It’s been a while since I’ve bloged for Pamers in the Pews and I tell you I miss it! But for good reason guys, 6 months ago the Lord called my husband and I to quit our jobs sell stuff, give stuff away and move the the heart of Cincinnati. I’ve always been the type of person who got an itch to do something radical for Christ but with a husband three kids and tons of school debt its a little different click the link below to see more on my story “does the ole gal have another adventure in her?” We’ve started a ministry called “Sow Cincy” in order to do intentional ministry with our neighbors day to day while equipping local churches with free training. If you want to be a part of our team. Click the on the go fund me link below. As we are both giving up our salaries.
There is nothing like 2 months spent flat on your back to give you a new perspective on life. My world quickly went from vertical to horizontal in a matter of days when I discovered I had a collapsed disc in my lowest lumber. I found myself deeply impaired, lacking the ability to walk, drive, pick up my kids, cook or do much of anything else. I was stunned. My initial response to this news was to just keep pushing through. I treated my acute back pain like anything else in life: If I just give it the old college try I will eventually conquer it, right?
So that’s what I did! I just kept trudging along waiting for deliverance from my pain but changing nothing about how I operated. I would rally my entire might to lift myself out of my car. Once I found myself upright, I would stand there with my head lifted to the sky for a moment, as if to beg God for one more ounce of strength. For any normal woman, this would be a sign that somethings gotta give but not for me! Besides Wonder Woman had just come out and I was ready to defy the odds with sheer willpower.
Have you ever tried and tried and will power just wasn’t enough? I finally came to a point that putting one foot in front of the other was not sufficient and it was there that I broke. I was scheduled to make a presentation that morning and my only focus was to get there and make it happen. But the fatigue of chronic pain and the emotional toll of being totally helpless, finally had it’s way with me on the side of a road in South Dallas. I sat there in my car crying big ugly tears. There was a man parked in a black truck and I could tell he was looking but I didn’t care. My tears came from the depth of my soul where I usually store them away so no one can see. But this time they erupted from my hiding place and I couldn’t quite figure out how to turn off the faucet.
It was in that state that I cried out to God pleading for him to answer. It’s not that I hadn’t prayed for God to alleviate my pain before, I said my prayers and asked for relief every day, maybe even every hour. Even still, it was a passing prayer, maybe one in which I just spoke the name of Jesus as my prayer. This time I came to God exasperated from not hearing his response. I couldn’t take it any longer and the veneer of self-sufficiency that had masked my prior prayers fell off as I sat and wept that day.
Discerning the voice of God can be a tricky thing sometimes as He speaks to us in many ways and primarily through his written word. But it was this moment in that still small voice, I could hear the Lord say- “Go to the doctor RIGHT NOW, emphasis on RIGHT Now.” that was all the permission I needed to let go of the helm I was so desperately trying to steer. I crumbled like a toddler held in her father’s arms. I needed God’s approval to stop trying to fix my pain and get help. It took several days and 2 failed attempts to return to work for me to accept my superior’s approval to let go too, but I eventually got it there. From then on it was a whirlwind of diagnostic tests and appointments. Soon enough I found relief through surgery and I couldn’t be happier that I stopped when God told me to stop.
Maybe you are going through something, where you feel the weight of the world crashing down on your shoulders. Sometimes our trials feel like a boulder that we fight to push uphill; with every passing second and each slip of the foot its possible, that boulder could overpower you with its great force. We often wear our hands to the bone while making little progress. When someone steps in and says “let me help,” we cling to the success we’ve had; we point out how far we have come with the bolder and with the end in sight we feel that a victory may be cheapened by accepting a helping hand.
What I learned from my back surgery was this… accept that hand. Help does not make you weak, help signifies that you are strong enough to realize your own limitations.
So I decided to do some picture journaling to show the different facets of my life. I am a Believer, a Wife, a mom of 3 under three a Minister and the list goes on. Don’t get my wrong I don’t think that droves of people are biting their nails waiting to see what I fed my children today, but I always get questions about how in the world I manage to raise these kids work full time support my husband and write on the side with a smile on my face. So I figured I would chronicle the reality of a day in my life. Granted I don’t think it makes for life changing journalism but I do have some pretty cute kids and some life hacks you may find helpful soooooo drum roll please here we go… enjoy
6:00am- the hubs is getting ready for work I’m off today since I worked Saturday and Sunday (#ministrylife) I am faced with the choice to send the kids to pre school or keep them with me to redeem some quality time that I’ve spent chasing down ministry partners to give them commemorative pens.
The verdict is in I’m keeping all three today!!!! So we feast on cookies bananas and peanut butter in my queen sized bed and watch far too many episodes of Ninjago!
Ok it’s about 11:00 I’m feeling pretty good about myself by now. Why not start dinner #crockpotlife as a busy mom family 5 on a budget I cook a lot to save money and I enjoy it. But I’m not going to lie gone are the days of roasting a rack of lamb with mint jelly all while wearing pearls. I do have my go to meals; I try to make them all quick or fix and forget so my crock pot gets a lot of mileage. Today I was super lazy about it and didn’t want to make gravy which I usually pour over he chuck roast while in the slow cooker. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best
Dishes done (check) stare at the rest of the house and pretend I’m going to clean it (check) Note to self why are there so many toys! Like way too many!
My kids are not veggie eaters so I’m always looking for ways to hide them in their food. I made this homemade tomato soup a week or so ago with lots of pureed carrots. I make it in bulk, pre seasoned with onions and portion it out in freezer bags. I throw it in my spaghetti for added veggies or defrost it for the kids’ lunch like I did today. I’ve got lots of little baggies of what nots in the freezer and none of them are labeled so actually putting this practice to good use is like a fun game of hide and go seek! It’s like my Pinterest side meets the real me and we all just close our eyes and hope for the best!!!!
Enter stage left my newest addition Joey! He’s adorable and cuddly and honestly I am self conscious about how much time he spends in this rocker. Managing everything else in this life I find myself wondering if I’m short changing the youngest I only hope I don’t mess him up and that my friends are real mommy thoughts unscripted. (Yes my carpet is terribly stained! Between potty training spot cleaning, spilled apple juice and water bottles I think I may have given up)
Ahhh Mommy’s gotta eat too!!! I made myself a grilled cheese on the side figured the kids had enough carbs that day. Lol really I had enough carbs too but something special just for me gives me moments to hold onto where I feel like an adult. (Yes that’s a kid’s spoon don’t judge me)
I try to take time to enjoy the little things. My soon started meticulously staking his toys in the dinning room I would typically tell him to stop but both he and Lily were captivated by their new task. (New rule never interrupt a captivated toddler) this random pile of things including my shoe and a war tank my son called a birthday present for me! He was so proud so I took the bait and paused to enjoy him a bit.
One huge poopie 2 baths and three breast feedings later we find ourselves on an adventure to the doctor. All three kids and myself have been suffering the wrath of winter colds. After doing everything I’ve been told to do I figured I better just take them in to the doc to be sure. I’m worried they will see this mom of three as a newbie and wonder why I brought them in for a viral cold. Why do I even care about their opinions anyway (By the way #teampetty came out during our drive, this is a pic of a new QT which was built recently my husband and I argued about if the new gas station was a QT he said no I said yes I win! What what lol real life marriage goals include rubbing things in your spouse’s face)
At the doc with the three littles is it just me or does everyone stare at us wherever we go. Maybe I’m just making it up out people look at me with half pity and half elation. BTW this was before they got the flu shoot, notice the smiles 🙂
Overall the kids do a pretty good job while I’m out. This is not a coincidence but it’s the result of intense prep. First we have a come to Jesus meeting in the car before we get out about how they will be on their best behavior and not embarrass me. I come fully stocked with medium sized toys not small ones! I repeat not small ones! They will be every where. And most importantly I try to communicate with them about where we are going and what will happen next. A lot of acting out by toddlers is caused by not being able to control their environment every moment is filled with surprises and new discoveries so I try to cut down on over stimulation by over communicating. In this case I kept going over why they were getting flu shots what would happen 1st 2nd and 3rd and it worked like a charm!
7:30 a little late for dinner time guess the lazy gravy I made was a hit as you can see clean plates. Although we did bribe Jude to eat his food with the promise of a cookie they say you’re not supposed to do that… I say who ever made this rule is clearly not trying to feed a toddler on a regular basis
My hubs makes bomb homemade cookies it’s a simple joy and probably one of the reasons I have yet to loose the baby weight! lol I grab two after dinner I have now lost count of how many I’ve had I’m headed to sit down and relax for one of the first times in hours while the hubs preps the kids for bed and folds laundry.
Screen shot of article I scrolled through during my sit down break. This one caught my eye because I’m always wondering if my relentless coffee addiction is ruining my liver! Turns out according to this article which may or may not be a reasonable source, it’s not!!!! What what via le cafe!
Hubs brushes their teeth I nurse the baby, he gets them in their pjs, we pray we sing or goodnight song, and Tuck them in bed.
The Hubs and I go from kissing each other tickling and whispering about the night time events to transpire to being a little bitter at each other because I thought he insulted my cleaning (which by the way I haven’t been doing very well-but hey don’t you dare say something about it lol) he says he wasn’t. We are still a little distant he goes to bed I plop down besides him and nurse to the office a moment of peace and quite in the dark after a busy day
I did the impossible and actually cooked a meal I had pinned on Pinterest Carne Guisado (Tejano stewed beef).
Cooking is not an out of the ordinary thing for me in House of Jacobs its part of how I contribute to this family.
Dinner time comes about almost without thinking as Matt and I take our our perspective roles he gets the kids in their chairs, washes their hands, I portion out the kids’ food to let it cool and often but not always I prepare my husband’s plate and bring it to him.
This particular dinner I was nervousness to present him with the meal as Matt is a picky eater. This was something I had never made before and I am not immune to the erroneous but hilarious pinterest fails so my husband has grown skeptical of anything from that site. I also slid some cilantro and onion into his warm tortilla without tell him which is a no no. He doesn’t like new things.
I watched with expectancy as he took his first bite. No immediate reaction I guess he likes it. But the true test of his experience is if he goes for seconds. To seem nonchalant about the whole thing I asked him if he wanted me to warm another tortilla for him and he agreed…Score looks like the Carne Guisado is not a total bust. Then something out of the ordinary happened he looked up form the table, the kids still fist deep in beef flying every which way, me still at the stove my own food having cooled as I tend to the others, and he says “Babe…. I really like when you serve me.”
There is is just something about that sentence, all of my fembot training has told me to reject his sentiment. “Serve Him!!!! How dare he say that I serve him!” When that is in fact what I had been doing and often do throughout our marriage. But the very recognition of the word service seemed to slow my response. My reply was not in any sense of the knee jerk variety, In fact it was thoughtful and calculating. I let this word serve float around in my head and said. “And I really like serving you.” Did I just say that and mean it? Yeah!!!! I really actually do relish in serving my husband. As I pondered the truthfulness of my own response I felt a wall come down. One that has told me that my womanhood is centered in my individuality not what I can bring to my collective whole which is my family. Instead of being offended that I was a servant, I felt honored and even better, thankful that my husband took the time to notice it.
As is tradition every year around my birthday I pen something about the great wealth of wisdom I’ve accumulated since last year… (Cough cough add sarcasm here) If there is anything I have learned from this practice, it’s that whenever I start to believe I am at a pinical of understanding God is quick to show me that I’m fooling myself.
This past year has been full of life! Changes in my job, new opportunities, a new little one expected to join our family, giggles, laughs and milestones. It’s also been one of belly ache crying sessions, the ones where deep groans seem to erupt from your inner being, it’s been full of tiered days and frustration, dinners that have gone un-eaten, screaming matches lots of humility, lots of love and a ton of painful growth.
That’s life though a milue of good bad beautiful and lovely. If you are anything like me when you look back on a year lived in this life the good parts and the bad parts seem to fuse together leaving behind a haze that reminds you that this existence of ours is real. The point is that crying means you care deeply, pain shows that you feel with intensity, fights mean that you are surrounded with people to fight with. Being smeared in more baby poop than you could’ve ever imagined means that you have been trusted to care for another human.
I can’t clearly separate the good the bad and the ugly of my last year. If anything when I look back I see evidence of my humanity, my fragility, my image being formed into Christ, I see pain that teaches hope, I see lack which teaches gratitude, I see beauty, I see God and a glimpse of my own eternality in him.
Recently I’ve been walking through life, through marriage,through parenting. Floating by, watching. Just a little bit empty.
I can’t place my finger on when it happened, but I feel like a slowly leaking water balloon.
I will usually just turn on Netflix to distract me from this emptiness, but even that isn’t working.
My house is dirty. I keep trying my best but it just stays that way. I’m tired so much, that I’m snapping at my husband. I am ashamed to admit it, but my tiny toddlers have become tiny terrorists to me. I don’t know what to do with them so I do what I can until it’s time to put them to bed then I don’t know what to do again.
Last night after struggling all day to align myself with the leading of the Holy Spitit I came home from another function at church. My husband was playing his game which is typically my cue to wrap myself in the cocoon of Netflix and chill…without the chill…but I just didn’t feel like it. I don’t know what I felt like doing really. TV seemed like a source of disgust. The kids were sleeping. I am weak from pregnancy so cleaning or crafting only felt like an unattainable option.
So I sat.
I had a flicker of remembrance about the divine nature that is already implanted in me even when I don’t feel like it. I remembered the words of King David “When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2) so then where is my rock? Where is my stability? Where is the living water that I can drink and thirst no more?
Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Father…
I fanatically searched for my bible which I have misplaced. If I’m honest it’s displaced due to my personal disinterest. I couldn’t find it but I didn’t give up! I grabbed my husband’s bible. Distracted and disoriented I began to read.
John 1: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
I fell in and out of concentration and it seemed as if maybe my heart was reading but my mind was not. I was distracted. I almost gave up. I thought “why even try to read when I’m not paying attention to the words?” But my heart, itself, had taken on the race to get to the rock that is higher than I.
My soul itself yearned for the love of my life Jesus Christ as my mind struggled to catch up. I decided to let the words wash over me even halfheartedly.
I just needed to be exposed to it and let the living water touch me.
I am not fully O.K., but I am better today.
I’ll be the first to tell you that as a wife and mother my nurturing instincts usually make me think that I am right and my husband is wrong.
Alas I learned a lesson this weekend about the value of co parenting and the fact that my husband, at times, is so very right 🙂
I was drawn to this bright red and blue obstacle course with climbing walls and rollers! Being in my third trimester I had to restrain myself from jumping in!
So I did what mothers are supposed to do and suggested that my 3 year old son tackle the beast with the help of my husband of course.
They started the course with thrills and giggles as I watch my baby boy glow with victory as he tumbled over the first wall.
All was well, I had created a memorable moment for my little guy and boosted his courage. Plus since I couldn’t go in so someone had to!
I turned away for a bit only to find that my enthusiastic husband had conquered the course leaving my son to battle in the trenches all by himself.
I was mortified to find his little face pressed against the mesh walls overwhelmed by the hanging rubber flaps in his way. I watched his nervousness turn to terror as the only way out was to finish!
Of course I turned to my husband demanding that he go in and get him but to my dismay my husband refused to listen. I plead with him thinking that going in after my son was the only rational response to this situation. After realizing that my healthy dose of nagging was not going to change my husbands position, I stormed off saying “I’m not just going to stand here and watch this.”
Seconds later I see my husband trailed by his mini version skipping along as if nothing occurred. “And just how precisely did you get him out of there?” I asked. “Well I coached him though it of course, now he knows that with a little hard work and help he can get though just about anything.”
I admit in that moment my mom madness that I was so desperately holding on to started to fade. My instinct was to rescue my son, although his methods were slightly questionable my husband’s method was to teach my son!
What a difference another perspective makes!