These days we’re living, though, they are the good times we’ll love to look back on one day. And not because they’re easy or perfect or Pinterest-worthy. Like they all tell us, we will miss these days, mamas. One day we will look back and wish we hadn’t tried to rush our way through them and will them away so much. We’ll beg for just one more extended bedtime snuggle, one more little voice asking to be carried—just one more time of them needing us. Because despite what it may feel like at times, this monotonous and messy work?—it’s holy.Read More
There’s a whole lot of talk about dreaming and goal planning these days. I see and hear things on the daily like: “Go and live your dream!”, “Don’t quit your day dream!”, “Dream big!”, or “Anything is possible. It’s all about mindset!”
While these phrases are motivating and inspiring, they don’t really tell the whole story. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a dream. It’s easy to take a desire and make it an obsession. Dreaming is the easy part. There’s always more to a dream than the initial excitement, though. That part just isn’t as shiny and fun to talk about.
I want to clarify that being a dreamer is not a bad thing! Not at all. I believe God uses the dreamers! He needs people with big vision and excitement and passion for the kingdom.
I also want to debunk the negative dreamer mentality a little bit. I get a little fired up when I see people jump on the bandwagon of hating on a person (i.e. Rachel Hollis and a slew of other authors and influencers) or idea, just because it ruffles their feathers that not everyone is like them. Just as we are to question every message we hear, we should also question the attitudes of our heart. We should ask ourselves things like: Why does that bother me? Why do I feel attached to these feelings toward that person or idea? Do I think this just because so-and-so does? The truth is for everyone.
When we hold up the messages of this world against scripture, we can easily see what falls off and what sticks. Take the good and leave the rest. In scripture, Jesus’ character is on display over thousands of pages, describing how he loved people intentionally and practiced bringing out the best in them. Nowhere did he start a riot or turn people against someone in society who said something he didn’t particularly agree with. He loved them and kept teaching the truth. He was in the business of drawing lines in the sand, rather than throwing stones. Ya feel me?
Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent.
Back on track…I am a dreamer. It makes me feel excited and alive and important. I also know that when left unchecked, my dreams can quickly become about me and my glory. So, to all my fellow dreamers out there, I want to ask you three very important questions. Questions that I think will help you to decide whether or not your dreams are healthy, and what you should do about it!
*Please read them—even if you must do so with the occasional eye roll. Maybe it disagrees with your current mindset. And maybe that’s a good thing.
1.Have you ever asked God what He thinks of your dreams?
It’s easy to get excited about a dream. What’s not easy is to ask ourselves if our dreams align with our purpose. I’m not asking if God texted you and told you to go for this specific dream. (That’d be nice, right?.) I’m asking you if the dream you have in your heart brings good and love for anyone else? Does it bring glory to the One who created you? Are you so attached to it that you aren’t willing to surrender it?
I was at a ordination service recently for a pastor in our church. The speaker was talking about Isaiah and God’s call on His life. Isaiah experiences this crazy vision of the Lord (Isaiah 6), where God asks “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah immediately responds, “Here I am! Send me.”
What a crazy moment! To be in the presence of God and have Him ask that question…who will go for me? Isaiah seems to blurt out his pledge to volunteer without any hesitation—and it wasn’t a popular assignment by any means, if you know the story. I have to wonder if Isaiah regretted his willingness to go so boldly at any point after that. Like did he ever wish (like I surely would) that he had been given an itinerary for what God was calling Him to do? Did he ever want to just throw his hands up and say “Forget it! It’s too hard!”? Or did he question if the vision he saw was real?
Even if he did at some point, he stood on God’s promise to be with him at all times and kept on truckin’. That call to love and serve is the same for us today. God knows who we are. He knows what passions and dreams he created in us and He also knows the amazing ways He can use those things for the kingdom. So, we don’t have to be stingy with them. We can trust that His plans to use the very things He created in us are GOOD! So, go ahead and ask Him.
Surrender what you want to run after. Maybe your dream is completely honoring, and by surrendering you’ll be given the overwhelming peace that you need to carry out that dream well. Maybe when you surrender, you’ll be given an even greater vision than what you had originally dreamed up.
I can speak from experience that every time I have surrendered an idea or dream, He takes it far beyond what I could have ever imagined on my own. When I losen my grip, He sets free my limiting beliefs.
2. What are you going to do when your dream gets hard?
God promises to be ever present and faithful in our lives, but does that mean we get to be lazy? The “yes” is a vital beginning, but it’s just that—a beginning. Next comes the work. Just because we surrender, and have a God-honoring dream doesn’t mean that the dream won’t be hard.
I heard this on the radio the other day: “Work pays the invoice that every dream incurs.” I had to talk text it into the notes section of my phone so I wouldn’t forget it. (Anyone else’s notes section full of random quotes and thought fragments?) It’s so true though! If you have ever tried to work toward any goal or dream, then you know it’s equal parts thrilling and HARD. There are times you want to quit. There are times you question why you ever thought you were capable of something like this.
I have been there. In college, in marriage, in the teaching credential program, in my career as a teacher, especially as a parent, and on into my pursuit of becoming a published author. There were so many times I wanted to quit. It would have been easier in the moment.
So, what are you going to do when your dream gets hard and requires a lot from you? You have to have a game plan. Rest is always better than regret. It’s better to realize your need for rest and for pausing, than to get to a point of burn out and resistance.
We have to give ourselves the breaks we need. We also have to pause and go back to the fire that started the passion. Back to the why.
Maybe without realizing it, we’ve made things about us. Maybe we’re so busy seeking approval and congratulations, that the heart behind our dream has faded to the background and we are surviving off of approval scraps. (No wonder we feel burn out) We have to continually re-surrender. We have to embrace that our dream is not about US. And if we come to realize that it is—then it’s back to square one. A self-centered dream might be shiny and promoted in the world, but we know it doesn’t last. It’s not eternal.
That leads me to my third question….
3. Who gets the glory when your dream comes to fruition?
This one might be the most uncomfortable question of all. Who gets the glory for your dream?
At church we’re in a series on Daniel, so I’ve been reading a couple chapters ahead to get the most out of the teachings. In chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar is calling in all the wisest and magical people he knows in the kingdom to interpret a dream he had. No one can figure it out, and there are serious consequences because of that. He sets a decree to have all the wise men of Babylon killed.
Daniel hears about this and begs the king’s captain to set up a time for Daniel to meet with the king, suggesting he could interpret the dream. What struck me about this was that he stood on the faith that God was good and able to save, before God had ever given Him any proof that He would in fact save Him in this situation.
I want that kind of faith! Daniel immediately prayed with his friends for God to reveal the dream, and as you may know, God comes through. As he is accurately relaying the interpretation to the king, Daniel finishes with a few very telling comments:
“. . .but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.” (Daniel 2:28)
“But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living…” (Daniel 2:30)
He makes known that this miraculous deed was not his own doing—that he was just a vessel for the job. Daniel is placed in high position in the kingdom after that, and many people come to know the Lord because of his willingness to: say yes even while he was scared, do the hard work required, trust God in the process, and then give all the glory rightfully to God.
That is the recipe for a dream well done.
May our hearts be like Daniel’s—always willing to put the glory where it belongs. Whether we’re starting our own business, teaching in a classroom, working in an office, serving in law enforcement, caring for patients, singing to an audience, or preaching to a church—may our dreams be a reflection of our faith. May they reveal the state of our heart, our trust and our reverence. May they do good for others and bring glory to the One who made it possible for us to dream.
May we seek the only approval that matters, and may that not be a cliche “settling”, but the ultimate goal.
Dear Mama Girl,
I see you. I see you trying to be all the things to all your people.
I see you tired beyond belief, but still making an effort to show up to the endless demands.
I see you juggling work life and home life.
I see you striving to keep up with what everyone else is doing in the world. I see you keeping score for all the ways you don’t quite measure up, try as you might.
I see you finding time for yourself in the crevices of your day, and then feeling guilty for not being with your family instead.
I see you saying “yes” to things you know you probably shouldn’t take on right now. I see you trying to live up to expectations—the most demanding of all your own.
I see you picking fights with your husband, when all you really want is to laugh with him again. I see you wondering if he still thinks you’re beautiful.
I see you questioning your worth and your value and your identity in this season.
I see you trying to be both girl and mom. I see you wondering if the girl you once knew is in there at all anymore—underneath all the snot and the messes and the never alone-ness.
I see you loving your job as a mom more than anything, but simultaneously wondering if there’s more for you.
Mama girl, I see you.
May you see that you can in fact be both—mama and girl.
May you see that the girl you once knew is in fact gone, but that a better one has taken her place.
May you see all the ways it has changed you for good.
May you see the ways it has taught you more about your Father’s love for you.
May you see your role as a mom as the greatest gift…but not the only gift.
May you see that the expectations you strive to live up to were never meant to be your prison.
May you see that the rhythm of your days is determined by you.
May you see that your striving does not equal thriving.
May you see that your truest rest comes from surrender—surrender of the ways you try to get it right and the ways you fall short. Surrender of the desires of your heart.
May you see that guilt and shame and condemnation are not from God…and not for you.
May you see that He has the best for you, mama.
May you see that He made you to be both mama and girl—and that when you live in both, you’re actually better at both.
May you see that motherhood is sanctifying work and that it’s what has changed you for the better.
May you see that all the stuff that feels heavy and monotonous right now is actually doing it’s job—chipping away all the rough edges in you to give way to the masterpiece He has been forming.
May you see that you are valued and priceless and perfectly imperfect.
So lean into Him and lean on your tribe.
Let go of perfect and let go of lies.
Keep your head up, mama girl.
You’ve got this.
A Mama Girl like you
Hello, friends! I hope you’re feeling this gorgeous Spring weather and soaking in all that is beautiful about this time of year. The sunshine, the luscious greens, the sweet smell of flowers in the air…oh and the allergies (Lord help us).
With Easter approaching next weekend, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what this means for us and the opportunity we have here. To be honest, I’m a little hesitant to jump into this post today. It’s not the one I had planned to write at all. It feels a little heavy and uncomfortable. But, I sat down and out flowed these words. That’s usually when it’s right though, amen? When the good and the hard go hand in hand.
Just promise me you’ll read this with an open mind. One mama to another…on an equal playing field…with no judgment one way or the other. Ok, here we go..
I was in Target this week (big surprise) and I overheard a little girl tell her mom, “See this, Mom? This is what I want for Easter this year,” pointing to a Barbie on the shelf. Something in me unexpectedly cringed. I don’t judge the family, because… well I learned a long time ago that’s never a good idea. But, I just wonder, how did we ever turn our savior’s death and resurrection into another present buying holiday full of expectations?
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love holidays and all things tradition!! It’s magical and SO much fun. Also, for the record, in past years I have always purchased Easter baskets for my kids.
But, I just can’t help but feel like there’s a better way. Like, if Jesus was here and He saw me making such a fuss to fill a basket with meaningless toys for my kids in an attempt to celebrate His resurrection, I think He might stop me with an incredulous “Are you kidding me?”. This revelation makes me uncomfortable. In my flesh, I want to keep going the way I’ve always gone. It’s fun to follow the way of the world and honestly it’s just fun to surprise my kids with things. It’s not wrong and it’s not harmful. But, what am I really doing for them in the long run?
By celebrating in this way, I’m showing them something different than what I aim to teach them. We do the resurrection eggs and we discuss the gospel, but if I’m being really honest, the real celebrating has been about the Easter bunny. He’s the one that shows up and leaves surprises. He’s the one we take our picture with. Inadvertently, he is the one they could easily come to think the holiday is about. I knew there had to be a way to change this and still have a great time and so I decided it…I’m not doing “Easter baskets” for may kids this year. (I’ll give you a second to recover from that comment, haha!) I’m also not a total dud, so here are some more meaningful options I’ve thought of instead:
Work with your kids to create a “Blessing Basket”. I’ve seen a couple different variations of this on Pinterest. Here’ s how it works. You set out the easter baskets ahead of time and have your kids collect rocks. Read to them from the Bible (a children’s bible is better for keeping attention) about how Jesus takes our sins (the rocks) and washes them away, replacing them with “blessings”. Have an honest conversation about what your kids struggle with (i.e. sharing, kindness, whining, etc.) and write these words on the rocks in each child’s basket. Make sure to provide an example of how you struggle to make them feel safe about sharing. The night before Easter, cover the baskets with some sort of fabric. Replace the rocks with “blessings” (practical things they need and other fun Jesus reminders like books, stickers, bible story coloring books, etc.) This is a great tangible analogy for them to begin to understand His saving grace.
Surprise your kids with a “Giving Basket” full of both practical and fun items to give away. Have a plan about where to take these items (i.e. A homeless shelter, a foster care center, out in the community, etc.). Make sure to explain that Jesus loves us in both intangible and tangible ways. He uses people to bless one another, and this basket will allow them to be in charge of blessing someone in a very tangible way.
Resources you can download now:
1. I’m planning to use this free scavenger hunt resource by Happy Home Fairy for the kids to track down their “blessing baskets”.
2. These super cute scripture eggs by The Crafty Classroom will be great for teaching about Easter and helping older kids memorize scripture.
3. These are the Resurrection Eggs we use each year. I love that they have a physical item to hold that symbolizes what happened in the reading. It has scripture along with a story format for each day. My kids get so excited about opening the eggs and guessing what’s inside.
All of this to say, I just really believe there’s got to be a way to teach our kids that who we celebrate matters. Our praise and adoration—those are for Jesus. Not out of obligation or legalism, but because we actually believe what He did for us and we do in fact adore Him and need Him on the daily. I want my kids to stand firm on the fact that our praise and our daily focus on Him is life changing, even from a very young age.
That’s how we create confident little people with the right priorities. Like Dr. Straub says, “When we lead our families with eternity in mind, the day-to-day becomes much more about who we are in Him, and less about who we’re not in the world.”
Thanks for hanging in there with me. Maybe you’ve gotten to the end of this and you feel God stirring. I challenge you to pray over and consider your Easter traditions. What do you do currently? How might God be calling you to tweak it a little to bring Him glory? I’d love to hear your thoughts below. I value your insight and I think we are truly better together in this whole mama thing.
May your Easter celebration be the best yet!
P.S. On a less serious note. Someone please have some Cadbury’s for me. This lactose intolerant girl is always craving them this time of year.
I had a good laugh too. Here I was assuming that this growth was odd and undesirable, because I had never seen a succulent grow and thrive before. It got me thinking about growth and flourish (my word of the year) and how this might parallel in our lives.Read More
Hi friends! I’m so glad you found yourself here on the pages of this website, and especially here on the “Made Enough” blog page. I’m Tara—wife to a pastor, mama to two little cuties, teacher, and now author. I’m a coffee and dark chocolate enthusiast and a big advocate for slow mornings. I try my best to always keep it real, because who has time for anything else? I can’t wait to get to know YOU.
This blogging thing is a brand new adventure for me. I have always loved to write, and have considered off and on for what seems like a million years starting a blog (I know, like every other person in the world). With the launch of my book Remain I’ve had so many fun new opportunities present themselves and I can’t help but feel this calling on my soul into new spaces and places.
I claimed the word “flourish” as my word for 2019, not knowing what exactly it would mean for me. I knew for sure that this year would bring growth and transformation. It’s easy to see those exciting words and forget that with growth and transformation come risk, uncertainty and a stretching of yourself in sometimes painful ways. It’s uncomfortable and scary, but I’m going for it. One of the biggest leaps I’ve taken so far is to go from working as a full-time teacher to being home with my kiddos and pursuing all that this author business can bring. I have some big dreams and plans, but above all I am trusting in His. Over and over again He has been faithful. Over and over again He has provided. Over and over again He is working in the background even when I can’t see Him in the foreground. Over and over again He transforms the most broken parts of me and uses them for His glory.
Maybe you can relate to my story. Maybe you have a God-honoring dream in your heart and you’ve been debating whether or not to go for it. The least you can do is to commit it to prayer! What if that thing is your best yes? What if it takes stepping out and being vulnerable to fully realize who God made you to be? I one hundred percent believe that when we are walking in His will, we meet our fullest potential to be our greatest selves.
Maybe for you it doesn’t mean a career change or doing anything crazy different, but more of a redefining of your current self. Maybe you struggle to be content, have a difficult time making solid friends, wish you were more patient with your kids, or lack confidence in a certain area of your life. Whatever it is that you are dreaming of and striving for, let me remind you of something: you were MADE ENOUGH. Nothing we strive and dream for will make us more or less. No reputation or job or hobby can ever bring us true satisfaction. Every. single. thing. in our lives WILL let us down at some point. God, however, will not. He made us enough from the beginning when He created us in His image. Maybe it seems counterintuitive that we should dream and also be enough at the same time, but it’s absolutely not.
Your King created you with the very desires and skills and talents that currently reside in you. He wants us to dream and grow and be transformed through the renewing of our minds so that we can be effective in loving and reaching His people. If we park too much in the “self-made rockstar” mindset that we see all over social media which can seem so appealing and motivational, we end up a prideful fake version of what He really intends for us. Rather, let’s walk in the complete God-given confidence that we were prequalified and hand stamped “enough” from our very beginning.
YOU were “made ENOUGH”.
P.s. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Spill your dreams, thoughts, stories or encouragements in the comments below.