The Fear of Following My Dreams

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a writer, always. When I was in elementary and middle school I won several essay contest, I wrote my own plays, and I was even apart of my school paper for a while in college. Looking back at how much I loved reading and writing it seems like a no brainer that I got my degree in English and Language Arts Education. I have always kept a journal of some sort and I have always felt a cathartic release when I write down what I’m feeling.

When I started writing my first book, that hasn’t been published yet, I just sat down and thought I could write a pretty good love story with the main character being based on my good friend. What I created was so much more than a pretty good love story. Eventually all my friends and family who read it said I should publish it. I awakened a dream that had always been inside of me. I unknowingly fed the flames of the biggest life changing decision that I have ever made, which was to complete my book, pursue publishing it, and starting my very own blog! This has been a huge year for me and I would have never imagined myself in this position.

Now, of course I’m not a superstar or anything close to being well known, but I was always afraid of doing anything that would take me away from what I feel is my greatest calling and my purpose in life. I feel very strongly about being a good wife and mother, and to me that means being deeply committed to my  family. For me, that looks like a stay-at-home mom with no life or interest outside of taking care of her husband and children. I thought that if I worked outside the home or gave my energy to something else that I would be neglecting my family responsibilities.

It took me about seven years to decide that I not only wanted to write a book using my real name, but that I wanted to publish it as well. It’s okay yo can laugh, I was truly scared!  Honestly I was terrified that people would find out that I wrote a book! I automatically got concerned that I might be successful and have to travel, leaving my husband and children for weeks at a time. Which in my mind would mean that I was a bad wife and mother. I know these fears may seem irrational to some, but aren’t most fears irrational? Next, I began to fear that I would work hard on publishing my book, only to be a complete failure! I contemplated it in my mind over and over again and either way I was a loser. I decided that it was too great of a risk for me to take and that I better not try, that way I won’t be disappointed.

Truly, it all boils down to the fact that I was afraid to follow my dreams. I let irrational fear, after fear stop me from going after something that I have always been very passionate about. I don’t know what I was so afraid of, but I believe that apart of me is afraid that I might succeed. I think being afraid of failure is there too, but mainly I feel afraid that I will somehow be less of a Mother if I give part of my energy to something other than my family. Another aspect is I was far too concerned about what people may think of me. I remember telling my husband that I would wait until all of our children were adults before I pursued being a published author, just so that I was sure not to draw any criticism. However, I quickly realized that waiting to truly live my life until I was older didn’t make much sense at all.

I had to come to terms with what living my life actually meant for me. I had to accept that God made me with a purpose and gave me gifts to help me accomplish it, and it was more than just having babies. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I was supposed to have each and every one of my children. And yet, I have also accepted that I can be passionate about more than one thing in this life. I’m still nervous and I don’t know exactly what to expect, but I’m going for it any way. I woke up one morning and I just didn’t want to wait anymore. All my cares and concerns went out the window and I decided to embrace my gifts and everything that comes along with that. I hope I succeed, I hope that I do well, but I won’t let the fear of failure or success sideline me any longer.

What things have kept you from following your dreams? Have yo ever had to fight off your fears and do it any way? Let me know how yo ladies deal with your thoughts that hold you back. I still need tips on being brave enough to put myself out there. The hardest part for me is getting started and staying motivated that I can actually finish the task at hand. Let me hear from you in the comments!

Lost and Found

I think we can all think of a time when we were lost, or accidentally separated from our group. I can remember the last time that I got lost from my mom as a kid. I loved to go to the toy section or the shoe section when I was a kid.  I would often wander off and my mom would come and call out to me and I would come back to her. I guess you cold say she was constantly chasing after me. One Saturday afternoon we were shopping in a store called K-mart, and  I was running through the clothing racks playing with my little sister. Now as you might have already guessed, my mom kept telling me to stop playing in the clothes and stay close to her. What I didn’t know was that she had decided that this was the perfect time to teach me a lesson I would never forget.

My mom said that instead of calling me out of the clothing racks and putting me in the shopping kart she walked around the corner, out of my sight. Now she decided to wait there for me to pop out and notice that she wasn’t right there. I bet you know what happened next,  I emerged from the clothes and I saw no one there. I looked around and I didn’t see my mom or my sister. My mother had taught me what to do if I ever got lost from her, so I walked up to customer service and gave them the name of my mom and dad and they quickly paged them. In a few short minutes I was reunited with my family and all was well again. However, I remember feeling really scared and panicky, I called out for her and she didn’t answer me. I remember actually running to my Dad when I saw him coming, I was so happy to be back with my family! I don’t remember getting in trouble or anything like that, but I do remember my mom hugging me and saying something like, “now do you understand why it’s important to stay with me?”

For me, it was clear that I never wanted to get lost or separated from my mom again. The reason I wanted to share that story with you is because this morning I was feeling like I was separated from God the Father. I felt like I was calling out to Him and I couldn’t hear His response.  Whenever I start to feel like I can’t hear God’s voice I get scared and I panic. Today I felt like that little girl again, I felt lost and I just wanted to get home to my prayer closet and seek out my Father’s arms.

Honestly, I haven’t been spending as much time reading my word and praying as I should. I have been running and running, doing so much for my husband and my children, and that is very draining. Being a wife and a parent are both things that I can’t do well without the help of my God. I find that when I make time to spend alone with God I feel more grounded, more in control of my day. I feel like I have someone to lean on when my load gets to heavy to carry. I feel like I have the most powerful advocate on my side, working just for me non-stop. Yet, I still forget how important it is for me to come to Him, daily. I still have periods in my life when I get too busy with the small stuff and I become just like Martha.(Lk.10:38-42 kjv)

If you’re not familiar with that passage, here’s the gist of it; Jesus comes to the home of Martha. Naturally he brought his entourage with him. Martha was the only one running around making sure everyone was comfortable and had everything that they might need. Martha was not only being the perfect little hostess, but she was also doing all the cooking and cleaning too, it was simply to much for her to handle by herself!  However, when she looked around expecting to get some help from her sister, Mary was in there at the feet of Jesus having bible study! Martha was not cool with that, she went to Jesus and tried to get him to make her sister help her and he makes a powerful statement to her in verses 41 and 42, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42. But one thing is needful: and Mary hath Chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

That’s the part that I identify with the most, Martha’s worrying and being troubled by many things. The funny part is not only do those cares pale in comparison to Jesus, but they can all be taken away. So many of the things that are weighing me down, are just temporary problems, here today and gone tomorrow. I want to be more like Mary, I want to chose the good part. I want to chose to spend time with God, worshipping him and reading his Word. I feel so much better when I spend time in my prayer closet because I really believe that spending time with God in prayer is a way for me to build intimacy. It’s like in a marriage, you need to spend private alone time with your husband. You need to talk to one another, and speak each other’s love language because intimacy is a two way street.

I hope that you hear my heart as you’re reading this, spending time in His presence allowing God to recharge your battery is the key to relieving stress. I’m still figuring out how to be an adult and how to actually live for Christ. I want so badly to be independent, but the truth is I need God! I function so much better when I allow myself to depend on him fully, and spend enough time each day building my relationship with God.  It’s so easy to only come to God when there’s something wrong and we feel lost, but let’s practice seeking Him when everything is fine.

Okay, ladies I know it can be hard to admit that we sometimes forget about spending time with God, but I want to hear about what you do when you feel lost. Do you get messages, or have a girls night out? What kinds of things do yo get overwhelmed about? Are you ladies like me and notice that your days go much smoother if you start them out with prayer or Bible reading? Let me know in the comments!

Take my Picture Please

I can not count how many times I’ve been somewhere with my family or friends and someone comes over with a camera to take a picture and I say, “Don’t take my picture I look terrible.” It’s the honest truth! I always feel like I don’t look skinny enough, pretty enough, or good enough to have my picture taken. As a result, I have tons of pictures of my children and my husband, but very few pictures of myself.

I thought this was perfectly acceptable until I read one lady’s post on some website, that I can’t remember the name of right now. She posted a picture of herself that she felt was unflattering and remembered vehemently not wanting to take the picture at the time. In the picture she was standing near a swimming pool, dressed in a very modest shirt with longer shorts, holding her baby in front of her body as a shield. She had on sunglasses and her hair was falling in her faces, hiding her even more. You know what, I saw myself in that picture. Yes, we look nothing alike, but the hiding behind sunglasses and baggy clothes, using my children to hide my body. I took one look at the picture and understood perfectly what I was looking at, so I clicked to read more. She went on to say that just six months after her husband took that picture he died in a terrible car accident and her life was forever changed. She said that if she had known that day what she currently knew she would have taken more pictures, and that made me cry like a baby.

I started thinking of all the times that I forfeited the opportunity to be in a picture with my children or my husband, because I didn’t like the way that I looked. I can not imagine my life changing so drastically, but the truth is no one ever does. I love my family so much, I can’t get enough of baby pictures and funny videos of them doing cute things. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to love myself enough to accept that even though I don’t look the way that I want to, I still need to preserve the memory.

When I look back on my own childhood, I have very few pictures of my own mother to hold in my hand. It’s funny how we as mothers can pass down things to our daughter both intentionally and unintentionally. My mom was always unsatisfied with her weight and appearance and now, so am I.  I would give anything to have more pictures and homemade movies of my mom and all our memories together. Whenever I think about taking a picture of myself, I think of how bad I look or how terrible my hair looks etc. I feel a little bit like I’m cheating myself and my family. I realized what she was saying was that when we look back at our pictures with our babies we won’t care if our hair is a mess. It won’t matter if we happen to be twenty pounds over weight to our future great-grandchildren. My daughter always tells me how beautiful she thinks I am and how pretty I look. No matter how I feel about the way I look she always tells me that I’m beautiful. My children don’t seem to share my very harsh criticism that I have for myself.

While I am working on myself, and constantly trying to change or tweak something about my appearance, the truth is I must learn to accept myself the way I am right now at this moment. Learning to love yourself when you’re not at your goal weight, your hair is a mess, or you have on ugly clothes is essential. I see now that I’m standing in the way of my own happiness. Self love and acceptance starts when we stop being so focused on the things that we don’t like about ourselves and start magnifying the things that we do like. I got to thinking about my self talk and I would never talk to my daughter, or anyone else, the way that I talk to myself.  Why is that? How come it’s so easy for us to say mean hurtful things about our own selves, to ourselves?

I’m on a mission to change that, one selfie at a time. I doubt that I’ll start flooding your timeline with selfies and duck face poses, but I do plan to take more photos with my kids. More “usies,” will be taken and saved for my family photo album. I encourage you ladies, if you struggle with a poor self-image, or feelings that you never measure up to the extremely high standards that you set for yourself, let it go.  Let God have your insecurities and your fears. Realize that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Take pictures with your kids, friends, hubby, even with the awesome  pair of shoes you found on sale!  The point is we don’t know how our lives will change from one day to the next, your going to miss the moments if you don’t.

What kinds of things have held you back from enjoying your life? If you know what things are holding you back how do you plan to change them? Finally, let’s not miss another opportunity to have our picture taken!

Actions and Consequences

Most parents with multiple children would probably tell you that they love all their children equally. I feel like that declaration is mostly true, but just between you and me I wonder if that’s really true?  I know that as a parent it would be controversial to say that we have one child that we like more than the others.  However, some days just make you feel like one child is better than the other.

I have five children, as you well know, and I do love all my children very much; however,  I do have days like today when there is clearly a non-favorite at the moment. Today I thought if I had a favorite child it would not be this one! My oldest child just had his braces removed about two months ago. The Orthodontist made it very clear, in order to maintain these beautifully straight teeth, he must wear his retainer everyday, accept when he was eating or sleeping. I reminded him, I nagged him, I said things like, “I hope you’re wearing your retainer.”  Today we went to our first scheduled retainer check up and I was thinking this is a simple check-up what could go wrong? ( alarm goes off with a flashing red light!)

About, five minutes into the appointment the tech calls me back so that the Doctor can speak with me. I get the uh-oh feeling in the pit of my stomach. To make a long story short, he now needs a new retainer!! His teeth have shifted and he needs to have a new mold done to create one that will fit his teeth now and hopefully stop this movement and save his new beautiful smile. As we were leaving the Orthodontist, you can imagine how I was feeling. It wasn’t good! I was explaining to my son how, he should always listen to me and how disappointed and upset I was that because of his actions/lack of action, we now have to buy him another retainer. I even called my husband in the car so that he could be included in the conversation.

I try not to compare my children to one another, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to point out to you how different my children are. My oldest daughter, a sweet over achiever, had to have a cavity filled about six months ago. When she went back to the dentist for her check-up, the dentist told me that he had never seen a child with cleaner teeth than her. He said her teeth were immaculate and everything looked great. He went on and on about how impressed he was that she had been taking such good care of her teeth. As her parent that made me feel so good inside. I felt like she was making me look good by being so excellent that the dentist felt the need to kind of congratulate her on her oral hygiene.

As a parent with a slight perfectionist complex, I feel like my children represent me and my husband. I believe that when people meet my children, their getting a glimpse of me as a parent and a role model. Moreover, when I feel that my children underperform, or don’t live up to the high standards that I have for them I feel personally responsible. When the Orthodontist called me back to explain to me what happen, I felt as if I was being not only chastised but judged as a parent. I felt like I was the reason that my son now needed a new retainer. I hate feeling like I failed.

That might sound like I take things way too seriously, but we all have our issues right? I would even agree with you that sometimes I can get too caught up in the moment and forget that this too shall pass. However, I want my children to feel a deep seated responsibility to honor their God and their family. I want them to know that their not in this world just living for themselves. I want them to know that their actions cast a shadow on our whole family. What I ended up telling my son was that even though I was very upset with how irresponsible he had been for not wearing his retainer and not following the doctors orders, that nothing could ever make me stop loving him. Nothing that he could ever do would cause his dad and I to stop caring about him.

Now that I’ve had a chance to really calm down, I can see how years from now I might laugh at this. Not any time soon and certainly not when I’m paying additional money to by another retainer! The whole situation made me wonder how God feels when we disobey him and our sins not only separate us from him, but they cause us to hurt our own selves. As a parent I don’t want my children to do anything that would cause them to harm themselves. Yet, I think my son learned a very valuable lesson today: Every decision that you make will come with a set of consequences. It took me a really long time to figure out that every choice that I made would have an effect on the rest of my life. There are no one time decisions, what you do has a ripple effect on the rest of your life.

Knowing that what we do can effect us for a very long time, what choices would yo never make again?  Do you think of your choices as  having a short term or long term effect on your life? I invite you to leave a piece of advice for your ten year old self, or as little as six months ago self. Let me hear it in the comments!

Five tips For a Better Day

Being a mother is one of the greatest blessing in this life, but it is also one of the most challenging jobs of our life. I think that I have come up with my top five tips to surviving the day with children! I am not an expert and I certainly don’t know it all, but I hope this entertain’s you and helps you too!

Tip Number One: Wake up before your children if at all possible. I have found that if I get up at least twenty minutes before my children I feel like I have more time to get myself ready for the day. I can take care of my morning ablutions, get dressed, style my hair, and do it all without any distractions. I can also spend time praying, reading my Bible, or studying a daily devotional.  At first I thought if I took time to be alone, or spend time focusing on myself that I was being selfish. Thankfully, I realized that I’m a better Mother when I take time to refresh myself and do a bit of preventative maintenance. Once I began to place more value on my mental health and spiritual wellness I noticed a huge difference in my attitude.

Tip Number Two: Fight the urge to complain! Complaining causes you to dwell on the negative. You already know what the problem is, instead of focusing on everything that’s going wrong, look for solutions. If you become solution oriented and commit yourself to solving all the little problems that can pop up during the day your attitude will be that of a winner and not a whiner.

Tip Number Three: Plan, organize and prioritize your day! I can not stress enough how important it is to have a plan, be organized, and keep your priorities straight! I don’t care how wonderful your memory is, if you don’t write things down you’re going to forget something. It feels so good to get things accomplished. Doing what’s most important first, and knowing that your meeting your daily goals will motivate you to get all your chores done before the day is over. It’s especially handy if you’re planning for a major holiday party or a big event.

Tip Number Four: Laugh more! Try not to be so serious, laughter and a merry heart is a good medicine. I think it’s a given that you’re going to have days where nothing goes the way you planned. Your children are going to misbehave…in Target at the checkout while thirty other people stare at you, and shake their judgmental heads! You may not feel like laughing at that very moment, and I would not recommend it, but you have to just take a breathe. Realize that in a few years those people will have kids and their going to understand exactly what you’re going through because God is just! ( go ahead and laugh, I won’t tell.) You could spend all day yelling and nagging your kids, but that’s a joy killer for everyone. Avoid it at all cost!

Tip Number Five: Consult a more experienced Woman, preferably another Mom, whom you trust to give you sound advice and take her to lunch. Asking for some helpful advice is always a good idea. Most of the time we turn to our Mothers or Grandmothers, Aunts and good friends, but what matters is that the Woman is a Godly example. You want to know that she is going to give you advice that encourages you to be the best version of yourself possible. I want to make sure that if I’m feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, that by the time we finish our conversation I will feel strengthened and invigorated to keep going.

These tips are five out of a million and five, but I hope they help you to laugh a little and realize that you’re doing a great job as a Mother and you can keep going. I always feel the pressure to be perfect, but perfection stifles growth sometimes. My desire to do everything perfectly all the time can paralyze me and keep me from learning new things. We really can learn from our mistakes and that is the beauty of all things working together for our good.

Please share a tip that you have learned along the way! It doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant, a new Mom, an experienced Mother of many, or a Great- Grandma! Please share what things have helped you the most on this journey of Motherhood!

Giving Birth to Faith

I, like many other Moms, remember very clearly each time I gave birth. Those are moments that you just never forget, and surprisingly you don’t remember them with pain, but joy and laughter. I still remember when I went into labor with my oldest son, I was young and pretty nervous about the whole process. My husband was working at night, and I wasn’t sleeping well because I was hugely pregnant, and a full week and six days past my due date. To say that I was ready to finally meet my baby boy was a huge understatement! I had been doing every old wives tale known to man to induce labor, but nothing was working for us.

I guess because I was already feeling exhausted and anxious to meet my baby, I had already been to the hospital about three times, told I wasn’t I labor and sent home. You ladies know there is nothing worse than hearing that you are not in labor , and then sent home to continue the wait. Of course I finally did go into labor and a mere thirteen hours later I was holding my seven pound, eleven ounce baby boy in my arms. All three of us were just physically and emotionally spent. Our overall feelings were fear, and uncertainty. We didn’t know if we could be good parents, we didn’t know if we had every baby item that we needed to have a happy baby, we just had so many unknowns!

With each delivery I leaned more about what I wanted to experience while in labor.  I began to be more specific with my prayers and daily confessions to God. By the time I became pregnant with my fourth child, I knew exactly what I wanted and the most important thing that I was believing God for was to have a drug-free, and pain-free delivery in less than two hours! Now you may laugh, or find those things unbelievable, but that’s exactly what God did for me! I know that it may seem hard to believe but our God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think…(Eph.3:20).  I remember after I delivered my baby the Mid-wife, who missed my labor because it happen so quickly, and the Nurses coming in to talk with me and find out what I had done to have that type of labor and delivery. They literally could not believe that I could deliver a baby with no drugs, and seemingly very little to no pain. I wouldn’t have believed it either if I had not been there to experience it.

However, the most important thing that I had that night was more confidence and faith in the Word of God.  Appropriately enough, we named our son Paul. Which means a Dynamo of faith and energy. I feel like that’s exactly what happen the minute I gave birth to my amazing son, I gained so much faith in God and so much more confidence in the power of prayer.  I always tell people that when I had my fourth child that was my absolute best birth ever, because it was exactly what I prayed for.  I really focused on praying the Word over my body and believing that I had already received the things that I prayed for when I asked for them.(Mark11:24)

I let the word get deep down into my heart, to the point that I was convinced that I would have what I asked for from God. I think if we’re all honest for a moment, we’ve all had times in our lives when we have gone through immense discomfort that birthed out a  whole new level of Faith in our lives. I used my birth stories as an example of a time when I was able to triumph over fear because of faith. I bet if you look back at certain times in your own life you can see how your faith grew through adversity as well.

Sometimes we need adversity to challenge us, because it causes us to strengthen our faith. Tough times can really cause us to step up our prayer life, or spend more time with God, reading his Word. Trials can even lead to speaking His promises over our lives more. Hopefully, that is not the only thing that can motivate us to grow in our spiritual lives because that’s not ideal either.

I hope this blog post has helped to jog your memory of all the times that God has done just what He said He would do in your own life. Feel free to share with me how you have grown in faith and given birth to a deeper relationship with God!

Forgive and Forget

Have you ever heard of the expression, “forgive, but don’t forget?” I grew up hearing my Dad say forgive and forget, but as I got older I became one of those people who believed that I could forgive without forgetting. Life and people can hurt you and disappointments can dim your joy, and just like that you’ve become bitter and not better. I’m the type of person who feels deeply and that can sometimes mean that my feelings get hurt. When that happens, my first instinct is to protect myself.  For me protection is never allowing myself to completely forget what someone did to hurt me, so that I never allow that to happen again. Unfortunately, that’s not the way of the Lord, so that’s not the best way for us as his children.

Jeremiah 31:34 says “…for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.” This scripture is just one of many that tells you how we should forgive. When we forgive someone who has hurt us, we must forget what the offense was and remember it no more. I unconsciously sigh every time I hear this part, but it’s the honest truth and I’m glad to hear it. This is really the part that I struggle with because you have to remember it no more, like forget it forever…permanently! (questionable struggle face)

Now what typically happens to me is, some one will do something that really hurts me, or offends me and instead of confronting that person, I will just avoid them and move on with my life. Eventually, I will forget about the person and what they did to offend me. Until one day when that person comes back into my life, or however the situation unfolds. If you have not truly forgiven that person and moved on from the pain of that betrayal/offense, then you will not be able to respond in love. I have found that I can’t move on with my life and truly heal if I don’t let go of the memory of what hurt me.

I use to feel like if I hold on to that pain, or that betrayal I will never allow the same thing to happen to me twice. Yet, the reality is I just press pause on my life and stay right there in that moment and become poisoned by the memory as it slowly turns to bitterness. I become a prisoner of that transgression or sin of my own accord. I got tired of feeling like I would always be hurt or angry with something that happen in the past. I got tired of a part of the past continuously being present with me, I became feed up with myself.   As I’ve mentioned before, I decided recently to make a real effort to change some of my bad habits  and personality  flaws that seem to cling to me even though I know their wrong.

I decided that I wanted to practice letting things go when I’m offended by anyone, so not only can I be forgiven by God, but so that I can stop being weighed down by all that negativity. It’s a very hard thing to carry around that much negativity and still be a happy person. I grew tired of struggling so much to have a positive attitude and walk in love to everyone I met, while simultaneously  carrying around all these memories from past offenses that I thought I could forgive but not forget. I was confronted with the truth of what it actually means to hold something against someone. It’s more than just holding a grudge, it’s a rottenness to your bones. Trying to forgive someone completely  without throwing their sins into the sea, is like trying to separate water from wet! It’s just not possible!

Since I have become more intentional about not holding on to the pain of the things that offended me, or hurt me, I feel so much better. It’s like one day a little light turned on and I realized that I have to trust God be the one to protect my heart. I see now that God is so much better at dealing with broken pieces and broken people than I am. I know that I can trust God enough to give him my pain and my anger. He can deal with it much better than me.  He never wanted me to hold on to every grievance caused by offense in my heart.

Let’s be real here, changing your bad habits does not happen over night and it can seem almost impossible; nevertheless, change is good. There should always be some area in our life that we can expand, improve and mature upon. What areas in your life can you make positive changes? Are yo like me and struggle with forgetting when you forgive? Let’s open up and share some tips that help you to make changes that help you to grow in the right direction!

Flaws and All

I love seeing my children grow up and really start to mature. My youngest just turned fifteen months and she will literally cry if you don’t allow her to do things on her own. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing she wants to try and do it on her own. The sweet thing is the minute she realizes that she can’t do something she comes to one of us and asks for help. I love that about her, she wants to learn how to do things for herself, but she’s not so stubborn that she won’t ask for help when she feels overwhelmed. I, on the other hand, am the exact opposite of my sweet baby girl.

I think one of my most annoying character traits is that I have a really hard time asking for help. I always tell people jokingly, that if I ever ask for help, you better believe I need it! I don’t know if I was born this way, but for as long as I can remember, I have always been this way. I feel like sometimes this is an amzing quality that I consider one of my greatest strengths, but mostly I know it’s a major flaw that is often a weakness. I feel like it can be a strength because I will accept  my responsibilities and not depend on others to do what God has given me to do.

The reason why I feel that it’s a weakness is because I can sometimes get so overwhelmed trying to do everything on my own that I forfeit my joy. Raising children can be so satisfying and rewarding, but it can also be the hardest, most important thing you will ever do. There are few handbooks available, and almost never any awards given out, for being a parent. Once upon a time I was convinced that if you wanted something done right that you had to do it yourself; however, I now know that thoughts like that will leave me exhausted and frustrated.  After I had my fifth child I finally decided that it was time for me to make a change.

I started to really call myself out, and I began to pray about God changing my heart and helping me to be humble enough to ask for help when instead of self destruct. I made a commitment to myself and to God that I would abandon pride and ask so that I might receive. I am a work in progress, but I’m make a deliberate effort to only commit to things that I can actually do so that I don’t get overwhelmed. I delegate more to my children and husband as well. I find that when I trust my children and husband to do things without me micro-managing them, things get done and that’s what matters the most. I realize that by giving up the desire to control everything I actually gain more freedom.

I really want to get to the point that when I need help, I find someone who can help me and then step back and let them. I admit, this is not easy for me and I do have to remind myself to let go, or to drop the pride and just admit that I can’t do everything and I’m not super woman! I love that God loves me in spite all my flaws and bad habits.

I want to hear from you guys! When yo think about some of your flaws, what are you doing to overcome them? Here’s a good question: Are your flaws really things that make you stronger or unnecessary burdens that yo choose to carry? Let me know in the comment section.

Blessings In Disguise

I have been having one of those months, when the days just run together and it seems to be one crisis after another.  I feel like those are some of the hardest times in our lives because as difficult as it maybe to endure hardship, it’s so important to our personal growth. Everyone wants to be a better person, make better decisions, and never make the same mistakes twice, but developing that character is a very undesirable path.

I think todays technology has turned us into a more impatient generation. We want everything instantly, we expect God to skip us through the process of struggling, suffering, or learning so that we can go straight to the part where we inherit the blessing. One of my favorite songs talks about the possibility that some of our greatest blessing come through some of our most painful experiences. Every time I listen to that song I can’t help but be reminded of some of the most painful times of my own life.

I don’t know who I would be if, I had never made some of those, “terrible mistakes,” that made me think my life was over. I can not imagine how my life would have turned out if I had never failed at anything or never had someone walk out on me. Where would I be if I got everything that I prayed for? Ask yourself, what would yo be like if God would have allowed you to get that dream job that you wanted more than anything? How would our lives be different if instead of marrying our current spouse we would have ended up with our celebrity crush? I can say confidently that not many men out there would be thrilled to have five children and a stay-at-home wife to boot. I can remember every time we found out we were pregnant, how happy my husband was. He always celebrated and hugged me and thanked me each time, his joy was infectious!

I mentioned this in my previous blog about closed doors and disappointments, but my Mother died when I was a junior in high school. I would much rather have her here with me, but I can honestly say that as a result of her going to be with the Lord, I found my identity in Christ. I would have never known that I needed God, if she had not passed. I also would have never met my husband, because I was on a different path and  I truly consider that a blessing in disguise. I would rather enter into the kingdom of heaven with a broken heart, than to have lived my whole life than to have never known the Lord. It was truly was of the best gifts that my mother ever gave me. I bet if you look back at some of the most painful periods of your own life, divorce, death in the family, losing a house or a job, I’m sure you can see a silver lining in that storm cloud.

I know that it takes a lot of faith and healing to see the blessing in the storm, and that might take a while. I think the key is we have to believe with all of our heart that God is working everything out for our good. We have to trust that everything is happening for a reason, and that we are going to be better after the trial is over. I think the way we can stay in faith is to keep the word in our hearts. Surround ourselves with positive loving people who won’t let us be sad too long.

Can you think of a situation in your life that at the time you thought would destroy you, but now you know it made you stronger? What advice would you offer someone who was struggling with the trails that God is using to develop their character? Any tips will be greatly appreciated I assure you!

Freedom from Opinions

In grade school and high school I was like any other teenager, a prisoner of public opinion. I cared so deeply what everyone said about me, what people thought of my clothes, hair, shoes, you name it, I was concerned about it! However, by the time I reached my senior year in high school, I had finally realized that no matter what I did someone would have an opinion about it. You would think that now that I’m older and wiser I would be totally free from caring about what other people think about me, my family, or the choices that I make. Unfortunately, I am not!

I catch myself all the time worrying about what someone else thinks of me. In many ways I have outgrown being obsessed with what people think of me; and yet, when I drop my kids off at school I don’t get out of the car if I’m still wearing my PJ’s. Despite the fact that I really like my neighbors, I still won’t let them see me with my, “just walking around the house,” clothes on. The reason why I wouldn’t dare be seen looking less than my normal is because I care what they think.

I feel like even though I may care if someone thinks I’m a good mother, I am no longer a slave to the desire to be loved by people. I feel like whether I’m good or bad I can never be good enough or do enough to please people. I have to set my eyes on pleasing God the father  and not allow myself to get caught up in people pleasing. One thing that mean girls and gossipers taught me was to really value genuine relationships with people who don’t care what I clothes I’m wearing or how my hair looks. They actually like me for me and those superficial, temporary things don’t matter to them at all.

I would be lying if I said that I had it all together and that I never tried to be liked or that I never got upset if I felt someone didn’t like me, because that’s not true. I feel like struggling with things in life, whatever they may be, is what makes us human. I personally don’t trust people who claim to know all the answers. I connect so much easier with someone when they share their vulnerabilities with me. Which is why I am sharing mine with you guys.(huge smile on my face)

One thing that really helped me to start focusing less on what other people thought of me was my husband and my children.

Due to the nature of my husbands career we move around more than the average family, and because of that it’s forced us to become a very close family. I think the more I started to truly enjoy being with my husband and my children the more I realized that what they thought of me mattered the most. I began to view them as my friends, and I wanted to cultivate those friendships/ relationships with them. I found myself thinking of how I want my children to remember their childhood. What kind of memories do I want them to have of me?  I started thinking of my how I want my husband to look at me and what I want him to think about me, and my heart changed. I want to love the people closest to me more and show them that they mean the most to me.

That was one of the many things that helped to free me from obsessing over what people thought about me, and wasting time and energy trying to make them like me. The truth is, I still find myself trying to impress certain people, but I feel free enough to let it go if Susy just doesn’t seem to like me no matter what I do. I realize that I am fearfully nd wonderfully made and that I have some amazing qualities to offer! Ultimately the people who live with me like me, they love me, and I’m satisfied with that!

I want to know if you guys have found freedom from others opinions? Let’s talk about it in the comments!