996863_10202262242501347_520894226_nYesterday I traveled for 15 hours and 45 minutes with my kids and my mom.  We made our way through Texas (10 of the hours), through New Mexico and finally to Tucson, Arizona our final destination.

Yesterday when I picked up the rental car I nearly kissed the woman when she told me it had a TV & DVD player because every time I called (multiple times a day maybe) they told me they would try their hardest, but they couldn’t guarantee it.  The day got 100 times better when I was packing the  car and found four headphones.  Yes, the headphones that they told me the cars never have were in my car.  I nearly screamed out loud because this summer when we traveled to Colorado there were no headphones, which means I listed to 469 movies along with the kids.  Misery.

Along the trip yesterday Story asked about 14 times when we were going to get to Colorado.  All the explaining in the world couldn’t get her to understand the geography of our great country.  She also asked 15 times in the first hour if we were still in Texas.  That was a long 6am hour.

Ten hours into the trip we went over a railroad track and Amos yelled “are we in Trinity?”.  Yes, that’s the town that my parents live in that is 3 hours from us in Austin and we do indeed go over railroad tracks in their town.  He just thought we took a long 10 hour trip to Nana’s house.

The kids all get gigantic gold stars for their behavior yesterday.  No one got in a fight.  No one lost any fun things.  Y’all they were so good, even if their behavior was based on the fact that Cayden literally played his DSI for 13 hours straight and we had a movie running for the entire trip except for 2 hours when I declared mandatory “nap time”.

Now, we’re here and I’ve been up since 4am Tucson time.  Yes, that’s right.  One of my kids that will remain nameless was up this early and since I’m trying to keep everyone else from waking up I spend my time trying to make them be quiet as well.

Here’s my struggle when I’m out of town.  We’re in a small house.  My kids are loud.  My Grandma is 84 and I want to look like a good mom in front of her.  I spend a lot of my time trying to make all the kids behave to make sure they don’t “bother” anyone.  It’s exhausting really.  There’s something in me that I’m not sure why it’s there, but I want to create this viewing of my family that everyone things we have “good” kids and that they “act” the right way, and that I’m “doing” everything right.

It causes me to be on them all the time.  It creates a stressed out mom and kids that are always walking on egg shells waiting for their mom to lose it again.  It’s not fun and not what I want at all.  I truly don’t.  I would consider myself a pretty laid back and relaxed mom, but when the circumstances are right, I can get stressed.

So, this week I’m going to try really hard to take lots of deep breaths, create fun things for my kids to get energy out, love them well, and most importantly stay in the word so that I can keep my mind on things above and see the big picture.

Maybe I need to cling to the words of James this week.  I want my testing to produce steadfastness in me, so that this week of struggle for me is not in vain, it has a purpose and God will use it to bring me closer to him and help me love my kids well, no matter how they act or how bad of a mom they make me look like (although I know that’s not entirely true – it’s a lie I sometimes chose to believe).  This struggle to perform, and this struggle to look good should bring me closer to Jesus as I clink to his truths and not the lies that my head can tell me about parenting.

I am loved and approved by God even if everyone in Tucson thinks I’m an awful mom.  

James 1: 2-3 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”