God has been showing me over the last three years (roughly) is that with Him, I never have to try again. That I am free from the checklists that were keeping me in bondage to the world and its expectations and I can live, really live, out of the grace He gave me when I accepted Him. That who He has created me to be is enough. Never again do I need to look to my roles as a wife, mother, friends, etc. for my validation. Being Erin is enough to Him. And He will always be happy with me. Pleased with me. No matter if I lose my temper or don’t get to my quiet time for the day. He loves me that much.

This is where I’m coming from. Where I’m learning from. I’m learning to see myself with new eyes; as Christ sees me, and consequently, maybe just a little bit of how others see me, too. Do I have it all figured out? Absolutely not. But I’m loving the changes I am seeing in my life as a result. And funnily enough, the changes are happening without me trying. Isn’t God amazing?

What do you think? Am I crazy or does some of this resonate within your own heart? Please feel free to share.

Blessings,

Erin

ps. in the interest of full transparency, and lest you think that I always have half an hour or 45 minutes to blog every day, I would like to share that I was interrupted twice by the three year old who was supposed to be keeping still during his quiet time. Once was because, “Momma, I can’t sweep (sleep)!” and the second because, “Momma, I think Daddy’s home. I must go hide.” The other two are confined to cribs, so I do have that going for me. 😉

A Beginning

You could say that I’m no stranger to blogging; I’ve had three (I think? It could be more.) at various times in my life, and for different reasons, they’ve all faded into oblivion. I’m hopeful that this blog will be different, that it’s a new beginning.
I am Erin. Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere. If you stick with me, I hope to share with you the journey I am on right now. God is doing things in my heart and life and one way for me to process everything is to write. A “Grace Filled Heart” is me opening up and sharing my heart and my desire to live an intentional life out of the grace and freedom granted me by salvation.
Bring a cup of coffee, your thoughts and let’s figure out what this grace stuff is all about, shall we?

Blessings,

Erin