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Queen of the Universe
Encouragement for Moms & their World-Changing Work
By Susannd Foth Aughtmon
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2017 Susanna Foth Aughtmon
All rights reserved.
Knowing Who You Are
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
When Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952, she was given the auspicious title of Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. This title was followed by over twenty titles from other various countries and territories that she rules over. She is a truly inspiring woman. What she accomplishes on a daily basis is nothing short of amazing. God Save the Queen!
But in our childhood home on 508 Shurtz Street in Urbana, Illinois, my mom, Ruth Jean Foth, mother of four, wife of Richard, reigned supreme. She was the queen of our suburban kingdom. I didn't know much about Queen Elizabeth, but I knew that my mom was in charge of everything. She was the center of our home. The queen of our universe. We revolved around her, held within the gravitational pull of her care. My mom birthed all of us in the span of six years. She says there are large chunks of time that she lost to the fog of young motherhood. Her memory is spotty. But mine is clear on quite a few things.
Mom was always there. She laid herself out as the foundation of our home. Everything she did, she did with us in mind. There were always good meals to nourish us, celebrations with special treats, prayers at bedtime, and the consistent knowledge that we were loved. She told us she loved us, but we knew it already. It was in the air we breathed.
Mom didn't have a clue about what adventure the years held for her after she birthed us. My oldest sister, Erica, could sit quietly and entertain herself for hours with a book. And then there were Jenny, me, and Chris. My mom referred to the three of us younger kids as the "curious" children. You can take "curious" to mean "mostly up to no good." She loved us anyway. She was and is the perfect mom for us.
Becoming a mother will launch you into one of the greatest adventures of your life. Mostly because you have no idea what you are doing. But also because your entire world shifts on its axis. All of your priorities are reordered. Your hopes and dreams, your heart's great longings, and your deepest fears are now filtered through the deep truth that you are caring for a little person. This human being is counting on you to come through for them in every way possible. And you are choosing to rise to the challenge ... whatever that challenge requires. In that moment of becoming a mother, you are crowned with a great gift and an even greater responsibility.
YOU ARE THE QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE.
Of your universe and theirs. Their world will revolve around yours. Everything, from their spiritual development (this one is of the utmost importance) to their personal hygiene (this one is going to be more difficult than you can possibly imagine), resides within your domain. In the years from your children's birth to their adulthood, you have the great honor of growing and loving them. You get to hold them within the gravitational pull of your care. You get to shape their lives with your goodness and love. There is a great chance that at least one of your children will be "curious." God bless you in advance.
But know this: You are not alone in this endeavor. The One who orders your universe will never leave you or forsake you. He designed this adventure from the getgo. You are His handiwork. He has prepared this good work of motherhood for you in advance. And He has chosen the perfect person to mother this little one whom you love so much. (God never makes mistakes.) That perfect person is you.
* * *
Lord, thank You for this amazing adventure of being a mom. Thank You for preparing the way before me as I nurture and love these children. Flood me with Your grace and wisdom today. Amen.CHAPTER 2
Being a Good Queen
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
After my cousin Jessica had her first baby, she told me, "You know, there are days ... multiple days ... when I never get a shower? And some days I am in my pajamas all day. All day." I was pregnant at the time. I just stared at her. In horror. My fully showered and clothed self didn't know what to say. How could that be? What could possibly keep you from shaving your legs for an entire week? How could watching one tiny person be so much work? Even with all the care that a baby requires, surely there is time enough to put pants on ... isn't there? Isn't there? These were pre-mothering questions.
Of course, now that I have been a mother for fifteen years, I can say with an understanding heart, when you are a mom of a little person or lots of little people or even a few middle-sized people? Putting your pants on is the least of your worries. If you can make it through the day and still find it in yourself to smile before you crash into your bed at night? You are golden. You are a world changer. A life shaper. A molder of the human spirit. Such great work requires brains, guts, and perseverance ... but not pants. Pajamas will do just fine. Take comfort where you can find it ... because being a good queen is never easy.
I used to be so judge-y before I had kids. When I would see a mom at the grocery store with her screaming children running free like gazelles on the savannah, I would think, Sweet mercy, woman! How hard can your job be? How hard can your job be? For someone who is not living out the dream of motherhood, there is no fathoming how hard it can be.
Being a mom is not just being one thing. It is being all things to one person. Or five people. Depending on how many people you have. Mothering is a compilation of mandatory skills. Not only do you rule your children's universe, you are their teacher, their doctor, their judge, their party planner, their protector, their storyteller, their cook, their adventurer, their defender of the faith, and their maid of all work. The tasks you will accomplish in the mothering years are so many and varied, they can't be listed. You are required to be more than you have ever been before. You will be stretched. And then, stretched some more.
Mothering is not for the faint of heart. It is for the lionhearted. The brave. The fierce. That mom with the kids swarming in the grocery store? She hasn't lost control. She is braving the wilds of the frozen-foods aisle with small creatures who are on the brink of death almost all the time. She isn't just getting food for dinner. She is teaching manners. She is defining character. She is setting boundaries and saying no to twenty-seven kinds of sugar cereal in the space of a minute. No wonder she looks wild-eyed. She is hyperaware. Buying groceries with kids is like a driver's training exercise — they're filled with chaos at every turn.
Being a good queen is daunting. It is difficult. It is never-ending. And you are just the one to do it. You can be brave. You can be lionhearted and fierce. Because mothering is a love mission. Plain and simple. You love your child exponentially. You are living out this love in a million different ways every day. And the truth is, you were never designed to do it alone. Loving a little person into adulthood is an all-hands-on-deck kind of thing. And the One who loves you most of all is all-in, bolstering your strength, infusing you with courage. He is the Lifter of your head and the Lover of your soul. Lean into His wisdom and grace. He will be with you every single step of the way.
* * *
Lord, help me to be fearless and brave while I am mothering. Give me strength and courage today to be all that I need to be, and to love this little one exactly the way he needs to be loved. Thank You for being with me. Amen.
My Universe List the names and birthdays of your child(ren) and a few words that best describe them.CHAPTER 3
Your Gigantic Job
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
I spoke at a moms' group the other day. We laughed. We cried. We ate muffins together. It is good to be with other moms, talking about life and the journey we are all on. After I spoke, each table went over some sharing questions together. Our table was discussing the wildness of just getting to the group that morning. Loading up the car and actually arriving on time with kids in tow is like the parting of the Red Sea. An impossibility without an act of God. The mom next to me said, "Please tell me that it gets easier. It's not always so crazy, right?" There were some longing looks coming my way. I knew that look. I had worn it for years. The look of sleep deprivation mixed with some I haven't been in the bathroom by myself for two years desperation.
These were moms of preschoolers. All of their kids were five years old and younger. Those are the baptism-by-fire years. You are just trying to survive. When I had three kids aged five and under, I thought I was going down. I told the mom who asked the question, "There are different hard things about being a mom now." My kids are ten, thirteen, and fifteen. "But, yes! It gets easier! My kids can make their own breakfast now." This young mom almost started weeping with joy. The thought of her children pouring their own cereal was more than a dream come true.
I put my hand on her arm. I said, "It isn't easy right now. But you are doing good hard work." She teared up. She said, "Thank you for saying that." I got a little teary myself. I needed another muffin to get through the rest of the questions.
There is almost nothing that can prepare you for the enormity of mothering. You are so needed. There are constant bids for attention, sibling arguments, and endless chores. Teething alone is enough to break a body down. When you have young children who count on you for everything, it is easy to feel like you are going down. You feel like you will never get it all done. Here is a mom secret for you: You will never get it all done. It is not that you are not a fantastic mom. It is that your job is enormous. There is so much to accomplish and so little of you to accomplish it. Growing people up is a big deal.
Mothering is good hard work. What you are doing is so vital. So important. Nourishing young bodies, challenging young minds, shaping character, setting boundaries? These are life changers. Literally. No wonder you are collapsing in bed each night, dying for some uninterrupted sleep. You are pouring your life out every moment of every day. You deserve some chocolate and a high five.
Your good hard work is valid. God sees you each day and says, "Man, I love that girl. She is really giving it all she's got. Look how much she loves those kids." You couldn't do anything more beautiful or more powerful than nurture His own. He knows that you feel the weight of your responsibility. That you struggle with patience and that your deepest desire is to not have laundry for one day ... Just. One. Day. He knows that you are longing for a solid night of sleep. And for wisdom ... for all of the questions that you are asked each day. He wants you to know that He has an endless reserve of love for you that will hold you up even when you feel like you are going under. In your gigantic job of being queen, He has strength upon strength for you each day. Enough for each job that is required of you. Enough for each task that is at hand. And know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are doing good hard work.
* * *
Dear Lord, thank You for this enormous job that You have given me, of loving and growing my child. Please fill me with Your strength, Your patience, and Your joy. Help me to lower my expectations of myself and place my hopes in You and who You are. Amen.CHAPTER 4
Your Small World
I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
My world revolves around the lives of three boys. Their schedules. Their schoolwork. Their needs and wants. When I look at my calendar, I often wonder, Is there anything on here that actually has to do with me? Other than going to the dentist? And then I realize, that isn't my dentist appointment. That is their appointment, too. So much of my life is about helping them establish theirs. My care for them often eclipses my own wants and needs. And it's okay. It is why I call my mom every other week and say, "Thank you." Because I realize so much of her life was spent loving and caring for me.
Everything shifted when I had my boys. When they were younger, my life revolved around their tireless feeding schedule. Nursing, in particular, was a difficult master to serve. It is tough when your body is a dairy. Your day is chopped up into three- to four-hour chunks. You barely finish one feeding when the next needs to start. I always looked forward to introducing solid food to their diet. Freedom was just around the corner. I had a friend text me around the time that my youngest, Addison, was transitioning to solid foods. I was still nursing, but I was also feeding him baby food when the rest of us ate. She asked if we could get together for coffee. My head almost exploded. I think my incoherent text back read something like, "Sorry ... I can't meet for coffee. ... I am feeding this kid seven times a day!" She probably thought I had lost my mind. And I had, a little. Life was beyond full.
My days were full to the top with ordinary living. I was feeding my boys, clothing them, washing their small bodies, cleaning up after them, giving them copious bedtime kisses, and then going to bed ... so that I could wake up and do it all over again. With babies came the reordering of my entire life. Their small world was eclipsing mine.
As your mom responsibilities grow, you may feel like your freedom is diminishing. You can't just dart off for a weekend in the wine country. Or sit down and read a single chapter of a book. Or even grab a cup of coffee with a friend, if we are being honest. Your gigantic job takes up a great deal of space in your world. The margins of your life grow smaller. It can be a tough adjustment. Some days it may feel like the walls are closing in.
But what is really happening is that you are living life to the full. To the very fullest fullness that there is. Motherhood has made your heart and your capacity to love so much bigger. And in that widening space of your love and your care for others, there is less time to be found ... for yourself. This is the thing. You are going to find that this mom thing has an ebb and flow to it. This season ... whatever season of fullness you are in, whether you are mom of an infant or a mom of teenagers ... it is just that. A season. The small margins of your life will over time get bigger and bigger. And it is so good to recognize that along with the crazy fullness of your life as queen comes the immense fullness of blessing.
God wants to pour out His blessings on you and your very full, very good life. He will pour out His blessings even when you feel like your head is going to explode. When you are feeding people seven times a day. When you can only dream of cups of coffee and good books. Or just one tiny moment of peace. Imagine the fullness of your life, settled into the wide expanse of His caring arms. As you pour out into these little ones (or big ones), He is pouring into you. Caring for you with endless grace. Unbelievable mercy. Unstoppable goodness. Your world may feel like it has gotten smaller, but His love for you is inexhaustible. Revel in that.
* * *
Lord, thank You for caring for me when the margins of life seem small. Remind me of the blessings that You have for me as I face this full day. I love You. Amen.CHAPTER 5
Recognizing Your Influence
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:2
My son Addison just got a dog for his tenth birthday. He has been begging us for a dog, he says, "for his whole life." Our whole family went to our local Humane Society, and Addie picked out a little Jack Russell terrier — Chihuahua mix and named him Flash. I told my husband, Scott, "I don't think I like small dogs." I'd had big dogs growing up. But Flash has won over my affections with his loving kisses and full-body joy. I find him adorable. He gets so excited to see us that his entire body breaks out in wiggles. I can't help responding to that joy. And for some reason, whenever I see him, I start talking like a weirdo. I don't know why. Something comes over me when I grab him up in my arms. I say, in a high-pitched squeal, "Oh my goodness! I love the puppy! He's so cute! He's so sweet. Oh my goodness!" Scott just rolls his eyes.
Excerpted from Queen of the Universe by Susannd Foth Aughtmon. Copyright © 2017 Susanna Foth Aughtmon. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Knowing Who You Are,
2. Being a Good Queen,
3. Your Gigantic Job,
4. Your Small World,
5. Recognizing Your Influence,
6. Remembering Whose You Are,
7. Looking for the Awesome Sauce,
8. Embracing Good Enough,
9. Hoping More,
10. Expecting Less,
11. Do Overs,
12. Finding Your Happy Place,
13. Taking Naps,
14. Letting Go,
15. Soaking Up Joy,
16. Inviting God into Your Day,
17. Counting on the Crazy,
18. Being Encouraged,
19. Being Grateful,
20. Healing Words,
21. Nurturing Small Bodies,
22. Cleaning Little People,
23. Controlling Yourself,
24. Having Manners,
25. Learning Kindness,
26. Teaching Little People,
27. Saying and Doing,
28. Showing and Telling,
29. Realizing What You Have,
30. Keeping Focused,
31. Being Together,
32. Laughing More,
34. Singing Lullabies,
35. Minding Life,
36. Laboring with Love,
37. Playing Hard,
38. Holding On,
39. Messing Up,
40. Fighting Fear,
41. Feeling All the Feels,
42. Praying Heavy,
43. Balancing Life,
44. Protecting Little People,
45. Remembering the Good,
46. The Best Gift,
47. Needing Jesus,
48. Blessing You,
49. Giving Up,
50. Knowing Him,
51. Loving You,
52. Queen for Life,