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  Recently I had one of those days where I just looked around and asked, "What am I doing here?" I was frustrated with every little thing I did, and I felt like I was just spinning my wheels. Nothing was working the way I wanted or planned for it to, and if banging my head against a wall would have helped, I would have been all over that. I felt really unproductive and totally useless, and if there's anything I can't handle, it's feeling like a waste of humanity. Please tell me you have these days, too. I know my calling in life, and I understand my greater purpose. I know why and for Whom I was created, but my problem is losing sight of the forest for the trees. I see the big picture, but the details trip me up, and I stall out sometimes when I get lost in the day-to-day that's supposed to lead to the ultimate. I second-guess myself and feel hesitant, and when I do, I beat myself up. It becomes a ridiculous cycle of work, create, destroy. Know, do, question. Believe, waver, stop. It's maddening, and I begin to apologize for even taking up space in the world....


  I drove by her house and burst into tears. I'm not sure why. I've been by there many times since our friendship fizzled out and have been just fine, but on this day, I felt particularly vulnerable. I felt alone and lonely, and seeing her house reminded me of what was lost. I just wanted it back.   I wanted the phone calls for no reason where we chatted about nothing. I wanted the shared meals and shared times where we simply enjoyed each other's company. I wanted the friendship. I just wanted it back. But the reality is that it's gone. That particular friendship didn't make it to this particular season of life, and there's nothing I can do to change it. Isn't that the worst? Seeing what is gone and missing it like mad, but being helpless to bring it back? It's the worst. But it's not the end. You see, our enemy wants us to see all endings as the end. He wants us to believe that the death of one thing is the death of all things, and he wants us to believe that when one thing is lost, all is lost. And I know it's tempting to believe him. I've had my fair share of days when I've...


  When I was growing up, one of the worst insults that could be hurled at a child (or his parents) was that he was a spoiled brat. It was a phrase that wasn't used very often, but when it was, it stung. No one wanted to hear the perception that a child was spoiled. Now, we hardly hear the phrase, but maybe it's because so many children are spoiled. Has the phrase decreased as the problem increased? Out of curiosity, I looked up the meaning of "spoil." Here, it means "to harm the character of a child by being too lenient or indulgent." That's convicting. It's hard to parent, and it's particularly hard to parent when we have long-term goals but face pressing, short-term issues. When a child is squalling because he wants a piece of candy, it's so much easier to give him the candy to keep the peace. When he is complaining because all of his friends have the latest, expensive whatever-it-is, it's so much easier to give in to make him happy with you. When the house is dirty, it's just easier to clean it yourself than to teach him and then insist that he do his part. It's easier to spoil the child, and maybe that's why we're doing...


  Life right now is hectic. The male child is playing football, the mini-me is doing gymnastics, and the husband is traveling nonstop. We are always on the road or in the gym or at a practice. Dinner together means eating chicken nuggets in the car, and the few minutes we have at home consist of me loudly repeating, "Get your homework done. Pack your lunch. Bring me your dirty clothes. Let me sign your agenda. Get in the shower. Use soap and wash those feet." I find myself speaking in commands and issuing orders like a drill sergeant. Anybody else feel this way?   Here's what I keep reminding myself: this is a season. These are activities my children have chosen and love, and the discipline it takes for them (and us) is a good thing. They are learning responsibility, time management, being dedicated, and working as a team. I am learning self-control and management skills that will be useful when I am CEO of a major company one day. :) This season will end soon. And if I'm honest, I don't want it to end because it will mean these children will have moved out and these childhood days will have come to an...