First Friday

Something to Sing About

We can go from blissfully happy to my day is ruined faster than it takes us to go from the parking lot into the store. But this is the day the Lord has made. And we have the choice to wallow in our ruin or persevere through and count it all joy.

I could hear her saying something as I buckled the baby into the shopping cart. Okay, so it was actually more like yelling but bless it if I could even tell. I had totally crossed over into the Mom-Zone.

You know, the place where the world could be ending but all you hear is the inner-monologue-of-the-now, “Must get the baby in the seat before a car runs over us.”

The consequence to this stealth focus?

You agree to anything.

And apparently I had agreed in thirty seconds of non-listening to sing a rousing rendition of  “This is the Day” while we moseyed through Target.

Sweet heavens.

Now my girl has got vocal direction down, y’all. I mean I thought I knew the song but I DID NOT. When she started with a “This is the day…” I was all like “This is the day…” And I was met with a sigh and an “Um, Mom, no. You sing ‘That the Lord has made.’”

But sadly, I had entered the Zone again…

So we went through this exact dialogue about five times until she finally she broke through it with a, “Mom, I really need you to focus!”  I mean, c’mon now. Shouldn’t I be delighted that we are singing about Jesus in Target?!?!?

And BAM.

I got my act together, we found our rhythm and we did our thang. But alas, when we hit the “together” part of the ditty, things fell apart. I’m all “This is the Day” and she’s all “Jesus Loves Me.”

Shortly after this confusion and preciously right as we walked up to an unsuspecting cashier, my girl bellows with ear piercing volume, “IT IS NOT THE DAY THAT THE LORD HAS MADE!!!!”

And Jesus loves us, this I know.

I suppose you are wondering, “Sara, what in the what does this have to do with an everyday truth?”

Well, I’ll tell you…

We all have these kind of days as a parent where things get ridiculous and veer off course and all we know gets drowned out by the our inner-monologue of “IT IS NOT THE DAY THAT THE LORD HAS MADE!”

But it is.

We can go from blissfully happy to my day is ruined faster than it takes us to go from the parking lot into the store. But this is the day He has made. And we have the choice to wallow in our ruin or persevere through and count it all joy.

I’m not talking about some kind of false “Oh, today is magical!” when you are knee deep in poo. I’m talking about being grateful for the gift of a new day. I’m talking about how it’s really pretty great to have the chance to sing loudly in the aisles of Target with someone you love.

Because it’s in those kind of moments that you remember…

He loves me and He’s given me a new day.

And really?

No matter how you look at it, THAT is something to sing about.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail.

Jesus, Please...

Eternity needs our hard stuff more than it needs our happiness.

Life around here has been a bit of doozy. You know that tummy-twirling ride where you spin and spin and spin and the floor drops out? Yeah, that’s pretty much our summer.

And the grand total of my contribution to my children’s spiritual and educational enrichment?

My mad skills and ability to push play on the Blu Ray. I kid you not. But on the upside, I am really awesome at pushing play.

So there.

My auto-immune disease is kicking my bum and my lungs and my heart and I’m sure something else by next week.

BUT…

I cannot say this season of our life was and is without good.

I. Just. Cannot.

In a world that often says our God is good only when the outcome is good, my summer is a living testament to what happens when the outcome is a big, blessed mess.

Love without boundaries. Grace that meets us daily. Peace even when the floor drops out.

It is a road that ekes out not an eloquent, perfect prayer for health and safety and all things lovely but rather a sacred “Jesus, please…”

Standing outside my babies’ rooms after another day of holding frustrated little hearts who miss their mom so very much.

“Jesus, please…”

Watching my littlest sleep, feeling like I’ve lost her first year and in some ways, lost a piece of  her.

“Jesus, please…”

Holding his hand knowing he is carrying the weight of our world squarely on his exhausted shoulders.

“Jesus, please…”

It is in this whispered call that His good can seep into our fear, our frustration, our blessed unrest. Because at the end of the day, we are not called to work out our own good. We are called to be champions for eternity.

And sometimes?

Eternity needs our hard stuff more than it needs our happiness.

Now I know this is not the feel-good sound byte of back-to-school we mamas want to hear. I know it would be easier to pray for things that are safe and comfortable. I know the thought of anything other than happy already weighs on our hearts.

I. Know.

But what if, instead of a list of a million wants, this school year we prayed a “Jesus, please…”

One that said, “Make it good. Make it beautiful. Make it matter for eternity.”

Oh friends, what if?

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out. - See more at: http://www.everydaytruth.net/2015/05/08/beautiful-together/#sthash.MQ5W7JBA.dpuf

Beautiful Together

beautiful together Her sweet little hand grabbed tightly onto mine as she brought a piece of paper right up to my nose and said proudly, “This is me and you, Mommy. You are making me all better.”

“From what?” I asked.

“From this, of course,” as she shoved a little thumb in my general direction and pointed to a red mark the size of a pin prick. I smiled with a “Looks terribly serious.” She nodded a bit and sighed, “So do you like the picture, Mommy?”

I squished her a little and then looked down into her big, brown eyes while I melted into my reply, “I think it’s beautiful, sis.” To which she scrunched up her button nose, looked up at me and said, “Yep! It’s just you and me being beautiful together.”

And just like that, off she skipped…and there I stood, taking in an all too familiar inventory.

My dirty yoga pants. My newly drawn surgery scars. My less-than-lovely purple toenails.

My this and that. My what and what. My blah to the blah, blah, blah…

But something kept tapping at my heart…it was her little voice echoing in my mind with such unabashed certainty, “Yep! It’s just you and me being beautiful together.”

No hesitation. No pause. No time for inventory.

In her eyes, I was beautiful. Not because I was sporting a new pedicure or a perfect body or a fabulous new pair of jeans. I was beautiful because I loved every single bit of her.

Be it in kissing a nonexistent boo-boo or cutting the crusts off her sandwich or taking her to the bathroom at Target four times in thirty minutes. Be it in squishing her close when she cried or playing the Cinderella game 20 times or taking the 10 outfits she’d tried on in a day out of the dirty laundry. Be it in anything so utterly mundane that the world might find it unimportant.

For her, it meant everything.

And somewhere in all that complete and total love, she found beautiful and made me see beautiful too.

For a mama’s beauty isn’t a put-together, perfect picture, chasing-youth kind of a deal. A mama’s beauty is in her broken---be it her body, her heart or her laugh-lined face. It grows beside hospital beds and sleepless nights and broken curfews and shattered little dreams. It is often forged in tears and exhaustion and the precious effort to put one blessed foot in front of the other. It is not reflected in something so insignificant as a mirror but rather, it is most clearly seen in the eyes of Jesus as she faceplants at the foot of His throne.

Mamas, it is this kind of beauty that our sons and our daughters need from us. So that when he endeavors to love the mama of his children, he sees her dark circles and worn out body as something breathtaking and precious. And so that when she looks at her stretch marks, she does not wince or retreat, but instead she sees beautiful.

So. That. When.

Years from now, as she comes to me frayed by the daily of mamahood, I can sit her down, look deeply into those big, brown eyes and say, “Let me tell you the story of a little girl and a picture. Her mama with bouffant hair and she, with googly eyes dancing. Let me tell you about her scrunched up nose, her sweet little hand and the words that changed it all. Yes, my sweet love, let me tell you a story…”

A story of just you and me being beautiful together.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

First Friday: Everyday Love

elove Once upon a time, I thought that married love would be all flowers and chocolate and candlelight. I just knew that the perfect man would sweep me off my feet and provide me with a lifetime of romantic gestures and happily-ever-afters. But then I actually got married.

And aside from the chocolate part (my love has that DOWN, y’all,) our love story has been an unexpected one.

We’ve shouldered hard things. Really hard things. So much so that I often wonder if we are screwing up in the “teaching our kids what married love should be” department.

But then something happens that suggests otherwise and I realize once again, that our love is different than most fairy tales but it is love, just the same.

Take for instance two weeks ago, when my husband was out-of-town and I had four kids and a mama puking all week. It was full-on heinous. But even in the middle of the roughest rough, I saw what kind of love story is written when you push through the tough stuff together.

We had finally reached bedtime after a blessedly long day when my 9-year-old came into my bedroom with a pillow and blanket and said, “I am going to sleep with you tonight so I can help you with Maddie…”

Quickly I answered her with, “Oh, honey, you don’t need to do that…you are still sick too and I want you to get some good rest…”

“Mom, Dad is gone and you need help. I am sleeping here.”

Bless it if this child is not president someday.

Seriously.

So I acquiesced and went into the bathroom to change into my pajamas. When I came out, I nearly burst into tears. My girl had made the bed just the way Nathan makes it every night, with pillows to prop up my arthritic knees and two others with just the right squishiness to cradle my shoulders and neck.

But then I noticed the clean bottles by the bassinet and the ice water on the nightstand…

And that’s when I blubbered. Full-on blubbered. For she knew exactly how much I was loved.

She knew.

Even though there were rarely flowers and candlelight. Even though we went to the hospital more than we went on getaways. Even though we bought birthday cards the day of and going out to dinner often meant carryout in bed.

She knew and saw love. Consistent and constant, everyday love. Couple that with her precious heart and I was undone. Completely undone.

For I was reminded once again of another love story, the one where a perfect Savior has consistently and constantly shouldered the really hard things with me. And I fell in love all over again. With him and Him.

Because flowers and candlelight are lovely, but the best kind of love is the one that shows up.

In the mundane…

In the tough stuff...

In the tears…

Everyday love trumps it all.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

 

 

 

 

No Matter What

No matter what This post may contain affiliate links.

Ah, the charming family dinner.

I am sure somewhere, someone is having one.

Riveting conversations. People who sit at the table. Food that is actually consumed.

But here?

Eh.

Take the other night, for example. When somewhere in between bouncing the baby on my knee and trying to avoid getting drool (hers not mine) on my plate, I threw out this little gem, “What do you think our New Year’s resolution should be?”

The confusion was palpable. There were blank stares galore. Finally, my eldest saved me with, “Hey mom, what’s a resolution?”

“Oh yes. That’s right, you are only 9, 6 and 4. It’s something you would like to accomplish this year.”

More. Blank. Stares.

Lucky for me, the 9-year-old rescued me again with, “Popcorn. I would like to eat more popcorn.” Naturally, this brightened the eyes of the boy who affirmed his sister by saying, “I’m good with the popcorn thing.” But then, for some reason, I followed up his agreement with, “Now, buddy, you need to come up with your own idea…”

So he did.

“Movies.”

“I’d like to watch more movies.”

It was shortly after this epiphany that I began having visions of my 80-year-old self riding an electric chair down the stairs to find all my children (now in their fifties) still living at home doing nothing but eating popcorn and watching movies…

Thankfully, Nathan’s voice interrupted my random musings with “Sophie, why is your shirt hanging from your neck? And where on earth are your pants?”

Now it was all I could do to keep from adding, “Great. Now I will have three kids in their fifties in my living room eating popcorn and watching movies in nothing but their underwear!” Instead, I was cut short by the pantless one who announced, “Excuse me, I have an acclomplishment. My acclomplishment this year is to take a bath.”

Really, kid?

I mean, I knew it had been awhile. A few days maybe. But had it really gotten so bad it was an “acclomplishment” in this house to take one bath for the ENTIRE YEAR?????

My private angst was finally cut short when Nathan addressed the pantless one with a practical, “Sophie, put on your shirt and eat your dinner. We can talk about acclomplishments later.”

Boom.

My man is all about the business.

My pantless wonder, however, is all about the drama.

A mere two seconds later, she threw her face into her hands and cried, “This is boring, boring, boring.” Not to be outdone, big sister piggybacks with, “You think this experience has been bad for you…how do you think I feel? This is the same meal we had that night I puked. Frankly, I am having a very hard time eating.” Which prompted the third and last contribution from the boy, “And by the ways, I think we forgot to pray.”

It was then I turned to Nathan and said, “WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?” to the tune of simultaneous praying which culminated with someone shouting, “LORD, WE THANK YOU FOR THE CHRISTMAS ORANGE!!!!”

Say what?!?!?!?

Now the point of this very random tale is that even though we didn’t find our resolution (shocking, I know), this little slice of life reminds me of the very thing that has sustained us in 2014…

Grace.

His absolute, unfailing grace.

In diagnosis…

In healing…

In doubt…

In hope…

In tears…

In laughter…

In death…

In life…

In fear…

In strength…

In the gutting…

In the gentle…

In every sweet and bitter second…

His. Grace. Came.

So that even in our weakness I can boast of this as we head into 2015:

His grace will be sufficient for us. His power, made perfect in our messiness. For when we are weak, He’ll bring the strong.

No matter the chaos. No matter the crazy. No matter the year.

No matter what.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

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Something Precious

A

I have a mommy confession.

Wait.

Scratch that.

It’s more like I have a mommy obsession.

Every fall, I find myself in valiant pursuit of that one precious all-the-children picture.

And every year, there is one backdrop that has never let me down…

The Weston Red Barn Farm.

It’s rustic and charming and surrounded by all things precious.

But this year, as I pulled out my camera, I sensed failure when my husband said, “Honey, do you think we should just go to the grocery store fall thing?  I mean Weston is a hike and…”

To which I interrupted with, “But it’s tradition and lovely and the kids can ride the pony and remember the apple donuts?  DO NOT forget about the apple donuts.  Heaven in a bag, babe.”

(Truth be told, I had him at the word “donut.”)

So we went to the charming farm.

I knew we were toast the second we got out of the van and Drew said, “Mom, I am SOOOOOOO hot.  I think I might die.” But I still shot him my “Suck it up, kid.  It may be 80 + degrees and your long-sleeved black Halloween shirt may be an oven but this is for posterity.”

B

Not two minutes later, I was with him, dying and all.

My sweatshirt was now a sauna. My hormones, a hellish monster. And had another minute passed, I would have wholeheartedly launched into the pig trough for sweet relief but mercifully, I was distracted when I heard the word “pony.”

(Sweet heavens, if I hadn’t promised them all a pony ride.)

The pony was up the hill…the heinous hill of no return.

Combine the not-so-sturdy Snap and Go with pebbled terrain and my not-so-graceful gait and we might as well have been climbing Everest.

Not to mention that I had already said “excuse me” more times in that one hour than I have my entire life.  Every time I tripped and stumbled, I bumped someone. Because to the point, THERE WERE SO MANY BLESSED PEOPLE THERE.

(I swear someone told them about the donuts.)

But for tradition’s sake, we still oomphed and umphed and excused ourselves up the hill. It was only after reaching the top of the precious thing that we came to the tragic realization that THERE WERE NO PONY RIDES.

Bless. My. Sweatshirt.

So we turned around, trod back down the pebbled path and just about the time I convinced myself that the disappointment would build character, my dear eldest pipes in with, “This is boring,” which prompts me to say, “I’ve got nothing, sister…just go jump in the straw.”

C

(Try not to be intimidated by such mom awesomeness.)

It was at this point my hubs felt the need to reiterate, “I think the fall festival two miles away would have been a way better tradition.” I didn’t even protest. “Ugh…you are probably right…why did I think this would be magical?!?!?

The hubs wisely stayed silent.

But as we made our way back to the pumpkins, I barfed the most unholy words,

“Let’s just try for one more picture.”

So we did.

And then it happened…

D

Children screamed.  Babies were almost dropped.  Sophie bolted through the barbed wire.

And I kept promising donuts to anyone who would listen to me.

Then the picture-taking devolved into pumpkin-picking and to the entire public that visited the farm, I wholeheartedly apologize.

We were yelling.

Not “I’m so mad” yelling.  But the “Lord-please-don’t-let-us-lose-a-child-now” kind. We were just so close, so focused, so intent on getting the hoot out of there that we just had to keep it together.

It was ugly. Full-on. U-G-L-Y.

But remember the donuts? Across the street? The ones I referred to as heaven in a bag?

Well, I ate FIVE...and it helped.

Seriously, y’all.

IT. DID.

But even as the cinnamon and sugar dripped most gloriously from my mouth, I came to a conclusion.

Precious pictures are needed.  They remind this memory-challenged mama of how I really feel at the end of day when all the chaos has quieted.  When I can run my hands through their sweaty bedheads and touch their perfect little noses and see the messy beautiful so clearly in each of them.

But I’m finally to a place where I need the 29 ridiculously accurate pictures too.

If only to shout, “WE ARE A REAL FAMILY!!!!”

One that messes up and falters and falls.  One that skins their knees and has to apologize.  One that can plan to have a magical experience and end up with the pumpkin patch on steroids.

One that needs Jesus, people.

Oh, how we need Him.

So as you plan the Thanksgiving dinners and take Christmas card pictures and deck the halls and all that jazz, remember my family and the yelling and the donut therapy and rejoice in this:

Real people have real families that really need Jesus.

And even though we may have more pictures that end up awkward and bizarre and more crazy than cute, in the end, when we’ve tripped and stumbled and fallen all over ourselves, when we’ve tried and failed through all those 29 moments in-between, He surprises us with what we have been looking for all along…

Something precious.

E

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

First Friday: Sending the Bully Home

bully

“Mommy, I am being bullied…and it is hurting my heart…”

I couldn’t tell you what exactly drew my gaze as she spoke those words.

Perhaps it was the look in her big brown eyes.  Perhaps it was the crazy, adult verbalization from a 3-year-old who is normally good with a loud scream.  Perhaps it was her tone or the way her whole body melted into mine as she climbed up onto my lap.

But something made me take my attention from a long-awaited adult conversation and ask,

“What words are hurting your heart, Sophie?”

“They said I am different, Mommy.”

And with that quiet answer, a sniffle and a snuggle, she climbed down and headed back to the overrun play place. Now normally, I would have returned to my conversation but something gnawed at me.  Something in my own heart kept my eyes squarely on her.

I watched as she tried to defend herself with her words against those twice her age.  I watched as she withdrew and came back to the booth to retreat into a book.  I even watched as she tried to reengage once more with her mama-bear, big sister defending her.

And even in a few places in-between, watching was not enough so I came to her rescue, employing my fiercest “mom” look and a few carefully chosen admonitions.

But in spite of all that effort, something changed in her...

And the one who had been bullied became a bully herself.

It was in that moment that my heart not only broke for my girl but for a community of people (to whom I belong) that so often gets caught up in a cycle of bullying words and attitudes and even actions.  We quip, we argue, we gang-up, we gossip, we judge (even ourselves) and in turn, we create a new generation of bullies…year after year after year.

I’ve seen it.  I’ve experienced it.  I’ve even (sadly) been a part of it.

It is a community where even those who have experienced the grace of Jesus hold tight to their own criticism and choices. I doubt if I even have to reveal in writing, its players. Or do I, mamas?

Schools.  Food.  Discipline.

Clothes.  Technology. Chores.

Sleep schedules.  Potty-training.  Media exposure.

Immunizations. Curriculum. Doctrine.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

You name it and we have found a way to fight over it.

It is killing us slowly, even if we don’t know it.  It is molding us, shaping us, growing us into the next generation of bullies.  And our kids our watching…

Watching as we choose our choices over the love and grace and mercy that has already been so lavishly extended to us. Watching as we choose insecurity over the knowledge that we are loved by a King.  Watching as we choose fear instead of peace…

Watching as we give up, give in and give way to our cattiness.

“Did you see what she let her daughter wear?”

“I can’t imagine why they send their kids to <any school choice that isn’t mine>, what are they thinking? <My choice> is what is best for kids.”

“Drug addiction, pregnancy and rebellion should not even be a part of a teen’s life if they come from a home where parents are involved.” (SERIOUSLY.  THIS ONE. WITW?!?!?!)

“If I had a day with <someone else’s kid>, he/she would be potty-trained, disciplined and happy (aka pretty much perfect.)”

“Breastfeeding is the only choice a responsible, loving mother makes.”

Or to put it in a catch phrase that makes it seem nicer, “Breast is best.”

“Baby-wearing is just over the top.”

“Why are people having <so many or so few> kids, don’t they know resources are limited or that children are a gift from the Lord?”

And by the by, if anyone is presently excluding themselves from responsibility, we have ALL said something like this, including yours truly, because just like my Sophie, we are continually drawn into this brutal play place of motherhood. We want to belong.  And in that want, we begin to believe the lie that our only choice for survival is to join the crowd and give way to its false security.

But newsflash, y’all…

There are a million different ways to be a good mom…A MILLION…but no one, absolutely no one is ever going reach perfection.  Neither are we all going to be the same.  Jesus allows us the freedom to choose, but somewhere in our insecurity we don’t offer that same freedom to one another.

And yet, we are a community that needs community.  We need a play place where we can feel safe.  We need a well of encouragement from which we can steadily draw.

We need sisters to help us remember that we measured by the content of our hearts, not the product of our faithfulness.

Yes, we still must be faithful.  But the outcome belongs to Him.  Now let me say that one more time…

The. Outcome. Belongs. To. Him.

And the sooner we realize it, the sooner we can work together to finally send the bully home, to enjoy the freedom Jesus gives and to abandon dialogue that would cause any sweet sister to get on her knees and say,

“Daddy, I am being bullied…and it is hurting my heart…”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miracles Do Happen

sara cormany

The first Friday of every month, I turn this space over to my friend Sara Cormany. She writes from her heart about motherhood and chasing after Jesus. I don't know if all of you know her story, but in the past few years, Sara has gone through a number of health issues, including stroke and miscarriage. She is always so grateful for the small things that you and I take for granted.

Today, though, I get to share with you the miracle that God has done in their family. You see, after her miscarriage, doctors thought she would never be able to get pregnant again. Yet, yesterday, she announced to the world that they are expecting a baby in September. So, today, I'm asking you to head over to Sara's blog Where Feet May Fail You and read her story and rejoice in the miracle she's been granted.

I'm also asking that you pray daily for my dear friend from now until September as this pregnancy is not without risk. Sara embodies the quality of finding joy in the moment and relying on Jesus. I hope you'll rejoice with me as I rejoice in this amazing miracle with her.

First Friday: Remember When You Were Awesome

Awesome The longer I live, the more I realize why Jesus thinks little kids are the bee’s knees.

In a world that is cynical, cold and obsessed with junk, it’s our kids that rock the norm.

Not only do these tiny peeps live on the brighter side of life. But warmth also spews out of them. Fighting the cold and telling whoever will hear, “Hey, I’ll share everything and anything---even my boogers!!!”

God bless them.

(And the mamas and papas who must be better than Kleenex.)

Kids sing in the middle of grocery stores. They dance down hospital hallways.  They travel to Africa and back IN THEIR HEADS.

THEY. ARE. FANTASTIC.

And they know it.

Not in an arrogant or pious kind of way.

But in a “If God says I rock, then clearly I do.”

I feel it every day as my son jumps out of the car and shouts back at me, “I’m gonna go be awesome today, mom.  Now you go be awesome, too!”

I see it every time we go to the grocery store and my 3-year-old rocks an Ariel dress, two different sparkly shoes (one that is her sister’s and flops when she walks) and a big giant red bow that only barely covers her syrup-matted hair.

I hear it in the enthusiastic projection of my 8-year-old as she belts out “Let It Go” for the (bless me) 902nd time.  It all screams, “Broadway, I’m fabulous.  And if you haven’t heard me sing yet, watch the hoot out.”

It is an unabashed confidence that  says, “Listen up, y’all. I am fearfully and wonderfully made!!! And if you doubt it for a moment, let me show you what makes me special.  ”

They are the best of us, uncomplicated and without baggage.

And even though they still have moments where even we as parents realize they need Jesus, our kids model daily how to take the truth of our “made in God’s image” selves and rock it.

That is if we learn.

Now the world will work very hard at wearing down that confidence.

It will call them what I often call myself.

Too flabby. Too scattered.  Too slow.

Too against the grain.

But as much as I have accepted those labels for myself, when I see how my kids view themselves and the world God created, I want to fight against those negative monikers.

I want to cast off every piece of nasty baggage and see myself the way my Creator sees me.

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

And it’s why I am keeping three pictures for my babies.  Tucking them close to my heart.  And waiting for the day I hear, “I’m too flabby.  I’m too scattered.  I’m too slow.”

Because when those days come, I will break them out and say, “See this...”

Graces note

“Grace?”

Drew Bowtie

“Drew?”

sophie pink

“Sophie?”

“These are words or this is the look of someone who thinks that if God thinks she’s awesome, then it must be so. Chase that. Want that. Wear that. And no matter what happens, don’t let it go.”

Then I’ll hug her and kiss him and pray crazily over all three, eventually tucking the pictures close to my heart once again.

But before I do, I’ll take one long last look at each and remind myself again of a little boy’s drop-off farewell…

““I’m gonna go be awesome today, mom.  Now you go be awesome, too!”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

 

First Friday: More Than Crumbs

crumbs

My darling eldest girl has a penchant for the dramatic.

And I’ll freely admit my part in it.

My side of the family most definitely has DNA code written for the stage.

My brother. My sisters. My mama.

D to the N to the A.

And as for moi?

Forget about it.

I not only own my drama, I also taught the masses how to be MORE dramatic.

Penchant. Firmly. Planted.

So I hardly balked at the overblown Scarlett O’Hara sighs coming from the living room the other day as I heard her chastise baby sister, “SOPHIE!!!! You got crumbs ALLLLLLLL over the FLOOR!”

Without a beat or interruption of my laundress duties, I bellowed back from above,

“In this house, people are more important than crumbs!!!!”

“Mother, what does that even mean??!?!!???”

“Well, sister, I’m glad you asked…..”

And thus began the crumb project.

A mad gab of input by my three in an attempt to create a little we-love-you-more-than-crumbs manifesto.

The process was in a word, hilarious.  The ideas, a bit novel.  And the hearts behind it, pure if not Purelled.

Call it our own little way of reminding ourselves this holiday season that no matter the busy, the guest, or even the heartbreak, people are our purpose.

Always.

 

MORE THAN CRUMBS

We love you more than crumbs, we do.

We’ll show you how to love you too.

We’ll kiss your boo boo’s before we clean.

We’ll wipe your tears and stop the mean.

We’ll make crazy cool doors for you to walk through.

We’ll share our cows and goldfish too.

We’ll poop in the potty and not on the floor.

We’ll say, “PBBBLT to crumbs, we love you more!”

We’ll give you a show or two or ten.

We’ll even add drums, just tell us when!

We’ll give you Christmas day after day.

And we won’t give up on you if you run away.

We’ll search for you with all our might.

Just like we did for Sophie last night.

We’ll scour the halls and the in-betweens.

We’ll look high and low and over fairy wings.

We won’t slow-up until we see your face.

And then to you we will gladly race.

We won’t care a hoot from where you came.

We’ll just love on you and shout your name!

We’ll break out the goldfish, the best we’ve got.

Maybe even a cow if you like that a lot.

We’ll dance.  We’ll sing. We’ll even shout.

And you can best be guessing we’ll get those drums out!

We’ll wash your hands and feet and face.

We’ll clothe you in Avenger gear or even lace.

We’ll kiss your boo boo’s and say “Don’t cry.”

Pray with you or sing a sweet lullaby.

For it must be said right now, right here.

You are the gift we expected this year.

We missed you like crazy, that much is true.

But more than crumbs, we love you!

 

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

 

Inspired Holiday Bundle - 25 products for holiday inspiration at only $25 #InspiredBN 

 

Sock Monkey Theology

For the past two weeks, I have armed myself with copious amounts of coffee in a series of rather unsuccessful attempts to write this little post. Not once. Not twice. But up, up, up and away to some ridiculous, forgettable number.

All in the sweet name of giving you something pithy or poignant or even pitiful.

(FYI, I just used “pitiful” because I couldn’t come up with any other way to end the alliteration.)

But I’m afraid my poignant well has run dry. This past month has just been that way. It’s been about survival, plain and simple.

Well, truthfully, it’s been actually been about two things: survival AND sock monkeys.  Confused? To borrow a line from The Princess Bride, “Just wait ‘til I get going!!!”

Er, where was I?

Ah, yes, the monkeys.

Remember the brief journey this June into our summer schedule? The one where I sung loud praises to my doting Dad for inflatable sprinkler things?  The one that began our week with Make-It-Monday?

Well, my dearest Daddy read that post.

Feeling quite proud of his contribution, Dad decided to step it up a notch.  So in honor of my birthday, he gifted us with our very own, make-it-yourself, Rockford Sock Monkey kit.

(And all the craft-challenged mamas wailed in unison a cry of utter agony.)

But then yesterday, it rained.

Yes.  That’s right. I did it.

I got that kit out and committed to the longest project in Make-It-Monday history.

Four-and-a half blessed hours to come up with this…

 1

It’s okay to laugh, really…

I blame the false advertising…

2

Whoever thought this was sensational in any way shape or form should have been told what sensational actually means…

In my world, sensational does not even broach me stuffing my face with chocolate as my eldest inquires, “Mom, is this a little too much for you???

Sweet heavens, child, YES!!!!  Do you see this monkey?????

I didn’t even notice an arm is MISSING…

3

But then Drew responds, “At least he has one arm?????”

Why, yes, son, there is joy in that.

So we push onward…and make a hat…to which the eldest again makes this blessed comment, “Well, that didn’t really improve the situation, did it?”

4

AAAAACCCCKKKKKKKK!!!!!!

At this point, I am shoving the last of the chocolate in my mouth and sewing on a tail and an arm that don’t have any stuffing in it because I just can’t fathom the thought of one more appendage failure for the day.

5

Shameful.

Just shameful.

My apologies to all the women who can sew, craft or stuff.

And as for me, well, just bless my EVER-LOVING ROCKFORD SOCKS!!!!!!!!!!

Now, you may ask yourself why I share any of this other than to make you feel AWESOME about your crafting skills.

Well, here’s the deal…

Ironically enough, even a month that is boiled down to survival and sock monkeys, God can use in all its hysteria.  He can reveal truth out of it, among it and through it.  He can even lead a mentally done mama to write down a little sock monkey theology in hopes of bringing you a little real-world encouragement in the back-to school madness.

Let us begin with…

Lesson #1 : Sometimes life just doesn’t follow the instruction manual.  You want sensational and you end up with one scary sock monkey.

6

Expect it.  Embrace it.  Understand it.

Life is going to be full of scary monkeys but once we get done navigating the entire manual and blow this craft-making joint, we get a forever of sensational.

Trust it.

Lesson #2: We will all get our stuffing knocked out of us.  But fortunately, our Creator’s whip stitch is way better than mine.  And unlike me, He won’t give up…

7

God will heal and restore and remake you perfectly.

Every time.

Lesson #3: Smile.

8

Seriously, how can you not?

Lesson #4:  When your face looks like this, it is time to put the monkey or the to-do list or the calendar down and BE STILL.

9

(Okay, okay, maybe eat some chocolate too.)

Lesson #5:  The world may call you ugly.  The world may call you unlovable.  The world may point out every crooked stitch.  But the One you were made for????

10

He happens to think you are absolutely beautiful.

(Even when you don’t.)

So bless my Rockford socks.  Yours too.  And should this little pictorial lesson have taught you nothing, forgive me.

I was too busy making sock monkeys.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s the blessed point.

First Friday: Not Just Another Checklist

Grief

Good grief.

April has been a loo loo.

Between the loss we felt collectively as a country for the people of Boston and Waco, the loss we felt as a community for Rick and Kay Warren and the personal loss we felt daily for our friends, family and ourselves, one could not help but feel bombarded with grief.

So much so, there were quite a few days I wanted to pull the covers over my head, sleep through April and wake up today with some bright, cheery message of new beginnings.

But April has been a loo loo, I’m afraid.

And I would be remiss to ignore its profound effect on my heart.

You see, a year ago, almost to this day, I wrote of my own loss.  I wove a lovely tale of pink and blue.  And I spoke as if I believed that a singular moment would bring an end to my sadness.

I was wrong.

The truth is that I miss my sweet, almost April baby every single day.  The celebration I wrote of was merely the beginning of a lifelong dance of grief and hope and a longing for heaven. And I, much like the little boy tangled up in the balloons, was too caught up in my sadness to see it plainly.

But when the fog of grief lifts, much like the smoke of an explosion, you begin to see the carnage. 

The limbs you’ve lost.  The devastation around you.  And the people who have stuck with you.

You finally begin to process what in the hoot just happened. And for the first time in weeks or months or even years, you have clarity. A clarity that sometimes is scarier than the madness and the carnage and the confusion.

You take one day at a time.  You force yourself to put one foot in front of the other.  And you remind yourself to breathe.

It’s as if with each step, each breath, each day you untangle your heart from the fog’s grip and open your eyes to the reality of your grief.  You finally admit to yourself that life has changed.  And you have a choice, to sink into embitterment or lean into the grace you know is waiting.

The crazy thing is I have walked with those I love through loss.  I have experienced my own grief in the middle of their madness.  And I have cried many tears.

Tears over students lost to suicide and illness and accidents.  Tears over babies lost to miscarriage and stillbirth.  Tears over parents and grandparents, over sisters and brothers, over sons and daughters.

But it was not until this loss, I realized how little I knew about grief.  How it can turn you inside out and upside down and you can’t help but walk away changed.  How the presence of one person can make all the difference in your healing.  And how the absence of another can profoundly hurt.

Now a year ago, I would have told you that I could fill a book on things not to say to people who’ve lost someone.  I assure you it would have been rather ugly.  But that is part of the fog, you see.

You travel to a place where you feel like you are the only one who has ever been in the pit of grief and you alone know how to universally fix it. We’re funny like that. Part of me wonders if God gave us this phase of grief just to keep us fighting through each day.

I say all this because of what follows.  I am not an expert on grief. Nor do I pretend to be one.

But through my own journey, I have learned this pointedly, “I, Sara Cormany, need to be more purposeful about loving others who’ve experienced loss.”

Because trust me on this one, it matters.

And because it matters, I can openly share the lessons I’ve learned about loving those in the midst of grief.  Now please resist the temptation to embrace this as yet another checklist for the fridge.  Because heaven knows, we have enough lists to last us a lifetime.

Simply consider and weigh each one carefully against what you know about Jesus, His passionate love for those who hurt and the reminder of Galatians 6:2 to bear one another’s burdens in love.

Lesson #1:  Remember dates.

Imagine if a year from now, the world simply forgot to recognize the loss experienced during the bombings of the Boston Marathon.  Madness, you say?  Indeed.  For those who have lost someone, the birthdays, the due dates, the death dates and all the blooming holidays in-between are just plain hard.  The world moves on and you are left looking at that empty chair or car seat or bedroom. And it hurts. It just unimaginably hurts.  Now some days, you wish the world would remember and other days you wish you could sink privately into your sadness.  But I’ll admit, I would rather have someone remember with me than not, just for the days I feel alone in my grief.  It’s the moment where someone says, “Your loss is important to me just because I love you.”  It’s the reminder that after the dust clears, you still have people who are walking with you from now until Home.

Lesson # 2: No one wins a medal for the biggest griever.

Now I say this with all the love I have in me, “Don’t make someone else’s grief about your own.” It makes not a hoot of sense that I would sit down with some sweet girl who has recently had a pregnancy loss and say, “Well now, I know you’ve just lost a baby but let me tell you, having had a stroke and then sepsis and nearly dying just makes my loss way harder than yours!” The mere thought is absolutely asinine.  But unfortunately, without even knowing it, we seem to play that card with our “I understand” phraseology. If we really believe that we are uniquely fashioned by God and created for a specific eternal purpose, than it seems to me that even when I go through loss similar to another’s, I still don’t totally get it. And that’s okay.  I don’t have to understand. I just need to show up, open my ears and more often than not, quiet my mouth.

Lesson #3: Don’t knock the praise.

If you would have told me before 2011, “Sara, you are going to have a stroke, lose a baby, nearly die from complications and then be in la la land for the better part of a year. But hey, you are going to fall madly in love with Jesus in a way you’ve never known!”  I more than likely would have boot scooted you right out my front door. But here’s the crazy, absolute truth, I did.  I fell in love with Jesus all over again.  I had nothing left physically, mentally or emotionally but I had Him.  His arms, His peace and even His inexplicable joy. When I confessed my love for Him, it wasn’t just sunshiney, blow-smoke-up-your-nose lipservice.  It was a holy offering that truthfully claimed He is all that people told me He would be when I came to the very end of my being. Hence, the lesson.  Don’t knock the praise, don’t roll your eyes and don’t imagine it’s because it is some pre-scripted mumbo jumbo.  Respect the road that was journeyed and keep your cynicism away from what is absolutely holy.

Lesson #4: Be ready to get uncomfortable.

It seems to me there is a spectrum of grief.  On one side, you have the shout-it-from-the-rooftops kind, the kind that blogs, talks and pours out grief through every pore.  On the other side, you have the go-into-the bedroom, lock-the-door and lose-it-kind-of-grief.  We all fall on one side or the other or somewhere in-between.  And we tend to accept that our kind of grief is what is acceptable or respectable in its wake.  But remember, this is not about what makes you comfortable.  Sometimes the reality of grief is just plain ugly.  But those experiencing it don’t have a choice in facing in it.  You do.  Love chooses what is uncomfortable.  Love says, “I don’t get it.  But you need this.  So I’ll love you in the silence.  Or I’ll love you in the shouting.  Shoot, I’ll even pull a David and tear my clothes with you if that is what you need to heal.”  Love bears the burden.

Lesson #5: Curb the complaining.

This one breaks my heart.  Not because I am disgusted with others but because it opens an unlovely place in my own being.  Before my journey, I looked at “do everything without complaining or arguing” as just a general suggestion.  I mean, shoot.  A girl has got to be able to vent, right?  But then I found loss and faced a pretty ugly truth.  When you are in the middle of grief, you have to go through things that take the very breath from you.  Mine were holding baby clothes, surprise encounters with pregnant bellies and anytime I saw a precious newborn.  I could not avoid any of it.  They are part of life and in many ways, a part of healing.  But the unloading, complaining, verbal barfing about late nights, no sleep and crying would literally reduce me to a sobbing pile of mess on my kitchen floor.  I would have given all of it to hold my baby just once.  The problem is what we  once “unloaded” to a few close friends around our kitchen table, we now broadcast in a firestorm of social media complaining…the flu, our teenagers, our parents, our wait at the doctor’s office…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  You name it, we complain about it.  Our disobedience is now available for everyone to see.   We have moved out of an era where we could be discerning about the words we speak toward someone experiencing loss to an open forum that slams unsuspecting, precious brothers and sisters at their most vulnerable. A truth that makes me want to lay face-down on the floor and whisper a thousand “I’m sorries” for the hurt I have unknowingly caused. Saying no to complaint is not just a matter of choice, it is a matter of obedience.  If we are to love the grieving, we have to knock off the viral storm of complaint. Period.

Lesson #6: Pray without stopping.

The reality is, sometimes all we can do is pray.  It may feel like nothing but it is actually everything.  Words uttered in prayer are the only ones that will lay a broken someone before the foot of a King’s throne.  Prayer is better than any sympathy card or Facebook post or e-mail we will ever pen. In the thick of loss, we may be the first responders or the doctors or the therapists.  We might use our hands to stabilize the bleeding.  We might use our experience to help someone learn how to walk again.  Or we may even have to do some good, old-fashioned pants kicking toward the promise of Hope.  (I think my sweet husband gets credit for being all three.) But at some point, we all will need to step back from our role and pray.  It is not, as I once believed, our last resort in the midst of pain.  It is our first and most effective response.

While all of this may have overwhelmed even me, I assure you that His grace is sufficient for all our mess-ups, misguided good intentions and inattention. It is absolutely what I love about this journey.  The goal is not perfection, the goal is growth.

I love that ten years from now I can love people better than I do today.  I love that I can ask for forgiveness.  I love that Jesus can use me even in spite of my blindness.

But that is part and parcel of the beauty amidst the ashes.

Grief opens a place in our hearts that we never knew could hurt so profoundly but it also opens this same place to a love we never imagined possible.

Be it the love we have for the one lost or the love we experience from all those who help carry our hurt or the love of a Savior who understands it all.

Grief beckons us to jump in, dig through the ashes and bear the hurt of others.

So Jesus, make us bold, make us brave and make us purposeful.

Today. Tomorrow.  And all the way Home.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

First Friday: Piles

I love spring.

The colors.  The flowers.  The fragrance.

All of it.

A testament to a God who can bring life and color and beauty from even the longest of winters.

But with that being said, there is one thing about spring that I LOATHE. 

It has irked me since earning my mama badge seven years ago.  It causes anxiety, panic and downright confusion.  And it has taken pounds of coffee for me to even have the courage to navigate it now that I have brain damage.

The last truth alone makes me want to scream, “Mercy me, where is a sedative?”

It is the twice-a-year inspiration for why I tell Nathan we are the next stop for Hoarders: Buried Alive.  The reason I would love disposable children’s clothing.  And a first-world-problem unlike any other.

Drum roll on my head, pleeeeeaase…

Let’s hear it for the seasonal sort and clothes bin dump of Spring 2013!!!!

Little socks.  Big socks. One sock.  Two socks.

Doesn’t fit with socks, but might without socks.

Socks.  Socks. Socks!!!!!

In addition to wanting to rewrite Dr. Seuss, saying this out loud makes my overindulged self want to apologize for even mentioning it. Truly, it does.  But in the same token, it is the excess, the disposability of our things that is key in this Sort N’ Dump spring lesson.

This year as I created pile after pile, sorted shirt after shirt and secretly hoped I hadn’t buried one of the children, I noticed something that I hadn’t in all the years before:

The “Not a Blessing to Anyone” pile.

In it, you would have found pants with holes in the knees, shoes without soles and shirts with twenty different stains.

Usually, it is the pile that is out the door the quickest. But this year, for some reason, I went through it with care and attention.  And I found myself reading the story of us.

My son’s jeans.

The holes worn in the knees from imaginary battles needing to be won.  The orange nail polish on the side acquired in a covert mural creation underneath the dining room table.  And the frayed cuffs from the day he turned 4, insisting that his pant size must match his age no matter whether he tripped on them or not.

My daughter’s sparkly shoes.

The faded luster of when they were new, when she couldn’t wait to get home and show daddy her “fabulous” treasure.  The scuff marks and rips and holes that communicated how loved they were and how many adventures they had seen.  The little secrets and even tears they had been privy to on the playground.  And the dancing they had done…OH MY, the dancing…in parking lots, in living rooms, in any place that had a floor.

My baby’s headband.

Silky, beautiful and one of mama’s favorites. Stained from little hands yanking it down during meals.  Spaghetti, ice cream, hot dogs, you name it, it was most assuredly there. And yet, mama kept putting it on until the day came when her little girls’ words could clearly say, “Mommy, I do NOT yike headbands!!!”

With every memory and imperfection, each item became more precious. The holes, the tears, the stains told a story.  And the more dings and scrapes, the more stories to be treasured and remembered.

Now, I still put these items back in the pile to which they belonged.  I still packed them up.  And I still felt relief at their departure.

But I remembered something that we often forget in a place of comfort and excess and disposability:

Jesus came for broken people.  He lived and died for every hole and stain and imperfection that our story carries. And unlike the world, He doesn’t throw a life away just because it’s banged up or bruised or torn apart.

The more empty places in our lives and in our stories, the more room there is for grace.  The more room there is for grace, the more room there is for Jesus.  And it is why, quite plainly, our pursuit of perfection in parenting, in relationships, in life is full-on nutty.

That was NEVER part of the plan.

God wants our surrender and our stewardship, not a pair of brand spanking new blue jeans or a pristine pair of shoes or a sparkling headband on our entry to eternity.

God wants our weakness to create more room for Him, not squeeze Him out in our pursuit of perfection.

And God loves the broken, the lost and the downtrodden so passionately that the thought of anyone creating a “Not Going to be a Blessing” pile, no doubt, breaks His very heart.

And yet, I do.  You do.  We all do.

Worse yet, we often place ourselves in our own pile of “Not A Blessing.”  We cry and lament and complain that we are unlovable and unable to be used.  And we find solace in the company of others’ similar misery.

But we are buying into a lie. 

One that assumes that Jesus is okay with “I’m a mess beyond redemption” kind of self-talk.

And here is the crazy part, while we are in the middle of our pity parties, Jesus is shouting to us:

“My loves!!!! Being bruised and broken and torn apart are the very reasons I obediently went to the Cross.  I don’t want your cleaned-up little life…I want your mess!!!  Remember my suffering?  The nails?  The thorns? Sometimes pain is the perfect beginning to a story that ends in eternity.  Let me use it.  Let me use you.  Let me dwell within your deepest cuts and wounds and broken places!”

Brothers and sisters, the God of the universe and the Savior of the world are shouting to us in unison.

But our modern day need for perfection and control is keeping us in the darkness of our own anxiety and confusion.  We are trading His joy for our own junk and His beauty for our ugliness. We are missing the color, the fragrance and the beauty of the gift we say we’ve received.

We are, quite simply, stuck in winter.

But it’s time to get out of the cold.  It’s time to say goodbye to the drab, gray mess of disposability and perfection.  And it’s blessedly time to move forward into the warmth of grace, hope and life.

Where we see ourselves plainly and honestly but we don’t forget that we were worthy of Cross, worthy of Jesus and worthy of a new name or better still, a new pile. One labeled to reflect the love and mercy it took to build it:

“Messed Up, Bruised, Redeemed and Ready to be Used for all of Eternity.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Friday: Worn

The last few weeks have kicked this old girl squarely in the pants.

I have gone from a pull-myself-up-from-the-bootstraps mama to a consistent blubbering mountain of mess. It is no one thing in particular that has me sniffling.  Just a whole lot of life coming at me all at once.

But something remarkable has also happened in these same few weeks.

Every morning as I have placed my feet on the floor, I’ve heard these opening words to the 10th Avenue North song, Worn play clearly in my exhausted mind:

“I’m tired, I’m worn.  My heart is heavy.  From the work it takes to just keep breathing...”

Even more remarkable, different strains, different lines followed on different mornings:

Exhaustion met with “I’m worn even before the day begins.”

Sadness met with “I know I need to lift my eyes up, but I’m too weak, life just won’t let up.”

Anger met with “I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let my hope fail.”

Ending always with, “So heaven come and flood my eyes.”

In retrospect, it has, no doubt, been a gift from Jesus.  Designed perfectly for my tired brain.  A brain that often struggles to read words on a page.

I imagine it is for this very reason that He has so lovingly brought the words to my mind.  Fixing them in my heart every morning.  For a moment when the truth of the melody would become absolutely real to me.

And real, it has become.

The day it happened was rough one.  Lots of tears.  Lots of time in my pulling-it-together corner.

The particular moment happened right after I surveyed the great room to see if anyone was there to hear or see my blubbering.  Coast was clear.  Blubbering began.

But I had forgotten something very important.  A little girl who is just short enough not to be seen over the height of the kitchen counter.  I realized my mistake when I felt a little hand gently tug on my shirt.

“What’s is wrong, Mommy?”

Immediately, I tried to put on a brave face and bent down to assure her I was fine.

But then something incredible happened:

My baby girl took her hand and held my chin firmly in place as she looked into my eyes.  I tried to look down and keep from crying harder but she was relentless in keeping my gaze.  Finally, she took my face in both hands, pressed her forehead to mine and said with a maturity beyond her two-year-old years,

“I.  Love.  You.”

Sob. Sob. Sob.

Face back to hers.  “I said, “I.  Love. You.”

She kissed my cheek ever so softly, wiped the tears away with her hands and hugged me tightly.

Then, just as quickly as she came, she was gone.

The next morning, I woke up with the same words running through my mind that had come to me the morning before.

But this time, I saw a little face filled with concern.  I felt little hands lifting my eyes to a place of purpose. And I heard a little voice speak of a Father’s love.

For the first time in weeks, it didn’t matter that I was worn.  Or tired.  Or done.

What mattered is that I knew when I cried out, He would respond.  He would come.  He  would care.

And greater still, He would bring heaven down to fill my teary eyes.  Just as He had done on a day that the world was kicking me squarely in the pants.  When He used a little girl’s hands and heart to finally make me hear Him say:

“I.  Love. You.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

First Friday: Cradle Time

I can hardly believe it has been two years since I cradled a newborn baby.

The tiny fingers.  The tiny toes.  The tiny shoes they don’t even need.

All of it so new and fresh and untainted by the world.

And we can’t help but marvel at it.  

Even though the frequent diaper blowouts make you dry heave on command.  Even though you might wonder if you will ever sleep again.  And even though the crying marathons nearly drive you insane.

Most of us who have been through it once, will still beg to do it all over again.

In many ways, those first few years of parenting are a beautiful if yet, frustrating dance of calm and chaos, bright beginnings and bittersweet endings.

But the thing I miss most about a newborn is that moment when all is right with his world.

Belly full.  Bottom dry.  And body warm.

Snuggling right into the nape of your neck, completely and utterly at peace.

Seeming to inherently know that you are his safe place.

And even though you may be such for a number of years to come, there is no greater moment of complete dependence.  Just as there is no greater picture of what I know my Father so often gives me.

My perfect refuge.  My place of safety.  My God, in whom I place my trust.

All that He is declared to be in Psalm 91:2...

He is.

And yet, the inevitability that storms will rage in our lives remains.  We have been promised that they will come.  We are to prepare for that certainty.

But even in the midst of storms, we are given what my momma calls cradle time.

A time when our bellies are full, our eyes are dry and our bodies, strong.  A time when we keenly feel the peace, the strength and the assurance of a Father’s arms.  A time when we’ve been removed from what is messy and cold and wanting and instead, have been given the haven of our safe place.

But so often, what do I do in times like these?

I become like a colicky newborn.  I writhe and kick and scream.  I create drama and storms and crises where there are none.

And it is in this madness, that I miss the warmth of a Father’s arms.  I miss the renewal of my strength. And I miss the precious comfort of cradle time.

Not because it isn’t waiting for me...

But because I fail to rest in it.

With all that energy spent over little hiccups along life’s way, it is of no surprise then, that when the storm comes, I am exhausted and spent and done.  I am not ready to meet its demands.  So I writhe more and kick harder and scream louder than I did before.

“I need rest, Jesus!  Why can’t I have rest?  Don’t you see that I need rest?”

And yet, even through my screaming I hear, “I tried, my love.  I tried to give you what you needed.  But you cried so loud, you missed the calm before the storm.”

You see, when I forget to rest, I miss my cradle time.

I forget how I am purposefully loved by a Father, a stronghold for all who He carries.

I forget that I am held.

During the calm.  During the storm.  During everything in-between.

I forget that His grasp is steady and faithful and constant.

I am the one who changes and wiggles and writhes.  But I am also the one who has a choice. I can choose to see that the same arms that carry me in the storms, also cradle me in rest.

In a place where all writhing and kicking ends.  In a moment where I relish the haven of my safe place.  And in a time when I am cradled by the God of the universe.

It is there in the warmth and comfort of His arms that I can finally declare, slowly and with intention, “He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

First Friday: A Future and Footie Pajamas

Ugh.  Yuck.  And blah.

Such is my general response to New Year’s resolutions.

You might say, “Wow, Sara, tell us how you really feel!”

Or maybe even, “That sure is a downer of an introduction.”

Or you might just stop reading altogether, convinced that this is not the kind of encouragement you need at the dawn of a new year.

But I assure you, my feelings have nothing to do with a deep disdain for the premise, philosophy or theology of a resolution.

Quite frankly, I simply stink at keeping them.  And if I am being completely honest, I would have to say the stinking is not contained by just the keeping of them.  But also in the making of them.

I have resolved to wear pre-baby jeans so many times I have lost count.

(FYI, I don’t even own my “pre-baby” jeans any more.)

In college, I resolved to grow out my hair????

(This one is just embarrassing.)

And last year, I resolved to have more “normal” moments.

(Um, yeah...pretty confident I don’t even know what this one means.)

I imagine that each year, my Father looks down at me, at my efforts and lovingly shakes His head with a smile.

My guess is that it is somewhat akin to my head shake when my two-year-old attempts to put her footie pajamas on all by herself.  Arms in leg holes, legs in arm holes. A valiant attempt, but a hot mess.

One that always makes me smile, knowing that my Sophie will keep persisting, keep trying and keep fighting even in spite of her previous failure.

Now because I have been down this road before, I know she’ll get it.  She’ll then move on to other challenges that are simply a part of growing up. And all the while, I’ll be there to encourage her, love her and even smile.

But it also reminds me that despite my failures, I need to keep trying too.

You see, I‘ve known for years that God has a plan for me, even in failure and even in spite of my silly resolutions.  But in that plan, I also know I am not the orchestrator.  I am the instrument.

My strings, my keys and my melody are to join in with His plans. The very plans that Jeremiah 29:11 speaks of: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Now it doesn’t take too many brain cells, which is a relief as I am down quite a few, to figure out I want to be a part of that plan.

And His word doesn’t really spend a whole lot of time on my waist size, my hair length and what is “normal.”  But it does spend a whole lot of time on the importance of loving Him.  

Heart.  Soul.  And mind.

And it also holds verse after verse on loving the world like crazy.

Widows.  Orphans.  And the broken.

When I join His plan, I find that my resolutions, my goals, my plans become less about me and more about Him.  I find myself determined to act, to resolve and to commit to Him and to the world as to what I will do this year.  And the next.

I am resolved to remember that God is not bound by my plans or that of the world’s.  I remember He is bigger than political parties and natural disasters and tragedies that break our hearts.  I remember that His love does not condone evil but rather, it overcomes it.

I am resolved to remember that children are my Father’s very heartbeat.  I remember that in moments where I am frustrated and tired and fed-up as a result of my own human selfishness.  And I seek to honor every little life taken by violence, disease and starvation by letting Jesus work in me to love my babies as well as His.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, I am resolved to love those who hurt.  I don’t expect to be loved back.  And I avoid saying, “I understand.” Instead, I remember that we all hurt in our own way and that broken people need our hands far more than they need our words.

So this year, just like my Sophie, I will try once again to be diligent about the plan He has for me.  And I will keep on trying until I get it right. Even though, more than likely, it will be an effort that will take me all the way to eternity.

But unlike the years before, I know He knows the plan.  He authors the hope.  And He brings the future.

Even through instruments whose hands and legs sometimes get stuck in their footie pajamas.

He simply needs us to keep trying.  To keep joining Him.  To keep holding onto His truth.

From there until eternity, nothing makes a Father smile more.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

First Friday: A Sacred Love

Our 25 Days of Giving series will return on Monday. For today, enjoy Sara Cormany's reminder that Jesus came to bring us a sacred love.

The sacred can be found in the most humble of places.

You may find it waiting at home. Or standing vigil in a hospital room. Or even lying in a manger.

But no matter where you discover its presence, there can be no denial of its existence.

Even in a world full of cynicism and selfishness and general unhappiness. the sacred cries out in hope that we will stand up and pay attention.

I heard it cry one Tuesday evening.

And believe it or not, strange or no, it began with a pot of salty soup.

Enter me, standing at the stove furiously stirring a pot of potato yumminess, courtesy of Bear Creek Soup Company and my ability to add water.

Nearly five minutes to soup perfection, I began to add a little spice here, a little pepper there. And then came the salt. But alas, there was nothing little about this addition.

In fact, it was more of a salt dump.

I quickly transformed from Martha Stewart to Mad Madam Mim.

The transformation was made complete with shrieking, squawking and communicating general distress. Ended only by a tub of sour cream. And my nearly 7-year-old’s admonition, “Mom, you HAVE to calm down. It’s only soup.”

And it was only soup.

But it was the soup I was bringing to a sweet family whose Mama was walking her final leg Home. It was the offering I wanted to make to a dear friend who had been there for me, even when it appeared I had one foot here and one foot in eternity. And I wanted it to be perfect.

But time ran out.

And so salty soup and all, we hopped in the van, headed to the nursing home and picked up a bag of Hershey’s kisses on the way.

Because really, chocolate makes everything better?

Right?!?!?

Now I am sure you have already come to this on your own but just in case, the answer is no. Even chocolate, I’m afraid, cannot best Alzheimers. Or the pain of saying goodbye.

Coming to this truth just a little too late, I began to feel as though I understood what the wise men must have felt when they offered their gifts to a King. As I walked through the parking lot, my salty soup, salad and chocolate seemed so small compared to the incredible sacrifice of its recipients. Ridiculous, even.

But the moment I walked through that nursing home door, my offering, my insecurity and my unworthiness faded quickly into the greatness of the precious offering in front of me.

It was an offering of love given faithfully and willingly not for mere hours or days, but for years. Every dark circle, unsteady hand and slowed step communicated a never-giving-up kind of love. And in the midst of seeing such a precious family immersed in the final leg of an exhausting journey, I could not help but be struck by the beauty of their battle scars.

It wasn’t just any beauty, mind you. It was the kind that punches you in the gut. It was the brand that takes your breath away, the eternal kind that doesn’t even seem possible here.

This was the real deal. This was the sacred.

It lined the walls of Mama’s room in sweet handprints on bright yellow paper, lovingly made by grandbabies. It shone through the photographs on the nightstand, the mementos on the shelf beside the door, evidence of a life well-lived and well-loved. But most of all, it brought a spirit of hope into a room that I had unwisely thought would have had none.

But Hope was there, my friends.

Even in the tears and the heartache and the sacrifice, Hope was most assuredly there.

Maybe it was that which made the tears flow all the way home. Maybe my heart just needed to cry out for the love of my friend. But maybe, just maybe, it was being so near to Jesus, so close to His sacred love and the promise of eternity, that I had nothing left but tears to give.

In a world where love can be selfish and arrogant and short-lived, I had been privileged to stand spectator to a love that was willing to go to hell and back, not once, not twice but every day for the last few years.

And in that remembrance, I found a piece of me that went back in time. To a stable and a manger and an offering of eternal love. It wasn’t comfortable or easy or earthly beautiful.

It was so much more.

With every cry in the straw, every insult to His name and every thorn in His crown, Jesus gave the world a glimpse at a never-giving-up kind of unfailing love. In every wound and scar, this love shouted, “This is what beauty looks like!” And it wasn’t just any kind of beauty, mind you.

It was the punch-you-in-the-gut kind. The brand that takes your breath away. The kind that doesn’t even seem possible on this side of eternity.

This, friends, was the real deal. This was the sacred.

It lined the edges of His swaddling clothes, lovingly wrapped by a mama’s hands. It shone through His healing touch, His care for the weak and His love for the unlovely, all testament to what a life well-lived and well-loved closely holds. And in His precious sacrifice, He brought Hope into a world that had none.

But most of all, Jesus redefined the meaning of love for all of humanity.

He gifted the world with a love that trades the selfish for selfless, arrogance for humility and the short-lived for the eternal. Be it in a crazy girl’s meager offering or in a hospice room or on a Cross, real love will journey wherever it is asked to go.

Even when we’d rather not, even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, Jesus cries to us,

“Precious ones, choose my love. Even on the days where you must go down to the very pit of hell and back, please, please, please choose my love. I know your fear, your hesitation and even your hurt, but rest in this truth, I’ve paved a path all the way to eternity that will show you how it's done.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

First Friday: A Prayer of Thanksgiving

 

A few nights ago, I was reminded that prayer with small children is a lot like Chutes and Ladders.

Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. And sometimes, you take a direct slide right back to start.

But sometimes, you end up where we did that night...

Right off the board and into the land of “Not a chance anyone will ask us to share our technique on how to teach a preschooler to pray.”

EVER.

It began innocently enough.

Negotiations as to who would be first. All in all, fairly civil. And then, as I was somewhere between the fridge and the dining room table, mayhem ensued.

Underneath the dull roar of Drew’s voice, I heard Grace praying. With every word, her brother’s “I need to be first!” got louder and louder and louder. Not to be outdone, baby sis joined in with intermittent shouts of “I needs to pway!!!!”

Before Grace even reached her “Amen,” with clenched teeth, Drew yammered out something like this, “Bless this food to our body’s use and I am supposed to pray first!!!” The conclusion was equally impressive as he shouted a spit-spewing “The end!!!” in Grace’s face.

Grace, the usual peacemaker, offered to pray again. Not really sure as to what was even happening, I mumbled, “Uh, okay, but can Sophie go first?” Grace waved her on as only a princess amongst the peon public could.

Taking her cue from her big sis, Sophie broke out into her usual, “Mahna, Mahna, Mahna, Mahna...”

And just about the time you expected a merry band of Muppets to add a rousing, “Doo, Doo,” she looked up. Made sure everyone was paying attention. And finished it off with an ear-piercing, “Ameen!”

Just relieved that the noise had ended, I turned to go get the napkins I’d missed when I heard Grace saying the same prayer she’d prayed before but mumbling at warp speed. Miraculously, when she was done, Drew sat back with a certain satisfaction as if to say, “See, I was supposed to be first.”

Phew.

Just reliving that makes my eye want to twitch.

But although our prayer time landed us into the realm of “what not to do when you pray with small ones or shoot, even big ones,” I realized something that night.

The prayers I utter, particularly those of thanksgiving, often mirror our dinner blessing disaster.

Sometimes, like Grace, its just to get it done. Other times, like Drew, its just so others hear me. And even other times, like Sophie, its mimicry of words that I have uttered before.

Take the Lord’s Prayer, for instance. Our very instruction on how to pray. Words I have known since I was very small...

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

I hear them. I read them. I know them.

And yet, somehow I have forgotten to implant the truth of these words in my heart.

A truth that should be spoken in moments of plenty and want and joy and heartache.

Perhaps that is why today, I leave you with my prayer of thanksgiving. One I hope will be rooted in my heart and will live through my hands, even on days when I fall right off the board into the precious land of “Jesus, please help me.”

And so it is, without pretense, facade or further ado, I offer up this humble sister’s heart’s cry:

Papa, how I long to be with you, know you and hold you in the presence of angels and saints and my precious Savior. May my heart remember this longing. May my life speak of your infinite majesty and love. And may Your name on my lips do what it has in this simple offering, where the mere mention of “I am” takes my very breath away.

Papa, I promise to be diligent about the work you have for me on this earth. Please use me up. Take every piece of me for Your holy purpose. And when I find my way Home, let me be singing and shouting and praising Your name, even if my voice has been silenced, my body broken and my mind torn apart. Let me love you that much.

Please give my soul abundant gratitude. Let me not be so caught up in the want of tomorrow that I forget the abundance of today. And should I have to look beyond this day’s limits, let me find comfort as I consider Your faithful care in all my yesterdays.

Forgive me. Forgive me. Forgive me.

I know the sin you’ve washed from me. Remind me daily of the grace and mercy you have poured out on me. Let my forgiveness stand ready to honor the forgiveness you’ve given me time and time again.

Papa, let me be ever mindful of the Enemy. Give me boldness. And mold me into a mighty warrior. When I have the choice to choose the world or choose eternity, empower me to choose You.

You, who embody mercy and joy and hope.

You, who originate peace and love and strength.

You, who found me, and I, who so desperately need you...

Forever and ever and ever.

May my praise never cease even as I whisper,

“Amen. Amen. A thousand times, Amen.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

First Friday: Raising Fishermen

Once upon a few kids ago, I was diligently at work completing my weekly Bible study when, in all her 18-month-old guile, my little girl began to foil my plans.

First, she grabbed the Bible. Then, my pen. And finally, the coffee.

Oh, the coffee.

Hadn’t anyone told this child that you do not mess with a mama’s coffee? Especially before noon? And particularly when the grabbing leads to spilling?

All over mama’s Bible study handout?

Right or wrong, I snapped. Full on snapped. At a kid still in diapers.

Although my memory now fails me, I suppose my verbal snap went something like, “Mommy needs to get this done, and I need you to just leave me alone!!!!! AAAAH! Pbbblt.”

Not one my finer mommy moments, to say the least.

Especially when her eyes filled up with crocodile tears.

I would like to say that the tears pressed upon my heart enough to remember what was really important. But sadly, I half-heartedly hugged her. And popped in an Elmo video.

Then I blithely went back to filling out the freshly-stained bible study handout.

And in doing so, I royally messed up.

You see, that day I chose to be a Pharisee.

I made the law and the text more important than love. I showed my baby that religion was more important than relationship. And I communicated that studying God’s word was more important than doing what it asks of me.

The truth is the world doesn’t need more Pharisees. What it needs is fishermen. Full-on, hard-core fishermen, willing to do whatever it takes to permeate the darkness with light.

But honestly?

In my Sara selfishness, I’d rather be and raise a Pharisee.

It's less complicated. It's easily measured. And it's definitely more predictable.

But by the same token, it is completely and utterly ineffective.

True, Pharisees love to study half a million ways to Sunday on what it means to fish. Or to explain all the many fishing techniques to the greater public. Or to hold said public to their self-created and sometimes outrageous fishing standards.

But the crazy thing is, despite all their study, planning and brain power, Pharisees forget to fish. In other words, Pharisees study and study and study for an exam they never take. And what kind of sense does that make?

Not. A. Bit.

Its probably why Jesus never said, ‘Come and follow me and I’ll make you a bunch of Pharisees.”

And yet, I still struggle. Part of me wants to hope that my success as a mom is measured in only teaching my kids the truth. Believing that somehow, I can get away without showing them what to do with the truth we’ve been given.

Recite memory verses. Check.

Go to church. Check. Check.

Pray every night. Check. Check. Check.

But the truth goes beyond checklists. And activities. And routine.

The truth gives us the promise of Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The truth guides our steps so we can effectively cast our nets. And the truth lights a fire under our backsides, motivating us to get up from the blooming table and do something.

Something that might even cause my old Pharisee-self to ask a telling question:

“Sara, do you really think you need a lamp at your feet if all you are doing is studying, sitting and cerebrating?”

No, I don’t need a lamp or a light to be a Pharisee. For that, I only need a lot of books, pens and a bevy of self-righteousness. But I do need a lamp to fish, especially in the darkness.

And yes, fishing may be messy and smelly and unpredictable. It may be measured in faithfulness rather than in numbers. And it may put me smack dab in the middle of the deadliest storms.

But even so, God’s truth shouts to me so loudly that I cannot miss what needs to be done.

It's time for me to leave my comfort, my need for control and my self-righteousness on the shore. It's time for me to get in the boat with my kids in tow, trusting God through the storms. And it's time for me to set His lantern at the bow with these words visible at the stern:

GONE FISHING

We’ll be back when the sea is empty

Or when it's time to come Home

Whichever comes first

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

First Friday: Missing Jesus

Every morning as I shuffle into my galley kitchen, I am greeted with five little words:

 “Children learn what they live.”

 Normally, I walk right by and begin sorting out the breakfast menu, starting a pot of coffee or double-checking the calendar by the fridge. But this morning, my mind is flooded with conversations of the past week. With all the swirling bits and pieces of each causing me to ask:

 “What will I teach my children today?”

 Perhaps it is this question that forces me to dig deeper, to pause longer and to wonder just how I will affect my kids’ perception of what it means to not only love Jesus, but live Jesus.

Today, will my fear of the unknown teach them that God is untrustworthy? Or will my faith assure them of just how big He is?

 Today, will my obsession with order lead them to micromanage their own little worlds? Or will they know, without doubt, that kids are more important to Jesus than a clean kitchen floor?

Today, will my tongue convince them that Jesus is in the business of gossip? Or will I speak of God’s kids with the love I would want given to my own?

Today, will my relationship with Him be littered with rules and crammed with Christian activity? Or will it instead convince them that He cares more about the content of their hearts than their day planners?

Today, will my children see me? Or will they see Jesus?

Now even as I arrive at these last two questions, I am forced to face a rather unflattering answer. If I am brutally honest, my kids see more of me than they ever do of my Savior. Too often, I find myself buying into the lie that sharing Jesus is something I do outside my home, when just the opposite should be true.

Motherhood isn’t simply a job or a giant to-do list that has to be accomplished. Motherhood is a sacred ministry. And from the moment they arrive, my kids are my primary mission field.

If I miss that, I miss everything.

You see, the sacred isn’t just found overseas or downtown or at church. The sacred sits in my minivan, throws Cheerios on my kitchen floor and offers precious, incoherent prayers at lunchtime. Each and every day, this same sacred is measuring my life, my walk and the truth reflected in it against what it is to love and be loved by Jesus.

If I forget that, I miss an opportunity.

As I allow the words of Psalm 127 to crown my children as a heritage from the Lord, this opportunity becomes more than just making sure my kids are with me in eternity. Instead, it turns into a chance for them to become the measure of faith that I leave behind. And it opens a window through which God can bring more light into a world that is in desperate need of it.

If I forget that, I miss my purpose for being here.

Now for those wondering, I’ll freely admit that the responsibility of missional mothering is a whole lot scarier to me than running a church ministry or serving my neighbor or teaching a Bible study. And maybe that’s why I gravitate towards such escape. It is far less intimidating.

And I fail far less often.

But from the moment I brought my first baby home, I was committed to motherhood as a ministry. I was charged to set the “job” aside. And I was called to begin the everyday journey of being Jesus with skin on to my kids.

Because like it or not, our children will not only learn what they live, but who they live.

And if our kids miss Jesus, they miss everything.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.