Jen Hatmaker has to be one of my favorite authors and bloggers. She makes me laugh…good hearty belly laughs, and then in the next sentence my heart is so convicted over the challenges she sets before readers that tears run down my face! She’s so real and understands the “momma struggle,” as she’s a mother of five! You heard that right…5 kiddos! This week I LOVED one of her devotionals in particular in her book Out of the Spin Cycle. She hysterically jeers at the many parenting books she has on her shelves, because if we’re all real…parenting never really goes quite as simply as the books make it seem. Sometimes you’re at Chick-Fil-A with your one year old and the sweet moment of smiling for a picture and eating chicken nuggets turns into a scream/cry fest because mommy wouldn’t let him hold the chocolate milk all by himself. Jekyll and Hyde.
Other times you think a breakfast picnic in the living room with your one-year-old might be kind of a fun change from the constraining high chair. You prepare a yummy bowl of peanut butter Cheerios, put them on the end table, go to the fridge for his sippy cup, and walk back to find milk and Cheerios all over the table, carpet, and himself. I mean…I’m not speaking from experience or anything.
On days when things don’t go quite how you’d like, how do you tend to react? I’ve noticed a major trend in my own life. Goodness in, goodness out. Matthew 12: 34-35 says,
“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man brings the good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”
On the days when I spend time with Jesus in the morning before Liam wakes up (or shortly after), I don’t lose my patience when I hear him say “ball” for the 50th time when it’s only 9 AM. When I put God’s Word into my heart and mind, I have a lot more goodness to pour out on other people. The driver who cut me off in the Walmart parking lot doesn’t get a rude stare when I have goodness to pour out. The Cheerio Spill of 2015 doesn’t make me huff and puff when I have goodness to pour out. My husband doesn’t get a bad attitude and negativity when he walks in the door after a long day at work when I have goodness to pour out.
Jen Hatmaker puts it way more eloquently than me…
“Moms are the middle of the flow chart; the arrows of exertion flows constantly out from us, but when no arrows of strength, grace, and peace are flowing in, the whole mechanism is in danger. Goodness in equals goodness out. No goodness in equals no goodness out. This is a simple truth, recognized by Jesus and every other parenting expert, but one most moms fail to take seriously. We’re too busy for the Word. We’re too tired to pray. We have too much going on to join a small group. Under the banner of selflessness, we neglect our own spiritual health and sabotage the very service we want to render.”
I do NOT want to be in the category of sabotaging the service I want to render. I want Liam and all others to see a gentle, loving mother who doesn’t overreact to everything. A girl can dream, right? That dream is far more within grasp when Jesus is the forefront of my mind. Jesus in, Jesus’ character out. Everyone reaps the rewards of that goodness!
I know it can be difficult to find the time and energy. Tomorrow try to wake up 15-20 minutes earlier than normal and soak up the goodness of God. Pour Him in so you’re more equipped to pour goodness out, ladies!