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Even On Days Like These

Even on days like these

Some days I don’t want to be a mom.

Today is one of those days.

Every moment of motherhood feels like a strike against my selfishness, a blow to my pride, or just utter failure. Mixed in with all of that of course is great piling heaps of joy and abundant laughter. I could not have imagined how much better my life would be before I had them, and I’m very grateful for these two silly boys. But choosing to get up every day and be Abram and Emery’s mom is to choose to die to my flesh, and some days, I’m so sick of it and I just want to do what I want to do.

I want the day to go my way. I want to take off just for fun, and I’d really like to not be responsible for someone else’s well being.

But even more, the hardest part on days like these, is feeling so small and insignificant. Day in and day out, with the diapers and the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the spoiled laundry and the apologies for freaking out over jumping on the couch and the NEVER ENDING teething; it starts to feel like I contribute nothing to the world.

It’s a lie, I know. But in a culture that marvels at dream chasers and hustlers, I get to feeling worthless.

And on these days where my flesh burns hot and wants nothing more than to take over while I’m sobbing next to the crib because the baby won’t nap, and I’m still in my pajamas and I wish I could lose 30 pounds, I’m so glad I have a God to weep to.

There are meltdowns that only my Creator can comfort. I’m always surprised by days like this, and find myself angry for not being better, like HOW COULD I POSSIBLY BE FEELING THIS WAY FOR THE THOUSANDTH TIME… but He’s never surprised and I don’t think He’s angry at me either.

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:22-24

This is what happens when I go to him instead of stew in my own muck. It usually looks like a disaster at first, a few words here and there through the sobs and snot. But once I get it all out enough to approach repentance and ask for help, I start to feel like I’m being given strength. My flesh starts to let up on the clench it’s had on my heart all day, and peace trickles into my mind.

Confessing to others is big, too. Sometimes it takes any shred of humility I can muster up to message my friends and tell them how I’m feeling and ask for prayer. But I always feel a little more sober-minded afterwards, which is one of the beauties of living in communion with other believers.

I know most of us wish putting off our old selves could be easier and look a lot more dignified, like some kind of formal ceremony. It’d be much better if someone could just knight me with a Bible and then I’m magically new. But that’s not what it looks like at all. It’s approaching Him, day in and day out, asking for the same help, over and over. It’s confessing to my people. It’s quiet, it’s repetative, and the reward isn’t instant perfection but the hope that maybe I won’t be such a selfish person all day long. 

God ALWAYS wants to be my father.

Even on days like these.

Melissa Hawks on Prayer: The Angelic Toxic Waste Dump

Melissa Hawks on Prayer

Melissa Hawks has been a friend of mine for almost two years now. Our friendship spawned because of a crazy thing Jon Acuff decided to do called the Start Experiment (Now Dreamers and Builders), and has grown into a massive community today. I consider her one of my bests, even though we haven’t known each other for a long amount of time. She’s a woman I’ve shared stomach-hurting laughter and deep, grievous tears with. We have both been there for each other during our darkest of days, and have helped pull each other out of the pit. I’ve watched her grow deep and wide, as she’s watched me. Hopefully, this is the first of many guest posts from Melissa. I’ve noticed throughout our friendship that she’s pretty exceptional when it comes to prayer. She is always praying for others, for circumstances, for herself. I wanted her to share with us today about prayer, so that maybe some of that great habit she has will rub off on us. Without further adieu…


   I first learned how to pray when I was a seventeen year old freshman away at college. That may seem odd considering I grew up in a family where ministry was what you were born to rather than a life choice. I learned all about the technicalities of moaning and groaning and prayer journeys and prayer meetings and prostrating yourself before His face before I could walk. But I learned how to pray at the age of seventeen from a middle-aged professor named Jim Sleeva.

Sleeva is a legend amidst those who sat under his tutelage at the small Christian college I attended. I was never quite sure whether he liked or approved of me; he was hard to read. Back then I was a pretty great at following the rules, but beneath it all I knew the truth. A wild heart beat it’s irregular rhythm within my chest. There was a rumor that Sleeva had x-ray vision like Superman so I knew he could probably see my wild heart too. He reminded me of how I had always pictured Jesus. I couldn’t imagine that Jesus (or Sleeva, if he could see them) would approve of all my thoughts. But, I was pretty well versed in Scripture and I knew Jesus had made quite a name for himself by being nice to the sex workers and women caught in adultery, so I figured maybe at some point he (and Sleeva) might find it in their holy hearts to like me too.

Here’s what I learned from Sleev about praying:  you don’t have to be fancy. He never used grandiose words, or elaborate repetitive phrasings. He spoke exactly like he would speak to anyone else. He would close his eyes, get a giant ridiculous grin on his face and say, “Hey, Jesus. Thanks for these kids here and this beautiful sunny day you gave us to enjoy. You knew exactly what we needed after the last two weeks of storms and rain. Touch my friend Juan, who has the flu and heal his body. Show us how we can love You, each other, those we meet, better. You’re the coolest, Jesus. (because Sleeva was kind of a hippie) Amen. He would finish his prayer and you would think, “yeah. That dude knows Jesus.”

That’s when I learned how to pray.

The whole idea of “pray without ceasing” always seemed overwhelming and and a bit dramatic to me. Until I came to understand that my prayers are just me talking to God. About stuff. All the things. And that’s what I do. When I stopped trying to force my prayers to fit into a certain time frame of a half hour first thing in the morning or an hour before bed (yeah, that never happened), and I just began to start talking to God throughout the day whenever life happened, that’s when relationship formed. That’s when it became like breathing.

That sounds hard, right? Does it sound a little painful? It’s easy. It’s part of being mindful about how you are feeling and what you are thinking. If I notice a sunset or I’m so angry at something that has occurred. I acknowledge those feelings and turn them into a conversation with God. “Thank you for that glorious sunset, God” or “I’m so freakin’ pissed right now, God.” It’s a good habit to get into because it also makes me more in tune with His voice. When I am communicating with Him, I also take more time to listen.

Don’t self-edit your prayers. He’s God. He can handle the real you. I swear in my prayers, because sometimes I swear in real life. The first time I did this was right after I filed for divorce. I was in my car alone and the weight of it all was burying me. I couldn’t breathe; it was too much. I started to pour it all out and with it came a whole heap of language that I knew the community I was raised around wouldn’t have approved of. Between the “Oh, Jesus’s” and the “@#$&” my car was being turned into an angelic toxic waste dump. But He’s GOD. He can handle it. He can handle me. And I reverence Him enough to be real with Him. It doesn’t take away from the sacredness of our conversation, it adds validity to it. I am not hiding from Him.

The intimacy that comes with this kind of relationship with God has some great benefits. It teaches you to live with less fear. I have become less afraid of the dark because the Light is always with me. It also becomes easier to recognize dark things because you are accustomed to living your life in the light. You know immediately when you take an action that you shouldn’t. You learn to love people better, forgive faster, and that God doesn’t fit into any of our boxes we try to shove Him into.

I’m continually learning how to be in relationship with Him. How to trust. How to quit trying to tell Him how my story should be written. I’m so damn bossy. And He is patient, loving, and keeps redeeming me and my story. My prayer of late for my own life has been this, “I trust you to complete that which concerns me.” It’s been the ultimate way of me letting go and leaving it in His hands. Because here is the truth my prayers have taught me…

He is God. He is trustworthy and He is good. And even on the worst days…that is enough.

March Writing Challenge Day 3: The First Day

This morning in Dale’s sermon, he challenged us to take whatever abilities we have and tell God’s story with them. I’m going to attempt to do that over this next month. This is the beginning of however I end up telling this story, and it came out quickly. Almost TOO quick. A part of me felt lame because it isn’t some long, saturated piece with incredible imagery. But I keep going over it, and something keeps telling me to leave it alone. So, that I will do. Like a friend said to me last week, “…but then I remembered scripture talking about how even nature praises God. So, I’m not bummed out that’s it’s easy to write a song that worships Him.” I don’t think this will be a song, but more of a spoken word. Who knows.

Darker than dark

When there was nothing the eye could see

For there were no human eyes

…yet.

This is where the first community resided

Three in one

One… Two… Three

Eternity.

And then, there came a gift

It began with a light

Father saw it and thought it good

Day, night.