Servanthood in Motherhood

flower-8539_640Motherhood. I breath it in and out every single day.

My sweet boy has forever changed my life and deepened my perspective about the things that matter most. I adore him with every ounce of life in me.

Motherhood: A journey that has challenged me in new ways.

Sleepless nights, less time for things like exercise, interesting grocery shopping adventures, never-ending laundry piles, and a need to warm up my morning coffee about five times before actually finishing the last sip.

Motherhood: A journey that fills my heart with indescribable joy.

Cuddling with the sweetest little boy several times a day, hearing the cutest little phrases come out of the cutest little 3-year old mouth, witnessing the proud look on my little one’s face when he learns something new, and experiencing life through the eyes of a child.

Motherhood has the power to refine us so that something beautiful deep within us can be reveled.

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Changing dirty diapers, cleaning up food-painted walls, being spit up on 10 times a day, and surviving off of little sleep might not seem like glamorous work. But when we give of ourselves for the sake of our children, we are doing some of the most important work that we will ever do—work that has the power to develop within us a selfless spirit. And while no one might notice our acts of service, we can rest assured that there is One who always does.

In a self-serving world it can be difficult to keep a clear perspective as mamas—but a servant heart is greatly valued in the Eyes of our Maker. And if He values it, we should too.

Every mama needs a guilt-free break ever so often. Time to re-charge, unwind, re-focus, and do something non-mommyish. Yet we’re always on mama duty. We’re always thinking about our kids and talking about them when we are away from them. We’re always moms.

Motherhood has the power to bring joy to the depths of our souls in a way that nothing else in this world can.

Our children have a way of captivating our hearts and filling us with joy. Even though our days might be inter-weaved with challenges, the gift of motherhood echos around us. And it doesn’t take much—a hug or kiss from our child, a peaceful stroll around the block together, hearing an unprompted I love you, enjoying an ice cream date, and the list could go on and on…

There’s something joyful about knowing that our kiss has a magical way to heal ouchies, that our chest is a comforting place for our little ones to rest their heads, and that our voice of assurance is a soothing sound to our children.

Motherhood may be messy sometimes, but there is joy around every corner. Something to be relished and remembered. Something to be learned. Something to be embraced. And something to remind us that we are daughters of  God—a God who desires to bring us closer to Him through our multifaceted stroller-pushing, diaper-changing journeys.

After all, HE knows a little something about servanthood. He knows what it means to be selfless in the purest form.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ~Mark 10:45 (NIV)

God sent His one and only Son to earth for us. Jesus, fully man and fully God, served us with His very last breath as He hung on the Cross and died for our sins. The sinless, spotless Lamb took our place so that we can experience the beauty of having a relationship with Him in this moment and into eternity.

Let us remember His example as we face and embrace motherhood. While we might get to see some of the fruit of our work in this life, we will probably see so much more of it when we meet our selfless Savior face to face in Eternity.

Selfless love has a way of coming full circle. The more we give away, the more our hearts overflow with joy. There is an eternal purpose behind every act of love. 

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. ~Ephesians 6:7 (NLT)

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hannah

*Top Photo Credit

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood, All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Thomas and Friends Themed Birthday Party

Thomas Display

Oh my how time goes quick—I can’t believe I have a 3-year old! Last month we celebrated my son’s 3rd birthday and it was lots of fun. For his 1st birthday we did a theme based off of Eric Carle’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, for his 2nd birthday we did a Construction theme, and this time around we did a Thomas and Friends theme.  Several months prior to my son’s birthday I started thinking of different themes that he might enjoy for his party. I narrowed it down to Thomas and Dr. Suess (Cat In The Hat) because he enjoys both of those things. I asked him several times which he would prefer and each time his response was the same:

“Can I have a Thomas party, and a Percy party, and a Diesel party, and a James party, and a Gordon party pleasssssssssssssse!”

So we went with the Thomas theme! 🙂

Like his past parties, this was a fun one for me to plan…

mama and bday boyHere’s the birthday boy himself all grown up and I’m one proud mommy!

Thomas Invite2I looked online for invitations but my budget didn’t like the upscale prices so I decided to create my own. I used PicMonkey to create these invitations and yes it took a little time, but they were much friendlier on my budget. I printed them off as 4×6 prints at my local Costco for 14 cents an invite—super thrifty way to do invites if that’s your thing! CLICK HERE for the blank version of the invite without all the wording.

door signOur guests were greeted with this colorful door sign. Again, something I made using PicMonkey.

Happy Bday SignI also designed this Happy Birthday sign using PicMonkey—in case you can’t tell I’m a HUGE fan of PicMonkey 😉 because there’s a free version and it’s very user friendly!

Choo ChooI printed each part of the sign off on card-stock. Then came the tricky part because I don’t have one of those nifty circle cutters (and I should have spaced the circles out a little more). I used a large coffee mug to trace a circle around each letter/picture and then I hand cut each circle. Then I made 2 hole punches at the top of each circle and weaved some blue ribbon through to make my sign. There are printables for this sign at the bottom of the post! You will just need some white card-stock.

Birthday CrossingI made this birthday crossing sign with supplies I already had at home: cardboard, acrylic paint, and a wooden stick. I stuck it in one of our flowerpots in the backyard (our first year having a backyard for a birthday party so I was thrilled about that!).

Table displayI used a light blue and red theme to decorate. I found the little railroad crossing signs on PBS’s website and I glued them onto cake pop sticks. PBS’s site has some other fun printables too. I found some of the other Thomas decor at my local party store.

pom pomsTo add a little pop of color I made some red and blue poms which I hung from the chandelier and also displayed on the table. Find the tutorial for how to make them HERE. They are so fun!

postersI made 2 posters of pictures from my son’s past year. I made a label for the top which said, “Choo Choo, look at me when I was 2!” I laminated them and posted them on the wall for our guests to enjoy. Great keepsakes that he will probably enjoy seeing again when he’s older ;).

Front food train frontLooking around on Pinterest, I saw this cute idea for a food train and I knew I wanted to do something like it. I found several examples where people used black tape to create a train track (great idea)—but once I saw the price of black tape I decided to go a different route. I bought a piece of black poster board and used it to create the vertical part of the track. Then I used some jumbo Popsicle sticks that I already had for the horizontal bars. I used bread size foil tins for the cargo carts and I used Oreo cookies for the wheels (stuck on with peanut butter). They got filled with fruit, veggies, etc. It was a cute and organized way to display some of the food!

Back food trainA back view of the train.

Food DispayNot sure all the food was out at this point but here’s another view of the main food spread.

Birtday CakeWhat party would be complete with out a cake?! I’m a baker at heart so I usually go the homemade cake route. My sister-in-law makes awesome cakes and she was kind enough to let me borrow some of her cake stuff so I could pull-off a cake like this. I learned from past years that’s it’s too much work to make a homemade cake and also to make a bunch of homemade party food. So I choose to make the cake and opted for things like pre-made sandwiches and fruits and veggies that I could cut up the night before. This was a more stress-free way to go—it only took me 3 years to figure that out!

waiting for his cakeMy sweet boy eagerly awaiting his cake…

cake yeah I’m not sure that I’ve ever met a kid that enjoys singing “Happy Birthday” as much as my son does. He gets so excited about this part of birthday celebrations! He clapped and yelled “Yay!!!” after we finished singing to him.

cut cakeMy son is a chocolate fan so I went with a chocolate cake with a butter-cream frosting.

Baggage ClaimFor party favors I set up a baggage claim station and I found the tags for the “baggage” on Passion for Savings. There’s some more free printables there as well.

with daddyWith Daddy post-party. I’d say we had a wonderful time celebrating this special boy Chugga Chugga Choo Choo style!


Printables for Happy Birthday Sign:

Birthday Sign 1

Birthday Sign 2

Birthday Sign 3

Birthday Sign 4

Birthday Sign 5

Choo Choo

# Three

Thomas & Friends


Party Planning Tips:

  • Plan Ahead! Start looking for ideas a few months ahead of time.
  • Keep a running record of party ideas as you find them. Utilize places like Pinterest, other Blogs, etc. to find ideas.
  • Take advantage of FREE printables. Several websites and blogs offer printables that you can download for free and print at home.
  • Start making decorations a month or two in advance. This will make things a lot more stress-free closer to party time.
  • Save some money by shopping for things like tablecloths and plastic ware at places like the dollar store or the $1 spot at Target.
  • Make a Food Menu and be realistic. A combination of homemade food and pre-made food is a good medium.
  • Prep food and hang decorations the night before the party.
  • Most of all Have fun and enjoy party day!

_____

hannah

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood, All Rights Reserved.

Hi There! Did you like this? I would love for you to join me over at my new blog, Woven Beautiful – a place of nourishment for your beautiful soul filled with encouragement, devotions, crafts, healthy recipes, free printables, and more. I would love for you to stop by and connect with me there! www.wovenbeautiful.com

When Waiting Hurts, Hope Heals

 

waitingLong before I got married a desire lived in me to someday be a mom. I often thought I would get married young and have lots of kids. My passion for kids came alive in me at a young age, and I spent several years of my life caring for and teaching young children, before having a child of my own.

My Husband and I got pregnant with our first child a year into our marriage and we were elated to say the least.  It just so worked out that I was able surprise my husband with the good news, on his birthday.  I’ll never forget the awestruck look on his face when I told him. We were both so grateful for this new life growing inside of me, not only because we to both wanted to be parents, but also because we knew just how special our baby was.

About a year before my Husband and I met, he was in a bad motorcycle accident and suffered a complete spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed, on top of a traumatic brain injury.  From what I am told, the fact that he is alive today and doing as well as he is—is a miracle in itself. We went into our marriage knowing that we would probably face some challenges with being able to conceive. I remember having those conversations even when we were in the dating phase of our relationship.

But we relied on our faith in God. And He calmed our fears and showered us with grace.

He blessed us with a son, our miracle Micah. And not a day goes by that I am not grateful for our joyful, curious, sweet, healthy bundle of all-boy energy.  He is gift not only to my husband and I, but to so many others as well.

The infamous question people have asked us since our son’s birth is, “So do you want to have more kids?”

And the answer has always been, “Yes.”

Our son is almost three years old, and as time ticks on, that has become a harder question for me to answer without pain welling up inside of me. For us, it’s not at all a question of if we want to have more kids. Our question looks more like, “What is God’s will for our little family? Will he make what seems like the impossible, possible for us again?”

My Husband and I long for our family to grow. We long for our son to have a sibling or siblings to play with. I long to have a little life growing inside of me again. But we haven’t been able to get pregnant again…yet.

I try to hold back the tears when my son asks me, “Mommy where’s my brother? Where’s my sister?” Sometimes I can’t find the words to say, but usually my response is,  “I hope he or she is coming soon sweetheart.”

Waiting hurts sometimes. And when it does, it can do one of two things: It can either make us grow bitter and discouraged, or it can allow us to grow closer to our source of all hope—Jesus.  

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There is strength in the Lord. The sort of strength that allows us to press on even when facing difficult circumstances; The sort of strength that  helps us keep trusting in God’s promises even though we don’t know the future; The sort of strength that can replace our fears and worries with a peace that passes all understanding.

If we allow the struggle of waiting to point us to Jesus, we might actually find something different than expected. Our struggles are an opportunity for us to grow closer to the One who wants to carry the burden of our heavy load. Our struggles are an opportunity for us to develop virtues like patience and trust, treasures that hold eternal value. Our struggles are an opportunity to become aware of our deeper longing and need for Jesus.  And our struggles can awaken us to the “secret” Paul talks about in Philippians.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

The secret to being content in this life no matter what we are going through—is knowing that there is everlasting hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. The hope of Jesus sets us frees from the things we cannot free ourselves from. The hope of Jesus offers us the promise of better things to come, even though the present moment might be challenging.

It’s when we need hope the most, that hope heals us the most.

What we need, is not to know all the details of the future. What we need is the One who knows all the details of the future.  Because once we find Him, we can trust Him to lead the way. We can wait in anticipation that good things are ahead. We can wait in hope that God will work everything out for our good.

Whether you’re waiting for a first child, more children, a spouse to share life with, the return home of a loved one, an end to a challenging season…whatever your “waiting” is…know that when you bring your heart to Jesus, He will renew your strength and heal spaces in you that only He can.

Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning. ~Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

The waiting hurts right now for me, some days more than others, but my strength is in the Lord. He is faithful, He is loving, and He is good all the time. Hope lives because of Jesus, and every morning is a choice for me to wake up and choose that hope over the things that want to weigh me down. And as I wait, I don’t take for granted the amazing child that I already do have. I will cherish the sweet moments I have with him. I will keep pouring into to his life the best that I can. And I will anticipate with hope, that one day he will get to be a big brother.

When waiting hurts, hope heals.

—–

hannah

 

 

 

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood, All Rights Reserved.