Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

Whole Mama

Prayer in the Living

#wholemamaLindsey Smallwood

It's #wholemama week again and this time we're exploring what prayer means in this season. 

When I was a child, prayer was for meals - 
for when I felt scared or needed to be healed.
As I got older, prayer felt pretend 
and my season of trying it came to an end. 

From a hospital wheelchair, on the the psych ward
I found it was God my heart turning toward.
Prayer was first "Help!", then "God, are you there?
Show me the way to get out from this chair."

Joining a church, finding paths toward recovery, 
a new season for me lead to new God-discoverys.
I wanted to know Him and was told quiet time
with a Bible alone would make this faith mine.

So I practiced the discipline all on my own, 
prayers in a journal where I sat alone, 
prayers in the dark of my room late at night, 
prayers in glow of the morning's new light. 

I found a real Friend and Savior so true
in the time set aside for my sacred views. 
Sure, I prayed before lunch and I prayed with my friends
but thought "real prayer" came only when quiet descends.

Then there was motherhood, sweet babes in my arms.
Days bled into nights full of trials and charms.
Now perhaps more tired than I knew I could be
and quiet time space is few and far between.

Where then is God in the midst of this season?
Have I lost my connection with kids as the reason?
"No!" and "Of course not!" is now my refrain, 
instead of a loss, I've here found a gain.

For prayer is the whisper of thanks as I rock
sweet babies to tiny to yet crawl or walk.
Prayer is my heartbeat when I feel afraid
of the hard world into which my children will wade.

Prayer is "Wow!", "Thanks!" and "Help!" in the noise of my day,
prayer is "O Spirit Speak" before friends come to play.
Prayer is "Jesus be near" if the crying won't quit, 
prayer is "Father, hold this" when the hurt makes me split. 

Quiet time is infrequent, devotionals short
but here in these fast years, I've found a new sort
of practice in praying, in connecting with God - 
it's a all-day communion as forward I plod. 

I'm finding anew that to pray and not cease
is a sweet way of living, I walk in fresh peace.
I see Jesus while cleaning and here in the noise - 
new mercies each day as I raise up my boys.  
 

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Esther Emery's #wholemama post this week, featuring the incredible Sarah Bessey. Loved their interview!

Tidy, Not Clean

#wholemamaLindsey Smallwood

Here we go again - it's #wholemama week 4 and I'm back to chime in on a conversation we're having about life in the midst of the mess. 

I've always found solace in keeping things neat.
Buckets and baskets make toys seem discreet.
There's a place to stash keys and a spot to hold shoes,
there's a lace covered dish to hold letters and news.

I don't mind at all to see balls on the floor, 
or a tower of blocks stacked in front of the door,
as long as I know at the end of the day,
each thing has a place where it goes to stay.

When bedtime is done and the house becomes quiet,
I reclaim my space from the playtime toy riot.
Board books go on one shelf, fairy tales on another,
as I replace these stories, I think of my mother.

We are quite different, my mother and I.
The books by her bed make towers quite high.
She isn't as organized as I prefer,
but on matters of cleanliness, to Mom I defer.

Because while my house stays incredibly tidy,
the floor needs a mop where the juice stains are hiding.
The dust balls are rolling behind the TV.
The grime on my sink's begging to be set free.

There are spots on the wall from where two weeks ago
my toddler threw spaghetti - and man, he can throw.
The fingerprints on my iPad make it hard to watch,
my dishwashing needs to go up a notch.

But at my mom's house, the floors seem to gleam.
The dishes, they sparkle, she gets them so clean.
The toilets are shiny. The wall's pasta-free.
She's so good at getting dirt out of laundry

I think it's okay that we each have our strengths - 
she has much she can teach me - and she does, at length.
But sometimes I worry that my tidy systems 
are all metaphor for what my life's missing. 

It looks really good, everything in it's place,
adorable bins that match my living space.
But it's not really clean, the dirt and the grime
hide under the baskets I refill all the time.

I wonder sometimes if I am like this,
put together, but then under the surface - 
the stains of my sin and my doubt and my shame
though hidden from view, persist and remain.

I long for integrity, to be fully true,
whether home by myself or in public view.
But in order to have it, I must tend to the messes,
letting go of the fears, the idols, the false-yeses.

So I'm taking a lesson from my mama this week - 
I'll be scrubbing my floors 'till I hear them squeak.
And while I am working to make my home clean
I'll be praying that I can see and be seen, 

For all that I am, for the good and the bad, 
for the places I'm growing, for the mess I still have. 
I'm proud of my tidy and learning to scour, 
perhaps cleaning my house can further empower?

Here's hoping...


Interested in hearing how other #wholemamas are making sense of their messes? Check out this hilarious story about a cheese fight from Sarah Torna Roberts.

The Gift of Quiet

#wholemamaLindsey Smallwood

We're back at it with #wholemama week 3. This time - reflecting on our need for quiet spaces. 

My name is Lindsey and I love the noise
of music and chatting and life with small boys.
I've always liked being in the middle of things,
talking and laughing both make my heart sing.

But there's a part of us all that needs peace and quiet, 
even extroverts must find ways to try it.
For it's in the silence that still voice can speak.
It's in the quiet where the Spirit I meet.

When I schedule my days with action and friends 
& fill in with podcasts and words that I've penned, 
I miss out on time with the Best Friend of all
& space for my heart to again be enthralled -

- with the mystery and wonder we live in each day.
Sometimes, in noise, that magic fades away.
But it's there to be relished if I'll only stop,
and for a short time, allow for a swap. 

If I trade in my phone and my shows and my tunes
and my friends and my tweets so that I can attune
to the nothing, the empty yet full space around
where instead of my chaos there isn't a sound. 

In the practice of quiet, I don't think, I feel.
I sense gentle correction, I remember I'm healed. 
Sadness sometimes comes in my quiet place
as all that's been pent up suddenly has space. 

I am whole in the quiet, afresh and anew
because I am loved, not for what I do.
I am held in the quiet, if I choose to see
that my Maker and Keeper is quiet with me. 

And oh, when He speaks, what a wonder that I, 
can hear in my heart echoes from on high, 
calling me back to a place of Shalom,
with reminders that this world is not my home. 

In the quiet I'm readied for action, for life, 
to again be a friend, mother and wife. 
As the noise comes back and my world fills again
I give thanks for the gift of the pause. Amen.

Friends, do you love the silence or do you have to create the discipline to be quiet? What are you learning in your quiet places? I'd love to know more, leave me a comment below. 

Want to join the #wholemama fun? Click here to join this week's link up and see a #wholemama interview with author Micha Boyett. 

Seeing the Sweetness

#wholemamaLindsey Smallwood

It's #wholemama Week 2 - guess what that means? Another poem from yours truly.

This week's topic: What is your super power?

Today when you asked me to tell you about
all the ways in which I am super,
the first thoughts that began to fill up my mind
are places where I am a pooper. 

"My house is a mess, my children eat sugar,
my toddler loves Elmo and Big Bird."
As I rattled off all the ways I fall short,
I stopped and instead I considered...

I thought about where I find power and strength 
in my hard work as a mother. 
I gave myself space to see what is super
in me as opposed to the others. 

A small thing, at first glance, but maybe quite large
is the way I create good distractions. 
As my oldest starts crying over a lost toy,
my silly songs change his reaction.

Another ability making me strong - 
my keen sense of where to find lost things.
A forgotten letter, a neglected shirt - 
both powerless against my recounting.

But perhaps the quality I see in myself 
that's most super and most empowering
is the way that I manage to enjoy every day,
no matter what problems are towering.

Sometimes I feel it's a part of my heart
I must hide around those who are venting.
They tell me they're bored, my sweet mama friends, 
or they're tired or fat or resenting.

It's not that I don't understand these emotions
I feel them from time to time.
But no matter the feelings, no matter the day,
There is joy in this heart of mine.

Motherhood is a dream that I dreamt for so long
not knowing if it would come true.
So even through tantrums and piles of dishes
there's a smile that always ensues. 

"I am a mama," I say in my heart,
"These babies are mine now to keep!"
I find joy on the hard days and joy in the messes
and yes, joy when they go down to sleep.

The power I have is to see the big picture, 
that this season is sweet and it's short.
The things that feel hard are already changing;
there are new hard things to report.

But the incredible job that I get for these years
is to help them grow up through the hard,
to take these small babies and make of them people, 
first up close and then, from afar. 

So before afar comes and they're grown and they're gone
I'll delight in the tough and the trying,
with kisses and cuddles and beds left unmade,
and bad dancing to cheer up the crying.

Friends, what's your super-power? What special gift(s) help you be as whole as you can? Tell me more in the comments below and join in the #wholemama fun.