Tag Archives: moms

What An Imagination! {A True Tale of Motherhood}

imagining-motherhood-300x200Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories. – John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

Imagining Motherhood.

I was 26 years young. I had visions of being a stay-at-home mom. I imagined motherhood to be lots of cooing and giggling and love. I imagined I would take my baby to all of the play dates and tumbling classes. My husband would come home from work to a sparkling home and a happy momma with child.

Then reality quickly (and literally) hit home. With my first child I was learning the ropes. Thankfully, I had time to focus on my daughter and try to figure this parenting thing out. But then we had two. And again, I imagined.

I imagined I would have time to…..

To finish reading the full article, go to: Rio Grande Valley Moms Blog

Seeing God in Mammas

Three mothers in living room with babies and coffee smiling

I had the privilege to speak to a Mops group yesterday. It’s one of my favorite things to do! My topic was fear. The title was Fighting Your Fears (So You Can Flourish).  It’s ironic in part because I am always so nervous before I speak and once I get up there I feel God’s peace and He takes over. So by me standing up there, being brave and doing what I know He’s called me to do, I am fighting my fears. And that was the foundation of my message. Every time I am afraid to do something but do it anyways, I am fighting my fears. And then I saw this last night and was like, confirmation!

FullSizeRender

And as if that wasn’t enough, Priscilla Shirer, in the Bible Study I taught last night (Armor of God), said almost word for word some of the stuff I talked on about just having to step out, and she even used the same illustration I did about Peter walking on water, and how sometimes we’re just going to have to step out of the boat, even in the midst of all the wind and waves.

I have to tell you, I saw God all over those mammas yesterday. October is Pregnancy, Infant Loss Awareness Month. They showed a music video right before my talk to remember all the mammas in the room who had lost a little one. I could see Him healing through the tears and having someone acknowledge their pain. It was a sacred moment.

And then after I spoke, I joined a group for their small group discussion time. As I listened to mamma after mamma pour out their fears, I also saw God at work, as other mammas joined in to bring advice and encouragement. And I could see God at work that morning, as the ladies were coming head on with some of their own fears, not wanting to allow those fears to paralyze them or keep them from being all that God has called them to be. And many talked to me afterwards  sharing their own fears and I saw God at work and it was beautiful.

He is at work…every.single.day.

And all we have to do is look for Him. Be intentional. Wake up each morning and say, “Lord, Help me to see you today, in the everyday, ordinary parts of my life.”

Back To School Prayer

 

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1 Peter 5:7- Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.

Lord, as we send our kids off to school, we say today that we trust You. Ultimately, they are in Your hands. Calm our anxious thoughts; speak peace to our emotions. We surrender them into your care. Protect them and give them peace. Help them to be a friend to others and to make some new friendships. Help them to not feel overwhelmed with so much new information. Give them things throughout the day to bring them joy. Give them favor with their peers and all of their teachers. Help them to not get distracted and to be good listeners. May this be the best year yet- a year of growth, a year of strength, a year of learning to trust You more, and a year of surrendering fears and overcoming much.

We also pray for the teachers today. May you fill their hearts with joy and give them all that they need to start this new year. Instead of seeing a child as disruptive or a troublemaker, may you give them eyes to see each child how you see them, with compassion and grace. We pray that these teachers will feel appreciated, encouraged, and loved. We pray that You, Lord, would help them to connect to each student individually. Give them wisdom for each situation that they might encounter and give them patience.

Give the students and the teachers strength- praying that this truly would be the best year yet! We surrender our schedules, our plans, and our agendas, and say, Lord, have Your way. Help us all, students, teachers, and parents, to work together for one common goal. Help us all to communicate effectively and to have grace for one another, knowing that even though we all have different roles, we are working together to make this a great year.

You are good Lord, and we know that there’s nothing that will happen this year that You can’t handle. You are the One who calms our anxious hearts and gives us exactly what we need when we need it. We look to You to be our helper for this new school year. Every project, every homework assignment, every tough situation, every challenge- You’ve got this and we put our hope and our trust in You, and You alone. In Jesus name, Amen.

He will keep watch over our children and keep them from harm (paraphrased from Psalm 121:7).

The Lord protects and preserves them– they are counted among the blessed in the land– he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. Psalms 41:2

 

 

 

Mommy Fears

mommy fears

Always do what you are afraid to do ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mommy Fears. We all have them. I wish I could put on some mommy armor that would render these fears ineffective. But they’re real- and they affect me. Most people I meet have something that scares them or there’s something holding them back from being all that God has created them to be. The older I get, the more I realize how much these fears affect everything I do. Fears paralyze you from moving or taking action. Fears make you think you are safe by not acting on what you, deep down, know you should do. One of the enemy’s greatest lies is to make us believe that these fears are truths in our lives. One of my biggest mommy fears was talking to my kids about sex and everything else that goes along with that topic. I’ve had a few victories in this area. I read my daughter a book once (Gods Design for Sex by Stan & Brenna Jones). I bought her the Body Book by Nancy Rue and we went over that when she was around 11. Now she’s 14- I just knew we needed to have a much bigger talk so that we could be comfortable and keep the dialogue open of dating, purity, waiting, etc. Years. It’s been a fear for years. The enemy had me believing I couldn’t go there. I didn’t have any of these talks with my mom growing up and so the enemy told me that somehow I was ill equipped and not enough…What happens when you have a fear and instead of stepping out and doing it anyways, you think about it and think about it and then think about it some more? Our fears become much bigger than the item at hand really is. In our minds, it becomes overwhelming.

Lie– I just don’t know how, so I won’t. I am not equipped and not enough.

 Truth– With every victory, the enemy’s voice grows weaker and weaker.

 My friend let me borrow her Passport2Purity CDs from Focus on the Family. I had them for a few months and put it off like the plague. My friend let me know that she would be moving soon to another state and I knew I needed to return her CDs to her.

So I took the first step. I found an inexpensive room close by (South Padre Island, TX.). Once the wheels were in motion, I knew I had to follow through. Before reading anything or listening to the CDs, I let my daughter know about my fun plans I had for us. Unfortunately, because of my own awkwardness around the topic, my words failed me. “We’re going to have a night away at the Island and I have some curriculum we’re going to go over.” (Don’t ever say that to your teenager). Insert crickets chirping here. “Um…okay… curriculum?” If there were ever a rewind button in life, this is about where I would have pushed it! As I sat there driving with my daughter in the back seat, I tried to redeem my social awkwardness. And the next week we went. I was prayed up and had friends praying for me- that I would be able to relax and not make it too awkward. And what a wonderful couple of days it was! We ate out, swam, drove go-carts, played all of the CD’s and talked after each one while she filled out her journal. I honestly could feel God’s peace over that time together. I know He was with me and blessed our time immensely.

And guess what? It wasn’t as big of a deal as I had set it up to be in my mind for… years. A huge burden was lifted because I silenced the enemy by doing it afraid. As his voice got weaker and weaker, God’s voice got louder and louder.

Do what you fear and fear disappears. ~ David Joseph Schwartz

Recently I read something, and realize it to be true more than ever….

celestepost

Do you believe that?

I’ll let you in on a little secret about my relationship with the phone. I do not like talking on the phone. I have to tell you- for someone who has friends across the US and family far off, this probably makes them think I’m pretty self-absorbed. I’m usually not the one who calls. And I’m not proud of this. In the past, I’ve been so consumed by this that I would rehearse in my mind why I don’t talk on the phone. It would go something like this: I’ve got however many family members to catch up with. Which ones to call first? And mentally I’m preparing because it’s been so long since we’ve last talked, I know I’ll need to update my life from the beginning. It’s the same thing with my friends. Which one to call first? And I will have to update everything I have been up to since the last time we talked. And by this time I’m so emotionally exhausted, guess what? I don’t even make the call. Sad. I know. I realize I am running from something and every single time I choose to just pick up the phone and make the call, I am a little freer. Marilyn Ferguson says, “Ultimately we know deeply that the other side if every fear is freedom.” It really wasn’t as hard as I thought. And I am actually refreshed by talking to someone I care about! And I realize once again…

Everything I’m running away from is in my head.

I have self-preservation issues too. Sometimes I under commit because I don’t want to wear myself out and be too tired. I want to preserve myself… but for what? It’s like a fear of being worn out or tired. So I try to stay in my safe little bubble and in my controlled little world. And I miss out on so many opportunities to be a part of something bigger than myself. I know that truly living and honest, authentic community is found in the deep and sometimes craziness of life.

Everything I’m running away from is in my head.

I wonder what our lives would look like if we looked our fears in the face and did it anyway? The talk, helping out, reaching out, inviting others over, being the first to call, changing things up with our kids when we get in a rut, sharing a struggle with a close friend, inviting that neighbor over for coffee, teaching that Bible Study, mentoring that young girl, asking your kids the hard questions, running that 5k, letting go of trying to control everything, or whatever else has a hold on you and gives you anxiety just thinking about it!

About two years ago we were going through transition and my husband asked me to pray about homeschooling our three kids and I laughed. “You’re a funny man,” I said. It was on a list I made to God called my “I Will Never” list. And for all of my children’s lives I said, “I will never homeschool.” (I can be stubborn at times when I’m afraid of something.) I was terrified to homeschool. This brought my mommy fears to a whole new level! Not only do I not remember much about school but what I do remember was not all that great! And I am supposed to teach my kids? But as I prayed, I felt Gods peace. And even though I had certain fears, like, what if I mess them up, what if I don’t teach them what they need to know, what if I’m not disciplined enough, etc., I can tell you right now that in those areas where anxiety was high, God was faithful and He was and is more than enough. Was it the right move for our family? Absolutely. God was asking me to trust Him and do it in spite of my fears. My part in it was to be obedient. Here it is, the end of another school year, and guess what?

Everything I’m running away from is in my head.

This post is not about health issues, or difficulties, or things or events that have happened or are happening that you’re struggling to walk through. I’m specifically speaking about things that we know we should do, but because of our fears or anxieties, we run from those things.

I believe it was Joyce Meyer that coined the phrase, “Do it afraid.” Well I have come up with my own that fits my season perfectly… Do it awkward! I need stop trying to figure everything out and just do it awkward! Every time I wait until it’s perfectly figured out in my head, I usually wait too long and never actually do what I should have done! Don’t just do it afraid, but if you have to, do it awkward. The key here is to just do it. That is what makes you brave. Listen to the Urban Dictionary’s definition of brave: To be able to look at your biggest fear and face it in the eye.

To fight fear, act. To increase fear- wait, put off, postpone. ~ David Joseph Schwartz

So what about you? Have I touched on anything that you can relate to? Think about some fears/anxieties that hold you back from fully living. Write them down and ask God to give you the strength and courage to do them anyways… He will.

Romans 8:31 (NIV) ~ What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

1 John 4:4 (NLT) ~ But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

 (This post originally appeared on The Mom Initiative)

Happy Mother’s Day

image-2“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” —Jill Churchill

We took my boys to Archery 101 yesterday at a State Park called Resaca De La Palma. It’s green and lush and filled with tropical birds & butterflies. As the boys were practicing their shooting, my mind began to wander. For obvious reasons, it moved in the general direction of Mother’s Day. I know I have written a lot about my childhood because, number one, it helps people who have been through stuff and number two, it’s my therapy. But as I was enjoying the amazing landscape practically in my backyard, I began to remember places my mom took me when I was young. Although my mom was an alcoholic, I realize I don’t write much on the good memories I have. So in honor of Mother’s Day, here you go!

I have this love for nature that connects me and refreshes me like nothing else. When I cycle, when I run, when I go to the beach, and when I go on hikes- nature fills me up. I grew up in Northern California and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how breathtaking the views can be from there. When I was a kid my mom would take me on the weekends to all kinds of outdoor adventures. I didn’t really appreciate it then but I do now. I remember hiking down long cement stairs through a hill covered in greenery that led to a trail. I witnessed amazing waterfalls at the end of some of those hikes. And camping- we camped all the time. My brother and I would wander off into the woods to see what we could find. We climbed rocks, walked trails, and swam in lakes. My mom loved camping and fishing. My step dad owned a boat, so we would go out to Folsom Lake practically every weekend. As a teen I loved going out on the boat but not to fish. I had to work on my tan! And when we weren’t out on the boat, she would drive us to Folsom lake and find a place as far away from people as she could find (she wasn’t a big fan of crowds) and we’d spend the day there. I remember bringing my friend Leslie sometimes. We would make up names for dives off of different rocks and go exploring. My mom loved Reno, Lake Tahoe, the Bay Area, San Francisco, Downtown Sacramento and the Fisherman’s Warf. I think I got my love for places and scenery from her. For that, I am thankful.

I know as moms, we can be really hard on ourselves. I know I can. Did anyone see the movie, Mom’s Night Out? I won’t spoil it for you, but the character, Sarah Drew, didn’t feel like she was doing a good job at this whole ‘mom’ thing. She didn’t feel like she deserved to be called a good mom or that she was measuring up.  I relate, I do. Instead of seeing all the good things that I’m doing right, I focus on the areas where I have dropped the ball. Anyone else do that? And then my vision becomes blurred by all the areas that I need to improve on and it feels overwhelming.

The other night while we were playing Skip Bo, our main computer was playing a slide show of my kid’s childhood memories. There were pictures of birthday parties and parks and Chuck E Cheeses and zoos and hikes and swim parks… and the photos scrolled on and on. And as we laughed and talked about different pictures I said “You guys were really good kids, I had a lot of fun with you.” And my now 14-year-old daughter said, “Wow, we had a really good childhood.” (Insert mommy heart-melting here).

So this blog is really for all of you mommies out there that feel like you’ve dropped the ball, haven’t done enough, hit cruise control for too long, or whatever area you feel like you are lacking in your parental skill. Guess what? God redeems everything.

You may not ever be ‘enough’, because you weren’t made to be enough. That’s where God comes in. His strength is made perfect in your weakness. And His mercies are new every single morning, without fail. You don’t have to be perfect for your kids, and really, you can’t. That’s Gods job. Your job is to love them, lead them, and point them to the One who is more than enough.

So to my mom, thank you for the adventures, praying we’ll have some more in Heaven. And if you’re like me and you grew up with a less than perfect mom, maybe today is the day to extend grace and forgiveness. I know that my mom did the best she knew how to do given her own childhood. Let’s face it- we all have our issues! And yet, God forgives us so quickly and every time. And to you reading this, if you’re a mamma, go ahead and celebrate you today! You are worthy and you are doing a good job and your kids will look back by the grace of God as I have been able to and my daughter was able to and say, “What an adventure we had!” Happy Mother’s Day…Be blessed!

And as I was about to hit ‘publish’ my daughter came down stairs with this for me…. (She knows I love her writing, but she never wants share it with me!) And yes, happy tears…

Mother's Day 2

 

 

Validation

“To seek validation from others only leaves the soul thirsty for more; but to seek validation from the Lord leaves one’s soul satisfied.”

“Um, honey, have you seen all the laundry I did today?”

“Wow, it’s a lot of work to plan out all these meals.”

As you’re walking up the stairs: “Huff … puff … Gee, this is so heavy…”

C’mon, ladies, you know we all do it. We make these comments to let our spouse (and maybe even our children) know that we are working; and not just working, but darn it, we are working hard. We will usually give them about four minutes from the time they walk in the door from work to see if they’ve noticed all we have done, and if they don’t notice right away, we will quickly point it out to them.

Heaven help us if they think we’ve been sitting around, watching movies and eating bonbons all day. “Look, I went grocery shopping all by myself with three kids, planned the meals … oh and look, I cleaned out your closet. It looks so nice and organized now, doesn’t it?!” We wait for their approval.

And watch out if they’re home trying to relax after a long day at the office. We don’t say anything right away. We make noises. You know you do this. “Ugg..” “Woo … this is a lot of laundry to fold … ahem.” (As we clear our throats, thinking maybe they’ve just translated that into, “Hey babe, can you help fold while you’re watching your show?”)

What is it that we are searching for deep down in our inner souls? The Lord revealed it to me today as I was saying, “Honey, look at all this laundry I still have to do.”

I was looking for validation.

Another word for validation is evidence, or confirmation. I need you to confirm that what I’m doing really matters. I need you to see it. For me, I think I needed to be validated because I started working almost full time. I needed my husband to see how much I do, and how hard I work. There is something within me that needs to hear him say, “Wow, good job.” or, “I know you work so hard to keep our family going, thank you.”

Here’s the thing. As a mom, we are thirsty for validation. But more often than not, we don’t get what we ‘think’ we need, leaving us feeling unappreciated and drained. The Lord quietly took me aside today and said, “I validate you. I see your work when no one else does. You run your house, taking care of things no one else sees. No one else knows you spent hours filing bills and paperwork, taking care of the banking, or shopping with the kids in the grocery store, but I see it.”

Something arose within me to keep going, taking away the need to bring up how busy I’ve been in order to receive that validation of time well spent. The Lord knows- He sees everything.

Psalms 139:1-5
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

Here’s the Celeste translation:

You, Lord, know when I rise to pray. You know my every ache.

You know when I spend days doing unending laundry.

You know when I spend countless hours to make sure my family is fed.

You know when I have to go to work to help bring extra income in for our family.

You know when I’m just exhausted and worn out, and it is all I can do at the end of the day to fall into bed, and be ready to start all over again tomorrow.

Psalm 139:17-18
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Here’s the Celeste translation:

Daughter, I never stop thinking about you. I am with you always. I will give you the strength you need. I will bless you for all that you do, because you are being faithful with all that I have entrusted to you. When you sleep and when you rise, I am with you. I validate you. I see you. You are never alone.

Ladies, the Lord sees all that you do. It–your chores, your day–is never in vain. It matters. You make a difference. I’ve often heard the saying that the woman is the heartbeat of her home. Why do you think Proverbs refers to wisdom as ‘she’? We have the power to tear down or to build up our homes.

I encourage you to begin each day seeking the Lord for validation. Sit down with your prayer journal and your Bible. Ask Him: “Lord, do I matter? Am I making a difference?” I promise, you won’t be disappointed by what you hear. Allow the Lord to validate you as His daughter. When you make a difference in your home, you make a difference in the kingdom. As you go about throughout your day, it’s not strange to say, “Lord, look at all the laundry I’ve done!” Or “Lord, look how clean the house is!” He cares about EVERY detail of your day. You are so valuable and important to Him, and He desires to validate you!

Lord, there are days when we feel unappreciated and sometimes we just want to give up. Our husband or children might be incapable of always having the right words (or even any words) to bring that sense of validation that we are longing for. Lord, fill us up with Your words of love and validation. Every time we begin to feel that sense of anxiety because we are not feeling noticed, would You gently guide us back into Your Word and into Your presence? Fill us up and send us back out. In Jesus’ name, amen.