Archive for March, 2012
I’ve just returned from a fabulous weekend with over 6200 moms. What could be better? I was a speaker at the Hearts at Home National Conference in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. It was a wonderful two days, full of laughter and tears, great ideas and Godly encouragement, and heart-to-heart conversations with moms at all ages and stages of parenting. It was especially fun to connect with the Mom to Mom women who attended. The above photo is of a wonderful group of women who have been doing Mom to Mom in Northern Vermont for years—love these girls!
Now that I’m home and have some time to reflect, I’m realizing what God’s major message to me out of this weekend is. It’s the power of prayer. The absolutely astounding, takes-your-breath-away power of prayer.
I saw it in so many ways. First, in myself. I am easily traumatized by technology, and the prospect of doing five workshops in two days in various large lecture halls at a state university with varying technological hookups for my PowerPoint slides was enough to send me over the top on the worry scale. But I had many people praying. God brought along wonderful folks to help. And in the end, it all worked out just fine. Not only did the presentations work fine (despite many last-minute, down-to-the-wire glitches), but amazingly, my techno-trauma did not get in the way of the message. When I stood up there and looked in the eyes of the precious moms in each audience, it was just me and them—and above all, God. Truly an answer to prayer.
One of my talks, “Top Ten Messages You Want Your Kids To Get,” highlighted the crucial role of moms in praying for their kids. I shared with the women Woody’s way of signing each note and card and email to the kids with these three things: “We love you. We’re proud of you. We’re praying for you.” I told them that one day their prayers for their kids would come back to them as their kids would pray for them. And words from my daughter’s last phone call from Ireland ran through my mind: “Mom, I just called back because I forgot something in our last conversation. I wanted you to know how much I love you, how proud I am of you, and how I will be praying for you at the conference this weekend. I’m praying for you, Mom.”
And now that I’ve been home a few days, I find conversations I had with moms replaying through my mind. I remember a mom who needed to be released from guilt over something her kids and God have already forgiven. I think of the intense mama-love I heard in the voice of a mom wondering if her autistic son is getting the message of her unconditional love for him. And I see the tears in the eyes of so many moms in the audience as I reminded them that “There’s no place your kids can go that’s so far God’s love can’t find them.” And then I assured them by way of a story that God will carry us when we feel we can’t go one step farther in this mom-marathon.
I find myself praying for these moms—and for all the moms who attended the conference. I pray that God will call to mind just the encouragement they need at the moment they need it. I pray that they will remember they are prayed for. Not only by me. But—far more—by Jesus at the right hand of God (Hebrews 7:25) and by the Holy Spirit in “groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26 KJV).
I find myself praying for every one of you reading this post, whether you were at the conference or not. Prayer is the power which makes this mom-marathon possible. Not only possible, but joyful. “I’m praying for you, mom.”
I was invited to contribute to Jill Savage’s blog today (Jill is the founder of Hearts at Home), and invite you to join me there today as I discuss “The Freedom of What You Don’t Do.” (Have you ever made a list of things you just don’t do, so that you can concentrate on what matters most as you raise your kids?) C’mon over!
This is a story you’re not going to believe.
In Mom to Mom, I frequently encourage young moms to focus on the things that matter most and to give up “Supermom” expectations. I admit that one of the things I gave up was fanatical super-clean housekeeping. Order and organization—yes. But obsessive cleaning in every nook and cranny—no.
Recently, however, our house has been looking better than usual because we are getting ready to put it on the market. As part of that process, I had a cleaning team come in this week to help me out. And you’ll never guess what they found.
Here’s how it went:
“Uh, Mrs. Anderson, do you have a bag or something where I could throw this away?” One of the cleaners is standing before me with a strange look on his face, clutching what look like two white towels or dust rags in his hands.
“Oh, sure—just throw those rags here in my kitchen trash. “
“Um, um, Mrs. Anderson, do you have any stuffed chipmunks in your house?”
My mind scans the assortment of stuffed animals throughout our home. A chipmunk? I don’t think so. But, well, maybe…
Before I can answer, one of the other cleaners approaches: “That ain’t no stuffed chipmunk!! It’s got bones and everything.”
“Yikes! You’ve got a live chipmunk in those towels?!!”
“Oh, no,” the girl responds: “He’s not alive. He be dead. Very dead. Stiff, actually.”
This is the truth, I swear. The cleaning team found a dead chipmunk in my house. And what’s worse, guess where they found it? Under my bed!!Yes that’s right—under my bed! It was wedged between the headboard and the wall in one of those impossible-to-get-to places that had not been cleaned, I can assure you, for a very long time. Obviously.
How did this unfortunate little creature manage to get into our house and all the way upstairs to the master bedroom? Here’s my theory: months ago (too many to admit!) we left for a trip just after our granddaughter, Gabriella, then 2 ½, had been visiting with us for several weeks. There had been plenty of coming and going through our patio sliders, and I’m not sure they had always been kept closed. Then, while we were gone, our burglar alarm was set off by a motion detector. When we came home, we found a few mysterious droppings in odd parts of the house—including our bedroom and the tub in the adjoining bathroom. At the time we thought it must have been a mouse, inspiring regular visits from the exterminator ever since. Now I’m thinking it was another kind of visitor…
The moral of this story? I don’t know. Maybe “Don’t ever have a cleaning team come to your house. You never know what they might find!”
It’s very humbling to share this story. But it’s just too funny not to. At least it attests to my authenticity when I tell you I’m not a fanatical housekeeper.
I also think there’s more here. How ironic that lately Woody and I have been complimenting ourselves on how great our house looks, given recent touch-ups and “staging” efforts as part of getting ready to list it. We’ve been especially admiring of our bedroom. Honestly—it looks really great! On the outside, that is.
But what was it Jesus said about “whited sepulchers” and “dead men’s bones”? I think there’s a deeper lesson here somewhere. But that’s for another time.
For now, just laugh with me. And take comfort in your own housekeeping struggles. Surely none of you have dead chipmunks under your bed!