Don’t Let Comparison Kill You!

The Braids

An excerpt from ‘Moments On Mothering’ – Reflective inspiration from one mother to another

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I often must sacrifice my own needs and desires for the purpose of giving my children what they need and modelling for them the depths of Christ’s love – Sally Clarkson

I was recently scanning Instagram – I like to read the ‘bio’s’ which tend to reveal what you’d like the world to know about you, to draw you in and win you to their world. Leave it blank, quote Mother Teresa or form a mini Curriculum Vitae – it all speaks. I came across one mother somewhere across the globe who was adamant that she wasn’t going to post ‘pretty pictures of folded laundry’ and luscious lavender trailing across her deck; neither was she going to quote ‘dead people’ but she was going to reveal her #reallife. The thing about that is that I can just look up and see my piles of dishes, unmade beds and unbrushed heads. I can smell the reality of my occasional unkempt life every time someone opens the fridge (it’s no.2 on my ‘to do’ list: clean out fridge) but I use Instagram because I am.

I am who I am – I’m a beauty seeker and treasure keeper; whether that’s in the form of a photo, a quote, a pine cone or a pre-loved coffee cup; I need these layers of simplicity to form in the quiet of my soul. Laundry will always be with us but that sunset that swept you away, that look of elation on your 4 year old’s face when the first snow fell and the page of that book that rocked your world, yes – I’m all about that. I’m all about celebrating the small, the seemingly insignificant; a well-crafted web of words, written or read that forms like a wax seal upon the envelope of another ‘normal’ day.

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We talk about ‘real’ and being authentic; we shout about our messy lives as if we have to prove to each other that these things exist – but mama I know. My day is filled with cleaning up spills, managing their (my) emotions, cleaning up dog mess from the yard, fighting off the temptation to scroll the day away on my phone, playing catch up and recovering from the repercussions of not finishing my ‘to do’ list last week! Yep, I’m there – I know it and I live it.

I am who I am – I’m a beauty seeker and treasure keeper; whether that’s in the form of a photo, a quote, a pine cone or a pre-loved coffee cup; I need these layers of simplicity to form in the quiet of my soul

The fact that I bare my soul through a book and a tea cup is a moment’s glimpse of treasure amongst a measure, of normal and beautiful…I’m not running away from being dutiful.

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My daughters and I have long hair; my eldest daughter likes to show me fancy braids on YouTube and we bumble along attempting to recreate them to some success. I was admiring (following, stalking – call it what you will) a displayer of braids from across the social media airwaves over a period of time and was quite abruptly stopped in my tracks and was shocked by what I discovered; her beautiful, long, blonde, thick, luscious, always looking fabulous locks were FAKE!! I trawled and discovered a video of her attaching her magnificent mane to a pretty average mop and naively sat there with my mouth open yelping “Nyah her hair is fake”, to which she obviously replied “yes Mum, how could you not know?”, to which I replied (mostly to Nyah but somewhat to said YouTuber) “but mine is real”. It’s sometimes messy and thrown up into a top knot, it’s sometimes blow dried and carefully curled, it generally gets in the way. But it’s real.

Mess is real and so is beauty. Unkempt and cluttered is real and yet so is neat and complete.

My favourite social scientist, awesome TED talker and shame researcher Brene Brown says “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it” and we run so much don’t we? We hear our songs in other musicians lyrics, we read our stories in other writers pages, we gaze upon art that came from our heart but we stay in the shadows, hiding under labels of ‘it’s all been done, said, painted or created before’ – but you, you have never been seen. It’s time to get our authentic selves out from under the duvet and step forward as it’s your time too.

We all have a story worthy of being told.

It’s time to stop being afraid of what might be and what could be and who you think you should be. Between the gaps of school runs, chopping onions and polishing taps there’s a dreamer. You’re pushing buggies and forming melodies and imagining words on a page or colours on a canvas or feet gently choreographed in movement to move people and lives and hearts. And if there’s time for this, there’s time for that.

That idea you can’t shake, that recipe you’re pining to bake is real and true. It’s you.

There’s so much of ‘us’ that we set aside for a time, especially in early motherhood, which is good and right because it’s all about sleep reserving and flying mushed food swerving. But stop looking longingly at that woman who’s creating and helping and doing and walking and see yourself as alive and able to do and be, at the right time; authentically and fully. Be you.

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So next time you’re scrolling and aching over a picture of perfectly folded floral napkins or a well kempt 3 year old wearing a floating dress and cute laced boots;  when you click onto Instagram tomorrow and she’s all over it again with her beach views and pastel hues – celebrate with her. That mama has carved some time out of her life just like yours to take a picture, savour a moment and share it with you.

Doesn’t that change our perspective? She’s not trying to portray perfection – she’s choosing a selection of important moments or creations that will mark her life and make her smile.

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Want to read more? Go over to Amazon and download your copy today; don’t miss the great $2.99 (£2.12) sale on now!

 

The Marvel Of Motherhood

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Pregnancy and motherhood are the most beautiful and significantly life-altering events that I have ever experienced – Elisabeth Hasselbeck

So, here’s a peek into my collection of essays on motherhood that I published this time last year if you haven’t read it yet – thought I’d post the introduction to give you a little taste of what the book is all about, and then you can hop over to Amazon whilst the $2.99 (£2.07) sale is on and download it for yourself! Enjoy, Leah x

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This collection of creative pieces comes to you after 12 years of mothering but also after many more years of dreaming and carving out the time to write. This merging of passions has enabled me to begin to process so many of the incredible elements of the motherhood journey and I’m so excited to bring you along with me.

I was introduced to motherhood just over 12 years ago in a pretty basic delivery room in Leicestershire; I knelt up on the metal framed bed with my assiduously labouring and sweating body wrapped around a bean bag masking my groans and cries. Sometime after 10pm the midwife passed a bloody, wet and wriggling being under my legs and into my arms. I looked down through this surreal experience with tear filled eyes and quietly whispered to my new-born daughter “I knew it was you”.

And this prolonged, agonizing but incredible experience was all worth it, it felt right and raw; with my new found birthing expertise and her intoxicating suckling smell we could take on the world! And thus began my parenting journey. I went on from the Leicestershire labour ward to birth three more children; two of which were in the comfort of my own home.

The mothering experience continues to encompass so much of the birthing journey, as Ann Voskamp so eloquently puts it: “And the realization — that a mother’s labour and delivery never ends and you never stop having to remember to breathe.” And these moments of breathing and reflecting and remembering are what I’ve hoped to capture in this compilation of writings.

This collection of creative pieces comes to you after 12 years of mothering but also after many more years of dreaming and carving out the time to write. This merging of passions has enabled me to begin to process so many of the incredible elements of the motherhood journey and I’m so excited to bring you along with me.

When I think back over my primary years of being a mother I could easily laugh or cry in equal proportions around the decisions I’ve made, the conversations I’ve had, the theories I’ve believed and the paths I’ve chosen to walk but thankfully with each lesson, victory, challenge and failure it has shaped the mother and woman I am today.

These musings are in no way parenting advice or a motherhood heist; I’ve promised myself that I won’t write a ‘parenting book’ till my kids are at least in their 30’s! Each essay or poem is a reflection of my journey and personal observations as I’m living out this mayhem of maternity whilst doing my best to love my children, honour God and enjoy the ride.

Each piece should take you no more than 10 minutes to read, so even in the midst of sweeping and peace keeping, pour yourself a cup of tea, pull up a chair and let me tell you a story.

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The Struggle Is Real – Sunday Morning Mothering!

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Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! Psalm 95:6 

One from the 2015 archives; I was reminded of the importance of it again during worship this morning.

I’m calling out to every Sunday morning mother who has thought ‘why do I bother coming?’

Roughly calculated I reckon I’ve been in around 1,925 Sunday morning church meetings in my lifetime! Different experiences, all unique, imperfect and incredible. From living rooms in Coventry to lavish orthodox gatherings in Athenian buildings, I’ve met with my Father, been loved on, welcomed and caught another glimmer of the many faceted God through each unique pocket of people.

I believe in the gathering of God’s people; whether large or small, coffee shop or school hall, community is important. There’s something so real, so vibrant, so holy when we embrace the potential of God’s company of lovers lavishing praise, honour and affection upon Him, together.

This passion for the Church has grown in me, been nurtured and drawn out of me by those near and far. This ‘I.can.not.keep.silent.’ cry from my heart lingers in the air through each season of my life, and it looks different year to year. Forming, changing and emerging like the magnificent monarch leaving its cocoon.

And this passion wasn’t left in the delivery room when God brought my children into His world. The call and ‘spoken out’ adventure over my life didn’t expel like a final breath as Dave cut the umbilical cord separating each of our four children from their 9 month life source. If anything it became greater.

So I’m calling out to every Sunday morning mother who has thought ‘why do I bother coming?’

I need you to see the worth and the power in connection; whether finger tips touching or group hugging affection. Life source to power force we’re ultimately entwined; spirit binding, commonality finding, to you I am assigned.

I know that Sunday after Sunday is an epic tale of ‘get up and out’ and success is marked by your children wearing matching socks. You get home and realise you didn’t speak to one person, your three year old was hanging from your leg and getting tangled up in your stretchy wrap encasing the baby who has been feeding constantly since 10.30am. Missing naps and endless snacks mark your day of rest but mama I know you’re doing your best.

I know how ‘worship’ can be an endless cacophony of  ‘shhhh’s’ and rushes to the nearest convenient spot to place the potty because life doesn’t stop on a Sunday. As you lift your arm to ‘surrender all’ you’re hit by a crayon and the loose lidded sippy cup takes another fall.

And I also see your little one snuggle in close as you sing and sway, arms aching – heart swelling. I see you pull in your distracted eight year old and ruffle his hair as he mumbles the words from the screen. I see your tears as God reaches into the depths of your longing soul and continues to make you whole.

I need you to know that motherhood shapes a generation, it breathes life into our changing culture and form beyond this local congregation.This is not just a passing season and a quest to stay alive; this is our day and our moment to thrive.

I want to shout loud like a cheerleader declaring victory, ‘you’re doing amazing’. I need to tell you it’s all ok and we’re all walking this together; the stress, the mess and this seeming test; you’re not alone. I want to look into your face and tell you we need you. The Church needs your ache, your tired eyes, your listening heart, your warm smile, your incredible strength and tenacity, the Words He whispered to you at 3am, the song in the shower and what you’ve been bursting to share for the last hour.

So the next Sunday you spend sipping on cold tea and clearing up the polystyrene cup your five year old just shredded, look around at those who love and celebrate you…oh and make sure your coffee is fully leaded!

Truth Around The Table – More On The Morning Gathering

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“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Yesterday on The Charlotte Mason Show I shared about the power of short lessons as well as the our morning home school routine otherwise known as ‘Boden’s assemble’, ‘morning basket’ or ‘morning time’!

Periscope is wonderful and crazy all at the same time (especially when there’s a 5-year-old climbing all over you and trying to drink your tea whilst you’re broadcasting) and as I jumped off I realised I hadn’t said some of the most poignant thoughts I had about this daily ritual!

So, go ahead and watch the (long) replay but here are a few thoughts about beautiful life around the table…

Despite our every day morning intentions to gather before anything else starts, life happens right? I’ve found the habit of table time is a great way to reset the day if all is not going to plan; if meltdowns are occurring, motivation is low, fights are breaking out – I stick the kettle on, make a pot of tea, grab a snack and gather my children around the scribbled on, much-loved dining room table and say/read/(shout)/pray something!

Our dining room table gatherings are a place of education, rejuvenation and reconciliation

Education

Great books, poetry, theology, ideas, conversation, debate and heart-felt prayer are all thrown around during our morning gathering. Give a wiggly child a notebook, a pot of pencils and a snack and you’ve got their attention…for at least 10 minutes (wink)!

Don’t underestimate meal conversations and narrations about their day – so much of our children’s learning comes from their experiences around the table with family, make it count!

Rejuvenation

I find the table a great place for anxious children to breathe, over achieving children to take a break (!) and an overwhelmed mama to draw the children close and take stock of their work that day. As well as feeding their tummies, we’re feeding their precious souls.

Bring JOY to the table mama and make sure it’s a place of refreshing for everyone, not stress!

Choose your battles –  your three year old will try broccoli eventually, just maybe not today, and that’s ok!

Reconciliation

Our children need to see repentance and forgiveness in action to really grasp that it really is more than muttering ‘sorry’ through gritted teeth! The gospel is raw and real and we ALL need a saviour; let’s show and tell our children this reality.

I find if I’ve had a breakdown with a child or kids have been fighting I can gather them around the table, speak peace into the situation and reconcile our family before we move on; there’s a table between us, possibly a warm drink and we can breathe, talk and create space to see what we did/said and fully forgive.

So the next time you’re sweeping the food littered floor for the third time that day or doing another pile of dishes; remember the chatter and satisfied tums, remember that smile between siblings, remember that amazing question and discussion that followed and take heart – your table is a place of transformation and truth, keep up the good work mama!

Your table is a place of transformation and truth

They’re Watching You!

 

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Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you – Robert Fulgham

 

The following post is an excerpt from ‘Moments on mothering

Who we are and what we say, what we do and how we play out our lives is really important to our children. Every day we influence and greatly impact the little lives in our homes and hearts – but often without even realising the longevity of our loving leadership.

A big part of my life is spent facilitating my children’s learning. We’ve been home educating for almost 9 years and my greatest thrill is seeing my children thrive in their learning, especially when we’re ‘off the clock’. I’m a huge lover of nature study; I frequently point out beauty with authentic awe and wonder on any journey; from picking up milk from the corner shop to a family hike in the Warwickshire countryside.  One of my greatest learning influences is an 18th century educator called Charlotte Mason, she put great emphasis (as many have done since her) on children spending lots of time outside; observing God’s incredible creation and making their own connection with what they see.

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I can often teach and share life with my children but with very little immediate feedback, and then just like that your 18 month old wanders out into the garden and by using baby sign language tells you there’s a ‘bird’ whilst she watches the sparrows tap for worms on the lawn. And just last night I was out in the car with Nyah; she stopped me mid conversation and said “mum, look at the moon; it’s majestic”. It’s not merely that we suggest to our children what’s important to observe and commentate on, but we do it ourselves; we live it, we breathe it, we experience it and they see all.

And what if we saw all of life this way, what if we saw mothering as a plethora of perception, a nullah of noticing and a flowing river of recognition; how we live our life is how they will live theirs. Their lives may take on a different shape, but an oval is just a circle slightly squashed right? We can’t get away from the fact that our children will end up a lot like us.

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The hard thing is seeing the reality of our frailties and imperfection when we were hoping for momentary deflection. But hiding isn’t an option and neither is sitting on that pedestal. Our children need truth telling and wholehearted dwelling. They need to see conflict and wrong actions forgiven. They need blatant veracity and loving tenacity knowing that real is the raw deal but it’s within our capacity to feel and to heal.

I tell my children that I’m hopelessly flawed, very much human and I ask for forgiveness, regularly. The scandal of grace is in my face, every day and I drink it in. There’s no shame in taking the blame for what they do and say, but we have to be quick to forgive ourselves and remember tomorrow is another day.

Robert Fulghum said “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you”; and as much as I endeavour to daily win my children’s hearts through what I say and what I do, they certainly don’t miss a thing.

Your life and choices are important to your children’s day dreams and life schemes, so you’d better watch your back mama, they’re watching you!

 

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Moments On Mothering – Reflective inspiration from one mother to another by Leah Boden

The Mother And The Method – Charlotte Mason Periscope Show!

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(Drum roll please) Introducing…my first installment in what I’m hoping to be (family life pending, you know how it is), a regular Periscope show focussing on the Charlotte Mason method of educating. The show is scheduled for Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at 1.30pm (GMT), thanks to those who tuned in for the intro show – I really have no idea what I’m doing (smile) but thought it was time to share my story!

I won’t always post it here but you can keep up to date with replays on Katch.me, if you’re new to periscope this is a great explanation of what it is! Remember it is live broadcasting so I’m interacting with comments on the screen (which I’ve taken off the example below due to trolls popping on!!) so it will seem a bit weird at first!

Let me know in the comments if you’re on Periscope or come over and find me here!

Oh – and you don’t get to choose the thumbnail/intro freeze frame so please excuse the crazy faces (and yes it is fuzzy for a few seconds but it does clear)!!

Owning Your Year – 5 Tips To Getting 2016 Off To A Great Start!

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You will never see the full path. The important thing is to do the next right thing ― Michael Hyatt

December is such an unusual month isn’t it? You want to stay in the story, soak in the spirit of advent and keep a peaceful attitude but we’ve got lists and stuff and shopping and pressure from all corners of our lives. We’re 7 days away from Christmas day, I’m not ‘ready’ (so many shop assistants have asked me that!) but I will be and we’ll make fun memories and eat good food! I’m out of routine, I’m SO not on the Whole30 and I’m secretly longing for new year already!!

I love a fresh start and am excited about 2016; I’m drafting goals, dreaming up ideas for the months ahead and choosing to own my year! But dreaming and drafting won’t change a thing – we need to write it down and do it!

So here are 5 practical tips that you can do over the next 5 days to get you ready for a great 2016.

Day 1 – Clear Your Email

Seriously friends – this will give you wings! Clear the clutter in your in-box, file what you need to file and ditch the rest. Start 2016 with an empty in-box.

Sign up with Unroll me and get unsubscribed from all those billions of companies you’ve given your email address to over the years (I’m embarrassed to tell you how many I had!!)

DO it!

Day 2 – Make Simple Goals

Grab a piece of paper and write a list of ALL the area’s of your life (i.e. church, home management, homeschooling, blog, job etc.); write down ONE THING for each area that you’d like to improve/work on/get better at…just one!

These will form the beginning so some simple goal setting which I’m going to talk about in a post next week – stay tuned!

Day 3 – Fill A Bag – Fill 5!

This one I’m doing with you – take a black bin bag, one a day over the next 5 days and fill it with ‘stuff’ you really don’t need or want. This a pre-Christmas decluttering exercise; donate it, recycle it or throw it but don’t fuss over it AND don’t store in the hallway for the next 5 weeks! Fill the bag and get it out of your house TODAY!

Let’s go!

Day 4 – Pick A Habit, Any Habit 

Doing the same thing at the same time everyday can TOTALLY change your life. Today we’re going to choose something that we can do for 10 minutes a day, just 10 minutes (or less) and decide when in the day you’re going to do this. Maybe it’s drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up, maybe it’s committing to reading a chapter of a book everyday, maybe it’s choosing to pray for 3 people at 9am every day – be creative, be real, be you, but do it!

No matter how many children you have, how busy your job is, how much you travel or if you have a crazy schedule – we can all find 10 minutes a day to do something!

We become what we repeatedly do ― Sean Covey

So what did you choose?

Day 5 – Name Your Year!

Pray and pick a word, a phrase or a short sentence that will mark out your year. Write it down in various places around the house, journey all areas of your life into that word and live it!

I’ve chosen one for 2016 which I’ll be talking about in a blog post in early January – you’ll have to come back (wink).

Here are a few to choose from if you’re totally lost for words: freedom, intentional, joy, fun, fly, saying no, create…

 Have fun with it!

So what are you waiting for? Put on some Christmas music, grab a bin bag and fill it – then make a cuppa, head over to your computer and clear that noisy in-box…then breathe, breathe deeply!

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:3

The Power Of Atmosphere

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“Without atmosphere a painting is nothing.”
― Rembrandt

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘more things are caught, not taught’, but we forget it so often in our parenting, educating and home making. Atmosphere is a powerful tool when building a home and raising children.

I wasn’t home educated, and actually I don’t have many stand-out memories from school, it just kind of happened (and it got me through), but I do remember my home life fondly. I particularly remember the spiritual atmosphere of our home.

I remember seasons of my parents being particularly intentional with their ‘teaching’ us about the bible and gathering the family for prayer or worship but what has marked my heart and mind was the atmosphere of our home and our life together. I loved waking up to worship music gently playing in the dining room as my Dad was making porridge and preparing for work. The sound of my mum singing around the house and thanking God for every bargain we came across or gap in a busy road will ever be in my mind and now my practice. There wasn’t a split second after the mention of illness or talk of losing an important school book around the house when they didn’t say ‘let’s pray about it’. If any of us happened to wake before our parents got out of bed and creep into their room, you could guarantee you’d be greeted by my joyful mother sat in bed, sipping tea and reading her bible. If my Dad’s study door was closed we knew he was having his ‘quiet time’; his devotion to daily connecting with God has impacted my life greatly.

My family had a very open home to hospitality; if we had room and someone needed one then we welcomed them in, and they became part of the family! My mum was and still is great at sharing whatever is in the cupboard, whether little or plenty, it will always stretch. She’s renowned for saying ‘even if it’s just jam and bread you can share it’. In a pinterest culture where we’re so blinded by perfect meals and pristine homes we need a bit more of this ‘jam and bread’ attitude in our lives!

Life wasn’t perfect but it was safe, our home wasn’t always quiet but it was peaceful.

In the midst of so much intentional teaching and training in my home educating days with my children I am daily challenged to keep check on what they may be gleaning from the patterns of my life and the rhythms of my day ( and the volume of my voice)!

We need more faces than phones, more music than mayhem, more prayer than panic and when we’re drowning under the daily dire – we need to be anchored in devotion.

Our hearts are the catalyst for the rhythm of our homes; what’s in there will spill out into our work, our speech and our activity.

Maybe it’s time to examine our hearts?

Christmas is a perfect time to create beauty, pace and an atmosphere that will be remembered – why not start today, make peace and form memories than some day your children may blog about (wink).

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life – Charlotte Mason

To The Mentees And The Mothers – An Open Letter

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If I could have, I would have hand written this note to all of  you with a fine writer and had it posted to your house. Here’s the next best thing.

Dear ones,

Thank you for believing that my journey is worth something, thank you for believing that by taking pieces of my story, it will help yours. Some of the pieces that glisten now were once broken and dull; Jesus has taken them into his wondrous workshop and spent time on them. You’re welcome to those too.

I want to remind you that you’re doing an incredible job, your children play, laugh, come to you for comfort and delight in the joy they bring you. I saw how you smiled at your son and your heart brimmed with love afresh; I know that look, I’ve felt it too. I love how you hold your 6 month old close, wrapped into your body – but I know you cry because some things aren’t perfect.

I’ve loved watching your journey, listened to you talk about the books you’ve read, the people who inspire you, the patterns you want to follow. I cried when I’ve heard of your pain, the loss of  a promise into the ‘old-familiar’ of a hospital where they see it everyday, but to you (and I) it was your baby and you have to wait for heavens hallelujah to embrace that child again. I remember seeing your face, being brave, but swirling inside. I know that feeling. I’ve felt it.

I know you feel you haven’t made the best choices, the right turns or danced to the same beat as your peers. But God. His redemption is now. His mercies are new today. Your strength is renewed in this moment. He is the God of fresh starts, I thank Him for that everyday.

And I hold your baby, giggle with your toddler, tease your teen because they are an extension of you and that is a sign and a wonder. I see the power of your prayers and the torment of the tears you have sown into this week and I praise God for the fruit of your toil, your labour and your longing. The years don’t go so fast when you live them fully. When we’re present in our children’s lives we live every moment.

That can be exhausting. That can be exhilarating.

I know you feel lonely at times. Sometimes even I miss that look amongst the crowd of masked faces. I like it when you take yours off and tell me. And we cry messy tears and make plans to make it better.

There are many inspired moments and methods and ways to do this and that, but I have to show you Jesus, He is the WAY.

There are many stories and successes and picture of grace and beauty; but I have to teach you through His Word. He is the TRUTH.

There are many elaborate celebrations, well-timed snapshots of light, life and creative callings, but life is the stuff we live between the clicking of the camera. Life is what I want to show you. He is the LIFE.

If my journey ever shows you the way, leads you into truth or draws life from your bones, it’s all because of Jesus.

There’s no such thing as super mum.

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Brave And Beautiful Act Of Asking For Help

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Every woman must and will walk her own journey of motherhood treading carefully in faith and fragility

 

Micah was three weeks old when the excruciating pains in my body left me doubled over; just as I was beginning to recover and my womb had reduced back to that pear-like shape that the Miriam Stoppard books so beautifully describes. The bleeding and the after pain and the walking like John Wayne had diminished and then I got ill. It was a summer’s day; the warm sun was glistening and comforting on my home birthed boy who needed nothing more than a cloth nappy and a sleeveless white vest showing off his kissable arms. I traipsed my three children to numbing doctor’s appointments, chemists, blood test clinics yet no one seemed to know what was going on. I finally called in the cavalry; my mother-in-law held down the fort downstairs whilst I slept, held my stomach and cried between feeding intervals when she would bring Micah upstairs so I could nourish my son. What would be my final trip up to my doctor’s surgery with my brood resulted in two doctors trying to convince this super-woman-being-so-stubborn mother to go.to.hospital. My infection levels were really sky rocketing and my doctor commented on my obvious high pain threshold and said I shouldn’t have even been walking. I called Dave at work and all fell into place; like it should when we let go.

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I was admitted to a private room at the local hospital with a transparent cot by my side so Micah could stay with me; the interns and student doctors and consultants busily researched the appropriate antibiotics for a breastfeeding mother who refused to ‘pump and dump’ and with a final diagnosis of a major kidney infection (mostly major due to the fact they discovered one of my kidneys has been non-functioning since birth) I was cared for, medicated, hydrated and after two nights sent on my way to heal but mostly to realise that it’s ok to not be ok.

Authentic, wholehearted parenting means being exactly that – authentically you. Every woman must and will walk her own journey of motherhood treading carefully in faith and fragility. It’s that perfect place to be able to believe in ourselves and our ability to raise our children but being free to sing of our imperfections and ask for help when we need it.

12th Aug 2015 039

Let vulnerability reveal her freeing ways and watch; maybe a community of not-got-it-all-together mothers will gather around you.

You may not have a mother rushing to collect your washing, a neighbour eagerly ready with a casserole and home-baked ciabatta. You may not have sisters to help scrub and clean and de-ice your windscreen but you do have a voice. Let vulnerability reveal her freeing ways and watch; maybe a community of not-got-it-all-together mothers will gather around you.

It really is ok to not have it all together, to not get it right first (or second) time, to be in a mess or not quite know what your next move is. Grace is the forever giving and living hand of God reaching out and saying ‘let’s do this together’; and His grace is infectious and explosive and leaks out of us and makes us like Him. So let’s reach out to each other in heart and words and deeds and let’s ‘do this together’.

This is an excerpt from ‘Moments On Mothering’ – available on Kindle today!

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