Me and my raw emotions

Note: I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts for a long time. I guess I wasn’t ready to share it, but over the past several months I have experienced much healing and restored strength. I hope my vulnerability in what I’ve written will help someone else who can relate.

Have you ever just been at a place in life where you have been emotionally strong for months on end, but then the smallest little comment or slight from a friend or even just an acquaintance can set you off? Tears begin to flow like a dam has been broken.

I am in that place right now. For a long time I’ve just been numb to my feelings almost. Like I am strong on the outside but I really know I’m only avoiding the hurt. But then tonight a friend texts me about something and corrects (more like reprimands) me. She was wrong… I was right… but that doesn’t matter. I was polite and I kept my cool and kept my friend… but then all my emotions just flooded out of me.

My husband noticed that something was wrong and asked me about it. But I couldn’t talk about it. He wouldn’t understand. I just needed to get away and cry.

Cry because my friend treated me like an ignorant simpleton. Cry because I’m really hurt and angry at her and I wanted to tell her off but I also wanted to keep my friend. Cry because it’s stupid to be so upset over something so silly. Cry because I miss my mom but she is emotionally unavailable to me. Cry because I miss my dad but he’s not in an emotionally healthy sate either. Cry because I’m so tired and haven’t really slept well since the baby was born. Cry because I just need time to myself but at the same time I don’t want to be alone…

So here I am… sitting in the dark typing this on my phone. Not even sure if I will publish it. After all, my blogs are supposed to be encouraging right? But this is the real me right now. I’m a mess…

Yet… even now in this dark room, my face wet with tears, and the sobs still escaping my throat, I can sense the presence of Jesus. His word promises that he draws near to those with a broken heart. I know he is here.

This is not the first time I’ve felt this way, and it won’t be the last. I’ve learned that Jesus is always ready and waiting for me to reach out to him. He can and does heal my brokenness each time.

He doesn’t care how silly it is that I got my feelings hurt over nothing. He knows it goes much deeper than that. He lets me cry and then he holds me close. He loves me. He soothes me. He calms me.

I will sleep well tonight after I’ve cried it all out. Jesus will sit here beside me and stroke my hair and caress my arm. He will not leave me alone.

I will be okay.

Will the Next Generation Know the Lord?

“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”

‭‭Judges‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I found this scripture quite convicting this morning. I was struck by the realization of how much responsibility we have, as parents, to ensure our children truly know God.

The background of this scripture is the story of the Israelites’ journey out of bondage in Egypt to the promise land of Canaan. God had promised he would bless them and they would prosper as long as they remained faithful to him. He instructed them and showed them many great miracles all throughout the 40 years they wondered in the wilderness. Now here they were in the promised land. They are blessed and they are prospering finally. I imagine they took a deep breath and said to themselves, “Now we can relax!”

But in doing this, they neglected to teach their children about the God who loved them and saved them! Yes, they went to the temple and made sacrifices and did their duty to the Lord. They most likely even had that sincere and loving relationship with the Lord themselves, but apparently they failed to pass that down to their children.

How do I know this? Well, Joshua 2:10 says the next generation did not know the Lord. If they had been introduced to God, and taught his ways, they would have known him. Yet, their parents enjoyed relationship with God all their own, without sharing it with their children.

I see this a lot in our Christian churches, and I admit, I myself have been guilty of it. Praying and enjoying God’s word while my kids are playing and doing other things. It’s easy to not include them in that time and to talk to them about how important it is to have a relationship with God.

It’s easy to lay down the law, the “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots,” without introducing them to the freedom of living in communion with their savior. No wonder so many young people leave the church as soon as they are old enough to make their own decisions. They view their Christian faith as a prison, not as the liberty it truly is.

I wonder… was this what happened to the generation of Israelites in Joshua chapter two?

As parents, we MUST take our responsibility to train up our children (Proverbs 22:6) seriously. Let us not just relax and expect them to just “get it.” Yes, they are watching us. They need us to demonstrate how to pray, study the word and worship God, but they also need to us to teach them about God so they will know him! Because when they KNOW God, they will love him and follow and obey him out of that love.

It can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Where do we start? How do we teach our kids about God? Though I know I’m not perfect, I have started doing a few things with my kids to encourage a relationship with God and to teach them about who he is.

The first thing to do is to pray with them! It doesn’t have to be “a lot” of prayer. Children are simplistic. They just need simple words and thoughts. That’s all. I will pray a little prayer over my kids, then I let them say their own heartfelt prayer to God. You will be amazed at how sweet and sincere they are. Some of the things they pray for will not seem very spiritual to us, but it means everything to our children. For instance, my daughter prays for the rain to stop or for the dog to have a good day. I never correct her. I let her pray from her heart.

The next thing is praise and worship with them! This will look much different with children than it does with adults. I turn the music on and we jump around and dance and clap and sing. This is also is a great workout for us moms who don’t get a lot of time to exercise! (Just saying! Ha!)

It’s also very VERY important to teach our kids the Word of God. I have been using The Family-Time Bible by Kenneth N. Taylor. It has beautiful pictures and very short, but detailed stories that that keep my child’s attention. It takes less than 5 minutes to read each story and discuss it.

All of this doesn’t seem like much to us as adults, but it does so much in the way of leading our children to Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but I have been challenged by God’s Word today.

Lord, let me ensure my kids KNOW you as they grow into adulthood.

A Blessed Christmas

So Christmas has past and what a blessed one it has been. I know it sounds cliche and a bit cheesy, but I really am so thankful for all God has given me. A wonderful husband, children and a beautiful home. Not to mention salvation and peace in knowing him.

I grew up in a home that was full of chaos. Christmas was not usually a joyous occasion. It was hectic at best and a battle ground at worst. My parents were given to yelling at us and each other. My sisters and I were used to it and didn’t think much of it, but as I got older, I realized how stressful it was and how ouch it affected me.

When I moved out on my own, I dreaded going back home for holidays. I had created a quiet and peaceful life for myself, and it was turned upside down in just a few hours of being with my family.

When I got married and moved two states away, I thought I would miss Christmas with my family, I did miss it in a way, every time I made the effort to go and visit them, I came away feeling heavy and depressed.

This past year, a lot has changed with my family of origins. One major change is that my parents got divorced, and even more is my mother is remarried. Even though it has been building up for years, this came as a shock to my system.

So this year as Christmas approached, I decided I would not allow guilt and disappointment from my past to haunt me. Instead, I chose to focus on making happy memories and new traditions with my husband and children.

I’m 38 years old. My childhood seems a lifetime ago. Although it played a huge part in who I am today, it does not define me.

This realization has really helped me this Christmas. I was free to truly enjoy my home and family without feeling the guilt of not including my family of origins or without too much disappointment that they don’t have their act together enough to send a simple Christmas card.

I am still working through a lot of things where they are concerned but I have come such a long way over the years. I am not the same person I was 10 years ago. This is a cause for me to celebrate, because it is proof that God still works Miracles!

To sum it up, Christmas was so special this year. It was Little Mister’s first Christmas, as well as mine truly letting go of the past and reaching forward towards the future.

I’m looking forward to 2020 and all the blessings and lessons it holds.

New Baby (Part 3)

When I found out I was pregnant with my final baby, my husband and I were both apprehensive. It was a big surprise. We were filled with mixed emotions, because as I said in past posts, there was so many things going on. We were both pretty stressed.

Of course, my natural inclination in uncertain times is to always run to the Lord. I brought it to him in prayer over and over again. I leaned into his strength, and I sought clarity and understanding. Which, as his word promises, he gave to me.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt I was having a boy. I just knew. We already had a boy name chosen. My husband always said he wanted to name another son “Noah” if we ever had one. So that was the name we settled on. We never even considered a girl name, because I just knew.

Since we had the name chosen, I decided to do a little research on the meaning. It is a Hebrew name meaning “rest” and “comfort.”

When I read that, it was like a light bulb came on! This baby was a gift from God. He was a symbol of the rest and comfort the Lord would give us after the tumultuous year we had had.

Many times during the nine months that I carried my son, God spoke to me through his word, through prayer, and by using others to prophecy over me. Each time he spoke words of comfort and encouragement and reminding me that he is in control. He has a plan that is greater than anything I can imagine.

He even spoke to me a few times on specific ways to handle certain family members who were causing me such pain at the time. He showed me how to love them from a distance and he gave me to strength to forgive them.

I will always cherish the time I had while I was pregnant with my little boy. While it was hectic and a little scary, it was a special time of sweet communion with God.

The darker the night is, the brighter the light of our savior shines. That’s exactly how it was. Now every time I hold my son, I am reminded of God’s goodness and I also know that Little Mister has a special calling on his life. One placed on him by his maker before he ever took his first breath.

One of Many Weaknesses

Time management… ugh. I really struggle with it. Who doesn’t right? Yet I know there are people out there who have worked hard to get their time under control. I can say I’m working hard on it myself, but I still don’t have it mastered. I am better at it then I was a year ago, though.

One of the things I think makes it hard for me to manage my time is a little something called perfectionism. I am greatly plagued by it. So much so, that when I believe I cannot complete a task perfectly I put it off. This often means it never gets done at all.

For instance, I have a 3rd blog post in a series called “New Baby” that I want to write and post. But it feels like it has to be just right, and since I don’t feel like I can write it perfectly until I am in the right frame of mind, I haven’t even started on it.

So instead, I decided to write this blog, which is actually a very good step in the right direction for me. I’m writing, and that is the goal ultimately.

Anyway, back to the topic of time management. My husband and I own a business. I oversee the administrative side of things from home. I also have a five-year-old, who I homeschool, and an infant. Needless to say, I stay quite busy.

In April, I hired an office/personal assistant to help me with the day-to-day. She comes in and does things around the house, helps with the kids, and also answers the phones for our business, as well as many other things. She has been a godsend!

Yet I still struggle to keep my house clean and the meals prepared. I have implemented a few different things that have helped a lot.

Something I have recently signed up for is a meal planning program called Prep Dish. Each Friday, I receive an email with the meal plan, the grocery list and the preparation instructions. That, along with the Wal-Mart Grocery Pickup app, has been a game changer for meal time!

I also use Amazon Subscribe and save for paper goods and household items that we need to restock regularly in our home. It works great for things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and even dog food!

Another app that is really helpful for me is called Productive. It is a habit building app that allows you to check your daily and weekly habits off of a list as you complete them. It tracks the habits and you can earn badges and celebrate when you reach a goal. It really has made a difference with making the beds and cleaning up the kitchen just to name a few.

Something I have learned is that managing my time will never come easily, but with a little bit of work and determination, it can be conquered. And, just like the popular sports brand says, “just do it!”

What a Day

www.bible.com/1/zec.14.9.kjv

It’s difficult to imagine, but one day very soon, Jesus will return to Earth and establish His kingdom. The Bible says He will stand on the Mount of Olives and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord!

That will be one amazing day! His reign on this Earth will last 1000 years and all of us who have been born again will reign with Him as kings and priests.

Along side Jesus, we will judge and rule over the people remaining from the Great Tribulation.

I look forward to that day… No more wars. No more anger or hatred. No more offense. Only peace and joy.

Truly… what a day that will be…

Happy Veterans Day!

Wishing all those who have fought for our great nation and those who are currently enlisted a very happy Veterans Day!

God bless you for your sacrifice!!

New Baby (Part 2)

I went through a lot of emotional turmoil during the course of my pregnancy with my son. First of all, one of my stepsons was involved in a major ordeal that set the entire family on it’s head. We were all confused, sad, and scared. I think that may have been one of the main reasons my husband was not too thrilled about having a new baby. The timing just felt all wrong. And honestly, it was hard for me to be happy about the baby while we were all worried about our other child.

Thankfully, a month after we realized we were expecting, we received good news about our older son. The circumstances were beginning to turn around and there was light at the end of the tunnel. By that time, Babe was beginning to warm up to the idea of having another baby. We began to discuss what the gender may be and what names we would like.

With that crisis virtually behind us, now we could just enjoy the pregnancy, right? Well, my emotions were very raw during this pregnancy. I cried at the drop of the hat. It was much different than my first one, where I would react in anger instead of sadness, but that is a story for another time.

So being as delicate as I was, I really became a mess when I began to get news from my parents and siblings who live two states away. My parents who had been having marital problems for years were going through with a divorce. My mother decided to move in with another man whom she just met a few weeks earlier, while she was still married to my dad, and my grandmother was all but encouraging it, because she loved the new guy so much and has always detested my father.

Oy… what a mess. I was getting phone call after phone call, text after text, each of them trying to get me to listen and agree with their version of events. My poor sister (the middle child) was being sucked into their drama and so she would call me in tears not sure how to deal with it all.

My dad who is addicted to pain meds, was having severe health issues. He’s a diabetic and a heavy smoker. He is also terrible with his finances. He called me one day, begging for money. I couldn’t give it to him. Not only could I not afford to give him money he would never return to me, but he would just blow it on things that would hurt him.

So he became angry with me. We argued and he hung up on me and called me back a few times until finally I stopped answering. After that, we went several weeks… maybe even a few months… without speaking to each other.

This is just a few small things that went on while I was pregnant. I was a mess. My heart was broken and I was worried about my family. I spent a lot of nights crying myself to sleep, my sweet husband rubbing my back and praying for me.

One night, I was so spent, I got out of bed and sat in the living room. I cried harder than I had in a long time. Just so discouraged and overwhelmed by the mess that was my family. I felt hurt and betrayed. I felt like I had given so much to them and they were being so selfish in return…

That’s when Babe came in and laid his hands on my head and began to pray for me and plead the blood of Jesus over my mind. Peace flooded me at that moment and I realized how blessed I really am. I have a wonderful, godly husband who loves me, and I have four amazing children.

As hard as it was, I had to let go of my family of origins. I had to leave them in God’s hands. I had to separate myself from them, more than just by physical distance. I had to step back emotionally.

The only family member I spoke to for most of the end of my pregnancy was my sister. She was dealing with the mess in person and she really needed my encouragement. But the rest, I stopped communicating with for a period of time.

I wrote a letter to my mother and grandmother to explain why, and my grandmother’s response was less than kind. My mother never bothered to respond at all. It hurt deeply.

I struggled with anger. All of this was bringing things to light inside of me that I had buried a very long time. Memories of abuse and neglect. Realization of deception and hypocrisy. It was all being revealed, and I had to figure out how to cope with it all.

In my next “New Baby” post I will talk about how the Lord brought healing, and how he used our precious bundle of joy to do just that.

Fall & Entertaining & (non) Perfection

I love the Fall. It puts me in the mood to clean, organize and decorate my home. I adore Fall decor. It really is my favorite. There is just something so comforting about the earthy colors and spicy-sweet scents.

Fall also, makes me want to have family and friends close by. Maybe that’s why I want to clean and organize so much. Because I have a strong desire to entertain.

So tomorrow night, I am having a potluck for mom’s from my church. It will be a kid-free evening with lots of good comfort food and a bonfire. As I made out my to-do list for prepping for the gathering, I realized I’m much less stressed about it then I thought I would be. Especially since I haven’t really had a lot of sleep this week. My infant son is teething and has been sick, so he’s kept me up.

I can attribute some of my stress-free attitude to new homemaking habits I have started, but I think it is more that I have matured a lot and I realize that my house does not have to be perfect. I used to think I had to have every little thing in place and every surface had to shine in order to have people over. I wanted to impress.

While I really do want to have a nice and inviting home, I realize that it doesn’t have to be pristine. As a matter of fact, people seem to be more relaxed in a home that is “lived in”. I know I am.

I mean, have you ever been to a home that is immaculate? How did you feel? Personally, I feel a little uncomfortable. I’m afraid I may knock something out of place.

But when I am in a home that has a little clutter here or there and a few dirty dishes in the sink, I feel like I can make myself more at home. I know that these people are real and they are down to earth.

All of that to say, tomorrow night is going to be great. All these Moms who have worked hard taking care of their families can come to my home and relax. And I pray they can feel comfortable and reassured that perfection is not important.

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