Friday, May 25, 2012

The Ying and the Yang

There will some of this.

It might not have been fair.  After all when Mr. Rosey comes home from work, he's stressed and tired and the last thing he wants to think about is exercise.  Meanwhile, me - Rosey had reached her summit of how long she can go without something sweet and chocolatey.  Ummmm...that's about 5 days without some baked sweetness.  And then I break and enter...into a bag of something that will make my diabetic educator fall over in a dead faint.   

There may be some of this...
There will be most certainly a lot of this...

 ...When she down loads my insulin and carb intake over the last 2 weeks.  I have done very well this week and I'm happy to report that my Blood Sugar values are trending downward.  That makes her happier.

I kind of find it difficult to relate to skinny diabetic educators.  Why can't they have a extra roll somewhere?  Is there an actual Body Fat calculator at the admissions office when a person shows up to enroll in classes for nursing/diabetic classes?  I have seen three so far in the last ten years and not one extra ounce among them.  I mean a stiff wind could send them rolling across the parking lot.  So I sit in these little chairs trying to stuff MY extra rolls under my waistband all the while trying to look poised and classy.
Similar to my sister's unit.
To back up and explain a little, a couple of weeks ago...well actually over a month ago, I had a "come to Jesus" meeting with myself.  It was the week before my son's wedding, and I was crazy busy and stressed out.  One afternoon, I was irritated because I felt bad.  I was feeling bad because we had been "eating on the run" and my blood sugar was out of control.  My average was hanging around 300 by my guess.  So I made the decision to switch to an insulin pump.  It's the niftiest little thing.  One reason I have resisted the doctors suggestion of a pump is because my sister has one.  She has to wear her monitor on her belt in a cell phone holder.  Which means she has to have on a skirt or pants.   I like to wear dresses and skirts, and I couldn't see myself sewing pockets into I resisted the whole thing.

This day however, I told myself to pull on the big girls panties and acknowledge that what I had been doing was not working.  I was losing weight but the Blood Sugar was consistently too high.  So I made the decision to look into a pump.  I googled insulin pumps of course and up came a new concept..the tubeless system.  The Omnipod, is totally disconnected from my body.  It has a wireless transmitter and receiver in both the pod and the monitor, so they can "talk".

My insertion device is a little larger than my sisters, but there's no tubes and it's waterproof.  I can swim or shower with my pod on, still get insulin coverage and just not think about it.  The receiver - the cell phone looking item, can stay in your purse or on a table.  It has to be within 5 feet of your body to make changes to the programs...such as  bolus injection for meals or to change the basal rate of delivery...meaning the constant drip of insulin can be changed to slower or faster.

I do have to say one thing here and those who know me personally know this is true of me....if I was to pose with my monitor like this I would have fixed that "white trash" nail polish.  The only thing that grosses me out more than chewed on and chipped polished nails, are people who don't take care of their feet but still wear sandals.  bleck, gag, shudder.  

So the "come to Jesus" meeting which is not disrespectful, but a phrase we use to mean "very serious talk to yourself or someone requiring instant change of attitude or behavior".  I got the information on the Omnipod, located a distributor whose customer service had the whole shebang sent to me within 10 days...100% covered by my insurance.

Now with the decision to take better care of my diabetes, was also the mandate to return to a healthier way of eating.  The wedding was over and it was a good time to work on our meals again.  So this week, the grill has gotten a workout as well as the steamer basket.  We were feeling pretty good and my blood sugar was trending down.  I talked Mr. Rosey into a walk around the block as well and that helped even more.

But yesterday was a combination of two things.  One...Mr. Rosey was tired.  And Two...Mrs. Rosey NEEDED some chocolate.  So I baked brownies.

I know.  Your mouth waters and your own blood sugar is going up just to look at these luscious beauties...Turtle brownies with the rich deep chocolate chewiness that we've come to love with deep, gooey swirls of caramel twisting in and around in a lovely dance of taste bud delight.

Mercy, I'm salivating just writing that.  Yes, I had reached the fullness of time that I can go without something chocolate.  So I baked them.

But after our healthy dinner, I suggested a walk to which Mr. Rosey just groaned.  I didn't blame him as I had been fighting with a conflict between my neck, shoulder and nerves.  I didn't feel like walking either.

Awwww the age old conflict.  How bad do I want this brownie?  Enough to take a walk or does it sit in the fridge perhaps for lunch tomorrow, or dinner dessert if I walk tomorrow?  This was my Ying...if I don't walk I get nothing.  And the Yang, I walk, and I can have a brownie


Well.  We Walked.  :)

I got to have my brownie and eat it too.  Perhaps my Diabetic educator won't squeal too long, if I show her the balance between my exercise and my carb load.  You think that might work?  Yeah, me neither.

But all along our goal is to make healthier choices, not to stick to rigid meal plan that deletes entire food groups out of the diet.  I have to watch my carbs because that is what loads your blood with circulating sugar.  But we still have the occasional starchy veggie or the juicy piece of fruit.  And yes, the occasional baked sweetness.  We found that with balance, we were losing weight and feeling WONDERFUL.  I felt so healthy eating this way and getting exercise.  All the way up to the cancer diagnosis.  Since then we have existed more on what is easy rather than what is healthy.  But I'm happy to report that other than the occasional bad day, I'm feeling pretty swell.  So we are encouraging each other to make better choices.

Now for the good stuff.

If you'd like to try that recipe here it is

2 cups chopped pecans
· 2 cups white sugar
· 1 cup unsalted butter
· 4 eggs
· 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 24 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
· 42 pecan halves


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. Mix the sugar, butter, eggs and cocoa until just blended. Slowly add flour and one teaspoon of the vanilla. Mix until just blended. Spread batter in pan and top with chopped pecans.
3. Bake about 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.
4. In saucepan over low heat, melt caramels, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in remaining vanilla. Drizzle over brownies in parallel rows and press pecan halves into the caramel in neat rows. Let set for at least 10 minutes.

When I make this I use caramel ice cream topping and usually walnuts as they are cheaper. And I add all the nuts to the batter, so they are surrounded by a blanket of chocolate goodness.

But if you want to know the honest truth, for this little piece of bribery, I used this recipe.... feel free to use it is you wish. 

Follow the directions on the back!
Bwa hahahaha!  Okay, this was not a "whole foods" item but when ya gotta have a brownie ten minutes ago, I might break my no processed foods rules.

So where do you find balance between what is good for you and what you want?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where is your hope?

Being very honest here, I have to say that in the past, HOPE has been one of my least favorite words.  Because of cancer, I was surrounded by hope, hope, hope.

And as someone who was terrified about what cancer meant to my future, every time I heard this word I would panic.  My reaction was not positive.  My response to the word was "yeah I HOPE I survive this."  I got cards in the mail that told me to HOPE in Christ and I just felt sick.  I was surrounded by pink ribbons and told HOPE for a Cure.  I didn't want to "just hope."  I WANTED reassurance!

 Some point in the last 18 months, I heard Beth Moore's definition of hope:
"the Greek word for hope is elpis, and it means the desire of good with the expectation of obtaining it." Isn't that a lovely word? Expectation? I fell in love with her definition...the 
expectation or the anticipation of obtaining your desire. Hope is expectation of your desire fulfilled. In my is survival.  Bethie changed my perspective that hope wasn't about "gee, maybe this will work." Hope isn't about maybe something will be good. It is not wishful thinking or positive visualization. It is to expect that God will answer and fulfill our desire. I still want reassurance, I still want to be healthy and know that I'm going to be here for my family. I am working on accepting all this. But I have the anticipation that God is working in me for my good. But the trust, the believing, or knowing that this battle is worth the pain...(or whatever it is you face) is a little slower for me to embrace. I still long for the assurance but I can now hear the word HOPE without wanting to hurt someone. I endeavor to accept the fullness of hope that whatever happens is to God's glory. I'm not there yet, but I'm closer than I was about 18/ 19 months ago.

But my heart is heavy today.  I have a dear friend who has shared with me that she feels hopeless.  In fact, because God has not improved her situation, she now questions whether God thinks so little of her that He has chosen her to be completely alone.  Chosen to be alone in her marriage, alone in her church and even alone within her family.  So if she is desperately crying out for Him to make Himself known and she is still alone, what is she to believe about Father God?  If she is still miserable and spiraling further out of control, how does she weigh what she has been taught against what she is experiencing?  If He doesn't change anything, then she feels she can only believe He is punishing her.

I certainly can go to that place with her.  I have had my share of uglies in my lifetime, and wondered where God was in the midst of my pain.  I watched friends who skated through what appeared to me to be "charmed" lives.  I never saw them struggle. I never saw them go hungry; I never saw them do without. I never heard them talk about abuse, sexual, emotional or physical.  I never saw trouble in their marriages, or saw their children in trouble.  I never saw them lose a child, I never saw them lose their home, I never saw them without transportation.  I never saw them jobless.   I never saw them say a final goodbye to a loved one.

These ugly occurrences happen to everyone at some point in their lives, whether I saw it or not.  But it's those people who suffer through several of these traumatic events who begin to ask "Where is God in this?"

I understand because I have sat in that hopeless pit myself.  I believed that God loved me, but because He created me, not because He wanted to.  It was one of those kinds of things like "you can choose your friends, but you are stuck with family."  When God looked at me, he was stuck with me.

At points in my life that I felt He should be intervening, nothing happened.    My friend feels like the Israelite in the desert with Moses when God told them because of their disobedience, they would not see the Promised Land.  She has lost hope of ever seeing her promised land.  She battles depression in silence, believing God has set her adrift in the wilderness.  Just like my friend, I began to believe that God was punishing me or at least not blessing me or giving me favor. But what I know now, is that these are lies from the lips of our spiritual enemy.

I know that she or I are not the only ones who felt we fell out of God's favor.  I grew up somehow with the image of God as a lightning brandishing, people destroying avenger. I was not taught that God wanted a relationship with me. I WAS taught that God loved us and He gave His son for our salvation. But I believed that He HAD to do that because He created us - thus He loved us.

Because of things that happened early in my life where God did not intervene, I started listening to the same lies as this dear broken hearted friend. I listened to lies that I was unlovable, repulsive and just too much for him to forget the ugly details of my life.
I have been a Christian since I was about 5 years old. But it wasn't until about 3 years ago that I started thinking that maybe God did love ME. My Pastor is all about being a Christ follower, not a "Christian".  Pastor Jason believes that Christian is just a religious preference, like Catholic or Christian. We strive to be Christ followers, working to walk in the Light as Christ. (Not being Christ of course but making a concentrated effort to follow his example and teaching.) I began to wonder if I had been wrong about my relationship with God.

The first thing I had to deal with was my idea of forgiveness. My old denomination used to talk about Judgment Day. We were told there would be a huge video screen showing our lives and all we had done wrong...a sort of "see how much I had to forgive?" kind of thing. I always felt that the idea of true forgiveness and this kind of "judgment day" wasn't compatible. How could God forgive and remember them no far as the east is from the west? And then turn around and reveal all our faults and sins before the world? 

In the summer of '09 during our Bible study of Esther and I have NO idea why it hit me during a study of Esther, I came to see MAYBE it was my old church that was wrong. Maybe God did remember them no more.  I grew up under the preaching of ONE minister until I was 15...all those formative years. It was a very legalistic church and I don't remember them being very loving either. So I considered MAYBE it was that pastor who had been teaching me a bad doctrine and that it wasn't God all along. 

It was during this time that I was in deep struggle with "if God loved me, why did he let all the ugly things just keep happening?" I had an epiphany, and had to consider that maybe God didn't just let them happen. Perhaps he could not overcome someone else's freedom of choice to do evil things. So God instead took those things to grow me into a more compassionate person, and create purpose for my good and the good of others.

I was doing dishes and pondering these things...was I wrong? Was I wrong about my concept of His forgiveness and His Salvation? I read how the BIBLE, which is GOD'S word says that He remembers them NO more...despite what I was taught in my early church years...

Isaiah 43:25 - 26
(the Lord speaking to Jacob)
 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.  Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.

Psalms 103: 8 - 12
The Lord is compassionate and gracious; 
slow to anger, abounding in love.
 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve 
or repay us according to our iniquities. 
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love
 for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

The Scriptures came singing through my mind while I stood there doing dishes. And then a Casting Crowns song came drifting over the radio waves and I knew. I knew God had heard me and was answering me.....

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

God is not punishing any of us, not me, not my dear friend and certainly not you. We are in a dark place where you cannot see Him. When you have sunk so low down into a pit all you can see is where you were, and where you want to go. You cannot see the Lord right next to you. You will NOT see what God is doing until you are out of this pit and He decides it's time to reveal to you. Even though Ugly things will happen through the efforts of the world, God will use those things to refine the gold within us.

For 40 something years, I thought God could not love ME. Our denomination believed in salvation through grace. But then they gave you a manual on how you KEEP your salvation. And I tried. I tried every way, with every ministry I could to keep earning my salvation.

Then two years ago I found out I had cancer.  One thing I grieved over was that I was too sick to DO any ministry at all. Some days I was too tired to even write an address on a card to mail. I laid in the recliner bemoaning that fact that I was doing nothing for God, that I couldn't show him that he did not waste his salvation on me.  I had no way to EARN my salvation.  No way to prove I was worthy of Him.

Then God started whispering to me. I love you Tina. I love you, Tina.  I love YOU, Tina. I love you TINA.  This gentle, reassuring Presence told me, "Even now, when you are too weak to even raise your voice...I love you. You are too weak to DO anything, trying to win my approval, STILL I delight in you.  There is nothing you can DO to earn my love and salvation because I already gave it to you. I just need YOU to finally accept this and believe me.


God did NOT give me cancer to teach me this lesson, 

but He certainly took the opportunity to drive it home to me. 

That is what cancer taught me.

God is not turning his back on us. The same liar that kept me in bondage for all those years is now coming after you. These things you think about yourself...about God...about people around you...these are all those same lies you are hearing. But remember who the source of the lies comes from. You are just in such a deep ugly, when the lies start to sound like truth. But STOP believing it.

My lovely friend, and beloved sisters, if you were with me, I would pour you a cuppa of hot lemon zinger and push sugar cookies toward you. I would let you talk and talk and talk until you were talked out. Then I would tell you again that God loves you even in the uglies.

Louie Giglio said in his video "Hope for when Life Hurts the Most" that the disciples did not understand the cross. They stood around looking at this man who was dead, the Messiah they did not believe COULD die. They asked WHY? Why him, why now when his ministry was just starting. They were defeated and afraid and alone.  They had no hope.

They did not know Easter was coming. 

They would not understand the significance of the cross until they experienced the Resurrection, when they were able to look back.    They could see how there was a plan all along. We all carry crosses like this. We don't understand until we can look back and then see God in it all.

If anything I have shared strikes a chord within you, if it resonates within your soul, find someone to talk to.   Whether you reach out to a professional CHRISTIAN counselor, a friend, a pastor… just reach OUT.  Get out of yourself.  Find a community of women that can edify you. Call around to different churches and find out if they have a women's Bible study you can join. Speak to a godly woman who can bring light into your darkness.  But don't let your anticipation and expectation of obtaining good be undermined by the lies.  Hope is fragile, but it grows when we nurture it.

Psalm 33:21-22

 For my heart rejoices in Him because I trust in His holy name.  May Your faithful love rest on me, Yahweh, for I put my hope in You.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Are you ENOUGH?

Well?  Are you enough?

I'm not.  Not even close.

I look back over my life and there is so much "not enough" going on.

I wasn't a good ENOUGH daughter.

I wasn't a good ENOUGH student.

I wasn't a good ENOUGH sister.

You get the idea.

I'm not a good enough mom, wife, homemaker, cook, friend, teacher, and certainly not a good enough Christian.

I know I don't pray enough.  I don't read my Bible enough.  I don't praise enough.  I don't edify or encourage enough.  I fall so short of my own expectations, how can I hope to meet someone else's expectation?

I am simply NOT enough.

Even in the hallowed halls of Women's Bible studies, we can come away feeling that we are not enough.  There is always someone in the group who is MORE.  She is more Godly, more spiritual, more respectful, more patient,  more kind, more creative, compassionate, more helpful....she's moremoremore!

In our efforts to become BETTER, we keep hitting that wall of NOT ENOUGH.

I really struggle with this sometimes,  yeah I guess in all honesty this is something I have struggled with for a L. O. N. G. time.  I look around and it seems that everyone else is more.  They are more gifted.  They are more blessed.  They are more than I think I can ever be.  The only way to judge ENOUGH is to hold yourself up for scrutiny against someone else.  This is always the first step to NOT ENOUGH.  Measuring our qualities against someone else invariably leaves us with that bitter taste of not enough.  What we don't take into account is that she may be looking at you and getting that same bitter taste.  She is not enough either.

To determine "enough" we have to consider our strengths and acknowledge our weaknesses.  But it is not fair that I hold my weaknesses up against the strengths of someone else.  Sadly I'm looking at this huge stainless steel shelf I bought to keep in the kitchen because I had too much stuff for the counters.  I started out with my microwave, my kitchen aide mixer, a beautiful set of colored mixing bowels.  I had/have three bins with labels stating their contents.  And on the very bottom I keep the cat and dog foods.  It was lovely.  I contemplated putting a potted ivy on the top shelf.  I stuck a fake one up there so I didn't have to figure out how to keep the real one alive.  It was so organized.

Just this very afternoon, I looked at this shelf and wondered what happened.  There are bottles of BBQ sauce, water, boxes of pasta, little cartons or fruit, fruit juices and soda all shoved into the space that was supposed to be ENOUGH.  If I was really brave I would have taken a photo of MY shelf.  I'm not.  That brave, I mean.

I looked at this monster I created and sadly shook my head.  I an not organized enough.  I need to be MORE like my friend, Sheri.

I am told she has bins and baskets for everything and there are labels on them all.  She and I have teased each other about our love for our label maker.  She, because apparently she likes it all to be organized.  I label things because if I don't...I have no clue where it is or what it does.  I recently started labeling electric cords.  Have you ever looked into a box of electric adapters, picked up one and said "I have no clue what this goes to."  I have.  I threw it away in my effort to declutter my spaces.  2 weeks later I picked up my cordless screw driver and said...."where did that charging cord go?"  uh oh.

So back to Sheri. Okay, here's the thing.  I have no clue how organized Sheri really is.  I have been TOLD she is organized.   I've not seen her organization so I have this mental image in my head.  I trust she is very organized just like my friends have claimed.  But having no connection with the real picture, the one in my head is impossible for me to reach.

I was watching an episode of the detective series MONK.  My sister loaned the dvd set to me for watching while recovering from surgeries and treatments.  I find it very entertaining to set up my ironing board right in front of the tv and iron away while watching MONK.  In one episode he opened his fridge and inside were perfectly stacked plastic containers of food.  Labeled, stacked plastic containers of food.  And I sighed.  I wish my fridge looked like that.  sigh.  But it doesn't and I have to let that go.  Now.  How many of you just said "Tina, IRONS?  oh, I am not _____ enough to iron our clothes."

More often the images of ENOUGH in our head are an unrealistic my mental picture of what Sheri's kitchen cabinets and closets look like.  (And I will just DIE of shame if they are perfectly organized!)   I have never seen her kitchen, so in MY head its spotless, perfectly organized, gleaming, with NOTHING on the counters...because of course, SHE is organized ENOUGH for everything to have a home.  I admire Beth Moore, the women's Bible study leader very greatly.  I watch her videos instructing me on some Bible truth and I'm caught up...she's always dressed so cute.  She probably rolls out of bed that cute.  She must have been a great mother to have her daughters so supportive and involved in her ministry.  She must read her Bible every moment...that she's not writing books and devotionals.  I will never be enough...not like Beth Moore.

I look at some of the women in MY Bible study and I think again...I am not enough.  She is more spiritual.  She is a better wife.  She is more fun.  She is always baking.  She is so patient with her children.   I really don't know them well enough to know if they are MORE than me.  I just MAKE them MORE.

But I am so wrong.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 

I love the word "sufficient".  It may be my new favorite can go behind SERENITY, CACOPHONY and now SUFFICIENT.

I looked up the definition of the word "Sufficient".

1.   adequate for the purpose; enough: sufficient proof; sufficient protection.

I have read this Bible verse over 100 times. I have always applied the context of the verse, to speaking of something that ails us.  Something that we pray to be delivered from.

2 Corninthians 12 :8 - 10   Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Usually I look at this verse when I am reciting the reasons that I cannot do something.  I can't get through this pain, this illness, this treatment, this death.  And we are reminded that God's grace is sufficient for us.

But today I was steam cleaning the floors, and grumbling because there was a spot that was NOT coming up.  Being totally transparent here, my house has been an nasty mess for about a month now.  The last 2 weeks before my son's wedding on 4/30 we started the DROP AND RUN mode of living.   So many details had to be dealt with, that we ran in dropped what we had and ran back out.  Enough laundry was done to keep us in clean underwear.  We switched to paper plates and plastic tableware so we didn't have to keep up with dishes.  My OWN expectations of how I run my home flew out the window.  The day after this wedding, I had a medical procedure that has slowed me down a tad and certainly affected how efficiently I can get something done.  I can't carry laundry baskets, I couldn't mow.  I couldn't get do a lot that needed to be done.  I'm getting better at finding new ways to get stuff done.  So I am struggling slowly to bring my home up to my own standards. Just as soon as I get satisfied with one room, I move to another room that totally knocks me down at the knees.

So I was scrubbing at this stubborn spot and don't forget I was grumbling.  And in the middle of the scrubbing and grumbling THIS popped into my head.  

My grace is sufficient FOR you.
My grace is sufficient IN you.

And it sat me back.  Actually one of those holy moments that I should have slipped off my shoes for.  God had just spoken to me.

My grace is ENOUGH for you.
My grace is ENOUGH in you.

I AM enough.  

All the other stuff is just the silliness that we women often get all caught up in.  Measuring our weakness against someone else's strength.  Accepting someone else's (or worse - the media's) definition of what we are supposed to look like, sound like and behave like even in our Christian communities.  We demean who God created us to be.  God created me to be ENOUGH of what HE created me FOR.  I have a good idea he did not create me to be an organizing guru for the masses.  But I hear Him telling me that I am more than enough for the purpose he created me.  Whatever it is that God is asking of me, I am more than enough.

I don't have to hold myself up against someone else to judge how well I am doing.  God created me with the gifts me I need to be enough.  He only judges my obedience.

I am enough!!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Mother of all Sacrifices

There is something about becoming a mother than changes your life.  Not in the obvious...changing diapers, the never ending cycle of laundry or the middle of the night excursions.  No, I refer to the fact that when you become a mother, your life is no longer just your own.

I disagree with those who believe they can be a mother and "have it all".  I actually believe you must be willing to "lose it all."  To be a good mom, you have to lose the desire to only look to your own needs, preferences and desires.  Whether it be to sleep a regular schedule, eat a regular schedule...shower a regular schedule, even to use the toilet alone on a regular schedule.  You find that you may lose the choices on what constitutes a meal or a good restaurant.  Little tyrants in diapers are dictating when and where you eat.  Your definition of a good time changes from dinner and a movie to an evening at the local play palace with your children.  Things just change

My definition to be a good mom means that for the next 18 years or so, you are going to set aside your goals, expectations and even your needs to some extent.  I believe that children grow in knowledge and maturity BEST when they have their mother's undivided attention.  A child is happiest when raised by their mother, not the baby sitter, or the day care worker.  Mother's have that God given nurturing love that wants the best for this child.  This means you seek to see that your child's needs are met efficiently.  That baby sitter, that day care are not looking out for your child's best interests, regardless of how caring and loving they are.  It is their BUSINESS to protect and care for your children.  They may be fond of your child.  But they do not, they can not, project upon your child the affirmation that children only receive from their mothers.

Yes.  I believe that when you decide to become a need to consider what is BEST for your child.  What is best for them is always going to be YOU.  It may mean you quit working outside the home and stay home with your children affirming, edifying and raising them in a Godly home with a Godly mother.  It means pointing them toward a Heavenly Father with your every action.  They learn what love feels like from mom and from dad.  They see your humanity and they see you fail at some things.  They learn about unconditional love, mercy and grace.  They learn its ok to fail at something when you tried and made your best effort. Things sadly lacking in the majority of society.

Staying home means that for this season you are setting aside those goals and desires.  It means living on one income.  Downsizing.  It means living with less than you might have if you had the typical dual income family.  It may mean yard sale clothing, a rental home and a 10 year old car.  When your child is grown their fond memories will be of you and the time you spent with them.  Of the things you made them, and of the sacrifices you made.  Not of that car, the neighborhood or what they wore.  They remember that their mom was there for them.  Daily.  She was there, and accessible and loving.

I realize that there are moms who have no choice.  For whatever reason they have been placed in a situation where they must be both father and mother.  So they are required to provide financially for their family as well as nurturing their children. It was never God's plan for children to be raised by one person...Biblically there is the mandate to provide for the widows and the orphans.  There was no other possible reason for a child to be missing a parent in that culture....other than through death.  Some women find they must work because of decisions made earlier in their lives, mandate or require their financial contribution to the family.

So I come to this....and it's a statement that may stir a lot of disagreement.  It is my supposition that a lot of selfishness gets in the way of raising children.  I see so many homes where children aren't being "raised" at all.  They are simply being sheltered.  They are being left alone to learn life by themselves as the grow up in homes with absent parents.  I am not pointing a finger at any one type of mom.  Some moms as I said, work because of choices made before children arrived.  Other's feel they must work to achieve some goal for their child = though I would ascertain that the child would still be better with their mom instead of a pricey private school.  Some moms are working because they want to.  They really don't like being a parent, and working out of the home allows them that escape.  Again, I know not every working mom makes these choices for these reasons but have some of their own.  Regardless of why a mom works outside her home, I still feel it is BEST for her children to have her with them.  I do have to concede one point.  I know there are a lot of women who are working in a position they feel called to work in.  They sought God's direction and they feel just as strongly that they are working for God's purpose and I have to accept that may well be true.  And then are other moms who are working because they are told they will work and share the household expenses.

Unfortunately, young men raised by working moms have bought into the concept that it REQUIRES two incomes to survive.  Many now expect that their wives will work to earn the greater income that people have come to expect.  It is not always that moms don't want to stay home and raise their children.  It is often that their husbands don't believe it's possible.  They have been told the average family MUST have two incomes.  We have been told we have to own  homes, take regular vacations, enroll the children in every sport known to mankind with all it's expenses.  Society has told us that we fail our children when we do not offer them every single opportunity under the sun.  And what has happened is that we raised a generation of spoiled brats who have no CLUE how to sacrifice.  They believe the sun revolves around them and their needs.

You can raise a family on that single income, but it does mean sacrifice.  It requires the decision to downscale your expectations and live on less. It CAN be done, but it is not an easy path to walk.  Society expects more of us.  When we tell someone we are stay at home moms - which most moms know is a misnomer now days as no one just stays home.  But our peers looks at us with distain and question why we don't want more from our lives.  I was told this evening that moms on both sides of the issues feel they are judged....whether for the choice to stay home or to work.  I suppose that's true because they are no where similar in comparison.  I will not say that you scar your child by working outside the home.  I know too many women who have done it successfully and have wonderful, Godly adult children.  It is not my endeavor to send any mother into throes of guilt.  You are doing the best you can.  I am simply supporting those women who want to move to full time mothering, but are presently convinced they can not.  I can't deny my heart was called home and that I do believe that is what is BEST for children.  But what I believe to be BEST does not mean it is the only acceptable answer.

For a time, I bought into the lie.  I thought after 10 years of infertility and 10 years of being a full time homemaker, that to be a "good and responsible" mom I had to go to work to provide the very best for my son.  I went to nursing school and graduated.  I started working as a nurse in the OB unit.  My son cried for me as I left for work.  He was in a day care and he was being care for.  I didn't have to be concerned about him.  I was living the dream...the nightmare that moms around the world attempt to live...supermom and all those expectations.  To attempt having it all and doing none of it well.  Every day, a part inside of me died.  This child I prayed for, this child I cried for, this child I suffered for was being raised by someone else.  I would later learn, he was also being emotionally and physically abused in the day care he attended.

Stronger and stronger came the desire to return home and raise him myself.  So after talking it through with my husband, we made the decision to take the plunge and I would stop working outside.  We took our son out of day care and we became a family.  That was the day that JOY returned to my heart.  My heart still grieves that I allowed him to be in that day care for those 3.5 years.  I can't undo that time.  But I can tell you how I regret those decisions,  to follow the world's concept of a successful family...two incomes, day care and the latest and brightest.  We soon realized with shock that my job as a nurse honestly brought NOTHING into the family budget.  By the time we paid child care, gas, tires and car repairs, convenience foods, and fast foods because mom and dad were so tired....I made a whooping THIRTY dollars a month.   I was just barely breaking even.

To all things there is an end.  Parenting is one of those jobs that as Dr. James Dobson states "Your goal is to work yourself out of a job."  There comes a day when your child is ready to fly outside your boundaries.  You never become NOT a mom, or NOT a dad.  Your heart is always in your throat as they venture further and further away.  When the odd hour call comes in, our hearts leap and the first thought is of our children and "Oh no, what's wrong!"

For me, the active job of parenting is over.  This is when I can once again pick up desires, goals and ambitions that I put away 19 years ago.  Feasibly I could resume a career, finish an education, or earn the income for those extras we dream of.  I don't regret a single moment of those days at home with my child.  I lack not the precious memories of us together, learning and sharing together.

I am well aware that not every mothering experience is the same.  Some moms have poured out their offerings to their children, only to have it discounted, ignored even ridiculed and mocked.  My heart goes out to them and I can no easier explain it than they.  I don't know exactly what happened to create that environment.  But I do see that a whole family is more LIKELY to stay whole, than it is to split and sever.  Building the strong family in childhood has a better chance of staying intact through winds of change and turmoil.

Life comes and goes in seasons.  That season of cleaning bottoms, wiping noses and bathing squirmy little bodies comes to an end.  It gives way to new and equally overwhelming experiences.  But I have learned something much to my joy.

For that season of time, I gave my son my first fruits.  I looked after him with the love and adoration I felt for him.  I considered it my blessing to able to give to him my sacrifices of time, income and need.  He grew into a fine young man.  He continues to amaze and astound me with his eagerness to learn and experience, his desire to forge his own path and not simply follow the herd.  It is with humility that I tell you that my son now returns back to me all I ever gave him with overflowing abundance.  He gives me respect and honor.  He has given me gentle care, tenderness and concern for me as I have gone through some of the darkest and most painful days I've lived.  He has never made me feel disrespected, or discounted.   I marveled at his capacity for compassion and his desire to serve.  When I thanked him and told him how blessed I was, he just smiled and told me he had learned it from me.

I may have sacrificed for a season, but the abundance is overflowing through my life now.

I want to encourage all those mothers in the throes of child rearing.  Your sacrifice IS worth it.  You are investing into your child all that is pure and perfect.  Even when you fall short of that goal.  There will come a day where the little guy in front of you with the defiant posture, stomping his foot and demanding that he WILL do what he know who you are...that same child will indeed one day rise up and call you blessed.

Proverbs 31:28

Her sons rise up and call her blessed.

Her husband also praises her:
“Many women[s] are capable,

but you surpass them all!”(AE)
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,(AF)
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
Give her the reward of her labor,[t]
and let her works praise her at the city gates.