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Moms, Stop the Anxiety!

12 May

Billy and Bobby were talking to each other. Billy was suddenly quiet.

“I’m really worried,” Billy said. “My dad works twelve hours a day to give me a nice home and good food. My mom spends the whole day cleaning and cooking for me. I’m worried sick!”

“Sounds to me like you’ve got it made. You’ve got great parents!” Bobby said. “What have you got to worry about?”

Billy replied: “What if they try to escape?” (1)

Raising kids is always an adventure, and as we approach Mother’s Day, I want to share a post from my young friend, Deedra Scherm. I wrote about Deedra in LOL with God in the devotional, “Lemon Vision” (p. 84). She has energy, passion, and most of all, wisdom. Young, busy moms will instantly identify with her opening words ….

I WORK FROM SON UP TO SON DOWN!

I am the sole female in my household, and three of the four males that live here with me are age seven and under. Being a Mother of All Boys (or MOAB, if you want to be trendy) can wear a Mama out. I read somewhere that toddler boys have 50% more energy than girls. I think I might believe it. 

I see my friends with their darling little princess daughters all dressed up with their pillowcase dresses, adorable striped leggings and matching bows on their heads. I just sigh as I scramble to pull the boogers out of the hair of one ~ how’d it get up there? ~ and spray the antibacterial pain relief on the bleeding knee of the other while the third tries to “take down” booger boy with his cardboard sword. 

I keep telling myself that in about 12 years, while my friends with all girls will be dealing with a toxic fireball of female teenage hormones, I’ll be sipping lemonade while my boys are mowing the grass, planting my spring flowers, and picking up dinner from my favorite restaurant “so Mama doesn’t have to cook.”  One can hope, right?

There are days that I feel like my heart and my brain are about to explode. 

The level of stress that sometimes creeps into my life as I take on the role of Mom is exhausting. I sometimes feel I should know every answer, fix every problem, plan for every single possible scenario, and make sure absolutely nothing ever goes wrong. (OK, maybe this is just a mom issue, regardless of the gender of your kids!) I start to feel like my whole life is about running around taking care of everyone else, and no one is taking care of me!

That feeling is the cue that I’ve missed something very important.

There is a little “rule” we learned in Kindergarten:  “Put things back where they belong.”  I Peter 5:7 says, “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” You see, when I start feeling stress about completing the MILLION tasks of the day, dealing with running a business from home, the outcome of a medical test, the future of our family’s finances… I realize that I have kept anxiety with me rather than putting it back where it belongs.

I have to stop anxiety, refuse to carry it, and pass it over to Jesus. When my anxiety is extreme, I will even imagine, as I pray, that I’m holding the problem in my hands and laying it down before the throne of our Lord.

Now, this is not a call to apathy… to just flop around without a single emotion, never caring what happens in life. This is a call to action!  The verse says you are to cast!  And not just cast “some” but to cast “ALL” of your anxiety on Him for a very good reason: He cares for you! This is a determined choice for a very sound reason. God will never leave us, forsake us or fail us.

As I learned to recognize my anxiety, I could see opportunities to say, “Lord, I don’t know the outcome of this situation, but I know you have a plan for me. I trust you to help me with each step and give me the comfort and peace to deal with anything that may come my way.” That’s how I make it to the end of the day with peace and joy… even if I’m constantly surrounded by a bunch of crazy boys.

Deedra Scherm  is married to Kris and they have three active little boys. Between building forts, bandaging skinned knees, and acting out Bible Stories, she is the President and CEO of Lemon Vision Productions which provides inspired media for kids, like Little Buds 123’s DVD. Check out her books and DVDs at www.littlebuds.com.

(1) Adapted from http://www.broadcaster.org.uk/section2/jokes/parentingjokes.html

Courage from Erma

18 May

With another Mother’s Day under our belts, we can’t resist some humor from Erma BombeckAmerican humorist Erma Bombeck, who often wrote about mothers.

To singles:  “Spend at least one Mother’s Day with your respective mothers before you decide on marriage. If a man gives his mother a gift certificate for a flu shot, dump him.”

And to anyone who has a mother (or mother-in-law) … “When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it’s a mere formality,” Erma said. “It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” *

One of our girlfriends, Maria Keckler, shares our love of this adorable humorist. We asked her to share as a guest blogger. Wise and funny herself, we know you’ll enjoy Maria’s words.

I love Erma Bombeck.  Before Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Milton, and the entire canon of British and American writers I had to read in my English programs, Erma Bombeck singlehandedly opened for me a window into the world of real American English.  She may have, in fact, helped me prove the critics wrong when they said that anyone attempting to learn English past the age of 15 can’t approximate native proficiency.

Erma Bombeck PassportI’ll never forget one of her books, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home, specially her tale on the perils of trying to speak a foreign language. She tells the story about the time when she would introduce “Pope John Paul II, who was to preside over a papal Mass in Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona” in September 1987.  She was so honored by the invitation that she desperately wanted to do something special, so she asked her seamstress, the only Pole she knew, to teach her how to welcome the Pope in his own language. 

On the night before the grand day, she decided to rehearse her speech before two priests in charge of the event.  She took a deep breath before her big finish, “Arizona vita oitsasven-tegoyanapawwadruuuugeggo.”

Confused, one of the priests said, “Why would you want to tell the Pope his luggage is lost?”

“I am not good with language,” she responded. **

“OMG…” That’s what Erma would have texted her husband had that incident happened today.

What I loved about Erma and her story is that both exemplified the spirit of fearlessness I learned from reading her many years ago. She taught me not to worrying about looking or sounding foolish—a lesson that served me well since I would spend many years making a fool of myself with my very broken English.  But if Erma was willing to try… and look foolish—so could I!  Imagine, not only did she look foolish (very often) in private, but she built a publishing career out of sharing her faux pas with the world! 

I love that God’s Word makes a distinction between healthy fear (a required reverence for God – Psalm 111:10) versus unhealthy fear (fear of others—including what others may think of me).  Galatians 1:10 reminds me of this principle: “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (NIV).

I’m glad I got to meet Erma through her words years before I dared to enter a classroom to teach—English, of all things. It helped me stand before my native English speaking students on the first day of class and say, “You may hear me say “chick” when I mean “cheek” and “bald” when I mean “bold,” but don’t let that fool you—I’m a pretty smart cookie…. And I will push you to learn and tell you when you mess up—just as I expect you to do the same for me!”

Thank you, Erma, for the lesson in courage.  Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that only You I shall fear!

Maria Keckler is the Director of the Ezra Center for Excellence and Instructional Technology for Shadow Mountain Ministries. When she’s not writing—or teaching English—she’s helping others publish their stories at Stories from the Vine  or blogging.

* http://www.great-inspirational-quotes.com/erma-bombeck-quotes.html

** Erma Bombeck, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home,  (Harper Collins Publishers, New York. 1991), pp.112-113.

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