Hope for the Lonely Mom...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I remember when our eldest was a baby – I was young, unprepared, and felt exasperated most of the time. To describe me as a ‘nervous new Mom’ would be huge understatement. I mean, I would leap out of bed like a shot when our son but whimpered. I would cry uncontrollably, head in hands, outside his bedroom door when he screamed in his crib, even after two hours of cuddling and rocking him to sleep. I had a pile of parenting books stacked high and my child was only 6 months old. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing as a parent and lacked the confidence to mingle at “Mommy and Me” groups where I was told I could ‘make other Mom friends’.


Then our second baby came, then the third. Boom, boom, boom. My quiver was more than full and I was impossibly overwhelmed with three babies under the age of three. I remember the days I would sit with my arms around my children, one nursing, one crying, and one screaming – and me, weeping. Weeping because I didn’t know how to handle the meltdowns, the never-ending needs, the tears falling, the arguments mounting. During the day, when I was at home, I felt so incredibly alone, and I. turned. to. no. one...

To read the rest of this post, head over to my guest writing over at The Better Mom!

Hope for the Lonely Mom...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I remember when our eldest was a baby – I was young, unprepared, and felt exasperated most of the time. To describe me as a ‘nervous new Mom’ would be huge understatement. I mean, I would leap out of bed like a shot when our son but whimpered. I would cry uncontrollably, head in hands, outside his bedroom door when he screamed in his crib, even after two hours of cuddling and rocking him to sleep. I had a pile of parenting books stacked high and my child was only 6 months old. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing as a parent and lacked the confidence to mingle at “Mommy and Me” groups where I was told I could ‘make other Mom friends’.


Then our second baby came, then the third. Boom, boom, boom. My quiver was more than full and I was impossibly overwhelmed with three babies under the age of three. I remember the days I would sit with my arms around my children, one nursing, one crying, and one screaming – and me, weeping. Weeping because I didn’t know how to handle the meltdowns, the never-ending needs, the tears falling, the arguments mounting. During the day, when I was at home, I felt so incredibly alone, and I. turned. to. no. one...

To read the rest of this post, head over to my guest writing over at The Better Mom!

A Drummer Boy Christmas...

Monday, December 26, 2011

This Christmas was different. Because I'm different. Something has shifted in me – a move I can't ignore and I can't argue... can't argue... yet, must also choose to embrace.

The business of change is a tough one.

This year, I'm still a mistake-maker. I'm still a messer-upper. Such a work, being molded, just like every one of us. These little people, specks on a massive globe. Putty in God's hands – if we're willing to be. And the difference this year, is I've finally been fully willing. I've finally surrendered.


“Surrendered what?”

My pride. My big headed ways that silently shouted at God, 'I know best!'. My anger. My unforgiveness. The hurt. The control. The pain. The power all this had over my thoughts and actions.  My choices.  Everything, I surrendered everything.

I've been thinking a lot this season about the Little Drummer Boy. I know, I know, the story is fictional... he's merely a character made up for a song, not a real part of the Christmas Story (or at least, as we play it out on stage). I get it. But he is an amazing character, this poor boy.

My daughter decided it was her favourite song and begged me to sing it constantly. We read the books, watched the new Veggie Tales movie... it seems this year the Little Drummer Boy was trying to tell me something. And about a week ago, I got it.

I am the Little Drummer Boy. 



The simplefied lyric is this:

"Come, they told me,
a newborn King to see!
Our finest gifts we bring-
to lay before the King.
So to honour Him...
when we come.

Little baby,  I am a poor boy too.
I have no gift to bring, that's fit for a King."

And in a moment, I realize it.  I am poor in every way imaginable that matters - alone, I am nothing.   I have no gifts to bring that are 'fit' for the King. The King of all Kings.   Nothing can ever be enough for Jesus, not by my own power, not by my own riches, or possessions or gifts - either physical or spiritual.   He deserves all honour and praise, but what can I possibly bring that is 'fit' for this mighty, Awesome King?


"Shall I play for you, on my drum!?
Mary noded, the ox and lamb kept time.
I played my drum for Him -
I played my best for Him,
me and my drum.
Then He smiled at me,
me and my drum."



Alone, I am empty.  A tomb.  With Christ, I have everything I've ever needed. It is His grace that makes me enough... washes over, like an ocean of mercy. And I'm drowning - daily. I am the Drummer Boy - poor, lacking everything.  Yet, He came, and died, and rose again to give me life, and not just life, but life to the fullest.  And, how He loves.  Through His grace, I can approach the thrown of mercy and He takes my hand. Me.  My hand.

And so, this Christmas I asked myself, 'what is my drum?' 


 The Little Drummer boy took what he had and offered it as praise to the King.  He had only what God had given him, this gift of music and an instrument to keep beat upon.  He used the rawhide and wood around his neck to drum out worship and in doing so, He honored Jesus.  He wholeheartedly offered up what he had.
So again, I asked myself, 'what is my drum?'.  What is God asking me to offer up?  Because God sees us differently than the world sees us.  And although the story is fictional - I think it's safe to say it is accurate based on a biblical view of Jesus.  I have no doubts that the simple yet soulful beating of a young boy's drum would have honoured God in the highest.  It is what lies in the heart that He sees.

Humbleness.  A willingness to submit.  A loving desire to obey and submit, even when it's hard.


My drum?  Control.  Anger.  Unforgiveness.  Hurt.  Pain.  Trying to do things my way instead of letting go and doing it God's way.  That's my drum.  And yes, it's very, very heavy.  And this surrender didn't start on Christmas Day, oh my gosh!  This has been a process over several years, amplified in the past few months by things beyond my control.  The realization came this blessed season as I was able to do things I've never done before.  Forgive freely and fully for pain that has burrowed deep and turn my soul to stone.  Extend grace in all it's richness - because it was first given to me by Him.  To release the handle on my own life and lay it at His blessed feet, once babe, always King of all Kings.

And it is not me, but Him in me who gives me strength and ability.  And I am blessed by obedience.
We all have a drum.  We all have deep, meaningful 'gifts' we can release into God's hands in obedience and love...  and His perfection shines brighter than all our scars and bruises.  What is in your heart this season?  What is God gently whispering in your ears?  Or maybe it's screaming so loud you just can't ignore it?  Let go...  don't let it take as long as it took me. 

His light outshines it all and I know, just like the song says... He smiles at us.






In His Grace,

Cassandra

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Linked in at A Holy Experience.



Christmas Is...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blessed.  Beautiful. 
Bountiful.  But a Moment.


The Joy of Giving...

Painting fingers for our finger print snowmen Christmas balls...




Bow, bows, shiny and new...

    Blessed Times...

    All for and all from the Saviour.

    Molly cuddles with a sick baby girl... first Christmas with our pup...

    Simon's way of 'helping with the wrapping"... ha.


    "... family gathered 'round... the Christmas tree..."

    Warm moments, blessed by Grandmas...

    One goofy husband, please?  Check.  I love this man.

    "Mama, I want to be an artist when I grow up..." - Audrey



    "The thing I like best, is games."  - Simon


    "Ohhh... trains...."  - Alex

    Cherished moments with Grandpa.







    The moment I realized Great-Grandma is a pianist.


    
    Ice Cream Cones...

    "These people, I have not cherished enough, life is but a fleeting moment..."
    It's the moment you open a box and your heart leaps out of your chest. How?  Where?  How could this be!?  I shriek (very uncharacteristic of me) and gulp back tears.  My parents.  Leave it to my amazing parents.  They somehow got this beautiful, one of a kind keepsake sandstone box, made in Kenya.  They somehow were able to completely surprise me... I wish some one could have taken a photo of my face in that moment...

    We were at a Christmas craft show, I gazed at this piece for two days but couldn't spend the money on it... I simple pointed and mentioned how much I loved it. Later that day, I went to look at the small international ministry's table and it was gone. A lump formed in my stomach. I so wanted it. It represented to me a commitment - to Africa... to Uganda... to an answer to prayer... to a ministry. Lord, I will follow. Mom and Dad, you have no idea how special this is to me.

    Grandma's Pie... is there anything better?  No.




    He who has not Christmas in his heart
    will never find it under a tree. 
    ~Roy L. Smith


    Hoping your Christmas was full of warm memories...

    Cassandra




    The Good Place...

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    I think this is the first Christmas since I've been married that I've been in a really good place.  I mean, really good.  My eyes are wide open.  I'm trying hard to see everything, every little thing for the gift it is.  Right now, three children busily prepare a basement camp-out to eat lunch in...  Celtic Christmas quietly hums through our home.  We just finished baking big batches of Sugar Cookies together.  The lights are sparkling, the candles are lit... this moment, my heart sighs happily.  If ever there was an "I'm there" moment - it'd be now.  I'm here.  I'm at that place.  My ego pumps up a bit at the calm in our cheery little home.  'What a great job I've done' is the unclarified thought in the back of my hard head.






    Then, right then, a sister screams and a crash - kids are fighting again.  Big brother hits little one... sister retaliates... a three-year-old has blood coming from his eye and older siblings flee the scene.  And I'm quick to anger.   "WHAT NOW?!?"  Nothing.  "Why can't you guys just be peaceful and get along!!?!"  No answer.  I'm yelling now- ranting, actually. "I get so frustrated with the arguing lately.  Guys, honestly!  Simon, what is going on?  What happened?  Audrey?  What's the deal?  What happened to Alex's eye??? GUYS?!"

    I cradle a wailing child and feel my neck ache from tension.

    Wait - where is my moment?

     I was there!  You know, that self-proclaimed "THERE"!  And I heave a different sigh now - one of exasperation rather than satisfaction as two older kids come and stand in a row staring at this Mother they've been given.  I'm so imperfect but I'm learning.  I shake my head and ask them to please keep their hands to themselves when they are angry, this is how accidents happen, afterall!  (chuckle...I do sound like a Mom...)

     Alex's eye is fine, he's laughing and running now.  We move forward.  And I close my eyes, begging God for His grace.  When quiet comes momentarily again, I'm realizing that even the chaos is for rejoicing in.  I can't 'get there'.  I never will. I'm me.  And I suck most of the time.  Let's be real... we're human and our parenting is anything but ideal at times.  But He can take me and in Him, I can find the Good Place He has made for me, right in the middle of this CRAZY place.  Where my imperfections become points of submission and crazy prayer... and at times, insane, falling to my knees, banging a fist prayer... but that's the Good Place.  When the days are imperfect and crazy, but still Holy... that's the Good Place.

    It doesn't have to be a perfect place... I know, I know...

     It just has to be a moving-forward, learning, realizing I can't do it, and then leaning-on-God Place.



    Be Blessed today friends...  writing to you from a quiet couch while three kids sleep off sickness... and yes, still grasping for those Good Places, today, and always.

    In Grace and Love,

    Cassandra

    LINKED IN:  A Holy Experience
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