Grace to An Imperfect Mom

225386_898597816168_55713931_42724790_2476659_nYesterday was just one of those days in motherhood. My three kiddos were extremely demanding, whiny, needy, disobedient, and hard to handle.

And I didn’t have much to give them. I have felt that way a lot lately being 29 weeks pregnant. I have felt like the imperfect mom a lot. But God always has a way of saving us when we feel like we’re at the end of our rope.

I remembered I had a bridesmaid dress fitting for my sister-in-law’s upcoming wedding. So last minute I asked my wonderful neighbors Angela and Aimee if they could help watch the kids. They got back to me immediately, were over in just a few hours, and held down the fort. Within only 10 minutes of driving down the interstate alone, I felt relief and like I could actually be a good mom when I returned.

That day I had also been struggling with lonliness and body image- two things I don’t struggle with regularly but do every once in a while. When I got to Alfred Angelo and tried on my dress, I opened the fitting room door to show the lady who did my alterations. We talked about how this was my fourth pregnancy and how my belly would grow more in the next few weeks before the wedding. A mom with her daughter overheard us and yells over at me, “This is your fourth pregnancy?” Her jaw dropped.

I wasn’t sure what she was meaning in her tone of voice.

“Yes it is, do you think that’s crazy?” I asked.

“No, you look so good!” she responded. “It looks like this is your first! I can’t believe it!”

I laughed and said thank you. It was reassuring that maybe I didn’t look like a whale afterall. The drive on the way back home was so pleasant and when I walked in the door, Angela and Aimee surprised me and had cleaned the whole downstairs of my house! They picked up everything on the floor, folded 2 big baskets of laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned my daughter’s nursery, picked up the entire playroom, organized books and crafts on the shelf, and more.

They did all of this while watching their kids and mine (a total of 6 little ones).

My husband had also gotten home and picked up some needed groceries and surprised me with a dozen red roses.

I was amazed at Angela and Aimee’s generosity and thoughtfulness. They served me with their time and mad cleaning skills and helped lift me up. And who doesn’t always appreciate flowers from their husband to know he really does care?

I had no idea all of that was coming my way, but God did. He reminded me that He was there and working and cared about how I felt and the neverending demands of raising and investing in your children.

I don’t know where you’re at in your motherhood journey but I’m guessing that if you’re like me, you need more time to yourself. You need more time with your husband. Maybe you struggle with yelling, anger, impatience, balancing work and being at home, depression, finding real community, or comparing yourself to other moms and friends.

Maybe you struggle with all the expectations that come with Mother’s Day approaching. The reality is that our kids don’t always show their love and obedience to us even on that day. And we might even get in an argument with our husband on the way to church. I’m pretty sure that happened to us last Mother’s Day.

I think it’s safe to say that as Mommas we need to let go of expectations, our failures, insecurities, and our dreams of perfection and allow God’s grace to shower us like a cool, refreshing rain after the scorching summer heat.

His love is there to draw upon whenever we need it and it is in Him where we find our full satisfaction and joy. He knows we are weak too. We fall short every day. That is why we need him. That is why we need the body of Christ and each other. We need his grace to change us from the inside out and to give us hope.

Well by the time bedtime came, I didn’t have to do anything except help put my kids to bed. I felt renewed to love them again and give them the attention they deserve. Thankfulness flooded my heart. I laid my head down and slept the best 8 hours I’ve slept in a long time.

Mama, Let Your Light Shine

How is changing diapers, cleaning up messes, and doing it all over again the next day making a difference? Can I be influential, even when I struggle? How can God use me to be on mission with my children? What does God expect from me as a mom?

These were a few questions my husband Jeremiah helped answer in his sermon this past Sunday called “Mama, Let Your Light Shine.”

And let me just tell you…

This message was one of my favorite mother’s day sermons I’ve ever heard! And I promise you I’m not biased. I’ve heard a lot of great messages from some really great pastors.

In November, we started interning at a church plant in a Dallas suburb and the pastor has been kind to give Jeremiah several opportunities to teach God’s word. This was Jeremiah’s first official sermon preached in front of a congregation (not a classroom) since being a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. After he delivered the message, several mothers went up to him saying how much they loved it. One mom asked me, “Why didn’t your husband tell us to bring our kleenex?”

Jeremiah works as an R.N. and one of his patients, who happens to be a famous female actress (I wish I could tell you who!), wanted to listen to it while in her hospital bed and she loved it.

Okay, so enough of me bragging on my husband. I wanted to post the link here for you to download and be encouraged in your mission as a mother. Even if you’re not a mother, I think you’ll be encouraged in your faith.

Download: “Mama, Let Your Light Shine” (38 min., mp3 file)

Out-of-the-Box Gift ideas for Your Mom

sm_mother_childsamanthakrieger.com

Mother’s Day is in one week. Here are some out-of-the-box gift ideas to show your Mom just how much you love her:

•    Prepare her favorite dinner. Arrange the table extra special with rose petals and a few wrapped gifts.
•    Take her on a scavenger hunt to a few of her favorite places- give her clues to the next place inside a gift box.
•    Buy all the necessities for a pedicure/foot wash and spoil her with a spa night at home (or schedule a professional spa out)
•    If you have kids, make a homemade card with them. (Write a poem or the “Top 10 reasons why I love you”). Buy poster-board for $.79 and fold in half to make a big impression as a card.
•    Write a favorite “memories of mom” book or create a video. (for print books: blurb.com, lulu.com, snapfish.com)
•    Print out a few digital photos and create a scrapbook, put them in a frame, or photo calendar
•    Monogram her initials onto something: jewelry, purse, stationary, etc.
•    Buy a gift-certificate to her favorite clothing store
•    Visit a museum or concert together
•    (Spouse) Clean the house while she is out or hire a maid to do it all.
•    (Spouse) Give her a coupon to keep the kids one evening.
•    (Spouse) Make your wife sleep in one morning and get the kids ready- take them to school.
•    Give her a magazine subscription
•    Give her an I-tunes Gift card
•    Put together an emergency box (fill with things like lotion, relaxing CD’s, movie tickets, chocolate, etc.)
•    Buy favorite specialty items: favorite candle, perfume, boutique cosmetics, shampoos, magazine, special chocolate, etc.
•    Frame a family portrait (blow it up to an 8×10)
•    Frame a really nice picture of Mom
•    Buy Customized Stamps (use stamps.com) to create a special stamp (a photo of you together, children, wedding, baby, etc.)
•    Plan a surprise picnic to local park with good scenery

A Creative Mother’s Day Gift

It can be really frustrating figuring out what to get our Mom’s for Mother’s Day. My Mom and Dad came into Dallas last night for some appointments, so we celebrated Mother’s Day early. I decided to go with a hands on approach in regards to my Mom’s gift.

I washed her feet for her. I had purchased Earth Therapeutics’ cool mint foot mask, soothing booties/socks with tea tree oil, and mint/tea tree oil foot wipes (I got these surprisingly at Kohls but Whole Foods has this line as well). Playing calm ocean music, Santori Splendor, I filled a small tub with lavender bubbles and washed her feet. Then scrubbed them with a pumice brush. I dried them and spread the foot mask all around her feet and toes for 30 minutes. She loved the tingling feeling from the peppermint. I loved peeling the mask off- I felt like I was back in third grade peeling the Elmer’s glue off my hands. Her feet were now smooth and like new. The whole time, she was just soaking it up and smiling, saying “Oh this feels so good.”

I couldn’t believe how much she loved this gift of being pampered. I know, every woman enjoys this, but I had never seen my mom enjoy getting her feet washed so much. This was my first time washing her feet and for me, it was incredible knowing I was serving her and that I was so grateful for all she is to me as a Mom. She works hard on her feet everyday, serving those she loves.

I could have given her clothes or jewelry, but this act meant much more than something material. So go ahead, take my idea, I’d love for you to bless your mom like this too.

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