May 20, 2014

Surprised by Motherhood

Recently, I have been thinking about my hobbies. What they are, how to make time for them, and what new ones I want to add to the list.

One of my favorite hobbies right now is reading. I would love to sit on my couch all day with the windows open, drinking a Starbucks Iced Coffee Frappuccino and have a good book in my hand. (I'm always willing to accept gifts of books & coffee.) I love to read and especially Christian Living books. But a hobby that I miss and don't make a lot of time for is blogging. So today after I finished another awesome book I started thinking about how I could combine the two.

And my idea: BOOK REVIEWS. - Isn't it crazy how much we hated reading and book reviews in school as a kid and now I am wanting to voluntarily do them?


Anyways - I had the idea that after I finished reading a book I would blog about it summarizing the book shortly (bc you can always read the back cover yourself) and if I recommended others read it, but I do want to share what stood out to me and how it spoke to me. So this is my first one and probably wouldn't deserve a grade of an A+, but it's been about 15 years since I've had to do a book review so I hope you stick with me.


The first book I want to dive into with you is, Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker.

This is a story from a woman who lost her mother at the age of 18 and swore off ever wanting to become a mother herself. She was pressured from her church that God's love depended on her to marry and reproduce. She tells of her life through the next 21 years of meeting a boy, falling in love, and God using people to change her heart. She shares all the ups and downs of her life and how she now has 3 children that call her "Mom".
This was a good read. It took me 2 days to complete it and I would recommend it.
This is not a HOW TO book. It is not how to be a better mom, or 5 easy steps to get your kids to do everything you want them to. This is a peek into a Christian woman's life of motherhood and her journey of how she got there. It just reminds me of how much we can learn from each other if we are willing to open ourselves up and share a piece of who we are with those around us.
Lisa-Jo did not share with us a HOW TO book, she shared with us a ME TOO book. This is something I realize I want for my blog. I mainly share about my life as a mother of my 3 kids. And I never want to confuse anyone that I am claiming to be an expert mother, that my family is perfect and I know HOW TO do it all! I do not have it all together, but through my blog I do hope to share my ME TOO with you. My ME TOO that says, "Hey, you're not alone!" So often I ask myself why I share what I share on my blog or through FaceBook. Why put myself out there at all? Why do I want strangers or acquantices to see my family from the inside, behind the scenes? It takes courage to admit imperfection, but just like I was blessed by reading Lisa-Jo's life story. I hope to bless others and glorify God when others read my story. Even though my story most likely will never be published and bound into a cute book with an awesome and catchy cover - I can share my story on this little corner of the World Wide Web.
"That's where the Gospel lives - in the messy chaos of opening our lives up to others."
A few of my underlined highlights and my thoughts from the book:
"Because God kept multiplying and multiplying and multiplying what my parents had set out to do. He broke their expectations and offered them new ones, greater ones, more satisfying ones. He broke apart their plan and offered back His own."
If we give our plans to the One above He will do more than we ever could've ever imagined or hoped. It makes me wonder what little dreams and plans I have that I could turn over to God for BIG impacts. Am I aiming high enough? I tell myself, well I'm not good enough or worthy enough for somethig like that. Well, on our own that is true. But with God! All things are possible. Maybe we should turn our dreams into God-sized dreams!
There is no road map to motherhood - "...the only way to do it is by falling down a lot. Because you're becoming someone else..."
No matter how many books we read or how many articles on FaceBook we repost - we do not know it all and can't get it right all the time. We should not expect perfection from ourselves or from anyone else. We are all sinners and so are our kids. We get it wrong sometimes, but we just have to keep getting up and doing our best. We are the best moms ever - to our own children. God gave you your children and me, my children. The way I parent is best for my kids, not yours - and vice versa. But in saying that, never be scared to share and learn from others.
"I had confused faith in God with faith in what God could do for me."
WOW! This speaks for itself. God is not a genie granting wishes if we rub his belly.
"What makes me happy is not necessarily what draws me closer to the God who knows my every nook and cranny. It turns out He loves me enough to say no when, as every parent understands, saying yes would have been so much simpler, with less call for temper tantrums."
"If there's one thing that can defeat a mother, it's the monotony. Get up, fed the baby, wash the laundry, change the diapers, do the dishes...- times 365 days in a row. It's hard to see the significance when you're so weighed down by the mundane. And it can feel like everyone else around you is busy doing big, important things..."
If we aren't careful we can get stuck in a rut, where everyday life gets boring and we remove ourselves from it, emotionally and spiritually - and are only present physically. No matter if you are a stay at home mom that feels more like a maid, a secretary answering phone call after phone call, or a lawyer defending the innocent - life can get mundane. We are all important and are all a part of God's bigger plan. We all have different passions, dreams, and talents to execute God's will in our lives.
This is something I am guilty of feeling. I "just stay at home". I don't contribute to the world or the Kingdom. Where we dread the question, "What did you do today?" Um.... I changed a poopy diaper and did one load of laundry (which is still not folded yet).
Well, we may have to look deeper, or maybe it's we need to look up. What did I accomplish today for His Kingdom? I loved my kids, I cared for my husband, I fed my baby, and I prayed for a friend. I read a book in hopes of growing my faith and I am sitting here blogging sharing my heart with anyone willing to read.
"She loves us with busy hands and tireless tasks checked off the list. And when she's not in my house, I know she's praying."
The author's mother died when she was 18, but her mother-in-law loves her and cares for her as her own. She helps in whatever way she can and she prays, really prays for her family.
This is the type of mother and mother-in-law that I inspire to be. I want my children and family to know that I will always be there for them and when I am not there I will be praying. I want an open line of communication where they can tell me what they need and that I can do my best to provide it for them. You always need your momma.
Ok this line - just because it's CUTE! "You guys are so naughty" "Mama, we're not naughty. We're brothers!"
Oh I so look forward to a life-time of memories with my kids and I pray for my children's relationships with one another.
I have recently been at a loss on how to parent Brayce. She is her own person and doesn't care when we try to give her guidance or discipline. And a chapter in this book just really spoke to me on how to parent her and understand her better.
"I stopped being defeated by Micah and instead started to research him. I studied my son. And God started to show me how to see. Not with a magnifying glass but with a mirror."
"I saw how lazy my prayers were... How my parenting had mostly been a mixture of embarrassment and frustration." "And I began to exercise my motherhood again... I stretched and bent and prayed. I fasted and paid attention and listened... And instead of floundering in the stories everyone told me about him. I began to draft Micah's own narrative. I wrote it down. Deliberately. HOW I WANTED TO SEE THIS SON OF MINE. HOW I WANTED TO TEACH OTHERS TO SEE HIM."
Such good stuff!! Let's not let go world or the judgment of others define who we are. It is our identity in God who defines who we are and gives us worth. My child is slow and she has a mind of her own and I know that God is going to use that personality trait in her for His Kingdom. He created each one of us unique and I want to stop trying to mold my daughter into someone who God did not create her to be.
"God doesn't ask us to trade who we are for the label of 'Mom.' Rather, He builds all the courage and calling of a lifetime into a story line big enough and rich enough to encompass kids, passion, work, creativity, and dreams that don't end in the labor and delivery ward."
Do not fear of being "just mom." You are who God created you to be. Go for your dreams! Develop your passions! God is big enough for all of it and He shares His gifts with His children.
"For a year after I discovered this unexpected passion to encourage other mothers with all the words I wished someone had said to me when I was my most lost as a new mom, I felt like a pitcher - full to the brim, but with nowhere and no one to pour into." "...the world of blogging - of sharing and connecting through our everyday stories."
My blog is a place where I get to share my passions, thoughts and stories and encourage other mothers through my everyday - what some may label boring- life.
My goal: "Kingdom kids, I'm working hard to raise Kingdom kids with eyes for more than themselves."
Thank you for reading my "book review". I would love to know if you were encouraged to go out and read this book! What did you think of it??
Also, what books should I add to my list of MUST READS!?!


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