Reflections

It Will Not Be Taken Away {learning from the story of Mary & Martha}

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(This post was written yesterday evening.)

Earlier this afternoon, I found myself in an interesting situation. (Warning: bodily functions ahead!) I was in the middle of assisting my daughter off of the potty.

And there it was.

Poop.

I’ll spare you the details, but it was in places where it should not have been.

Let’s face it. When you are a mom, things like this are second nature. You see poop and you don’t even bat an eye.

And most days that would be me. But not today.

Oh today I am tired from lack of sleep and from tending sick kids. To be honest, I am worn out from worry.

But I’m still doing this crazy thing called life, rushing around trying to get things done.

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And a voice in my head says something like, “This is all very well and good, but are you forgetting that one thing…?”.

Ah yes the story.

 

Mary and Martha

This story is becoming more and more relatable as the day goes on.

How well I know it. Or thought I knew it. In reality I don’t think I know it as well as I thought I did.

You’re probably familiar with the story of Mary and Martha, from Luke 10:38-41. 

They were two sisters who were friends with Jesus. Here are their stories, based on what I’ve studied from scripture.

 

Martha

Sister #1 is running about like a chicken with her head cut off. Barking orders. Even at…Jesus?

But wait. She’s all on her own, a one-woman show. Where is her help?

Sitting down?!

I always used to wonder about that. I don’t think it’s by accident either that the story is told from Martha’s perspective. God knows us well.

Martha is just trying to be a good hostess, right? Baste the roast, set the table, fluff the pillows.

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Mary isn’t doing anything at all. Except that she is. She’s doing everything that she needs to do. All that her heart and spirit needs is being met at this moment spent at Jesus’s feet.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” (vs. 41-42a)

Worried and upset. About many things.

A page in the diary of my life. A phrase most relatable in this storm cloud of a day, in this season.

I’m thinking about so many things. My mind and my physical body are being pulled in so many directions. My very soul is weary. I am running on E but I keep going somehow.

But look at what Jesus says next after that bit about Martha’s troubles.

 

 Mary

“Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (v. 42b)

Two wonderfully positive things going on here in verse 42.

  1. She chose what was better.
  2. It will not be taken away.

Mary is actually a very quiet person in scripture. She is only recorded as speaking once, in John 11:32, before Jesus raises her brother Lazerus from the dead.

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But this isn’t a matter of personality… quiet Mary vs. bossy Martha. Jesus isn’t saying here, “Hey Mary is better because of her temperament”.

It was her actions and the state of her heart alone. Martha does exhibit strong faith when she speaks with Jesus in the same chapter I mentioned above (see John 11:21-27).

What I think Jesus really meant here is that physical needs have their place. There is no sin in being a kind hostess. It’s easy to be blindsided by life. But the inner, rather than the outward person is more important.

 

Sitting at Jesus’s Feet

Jesus keeps us going! He never meant for us to walk alone. To mother alone. To shoulder our problems alone.

No. He wishes for us to come away with Him. To dwell in the quiet for a little while so the crazy is less crazy. 

Because when we take the time, it makes all the difference.

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Did I feel rushed and pulled about today?  I did. But did I carve out time to spend with Him? I failed to. I was blinded by my to-do list.

But guess what? He’s still faithful. He still comes alongside me, encouraging my heart.

And what was playing on my Pandora today? I kept skipping through songs. Nothing was sounding good. “It’s Gonna Be Alright”, by Sara Groves comes on.

I couldn’t help but smile. It’s one of my favorite songs and talks about “not getting any sleep”. It felt like Jesus was singing it right to my heart.

Folks,

He is good. 

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Blog Updates, Reflections

Thank-you for 200 Followers!

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Hello everyone! Short post today as a share an important blog update ☺

You can probably tell already from the title, but…

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I’m now at 200 followers! I’m amazed! I’m grateful for all of your follows, likes and time to read my posts. Thank-you so much!

I feel I need to thank two very important people who have been very instrumental in the creation of this blog.

First, is my friend Amanda. Amanda, you may think I’ve forgotten about the time I asked you for advice about becoming a better writer. You told me it would be a good idea to start a blog and that has been some of the best advice I’ve ever received. Thank-you❤

Additionally, this post would be massively incomplete without recognizing the Source of much of my inspiration and occasional prodding haha. Thanks be to God, for seeing then and Who still sees now the future of the blog when I cannot.

He put the vision for this blog in my mind. And where I have the will to write, He directs my steps.

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To illustrate what I mean, here is a quick story about how the name of the blog came about.

 

Secret Flowers Helped Me Name My Blog

It was last May that I changed the name of the blog to The Buttercup Lamb. I had thought long and hard about the name, but still wasn’t sure.

See that post here: Addressing the Name Change

Then I was outside and I spied something growing near the pine tree where elderberries grow now.

They were buttercups. Half-hidden in the weeds, I couldn’t see them until I was in the middle of my backyard.

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Was this an act of chance, of happenstance? Not to me.

These buttercups popped up at exactly the time when I was doubting. I felt it was an amazing and beautiful thing that these flowers were there, at this exact time.

I think that God can speak to us in small, quiet and unexpected ways. Is it beyond Him, to make a statement with flowers?

I would say no. I don’t think that anything is beyond His doing.

Sometimes I lack the faith to fully understand. And yet I know, even if I don’t yet fully understand…nothing is out of His reach. No cares that we have are too small or unimportant to Him.

🌼💕🌼

Happy Monday, may you have a blessed & happy summer and another big thank-you to all of my followers!  

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Motherhood, Reflections

When Grace Doesn’t Seem Like Enough {5 things to remember}

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What is it about motherhood that keeps me coming back to the issue of grace? 

What is it about this stage of life that has us holding on to it? Whispering about it? Pleading for it?

I think the reason is…

Because motherhood is a time of great vulnerability. It can be a time of great struggle. Of growth, yes. But also a time of many, many demands that can leave us breathless.

And we (or at least I do) get into this place where we think, “I should be doing everything. And I should be doing everything right.”

Sounds silly when it’s written down, eh? But it’s there. That grapple for grace.

To understand it. 

To open your arms to it.

To breathe it in and let God’s grace settle around you.

And I’ve found that I need it most when I want it least.

The definition of grace, according to dictionary.com is…

  • the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.

  • the influence, or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.

Something will happen, an instance, be it great or small. And you’ll think, “I can’t receive any grace. I’m not deserving!”

And that, my friend is when you need to dig deeply into The Word, and see what God says about it and who He is. And realize just what this grace means for you.

Follow me on this journey through scripture as I’ve learned about this marvel that is God’s sweet grace. 


 

5 Things to Remember When God’s Grace Doesn’t Seem Like Enough

 

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1. I am unique.

 

1 Peter 4:10

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it’s various forms.” (NIV)

 

You, my friend, are a uniquely created woman of God. He loves you. He’s given you talents, abilities and gifts that make you, you.

It’s like the veggie tales slogan, “God made you special, and He loves you very much!” It’s so so true!

By God’s grace, we are entrusted with spiritual gifts. And I would argue that since He made us, He has given us gifts, talents and interests that make us so wonderfully unique.

 

2. I am free to give as I have been given.

 

Matthew 10:8b

“Freely you have received, freely give.” (NIV)

 

But it’s not always easy to freely give, is it? Not always. Sometimes I’d rather just freely not give. Freely do what I want on my own terms. But oh…that minset will not bring freedom or peace.

As freely as God has given to me, I should give back, serving others and thus serving Him. Glory to God!

 

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3. I am a new person, alive and breathing in Christ.

 

Ephesians 2:4

God is merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that He made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. (CEV)

 

There is so much power in this verse. God, through his perfect and beautiful kindness, has made us whole. He made us His own. We are His special treasure. (Deuteronomy 7:6).

 

4. I can trust Him.

 

Galatians 2:20

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NLT)

 

My old self is no more. Some days I struggle to remember! Christ has made His home within my heart. I must trust Him. Trust that He knows what He’s doing. He knows the way and He is a faithful guide.

And when it’s hard to trust? Ask Him to help you learn to trust Him more. 😊

 

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5. I can rest in His deep love.

 

Hosea 3:19-20

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.” (NIV)

 

Something about this verse strikes my heart deeply. I’m currently in a study on Hosea and I have learned way more about God’s deep and tender love reading this book of the Bible than I ever thought possible.

Just like Isreal in the book of Hosea, I mess up. I stray. I glory in my security and forget God.

Sometimes I get lazy. And I neglect to do things. Like mop my kitchen floor. Which, believe it or not, is what inspired this post. Simple as it was, I could not accept that God had given me grace…for neglecting my housekeeping of all things. Why couldn’t I just accept His grace?

I realised I needed to dig deeply into who God is. (For my Hosea friends…I realized I needed to yada God. 😉 For others who may not know, yada=to intimately know.)

He is righteous, just, loving, compassionate.

Never ever ever will he forget us or abandon us.

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His love for us is a strength we can never fathom. A love we can never outgrow. A love that will not run out based on the things we do.

He is faithful.

He is gracious.

And He will restore.

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All photos are from pixabay.

Reflections

Letting Go {amidst the purls and the knits}

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I must confess…

Letting go has never been easy for me. I hold too tightly, keep myself from change.

But in knitting…

If you hold too tightly, if you don’t let go, then you will never make a stitch. You can’t make any kind of progress at all.

It’s a simple enough concept, but I keep coming back to it. When I started knitting, my kids were sick with the flu. My son got it first. He was so sick. Sick with a high fever every night until Advil calmed it down.

Holding tight to our babies-that’s what mamas do best. I’m not suggesting letting go in any sense. 

But for me, I had to let go of the fear. The worry of, “Will he be ok??”. I wasn’t in charge of his healing. I had to trust that my prayers of petition to God and my limited ministrations would get him through.

And he did. He got over the flu. In spite of my fears and the paranoia fed by constant news updates telling me how horrible the flu is for children. (Thanks NBC.)

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But back to knitting. I know I’ve been talking about knitting a lot. And that’s just because I’ve been doing a lot of it.

On vacation I knit square after square. It’s so grounding and therapeutic and easy to do while riding in the car, visiting with family. As a person who fidgets, knitting is bomb.

When I began learning how to knit, my work was a tangled mess. My stitches were loopy. I couldn’t figure out the direction of the needles. I would get nervous once I had formed thread on the needles, dreading letting go. Dreading the wrong stitch.

Isn’t that just how life is? We don’t want to mess up. So we hold on to things. We hold on and hold on, telling ourselves,”I can’t do that. I don’t want to fail. I don’t have what it takes”. 

But that’s wrong. I’m in the wrong for thinking that. I can’t is powerfully debilitating.

I can’t

It can cripple your life.

Your will.

Your desire to grow.

To be a stronger & better version of you. 

I’m not saying that who you are is not good enough. No, never. 

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What I mean is that you will fulfill whatever prophecy you proclaim for your life.

If it is “I can’t do that“, then you won’t.

If it is “I’m afraid to try“, then it will keep you from new experiences.

I say these things from experience. I say them because I’ve believed “I can’t” about things for far too long. Because I’ve allowed fear instead of a desire to be vulnerable and different and broken to pervade my life. To control me.

I’ve feared letting go.

And I can fear it no more.

It’s time for change.

Bring on spring.

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This poem is my own.

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Motherhood

Stinky, Poopy Diapers {and what they’ve taught me about being a mom}

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I really hate poopy diapers. Not always, mind, but much of the time.

It happens at inconvenient times. At least, inconvenient to me.

As if to prove this point my daughter, reeking of dirty diaper, sat down right next to me as I began this post.

So I got up to change her, as I always do. As must be done. As is my duty as a mother.

But let me ask you. As a mother, do you ever feel resentment when confronted with this? Frusteration? Feel inconvenienced?

Sometimes I forget that my daughter is not toliet-trained like her brother. And giving her the care she needs seems hard.

Maybe that’s the seasonal depression talking. It happens in the winter. I know I’m not the only one in that. I know that January is a hard month to be a mom. Fyi It’s often difficult to blog during this month. When its cold and when isolation and sickness bring challenges.

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But that is not the point of this post.

Awhile ago I started reading Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe, by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. I fought with the idea of reading it. I knew reading would push me, change me. And I didn’t know if I was ready for that.

But finally, 10 chapters in I feel like I am getting somewhere. And I feel like I’m maybe beginning to learn.

Ok, but what’s that to do with poopy diapers?

“The ability to last in motherhood requires giving up expectations for our own lives, deciding that sacrificing our desires and wants for the sake of our family is our gift of worship to our heavenly Father.”

-from Desperate, Chapter 10 by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

One day after reading the bulk of chapter 10, I looked at my daughter who had decided to fill up her britches. I was im the middle of something, but instead of feeling inconvenienced I felt a mental shift. I found I could manage a smile instead of a frown.

This is not always the way of things. I am no Mary Poppins. Human I am, human I will remain. But that brief blip. That small, slight shift. I hope it will become more and more a part of me as I seek to treasure my children. Treasure not just the happy and the beautiful moments but also the difficult, the hard times.

Not because I’m some kind of higher-than-thou person. But because to learn to treasure my role as a mother I need to continually learn the art that is shining light where there is dark. A smile in the face of a challenge. Gladness of heart in the face of trying circumstances.

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Motherhood is balance. And I think what I’ve most struggled with is the idea that to be a good mom, I need to give up on taking care of me. Which is misplaced. I don’t have to give that up to be a good mom. It’s not my time or my self-care that needs to go but my negative thinking that damages my relationship with these sweet babies I love so much.

Perfect mom syndrome? Haha far from it! (A fly on the wall today would have seen something else entirely.) But I’m learning. One step at a time 🙂

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All photos are from Unsplash.

Caturday, Reflections

Hold On To Love

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Stella is not a cuddler by nature. One of these days I’ll get a cute pic of her showing her loving side. But it is not this day.

Today Caturday is taking a more serious turn as I reflect about the atrocities committed against humanity in Las Vegas. I heard about it from the day it happened of course but it wasn’t until recently till I saw this picture and story that the reality of it all really sunk in.

http://tribunist.com/news/man-who-covered-woman-in-iconic-las-vegas-shooting-image-is-an-active-duty-u-s-army-soldier/?utm_source=GStyle

This is my country. This happened here. These are real people that lost their lives. I can’t point a finger. I can’t blame. I won’t give attention to the whims of a madman who deserves no mention. Yes, I had anger. But there was something else..

As I read that article, saw the picture of the army soldier tenderly sheltering that woman…I thought of Him.

Of how this must break God’s heart. Of the gentle love that He has for those who suffer. Who have been through fear and pain. He holds those people with tenderness. That is what I see when I looked at that picture.

And I thought of this verse.

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He holds us in His hands. He carries us in His heart. He has great love for humanity. Not only for His church, His bride but for us all. Every person who has ever walked this earth.

And I can’t get over the picture. Because not only do I see God’s tender love, I see His Son Jesus. So willing and ready to give up his life to save mine and yours. He took my place on that cross. He loves with an everlasting love.

This post has went much deeper than I originally planned but these words have been heavy on my heart. I know that talk of God and deep spiritual things is not what everyone desires. It’s ok. I understand. But my Lord is so much a part of my life that the light has got to have somewhere to shine. I thank-you for reading 🙂

So what can I do? You do? We do? We love. We go on. Hold those close whom you love. Even those whom to love is difficult. Trust me, I know. Be kind. Kinder than necessary.

Each one of us has a gift and a purpose on this earth. And I believe our highest calling as human beings is to love.

Love each other. Even when it’s hard. Even when that person drives you crazy. In some cases discernment and common sense is needed. We are not doormats. But love all the same.

And if all else fails, cuddle your kitty. Or puppy or (insert all other animals). Because pets just seem to understand.

Hold on to love.

~Rachel