Monday, October 1, 2012


It has been happening pretty regularly at 3 a.m., this thing I do.  I wake up ticking off a list of all that I have to do the next day. In my head, I try to get everything in order, but rather than relaxing me it makes me feel more tense and panicked. While I am mentally organizing my day, I am also reminding myself of all of the things that I did not get done the day before, week before, month before, or year before.

I have no more than two  pictures of my youngest children actually developed.  

I have not reviewed prepositional phrases with my children this year.

I have not started a formal bible study with the children.

I have not lost all that weight I had planned on losing.

I don't know if the kids know the 3 food groups OR the new pyramid. 

We haven't been following our budget.

At this point, I just get out of bed because there is no sleeping when I am in this state. Plus, if I get up at 4:30 a.m. that gives me that much more time to get a start on everything.  Except I don't get a start on anything. I stall, because that's what happens when anxiety is running your life.

On one of these mornings my toddler joined me at 5:45.  I was only two cups of coffee in, and I am sure I did not look happy to see little Liam. He came over to my perch on the couch and put a hand on my cheek, "Awww. You sad, Mama?"  I thawed a little at that but still just looked at him.

I did not want to do anything that I had to do - make breakfast, clear the table, fold the laundry, get school going, make sure chores were done, figure out lunch and dinner, and then start the whole thing all over again the next day.  There just don't seem to be enough hours for my have-to's.

My brown-eyed boy looked into my eyes, stating seriously, "Mom. You mad?  You mad at me?"

Now I fully melted. This would not do. My little man could not believe that he was the fault for my mood. I wrapped my arms around him and showered in kisses and tickled his tummy.  The sound of his sweet laughter reminded me of the privilege of parenthood.

This thing I do, this life,  is a gift.

Caring for my children is not something that I have to do.  Rather, this mess called mothering is something that I get to do.  I am privileged to give baths, prepare meals, wash clothes, fix broken things, enjoy impromptu art sessions, and wrestle in bed sheets. I am blessed to teach our children at home - but I have a choice in it.

There is a always a choice, isn't there?  Nothing is forced on us. We can choose life, or death. We can choose joy or sorrow.

Our glass is either half full or half empty.  We can decide.

Paul knew the secret of contentment in all circumstances, didn't he?  For goodness sake, the man was in prison and beaten and flogged and he writes about sustained joy. I'm just dealing with tiredness, messiness, and busy-ness. Yet, I read the inspirational Ann Voskamp and I am there. I am on board. I am thankful! I just can't seem to live there everyday, I cannot seem to sustain that contentment in the mix of the seemingly mundane.

Sometimes I just need a reminder, and so often my children have it for me.

That morning  my Liam came downstairs he was just like the little boy from John 6 bringing fishes and loaves to the disciples.  My little boy came to me expecting what he knew I could offer - tender loving care in the form of a cuddle on the couch and a bowl of oatmeal.

His sweet words were a gentle reminder that, while I cannot do the miraculous, my Savior certainly can.

I long to be like my children, who every day know that they do not have enough on their own, but believe that with God all things are possible. They are content, when I allow for contentment.

I want to always remember that I am privileged to mother my children.  I want to remember the joy of my salvation, and my first love in Christ even when I'm moody, or frustrated, or tired.

After the tickling session, Liam and I went to the kitchen. He helped me stir the oats into the boiling water. We set the table and made the  hot tea. We lit a candle because Liam thought it would look pretty.  I took his little hand in mine as we walked upstairs to wake his sleeping siblings.

Downstairs at the table we shared sleepy smiles as we passed the brown sugar and fruit around. I could feel the cranky rolling away from me and the warm fuzzies coming back. (Anybody else remember the warm fuzzies we were taught about in elementary school, or is that just me?) We bowed our heads, giving thanks to God for a beautiful breakfast, but I kept my eyes open. I looked around at my children, and was overwhelmed with gratitude.  These kids don't drive me crazy. I drive myself crazy with churning thoughts and constant self-improvement.

I am so grateful that these children choose to love me every day in spite of all of my failings. I am thankful that their love reminds me of who God wants me to be and helps me forget who I think I should be.

I am so grateful that I get to do this crazy mothering thing every day.

Counting to one thousand and beyond:

1. coffee
2. quiet house early in the morning
3. watching neighbors leave for work and school
4. time with Jesus, just me and Him
5. tears of forgiveness from a sweet daughter
6. curious boys
7. all things handmade
8. hot rocks and crayons
9. husbands who get how hard it is sometimes
10. hot tea 

holy experience


  1. Love right. I have also been getting up at 4;30. I find that I get so much done when no one else is up...and nothing after that. But it's better than nothing. Praying for your anxiety to be lifted...know it too well!

  2. Kara,

    I grinned at your bio explanation next to your blog photo about the sharing info with strangers here instead of at the grocery store. It made me smile. I can relate too to lists at 3 am and to the resulting insomnia and to too-early mornings with not enough coffee and cute little preschoolers with soft cheeks.

    I'm hopping over from Ann's link up and counting gifts with you. yes, it is always a choice, isn't it? Whew, I am thankful for my Abba's tender patience with me.

    Have a good week,
    Jennifer Dougan

  3. Thank you, Kara. You encourage me.

    Glad you stopped by. Please come back anytime. Hope to get to know you more.