I’m so excited that y’all get to hear from one of my college roommates, Marella, today! She is a steady, faithful friend and seeker of the Lord, and I can’t imagine college without her. I’m pretty sure (as you’ll see through this post) that my love of coffee traces straight back to the mornings (and nights) in our college home!
Marella Carlton, here! I just turned 31 years old and am married to my college sweetheart for almost 8 years! I currently stay at home with the two sweetest sons – Sawyer 2 years old and Holden 11 months! I had the great privilege of living with Cody while we were in college and she’s the dearest friend anyone could ever ask for! I live in North Carolina with my family and we’re in the season of pinching pennies while Troy completes his PhD and we raise the little boys. I was previously employed as a Licensed Professional Counselor, and focused my work with parents struggling with defiant little ones ages 2-7.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE SEASON OF LIFE THAT YOU ARE IN RIGHT NOW?
Currently I’m in the season of truly living. I know that sounds corny, but I’ve longed to be a mother for a long time, and I can honestly say this 2-year journey has far exceeded my expectations. This is such a sweet season of life for me, one I have craved for many years and am so blessed to embrace. Having our sons so close together, 14.5 months apart, was a challenge I was excited about! My days are full of playing on the floor, managing naptimes and outings (you know – to Target, the park and Starbucks Drive-thru), cooking, cleaning, wiping bottoms, wiping mouths and hands, drinking coffee during naptime and then restarting the routine when the boys wake up! I spend my days talking to God a lot in my thoughts – praying for guidance and wisdom on raising sons in today’s world.
HOW DOES YOUR QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD LOOK DIFFERENT TODAY THAN IT DID A YEAR AGO?
My quiet times look very different today than they did when I was working and my day had more traditional structure. I was previously a faithful morning worker-outer and Bible Studier pre-kids. During this season, I don’t set an alarm most days and am awakened by the sweet chatter and cooing of my boys (and the occasional sudden squeal for “Mommy!”). Now my quiet times normally come as I sit and drink coffee during 12:30 naptime and talk to the Lord. I am currently reading a study Troy gave me for Mother’s Day, Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Mom’s to Meet with Jesus by Karen Ehman – and the nuggets of truth are empowering. I am drawn to Jesus and coffee during this season, because the coffee is hot and I HAVE to sit down to enjoy it. A mommy trick I’ve learned – you can’t successfully clean, do laundry, cook WHILE drinking hot coffee! And I LOVE coffee… I mean LOVE it!!! I don’t think I need the caffeine (ha- who am I kidding!) but I enjoy the taste and have so many fond memories associated with the beverage! Memories of being a Young Life leader and drinking coffee with my high school girls while we chatted, sitting with college roommates at our House Breakfast each week, even going on cheap day-dates with Troy when we were newlyweds! Drinking coffee during this season takes on a whole new symbolism. It causes me to be still – and that’s when I hear The Lord speak truths to me in this season. I hear His reassuring voice, I feel His empathetic pat on the back, and this renews me for Round 2 after naptime! Enough about coffee (but seriously … it’s totally my love language!) but it is my trick to being still and seeking His presence.
WHAT ARE SOME APPLICABLE, TANGIBLE WAYS TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DRAW NEAR TO HIM?
Well, if coffee’s not your thing… (kidding)… I think the most applicable way to draw near to our Lord is to be present in your life! Listen to the birds, talk to your neighbors, live in community and be encouraged by your calling – whatever that may be in this particular season for you. Recognizing that at this very time – I am called to be a mommy, a wife, and a friend. I’m called to encourage and listen to those around me. I’m also present in a way I didn’t feel I was present in life a few years ago. I’m actively looking for the Lord and His presence – not just reading about Him! During this season of Living – I see the Lord in my sons’ expressions, their pure JOY when we see an ant or a turtle or a simple leaf falling from the tree. I am consistently reminded of the Lord’s presence and comfort as I watch Sawyer embrace (read – tackle) and kiss his little brother! The Lord is definitely revealing His presence in my every day, mundane life. This season of Living has reminded me of the importance of the small things. I mean the really small things!
WHAT’S LACKING IN YOUR “QUIET TIME”?
Though I’m not in the Bible as much as I’d like to be – I’d say I truly feel close and intimate with the Lord during this season. He’s revealing himself to me constantly as I look into the precious blue eyes of my boys. As I’m awake during the middle of the night nursing Holden and holding his sweet little hand, I’m reminded that the Lord is holding me right in the palm of his hand. During this season of life over the past year, we’ve listened to Christian music in the house and Alexa (our Echo dot) always seems to deliver just what this mama needs to hear! Music to quiet our hearts and fix our eyes on Him – even in the busy chaos of playing basketball, building blocks or riding the scooter. Truly, being a mom of two has FORCED me to lean on my heavenly Father. Praying without ceasing has taken on an entire new meaning as I pray for the safety of my boys (though we’ve had a gashed eyelid glued back together and now a broken shin bone…. These are minor compared to the number of tumbles that happen every day!)
Writing this has reminded me that my quiet time doesn’t have to look a certain way – because I’ll admit that there are times I need to be reading the Word and I crave time rocking on our front porch with my nose in a book reading the truthful applications! I get that time – but during this season of Living – the Lord has prompted me to be Still and feel his presence. He has graciously blessed us with the sweetest two sons to care for – and makes it known to me that my family is my priority at this stage. I will go back to my professional job one day – there will always be defiant kids whose parents are at their wits end!! And in the Fall, I’ll start a new Bible Study on Wednesdays mornings (with childcare!!) and I’ll get that structure back to my quiet time routing – study, application and prayer. But for now, for these sweet summer days, I’m so content and fulfilled just living in the Season of living life to the full!!
HOW CAN YOU PRAY FOR ME?
Goodness, can I even count thy ways? I’d love prayer for being intentional with each child! I don’t want one son to ever feel left out. It’s a challenge when they are this young and still need mommy All.The.Time to choose who to pick up first. Lately since Sawyer’s fractured leg- he’s needed me in a whole new way and it’s been hard! Hard on my aching back and hard on his brother to share mommy! I’ll definitely covet some prayers for true healing for Sawyer after his fall at the park and no residual impact on his bone or front teeth that hit a metal bar when he slipped through the ladder. Prayers for patience and joy are ALWAYS appreciated!
by marella carlton
This post is part of the Summer of Seasons that Darcee and I are hosting. Our hope is that as others share about seeking God in their particular season of life, we would all be encouraged to know and love and seek after the Lord more in our daily lives.