A recent study was released that revealed the most lonely stage of parenting. And the results are probably shocking to everyone besides those who are actually in that stage. Are you ready to know which one it is? Well, you might be surprised to know that moms who are raising middle schoolers are considered among the loneliest of any stage of motherhood. Yep. More than when they are babies and even more than when they leave the nest.
It’s so hard to follow God when He answers our prayers so differently than we imagined He would. I know I’ve experienced this many times in my own life and today I’m so thrilled to be welcoming my friend Stephanie Shott to the picket fence to share the lessons she learned when God answered a prayer in a way that didn’t make any sense at the time. I know we can all relate to this and I pray you are encouraged by her words!
I thought he had lost his mind! Costa Rica? That’s on the other side of the globe!
For seven years my heart heard drums pounding hard in the distance. I visioned lions lying in wait for their prey and Swahili spoken in villages full of precious people in need of Christ.
My prayers and plans had taken root in Africa but my new reality was beginning to unfold in an unfamiliar land and in an unexpected plan.
I knew God was calling us to the mission field for seven long years before my husband heard the call. Day after day I cried out to God to place on my husband’s heart the same passion He had placed on mine. At times the burden was too much to bear.
My plan for Monday was to run errands, do laundry, get some work done and bake pumpkin bread.
On Sunday night, as per usual, I placed my online grocery order and made sure to get the large can of pumpkin.
Then, I woke up on Monday morning to the news of the horrific act of violence in Las Vegas. I sat there in the darkness at 6am staring at the television, knowing my kids would soon wake up and come downstairs and I would have to try to explain to them what was happening. To attempt, for their benefit, to make sense out of something so senseless.
I felt paralyzed. My body didn’t want to move. The magnitude of what I was watching was like a weight holding me in place.
But, my kids needed breakfast. They needed to get to school. I needed to pick up my groceries.
What do we do in these moments? How do we try to do things that are so normal when everything in the world seems anything but?
Friends, we are so thrilled and honored to be welcoming Courtney Westlake to the picket fence today. She has such an amazing and inspiring story to share with you and we know you will be so blessed by her words.
I wanted to jump into the conversation happening a few feet away from me, to explain, maybe to defend, but I held back.
I craned my neck a bit, waiting to hear what my children would say to the little girl who had just asked about my daughter’s red, peeling skin.
Traveling for work can seem like such an adventure…at first. But between time changes, delayed flights, uncomfortable hotel beds, food that doesn’t settle well and a packed schedule, it starts to lose it’s luster very quickly.
On a recent flight home to Portland after a whirlwind trip to San Antonio where I was filming a segment for a show there, I was feeling especially weary. Up since 5am (3am Oregon time) and coming down from my coffee high, my head felt like a jumbled mess and as we descended through the clouds I lifted the window screen to gaze out at the scenery below, hoping it would calm my racing heart.
The wind was whipping around us as we were spinning and twirling through the yard.
Arms spread out, we laughed as dizziness set in before we tumbled into the lawn chair together.
She wrapped her little arms around my neck, snuggled in tight and said,
“Don’t let me blow away mommy!”
It was one of those moments in life where you wish you could stop time. You long for a way to bottle it up so you won’t ever forget how soft her skin feels against yours. How her little fingers played with your hair as we sat quietly together.
And my heart began to ache.
Last week all four of us traveled to Georgia to attend my beautiful niece’s (Heather’s daughter) high school graduation. It was such a special time together with our entire family and was filled with laughter and memories we will always treasure. And we actually managed to get a photo of ALL of us together which hasn’t happened in…..oh….about 5 years!
On our last day there we were riding high on the fun and the storytelling and the hysterical laughter which accompanied playing the game ‘Speak Out’ (Have you played this yet?? We were crying from laughing so hard!) and all of the little moments that come together to create a truly memorable occasion.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand in order that we would walk in them.”
Think about that for a minute.
A thing of beauty.
A work of art.
Imagine a sculptor creating the most amazing statue. Pouring over the design, putting heart and soul into seeing their vision come to life, piece by piece.
The middle of the week. And if you are anything like me, the pain of Monday is already a distant memory and you are looking forward to the weekend with all of it’s possibilities.
The middle days are like that aren’t they? They seem like they are neither here nor there. Sometimes it seems like they are just something to be gotten through.
But, what if we saw this middle day differently? And what if we saw the middle days or our faith differently?
There are so many times in our lives when we feel like we are in a holding pattern. We aren’t experiencing the high highs or the low lows.
We’re just trudging through.
These days can sometimes feel like a waste. But I think that God wants us to see them differently. I think He wants to see them as a gift. A break from the Mondays and the weekends.
The middle can be a wonderful time to regroup, refocus and reflect on our lives.
Don’t fight the middle days my friends.
Embrace them in all of their in-between-ness and you might just be surprised by what they have to offer you.
“We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with it’s common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God’s way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which come from Him. Don’t always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of drudgery of life by the power of God.” (Oswald Chambers)
Praying for you on this middle day,