**I wrote this post last year but it has been on my heart so much this last month that I wanted to re-post it along with several updates. I hope it blesses you again if you remember it from last year, or I hope it blesses you brand new for all my recent subscribers. Merry Christmas.**
I hope you don’t mind me being a little real with y’all today.
Sometimes I read other blogs and everything just looks so happy and all-around awesome for that blogger – as if they never have to bribe their kids with M&Ms so that they will smile for a photo or that their marriage never hits a bump or that they never raise their voices at their children.
In fact I was reading a blog the other day and I showed it to the Happy Hubby and said in frustration, “She makes everything look so easy! So perfect! And how in the world is it possible that she is an awesome writer/crafter/mom/wife/photographer/AND genius-at-coming-up-with-clever-Elf-on-the-Shelf-poses all-in-one?!”
The Happy Hubby replied, “Well, babe, you kind of do the same thing on your blog…”
I realized in that moment that he was SO right.
Happy Home Fairy is one of my favorite things – other than my faith and my family.
I want it to be this fun, creative, inspiring place for my readers (whom I treasure deeply). I want it to be a happy place – not filled with lots of posts heavy with trials and tribulation.
But I realize that in my attempt to do that, you only get to see a small snippet of our lives.
This blog does not reveal everything that goes on in my world.
I am going to share with you some ‘real’ things today because I NEVER, EVER want this blog to be a place that stirs envy in my readers. I NEVER, EVER want my readers to walk away feeling some sort of emptiness because the enemy led you to believe that somehow I’ve got this thing called living all together.
Because I definitely don’t.
To be perfectly honest, life is hard right now.
I told a girlfriend yesterday that lately it just seems like we have just been rolling from one difficult thing to another.
The Happy Buddy had a febrile seizure on Sunday. He was acting on the verge of sick, but I was scheduled to sing on the worship team and he didn’t have a fever or any symptoms at the time, so we brought him to church. After the worship, I sat down with him in the back of the sanctuary to listen to the sermon. His head was in my lap and I was stroking his hair when all of a sudden his little body began convulsing and then he threw up everywhere. I knew something was wrong though because it was like my boy wasn’t there any more, his face was completely unresponsive. I slapped his cheeks a few times and spoke to him quietly, then quickly picked him up and brought him back to the fellowship hall where a few of the deacons called an ambulance. The Happy Buddy was still not responding as I carried his limp body out to the paramedics. We drove to the hospital and spent the afternoon in the ER. It took several hours before he ‘came to’ and then another hour before his speech returned. There were several moments where I thought perhaps the seizure had stolen the Happy Buddy’s ability to talk. It was an intense afternoon – full of reminders of the uncertainties we faced with the Happy Baby’s health when we were in the hospital with him.
The Happy Baby is almost 2 and just the other day he started acting it. And let me just say, it is NOT easy disciplining that kid. It’s easy to let him get away with stuff because of everything he went through (and not to mention his super cuteness), but I have to be strong and remember that he is still a little sinner (albeit a super cute little sinner) and needs Jesus just like the rest of us.
The Happy Hubby and I are trying to figure out how to train up our boys, get through the busy Christmas season, and still find time for our own marital needs like date nights and intimacy and communicating beyond who changed what diaper and who is picking up who from school.
I am physically exhausted. Do you ever wonder how to balance it all? If I feel like a good mom one day, my marriage suffers. If I feel like a good wife another day, my kids eat chicken nuggets and don’t get their teeth brushed. If I am a good wife and a good mom one day, then I suffer. I mean, I have an in-grown toenail on my left foot that is driving me crazy and not letting me wear any of my favorite shoes and who has time (or money) to go see a podiatrist for help when I am trying to keep a million spinning plates in the air??
(I don’t blame you if you want to stop reading this now that I’ve revealed too much about the condition of my feet. Lol!! :-))
I could list several more things to prove to you how un-perfect I am and how our Happy Home is struggling to make sense of the day-to-day hurdles alongside everybody else, but God gave me a little pocket of truth that I would like to share instead.
When I was holding the Happy Buddy and his body was all limp and we were rushing to the hospital and I could sense that rising choice in my heart of whether or not to journey toward despair, I was reminded of Jesus’ mother, Mary.
I was reminded how an angel appeared to her – out of the blue – and told her that she would be the one to carry God’s Son.
We can only imagine what that must have been like – did Mary’s brain immediately start making lists of all the ways she she felt she fell short of the calling, how tired she was, or how would she ever survive all of the ridicule of a pre-wedding pregnancy? Do you think she worried about this child’s future or how His coming might effect her relationship with her fiancé? Do you think she got upset with the Lord for placing a call on her life that inevitably meant things would suddenly get very, very hard?
But the Bible only records what Mary said in response to the angel’s message.
She bowed her head quietly and said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)
This, my friends, is the reason why God chose her to be Jesus’ mother.
She ‘got it.’
She understood this whole living thing.
She knew that choosing to walk by faith is never easy, but always best.
You can hear the trust in her voice – ringing out like Christmas bells – when she spoke that phrase of ultimate surrender, modeling for the rest of us how to follow God.
“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
And don’t you love how ready that response was on her lips?
It was like she was well-accustomed to saying, “I am totally and completely God’s. He knows what is best for my life, so whatever He wants – I want. Even if that means I might face difficulty, criticism, pain, wrestle with anxiety for my child’s well-being, or even have to walk through a hard season in my marriage.”
I can imagine she repeated that phrase when the innkeeper turned her and Joseph away and they were led to a dirty stable for her to deliver Jesus.
I can imagine she repeated that phrase when people mocked her for being pregnant before being with Joseph.
I can imagine she repeated this phrase when the angry crowds beat her son, whipping Him and forcing Him to wear a crown of thorns.
I can imagine she repeated this phrase as she watched Him hang on the cross under the weight of the world’s sin.
Oh, how my daily trials seem so minuscule in comparison to Mary’s!
But nevertheless, they are trials all the same.
And I want to make the most of them.
“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
This is how I want to respond whenever my life makes me want to run off to Target for therapy.
This is how I want to respond when the uncertainties of my children’s health begin to weigh my heart down with fear.
This is how I want to respond when I am tempted to compare my life with another’s via the internet (and for the record, I actually just unsubscribed myself from one particular blogger’s Instagram, blog emails, Facebook, etc. because the whole thing was just becoming too much of a distraction. Sometimes you have to make drastic moves in order to walk forward in freedom!!).
This is how I want to respond instead of picking up the phone to complain to a friend.
This is how I want to respond on the days where I would rather throw in the towel come morning when the whole parenting/wife-ing/living cycle starts all over again.
There is such sweet joy in that kind of surrender, my precious readers.
God hand picks each of us to be Mommies to our Happy Buddies. Wives to our Happy Hubbies. And Women who recognize that, as the angel said to Mary just moments before he left her, “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37).
To live this life under the umbrella of His love is to recognize that our lives belong to Him.
He can do whatever He wants with us – we are His servants.
We must lay it all down and simply rest in the fact that God is good. Whatever He does do with us, we are promised that He will be with us every step of the way.
Sometimes asking Christ to dwell in us will literally leave stretch marks – you know?
But as He grows in us and we are stretched, we remember that He is shaping us to be more like Him.
Mary, when perfectly surrendered to the Lord, had the blessing of being Christ’s mommy. She got to nurse the King of Kings. She got to care for Him and snuggle Him and rock Him to sleep. She got to make sure the Prince of Peace had clothes that fit, food in his tummy, and a roof over His precious head. She got to hold the Messiah when He had a bad cough or runny nose. She got to watch Him grow in favor with God and man. She got to witness His ministry and miracles.
And He took care of her, didn’t He? Right up to the end when on the cross, Jesus provided for his widowed mother’s future by placing her in the hands of John.
“For the Mighty One has done great things for me…” Luke 1:49
So, friends, this Happy Home is imperfect and messy.
I struggle like everyone else to make sense of the daily ups and downs of life (and toenails).
But what carries me from one minute to the next is not whether or not I can push forward in my own strength or by reading about someone else’s.
It’s that I hold it all before my King with open hands, declaring that I am His, and accepting what He gives in the knowledge that He knows what is best for my life.
Let’s do it.
This is what God is giving me right now.
And I choose to be like Mary.
“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Thank you for this post! It is what I needed in my crazy day. God Bless you!
Sent from my iPhone
Wow. How did you know what I needed to hear right this moment?! This is profound and will lift us all up to keep on going. Love you! This is beautiful and TRUE.
Love you. God bless & strengthen & encourage you. May your hearts & home be filled with the warmth of His presence. Emmy
This is actually the first time I have ever seen your blog. I signed up for it while browsing the internet and being a Christian woman, I know it is not by co-incidence that I see this today. A very good friend of mine facebooked me this a.m. and said her cousin’s son, only 15, hung himself yesterday and that his younger brother found him hanging in their bedroom .How easy and excited was my Holiday until today. I don’t know the cousin’s family but I feel broken as a Mom to try to conceive the feelings of this family. You spoke of your faith bringing you strength and peace and learning…this family is church goers and they have just slid into the depths of despair at the Christmas Season. I got strength from you today so that I can give strength to my friend and to pass it on. I lost my brother on Dec 20 twenty years ago this Friday. He was only 31 and about to have his first child, Jayme. The Christmas’ were not the same for many years but they are better but always feeling that something is missing. This boy’s family is about to take that journey and I thank you for following God’s lead in your blog. Again, it is not by co-incidences that we live our lives. We put God first and He will show us what to do. Bless you and your family at this special time of year. Your honesty has made a difference. Please pray for this hurting family …Mom, Dad, 3 sons (17, 13, 10)
Sam, christian,creative,crazy momma to 5
Julie! You are my favorite blog to read, hands down. I teach prenatal and parenting classes (and Sunday school :p )and regularly point people in your direction. BeCAUSE you keep it real. You also keep it cute, keep it creative…and keep your blessed heart..and mind…on Jesus. I am an email subscriber but should absolutely be more conscious to lift you up by commenting more frequently. I am just keeping it real ehen I say “Julie..YOU ROCK!!”
…can I get an amen, sisters?
Big hugs from the Frozen Chosen in upstate NY,
Love this!! Thank you, Julie!! What a wonderful reminder!!
I hope Noah is all better! How scary for you :(. I’m so sorry that happened. You have an amazing faith and I’m proud to know you!!! Merry Christmas! Love, Ellen
Sent from my iPad
Thank you for sharing, perfect timing.
Oh thank you Julie! I’m no longer a young mommy, but a not-so-young Nana (I just love that title!) But I still struggle with almost everything! Your blog always puts things into perspective … God’s perspective! … for me, and I thank God for YOU! May you and your Happy Family have a Blessed Christmas … no matter what! <3
Thank you for being so real. It really is hard to find a balance. You would think it would get easier but it doesn’t. It keeps us on our knees right where we need to be. Just know that you are so very precious and so is your family. (Your little boys own a big piece of my heart) I am praying for you.
Juanita in OH
Julie, I find your post so poignant and profound, a thing of beauty. Thank you so very much for this. My life is a struggle everyday but I still LOVE it and the LORD!! I am so grateful to you and TFS.
Simply beautiful & well said my dear friend!!! As I witness these trials & tribulations with you & your lil buddies, I find complete serenity in your faith with Him. You bring it home every time & help me to realize even that much more how much He cares for us & loves us no matter what we might be going through! You are an inspiration to all & YES you are an amazing mom, wife, FRIEND, & follower of God!!! It may be messy but you “get it” too!! I love you & all your happies!! Xoxo
Btw, when I didn’t see Noah on sun when dropping off Max & then didn’t see Ryan up there I knew something was up. 🙁 now wishing it was what I originally thought,…that you guys had just stayed home. The one time we didn’t come to the 9 service. :/
Glad he is ok & all better now!!
Julie, thank you for re-posting this blog. God has used you today to reaffirm in my own heart what He is calling me to do, what He calls us all to do, surrender, follow, rejoice.
Merry Christmas. Hugs. –
Thank you for sharing this heartfelt message. You inspire and encourage us all. Praying for healthier days ahead, strength, and financial worries to evaporate. God bless you all!
Julie, thank you for your honesty. I have gone back to this post several times this year. I’m praying for peace and understanding in your life! Thanks for keeping it real!
Julie, I am truly intrigued and blessed to have come across your blog today. I, just as you, am a busy mom and don’t have time to look at blogs everyday, but something told me to read yours. As tears stream down my cheeks, I know that I am not the only mom juggling all the titles of everyday life (and happy-nurse, and happy-master’s student…) so I feel your pain. Especially the happy-wife part…my poor husband hasn’t had alone time with me in…MONTHS!! I simply don’t have any more energy at the end of my busy day.
During these times, I don’t stop to think about God and where he is in my life at that point, but I need to. I have to hand my life over to Him and be like our blessed Mother…what a challenge! I hope your son is better and continues to do well; I’m sure you were beside yourself, but it seems like you remained rather calm through the whole experience. God Bless you and thank you for your blogs. THEY ARE SO UPLIFTING!!
Julie, I remember when you posted “Like Mary” the first time, but it really stuck with me this time. In fact, I went through my email contacts list, chose all the moms and grandmothers of young children, and sent them this link. I’m praying it will be a blessing to each of them as you have been to me!
Wishing you and your family a Blessed Christmas!
Thank you so much for being so REAL. I can always count on your blog to touch my heart, lift my spirits and give inspiration. Thank you. My daughter thanks you too. She is close to the same age as your Happy Buddy and because of your sharing she has had lots of great activities. Plus she thinks I am Amaaazing (use sing-songy voice for amazing) and my husband praises my creativity, even when I tell him it was someone elses idea. Thank you for blessing us so richly.
Thank you so much for this post, it is just what I needed to read today
Thank you for this post. I had never stopped to really ponder Mary’s answer and how wonderful it would be if I also answered God with the same atititude. I’m praying for you and your hard places today.
Julie, thank you for your courage. Even now, in these enlightened times, women find it crushing to admit even to themselves that the perfect lives we see online aren’t the whole story. I’m a single mother of a precious toddler and there are days when I question if God chose correctly when I became my little darling’s mother…..why couldn’t I be the powerful woman who could function well at work after nearly two years of sleep deprivation…why can’t I be the mother who has an answer for every crisis? You help bring out moms like me from our islets of isolation. Your blogs are like bridges that connect our crazy, imperfect lives. Hope you find strength not just in faith but in knowing that there are mothers out there who know what you’re talking about and would give you a hug across the oceans.
My mom taught me that if you have an ingrown toe nail, you can cut a little v shaoe in the middle of the top of the nail. This will cause the nail to grow together and away from the skin on the side. Hope it helps. Also, I REALLY ENJOY YOUR POSTS. THANKS.
I realized I misspelled shape in the previous comment. Oops. Cut a v shape.
tonja in connecticut
Thank you so much for posting “like Mary…”
it just pulled me out of this “post holiday funk” I felt myself falling into… I initially went to yor post to find some activity ideas for our womens group at church, that was recommeded by “an Alli event”… now Im at my desk at work, eyes filled with tears, but feeling like i can make it through this stormy season my life is in.
wow! Julie, I am catholic and I don’t even think like this at difficult times…..( we are often reminded about Mary’s ‘FIAT’ -Thank you!