Worthless Gold

I love the book of Exodus. I love reading about the stories of Moses and watching them come alive for me. I love that every time I read something in that book, something new jumps out at me. The entire Bible is filled with great messages that make me think about my own life, but I’ve always especially loved Exodus.

I chuckled when I read the midwives’ defense of not killing the Hebrew baby boys when they were born: The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive” (Exodus 1:19). I wept as I nursed my first son and read that Moses’s mother gave him up to save him but she still got to share the most tender moments with her son as his nurse (Exodus 2:7-8). I counted how many times Moses refused to go where God sent him (five times – Exodus 3, 4) and pondered how many times I’ve done the same thing.

But I realized something else this weekend. I taught Sunday School yesterday and the lesson was on the golden calf. As I read through Exodus 32 to familiarize myself with the lesson, I read something that I never noticed before. After Moses saw what the Israelites had done to make this idol, verse 20 explains that he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

He made the Israelites drink it.

The Israelites were just rescued from captivity in Egypt. They just witnessed the Red Sea split so that the ground was dry beneath their feet as they crossed it. They were eating manna that literally fell from the sky as they waited for Moses who was with God on Mt. Sinai. They saw all the power and glory of God.

But they didn’t trust God. In fact, they seemed to trust only in Moses (who God was working through). They freaked out when Moses still hadn’t come down from Mt. Sinai and said to Aaron, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him” (32:1). For whatever reason, Aaron complied. He told everyone to gather all the gold that they own. Precious gold. Then, using their most valuable earthly possession, he made the golden calf who the Israelites then worshipped.

All of their precious, valuable gold went into this golden calf. Moses burned it, crushed it, threw it into the river, and as if that wasn’t enough, they drank it. Their most valuable possessions were gone with now completely worthless, all because they thought that they could make a god who would guide them.

How many times have I done that?

How many times has God taken me out of difficult situations?

How many times has He led me through impossible roads?

How many times has He provided beyond my wildest dreams?

And yet, how many times have I put my trust in my possessions, however valuable, only for them to become completely worthless? Why do I do that?

Do you do that? Do you thank God when he rescues you but quickly forget that He’s the one who saved you to begin with? Do you easily lose hope? Do you put your trust in things that cannot do anything for you when it was God who held you all along?

You Know It’s a Good Day When…

(Because we can all use some positivity in our lives…)

Good days have a lot to do with our mindset, which often stem from our choices about how to view things. While any day, no matter the circumstances, has the possibility (though sometimes very small) to end up a good day, here are some things that, as a SAHM, make for an especially good day:

  • You wake up and have time to get dressed before the baby wakes up.
  • Everyone has clean clothes to wear, regardless of whether they’re all put away or not.
  • Your home all day, but your toddler is content playing with his toys, with or without you.
  • You can manage to get out of the house with no major meltdowns or tantrums (even if you’re ten minutes late).
  • You somehow manage to avert all potential meltdowns while out of the house.
  • All the kids take a nap – bonus if it’s simultaneously.
  • You have time to do something you love without someone crying for you or tugging on one of your limbs, even if it’s just twenty minutes.
  • Dishes are washed before the dinner shift.
  • You remembered to defrost the chicken the night before.
  • Dinner’s ready by the time your husband gets home from work, and there’s at least one vegetable and one source of protein (sometimes, French fries count as vegetables).
  • You get to spend some quality time with each child.
  • The kids go to bed early, and you have enough energy for conversation and Tazo Refresh tea with your husband.

On days like today, I don’t seem to mind the mess of crayons on the dining room table or that my toddler left out his trains all over the living room. He is happy and healthy and, hallelujah, the baby took a 2 hour nap, so I’m going to call it a good day (even if I do have spit up all over me).

Ramblings of a Tired Mom

I am a stay at home mother of two. Joshua is 2 1/2 and is the sweetest, most loving and hilarious boy I know, and Ethan is my handsome, smiley 3 month old.

I adore my boys. I thank God for these wonderful treasures. But, we’re all human in this house, so our days, even the really good ones, are never perfect.

None of this makes me special or even gives me a reason to blog (does the world really need another mommy blog?), but my thoughts over this past week were enough reason to get this all out in writing.

Let me start with this: I am tired. Over the weekend, I suddenly got mastitis, and while I’m on antibiotics for it, I couldn’t quite get all of the prescribed rest I needed. While Ethan is an overall happy baby, he isn’t the easiest to put to sleep, and his waking schedule overnight is off the wall. A few weeks ago, he was getting into 6-7 hour stretches, and I sang my praises to the Lord. And then, without any notice, he went back to waking every 3 hours (though the other night, when I was the most exhausted, he chose to wake up every 2 hours, like clockwork). Maybe this is normal, I don’t know. To be honest, these things didn’t affect me so much when Joshua was a baby. It was just me and him all day, and if the dishes or laundry didn’t get done one day, it didn’t really matter. But now, I have a toddler whose life also depends on me and my doing things around the house. While he is very good and usually independent, it’s exhausting to have to keep up with him and a demanding baby who doesn’t have the whole “sleep” thing nailed down yet.

Everything became too much for me to handle the other day and I lost it. It was so bad that I, someone who finds it extremely difficult to ask for help, asked my mom to come from work. I left Joshua playing by himself and Ethan crying screaming on my bed while I sat in the hallway and wept. I had a dozen things that had to get done and he had not taken one decent nap all day. I knew he was well fed and clean and plain tired, and I would rock him to sleep, but every time I would put him down, he’d wake up crying and unable to be soothed. I felt like a horrible mother for not being tender and loving to my precious boy and holding him for as long as he needed and instead simply listened to his screams from the next room.

All the articles on Pinterest that I’ve ever read while nursing him flooded back to me – the ones about why you shouldn’t let a baby cry it out, about how to get your 6 week old to sleep through the night, and other ones like it. While he eventually fell asleep for a couple of hours, I couldn’t shake the guilt. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that it hit me that I’m sure that my mom didn’t pick me up with my first whimper and wasn’t holding me all the time, considering she had a toddler and pre-schooler to tend to. I might be biased, but I think I turned out OK. I’ve always felt secure next to my mom, don’t think I suffered any brain damage from crying as an infant, and have no recollection on if she left me in the crib alone for twenty minutes because my brothers needed some lunch.

It was in that moment that I realized that it’s OK to not always be holding my baby (and my back knows it!) or to leave him crying in a safe place for a bit if I cannot tend to him in the moment, whether emotionally or physically. He’s going to be OK. And in a little while, I’ll be OK too.

This is why I write. For that mom who maybe needs to know that another mom has been there. To be raw and honest in a world where it’s so easy to put on a mask of perfection. To show that it is OK to not always have it all together.