• Why being a Mom is not enough (for me)

    IMG_0366I love being a Mom.  Nothing in my life as been more difficult and rewarding than loving my 4 kids.  I love being home home with them, learning with them, laughing with them, and crying with them too.  Being a Mom consumes my life in every way.  It determines when I wake up, how I eat, how busy my day is, what makes me laugh, how I spend my evenings, weekends and extra time.    I could easily live every moment for them, consumed on how I could be better, do more and love larger.  Yes, I want to be better, the books beside my bed tell of my dedication to be a better Mom, my never ending to-do list speaks of my dedication to the job that never ends, and my willingness to give my self for them every single day shows a love deeper than I thought possible.IMG_0712

    But it is not enough.

    My kids may be the one of the greatest things in my life but they are not the centre of the world.  If I live my life as a Mom letting them believe that they are, I am not only doing great damage to them, but am also hurting myself, my marriage and the other people I am called to serve.IMG_5789

    This is harder to live than it is to stay.    Because the truth is, I would absolutely love to live my life in a happy little Mom bubble of fun. I can just see it…. A life with more activities, sports, crafts and cooking.  Long days spent at home, just me and the kids, enjoying our perfect little world as a family.  Of course there would be tantrums, disobediance, impatience, tiredness and frustration in between all that, because that just comes with the job… but life would be ideal if all my choices were based on the happiness of me and my kids.

    At least it seems that way.  IMG_4903

    I think most Mom’s get pulled into that idea, at one time or another.  Being a Mom is so consuming that it tends to just take over your life, and you tell yourself that “This is it, this is what I am meant to be and do”, and it is… but that’s just part of your story.IMG_5849

    The other part of the story is pretty inconvenient.  It’s living a life with open eyes, aware that the world is far bigger, complicated and hurting than you have ever imagined.

    Denying that is living a lie, and teaching your kids to do the same.

    Moms you were meant for more.

    IMG_4266

    I know the days are long, and many days we feel like we can hardly make it through, and it’s hard to imagine giving more than you are already…. but you are called to live a life of LOVE.  A love that goes beyond the walls of your home and into the world.  All that God given, sacrificial Mom love needs to be shared.

    IMG_7596

    In the village where we serve some of the ladies have told me that I am like their Mom.

    Just last week a lady told me

    ” I never had a Mom.  You are like my Mom.”

    This both shocked and humbled me.  The lady is older than me, how could I be her Mom?  But I get it… us Moms, we live a life sacrificing for our kids.  Our love needs to be patient and kind, even after receiving the worst treatment from little people who are just learning how to do life.  Our love teaches grace, kindness, and service.  Our  God given love has the power to transform and touch lives.IMG_5560

    If we can can learn to love our kids so well, shouldn’t we pass on that love to those who have never experienced it?

    Wouldn’t it be a shame and a diservice to the world to only give that love to our offspring and not to the countless people hurting, and hungry for a love like that?  The old, young, single Moms, abandoned, abused, neglected, divorced, poor, self loathing, angry, lonely, hurt, imprissioned, the difficult… the unloved._MG_0324

    I believe, know and have experienced that love changes everything.IMG_1598

    Your kids need to see you loving.  If you want to be the best Mom you can be then show them the truth.

    Life is not about them.

    There is a whole world of hurting people (adults and children) out there, who need some one to show the sweet compassion you give to your kids every single day..  You may not be able to help them all, but you can do what you can to help those around you.

    You can be love to some one else.7

    You can take a meal, give a ride, make a visit, open your home, make a call, listen, give your time, give your stuff, open your arms, and love.

    If you live a life of love, your kids will live by your example to do the same.IMG_6467

    You can help change a generation of kids who believe they are entitled to it all, and show them that their is so much more to life than just being “happy”

    You can raise  world changers.IMG_6234

    That is more than enough.

     

     

  • Upclose: Our lives are CRAZY!

    IMG_5144So I thought it was about time to pop in here, and give a little Machado update.  So where do we start….

    It’s been almost 4 months since we started serving with Welcome Home, and we moved onto the base here.  It has been more than a little crazy.  We have spent the last few months adjusting to our new roles, getting to know our coworkers better, and trying to see how we can be most helpful.  We have learned  a lot, and will continue to do so.  We are still very excited about the opportunity to serve here, and are looking forward to see how we can use our gifts.  It’s an exciting time for us!  It’s also a crazy time…  Our lives have be turned complettely upside down.   After enjoying a few very calm and quite months, in a little house in the country, where we  had a lot of time to be together as a family, we are now living in the middle of chaos.

    It’s hard to explain… but I will try.

    Let me tell you about yesterday.

    I started the day with plans.  I needed to take care of some paper work and e-mails from the office (it’s on the property, but not in my house), go to a baby shower, do some more work on the computer in the office, and watch my friends kids for a couple of hours.  Busy day.  Kayden woke up not feeling good, after listening to him cough his way through the morning routine, we decided to keep him home.  IMG_5561Saul ended up being able to change his plans, so he could stay around for the morning.  After reading a couple of books with Kayden, I headed to the office.  After an hour there, I returned home to finish up  the work on my own computer.  Honestly, it was a simple job, except the fact that Kayden was making typical boy sound effects and it was really hard for me concentrate.  I was losing my patience fast, and by the time I was the done the job, I was almost in tears.  I took everything in me not to lash out at him in frustration.

    From there I rushed to get a gift ready, to make it to a baby shower.  Only when I got there, I realized I was the only guest, and Mommy and baby were not even home.  I stayed and visited with the kids in the home for a bit, then got back in the car and headed home to make it in time for lunch.  IMG_5538We eat in the big kitchen with the staff and daycare kids.  It’s great saving the money on groceries, and eating with staff and visitors, but hard on my youngest 2 kids, who some times just want to eat at home.  Today it wasn’t too much of an issue, thankfully.  After lingering over lunch a bit, trying to catch my breath, I proceeded to help put lunch away.  Two friends dropped off their (awesome, amazing and well behaved ) kids to play in my house.  One of them was working in the office, the other had an appointed to go to.  After helping our friend get started on a job in the office, I returned home to watch the kids.  There was a total of 4  teenagers, 5 kids, and one baby in and around my home.  IMG_5553Thankfully, Saul was also around, and kept the older ones busy out side.  After 10 minutes of trying to shush 4 school age kids, to not to wake up Brielle as she napped, I decided a movie would be best.  I settled in to watch the movie with the kids, enjoying the almost quiteness and the chance to snuggle and feed a two month old sweet baby boy.  Just as the movie started, an older lady, who we have been helping, stops in for a visit, and some advice about something.  Thankfully, she doesn’t stay too long, and I am able to rest a bit more.  Brielle wakes, slightly offended I have a baby in my arms, but gets over it quickly and snuggles close beside me.  Just as the movie ends, I am surprised by some other visitors, the Mommy from the morning “baby shower” had  come to find me.

    IMG_5560I welcome her, her husband, mom and 2 sisters inside to chat for a bit.  I was genuinely happy to see them, it had been awhile.  AT this time there are  18n people hanging inside and around my home.  Eighteen.  Shortly aftere, 3 of the kids get picked up by there Mom, the visiting Mom leaves and then a little later 2 more kids get picked up by there Dad.  The house seemed empty with just the 6 of us, but I was done.  I just wanted to be alone.  Thankfully I had plans to go out for the night, and was able to do just that., but usually that is not an option.

    This is my life people.

    It is insane.

    And although, not every day looks like this, to be honest it is becoming the norm.  We have a never ending list of things to do, people stopping by, and people to visit.  I have no idea how to balance it all.  My very best attempts to establish some type of routine for my kids and boundaries from the outside world, are constantly being challenged and defeated.  There is so much good in it all, but also so much stress.   I have no spare time for anything.  Not for hobbies (crafts, photography, blogging), writing family and friends, or me time (this has been my first time out alone since September).  We try to use  any free time we have with the kids or to go out as a couple, but even our evenings and weekends are often interrupted by unannounced visitors and others needing help.  Last weekend, for example, we ended up having to go to 4 different meetings (each was about 2 hrs long), from 3 separate ministries, when just days before the entire weekend looked like it was going to be laid back and free.  It’s crazy how quickly things can change!

    I hesitated in sharing this, but this is our reality.  I want to be real and vulnerable here, because I know people like you care about us.

    Thankfully, we are heading out for some time away this next week.  Please pray that we can enjoy the week resting and enjoying our family.  Also if you have any thoughts, wisdom, or advice on how to manage both ministry and family, please feel free to share.  Please keep us in your prayers as we figure this out.

  • I said yes… But it’s not about me.

    20131103-230319.jpgIt was just a couple weeks ago I found myself thinking “No! No more. I can’t take on anything more.”
    Over a month ago we moved from our little rented house in the country, into town on the grounds of the ministry we are now serving with.
    Since then I have found myself busier than ever.

    I won’t bore you with my crazy schedule… But a person can only take on so much, right?  I knew (or thought) I was reaching my limit.

    It wasn’t long after those “No!” thoughts started, I found myself saying yes, instead.

    My friend was getting ready to leave for her annual trip home to Canada, and I had already offered to care for her 8 year old son while she was gone. Him and Kayden are best buds and I knew it wouldn’t be make much of a difference having him around. He’s a good kid, and the boys would have fun being together. What’s one more? I thought. A couple days before she left, much to her delight and surprise, she was asked by social services to care for a 9 month old baby girl, for a “few days”. Knowing it would be hard to find some one to care for her, with such short notice, I was quick to say “Yes! I’ll take her too!”
    Kind if a crazy decision, especially since my husband was going to be gone for the entire two weeks she was gone.
    I would be parenting 6 kids.
    Alone.

    Now, I know I can’t take on everything( really, I do know this) and in my day to day life I need to find a healthy balance of where I spend my time…
    BUT
    I never want to close a door to a blessing God brings my way. Even if the blessing is hidden in the middle of a crazy chaotic mess.

    I am not super mom, and I do not have it all together or figured out.
    Saying yes, is not about me, it’s about Him. When I say yes to something that looks hard, challenging, and even impossible… I have no choice but to trust Him more. And when I do, I get to see miracles happen….

    Like having to take a sick baby to the doctor 12 days in a row and having him refuse any type of payment for his service or the various medications he gave me.20131103-230758.jpg

    Or the big box of donated baby stuff dropped off at my door, 3 days after baby girl came to stay by some one who had no idea I was taking care of a baby.  It’s contents were exactly what I needed … Formula, baby cereal, and baby food.

    Or seeing my kids all work together, doing their best to help me, and generally having a good attitude. We did have a couple bad grumpy days, of course, but we had way more good getting along days. That is a huge miracle!20131103-230634.jpg20131103-230718.jpg

    And the simple fact that my 3 year old, slightly territorial “baby” girl, not once showed any type of resentment or jealousy the entire time I took care of a very sick, time consuming baby. She was an amazing “big sister”!20131103-230510.jpg20131103-230548.jpg

    Maybe the biggest miracle if all was the changes going inside my own heart. When I said yes, I was saying no to me. No to what was comfortable, convienent, easy, and predictable. I had no idea that I was saying yes to long nights, more doctors visits than I can count, a messy house, and absolutely no “me” time…
    Yet through it all I knew more peace, joy, and strength than I could have ever imagined.
    When I had every reason to feel run down, exhausted and sorry for myself, I didn’t… Like at all. How is that even possible?
    I have seen God at work in so many ways the past couple weeks, I feel so blessed!20131103-230010.jpg

    I believe in a God who is crazy about His kids. So it’s not about me being this super amazing person or Mom.  No. It’s about a super amazing God just loving his kids, giving us all what we need, when we need it. I can take no credit for the miracles I have seen or been a part of.

    A simple “yes” from me, and He did the rest.

     

  • Outside the Orphanage

    IMG_6373It’s been more than 15 years since I first came to the orphanage here in town. I was captivated by orphan care long before I ever visited here and naturally fell in love with so many kids here since then.

    I will never forget the first time a baby boy just arrived in the orphanage nursery and was placed in my arms. I was 18 years old, and the only one working that night.  I will always remember that scared look on his face, his dirty clothes and smokey blanket he was wrapped in. I was the first one there to hold him, bath him and pray over him. It was truly an honour. Since then I have gotten to know so many great kids!. I know more than their names, I know their stories, well parts of them any ways.  Some children were abandoned at birth. Others were rescued from horribly abusive homes. Many parents drop off their children, when they just can’t take care of them anymore.  Some stayed for only a few weeks or months, others had lived their whole lives there. Many kids had parents and family visit often. Sadly, serval never had a visitor, not even once. In all those years spending time with kids in the orphanage I have very rarely thought of the parents of the children left there.

    To be honest, in my mind they were the bad guys.
    What kind of mother lets her husband or boyfriend beat her children?  What kind of father ties up a child? Why would any parent choose to place their child in an orphanage?  How could they not know much they were hurting their child by doing so?

    My heart broke (still breaks) for every child I know that is in an institution.

    I have to admit I never really tried to understand the other side, the people outside the orphanage, leaving little ones behind.

    Until…

    until I met a little abuela (grandma) named Mara*

    Not to long ago I found myself in the middle of family crisis, with a family I had just met. I was told some little girls were being abused by a family member. My heart broke and I wanted to help. I talked to some one who knew the family well, and before I knew it, the girls were voluntarily placed in an orphanage by their grandmother, Mara, who was their primary caregiver. I had such mixed feelings. I knew the girls needed to be somewhere safe, but also knew what years living in an orphanage could do to them.  As badly as I wanted to take them into my home, I knew I couldn’t.  It was out of my hands.

    As much as I hated to admit it,the orphanage seemed like the best option for them.
    I cried many many tears over it all.

    When I visited Mara, it was hardly a week since the girls had left, and I wanted to see how she was doing. As I sat in her quite house, not really knowing what to stay, I saw something in her that surprised me.

    I saw brokenness.

    She was mourning the loss of two little girls she loved very much.
    Two girls she had treasured and no doubt given up a lot for.
    Two girls she had failed to protect.
    All my ideas and judgements of “bad parents” shattered as each tear of hers dropped to the ground. All those years thinking parents left their kids, believing they didn’t care or didn’t hurt for them. I suddenly knew, without a doubt, that many many kids had some one crying for them too.

    I had no words that would offer any comfort for such brokenness. We cried together.IMG_1986

    At this point, there is no beautiful happy ending to this story. The girls are doing ok, in their new “home”. I see them often at church, where we share many hugs, and I hold back tears when they ask me to take them home with me.  One of them recently told me they wished I could be her Mom.  It kills me.   Mara still misses them desperately, she tries to keep busy.  How does life go on with some one you love isn’t there any more?

    I am not sure if they will ever go home to the place they knew as home. I am praying for a miracle only God can bring…

    I wish I knew how this was all going to end.  I don’t.  It’s hard to deal with.
    What I do know is that outside the orphanage, where hurting children live, are broken hurting Grandma’s, Moms, Dads, siblings and family members, who know….

    it was never meant to be this way.

    *name changed for privacy

  • The Rich Lady

    IMG_5888When my Mom was here a few weeks ago, she was telling me this story about her friend, who was at work when, there was a car accident in the parking lot. I guess some one was driving fast enough to crash into another car.  Crazy, hey?  Anyways, my Moms friend saw what happened and helped the lady who had been hit.  She had no serious injury’s but was really shaken up.  A couple of weeks later the lady came to thank my Moms friend for her kindness..  She invited her to come to her house to get first pick of her stuff that she was selling in a garage sale.  My Mom went along too.  Apparently the lady was rich.  She has tons of stuff for sale.  Lots of it was new, hardly ever used.  Most things were worth a lot, many of them bought in Europe.  Bedding, rugs, clothes, shoes, you name it!  All hardly used, some with price tags on it.  As my Mom told me about it we talked in disbelief at how people can live with so much “stuff”  and be “so rich”.  It’s to easy to look down on people who have “more” than you, isn’t it?  

    Fast forward a couple weeks and I am in full purging mode. Every once in awhile I have this overcoming need to get rid of more “stuff”. I am constantly looking at what we have, trying to get rid of things that don’t fit, aren’t used, or we simply don’t need.  Next thing you know the back of my SUV is packed full of stuff to give away.  Clothes, toys, shoes, a little bit of evreything.  And to be honest, most of those things won’t be missed by any one.  We have more than what we need.  Then is dawns on me.   To the people around me I’m the rich lady.

    Me.

    The missionary…

    with the tight budget, thrifted clothes, and “little” house.

    I know with out a doubt that any person from one of the humble areas that we serve would take one look at my little house and think I am rich.

    How quick I forget, even though I see poverty almost every day… I forget.

    You probably don’t think you are rich either.IMG_5883

    BUT you are.  For reals.

     

    I know what it looks like to not be rich, so let me tell you that

    You are rich if one or more of the following apply to you…

    you get to use a machine for your laundry, dishes or your hair

    you can buy an item of clothing “just because”

    you eat out

    you have internet on your phone

    you have more than one bike in your home

    your kids and even you get celebrated on their birthdays

    you have the luxary of not eating something because you don’t like it

    you have any type of decor in your house… even if it is home made or from a thrift store

    you have a hobby or a sport you do just for fun

    you have traveled some where for fun… oh yeah it’s called a vacation

    if you get sick you can see a doctor and even buy medicine if you need it

    you have a designated area (basement, garage, storage bin, etc) to store all the stuff you do not use, need or want to deal with

    you have ever had a garage or yard sale to get rid of your “stuff”

    Do you believe me now?  Are you rich?

    It’s humbling now, isn’t it?IMG_5886

    It is for me… and I live in a third world country.

    There was a time I didn’t know I was rich.  I really didn’t.  I’ve known for awhile now, but I was so quick to forget.

    Maybe you didn’t know either.

    Hope I helped you see the good news.

     

    IMG_5882It’s not something to feel bad or guilty a out.   It’s a blessing if you truly take it to heart.

    For me, well, it forces me to live differently.

    To love people more, spend less and be more willing to give myself, my stuff and my time to others.

    It makes me want to waste less.

    Most of all it convicts me to do what Jesus says to do… to use every rich blessing I have been given to love and bless others to the best of my ability.

    Sooooooo……

    What are you doing with your riches?

     

    Oh and if for some reason you still think you aren’t rich, you can actually see where you stand in the global rich list.

    I’m not making this stuff up.

    It might be time to change some things in your life.