God's Girl

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

“You Don’t Look Like You Have That Many Kids!”

Bethany Beckett is today’s special guest blogger on God’s Girl. Bethany is a Jesus-lovin’, great style rockin’, army wife and wisdom filled mama of 6 boys who currently resides in Tacoma, Washington. She has the gift of organization and a knack for all things crafty.

You can visit her website at http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWhimsicalTree to order her homemade items for children and the home, but please read her blog post first!

“You Don’t Look Like You Have That Many Kids!!!”

Today I prepare my wardrobe for the adventures ahead regarding the errands for they day… comfy jeans, sneakers, and my “Yes, all those kids are mine” t-shirt. You see, I am a mother to 6 wonderful boys and beginning to “rock out” my newest “baby bump” for little one number 7.

We all load up the Chevy Traverse and begin our day.

I have a strict routine of running all of my errands in the same day… Yes, it means a very long day and sometimes a handful of meltdowns, but I have found that time, gas, and energy are saved this way. It’s much easier to knock out groceries, post office, doctor’s appointments, and bank trips all at once, than to have to dress, pack snacks, etc., for all of us, numerous days of the week. I call it “one stop shop” although most times, it involved quite a few more than one or two “stops”. Nonetheless… We load up for our day.

We get to the Army Hospital where all of our care is, since my husband is active duty, and today we have 3 children with back-to-back appointments.  As we unload the SUV I take a glimpse at my wonderfully large family and chuckle to myself about how we somewhat resemble a clown car, one by one exiting the “what seems too small for our family on the outside” vehicle.

With one in the stroller, 2 holding on to my sides, and the others following, we resemble a family of ducks headed into the building. As I walk inside and pass all the other patrons, I hear whispers of “oh, my! “all boys!,” and “1…2…3…4…5…” I proudly hold my head up high (because this time they are all behaving well) and continue on to our destination.

I wait patiently in line to check in at the counter as my little guys all grab seats and peruse the selection of tableside magazines. I think to myself “success!” and smile inside. My turn arrives and I approach the desk. The pleasant receptionist smiles at me and raises her eyebrows in a surprised expression and states, “Wow! You do NOT look like you have had that many kids!” Politely I smile back at her and reply, “Thank you,” as I let out a slight chuckle. But honestly, what am I supposed to look like?

Perhaps if I looked like I had “six kids and counting” I would have 8 arms, like an octopus! One for each little hand to hold on to, and two to do laundry, dishes, cooking, and the like.

Maybe I’m supposed to have untamed hair with Legos sticking out of matted tangles.

Perhaps every time I went somewhere I would wear evidence of my children on my clothing. Like the time I went to work with half of a strawberry pop tart sticking to my cardigan like a broach on my shoulder-blade.

Maybe the perception of motherhood has been so distorted by society that everyone forgets about the joy children are… I promise you that I have more laugh lines than I do frown.

While I understand and agree that raising children is exhausting and often sleep-depriving, I think that some people assume that mothers of many could only possibly look ragged and worn out. I mean, if one child is a lot of work, it must multiply for each additional child, right? Not always… If I broke down how I felt into percentages of happy, exhausted, hungry, ambitious, etc., and I was 20% exhausted with one child, that doesn’t mean that I’m 40% exhausted with two, and so forth… No, it just simply that the scale changes. The balance stays the same.

Or maybe because I have so many children I am expected to carry that extra bit of “baby weight” with each one. Honestly, chasing around this many tots would keep almost anyone in shape! And don’t you remember the times you made yourself a plate of dinner and your little one begged for a bite? Multiply that. Sometimes I feel like I never get to eat! Haha! Although I know that is not true. They just help me avoid overeating. Except for the Oreos I secretly stash in my bedside table drawer.

So what are we moms with children, especially ‘that many’ children, supposed to look like? I think I can help some out with that…

We are supposed to look like Christ.

Every child I have had has helped shape me into a better person. They have made me less selfish, more loving, more understanding, compassionate, resilient, persevering, more giving. I can see joy in little things, like finding a dragonfly for them to marvel and wonder at. I enjoy the smiles of innocence in playing in rain puddles. I cook awesome, yet budget friendly meals. I teach them to pray. I teach them to love. Laughter and playing are an everyday occurrence in our house. And so are little spats, naturally. But video games, lack of socialization, selfishness, and greed are not. I think our time with our children, and their time with their siblings is to be treasured. And so often that time just gets away from us and passes us by.

So, while, to some, I may not look like I have this many kids, neither does the mother of one who is sitting along side of me, face deep into her smartphone, while her child rolls around loudly on the floor simply seeking her attention, or begging to play her phone while they wait.

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Back to School: The Tale of a New Christian

 

Remember your first day of a new school year?

Everything crisp and clean.

New boxes of crayons and newly sharpened pencils tucked inside your favorite backpack.

Excitement lingering in the air.

New friends to meet.

New possibilities.

Remember taking that first day of school photo?

You wore the biggest smile.

You put on your best clothes.

 

Everything was just how it should be.

Whole.

Complete.

Nothing missing.

Perfection.

 

Then the first test came.

Whether it was Science test you bombed or the friends who asked you to pick sides.

There was always a test.

Suddenly, everything wasn’t so crisp and clean anymore.

Life began to get messy.

Mornings got harder.

Those perfect crayons and pencils were soon broken or lost.

You didn’t get the fun teacher for math.

Nope, you got the mean one.

The one you were certain wanted to ruin your social life with demanding amounts of homework and tests from hell.

Pretty soon, you found your heart yearning for summer.

 

When I became a Christian, I started out with that “Fall” attitude.

Full of energy.

Ready to go.

“Lord, send me!”

 

The Christian life seemed perfect.

Sunshine and a happy heart.

No problems from now on.

Jesus solved them all for me when He died on the cross.

 

I became a part of something.

I belonged with others like me, the Christian crowd was my home now.

I would never be lonely, confused or hurt again.

 

Then came the test.

My non-Christian friends knew I had changed, but I was still trying to fit in with them while telling them about my faith.

It wasn’t working.

The Christian crowd wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, either.

They could be cruel at times.

They seemed preoccupied.

To some of them “realness” seemed to pose a threat.

They had their “clicks”, too.

Loneliness set in.

 

I felt like the new kid walking into the cafeteria on the first day of school.

Where would I be able to sit?

It seemed I didn’t truly belong in either group.

 

Another test soon followed.

The things happening in my life hurt at times.

I had problems.

Real ones.

Ones that couldn’t be fixed by a cheery saying or a half-hearted promise of someone to pray for me.

No one told me this would happen.

I thought I was supposed to live happily ever after.

 

Soon dark clouds began to form over my sunny heart.

Questions formed.

Doubts developed.

Maybe I wasn’t a good enough Christian.

Maybe I should just try harder.

What was happening here?

Was I even saved?

 

Just like those perfect crayons in the fall, I began my journey as a Christian ready to be used.

Soon the new faded.

I began to feel like a box of crayons halfway through the school year.

I was coming unraveled.

I didn’t have my life together.

I had lots of broken pieces.

How could God use those?

I wondered if God could ever use a messed up person like me.

 

Could He ever put me back together again?

I wanted to impress God by being that perfectly sharpened pencil.

I didn’t want to break under the pressure.

I had to show Him that I could handle it.

 

That’s when I got it.

That’s when I understood.

I could not handle it.

He had to handle it for me.

Every time I wrestled with my sin, I seemed to come out on the losing end.

He didn’t die to make me perfect.

He died because I needed saving.

I still do.

Everyday.

 

How could I ever feel completely at home here?

I can’t.

I had become a citizen of heaven, leaving me feeling like a foreigner in a land where I once felt comfortable.

Now, I knew what the bible meant when it said, “Be in the world, not of it.”

Something clicked.

How could I expect to wear this world like a cozy pair of pajamas when even Jesus wandered through it without a place to truly call home?

Even the Son of Man had no place to lay His head.

 

Something else clicked, too.

I didn’t have to be that perfect box of crayons.

I didn’t have to have my colors all lined up on display to impress.

What impressed my God the most was and is my brokenness.

It brought Him to earth.

It caused Him to die for me.

Can broken crayons still be used?

Absolutely.

 

Broken crayons are the special ones when you think about it.

They are guided more closely and used with more care,.

Wonderful colors still come from them.

Colors that add to the beauty of the big picture.

God’s picture.

One that I can’t see right now.

That’s why I have to  place myself under His mighty hand.

 

He will lift me up.

He will use me.

Even on the messy, unraveled days, He will use me.

Even when all I have to offer is a worn numb, He will use me.

He will create His beauty in and through me.

All I have to do is be willing to let him use my whole box.

Lay everything I have and everything I am out before Him.

My pretty pieces and my broken pieces, too.

 

Trust God, friends when the road is beautiful and clear, but also know He is with you are your dark days, too.

He will never stop using you when you spill out your box before Him.

 

What was your experience as a new Christian like?

Was it similar to mine?

Was it different?

Do you know Jesus?

If not, what is stopping you?

 

 

 

 

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Perfectly Placed

My daughter recently auditioned for the first time.

She wanted a part in a summer musical camp.

She had her heart set on the one of the two lead characters

We are new in town and just getting to know people here.

I wasn’t sure people who didn’t know her would give her a chance.

I practiced with her a bit.

She couldn’t wait.

She just knew she would get the part.

How do you prepare a child who has her heart set on something that she might not get it?

I didn’t want to get her hopes up, but I also wanted to balance that with letting her know that I believed in her ability to do well.

We climbed in the car to head to the audition.

My bubbly, blond girl was smiling from ear to ear.

“Honey, would it be okay if I pray with you about the audition?”

“Sure, Mom.”, she quickly replied.

“Dear Father,
Thank you for my sweet girl. She is a gift to me and to this world. Father, I ask that you place her right where she should be. If that’s the lead, that’s okay with us, but if you have something else in mind, we trust that you will perfectly place her. You have something special planned for her in this experience. Help her to give of her talents and serve you and others well. Amen”

When I picked her up from auditions, I asked her how it went.

I guess I asked a few too many questions.

“Come on, Mom, it’s not like it’s American Idol!
It was fun. We read our parts in groups.”

Later that evening, the phone rang.

The call she had been waiting for had come.

She got her first part.

Not the one she expected.

She will play another part.

Sassy Swag Saturn.

Somehow that fits her just right.

My bouncy girl playing a planet that never stops moving.

Yep, that’s her.

She can’t wait to start.

Do I have the same attitude when I don’t get what I expect?

I’m perfectly placed, too.

I must remember that.

It’s tough when I have prayed about something specific and it doesn’t happen the way I want it to or it just doesn’t happen at all!

I remember walking with a friend one day.

She suddenly stopped, looked me in the eye and said, “You know what I love about you?

Not one thing you planned in your life has turned out the way you have planned it, but you are full of joy anyway.”

I hadn’t realized that until she said it.

Nothing had gone the way I planned.

Weird.

Isn’t life about making goals and achieving them?

If you asked me what I wanted in my life when I was younger, my answers would have been filled with “nevers”.

Almost every one of those “nevers” has happened.

The strange thing about my plans versus God’s plans for me, is that I’ve never been happier.

He has always given me what’s best even when it looked scary or unpleasant.

When I said, “No”, He said “Yes”.

I am learning to never say never.

I am learning to follow this God of the unexpected.

Because of Him, because of this life He has given me, I’m finding joy in the unexpected everyday.

A little added bonus to the blog today:

I found this when I was looking up pictures for Saturn. Children bring us so much joy!

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