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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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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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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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

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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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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