But the Neighbors are doing it!!

I’ve been kind of down on myself because I haven’t been posting as often as I want to. HOWEVER….it NEVER fails that God’s timing is not mine! When I sit down to read a book, there’s definitely a divine time line. He proved that to me again today.

So….I had to go get something out of a friend’s mailbox today. She lives in a very nice neighborhood, and on our way to her house the kids are “Ooooo’ing and Ahhhhh’ing” at all the “MANSIONS” that we’re passing. I hear a conversation like this:

Abby: Mama, look at that mansion! I wish we lived there!

Parker: Yeah…they have a drive through garage. That’s no fair.

Abby: Look how big their yard is. They could build an entire trampoline park in their yard.

Parker: Our yard barely fits a trampoline, and they could fit a hundred.

And so on….

It kinda made my heart a little sad. Why don’t my kids appreciate the house we live in? Don’t they know that we’re doing the best we can to provide a luxury life for them? But yeah, that house is REALLY nice. I DO wish we lived there. That would be nice. I bet they don’t have a worry in the world.

Fast forward to right now…..me sitting in the bed…..reading The Supermom Myth book….about comparison, envy, and discontentment.

{excerpt: We moms know how comparison creeps in even before birth. From pregnancy, we compare ourselves to other moms and our child to other children. We compare ourselves to other women–our body shapes, our accomplishments, our husbands, our homes. We compare haircuts, shoe styles, front lawns, and Christmas cookie cutouts.

You are responsible for you. I am responsible for me. God calls us each to follow Him, which involves loving and encouraging one another, yes, but we must resist COMPARING ourselves to each other. When we compare, we’re likely to draw one of two thorny conclusions: I am better, or I am worse. Neither is true according to God’s design.

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” (Galatians 6:4-5 MSG)

Comparison leads to envy, which leads to discontentment.

COMPARISON- Vacation plans, extreme couponing, diets, reading lists, scrapbooks, chore charts, and hand-sewn purses. Our spirits inflame with an impossible itch to be as clever, resourceful, energetic, and artsy as those OTHER women. Reality check–they can’t do everything. And neither can we. We all have our own “things”–yours aren’t better than mine, and mine aren’t better than yours. They’re just different.

ENVY- You know what happens when we covet, don’t you? We start thinking our stuff isn’t good enough. As if God doesn’t know what we need. Or worse, He’s holding out on us. If we really knew what went on in that bigger house or that supposedly perfect family, we might be relieved that it belongs to them and not us. In other words, we’d choose our own stuff. What if our fence lines are established by God for our own enjoyment and protection? Doesn’t that change how you look at your neighbor’s lawn?

My yard=boundaries and blessings designed just for me.

Their yard=outside of God’s plan for my life.

{insert my heart: Wow. Wow. Wow. That is so powerful. God has my family in this certain place for a reason. His blessings are overflowing, and I don’t need anything else!}

DISCONTENTMENT- Worry. Distractions. Coveting. Complaints. They inflame a mother’s perspective and steal her joy. But I’ve discovered a cure….STILLNESS.

{insert my heart: Be still and know that He is God. THAT IS ENOUGH!}

True contentment means putting God in charge and embracing His plans for your life, even when they’re different from your own. Contentment is not gained. It is learned:

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)

The more we talk and complain about a situation, the worse it looks, until the problem looms larger in our mind than our faith does. (Dr. Charles Stanley)

God will provide what is best, and this world is not all there is for us.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes NOT on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

{insert my heart: Y’all, this chapter revived my heart. It reminded me that my life has a purpose. And that purpose is God breathed. And that purpose is good enough. I’m not bringing in a significant income right now, but that’s ok. I’m pouring into my kids in a way that I’ve never been able to. THAT is more valuable than money. THAT is more valuable than a “mansion” or a trampoline park in our backyard. I don’t want to lose focus on that, because when I lose focus–I become discontent. I want to be content–and at peace–with my life right now. It’s the life God has chosen for me and my family, and it. is. a. blessing.}

Goodnight, friends!

 

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Worry much?

I’m just going to go ahead and tell you…..worrying is something I used to do every second of every day! Literally.

I worried about realistic things….unrealistic things……I worried about things that would probably never happen, but in my mind they had already happened. I worried myself sick and to the point of sleepless nights. It was absolutely exhausting.

But over the past several years, God has released me from a lot of my anxiety, fear, and worry. Through His Word, and only through His Word, I have come to love God more and fear the world less. Perfect love drives out fear, and His love is the only perfect love. So, let me share with you the next chapter in The Supermom Myth book, entitled “Worry Much?”

{excerpt: We moms sniff out danger at every turn, fiercely protecting our cubs from threats both real and imagined. Hey, it’s our job, right? God entrusted these children to our care, so by golly, we are determined not to mess it up.

Our enemy, Worry Woman, can choke the life from both parent and child faster than any other dirty villain we face. Worry inhibits our ability to enjoy our children, and it instills in our kids a sense of fear that hinders them from exploring beyond their parents’ emotional confines. Do you enjoy worrying? I sure hope not. Does it make you feel strong? More than likely it weakens your spirit. So why should we purposely impart this same debility to our children?

Equipping our children from the inside out: The best action we can take to protect our children is to teach them about God. So make it a priority to pray with your children . Explore Bible stories and memorize verses together. Point to God in everything you do and see. And teach your kids to protect their hearts from anything that would draw them away from God. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

3 common areas in which many of us struggle to let go:

  1. Growing up–The natural progression to school and independence
  2. Decision making–Empowering our kids to make wise choices
  3. Allow Dad to be Dad–Relinquishing control to coparent

 

The less our kids lean on us, the more they’ll need to lean on God. And that is the ultimate goal of parenting. And how will our children learn to make wise choices if we constantly make their decisions for them? One day, each of our children will make the ultimate choice–whether or not to live for Jesus. Let’s start now, building our kids’ confidence in their own decision-making abilities so that someday, when they’re grown, Jesus will be THEIR choice and not just some habit they picked up from Mom and Dad. Proverbs 1:8-9 says “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”  This tells me that fathers and mothers are in the game together. For kids with two caring and well-intentioned parents in their lives, the wisdom from each is valuable. When we moms try to control child-rearing decisions and squelch a husband’s input, we are effectively denying our children a blessing their father was designed to impart.

{my heart: I am guilty of all 3 areas of not wanting to let go. And probably 300 more. I want to thrive as a mom and I want my kids to strive for God, but some days I’m doing more harm than good. I see that now.

Something that God revealed to me a few years ago, as I was punishing myself for not being a perfect mom was this……If I was a “perfect mom” (or even close to perfect), then my kids would never have any reason to look to God for anything. We’re imperfect for a reason. Because in our imperfections, He is made known. Let that encourage you tonight.

Goodnight, friends!

 

 

The GROUCH on the COUCH

If you don’t think God is real or personal or has a sense of humor…you’re SO wrong!

Let me give you a real-life scenario……

We had just gotten home and I was a little aggravated. My husband asked me what was wrong. I told him I didn’t know…..because I really didn’t. {the joys of being a woman} He asked a couple more times, and I felt pressured to provide an answer. So, I went with what I thought was the root of my “grouchiness”, and I told him that I was frustrated that the house was such a mess. His reply…”What’s a mess?” Um…..are you BLIND?!? The whole house is a disaster!!!! Not one room in this house is clean. But apparently I’m the only one who cares. AHHHHHHHH!!!!

So…..I went and sat on the couch. And sulked. He walked out of the room, and I thought….”maybe I’ll go read my book” {The Supermom Myth}

And wouldn’t you know….the title of Chapter 2 is: The Grouch on the Couch! Bahahahahahaha……ok, God…I get it! I’m a grouch. And I’m sulking on the couch. You have my full attention. Speak…

{excerpt: Dirty Villian No. 1: The Grouch on the Couch. Proverbs 29:11 tells us, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” And James 1:19-20 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”}

Wow. Conviction already.

{excerpt as follows:

I’ve discovered–the hard way–six tricks to conquering the Grouch….

#1- Acknowledge the Grouch. The first step to conquering the Grouch is acknowledging her presence in the room. Recognize that your frustration is an object you can identify and control; it does NOT have to control you. Likewise, ignoring the Grouch, stuffing her down, or pretending she doesn’t exist can ultimately harm us and everybody around us. We become like pressure cookers, building steam until our tops blow and splatter droplets of frustration all over the people we love best.

#2- Know who your real enemy is–It’s NOT your kids. “God is love” (1 John 4:8), therefore Satan is thrilled when we act UNlovingly. One of the most effective tricks I’ve found for fighting the Grouch is this simple sentence–that unfailingly whips my perspective back into shape: I WILL NOT LET SATAN GET MY FAMILY!

{my heart/my personal dialogue:

When my children try to aggravate each other in every.possible.way….

I WILL NOT LET SATAN GET MY FAMILY!

When my daughter throws a diva-sized tantrum and needs my emotional presence, not my impatience….

I WILL NOT LET SATAN GET MY FAMILY!

When the house is a mess, and I’m the only one who seems to care…

I WILL NOT LET SATAN GET MY FAMILY!

{excerpt as follows:

#3- Discern Age-Appropriate Behavior. Our kids aren’t puppets; they’re people. They’re born with the same sin nature as ours and the same free will to make their own decisions. We all know how well that works for us sometimes. Can we really expect more from our kids than we do from ourselves? {insert my heart: wow. profound!}

We can’t control their hearts. We can only control our response.

Let’s follow God’s lead. He knows our limitations and our faults, yet He is kind to us. Can we do the same for our kids?

#4- The Quick-Switch Trick. Whenever we’re tempted to snap, immediately replace the angry thought with scripture. If only we woman could get our hands on a preventative drug for freaking out. We can. It’s called scripture. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) 

#5- Put a Little Love in Your Voice. Oh, how many disasters could be averted in our homes if we’d just put a little love in in our voice. Haven’t we moms figured out by now that impatience is counterproductive? When I bark at my kids, they tune me out at best. Sometimes they strike back. Worst, on rare but awful occasions, they cry. Then I’m left wishing for a do-over. Do you ever wonder if you’d act differently with Jesus in the room? Hey, I’d spiff up my behavior if the MAILMAN stopped by. Imagine how far I’d go to tame my tongue for the Lord??!??! But that’s the kicker….God IS in the room! His eyes are in our kitchens when we’re mopping spilled juice. He’s in our hallways when we’re wrestling kids to get ready. He travels in our vehicles when the kids bicker over who knows what?! Thankfully, the Lord is full of grace. {insert my heart: Thank you, Jesus, for your grace and unconditional love}

#6- Learn to Apologize. The key is to be aware of how our words, actions, and attitudes are stacking up–even in the midst of constant external pressures–and to make deliberate efforts to pile on more patience than pestering, more smiles than spewing, more softness than snits, and more hugs than hollers. When we apologize to our kids and ask for forgiveness, we show humility and invite grace into our homes. As moms, we need to take the necessity of forgiveness one step further and realize what it says to our children. When we apologize and ask our kids for forgiveness, it teaches them that we are not perfect, and we don’t expect them to be. Genuine apologies create an atmosphere of mutual grace, where kids and parents alike can feel free to make mistakes without condemnation. And that, my fellow moms, paints the very picture of Jesus for our children.

{insert my heart: God never ceases to amaze me. He always meets me right where I am. Tonight it was on the couch. In the midst of my frustration. He used this book to remind me that as a child of God, I’m called to rise above the Grouch that so frequently comes out. I’m super excited about using these 6 “tricks” and His Word to rise above what has become the norm for me and become the mom He’s called me to be. I was created in His image and I want to bear it proudly!

Goodnight, friends!

 

The Supermom MYTH….

So, as my mind’s been spinning the past couple of weeks with ideas of….Who am I? What’s my purpose? Am I doing enough? Am I doing anything right? What more do I need to do? etc….

I came across this book….

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And when I opened the front cover, I realized that I needed to read this book. ASAP!

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Because when it comes to my “Identity cRiSiS”….trying to be a SUPERMOM gets the best of me every.single.day.

So, that’s where this journey begins….and I hope you’ll join me. I will share excerpts from this book, and then I’ll share some things from my heart. One of my favorite quotes so far (from Chapter 1) is….”Honesty is a ministry.” So, that’s what I plan on doing–just like I have from day 1 of this blog. I want to share #reallife and #reallifeprobs with you. You are not alone. And neither am I!

Chapter 1–“Who are these little people, and how do I send them back?”

Before you had kids, did you have all these dreams about how perfect and adorable it was going to be? The baby showers were so fun, and all the baby items were precious! Feeling the baby move was amazing…..and then the baby came. Along with….sleepless nights, raging hormones, sporadic showers, lonely days, and “What the heck do I do with this thing” thoughts! Your husband heads back to work after several days….back to a normal life. Where adults are. And hour lunch breaks– with no baby to swaddle or nurse.  NO FAIR!!!!!

{excerpt: Children are demanding; moms are selfish. Children generate messes; moms hate to clean. Children get sick; moms fear that the germs will spread. Children hamper our social lives, sex lives, work lives, and our innermost can-I-just-have-a-minute-to-live-inside-my-own-head-please thoughts!!!! Because, let’s get real….most days we don’t have any original thoughts left in our brains after a day spent wiping green beans off the floor and singing the Doc McStuffins theme song over and over and over again.}

{excerpt: But like so many of us, I persevered with God’s help. I dug into the Bible for answers to my crankiness, my loneliness, my fatigue, and my fears. I prayed desperately for wisdom and guidance. I pocketed verses that fueled me through long and lonely hours. And as my husband and I celebrated first smiles, first steps, first words, and first birthday candles, we found ourselves living a new rhythm–one in which God’s grace sets the tempo. Oh, how we need Him every.single.day.}

{excerpt: Underneath the chaos and frustrations of family life, we moms cherish our children to the core of our souls. Why is it so hard to show it sometimes? We get cranky, anxious, and overwhelmed. We’re too busy, too tired, too ambitious, too distracted. We snap. We nag. We resent and regret, and on bad days we grant our children more pain than peace. How can we prevent those bad days from beating us down??}

{my heart: I’m pretty certain that this lady has hidden cameras in my house and has written this book about me!!!}

{excerpt: So, how can we prevent bad days from beating us down??…First, identity your villains. Then, with God’s strength, rise and conquer!}

Villains:

  • anger
  • worry
  • comparison
  • busyness
  • unhealthy approaches to housework
  • exhaustion
  • husband-neglect
  • self-neglect

 

Are you as excited as I am to move on to the next chapter?!?! I’ve purposely waited until I wrote this blog before I moved on. I want to give you a chance to go grab this book and read it with me! Put it on your to-do list tomorrow and check back in each day (or every-other-day) and let’s recap it together. BUT…..if you don’t get the book, please still tune in. You’ll be blessed by the excerpts I share and other things that God lays on my heart to share.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the HOPE to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great POWER for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 1:18-20

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave is the same power that’s living inside you. and me. IF WE BELIEVE! Claim it, sisters!

Goodnight, friends!

 

 

My identity has been stolen!

So, let me just share what’s been on my heart lately.

A couple weeks ago, I was getting my headlight fixed, and I started thinking…Who am I? (Random, I know!)

I’m stretched so thin as a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and now a TEACHER! My gosh….who the heck am I for real?! Have I lost myself in all these roles? Where is the fun, always laughing, my life is a natural high, energetic, Ton Ton from back in the day?!?

How do I get her back?

That was on a Monday. Well, that Wednesday at church, the sermon was on our IDENTITY. But not our “worldly identity”…our identity in Christ. Hmmmmm….

Maybe THAT’S what I’m missing?! Who am I in Christ? What is His purpose for me? And why do I feel like I’m not fulfilling that purpose?!!?

Ok, so fast forward to several days ago. We were at the beach, and the whole week I’m waiting for this big “AHA!” moment when God reveals my identity and tells me my purpose. I wait. And wait. And wait. But no “AHA!” moment. I started feeling pretty broken. Worthless. Confused. But then….me and Parker went walking on the beach to find seashells. I kept finding these really big broken pieces of seashells. I kept throwing them back, because I wished that I could find the whole BIG seashell. But after about the 3rd broken seashell I picked up, I heard God whisper…..”You see broken, but I see mended.”

Wow.

There are things in my life that makes me feel so broken. So useless. So hopeless. But God does not see me like that. I may see the broken pieces of my life, but He sees me as mended because He sent His Son to put those pieces back together.

My identity is not found in the things of this world….it’s found in Him. I am a daughter of The King, and He calls me His PRINCESS!

Satan stole my identity, but I’m on a journey to get it back!

Join me on this journey, and let’s figure out who we really are!!!

Goodnight, friends!