Live this Christmas

You probably didn’t read this last year, and even if you did I hope it’s a helpful reminder. I know it’s still November, but I can already see the Freight Train of Christmas Chaos coming down the track…

Mum in Zone One

"I like your Christmas shoes" my 3 yr old friend told me.  I didn't admit I've been wearing them all year. “I like your Christmas shoes” my 3 yr old friend told me. I didn’t admit I’ve been wearing them all year.

You’re busy and I’m busy so let’s keep this brief. The older my children have become, the more my Christmas has turned into a stereotype. Here I am, rushing from Nativity Play to Candlelit Carol service, waking in the night and pondering recipe ideas, and wondering where to hide yet another bag of Christmas prezzies.

This week:
– I decided to try making canapés for the first time – ha ha! I’m neither a 70’s housewife nor a wedding caterer, but I thought it would be fun. It was.
– I also decided to make Christmas cookies for my hairdresser and his assistant, since a) their mums are in far away countries and b) I thought it might cut through some of the intimidation I feel every time I…

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Book Recommendation: God Made All of Me

‘Have you talked to your children about boundaries so that they know how they should and shouldn’t be touched?’

I was chatting to a friend about when it’s right to talk to your child about s.e.x.  We both agreed it’s probably good to introduce it earlier than you might think, because you don’t want them hearing about it from someone else in the “school playground.”  Then she asked me the above question about boundaries.

Er… no.  I’d never thought about that before.  Cue panic!

To me, the idea of anyone touching my child in an inappropriate way is SO horrific that I dare not even think about it, never mind talk about it.  But obviously, that’s not much use to my children.  I’m so glad my friend raised this with me, but then I was left with the question of how to approach the topic with my children.

You can imagine how relieved I was, then, to discover this book: God Made All of Me by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb.  The subtitle is ‘A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies,’ and that’s what it does.  I read it to my (VERY sensitive) children, aged 5 and 4, and they weren’t in any way disturbed or upset by it but it definitely taught them some extremely valuable lessons.

The book is told through a family having a conversation about how precious our bodies are and that some parts are private and some are not, and some touches are appropriate and some are not, etc.  There’s also an important bit about the difference between a surprise (fun) and a secret (not fun).

As I read this book, I found myself feeling quite traumatised at the thought of anyone trying to harm my child.  It’s difficult to read as an adult because you have the background knowledge that some people do terrible things to children.  But my children don’t really have any such knowledge or awareness, so for them it’s not a scary or upsetting book at all – and as I said, they are very sensitive children.  Disney gives them nightmares.

The book also uses the foundation that God made our bodies, and that’s why they’re precious.  This is always an important truth for our children to return to if they are ever unsure about how valuable they are.

The only downside of this book for me was that in the back it has a double page list of ‘Ways to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse,’ which is very helpful but not something I want either of my children to read.  Which is why the book now lives on Mum and Dad’s bookshelf, not theirs.  However, when you do read these pages you realise that the book covers this list in a clear and child-friendly way.

So I’m really thankful for this book, not least because it helped me to teach my children the right names for body parts.  They were unimpressed.  Even my four year old son, who would gladly talk about willies all day, when confronted with the word ‘penis’ said ‘Urgh!’

The link above tells you more about the book; I bought my copy from Ten of Those.

His Story

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Do you know there’s a Samson in Thomas and Friends? He’s very strong. I was explaining to my daughter that he’s named after the strong man, Samson, in the Bible. She asked me if the Thomas people love Jesus. I said I don’t know but lots of people have heard of Samson.

Biblical names are really in now, aren’t they? I enjoy telling people who my children are named after in the Bible, because so many of the Biblical characters are fascinating. I mean, Zacchaeus – he climbed a sycamore tree, for crying out loud!

I’ve just started reading through a couple of chapters of Luke’s gospel each day. It’s just mind-blowing. And the characters (when I say characters I don’t mean they’re fictional, of course) are so diverse and intriguing. It’s easy to get a bit distracted by them, really. For example, Anna:

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38

I couldn’t help but stopping to sympathise with this godly woman. She must have been a widow for nearly sixty years or so. And she’d been waiting all her life for the saviour to come. Imagine meeting her in heaven! She’s definitely someone I’d like to have a cup of tea with.

In the first two chapters of Luke alone we meet Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zechariah, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna: all of whom could have written bestselling autobiographies without a doubt, purely for the part they played in this gospel story. What strikes me about them all, though, is that they know that this story isn’t about them. It’s about Jesus. Yes, their lives matter, of course they do. Why else would we be given the details about them? But it’s not their story; it’s God’s story about his Son, Jesus.

We think the world is all about us. The media tells us to indulge ourselves, and look after ourselves, and to follow our own dreams. And as parents, we’re told to invest everything we can into making sure our children reach their potential; unleash their gifts; reach for the stars. This is quite a lot of pressure to be under!

Sometimes Christian teaching and encouragements are all about us too. Although disguised in Christian language, they’re actually messages about how wonderful we are and that we’re going to make such a difference that people will remember us for years to come.

No they won’t.

Or at least, it’s unlikely. My pastor often says, ‘who can tell me the names of their great-grandparents?’ If you can’t remember, who will?

We’re like grass. Our lives are a mist.

This isn’t our story. It’s the Lord’s story. And praise God! We get to be characters in it. The characters in Luke I’ve mentioned will forever be defined according to the role they played in the coming of the Messiah. As Mary said:

From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me –
holy is his name. Luke 1:48

I personally wasn’t there when Jesus was born, but I’m thankful that I get to be used by the Lord in whatever way he wants. My life does matter, because the things I do now will be remembered by Him, and will have consequences in eternity.

But I want to teach my children that if their life is a fairy tale, they’re not the main characters. They’re on the periphery, while King Jesus takes the spotlight. And ironically, when we try to play the starring role we’ll always feel frustrated. Like if planet earth tried to be the centre of the universe. Once we find our correct position in the story, the part that was written just for us, then we’ll find true satisfaction, and be truly thankful that we have a role to play.

More than Sparrows

Following the ongoing horror stories about Syrian refugees, this post seems appropriate to share again:

Mum in Zone One

You may not want to hear any more about the crisis in Iraq, but I just feel I can’t not write something about it.  It’s been buzzing around my head and thrumming on my heart, keeping me awake at night and causing me to question so many things.  The only thing that could have stopped me writing about it is the fact that I’m not sure how to articulate any of those feelings, especially in a useful or encouraging way.  So this won’t be neat – how could it be?  I don’t have all the answers – I’m not sure I even have any.

Since becoming a mother I am definitely more sensitive to hearing about people suffering.  I don’t know why, I think maybe I now have more of a sense of how precious life is.  But when I hear about mass killings and horrors worse than death –…

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Against All Odds

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I was once the worst kind of lost. I was lost, but I didn’t know I was lost. I was self-righteous. What I mean by that is, I thought I was good enough by myself, and I was pleased with myself. I wasn’t awful or arrogant by most standards, no I was a kind and loyal friend and lots of other nice things. But when I think about where I was with God, I feel I couldn’t have been further away. These words from Sovereign Grace, to me, sum up exactly what I was like:

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that you would own
A rebel to your will
And if you had not loved me first
I would refuse you still.

The longer I am a Christian, the more I see how lost and hopeless I was. And the more I am amazed, utterly astonished, that against all odds, the Lord dragged me out of the pit of my own making and made me his child. Such grace! ‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, for Oh my God it found out me!’ (Charles Wesley)

In the Gospels, when Jesus met people like me, such as the Pharisees, he told them over and over again that they were the worst kind of lost (I’m paraphrasing). If you think about the parable of the Lost Sons, the Pharisees are the older brother who stays in the Father’s house, ‘slaving away’, despising the Father and feeling he’s earning his place in the family. But of course, he is the real lost son at the end. He’s outside the party, having a hissy fit because he hates grace.

I know this. So why do I want my children to be older brother types? Well, because they’re easier to look after aren’t they? Imagine the community who knew that family in the parable. Which son would they side with? You can imagine the talk in the fields:
‘Eee, the poor Master. Big Billy is such a good lad, but that little Lennie has been no end of trouble. I bet he’s glad they’re not both like that.’

I want my children to be well-behaved and keep their heads down, because that will make my life easier. It will also be much less humiliating for me. If my children are the worst behaved in the nursery (if, e.g. they are biters), or the worst behaved in church (e.g. climbing on the stage and the organ in the middle of the prayers) then what kind of a parent am I being? Hardly a model Christian mum. (I wasn’t making those examples up, obv.)

My 5-year-old daughter is an older brother type. She HATES to break the rules, or (worse still) have anyone think she’s broken them. It will literally keep her awake at night. Phew, right?

Ezra, aged 4, on the other hand, doesn’t care an inch about the rules. He can be told off over and over again and keep doing the same thing, it’s no skin off his nose. He is funny though, and very handsome – so far this has got him through life unscathed. I adore him, of course, but he breaks my heart with his disobedience. Every day I have to get up and try again to teach him what I taught him yesterday: please obey mummy and daddy.

If I’m honest, deep down I really worry that Ezra is not behaving like a Christian, while I feel a bit like Miriam is probably fine because she’s a good girl.

But have I not been listening to God all these years? It’s the rebels who come back to the Father, covered in muck, asking for forgiveness. It was Zacchaeus the tax collector who surrendered everything to Jesus when he encountered grace. It was the “sinful woman” who poured out her life’s savings on Jesus’ feet out of gratitude. Yes, the Lord does save older brother types too, like Saul, and me, but I think the Bible does warn us that the Older Brothers are in grave danger.

Note to self: I need to keep relying on God’s grace to save my kids, not on their own abilities to follow orders and stick to the rules. Grace comes first, then obedience.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. Titus 3: 3-5

Please read Timothy Keller’s The Prodigal God. It’s simply brilliant.

Book Review: The Storm That Stopped (Alison Mitchell & Catalina Echeverri)

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I’m hoping that a “normal” blog post will emerge soon, but in the meantime, here is a book review.  It’s the school holidays, people!

I’d like to recommend a children’s book to you (spoiler alert): ‘The Storm that Stopped

On a recent church weekend away, I took my two older children (aged 5 and 4) to a storytelling and book signing session in the “Book Café” (tent) with Alison Mitchell and Catalina Echeverri. It was actually the highlight of my weekend.

The children were mesmerised as Catalina read the enchanting The One O’Clock Miracle. Not only is it beautifully written and illustrated, but it’s such a moving true story!

So I was excited to read ‘The Storm that Stopped’ to my children when it arrived in the post today. It didn’t disappoint.

They (The Good Book Co.) aim to make an excellent picture book, and they’ve certainly achieved that. It’s quite long, building up the suspense, so contains page after page of illustrations which really capture a child’s imagination. It begins by explaining the context of the miracle, and as far as I can see it sticks closely to the Bible text. It also comes to a spot-on conclusion at the end: the whole reason Jesus did the miracle. (Sometimes children’s Christian books turn everything into a lesson in morality, don’t they? Sigh.)

The highlight of the book for me: when we got to the point in the story that read, ‘Jesus simply spoke…’ my 5 year old daughter, Miriam, said, “That’s what it says in the other book: ‘Jesus. Simply. Spoke’.”

If these books are only teaching my children that Jesus’ words have mighty power, then thanks be to God!  You can find the book here at the Good Book Co.

To read this AMAZING story in the Bible, check it out here – it will take 20 seconds (plus pondering time, which could be eternal).

Heaven Forbid

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“What better way is there to celebrate my son’s 4th birthday than to write a blog post about the objectification of women in a post-feminist society?” I thought.  It’s the cry of every mother’s heart, naturally!  Happy Birthday, Ezra.

I grew up to the sound of The Backstreet Boys singing “As long as you love me.” Even Brit Pop bad boys like Jarvis Cocker were singing about their childhood sweethearts “I used to walk you home sometimes but it meant nothing to you.”

Let’s not be naïve. Our children live in a different world. We thought Sisqo’s Thong Song was controversial in the ‘90’s. The women from that video will be turning their blushing faces away from the Blurred Lines video now.

I have two very young sons. Here is a conversation I do not want to have with either of them in a few years’ time.

Mum, I want to be a CEO when I’m older.
Well I’m sure you can be whatever you want to be, darling.
Yeah I want to be rich, because when you’re rich you can do what you like.
That’s not true!
But Mum, the girls at school all love Christian Grey and he gets to do loads of horrible stuff to girls because he’s rich.
No, even if you’re rich you must still respect women. That film is unrealistic and immoral.
Oh. But the kids at school don’t seem to think that. Are you sure?
Yes I’m sure. Mistreating women is wrong, it’s not godly and besides it can get you into lots of trouble too.
OK but what about if I become a footballer? Then can I do what I want?
No! Of course not! Why would you think that?
Because my mate said that his team’s top goal-scorer once raped someone and now he earns loads of money playing football.
Well, that’s true but he went to prison for that. Rape is a terrible crime.
But now everyone loves him and he gets paid loads of money. And he said he did nothing wrong.
Well, yes that’s true but rape is still really, truly terrible. Why would you want to use women like that? Women are precious.
But sometimes women ask for it, don’t they? That’s what songs on Youtube say. Maybe I’ll become a musician because they get lots of sexy girls to dance with them and do whatever they want.
No, that’s not always true and that’s not a good reason to become a musician.. Also, there’s a lot more to women than how they look.
Is there?
Of course! How can you not know that?
Well the girls on TV and on the sides of buses and bus stops and the big pictures of girls in the shops, they all look amazing. Isn’t that why they’re in the pictures?
Yes they do but those pictures are changed to make those women look better.
Because they need to look amazing?
Well, no, they don’t need to but I suppose advertisers think it’s better if they do.
So what else is there about women? I don’t want to marry an angry, ugly woman who complains about everything. I want to marry a gorgeous woman who wears what looks good and does what I want and who’d do anything for me.
No, no, no. When you find the right woman for you, you treat her with respect, you love her and when the time is right you ask her to marry you and commit to her for better, for worse, for the rest of you lives.
Oh yeah, put a ring on it you mean?
No, not “on it”, you ask her to do you the honour of marrying you. Women are not objects!
OK Mum, I think times have changed since you were young. We’ve progressed.

This is obviously a caricature. But is it so unlikely? Which voices are shouting the loudest to my sons? As a child in the 80s and a 90s teen, the messages I was bombarded with about gender and sexuality were far from ideal, but I was at least taught that women should be respected and valued. The same cannot be said about my own children, growing up today.

I want to make sure I’m teaching my boys God’s view of women today so that in five or ten years’ time we are not having this conversation.

Let’s not assume our children will see that women are valuable by what they learn from films, songs, books, department stores, computer games or even their female peers.

Let’s get talking to our children now, helping them to process what they’re inevitably seeing and learning from the world around them. Don’t be coy, you can’t afford to be.

Asked and Answered

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I’ve been watching The Good Wife – sorry to disappoint. If you’re blissfully ignorant, it’s a glamorous drama set in a Chicago law firm in which impossibly attractive people betray each other.

There’s a phrase that comes up a lot in the courtroom scenes: “Asked and answered.” It’s an objection which the lawyers use if their opposition is trying to emphasise a point by asking a question that’s already been answered, like this:

Lawyer 1:       “Who was with you in the car?”
Witness:         “The accused.”
Lawyer 1:       “So the accused was with you in the car?”

Lawyer 2:       “Objection, Your Honour! Asked and answered.”
Judge:            “Sustained.”

I said to Mike the other day that this “Asked and answered” objection is a phrase I’d quite like to use about a dozen times a day with my 5-year-old daughter. Conversations with her tend to go like this:

“When are we going to Grandma’s?”
“Friday.”
“Pardon?”
“Friday.”
“Friday?”
“Yes.”
“So, tomorrow’s Thursday, then we’re going the next day?”
“Yes.”
“I thought we were going tomorrow.”
….
“Mummy? Mummy? I thought we were going tomorrow! Aren’t we going tomorrow?”
“Miriam, we are going on FRIDAY!”
“Why?”

Of course, while this is going on I’m trying to negotiate a number of other things, such as London traffic, or a toddler tantrum, or packing for said trip to Grandma’s.   Needless to say, I need more patience with these conversations. Lord, change me please.

So while I’ve been wondering why (oh why) Miriam behaves like this, one thought struck me (again). I’m probably like that, too. When I think about questions I ask my Heavenly Father, they’re usually questions he’s already answered. Don’t get me wrong, I know that He is infinitely more patient with me than I am with my daughter, but still it’s taught me a lesson that often I’m wasting time and worry on questions that don’t need to be asked.

Do you remember the story of Gideon? It’s in Judges 6 and 7. In some ways it’s quite a funny story – “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior” said to a terrified wimp who’s threshing wheat in a hole*. But Gideon himself is very frustrating. An angel appears and tells him the LORD is with him, but he still questions this very fact five separate times (v13;15;17;36;39). And of course, I must be no better than Gideon, I’m sure.

When I’m worrying about this and that, I really need to just go back to the fact that the Lord loves me, and he loves my family, and he loves my friends. So I can trust him. Instead of flailing around, asking him questions he’s already answered, I can go back to his promises and meditate on them instead:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

In my heart I often doubt that the Lord will provide for us, even though he’s clearly said in his word that he will (Matthew 6:25-34), and proven it by the way he’s always behaved:

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32.

Related posts: (More Then Sparrows; The Bigger Gingerbread Man)

As always, I would love to read your comments so please click on the speech bubble in the top right hand corner if you’d like to chip in.

 *You need the wind to blow away the chaff when you’re threshing wheat, so this is a bit like flying a kite in a hole, but more silly.

Boot Camp

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There once was a handsome, overlooked shepherd boy called David.

Shepherds were hardly the centre of attention, or the most respectable people in society. You might remember that when the prophet Samuel asked David’s father, Jesse, if he could meet Jesse’s sons, he didn’t even bother to call David in from the fields. Shepherds were nobodies. Lonely, half-forgotten and looked down upon.

Can you sympathise?

Maybe you feel respected and admired as a mother. I hope you do. But I think it’s fair to say that in the UK at the moment, stay-at-home mothers are often unnoticed, ill-respected or ridiculed. Do you know that a housewife can’t countersign a passport application? How can she be trusted? We recently applied for car insurance, and putting me down as the main driver rather than my “professional” husband more than trebled the premium. Mothers are risky individuals. And how about the reactions at parties?
“So what do you do?”
“I’m a mum.”

Tumbleweed.

So I for one can relate to David the shepherds (although I’m sure in many ways I have it much easier. I sleep under shelter, for one thing). Not just the social outcast side of things (I know it’s not that bad for us), but the mundane repetition of the job. I’m not sure what exactly shepherds did, but nobody is sure what exactly I do all day either.
Keep sheep/children alive; sleep; repeat.

So why bring this up? Am I about to tell you that one day, you too will be a warrior king? Sorry, no.  Jesus Christ is the true David – he’s our King and Victorious Warrior – Hallelujah!

You’ll know the story of David and Goliath. Goliath is a big bad beast of a man who nobody dares fight – nobody except David. David goes to see King Saul and volunteers to take the giant on. Saul, naturally, has reservations. David is young and inexperienced – he’s not even a soldier.

But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.’ 1 Samuel 17:34-37.

In the past I’ve always skimmed over this bit. I didn’t really want to hear about all the ways God had been preparing David for this moment. I wanted it to be all about the miracle of the stone in the sling. God didn’t need David to have practiced on wild animals – of course not. But the truth is, He did prepare David for this historical fight using his everyday battles. (A lady I met at a wedding recently pointed all of this out to me – she happened to be a mother of eight.*)

How irrelevant those tussles with bears and lions might have felt to David – he knew he was doing his job, but nobody was even there to see it. He was doing great things for his sheep – but his sheep would never thank him for it.

People might think all you do is watch daytime TV. In the news this week a male reporter claimed that being a stay-at-home parent was easy. People might not see the value in what you’re doing, or see the daily battles you face. But God is training and shaping us, and we might not realise it but he’s giving us remarkable skills.

On our church weekend away last year, several burly men spent about an hour trying to get a campfire started. Then a mum, originally from Eritrea, sauntered over and started it up in about three minutes.

I’m no good at campfires, but if someone in my church wants to know how to live off a tight budget then they can always ask me, since I’ve been feeding an ever-growing number of hungry mouths off one salary for about five years now.

If a role requires remaining calm under pressure, multi-tasking, patience with dawdlers or the ungrateful, planning ahead for the needs of others, doing something with one hand at double speed, prioritising, keeping things cheerful, encouraging, being hospitable, creativity with limited space etc. then perhaps the mothers in your church should be the first port of call. Of course, they might be a bit too busy at the moment, but in the future, when their children are a little more independent, then they might be the unexpected warriors your church family is looking for.

As mums we might not enjoy being isolated and repeating the same mundane tasks day after day, but let’s be encouraged that the Lord is teaching us many useful skills. These very skills enable us to keep serving the Lord and his people, and being a blessing to our families and church families. Who knows how he might use these skills in us in the future, for his glory? Thanks be to God for today’s battles, which may just give us the training we need for tomorrow.

*With special thanks to Caroline Hubert

Related posts: The God of Small Things

As always, I would love to read your comments so please click on the speech bubble at the top if you’d like to chip in.

No Expert

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When I was sixteen, my cousin was knocked down and killed in the road outside his house.   That night, a doctor arrived at the house. Someone had called a doctor. When my newly-tragedy-torn aunt explained that her son had been killed, the doctor said, ‘Oh you don’t need me then. I’m no good in situations like this.’ As my aunt told us about this exchange she said ironically, ‘Of course, we’re experts!’ No-one knew what to say to the family, but they didn’t know what to say either.

I found a similar thing when my brother had a benign brain tumour a few years ago (from which he’s now fully recovered). People felt very awkward because they didn’t know the protocol. But if there is a protocol, we certainly didn’t know it! We were just as surprised, confused and dumb-struck as everybody else.

Being in a situation in no way makes you an expert. Perhaps you’ll become an expert as you live through it, but certainly in the midst of it you often haven’t got a clue what you’re doing.

An unusual introduction to a parenting blog, I know. And actually I’m sorry if I’ve misled you because I’m not about to break some terrible news to you all. Thank the Lord, we are all well. And also, I know that those are both terrible things, whereas being a parent is a wonderful thing. So please bear with me as I make this comparison!

I was reminded of these incidents this week as a friend who is expecting her third baby said, ‘I can’t really cope with two, so how am I going to manage three?’ You may have said something similar yourself:
‘I can barely cope with one, how will I manage two?’
‘I can hardly look after my husband, how will I look after a baby?’
‘I can’t even look after myself, how will I cope with a baby?!’

But mums with more children than you aren’t (necessarily) experts at having lots of children. They may have chosen to have lots of children, or they may not have done. Either way, God makes babies. And God gives us grace to parent them.

We (the Brookses) haven’t made it easy for ourselves. People say that to us. It’s true. But we certainly didn’t say ‘Oh having two toddlers is such a breeze!  Let’s go again!’

I love learning from other mums. It’s a wonderful gift of God that we can share wisdom with our brothers and sisters. But let’s remember that it’s only by God’s grace that any of us are breathing in and out, let alone standing upright, with babies on our hips and toddlers pulling on our legs and children skipping in circles around us. None of us is an expert. We’re all much, much less able to cope than we think we are.

But God’s grace abounds. He takes what we have and multiplies it. He takes our mistakes and turns them around for our good. He overlooks our mess-ups and rewards our little triumphs.*

Let’s stop wishing we were experts, or looking forward to the day when we’ll become them. I’ve got news for you, love. It’s never going to happen.

And incidentally, the mums who we think are coping brilliantly might actually appreciate an extra pair of hands. I for one am particularly guilty of assuming other people are fine and not bothering to ask if they want me to hold a baby or fetch a wipe.

So if you’re finding it hard today, know that it’s not because you didn’t read enough textbooks about this job before you embarked upon it. The Lord gives you just what you need for today.  God gets the glory when we, ill-equipped and fallen though we are, are able through His strength to do things we never thought possible:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinth 12:9-10.

Related posts: Push, Push, Glide; SupermumHow was your day?

*The Lord chooses to overlook (forgive) our sin because he has punished Jesus for our sin on the cross. It’s not that the sin doesn’t matter, but that it matters so much he has dealt with it fully at the cross. Micah 7:18-19 is very encouraging, especially when viewed through the lens of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Amazingly, he also rewards the progress we make, even though that progress is only possible because of his work in us by his Spirit. Revelation 22:12

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