She Needed to Hear It Anyway

Every girl and her mom need to have a mushy, emotional, heartfelt conversation once in a while. You know, the kind that induces tears — good tears — from one (and then both) of you.

I’m certain my husband’s conversations with his dad never end in choked words and teary eyes. Not that I need firsthand evidence to know that mushy conversations are a girl thing; but really, the older I get — and the further down the road of motherhood I walk — the more I appreciate the distinct qualities of a mother-daughter relationship… gushy words and all.

It’s just the way God made us. We need to feel. We need to share. We need to be understood. And we need to know that somebody else knows exactly where we’re at. As daughters mature into moms themselves, the mother-daughter relationship is brought to a new and beautiful dynamic. The mother still loves her grown daughter as much as she ever did; the grown daughter still needs her mom’s love and support, maybe more than she ever did; and a growing understanding and appreciation undergirds it all.

I have to wonder if it isn’t every mom who fears — or at least thinks about — the possibility that she is screwing up her kid’s life. And I wonder if, as the years pass and my own kids grow, I will find myself wondering if I could have done better.

No mom is perfect, to be sure, for no human is perfect. My mom isn’t perfect, and our relationship isn’t perfect. But do I think my mom did a great job as Mom? Absolutely. And she continues to.

The one thing I appreciate most about my mom is this: her loving support both throughout my childhood and now along my own journey of motherhood.

My mom may have done some things in raising my sister and me that she regretted or questioned later (Don’t all moms do that?); but she needs to know that in this, the showing and offering of her loving support, she has never failed.

As I chatted with my mom on the phone the other day, I interjected as we prepared to hang up. “Mom, I just want to say thank you for your support. You have always been supportive of what I — or Travis and I — have chosen to do. You have always made me feel (enter choking and tears) like I can do anything I want to do — like you’ve never doubted me — and I’ve always known that you have my back. I appreciate that. So… thank you.”

My mom… she started to cry. She said, “Thank you for telling me that about me. I didn’t get that when I was growing up, so I’m glad to know I didn’t pass that on.”

I sensed a mingling of pain and relief in her tears. Pain bred by years of feeling inadequate, and relief in having an affirmation her soul so desperately needed to hear. An affirmation that she IS a good mom. That she HAS done well.

As a mom myself, I can’t imagine a greater reward than to one day have my grown children tell me that I am a good mom. That I did well. I think of the Proverbs 31 woman whose children rise up and bless her. My mom has done well, and I need her to know that. Because I’m a mom, too. My level of understanding is deepening, and with it, my appreciation.

And so we cried. Good, healthy, heartfelt tears. Because she didn’t mess up my life; and because although she had to have known that, she needed to hear it anyway.

3 generations of moms

3 generations of moms

That Which Burns

Sometimes… or maybe it’s most of the time… I find myself going about my daily routine, so entrenched in my everyday duties that I fail to look out. And I don’t even realize that until, for one reason or another, I’m asked to dream… to think about the future and what it is that I’d like to see or have or do or be.

The Road Ahead

The passion behind this blog is the living of life–and the learning along the way–with an eternal outlook… with a perspective that sees beyond the temporal and into eternity. One that lives looking forward to that Day and that Place which at this time we can neither see nor imagine.

But that’s not the kind of “looking out” I speak of here. There’s this other kind of vision–a vision that dreams and pursues and believes and takes risks. A vision fueled by passion and realized by determination. It’s the kind of vision that requires not just a quick glance but a lingering and thoughtful gaze.

In April of this year, I shared a post on Des Moines Moms Blog entitled “Dreams for When the ‘Time’ is Right.” My contentedness with my life… and possibly some sort of fear which I haven’t yet recognized… typically keeps me from doing much dreaming; but the “maybe someday”s I shared in that post prove that I do meet with some visionary success once in a while…. :-)

The past week has been an inspiring one for me, the happenings of which have caused me to pause and wonder, “Hmm…. Is the Holy Spirit trying to tell me something?…” You see, this week has found me face-to-face with the same question multiple times in situations completely independent of one another. That question is,

What is your passion?

I tend to be one of those people who tries to do all that I do well. I have high expectations of myself… and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that EXCEPT that sometimes it hinders me. Because if I can’t do a great job at something… or if I think I can’t do a great job… then I tend to just not even try.

And my other tendency that is sometimes a hindrance is to think that if I can do something well, then I should do it. The result is that I’m not always focused with the way I spend my time and energy.

Two of the learning situations I’ve found myself in this week have told me essentially the same thing. To loosely quote the one,

“Resist the temptation to try to do a lot of things well, and do that which really burns in your heart.”
       ~Timothy Burns, Word Weavers International mentor

Tim was speaking via Skype to my Christian Writers group, but I felt like he was speaking directly to me. He went on to exhort me us to discover our God-given passions and to have confidence in the message that God has given us to share.

Another speaker I listened to this week shared a messaged he titled “The Road to Awesome.” In his talk, speaker and writer Jon Acuff discusses the importance of a step along “the road to awesome” which he calls the editing phase. Try lots of things and learn a lot, he says, but then be willing to remove some of those things that you’ve added along the way so that you can focus on those passions which really matter to you.

I am inspired. As I ponder these things and the possibilities that lie ahead, my heart feels full with an excitement I can’t yet describe. Because I’m realizing something.

I don’t want to live through perfection. I want to live through purpose and passion.

Live through Purpose and Passion

Start a Local Moms Blog in Your City

I hope you’ve noticed how much I have loved being a writer for Des Moines Moms Blog. It has been such a great opportunity to develop my writing, to play a part in connecting moms in our city, and to get to know the other women on our fabulous team.

DMMB Team

Des Moines Moms Blog is an amazing resource for moms in the Des Moines area, and we are passionate about what we do! I’m proud to be part of something that is making a positive influence on both our beautiful city here AND on a national level! Did you know Des Moines Moms Blog has over 30 Sister Sites around the country?

These 30+ Sister Sites make up City Moms Blog Network. Each site is written and run by local moms, for local moms. They provide parenting information unique to their community, and to make things even more fun, they each throw fabulous events to get moms in their cities out on the town.

This network of locally-focused moms blogs has empowered women all over the country to start their own businesses. When someone joins City Moms Blog Network as a Sister Site owner, they are joining a family that is eager to encourage and support one another. Sister Sites are provided with assistance in the start-up phase, ongoing education and resources for continued support, and a community of fellow site owners eager to share best practices.

With the help of City Moms Blog Network, these Sister Site owners are able to become entrepreneurs (mompreneurs) and local influencers, all while doing something they love and are passionate about. I have loved watching the co-founders of Des Moines Moms Blog grow it into what it is today, and I am thankful and proud of the part I am playing in that!

Is there a City Moms Blog Network Sister Site in your area? City Moms Blog Network is currently looking for Sister Site owners in 25 specific cities in California, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. If you or someone you know might be interested in impacting moms in your community like Des Moines Moms Blog is, jump at this opportunity to join CMBN with your own Sister Site. These ladies are passionate about what they do and would love to partner with YOU to do the same!

CMBN Your City

Vacation Reflections: The Story that Lingers Still

Great Smoky MountainsAs I write this on the final night of our stay in the Great Smoky Mountains, my hearts feels full of joy that can’t be expressed and tears that won’t come. Perhaps the emotion is equivalent to that which provokes happy tears; or maybe it’s the spirit within me crying out for redemption.

Smoky Mountain WaterfallWe have seen some of the most beautiful wonders of God’s creation–creation which itself is groaning as it waits–and yet I know it’s only a shadowed glimpse of that glorious beauty which awaits us in heaven.

That place–heaven–is what this entire vacation has shown me. With every piece and feature of our vacation I have been reminded of the ongoing nature of God’s plan.

From the beginning of the story given at the Creation Museum to the snapshots of living history preserved in Cade’s Cove to the towering majesty of the mountains created by a God more powerful and imposing than they, the story of our vacation has been to me the picture of God’s story… a story that lingers still, building in me a growing anticipation of the closing chapters… and of the sequel that never ends.

Creation Museum Bridge

The Futility of Housewifery

“I’m still hungry.”

It’s a phrase I’ve grown to dislike. Strongly.

I’ve gone to the work of preparing a meal and cleaning it up; and almost before I can move on to the next part of my day, one of my kids says those three little words: “I’m still hungry.”

Hungry little Isabel eating a pork-chop-on-a-stick at the Iowa State Fair

Hungry little Isabel

But the thing is, they aren’t still hungry. They’re hungry again. Like two hours after I’ve just fed them a complete meal.

And I’ve decided, it’s futility. It’s a chasing after the wind. No matter what I do to try to satisfy the tummies of those growing little bodies, I fail… because they will be hungry “still”–like, in two hours….

And then there’s my house. Even more persistent than the kids’ recurring hunger pangs is the incessant march of my house toward a place of disorder. Dishes are washed to be dirtied again; counters cleared to be cluttered again; floors mopped to be messed again.

From-Order-to-Disorder Collage

From order… to disorder

It’s futility. A chasing after the wind.

But still I chase.

The truth is, final satisfaction cannot be found in this life; and perfect order cannot be obtained on this earth. No one single thing has proved that to me more than motherhood… reason #225 why I’m blessed to be a mom.

The manner in which this life keeps us chasing after the wind… constantly running after these elusive ideals called Satisfaction and Order… it isn’t the way things were intended to be. The very nature within us cries out for something more. Something better.

The Creator of the Universe–the God of order and the One who says, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst” (John 4:14a)–will once again restore perfect order to His creation and bring complete satisfaction to those who love Him.

But not yet. That Day is yet to come. And until then, every day reminds me that THIS… this chasing after the wind… is not all there is.

A day will come. A day will come when hunger pangs will cease and when disorder will be defeated. The beauty of the futility of housewifery is this: it makes me long for that Day.

They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:16-17)

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