Stefani's most-fantastical-reads book montage

Crooked Kingdom
Six of Crows
Yellow Brick War
The Wicked Will Rise
Charm & Strange
Their Fractured Light
These Broken Stars
Big Little Lies
I'll Be There
Red Queen

Stefani's favorite books »

Monday, January 18, 2016


{This post was written on 4/15/15 - it would appear I haven't come far in a year...}

We are not saved or justified by works but by the grace of God.

How many times I have I heard this preached in church? How many times have I read it in my devotional or in an uplifting email in my morning inbox?

Answer? More times that I can count.

Do I believe it? Yes, because it is written in the bible. Sorta, because I struggle to comprehend the kind of love and grace and acceptance that is poured out by Christ being "free". No, because I still hold myself accountable to God and to myself in a works-based mindset.

The scary part of struggling with this concept is that if, by my logic, I fail at my works - marriage, parenthood, teaching, discipleship.. by my logic (NOT God's), if I fail, I lose out on that grace, love, and forgiveness that I crave.

Right now, I feel like a failure because of my struggles with parenting and my struggle with the idols of material goods, success, and body image.

Parenting has been hard from the start - don't get me wrong. From day one I have wondered how and IF I was really prepared for the selfless work it took to be a good mom. I am selfish by nature - it is something that I battle constantly. If I need something, then I get it. If I want something, then I get it. If it stresses relationships, I still pursue it because MY needs come first. Is this right? HA! No - and please don't think for a second that I an proud of it. Take that selfish nature and put it in the context of parenting (or marriage for that matter) and one can easily see a thousand ways that selfishness can ruin the type of relationship I am trying to nurture with my children. The battles that we are going through with Addison are hard enough that, I believe, they would push any mother to her breaking point (and THAT is a whole different post). I pray every night for the strength to approach our struggles with love and understanding. Then I wake up to a destroyed house, a raided (and lied about) pantry, a child up watching movies at 3 am - and I come completely unglued. I'm not loving and understanding - I'm angry, I'm selfish. In the heat of the moment, I don't wonder what is going on in her body that has driven her to get up and ruin her favorite things, I don't wonder why she doesn't tell the truth even when being caught is inevitable, I don't wonder what it's like to lay awake all night with nothing to do, no way to fall asleep, and a body that NEEDS to move. In the heat of the moment, I see the mess, I hear the lie, I feel the frustration of being woken from MY sleep. I fail at being the loving parent that Jesus commissioned me to be. I end up being a bit of a bitch.

Thou shall have no other gods before Me.

For my ENTIRE life, I thought that was the one commandment that I had in the bag. I didn't worship gold idols or other anything crazy like that. Then my world was flipped upside down by Timothy Keller and the preaching staff at our church started talking about what idols really are. They aren't necessarily golden calves - they are all the things that we put before God in our lives.






Hearing that, realizing that, and evaluating myself on that commandment was a sobering experience. I have spent my life adoring money and the things that it could buy. Brand names, new things, shiny objects - all those things were idols in my life.

Success in my career, status, accolades - I thought that working hard and earning recognition was  the end game of my job. But when I was hit with crippling jealousy over the "teacher of the year" award in our district this year I realized that I have placed WAY too much importance on my job and my career and on being acknowledged by others instead of doing what I know is right and good and letting that be all the satisfying enough.

I thought that my dedication to my kids and the fact that I put them ahead of all else was something to be proud of. It felt natural to me that a mother should put her children above all else in her family. Then I learned that I was wrong again. Yes, my children are important and raising them and loving them are some of the most important aspects of my self - however it is Derek that I should put above the rest. I have let everything else come first and then I have given what I have left to Derek. I am living backwards.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews