I'm out of town for a few days enjoying life in Arizona with my mom, grandma and Story!  While I'm gone I've asked some friends to share with you!  I love all these ladies and am honored to have them on my blog while I'm gone.  Enjoy their words and share them with your friends.  I know you'll be blessed by all they have to say!  Leave them a comment thanking them for sharing their lives with you!

Recently, my dad brought over a box of children’s books that had been collecting dust for…oh, I don’t know…20 years?  As I was sorting through them, I came across two books of poetry that my sister, McKenna, and I had made for Judy, my stepmom, for Mother’s Day 1992.  It contains some pure talent, I assure you.  But I think our limericks were real standouts:

As a follow-up to the concerns that we presented in ’92, I do now have a sufficient supply of underwear.  And to date, Bailey, our oldest sister, has not been sold.

Nevertheless, it got me thinking about Mother’s Day.

This Sunday, I will celebrate my third Mother’s Day.  If I had my dream day, I would wake up around 9 AM to a waft of a home cooked breakfast being delivered to me in bed.  I would enjoy said breakfast, take a shower, get ready for the day.  Maybe grab a massage, a glass of wine, a People magazine, a pedicure, a chicken salad sandwich on sourdough with jalapeno chips, a trip to Anthropologie, a new pair of earrings or a scarf.  And I would end the day with reality television and some combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

Please note I made no mention of my husband or children in my dream Mother’s Day.  Make no mistake.  I am wildly in love with my husband and my kids are the most precious gifts that I have ever been given.  But in my fantasy, I am alone.

I say this because there are days that I wonder if I am the right person for this job.  If my fantasy of Mother’s Day involves none of the little people who I mother, was this whole parenting thing too much for me?  If the best part of my day is when my husband gets home and I can hand a kid or two over, am I the wrong person for these boys?

And the answer to all of those questions and fears is no.  An emphatic NO.  This gift of parenthood was planned for me before the foundation of the world.  And it, along with every other circumstance in my life is meant FOR me.  And I know this may sound extreme, but because I believe God is completely sovereign over everything, I believe that every temper tantrum, every dirty diaper, every middle-of-the-night interruption is planned by God and for my good.  My kids, their best parts and their worst parts, are gifts for me and for my perseverance.

My faith in that truth is being put to the test all the time. At this very moment, my two-year-old is in his room, screaming bloody murder because he doesn’t want to take a nap.  How in the world is this for my good?  I have no idea.  But the Bible says it is.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8.28)

If I really believed that…if you really believed that…wouldn’t it revolutionize our lives?  If every time we got bad news of a layoff or a death, we believed that this was a circumstance designed by God for our good.  When someone cuts us off in traffic, we believed that it was planned by God for our perseverance.  When we get our heart broken, our credit card stolen, a pet dies, cancer, fire…when all these things happen, we believed that they were planned by the Creator and designed specifically for our good.  What if we really lived like that?  If we really believed that all of our circumstances were for our good and we started to use our circumstances for the glory of God?  How would your life look differently?

I can tell you that you wouldn’t recognize me if I lived like I truly believed that because it would change me so deeply.  Parenting, specifically, has been the most challenging circumstance of my life (and to be fair, I have very easy kids).  It is really tempting for me to look at my worst days and wish that they were different – that my children would sleep longer or fuss less or eat better or play by themselves better.  But, I am praying that God would change my heart about that circumstance, and every other circumstance in my life.  That I would start to believe that God is good, and in complete control and wants good things for me and that only this day, this way is going to get me there.  Only these exact circumstances are going to persevere me to the end.  Otherwise, He would have done it differently.

What about you?  Do you believe that your circumstances were designed by God for your good?  In what ways is that challenging for you?  Or do you feel like this is an area of strength for you?

If you are a mom this Mother’s Day, I pray that you rest in knowing that your role to mother your children is for you alone.   No one in the world is better suited to mother your children, or God would have done it differently. He chose you, not just because of your strengths but also because of your weaknesses. He chose you as your kids’ best chance to persevere, your kids’ best chance to know Jesus.  He chose YOU.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Amanda Brown lives in Austin, TX with her husband, Doug, and their two sons, Rhett and Abel. She’s a stay-at-home mom, wrangling children and knocking things off her to-do list and bucket list.  Some bucket list items include qualifying for the Boston Marathon, completing a children's book, and seeing her sons grow in godliness.  In the shorter term, she would like to qualify for a free Papa Murphy's pizza (one stamp left!), get the laundry from the dryer to the closet, and see at least one son achieve bladder control.  You can keep up with her at their family blog –ON BEING BROWNS.

Jamie Ivey