The Right to Remain Silent

These past two weeks have been a real world wind for me, my children went back to school and my husband was gone for a few weeks and I was treading water for a while there! Well in the midst of back to school shopping and saying goodbye to summer and hello to our bedtimes again my children ran into a few problems with a neighborhood bully. Now I feel like I need to say that my children were homeschooled until 2015 and up until then they have not had very many run-ins with bullies.

When they started school they had some encounters with rude kids, but all in all they seem to find good people to befriend and play with. Well all that changed this summer when one of the older girls started being mean to them and a few of the other younger kids on the block. It was hard at first to see my children upset and my first instinct was to go outside and deal with that situation and protect my children from that evil little child who was bullying my kids, but I felt restrained from marching out there and handling things.

Instead, I felt that God wanted me to be quiet and allow my children to handle the situation for themselves. I could hear that still small voice speaking to my heart saying, “No Torre, let them learn how to stand up to bullies. They can do it, you can trust God to protect them just like He protected you.” I knew it was God so I let the blinds down to the kitchen window and waited for them to come back inside.

We had a long talk about what was said and how it made them feel and why it was important to stand up for themselves, and it was probably harder for me to experience than it was for them. I knew the best thing for me to do was to offer them advice and talk to them about how I handle bullies and make sure that I let them know they can always talk to me and their dad about what’s happening. I tell my children to let their teacher’s know, and any other adults that might need to know. We talked for a long time that evening, and I learned so much about my children and I learned so much about myself.

Being silent during a time when I want to speak out most is the second hardest thing for me to do! The first hard thing was giving birth to five children with heads like their dad!!!After talking with my kids, I realized how mature they were. At the same time I began to understand why it was important for their growth and development that I not try to step in and save them from every bad situation. As much as I want to protect my children from every evil, that’s not what’s best for them every time. Some times it’s actually better for them to work through a problem on their own, while I practice being silent.

This doesn’t mean that I will be absent or that I won’t be there to guide them when they need me, but it does mean that I will allow them to learn how to handle real life situations. In the real world, people are rude and they say and do things that may hurt our feelings or make us angry. The fact is that I won’t always be there to step in and rescue them, no in the cold real world they will have to know how to handle themselves accordingly. You know what, that scares me so bad!! I hate the thought that my sweet little kiddos will have to learn to live in a world where mommy might not always be able to save them.

It’s even more difficult to be silent and allow them the opportunity to figure things out on their own. However, I guess the truth is when I was a kid my mom managed to do it for me. I respect her so much more now that I know how hard it is to trust God with your most prized possessions, after all He knew and  loved them before we ever met them. Have yo ever had to be quiet when you really wanted to say something? How did you handle a tough situation that you knew God wanted yo to be silent through? Maybe you didn’t have to worry about a child, maybe it was a work thing or an injustice done to you. How did you find the strength to keep quiet and let God fight your battle for you? Share your story in the comment section.

Change of Birth Plans

I feel like my blog has been so deep lately. I’ve been really talking about some heavy topics and I think I might have the perfect cure for that. I’m going to tell you guys about the night I gave birth to my oldest daughter. Now I have to tell you that my first birth experience was not at all what I wanted. It was thirteen hours long and I had to have all kinds of things that I didn’t plan on, so I bought a book by Jackie Mize called supernatural childbirth. I read that book cover to cover and decided that I wanted to give birth in two hours and that I wanted to have a natural child birth! What can I say, I’ve always been ambitious!

It was July 5, 2007 and we were living in North Carolina and it was hot. The temperature was about 100 degrees and when you factored in the heat index it felt like a 110 degrees outside!

Our air conditioner was only cooling the house down to about twenty degrees cooler than it was outside, so basically I was miserable! I was praying that she would not be ten days late like my son was, so I was doing everything to try and get her to come. I was walking up and down the street doing karate, squats up and down the hallway in my house, and I was doing all the other old wives tales that are said to induce labor as well. However, nothing was working and I remember staring out the window on the fourth of July watching the fire works go off thinking why am I still pregnant? My due date had come and gone three days earlier, and I was getting desperate to have my baby. I was running out of options, so I called my one Aunt, who swore by home remedies for every possible illness and she told me to take some castor oil, and out of sheer inpatients that is what I did. I can’t say that it works for everyone, or that it even actually was the reason that I went into labor, but it worked and I’m a believer now!

I had gone to all the trouble to write out my birth plan, bring food, pillows massage oils and music to play as I pushed out my beautiful baby daughter. I wanted the lights to be low and most importantly I did not want to take any drugs at all! I had planned to have an all natural birth, and then immediately take pictures after I did my makeup and styled my hair. I was going to have a ton of energy after giving birth since I wasn’t going to get an epidural, so my whole birth experience was going to be better than my first experience had been.

Well, it’s funny how reality is almost never like our plans! When we got to the hospital my contractions were getting stronger and stronger while we waited. The nurse couldn’t get a vein for my IV and my blood shot out of my arm all over the wall and my clothes. I was up on the bed, on my hands and knees rocking from side to side to try and deal with the contractions. The Midwife that happen to be on shift that night came in and started talking to me and taking all my important whatever’s. He, yes it was a male midwife, started to ask me a series of questions and determined that I was having back labor. He took his thumb and his pointer finger and placed them at a place on the small of my back and just like that my painful contraction went away and I immediately relaxed. He told me that he and his wife had ten children and that she delivered everyone of them all natural and that I could too.

Friends, I was like putty in his hands, he had taken away the discomfort of my contraction, thus wrapping me around his pinky finger! Wouldn’t you know it he had to leave and go check on his other patients so he showed my husband exactly how to touch me to help fight off my back labor pains. I will never forget he asked my husband, ” Did you catch how I did that?” to” which my husband replied yeah I got it!” The Midwife said great and promised to come back later and check on us, the moment that I had another contraction I called out to him to come and, “do the thing.” He came over and kind of poked me in the back a little and that was it.

Now you can probably imagine how terribly upset I became. I shouted and fussed! I could not understand why he would say he knew how to do it if he didn’t know how to do it!

I finally ended up begging for an epidural and delivering her three minutes before midnight. Nothing went according to plan! In fact everything that could go sideways did go sideways. In the end, there was no music playing softly in the background or a drug free delivery. No, there was no drug free delivery that night and plenty of yelling  and then I had a baby girl. The point of me telling yo this story is two fold, I want you to laugh a little, and I also want you to consider a time when things didn’t go according to your plan.

Did you fall apart or did you find a way to hold it together and create a new plan. When I realized that I was going to have my baby right after I got the epidural I was upset with myself for not waiting a few minutes longer. I was actually dialated to nine centimeters when I got the epidural.

They only gave it to me because I think they felt sorry for me. Right after I delivered her I immediately regretted the fact that I didn’t hang in there a few minutes longer, because I had to wait two hours just for the medication to ware off. Friends, wait on your promises or your dreams to come to pass. Be patient while you wait and believe that God can do just what He said. It may get hard, yo may feel uncomfortable but stick to your birth plan, even if things don’t go exactly like you wanted, you still have a promise.

My problem was that I let every little pain make me think that I should give up and change direction. Now sometimes things aren’t going to go as we plan, and that’s okay too. Sometimes the blessing is in the journey and not the arrival.

Share your stories in the comment section! Let me know how you all feel about a change of plans. Do you panic or do you roll with the punches?

The Issues of Life

Have you ever said something that you immediately regretted as soon as it came out your mouth? Well I have, and folks nothing feels worse than realizing that you really just said what you just said. Here’s my story. My kids had a dental appointment this Saturday and I was feeling really worn out mentally after what had turned into an unexpectedly long, and hard week. The appointment seemed to be super long and the dental office was crazy busy with people everywhere and lots of noise. Our appointments went well and we were on our way out after only about forty-five minutes. Everything was going really well, but then as I was chatting with the receptionist while we scheduled my next appointment everything went kaboom! Everywhere I go I hear people make all types of comments like, “Wow, you have five children! I could never do that? I would die if I had five children, or Wow, you’ve got your hands full!”

Guys, I hear these comments all the time everywhere I go!  I feel like I have matured more now and that I can handle them much better, but this particular time I let myself down. I jokingly told the ladies that yes it was a lot, but I thought it was a good number. I then went on to say that I really wanted another little girl and I got what I wanted. That should have been all I said but I didn’t stop there. I made another comment that I will hold back from the internet, but I essentially said that I did not want to have any more children!  Now truthfully it wasn’t like I used profanity or was rude or anything like that, but as soon as I said the words I had an, ” Oh-No feeling!” We finished up and we walked out to our truck and loaded up and went back to school shopping and the whole time, I kept hearing my words playing in my head over and over again and my heart was sinking with guilt.

Why would this make me feel guilty you may wonder, what’s so bad about not wanting to have more children? Well it’s not so much about the words that  I said as it is where the words came from. Honestly, I am more than satisfied with my five and I feel like I haven’t mastered being a Mother of five yet, so I am not praying that I get pregnant; however, I would welcome another baby because I believe that the fruit of the womb is the Lords reward. I am so disappointed in myself for responding the way I did and especially in the presence of my children. I never want them to think that I didn’t choose this lifestyle or that I don’t enjoy being their Mom.

It seemed like every place we went yesterday someone was coming up to us to comment on our family or my children’s good behavior, it’s as if God was allowing every person in every store to comment to me about how wonderful my children were.

No matter what I did that day my comments were playing in my head on repeat and I felt terrible. I was trying to figure out why I was having such a hard time controlling my tongue, and watching my words. I have been working so hard at guarding my mouth and closely screening my words before they come out my mouth. Than I heard Holy Spirit whisper to my heavy heart, “keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”(proverbs4:23) I confess to you that I cried a little bit. I realized that I was only trying to conceal my symptoms by watching my words, but I was ignoring the root of the problem…my heart.

I don’t know when it happened or how it happened but at some point I allowed my heart to become vulnerable to this world and the words that I spoke yesterday was a result of the heart issues that I have about having five children or the thought of having more children. It would take me all day to try and tell you how difficult it was for me to deal with the negative opinions and comments from people just six years ago. I didn’t know how to deal with people criticizing me for having children. Every little thing hurt my feelings and drove me to tears. It got to the point where I wouldn’t even tell certain people until I was almost ready to give birth, because I didn’t want to hear their thoughts about my life. I knew that God was pleased with me, I was happily married and taking care of my children joyfully. I really struggled with caring what people thought of me and my husband as well as my children.

The question that haunted me after I heard this scripture was, “When did I change my heart?” I think that perhaps it happen slowly, as I began to make friends with different women, from different backgrounds. I would begin to agree with them that five was a big number, and too much to handle. Maybe it happened as I started to tire of folding laundry or buying in bulk every two weeks, or possibly it was the fact that I wasn’t spending enough time renewing my mind with the Word of God and washing away the images that were being subtly planted in my mind day after day.

I would never blame anyone else for my short comings or failures, but I must say that the people we surround our selves with influence our hearts. The books we read the shows we watch, they all leave an invisible print on our hearts. Even though I had heard this before, I still didn’t realize what was happening to my own heart.

It was slowly happening to me, I was losing sight of how wonderfully blessed I was to have five amazing children. The cares of my everyday life were starting to look like they were multiplied by five and too much for me to manage. However, when I read the Word of God, it tells me that God will never put more on me than I can bare(1Cor.10:13), and it tells me that the fruit of the womb is the Lords reward(psalm127:3). The Word says that He makes the barren woman a joyful mother of children.(psalm113:9) This may sound like a cliché to you but, I know that some one out there would love to have five healthy children and a husband. I hate that I wasn’t being grateful enough, and that I was losing sight of who I am and the woman that I want to be, but now that I know better, I will be doing better.

I won’t just be treating the symptoms anymore, but I will be allowing the God to examine my heart and groom me. I want to be the kind of women who can inspire other women to be the best version of themselves and to be comfortable going against the norms. I want to inspire my daughters to live with purpose and seek to please God’s will.

It was hard for me to share this with you today, but I’m glad I did because we can’t help others if we pretend to have it all together all the time. Having said that what have you been covering up, but not healing? Share it in the comments if you dare!

Trust your Training

Are you watching the Summer Olympic games? I am and I’m teaching my children all about the excitement and the significance of these games. One thing you guys should know about me is that I really enjoy watching sports, and playing them as well. It’s only natural for me to watch the best athlete’s in the world on the world’s largest stage. Oh, if you all could see us, we scream and cheer for all the big winners, we sing the national anthem and rejoice as if it’s our family member up on that stage.

This all got me to thinking about how much pressure these athletes must feel when they think of what’s before them. Imagine the whole world watching you represent your whole country, and you can only do it once every four years! I mean if it were any other time, you know that you could just try again next week, or next year, but these games only come around once every four years!

Do you know what it feels like to be under an immense amount of pressure? Have you ever felt like the weight of the whole world was on your shoulders? How do you deal with the pressures of life? Watching the Olympics you see some people who seem to really turn on another gear and perform so well in the face of great distress; and yet, there are many athletes who fall to the self doubt and cave under the weight of strain and obligations.

I must confess as much as I would like to think that I’m cool as a cucumber when I’m feeling stressed out or worried about something, I’m actually not! In fact I would say that if I wasn’t married to a super great guy I would be a mess, when life’s test and trials come to try me. I get so freaked out about failing or not succeeding that I begin to over analyze every little thing and I start to panic. My breathing picks up and I have to sit down and regroup. It may sound funny, but it’s true, my first instinct is to say I can’t do this! I was listening to one of the winners talk about what she did to calm her nerves and she said many things but one thing that stood out was that she, “trust her training.”

What does that mean exactly, what kind of training could be so wonderful that it could calm your nerves when your standing there about to compete against literally the best people in the whole world?  Well let me tell you what I believe.

There is no doubt that these athletes have some of the best coaches and trainers in the world surrounding them. For three years they’re working with a team of people who are constantly monitoring their habits and helping them to form a wining mindset, routine and well conditioned body to be in top shape for this one moment in time.

You may be thinking well what does this have to being a mother or wife? Well as moms and wives who follow Christ we have to trust our training too when we’re feeling pressure.  When we’re faced with situations that seem too hard or choices that we  must make we have to take a deep breath and trust our training. Everything that God created us to be is already in us, we don’t have to panic like we’re not capable of making the right decision.  When we spend time reading the Word of God, or praying and worshiping God we are building ourselves up. We are becoming equipped for the challenge, and we can be confident that we are ready for the race!

Even though you may not think that you’re ready for the unexpected, let me assure you that you can handle this! I don’t care if it’s potty training, teaching your five year old how to read, or talking to your ten year old about the jr. version of the birds or the bee’s!

I’m feeling really inspired by all this talk about trusting my training right now! Let me know how you handle immense pressure. Do you blossom under pressure and produce your best work, or do you panic like me? Let me know in the comments.

Parenting through the Fear

It’s impossible to know just how much having children can change you, until you actually have children. The other day my children and I were riding down the street on the way to another Doctor’s appointment and my oldest son ,who is ten soon to be eleven,  asked me a question that really shined a light on how I allow fear to influence my parenting.

He said, “Mom since I’ll be a fifth grader in two weeks can I finally get to school early to play at the park with the other kids?” My natural response was to say, no you’re too young, but for some reason this time I said, “We’ll see.” I continued to think about all the reasons why I feel most comfortable saying no. I thought about all the things that I say no to automatically without even giving it a second thought, and the honest answer is I’m afraid. I think that I’ve always known this about myself, but I am constantly worried about the unknown. The fear of the what if scenarios.

I started to wonder how can I be a good mom if I allow my fears to dictate every decision that I make when it comes to parenting my children? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you know that this is something that I really struggle with. I want to protect them from harm and danger, but I wonder if I’m actually hurting them more by not allowing them to have a little more freedom?

When I was a kid we walked to school every morning through the woods and nothing ever happen to us. We played outside until the street lights came on, we walked to the park with our friends, and we turned out just fine. Unfortunately, the world is a completely different place now and kids may never know the joy of roaming free until the street lights come on. I was really thinking it about it the rest of the day and finally it hit me that I survived and had a pretty goof childhood because God preserved my life, He kept me and He covered me with His wings. God is the reason why I think the world was a safe place when I was a kid, not because my town was some anomaly where there was no crime. If God can keep me and my husband then why won’t I trust Him to keep my children safe as well?

I don’t like the thought that I could be holding my children back, because of my fears. I want them to learn about life and people. I want them to learn how to deal with bullies and best friend drama, but I also want them to never get hurt and to never feel the pain of being rejected by their peers. I want my children to be okay when I drop them off at college. The only way to know how to do all the things that I just mentioned is to have real world experience. I want to trust that my sweet children will know how to carry themselves when I’m not around, so I might just allow them to have a few mornings at the park before class starts. Of course I’ll be watching from the car to make sure everything is alright.(Well, I never said I was perfect, I only said I was trying!)

It can be hard to step back and allow our children to have the freedom to make mistakes, but trusting God’s ability to handle every potential problem is the best decision we could ever make. Do you ever make important life choices from a place of fear? How do you balance allowing your children the freedom to grow and mature, with your desire to keep them safe? Let me hear from you in the comments.

Sowing and Reaping

I had my book signing this week and I was literally tied up in knots worried about how well it would go all this week. I had a problem that God reveled to me this week and He used my worry over this event to expose it to me. You see somewhere along this journey of writing and publishing a book, I lost sight of what was really important. I got tangled up in the superficial aspects of achieving my goals. I started thinking that because I had sown over here and over there, to this person and that person, that surely I will reap from those same places because I sowed seeds there. I thought if you put a seed in the ground over there, then that’s the spot where your harvest will grow.

However, that is not always the case, the bible says; “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal6:7)

I love the next verse as well, but I want to really focus on sowing and reaping right now. I was thinking that I had made a deal with these people that I would support them and intern they would support me. That may sound reasonable to you, in fact it sounded like a great idea to me, but here’s the problem; I was looking to people and not God.

I did have a lot of people whom I know and love buy my book or share it with others, so I just want to clear that up. I did have a LOT of people support me and I am so grateful! I hope you all know that, but I was too focused on the people who I thought would be there and were not. I was disappointed by their absence because I was expecting my harvest to come from them. The reason why I was doing things had become corrupted, I was doing things with the wrong heart. Naturally after God pointed this out to me I was remorseful and upset with myself and I immediately threw an epic pity party for myself.

I was moping around the house telling myself, all sorts of things. I guess my husband noticed and he decided to try and encourage me to come out of the funk that I was in by giving me a little reminder. He waited until I was done with my day, freshly showered, and getting ready to turn out the lamp on my nightstand before he spoke a word about my attitude. I was tossing and turning, fluffing my pillows trying to get comfortable when he said, “You know babe remember the saying, ‘You may not always reap WHERE you sow, but you will always reap WHAT you sow.’ This may not be the place of your harvest. This may have been the tight time for you to sow, but not the time for you to reap.”

Wow! That was some of the best advice that my husband has ever given me! It was a truth that I needed to be reminded of, because along they way I had started looking toward people for my return on the seeds that I’ve sown. Unfortunately, I lost sight of what was actually true. You see I was looking for my self value or validation in who supported me or how many books I sold, and I think that’s why I was sad at first. I let my husbands words to me really sink in and it changed my perspective of myself and I stopped allowing self doubt ruin my feeling joy of reaching my goal of becoming a published author. I made a decision to be grateful for all the people who did congratulate me and who did run out and by copies of my book. I don’t know why it’s so easy to focus on the negative things instead of the positive, but I chose to look for the good. It was not my natural inclination, but thank God for my husbands sage and sobering advice!

I felt like God was reminding me not to despise the day of small beginnings(Zac4:10) I have this tendency to want everything to be absolutely perfect and a guaranteed success before I try it, and that is the opposite of faith. I should say though, that I had two very lovely ladies make it out to my book signing and it could not have been more perfect. I really had the chance to talk about myself and my book and my family was there too, it was just what I needed.

When I left there, I was feeling like a million bucks! Those ladies helped me to remember why I wanted to write my book in the first place, because I wanted to tell a good story. I wanted to make people feel happy. Sometimes we just have to take a look at our lives and see all the many blessings we already have. Waiting on God’s timing might be difficult, but in due season I know that I will reap my harvest.(Gal.6:9)

We need to see the value that we already have, the worth that we already possess, and the harvest that we’ve already reaped. God bless you all for reading and please share a time when you had to open your eyes to see your harvest.