That Great Day When We Were Set Free

That Great Day When We Were Set Free

You’re wondering what got into me.

I’m not sure I can even say.

Maybe it was stress that brought it on. Or maybe it was a deep, spiritual insight. Then again, maybe it was just all that garlic in the pasta I’d had for lunch.

In any case, the light went on….

We were burdened with too much stuff.

More than I could handle. More than this mom could manage. And, clearly, more than our children could manage.

I knew this because we couldn’t seem to stay on top of it, no matter what I tried. To be perfectly honest, it had become a source of friction between them and me and I didn’t like it.

I suddenly saw it for what it was. Our stuff was holding us back and weighing us down.

So I called the children together and quietly started talking to them about treasure. This was a word even the youngest could understand. Oh, yes, they knew about treasure.

How much treasure should we really have and where should we keep it?

This sure got the kids thinking. They didn’t want to be greedy. We wanted our treasure in to be in Heaven (Matt. 6:19-21).

Now maybe you’re jumping ahead, “Oh, so she decided to declutter.” But you see, I’d already tried that before and it didn’t seem to work for us.

No, what I’m talking about is quite different. Rather than sorting through mounds of things and deciding what we could get rid of and what we’d hang onto….I did something totally different.

We looked at our pile of stuff and decided what we would KEEP. 

But that’s it. Everything else had to go.

It was so simple and so easy, I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before.

We picked out a specific space for clothes and a specific box for toys and that space determined the amount of things they could keep. We then had a big party passing along all the remaining items to others who needed it far more than we did. And you know something? The entire process took only one afternoon. What a great day!

Here’s how we were set free from so much stuff….

Treasure Box
I gave each child a clear, plastic box (a 16-quart-drawer from Walmart) and let them pick out what was most dear to them – as long as it fit in the box. When the box was too full? They had too many treasures and needed to pass along those things to others (or the trash). Each child kept their box under their bed.

Traveling Light
Now if God suddenly called us to the mission field (could happen!) or we invited someone to stay with us (has happened), we were no longer tied down by our possessions. We were free to say “Yes!” and didn’t have this huge management issue on what we should do with All The Stuff.

Freed From the Trap
If you’re wondering if the children felt sad or deprived? No, I’d say it had quite the opposite effect. They felt FREE. They could now clean their rooms in less than 10 minutes. Our house was generally tidy and our evening pick-up took only a few minutes. Mommy was less stressed and we spent far less time looking for lost items. It was a win-win for us all.

So if you happen to be like me and find yourself balancing more than you can manage? If you want to simplify your life, but a big project like decluttering seems rather overwhelming? You might want to consider freeing your family from having so much stuff.

Live free. You’ll love it!

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6:21)

Lisa Jacobson,  Club31Women

*Lisa is also the author of the newly released book, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband.

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

 

The Best Things About Bringing up Daughters

The Very Best Thing About Bringing Up Daughters

The call for help came in the middle of the day.

This dear, young mom was clearly in a tough circumstance and needed some help. A small break at the very least. I recognized the desperate tone and told her I’d be over as soon as I could.

But what about all her children? Her four young ones, plus a little baby? Who could stay with them on such short notice while she and I went out to talk it through?

I approached one of our daughters and briefly explained the situation.  She caught on right away and began filling her backpack with fun toys, a princess crown, and party whistles. In a few short minutes she was packed and ready to go.

The children shyly gathered around her when we first arrived, having never been left with a stranger before. They began sharing their names and ages. Then their favorite colors and favorite foods. Then they began pointing over to the park . . . .

My friend and I quietly slipped out and enjoyed a lovely, long afternoon over a cup of tea. Tearful and healing. Returned smiling and hopeful.

It was nearly dark by the time we got back. We found my daughter playing a board game with her children while the baby slept sweetly in her arms.

I had one of those moments. You know, the kind. When you wonder how that could have happened. Wasn’t it just yesterday that this young woman before you was sleeping sweetly in your very own arms?

Some of the Very Best Things About Bringing Up Daughters

Extend your ministry. Together the two (or more) of you can do so much more than you could on your own. Our girls have helped with making meals, childcare, virtual assistance, event-planning, and so much more. It’s like a mini-women’s ministry coming right from your very own home.

Keep you young. Let’s face it, I’d probably be old and frumpy if it wasn’t for them. They keep me updated on what’s happening in the modern world. They keep me from embarrassing myself too badly with behind-the-times technology, clothing, and expressions. And they make me laugh!

Offer wonderful insights. Their fresh eyes and tender hearts often see things that we might have otherwise missed. I increasingly appreciate their sensitive insight and new perspective when faced with a problem or challenging situation.

Become a huge help. Our daughters can even downright spoil us. I’m blessed to have girls who prepare many of the meals each week. One daughter is my tech-assistant and another edits my writing. We all work on the laundry.  Basically, I’d be lost without them. :)

Grow into good friends. This, of course, is the very best part. Who do I go to when I have exciting news? My girls. If I’m sad or upset? My girls. If I’m looking for fun or someone to talk to? My girls.  A daughter can become one of your closest friends.

A mother’s relationship with her daughter is not always easy – I can readily attest to that. Not always simple or straightforward. But it’s a relationship well worth cultivating and cherishing.

Enjoy her, mama. The joys far outweigh the tears. Raising these girls is a beautiful gift from God.

*What are some of your favorite things about your daughter(s)? Challenges you’re facing, or questions? 

Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women

Join her for this NEW series: Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids

8 Reasons Why I Love Having All These Kids

8 Reasons Why I Love Having All These Kids
I guess I might as well come out with it.

I’m the mother of 8 children. And I love it.

This often surprises people when they learn that I have all these kids. They’ll say things like, “But you don’t look like a mother of 8 children!” And then, occasionally,“Do you actually like having so many kids?”

I’m never sure how to answer that first one (Thank you…I think?).

The answer to the second is easier, Yes, I do.  I love it! Which some people seem to find interesting.

But here are a few good reasons why I love having all these kids…..

1.   I love the joy they bring. How their sweet faces look up at me with so much love.  The hugs. The laughter. The fellowship of family.

2.   I love all that I learn from them. They remind me to stop and wonder. They ask good questions and challenge me to think.They reveal areas in my life that I – apparently – need to work on. Ouch.

3.   I love how they have built-in friendships. If you’re bored or lonely, there’s always a buddy nearby. Someone to help with the work or someone to play a game. Someone to talk to or someone to snuggle.

4.  I love how much fun they are! Let’s face it, there’s nearly always a party going on around here. The little boys wake up ready and raring to go and the older girls look forward to the late-night thing. Yawn.

5.   I love that I still have a young ones at home. Even if their older siblings have left home to pursue their own calling (Why do they grow up and go off on their own anyway…??).

6.   I love watching the older ones care for the young ones. How the teenagers get the opportunity to be selfless and put aside their own plans. The chance for them to look after the interests of these little guys—and their reward of smiles and sticky kisses.

7.   I love how the little ones look up to their older siblings. For instance, our oldest son is something of a celebrity – a basic rock-star –  to our young boys whenever he comes back from college. Thankfully, he walks with God.  Could be worse, I figure.

8.   I love how they can reach the world. In ways that I can’t. Children seem to have this ability to soften even the hardest of hearts. There’s something about young people that breaks through the toughest barriers. They’re a bright light in a darkening world.

Jacobson-Family2

*Sorry, our eldest is missing – he’s away at college. So Jesse, the dog, kindly offered to pose in his stead. Oh, and the children really do own shoes. Now if only they’d wear them….

So however many children you have – whether one, four, eight, or twelve – they are a gift from God, aren’t they? Children are truly a blessing.

I’d enjoy hearing those things you love about being a mom to your children too! Share?

In His grace,

Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women

How to Restore Your Soul When You Feel Like You’re Losing Your Mind

How to Restore Your Soul

To this day I don’t know just how it happened.

She was the most adorable baby girl you’ve ever seen and I was beside myself with gratefulness for her.

First there was her big brother who was very busy and all of 18 months old.  Then there was this tiny pink thing. My very own sweetheart.

She was beautiful alright, but not the greatest sleeper. She wanted to nurse all night long and it took some of the fun out of it, if you know what I mean?

So I’d been doing this all-night party thing for several weeks when I started getting delirious. A little loco. One night I found myself walking with her in circles until 2 am  when finally….at last…got the baby darling to sleep. I gently tucked her in bed and quietly crawled in next to my sound-out husband.

And collapsed into a deep sleep.

For about 12 whole minutes.

That’s when I heard her soft cries starting up again. I roused myself and leaned over the white, lacey crib and I….well, I screamed.  Something like this: Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!

My poor husband bolted upright in bed, immediately on high-alert. “What is going on here?!”

I stared at him wide-eyed—nearly as shocked as he was. Disbelief at what I’d done. Ashamed and embarrassed.

“I dunno, Honey. I guess I kinda…snapped.”

And so her daddy tenderly picked up our baby-doll and took over where I left off. But as he left the room, he gently admonished,

“Hey, don’t let yourself get in that place again, okay?”

Ah yes, That Place.

I can assure you that I never intended to “get there”.

Since then – four boys and four girls later – I’ve been learning how to avoid getting to That Place.

 Here are a few tips on how to restore your soul when you feel like you’re losing your mind.

(And more here: Confessions of a Yelling Mom)

A mix of spiritual, physical, and just plain practical ways to keep from yelling into the baby’s crib and other crazy-mama moments:

1)  Get the rest you require. Make it a high priority because it can make all the difference. Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing. Go to bed early or take a nap. Ask friends or family to take over and curl up in a quiet place. Get serious about getting some sleep.

2)  Do this in Christ’s strength. Not your own. Don’t convince yourself that “I” can do this, but minister in His power rather than your own. Place Bible verses around the house, sing praises, and pray as you go throughout your day. Motherhood is a spiritual endeavor.

3)  Don’t neglect your own needs. Sometimes a mom gets so busy she forgets to eat right, to shower, and even go to the bathroom. She forgets to love with her husband or talk to a good friend. My dear, how can you fill up your child’s heart if yours is on empty?

4)  Be willing to ask for help. At first it felt rather stupid and weak, but I figured it was better than a break down. So one older lady folded clothes for me. Another teen girl came over to play with the children. We even sacrificed for a season and had a cleaning lady come in.

Me and my daugtherIt’s been 18 years since I yelled into the crib. That baby girl is now a lovely young lady and I asked if she remembered me losing it with her.  She put her arms around me and said she only remembers snuggling together, reading stories aloud, and splashing in mud puddles.

And I’m beside myself with gratefulness. My very own sweetheart.

How about you? What kinds of things do you do to restore your soul? I hope you’ll share with us!

Lisa Jacobson

Club31Women

*Photo credit: The beautiful baby in the crib belongs to my friend Darlene Weir with photo thanks to Kayce Shoffner Photography.

 

 

 

 

This post is part of the month-long challenge From Grouchy…To Great.  Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

From Grouchy…To Great

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