The trouble with being a ‘Martha-mom’: a lesson in learning how to prioritize my faith

Well. It hit me like a ton of bricks today, but here it is. I am a ‘Martha-mom’. And it is going to have to change.


Yesterday in the Young Marrieds Sunday School Class my husband and I are a part of we were discussing as a group the importance of prioritizing time with God through independent Bible reading or worship time and how easy it is to find something else to do rather than sit down and commit to it. We talked about how it can so quickly feel like you are not engaged or that your attention slips so much it is not worth the effort- these are common struggles!

So I went home pondering this for awhile and thought, “I know the number one thing that stops me from finding that time- my kids. I spend every spare minute of my day recharging from the circus that is keeping up with them.” The second they are asleep I feel as though I also need to be sleeping because if I don’t I will deeply regret it. We’ve all heard it: Sleep when the baby sleeps. I know.

But I am a night owl. I am at my most productive in the evenings and after the sun goes down. This is the time when my brain seems to like functioning best for me. So, nighttime is actually my ideal time to sit with God.

Except, I may regret losing that 30 minutes or more of sleep time. But you know what I am perfectly okay staying up to do instead?

  • load/unload the washing machine
  • work on the endless pile of dirty dishes
  • attempt to pick up the living room
  • submit receipts to the 7 different rebate or cashback apps I have on my phone
  • balance the budget (Like I said, I am unnaturally productive at night)
  • READ A BOOK
  • scroll through social media *hiding my face in shame for this one, the guilt is real*
  • and many more things…

The worst part? I will willingly sacrifice sleep for these things because they are the things that sit at the front of my mind as I watch the clock spin throughout my day.

That’s when I saw it. There it is. I am prioritizing the things that ‘bother me‘ because if I can just eliminate them, I will feel a sense of peace. If I can just get my counters clean I will feel so relieved! If this laundry gets finished and put away I will sleep so much better. There’s nothing like distracting myself from a long day by reading a good book.

You know what triggered this ‘revelation’? The song “It Is Well” that played on my music playlist.

No really. I thought, “Can I really say it IS well with my soul? I feel so rushed and I always look around at all the things I haven’t finished and I can just tell I am not at peace. IS MY SOUL WELL?” When I decided the answer was, in fact, “no” I decided I needed to figure out why.

Why am I so troubled by all the stuff? All the things on my ‘to-do’ list? Why do I find peace only through escapes like books or mindless social media scrolling?

And out of the blue, into my mind pops the classic Sunday School story of Mary and Martha where Martha is bustling about and Mary is sitting listening to Jesus speak. The bible uses these sisters several times as contrasting personalities but in this case- I saw them both as two versions of me.

The passage I felt compelled to read today- ESV version

What things am I allowing myself to be ‘anxious and troubled‘ about? That list looks eerily similar to the first one. The dishes, the laundry, the mess in my living room, the bills and appointments I have coming up, and so on.

So now here I am, having labeled my current state “Martha-Mom” because I am trying my best but I am focusing on the wrong things to take up my thoughts and my time. I need to instead ‘choose the good portion‘ and prioritize sitting with Jesus to explore his teaching. The messes will still be there, the laundry and dishes will never stop coming, and unfortunately I will always have to manage my money or make appointments. That’s life. But what I have been convicted about is the fact that I am lacking peace because I am lacking God. I am busy and rushed and troubled because I allowed myself to forget to pursue that relationship. I dropped it.


Well. Here’s to being a Martha-mom in the process of becoming a Mary-mom. Here’s to taking more time to make sure my heart and soul are well. I am recommitting myself to do better.

Should you?


I would love to hear about ways you dig out a little time to be with God and find peace in your day! Please share!

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Why I can’t always see the “such sweet kids” you tell me I have- and why I so appreciate your praise for them

My kids have been socialized since the day they were born. Literally. We wasted no time passing them off to friends and family to be held and loved on. They knew the feeling of changing arms and shoulders right away. Even now we take our girls with us to events, gatherings, church, and even with us to youth group to hang with the big kids while we serve as youth leaders. They go shopping with us, eat at restaurants with us, wreak mass havoc (or so it seems sometimes) wherever we go, and generally just participate in normal activities.

Drinks outside Tropical Smoothie when Mommy lacked the energy to make lunch

That’s great and all. They are terrific kids and we are fortunate to be able to get them out in the world.

But…. it is HARD!

It’s hard to keep my energetic 2 year old who wants to interact with everything and everyone she sees under control. It’s hard to juggle a carseat or double stroller around in a busy parking lot or stumble into the doctor’s office for a check-up when you are alone. It’s hard to find food they can eat that you don’t feel guilty for later- sometimes McDonalds is the only place you can take them where people won’t mind if they go berserk while you try to feed them.

It’s also hard to avoid all of the hassle and stay home. Home is messes. Home is toys everywhere and crayola crayon on the stairs because paper is boring. Home is looking at all of the chores that you aren’t getting done because one is screaming and the other will gladly “help” you unfold the last thirty minutes of folded laundry.

My daughter’s masterpiece- ‘Unfinished Stairs in Crayola Red’

Being a parent is hard. There is such a mental dissonance between the unconditional and absolute love I have for my kids- and the frustration and anger I feel when looking at all of the things they are doing that I wish they would not.

I love them and because I love them, keeping after them and keeping up with them brings a measure of guilt and fear.

Do I yell too much? Was I too rough in that moment? Did she understand me when I apologized- I hope she knew I meant it. I will do better.

Am I doing enough? Am I enough?

Hard.


However, we are blessed by those same people who interact with our girls. They take them from us, even from a short time, and show them love, patience, and fun that they can’t get at home. They are better behaved for people who aren’t us- or maybe they just seem much sweeter in short doses?

I feel sometimes that when someone approaches me and says, “Your daughters did great today! They are just the sweetest things.” that my replies tend to be surprised relief, or sarcasm.

“Oh good! I’m glad they can behave for somebody.” or “Great! We were worried after this morning that she would be trouble.”

In reality… I just struggle to see it. I know my babies are sweet, social, smiley, and truly fun when they are happy. But I, as mom, see the good get drowned by the crying, the messes, the tantrums, the never-ending chores, and the lack of breaks. For me, my girls demand my every last ounce of patience, love, and endurance I have sometimes. Like I said- hard.

HOWEVER… I NEEDED to hear that they were good for you if they were. I NEED to be reminded that my sweet babies are still precious humans with loving playful hearts. I NEED to see that I must be doing something right because they thrived for the short time I was gone.

Thank you for blessing me with those reminders. Thank you for praising my girls for the moments they are good, and for joining me in patiently correcting them when they are struggling.

If you have contributed to the care of my daughters, or have encouraged me and my husband in parenthood- we thank you. You are exactly what we need and you are helping us to be better parents. If you’re a parent struggling to see the ‘good’ in your kiddos behind the normal chaos of childhood- you are not alone and your commitment will be the thing that most supports your child.

It’s hard. But they really are still ‘the sweetest things.’

Warrior Woman

Some days, especially lately, it weighs on my heart just how important it is to be a woman that shapes her actions around being a force for good. I think a lot about my roles as friend, sister, daughter, wife, mother, and even youth small group leader and the zones of influence my actions have in each of these areas of my life.

I have always loved the saying, “Be the type of woman that when her feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says ‘oh, crap! She’s awake!’,” because I feel it illustrates the truth that from the minute I wake to the minute I fall asleep I am representing my faith in God- if only I was better at representing Him well!!

  • As a friend I am in a position to reach out to, encourage, and support my friends so that they can walk confidently and pursue their passions knowing they have someone to lean on.
  • As an older sister I am in the (sometimes stressful) position of being the go-to when my siblings are struggling with new phases of life. While I never have all the answers and often doubt if I have even given good advice, I can do my best to uplift them and steer them towards Godly guidance and wisdom. I also love that I can count on my siblings to hold me accountable for my actions- we have developed a tell-it-like-it-is kind of relationship and I cherish that!
  • As a daughter and daughter-in-law I try to find ways to help out or be mindful of the needs and feelings of my parents. I like to think I am more appreciative now as a young parent than I ever was before, but I have been blessed by parents and in-laws who make it easy to love & care for them. These are the role models that shaped my household and how I conduct myself as a parent in partnership with my husband- I try to remember to hold down my stubborn nature and accept the wisdom and experience they have to offer me, even though I tend to be set in my decisions. These are also the primary people I count on to watch my babies when I am working- a true display of just how highly I regard them and trust them with my kiddos!
  • Perhaps most importantly, as a wife I need to be convicted of these areas where I ought to actively choose life-pouring, love-giving, actions when interacting with my hubby. I fail at this- unfortunately quite often. He deserves much more encouragement and support and much less nagging & bitterness, but I am a constant work in progress and I hope that as I continue to grow in myself, I will come through as a better wife for my husband.
  • As a mom, I have noticed my oldest beginning to mirror my less-than-desirable behaviors. She crosses her arms and huffs. She groans ‘ughhh!!’ if something is not going well for her. She returns sayings such as ‘I told you no!’ and ‘Listen!’ to use against me when we are arguing over whatever it is she is doing as a typical toddler. These things weigh hard on me because she wouldn’t repeat something so well that she wasn’t seeing a lot, and that means I am spending way too much time losing my cool and reprimanding her rather than breathing life into her day and instructing her on how to act appropriately BEFORE I get upset. It’s hard to see your failures tossed back at you so blatantly- but they challenge me to be a better mom; for this I am grateful.
  • As a small group leader and member of our church this is perhaps the most cookie-cutter way in which I can demonstrate a warrior woman life. With my actions, my words, my prayers, and my time I can be a source of love, genuine interest, wisdom, and grace for the people I have the privilege to work with! My favorite thing is getting to watch the youth group students getting fired up and talking passionately about God’s word or how God is working in their lives! These are the people who will be directly shaping the world my girls will grow up in and who will walk just before my kids into the classrooms, workforce, and society.

In each of these areas I hope I can grow into a better role model and a better version of myself. If I could reach a point where my every move brought glory to God and dealt one more blow to Satan’s plans, well that would be perfection. I know this is not going to be possible- I am only human! But, I can be mindful of the things I do and say, the thoughts I allow to linger in my head, the content I pour into my mind, and the people I spend my time with. I can look for opportunities to not only mirror God’s love, but pour it out by proactively seeking the needs of others. I can help myself stay on track by doing a better job of reading my bible and striving to understand what it is God needs me to do.

“If I could reach a point where my every move brought glory to God… well that would be perfection.


I have one chance at this life thing. I can’t do it perfectly- but I can give it my best shot!!


I am forgiven. I am loved. I am created for greatness. I am cherished. I am capable of moving mountains.

I am warrior woman.

Are you?

Answers for Abigail- updates on her health

For any who don’t know, recently our daughter Abigail was admitted to the local Children’s Hospital for suspected seizure activity that was causing her to have an abnormal EEG and have episodes where she tossed her head forward. You can read more about the background of that journey here.

Abigail enjoying her time free of the EEG!

It is now June 18th, and after being in the hospital since the 15th, we were waiting (im)patiently for answers and a start to treatment that would help her.

Over the course of her stay, Abigail was hooked up to an EEG and data was constantly being collected and read to help determine exactly what kind of seizures she is having. Yesterday afternoon, after having several episodes that were recorded on the EEG, she was officially freed from the electrodes and wires just in time to be sent for an MRI. We were told that we should have more information in the morning after both of those scans were read and a diagnosis determined.

Sleeping with her headwrap on to protect the electrodes

Cue 10:30am this morning… Bobby and I were waiting and continuously drifting our eyes to the door where we knew any moment the doctors should walk through and tell us the news we may not want to hear. I am not good at sitting in anticipation- so I spent the whole time trying to ignore the nervous feeling and convincing myself that whatever they told me would not be the end of the world.

MRI ready!
Post-MRI sleepy girl!

FINALLY, the doctors entered the room and Bobby and I sat next to each other and braced ourselves. They told us:

-Abigail’s MRI came back all clear!! This means there are no structural abnormalities causing her episodes. Because it came back completely normal we had blood drawn to explore the possibilities of gene mutations causing her episodes and the erratic brain activity. We will not know these results for a few weeks.

-Abigail is officially diagnosed with infantile spasms- the original diagnosis we were told was likely not going to be the condition that she has because the EEG did not show the distinctive infantile spasms patterns. HOWEVER, it appears she has infantile spasms but NOT the accompanying West Syndrome (hypsarrhythmia) that is typically seen in infantile spasms patients: this is positive news andwe are told this hopefully increases her chances of fully treating and eliminating the seizures and abnormal activity so that she won’t have it come back.

-In the meantime, we are starting her on a month-long steroid treatment to try and halt the unusual activity, stop the seizures, and allow her brain to develop more normally. Successful treatment will be determined by a total elimination of seizure episodes and a clear EEG. Unfortunately, as with most steroids, there are potential side effects that will require monitoring and frequent check-ins with the pediatrician. This is by no means over yet, but the report was good and her chances of being seizure free are good!

Greetings from Sissy!

All of your thoughts and prayers were felt as we waited on results. Please continue to pray for successful treatment and that we can avoid too many complications from the steroids! We love and appreciate each of you!

Have a great day!

Like A Tree by the Water: having faith in the unknowns

 Many do not know that my husband and I are currently in the middle of watching our sweet 10-month-old daughter undergo testing to help solve a problem of repeated seizure episodes. A few months ago we noticed her tossing her head forward rather violently in repeated motions: toss, recover, life as normal for a few seconds, toss, recover, a few seconds of normalcy, repeat. She would do this in groups or ‘clusters’ of tosses so that within a few minutes she had launched her head and torso forward 15 or more times and then it would just stop completely. Early on, we were unconcerned with these events and just passed them off as nothing because- you know- babies do weird things. However, at her 9 month check-up things changed a bit because she was no longer growing and meeting normal developmental milestones. The red flags started going up immediately in my head and while we went home with a plan to increase her feedings to up her weight and rebound her energy so she might catch up developmentally, I had to believe there was something deeper going on! My seemingly healthy baby was struggling.

That’s when it hit me. Those weird movements! Maybe there was a connection!

So, I did the thing no worried mother should EVER do– I jumped online and started googling what I had seen. After just a few short minutes I came to the conclusion that I needed to call the pediatrician right away and request to be seen by a neurologist to test for what I thought might be ‘infantile spasms‘- a form of infant epilepsy that often presents alongside developmental regression and stunted growth.

Now I just want to take a minute to recognize our pediatricians and the fact that my ‘mother worries’ alone were enough word for them to go on to order an EEG scan, a rush meeting with a neurologist at the Children’s Hospital so she would get fantastic care, and a general trust that if I was seeing something strange it needed to be taken seriously. I cannot tell you the relief I feel knowing I did not have to go to bat just to have my baby seen by specialists to get answers.

So, off to the Neurologist we went. A quick EEG scan was done and immediately afterwards we met with one of the many Neurology docs on the floor to discuss what we had seen, share the video I had enough forethought to capture, and discuss future plans. Again, I am so grateful for professional and caring doctors who trusted my instinct that something was wrong (and having the video to share afterwards helped to solidify that I was seeing abnormal behavior) and chose to act on it. We are blessed by great care for our babies!

After leaving I was told that my original concerns of ‘infantile spasms’ was unlikely because it would have been clearly shown and easily identifiable on the results- a small measure of relief for me! However, we found out the following day that her scan did reveal abnormal activity which we were told was called ‘epileptiform discharges’ and while they were unlikely to be the cause of what we were seeing, they definitely indicated she was at risk for seizures. Now I was concerned for my baby and what might be wrong- but I was SO GRATEFUL for those moments of concern and the doctors who took me seriously and worked to find answers for me. I had been right- something was going on.

As the days grew on we scheduled a longer-term EEG to catch some of the strange movements I had seen and get some data so they could figure out how best to diagnose and help my baby girl. Unfortunately, her episodes got more severe and she clearly was uncomfortable during each one so we are now in the hospital after being admitted last evening under an emergency basis- after calling the doctor they again took my untrained, unprofessional, instinctively worried concerns and considered them to be important enough to admit her.

Since admission she has not had another episode- a bittersweet thing when you need her to have one in order to get some answers. She has however shown more activity which aligns well with the data from the previous EEG scan at our last visit and she also experienced a 15-second seizure that had no external symptoms at all. She had a seizure and we never would have known!!

So here I am, praying for another episode so we can get answers and simultaneously praying for rest and comfort for my sweet child. Here I am sitting reflecting on how blessed we have been through this experience thus far and how appreciative I am to have skilled and caring staff to call upon to shoulder the weight of our unanswered questions.

Here I am…………. waiting.

And through the long stretches of waiting without answers I am reminded that Patience is a fruit of the spirit and that a large part of my ability to sit with a peace of mind is because I trust in a big God and my trust in His care for my daughter is bleeding over into how I handle myself in these situations. I choose to choose patience over anxious waiting. I choose to choose peace over nervousness. I choose to remember that I would not have the power to sit and watch my infant girl with wires connected to her entire scalp if it were not for the fact that I believe in a God who holds ultimate control and who cares even more deeply for her than I ever can. He created her first- then He gave her to me.

Romans 5: 3-4  “Not only so, but we glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Luke 12: 24-28   “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Jeremiah 17: 7-8   “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like trees planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

I hope to be a tree of trust and confidence in the power of God when it comes to my daughter. I hope I can show the people who are caring for my precious child that I trust in a God who created them and made them with a passion that drives them to care for my baby. I hope I can show for my friends what an unshakeable faith looks like as I wait for answers that could potentially have drastic implications for my daughter and her future.

I am frustrated by my inability to help my sweetheart. I am growing weary from not being at home. I am uncertain about how I will go forward if the news is bad. But I am not alone- and therefore I am NOT afraid.

Please pray for me, for the people who are coming in and out of this room, for the doctors and specialists reviewing every detail of these scans, for my sweet baby girl as she has no understanding of what is going on, and for our support system at home that is waiting in prayer for the answers we all are seeking.

God bless you!

-Faith

“21 Century Skills” and Me

I’ve recently been reading the book, 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times by Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel. While I was required to read this book for a college class, I found myself really drawn to the message. Our world is so different from what it will be when our future student’s graduate and enter into it! I will, by the time my students graduate, be outcompeted and outsmarted by them simply because they will be adapting to an ever-changing and advancing world.

I have previously been very defensive of traditional teaching practices. I was always under the impression that lecture and memorization were characteristics of an effective teaching technique. It was scary to get to college majoring in Early Childhood Education to discover that my understanding might be outdated. In short, times have changed.

I’m truly excited to see the progress society has made even in the time I’ve been alive. I’ll be 21 this year and have already seen tremendous changes over my lifetime. I can only imagine what kind of a world we will be living in after another 20+ years when we have advanced so far already.

Realistically, I think we are closer now to what genuine learning is made to look like. Schools are adapting their teaching techniques to limit teacher lecturing and facilitate student interaction with information and encourage active exploration and learning through ‘doing’ rather than ‘seeing’. This is SO important! Humans have always learned in this manner and we have learned most effectively through exploration!

Think about it for a moment… From the day you were born you began exploring the many aspects of this world. You paid attention to noises, movements, and what happened when you flung your dinner across the kitchen. You experimented with everything by holding it, throwing it, or sticking it in your mouth. You pushed the limits of everything and developed a basic understanding of how the world works WITHOUT EVER BEING MADE TO SIT AND MEMORIZE ANYTHING! We learn phenomenally well, even before we understand speech and language.

While I will never ignore the fundamental importance of a quality mentor or teacher (because without this position there would be no reason for me to be attending school) in our society, there is something to be said about the fact that learning is truly an independent endeavor. Each individual learns at their own pace and builds upon their own schema, background experiences, and accumulated knowledge.

This is so important.

Senioritis: Spreading Pandemic

As the end of the year approaches it is easy for students to begin to shut down as the year comes to a close and final grades are locked in. This so-called “senioritis” is a term coined specifically for seniors approaching graduation who are experiencing this point of mental shutdown. It doesn’t take much investigation to see just how prevalent senioritis is. I’ll admit, I have it so badly right now because all of my classes have locked in semester grades and I am finished with my courses. Ask any high school or college senior and your response will be something along the lines of “I’m done already.” or “Bring on the summer!!!” 

Hope everyone out there that will be graduating had a great final year and best of luck with future endeavors! Hang in there, only a few more weeks!!