Sunday

Walking the Walk-Friendship Project Update #2

If you've stopped by from the Encouragement for Today devotion, welcome. I am posting a video update today. Let's chat...(hey, if you have trouble opening this, leave me a comment. Oh, any other comments are welcome too!)

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Wednesday

The FriendshIp Project 2009

Hey ladies. Check out the video below. And be gentle, it's my first time shooting a video and actually uploading it. Oh, I'm so nervous, but this will be totally worth it. I am so excited about this! Come back tomorrow for details on how to join our (soon-to-be set up) Facebook page!!

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Monday

A quiet womb and a broken heart

Welcome to those of you joining me from my "Encouragement for Today" devotion.

I'm not really myself right now. I spent this weekend at a retreat for my home church where I taught a series of sessions regarding the biblical mandate for friendship. It was an amazing weekend. I am in love with my friends. I am so blessed to have deep, abiding, make-me-better-than-I-am best friends. But this weekend I learned the stories of  so many women in our church.  In just a small delegation of women from our church, we had women who have:
-buried spouses
-who have lost homes
-suffered various and wretched forms of abuse
-survived infidelity
-come from unbelieving, broken or abusive homes
-buried parents or children
-had miscarriages both early and late-term

As I heard their stories I wept. We shared our desire to reach outside ourselves to use these experiences for others benefit; it is a ministry borne of pain. It was a supremely emotional weekend, but I savored every moment. I was spent in the best sense of the word. My Mom and I left the retreat laughing and celebrating our God-weekend. He was so, so good. As we were sitting over our last lunch before re-entering life we got a call from my Dad.

My brother and sister-in-law had just found out they lost their baby. My sister-in-love was just 12 weeks pregnant.  After some spotting they went to the doctor and sat patiently waiting to hear the promising, sweet swooshing of  an in utero heartbeat. It was a long silence interrupted by the tears of a young couple with a quiet womb and broken hearts.

I shared this weekend that the early chapters of Luke demonstrate the grace of God and the priority of friendship. God blesses Mary, the soon-to-be mother with a friend equally unlikely to be in that favored position-Elizabeth. Of all the things the angel could have told Mary, he assures her that Elizabeth is also with child and that with God nothing is impossible.

Elizabeth had chosen to keep herself hidden from everyone, but not Mary. These two friends walk this journey of expectancy together. Hearts are knit together for all kinds of reasons, but for women I don't know that many things draw us to another woman more than the knowledge that she knows intimately what we're feeling. She has been there.

Shared experiences transcend age, race, creed or distance; but that doesn't make sharing those experiences easy, does it? Shared experiences also require shared emotions. It can be hard to go back to that place of raw wreckage, to join someone in their pain. It requires revelation, transparency and risk.

But can I ask you to consider going there? I know you don't know my sweet, trembling, grieving sister-in-love, but she is amazing. She is resilient. She is faithful. She is private. She is choosing to deal with her grief at home with my brother. I support that, and I want to support her on her terms. I would love to gift her with encouragement and comfort that only someone who has been there can offer. I have not been there. You?

If you have ever experienced a miscarriage would you consider leaving her a comment here? Thank you in advance for entering her pain. "For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

Tuesday

Un-miffed. Part 2.

I'm back. Sorry to leave so abruptly last night. I have a ten-month old with a double ear infection. A ten-month old who awoke six times last night between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. A ten month-old who has been sleeping through the night since four weeks old. I knew something was up because he was.

So one wild and hairy day later filled with a drive to drop off my (currently) healthy four year old and two year old at Nonnie's, a visit to the doctor's office and countless squirts of Germ-X; I'm back home and back to give you the rest of the story.

So to recap, I'm struggling to find my mustard seed. It's there. I know it is. I can feel it. In fact, I can almost see my  boys running through that house, scarring up the floors, nicking the paint, ruining new pairs of jeans in the yard.

But I am struggling. Is it okay for me to believe that God will give me THIS desire of my heart? Do I dare expect Him to act on my behalf for something so selfish? This is the question I asked my husband. You see He's a realist. Well, he says realist, I say he's a pessimist. He points to all the things God IS NOT doing as evidence that this may not be His will for our lives. I point to a dialogue I had with God..in my head. I can't say I blame him for wanting more proof. (By the way, my love advice? Date someone you can be in love with sure, but marry someone you can be in life with. I found one; he's a keeper!)

We decided to look to Scripture to see how faith works. What can we hope for?

My beloved points to Hebrews 11. This hallmark of faith testifies to those who believed God. My beloved points out wisely that many of these super saints received a promise. They believed in something God told them. They had an encounter with the Living God and received a promise or command from Him.

So does what I heard from God constitute a promise? I decide I'd better keep digging.

I look to the gospels. Over and over Jesus either commends individuals for their faith or shames them for their lack thereof. Many of the individuals Jesus healed were healed because of their faith. Presumably they had had no prior interaction with Jesus before going to see Him. They believed in Jesus' capacity to grant their hearts' desires.

Where does this leave me? Why am I un-miffed? Well here's where I am today. And because this seems to be a sort of gray area in Scripture I reserve the right to feel differently tomorrow. But today, well today I've decided the only reason not to believe God for my heart's desire is to protect my heart from disappointment.  So what if I'm wrong?

You see what I know to be true about God WILL NOT change if He doesn't answer my prayer. His ways are perfect. His timing is without flaw. Unfathomably, He loves me more than I love myself. He purposes only good for me. I will not be moved from what I KNOW to be true about God. Experience doesn't trump Scripture. Period.

So it's a no lose situation for me. Either God answers my prayer or I learn more about His character and His purposes for my life. Until God tells me something different I'm going with what I heard. Hearing the voice of God isn't as hard as believing we've actually heard the voice of God. So today I want to tell you I heard God. What I heard I believe.

How about you? Have you heard something from God you want to believe? I don't have anything to lose. You?
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Un-miffed.

Okay. Update time. Our house hasn't sold. We did, however, have a couple walk through. They seemed pretty interested. That was two weeks ago. So no real update there.

We did find a house we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! There is, however, another couple bidding on it as we speak. So no real update there.

I can't totally say that God is moving or moving us. I know it doesn't sound like much of an update, but hang with me. I was having some quiet time last week. I was practicing the discipline of silence. Friends, that spiritual discipline eats my lunch. It is so hard not to fill the silence...with thoughts, with praise, with prayers, with my grocery list.

I was sitting there fighting off flesh and sin when the Spirit asked if I believed God was able to meet my needs, to take care of me. I immediately responded, "of course." 


Unexpectedly, my mind filled with images of our new home. It is that house we found; we were in it, doing laundry and life. God promised a future I could almost see and savor. I immediately wiped my mental screen blank.

"Lord, I am not seeking You regarding our home. This time is meant just to enjoy You, to offer you my silence as an act of worship." As I sat congratulating myself on my piety, my head filled with images of my new home again.

This time I was getting worried that my flesh was threatening to invade my time with God by distracting me with images of what I want, need, hope for. Maybe you've experienced this? Something in you tries to make worship, or Bible Study or prayer time all about you? Oh, no? Okay. That's just me. Anyway, so this time rather than just offer up a prayer, I offered up my crucifixion.


"Father crucify anything in me that isn't led by your Spirit, anything that doesn't honor You or leave you room to move. This time is not about me. I die to myself, God."


Thinking I'd done more than enough to ward off future distractions, I silence my heart and mind to revere the Lord. Within moments it's there again. Our red house. The one my four-year old stood on the deck and asked God to give us. The red house I've been eyeing for over 18 months. The gorgeous craftsman, European on nearly four acres. The house that features the kitchen of magazine spreads and my dreams.

I start to wipe it away when God whispers, "do you believe I am able?" Do you trust I can AND that I will?"


And that's where the conversation ended-a conversation that really never should have been a conversation to begin with. See, I stink at silence! Anywho...

So this is where I've been for over a week. I mean, do I trust that HE can? Maybe more to the point, am I allowed to trust that He will? I don't really live in the "name it; claim it" arena of faith. And yet, I sincerely believe God was trying to get through my doubt-laced, self-gorged heart. I believe He was trying to give me a promise. I think He was looking for a mustard seed.

In turn, I have spent the last week looking for a mustard seed too. Come back tomorrow to see what I've found. Until then try today to sit in silence before God. Can't wait to hear what you hear. You?
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Miffed.

Girls, can we chat or more to the point, can I vent and you listen? Thanks.

 I am miffed at God. Don't freak out on me. He knows it. I've had some pretty frank discussions with God lately. You see, I don't pretend with God. I revere Him, and I love Him. And you know what, I know that I know that I know He loves me. He is the omniscient One. So I figure it's kind of foolish to "play church" with God. He is my most trusted friend, but right now, I'm a little irritated.

My husband and I put our house on the market in April of 2008, literally a month before the gloom and doom news started. In eighteen months we have had two couples walk through and three price reductions. I'm pretty sure it's not a good sign when your price reductions outnumber your showings. Ughh!

"Why oh why," you ask, "would someone leave their home on the market in this economy?" Oh, girlfriend, I have asked myself that question a thousand times. Here's how I've rehearsed it in my head.

We live in a city 40 minutes from our church. It made sense when my beloved and I both worked outside the home. We chose to live near jobs and drive to church. That was also before we had children. BC (before children), it wasn't a big deal to drive to church and small group three times a week. Now well, it's a little difficult. We get up at 7 am to be at church by 10 am. We leave for small group two hours before it starts...and we still rarely make it on time.

All of this begs the questions "why oh why, would you not just change churches?" Well, we simply love our church. Our pastor believes you should find a church whose vision captures your heart and soul. Then never, ever leave that church unless the vision changes. Don't leave cause you got mad at somebody. Don't leave cause you don't like the worship. Don't leave cause you don't like how they spend God's money. Don't leave cause it's too far a drive.

We believe wholeheartedly our church's vision will build the Kingdom and glorify God. We trust the leadership with our lives. Our Elder board are the four of the five most godly men I know. (My beloved isn't an elder; he is, however, a Deacon.) The way we see it,  a church where you believe in the vision and implicitly trust the leadership, is a rare jewel.

Secondarily, our best friends are members of our church. We have been doing small group since our church's inception. My beloved and I have built life-changing, world-altering friendships through three different groups. Right now I can name at least six different couples who would be at my house tomorrow if my world fell apart or if I just simply asked them. We love their children, and they love mine. We do life with them. We know they love us for who we are while challenging us to become more like Jesus. How ridiculously blessed are we?  I say these friendships are world-altering because we are absolutely changing our world to be nearer to them. Friendships like these are totally worth the effort. (Sarah, we will get there!)

So it's a pretty persuasive case for moving right? Oh, but that isn't all. Add doing ministry and life with a church full of people we love to the fact that our parents, brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews are all in the town where our church is. We love, love, love our families. For this season of our lives, forty-five minutes feels like too far.

Here's the thing. God knows all of this too. We sincerely believe He has confirmed that Crosspointe is the place where we will give our lives in service to Him and the Kingdom. He has led us in leadership. He is ordaining more opportunities to invest, serve and share. He knows where our families are. He has blessed us with a growing family. He has called me to ministry. The only thing He has NOT done is sell our home.

And you know what? God is not constrained by economies. He doesn't have to wait on the Fed. God moves in the lives of men to accomplish His good will. It doesn't matter that Georgia has an inventory of for sale homes to last more than a decade. God is bigger than all of this.

So, I am miffed. My heart has pled my case to my Father. I have been in prayer. I have asked how I can align my will with His. I have searched my heart to see areas where He wants me to grow in Christlikeness. I have promised to sacrifice my will to His own. I am submitting.

Here's the tension. The Word promises that we can bring our requests before Him. The Word teaches that His plans are perfect. The Word pledges that He will not withhold any good thing from His children. My mind concedes. I trust. My emotions, just haven't caught up yet.

Can you relate? Have you been in a situation where you willfully chose to believe God is Who He says He is, and will do what He says He will do? Or, are you still letting your emotions shape what you believe about God?

I've been burned enough to know not to be led by my emotions. Emotions are dangerous. The Word of God is sure. Today I exercise faith. I have made my choice, even if I don't totally feel like it. You?

P.S. If you know anyone looking for a home in Lawrenceville, GA check out this link and put them in touch with us!
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And a friend's a friend forever...(finish it you Michael W. Smith fans)

If you are stopping by my blog from the Encouragement for Today devotions by the P31 team or if Lysa sent you by to say hello, welcome! Stay a while, It would be great to hang out with you.

Do you Facebook or Twitter? Those are some crazy little gadgets, aren't they? I love how it connects me with people I haven't had contact with in years. Just as nifty, it connects me with people I actually saw at church on Sunday, but didn't get to sit down and talk with. When it comes to Facebook in particular, I'm kind of just a Facebook stalker. I don't really post a whole lot; I just sneak a peek inside other people's world. I love looking at pictures of their kids, their trip to Disney or Grandma's 90th Birthday party. In all honesty, though, I rarely engage.

That got me thinking, am I that way in life? Do I really engage with my real-life, not-via-email/Facebook/Twitter/Blogging friends?

Girls need friends. I am a 31-year-old mother of three, and I still desperately need friends.  I need girlfriends to talk to about diaper duty, the best laundry detergents and which farm has the best pumpkin patch this fall. I need to come up for air from the daily-ness of Mommy duty. My girlfriends let me be me.

Maybe I should take it a step further. It's not even that I just need friends. According to Facebook I have like, 347 of those. No, I need relationships-deep, real relationships. I need the kind of relationships that will ask me tough questions, help me deal with sin and keep me accountable to follow through with the lessons God is teaching me. My best friends don't just let me be me, they push me to be more like Jesus. But these kinds of relationships are hard work. They don't just happen overnight or a via a Facebook status update.

These kinds of relationships require that I engage. It's the same word we use to describe a couple's pre-marital status. It connotes a pledge or a vow. I want to be the kind of friend that pledges to help make my others' lives better-more like Jesus. You?

I'm writing a teaching series on the topic of friendship. Leave me a comment on your experience with girlfriends. Love 'em, need 'em or leave 'em? I really would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks friends. And hey, how are you more like Jesus today than yesterday?

Delayed potty training

Before you commit too much time reading this post, let me be up front. It's about poo or stinky or whatever polite euphemism you have for it. Hey, I'm a mommy of little ones. A lot of my day deals with potty issues.

My four year old is potty-trained, but you know because he's four I'm still pretty intimately involved in the process.  I also have an infant who poops all the stinkin' time! So the two and half year old is not training yet. Please don't judge me. I have enough Mommy guilt of my own. His older brother just flipped the switch around three (after a few unsuccessful months of "trying.") So this time I'm avoiding all the accidents and head ache and just biding my time. No, I don't know if that's best, but it is what makes sense for us.

Here's why I know that. You see not long ago I was getting ready to put this same two-year old down for his afternoon nap. Yeah, afternoon nap, as in well after noon. Let's just say like 2:00 pm. Anyway, it was about this time that I realized this sweet, happy, middle child was still wearing his diaper from the night before! (Yes, we are contributing to his therapy fund now.) I am appalled. I am embarrassed, and I am a repeat offender.  You see, it wasn't the first time this had happened. Clearly, I'm not with it enough to add potty training to my list of daily responsibilities.

Now just in case you don't think I'm crazy enough let me let you in on my relationship with God. I talk to God about all kinds of things...even poop. Really, I worry that I'm not being attentive enough to my middle son. So I thought I'd chat it up with God about potty training.

"Should I just make the commitment, make the switch and go for it? Cause that could be a lot of trouble."

He lets me go on and on about it for a few minutes. When I take a rare breather I realize He doesn't really weigh in on the whole potty training issue. Nope. That would have been too easy. Instead He prompted me to apply this potty training philosophy to how I deal with sin in my life. Wait for it.  There really is a correlation.

You see, as it pertains to most of the sin in my life, I'm kind of waiting to flip the switch. It would appear that I think that one day I'll just wake up mature enough to stop having these embarrassing, um, "accidents." No to mention the convenient truth that I like spending a lot of time on the internet. I really do like being right which means some unfortunate arguments with my beloved. And listen, I'm not proud of it, but apparently I really do like to gossip as much as the next gal. I've gotten pretty comfortable with my stuff.

Not to mention that practicing holiness would require work. And I am likely to have a few embarrassing moments along the way. Which sounds good until God reminds me that while I wait to "flip the switch" I am sitting in my own filth. And friends, that's not good for anybody. I've got some growing up to do, and I've been putting it off for too long.

So how about you? Are you sitting in something? Are you waiting to tackle the poop in your spiritual life? Let's do it together. Sure we might mess up, but I don't really want to be a thirty-one year-old toddler. You?


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Monday

"ME"ntal Block

Hi, I'm Whitney, and I'm a wanna-be blogger.

I know I probably shouldn't tell you that, but hey you could look at my post frequency and come to the same conclusion on your own. So, I'll save you the trouble. I'm a poser, a wanna-be.

I just have such a hard time getting stuff out of my noggin and onto this screen. It could be because I have a four year-old, a two year-old and an eight month old...oh, and they're all boys. But come on, any Mom knows you really can't use that excuse. Kids are kids. One is hard when you have one. Two is hard when you have two. Three is hard when you have, well you get the picture. I'm betting that gal on TLC birthing her like, 20th kid would say this ain't no
cakewalk, you know?

So my blogging infrequency isn't really about that. It also can't be for a lack of material because, as previously stated, I've given birth to three boys in four years. My house is some kind of crazy. Hilarity happens on a regular basis. Now I will say that it regularly happens that by the time I sit down to actually blog about said hilarity I can't remember it. Even then, however, that's really only a part of my problem.

I have discovered recently that I am a little freaked out by the whole prospect of blogging. I agree with it in principle and in practice. I love the idea of a cyber community. I love sharing life and offering what little encouragement I can. I love seeing inside another person's world. I love seeing Jesus in the little things that happen in your world and mine.

But putting something down that will likely be "out there" (wherever "out there" is) for all eternity is more than a little intimidating. And everything I read about blogging says that whatever you put out there is a part of your branding, your image. What?! That's like more pressure than high school. I didn't love it the first go round so you can get why I'm more than a little worried about what you think about me.

Does anybody else out there struggle with this? I'm afraid if I write too often or tweet too much then you'll think that I think my life is all that. People in high school thought I was stuck up because I was too insecure to inject myself into random conversations and peer groups. I wanted too be friends with everybody. I just couldn't let myself relax enough to hang out. That's only one tiny part of my problem, but let's move on. I think I'm already at novella status!

Okay so you probably know more about me than you wanted to, and in the unlikely event that anyone is STILL reading, hang with me. I do have a point.

I'm working through my issues because, well, Mommy's don't get to have issues. We're too busy obsessing about the issues we're giving our kids...anywho...

I really do want to hang out with you more often than once a quarter. So I'm just going to try and get over myself. Will you still be my friend? Cause right now I'm a little nervous. I don't even know if I can do this, but I want to. I started blogging because I wanted to share what God was doing in my life with people who might see His activity and be challenged or (God willing) changed by it.

Since I started blogging for reasons that had nothing to do with me, I think I shouldn't not do it because of reasons that are all about me. How egotistical would that be?

So here's my point. What are you not doing because of you? Have you built something up in your head to be bigger than it really is? Are you putting off something God has called you to do because you're freaked out by well, you? Are the messages in your head keeping you from moving forward into what's next? Are you more than a little worried about what other people will think of you?

Let's dive in together. I'm sick of me. You?

Oh, and I WILL see you tomorrow.

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Thursday

That Post-SAT feeling

Wow. The second day of team time at She Speaks is over, and my brain is mush. Do you remember leaving the SAT's? Your know, you could barely remember your name, and you answered every question with an almost indistinguishable, monosyllabic grunt? That's how I feel. This day was chock full of wonderful encouragement, edification, training and fellowship. I am simultaneously full and empty. I have been given much, but have not much left to give.

Don't worry if you are attending this weekend. The P31 team will be recharged and ready to see your sweet faces on Friday!!! We can hardly wait. Friends, God is up to some big stuff!

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Wednesday

One Wild Sorority

If you happen to be dropping by from the Proverbs 31 devotion, thanks for stopping by. If you've read my devotion, you know I am a mommy to three little boys. I love, love, love my life, but I also love a little break from it every now and then. This weekend I am in Charlotte for Proverbs 31's Annual She Speaks conference. So for the next few days I am not a Mommy (in the daily, active sense) I am speaker, encourager, dreamer and girlfriend. If you are coming, I can't wait to meet you.

If you aren't joining us, then you are likely sitting at home knee deep in the dailyness of life. If you are a Mom I want to encourage your heart with some valued input from a dear friend of mine. This Mommy-in-the-trenches is my roomie for the weekend and the Editor of the Proverbs 31 Woman magazine. Meet Glynnis Whitwer. Enjoy this guest post from Glynnis about one harrowing (and low/high) day with her kids. Ah the fellowship of motherhood. We are one wild sorority!

Mopping Up After An Emotional Meltdown

By Glynnis Whitwer


"I am living proof that a competent woman can go from being in control to a major meltdown in less than an hour. And in a wild 60 minutes, my confidence that God could use someone like me plummeted – and I was ready to resign from everything.


It started out as a normal weekday morning. It was 7:30, we had 50 minutes before my three boys needed to leave for school, and everything was running smoothly – at least I thought it was.


However, at 7:45 a.m. my middle son, Dylan, reminded me that he needed baby pictures for his Super Star of the week poster. As we sat on the floor sorting through photos, my oldest son, Joshua, told me he had volunteered to help decorate for a party at 8:00. Josh had mentioned the party earlier in the week, when he told me he was bringing 32 gallons of orange juice! After I explained that would cost about $90, which was steep for a school event, we settled on something more affordable. In the hubbub about the juice, I neglected to learn the date of the party.


Well, it was today. At least I was dressed, but had wet hair and no make up. We raced to the car, and I pushed the automatic door opener. It started to open then ground to a halt as a bike fell against it. By this time it was 8:10, Josh was late and the other two needed to leave in 10 minutes. We cleared the obstacle, and were starting to leave as I heard the phone ring. Dylan had answered it and yelled into the garage, “It’s the school. They wanted to know if you are coming. I told them you were on your way.”


I had no idea why the school would be wondering if I was coming, and I was already frustrated. Assuming the call had something to do with the party, I turned to my son and spoke in an elevated and annoyed voice, “What did you volunteer me to do at the party? Why is the school expecting me?” In the two-minute drive to school I launched into a full-blown lecture on why Josh should never volunteer me for anything before he talked with me. He got out of the car without a kiss, and shuffled off, shoulders hunched.


I raced home to get the other two boys out the door, late I might add. How I wished I could have collapsed on the couch with a cup of coffee, but the morning wasn’t over. In fact, I had 15 minutes to get to church for a Bible study, for which I was bringing snacks and leading a small group discussion. Unfortunately I still wasn’t ready.


As I raced to my bedroom, I glanced at the calendar and froze. There it was, an 8 a.m. meeting with my youngest son’s speech therapist. That was the phone call from the school! The speech therapist, the homeroom teacher and the assistant principal were waiting for me to show up. The worst part was they thought I was on my way.


I instantly burst into tears. Not just the sad, slow-drip-down-the-face kind, but sobs. Sobs that came from feelings of inadequacy and being completely overwhelmed.


I was frustrated that I hadn’t looked at my calendar, and that I hadn’t avoided the “emergencies” by preparing the night before. But more than anything else, I was devastated that I had lectured my sweet Joshua because I thought he’d done something wrong. As I recalled his confused, hurt face, my sobs grew deeper. I hadn’t even kissed him goodbye. My apology to Josh had to wait, but I confessed my sin to the Lord, and felt His forgiveness.


Being an unattractive crier, I now had wet hair, no makeup, and red, puffy eyes that no amount of foundation could hide. I managed to fix my hair, slather a tube of concealer on my face, get to the Bible study and slide into my seat with seconds to spare.


During the praise time before the Bible study, I felt shame once again for my behavior earlier that morning. Even though I knew God accepted my confession, a spiritual battle began in my mind. Fiery accusations pierced my thoughts, “How can God use you when you are quick to blame and can’t keep your act together? If people knew what you are really like, they would never let you lead a Bible study.” That’s right. What am I doing here? I mentally agreed. Tears started to fall, as I wondered how I could get out of my responsibilities that morning.


Before I could back out of the room, the Lord spoke to my heart, “Child, you have been forgiven. Don’t feel shame over what you have done. I have chosen you because you have value. I know what you can be.” The Lord knew Satan’s condemning words would crush me, and He stepped into the gap between my heart and the lies.


In my moment of weakness, God lovingly reminded me that He chose me and believes in me. It was just what I needed to hear.


As I reflected on that morning, I saw how feelings of inadequacy paralyze people from being used by God. It’s easy to get drained by responsibilities and overwhelmed by needs. And many times we fall short of our own expectations. How Satan laughs with glee when we allow those circumstances to define our worth. If I didn’t know God’s truth about my value, I would have quit every ministry responsibility that morning.


There was lots of mopping up in the aftermath of my meltdown morning. I got through the Bible study by God’s grace, and was able to apologize to Joshua that afternoon. I didn’t quit any ministry responsibilities and I learned a valuable lesson: When the meltdown mornings hit, we need to hit our knees. Ask for forgiveness if necessary, and don’t allow Satan to creep through a crack in your armor of faith. It’s all he needs to start weaving a web of lies in your mind about your worth, or lack of it. The truth is that we have unbelievable value and worth, not only to God, but to those around us."


See why I love her? Don't you feel better just for hearing her story? There is safety in numbers. Okay friends, my brain is done. Hugs until tomorrow!!! Oh, and kiss your kids goodnight; this Mommy is missing her smelly boys.





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Monday

Mommy Meltdowns and Moments

Dearest co-laborers for the next generation, (a.k.a. Mom's)

Do you ever feel physically beaten up? Today was one of those days for me. We have hit a stride with our 7-month old, which is A.W.E.S.O.M.E. He is an amazingly easy baby. Which is good because his older brothers may well kill me. All before breakfast I had handed out two bouts with time-out, one spanking and multiple "this behavior is unacceptable" discussions. I so did not expect to be navigating the world of "he hit me" and "I had it first" so soon. You wiser, well-versed Moms are laughing aren't you? This is the stuff of toddler years, isn't it?

My Dad is a Pastor, and like myself, he is a true introvert. He would often come home after a day of ministry and report that he was out of "people dollars." Ya'll can I confess that these days this Mommy is nearly bankrupt of toddler dollars well before noon? Before NOON?! I don't bother to pray for patience anymore. I'm not sure there is enough. I do, however, pray for stamina. They are wearing me down!

I have found that on days like these commiseration is sometimes the best encouragement. I need girlfriends. I need someone to say "I know what you are going through." And while my husband is a remarkable man, he doesn't get it. How could he? This is a unique job the scope of which can't really be appreciated over a 4-hour stint while I'm out with my girlfriends. Recently I was trying to explain how stinkin' hard this is. I said that while I wouldn't trade staying at home what I did from 8-5 at Chick-fil-A (where I worked full-time before staying home) was WAY easier than what I do now.

(Now, for all you working Mom's I know you have the double portion. You do all I do and work. I know getting up at o'dark thirty and hauling kids to a sitter/daycare, sitting in traffic, and getting to work without getting cheerios or spit up on your outfit takes a literal act of God. I did it for four months, and I don't envy you.)

What I did at Chick-fil-A was hard, but so much easier than this. I felt daily affirmed and rewarded. I was valued. I saw immediate pay-off for hard work, etc, etc, etc. My sweet husband looked at me intently and said, "then go back to work; our household budget would thank you." You see, he can't understand.

This is the hardest and best thing I've ever done. I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world. But today I am tired of explaining why sharing makes Jesus happy. I am tired of cleaning up spit up. For today I wish I could see that this is making a difference. For just today I want someone to say I have been there. How about you?

For the rest of this week I will be at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference. I'll be investing my dollars in other women who feel called to speak, write, lead and serve all for the glory of God in the name of the Gospel. In my absence, enjoy some Mommy meltdowns and moments from some of my dearest girlfriends at Proverbs 31. They'll be sharing Mommy moments from the trenches. Many of them are well on the other side so they know what they are talking about. Be encouraged-oh, and laugh at their expense, they won't mind.

Hugs until next week.

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Thursday

You Tube Virgin

Thanks so much for all the kind comments and commiseration. The encouragement from Mom's in the trenches and Mom's on the other side has been invaluable. The only thing consistent in our collective experiences is the sweetness of surrender and sisterhood. We are in this thing called Motherhood together. We are not alone.



If you don't receive the Proverbs 31 Woman Magazine visit http://www.proverbs31.org/p31womanmagazine/thisMonthsFeature.php.

I wrote a feature about that very thing. Failure. Fellowship. Friendship. (By the way, I have no idea why that picture of the magazine is enormous. Sorry for the extreme close up.)

If you are here, and you're in the midst of something that seems exhausting and overwhelming listen to this. Know that right now, the best thing we can do is seize the day. Enjoy. (I sure hope this works.)







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Tuesday

Wonder Mom

If you're stopping by from the Proverbs 31 Devotion, thanks for clicking on over. I'd love to get to know you a little better. Hi, I'm Whitney, but to my boys I'm Wonder Mom! We're friends so I can tell you that most days I'm just fudging my way through this motherhood thing. I make more mistakes than I can count. But just this morning I was simultaneously folding clothes and having a sword fight with my two-year old. Nothing spectacular. My form could certainly use some work, and in the end I did take the fatal blow. But I went out in style-lots of chocking and gasping for air as I fell to my death. As I laid on the carpet breathing my last my sweet, tasmanian devil little boy fell on my chest and yelled, "Yeah Mommy!" Then he kissed my lips and said, "Wake up sweeping booty." (For the uninitiated, let me translate. That's two-year old speak for "Sleeping Beauty.")

Isn't motherhood a kick in the head, or a stab in the heart?! What can simlutaneously exhaust and invigorate? Or more to the point, how can I love the company of my children yet countdown to naptime everyday? How can I feel like a supreme failure and still be heralded a super hero? Motherhood, it's a wonder we survive!

Are you a Mom? Do you know where I'm coming from?

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be doing a series of posts about Mommy Meltdowns and Moments. Stop back by for some encouragement and a good laugh. See you in a few! I'm being attacked by a rogue band of dinosaurs!

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Thursday

Working Dad

We had a discussion the other night at small group about finding Kingdom value in our 8-5 jobs. We are reading John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life." (I highly recommend it!) I made the argument that in respect to finding value and meaning in the "daily-ness" of life, women have it easier than men. I'm now a stay-at-home Mom who works a little on the side, but even when I still worked full-time, I was a "working Mom." The moment I birthed our first-born and returned to work that became my title-"working Mom."

Sure, I worked at the corporate office of Chick-fil-A. Sure, I helped make Operator selection decisions. Sure, I contributed to our recruiting efforts across the country. But ask me (and anyone else for that matter) I was not an employee, I was a working Mom. Few things I did from 8-5 compared to the significance, joy and satisfaction of being Coop's Mom. It is ever more true now that I have three little ones for whom I am accountable.

Rarely (if ever) does anyone describe my beloved as a "working Dad." He, like most men, is defined almost exclusively by his career. Think about it. When you meet someone new one of the very first questions you'll ask is "so what do you do?" In the case of my beloved, the CEO, a catch all title for what he does is quite difficult to pin down-businessman, engineer, technical specialist, manager. He does a lot of things, and all of them excellently. However, the thing I think he does best is be a Dad. He works tirelessly most days more than 10 hours, and then spends the rest of his time wrestling with the big boys, showing them how to play video games, changing a diaper, feeding a rowdy crowd dinner, saying bedtime prayers.

Not unlike most Moms I know, his job is never done. He is a full-time employee and a 24/7 Dad, but rarely is he acknowledged as such. I don't expect my little blog will change societal mores, but it must change me.

I need to affirm my husband as the remarkable businessman AND father that he is. He doesn't do either in a vacuum. In each role he adds incredible value not only to the world and our family, but to the Kingdom. He is a man of incredible integrity. He seeks the welfare of others and success of his company at all times. He is zealous for excellence in all he does. He is quick to offer advice or prayer as the occasion arises.

If he finds it difficult to see the benefit of what he is doing perhaps he needs a more vocal cheerleader. What about the working Dad's in your life?

I love you darling. Thanks for being more than a man. You are my heart's desire. Our boys are immeasurably blessed.






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Sunday

Time Warp...

Hello long lost friends. To those faithful few who keep checking back in to see if I've posted anything new, you are too kind. Sorry I've been MIA. Did you know that life with a three-year-old, two-year-old and a six-month old is kind of hectic? I fall in the bed most nights (when I usually have good intentions of bloggging) in a near stupor. Lots of rest for the weary.

So I have much to update you on. We celebrated a momentus occasion in May. My sweet husband, the CEO, completed his MBA program and with a 3.98 to boot!! On top of that he was selected as speaker for his class a delivered an awesome commencement speech that thrilled my heart. We couldn't be prouder or more relieved. He loathed it, but learned a ton. Three years thankfully passed quickly and there will be no more nights where Daddy leaves us to go to school. I am no longer a single parent. Praise Jesus.

So how do you appropriately honor such a significant achievement? Italy? Greece? New York? Oh no friends, with three little kiddos, you go to Disney World. Eight days of fun, family and funds!! It was awesome. It was the first vacation hubs has had in three years that didn't require him to study late into the night after we'd all gone to bed. What a treat!

So we're figuring out life at the Capps household. It's a new normal, and I am loving it. I hope to be here more frequently these days. I'm emerging from the newborn fog...I can see the light. I have lots of updates on other things too, but in the meantime let me just say, I'm back!!!

I've missed you!

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Monday

I left my heart in Wisonsin


Last weekend I went to hang out with a bunch of yankees in Wisconsin. At least I thought I was hanging out with a bunch of yankees. Turns out these sweet ladies must have been southern-wannabes because they took this redneck in and made her family in less than twelve hours! (And they only moderately made fun of my dialect.) Except for their puffy Land's End coats and the frozen lake outside my window I would have sworn I was south of the Mason-Dixon.

Fun observations:
1-These people actually purchase and wear the stuff that keeps Land's End in business; I always flip to the section of the catalog with the cute canvas totes. Now when one arrives in the mail I'll think of my Crossroads sisters.

2-My first thought when looking out my window to the empty marina, "Why aren't there any boats on this lake?"It literally took me a couple of seconds to realize that the lake was frozen solid. Clearly local folks aren't caught off guard by this phenomenon and pull their boats out in time to have them safely docked elsewhere for the winter. 

3-Crazy, I mean crazy people up in them parts actually drive out and park on said lake. And even crazier ones still actually hike out to the middle of that bad boy, drill a hole, sit in a shack and fish! Give this sweet, southern pansy a warm Red Lobster restaurant any old day.

4-I was at a retreat for a Southern Baptist Church that lives just outside Chicago. Illinois. Now that's as crazy as four inches of snow in Atlanta. In March.

And that's just what I returned home to find-four inches of snow and two very excited little boys and one very excited big boy. While it was delightful to be home the snow made me think of my new family, and I realized I left part of my heart in Lake Geneva.

More tomorrow on the amazing things God did in that place. It was cold outside, but the Fire kept us warm inside. I love it when the Holy Spirit shows off...



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Friday

The Third and Final Installment



Long overdue; pictures of our third son. And yes, we think we are done. But then again how does the phrase go-best way to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans. We will see.

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Saturday

We interrupt normal life

Okay so I only got halfway through my year in review, but I had something come up or out as the case may be. I'd like to introduce you to Ryder Capps, our third son. He joined our family the first week of January. We are home and doing life. At this point that's about as much as I can say. I'll be back with pictures very soon.

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Thursday

2008-A Year In Review


The title of this post almost makes me want to give up before I even start. How on earth do I summarize a year? But I want to do a better job of cataloging our life, God's faithfulness and even some of our failures so that the boys have the stories long after we have forgotten. So, here goes...


In January we took Cooper to his first trip to Disney World. Feeling (I think quite accurately) that Dylan wouldn't remember much we chose to leave him at home. It was a great time for the grandparents to get some time to spoil him all by himself. Chad and I made some amazing memories. What a blessing!




In February we celebrated Dylan's first birthday. My goodness how time flies. In a blink our baby was a year old. Surrounded by family I spent most of the day pinching myself. Over and over on days like these I hear the Spirit whisper "it's the kindness of God that leads to repentance." God has been incredibly kind, and I have much to be repentant for.







Dylan has proven to be an absolute joy and a constant distraction. His energy, sweetness and mischief know no end. Chad and I are constantly amazed at his ingenuity; it's usually aimed at ways to injure himself or break something. He is a delight nonetheless. We tell people regularly that he is the alpa male between he and his brother. Charming and savvy, he will undoubtedly give us stories for years to come.







March and April disappeared into summer without a lot of fanfare. We did decide during this time to put our house on the market...what timing, right? We are sure God is leading us to move back to Covington so we figure this is the first step. We are trusting His sovereignty like never before. Following his will in this life change will surely require His supernatural intervention.
May will forever be remembered as the Mother's Day we discovered we were pregnant with our third (and last) child. I have always wanted three children. This was a sweet and yet poignant moment. I was thrilled to find out we were pregnant, and yet in my marrow I knew I'd never enjoy that news again.

In June I attended the Proverbs31 SheSpeaks conference as a member of the speaking team. I am honored and overwhelmed to be in the company of such amazing women. God is using this ministry to grow me up, and graciously open doors to serve. May the Kingdom grow and God be glorified.
Summer came to a close in a flurry of vacations, trips to the park and play dates. As summer wound down we celebrated Cooper's third birthday. We started potty training, slowly but surely. And remarkably Cooper started to read. His ability to process and retain information is mind-boggling. He knows all of his colors, shapes and alphabet. He can count to 40 or 50, depending on his mood. Coop knows not only his alphabet, but also every phonetic sound the letter makes. He also has an uncanny ability to sing countless praise songs from memory. Our little three-year old is a walking juke box.


I know, I know I'm that Mom, but you see Chad and I don't take any credit for this. God has been remarkably good. Daily my parents' maxim is affirmed-sometimes good parenting happens in spite of our best efforts not because of them. What can be more proof of overwhelming, irresistible grace?
Halfway there. More to come tomorrow.
More to come tomorrow...

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