Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grace for this Super Mom

I've been busy...and by 'busy' I don't mean a couple of things here and there, I mean, every single day, overloaded with to-do lists or meetings or appointments, blah blah blah!

And with my husband going off to work 9 hours from home for 2 weeks at a time, I'm learning that this Super-Mom business can be handled with more grace, both for myself and for my family (and others).

You see I am a 'DO-er', if that makes any sense to anyone. Normally, when I set out to do something, it gets finished. The task is completed and more often than not, it is done ahead of schedule! But not lately! Example #1: I started a Bible study prior to vacation in July. Started strong. I even stayed up to date while on vacation, which is a feat in and of itself! But then I got home...back to work (which had piled up while I was away), and reality and exhaustion set in (probably stemming from the longest 30 hours I have ever spent in a car, driving from California to home in Arkansas!). But I so dropped the ball on my Bible study. One day behind rolled into one week, which rolled into two weeks...and now, the Bible study ended a while back, and I still have not completed the study.

I was beating myself up over this for a little while. Mad at myself for letting my study partner down, who I am sure completed it on time with flying colors! But me, no, I bombed it! That was my attitude. I didn't give myself any grace. I didn't take into consideration that I take care of a family (my husband, my 6 year old daughter and my 2 year old son), I work 40+ hours a week in a very, very, very stressful work environment, my husband had been laid off for 2 months, I also work a second job cleaning the revenue office 2 nights a week, I am involved in our church, ladies Bible study, planning the fall retreat, teaching Children's Church one Sunday a month and on top of all of that, I have to keep my house clean and try to keep my sanity in tact!

I thought I was losing my mind. I was tormented by myself- "Why can't you get it together!?"..."No one can rely on you, that's why no one calls or comes over."..."And you wonder why you are so fat!"..."Worthless!"..."Everyone else has it all together, and you are losing it. What's wrong with you!?!"

Seriously...that is what I was doing to myself...sometimes worse than that.

I gave myself NO GRACE whatsoever! I used to think I was being Super-Mom and that's just the way it felt. But now, I am being taught that the way I was treating myself, well, there is nothing SUPER about any of it.

God showed me that. He is teaching me how to work through myself...and He told me not to worry about not finishing that Bible study. I will finish it eventually...and it will be when I need it the most. But for now, I have enough on my plate. He is teaching me patience. Being the only parent in the house for 2 weeks has its' advantages and disadvantages. I get all the kisses and hugs...but I also get the tantrums, back-talking, crying and the wet/dirty pull-ups. And through all of that, I am learning grace and patience.

I'm still SUPER busy. I still have to do that long list of things...except now that my husband is working again, I have to do them by myself some. And sometimes I have more than that, especially now with my daughter in 1st grade and gymnastics and wanting to do girl-scouts (and it is Rhea Lana's season)!
But God is teaching me that I don't have to be perfect and that when it gets tough, when I am stressed to my max, I have Him. He never leaves me. And through prayer and His Word, He will show me the path.


And He is providing everything for me. Good friends that call or stop by out of the blue just to make sure we are okay. Church family that care more than words can describe. Food when I wasn't sure we would have any. Money exactly when we needed it. Moments of laughter when we need a boost. Silence-because sometimes that is all that will quiet the chaos around us.
JESUS is my Perfect Provision. 

Grace is what He is teaching me...every day...I am learning to no longer punish myself for where I fail or fall short. We all do...none of us measure up, which is kind of the point. We can't. We never will. 

When we come to that realization, that no matter how hard we try, we are never going to be perfect, God will be glorified when we succeed...because the only way that we can accomplish anything, is by Him, by His power working through us, through our weaknesses and faults. I was brought to tears at my office when I had grace on one of my superiors, I kept my tongue and just let God lead my words, and the situation turned out to be so positive and productive. I stopped and could not believe that I had just shown such self-control and patience and gentleness and peace. I was seeing myself bear fruit that normally I wouldn't have. I saw that I couldn't have acted in such a way without Christ in me, working through me! It humbled me to joyful tears!

Super-Mom. Yeah, that's me. But only because I serve the Most Supreme High God and He chose me and made me this way...and you know what? I know a whole lot of other Super-Moms out there, some in the same situations, some in different...but we are all SUPER because of Jesus! 

Give yourselves some grace ladies. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back to School Time!

It's that time of the year again!

This is such an exciting time to me and always has been. I remember as a child that I couldn't wait for school shopping- I love school supplies, new pens and paper, crayons, markers and notebooks. But when I was a kid I did not like shopping for school clothes. 

I grew up in a family of 6; I was child #2 of 4, with an older sister and a younger sister and brother. My parents did not have a lot of money, so they mainly focused on making sure we had all of our school supplies and then two, maybe three new outfits and a new pair of shoes. And of course, the three sisters shared clothes when possible. I dreaded going into the department stores and watching my parents flinch at the check-out register, both because of the high total and the fact that such a high amount bought so little for 4 growing kids.

I remember one year in particular: 7th grade. You know that awkward age-nowadays we call them 'Tweens'. It was a very tight year financially for our family and we were blessed to even get to shop at all. But as a 12 year old girl going into Middle School wanting to impress her friends (and the boys) I wanted more and better than what I was allowed that year. I wanted the American Eagle and not the Wal-Mart. But Wal-Mart is what we could afford and Wal-Mart is what I got. (I'm not dissing Wal-Mart in any way; my family today shops there at least twice a month!)
Anyhow, a fellow classmate mocked me one day and pointed out, in front of everyone, where I bought my school clothes. 
"Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart, it's our store! People shop there if they're poor!". 
Yes. She sang this little diddy in the hallway one day after history class. I will never forget the embarrassment and the hurt that I felt. I know now that we are not defined by our outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7), but in a child's mind, especially in that moment of pain and hurt, remembering that truth can be hard.

Our daughter Aspen is going into the First Grade this year! So this is our second "Back to School" shopping experience and as  parents today, we are so very thankful to be a part of a company that can help parents (and their kids) in these situations. Rhea Lana's Consignment Sale has been a huge part of my life for 5 years now and without it, especially this year, my husband and I would be flinching at the register just like my parents did.

If you are unfamiliar with this consignment event, it is for children's clothing, toys and equipment and it happens twice a year. Everything is in excellent condition, name-brand and is priced so low that I stock up for an entire 6 month season when I shop! 

Not only do I shop the sale, but I also volunteer and consign, which earns me early shopping passes before the store opens to the public! It is such a fun event, even when volunteering to work a 5 hour shift because the people are a hoot and the work is so rewarding! It's almost like a girls' night out! These events are great opportunities to meet other moms who hold the same values as you and your family. Many of my friendships began at Rhea Lana's of Conway and continue to grow there! 

If you can't volunteer to work a shift or two, do not pass up on consigning your gently used items to earn some shopping money! At the end of the sale, you pick your check up along with any items that didn't sell or you didn't want to donate. At almost every sale that I have consigned, I made more money than I spent! That is a great feeling, to pretty much trade clothes and walk away with a little extra change in your pocket :) That reminds me, Rhea Lana's donates items that consignors don't want to take back home with them, to local charities at each event! So families that truly cannot afford to shop, are still provided with clothing and other items for their children. Just another example of how awesome this event is! 

One last thing that I would like to mention is to quote from the Rhea Lana website a couple of things that set this event a part from any other and keep me involved and coming back season after season: 

"Mission Statement: 
To serve with love and integrity, families everywhere with inviting, 
excellent and valuable children's consignment events."

"Rhea Lana's Priorities: 
Faith-God First. We are a company based firmly on Christian Principles. 
Family-Family Second. Family is vital and it is the reason we work. 
Work-Work is Third. A career with RL, Inc. is an amazing job, 
but only as other priorities are in order."

It is safe for me to say that we will be able to provide a fall wardrobe for our daughter (and our 2 year old son!) without breaking the bank and we will be spending our hard-earned money in a store that shares the same Christian values and views as we do. 

As I mentioned before, this consignment event is a huge blessing to so many families nationwide!
Rhea Lana's Consignment Event has grown to over 16 states and is still growing! So check out their website to find an upcoming sale near you and get involved!