The other day, it was either at the memorial or the church service the following day- the weekend was a blur and my brain can’t keep it straight, we sang a song that had “I will not be shaken” sang repeatedly. I began to think about how this could be true. For me, it’s not. I have absolutely been shaken, stirred, turned upside down, emptied out, filled up, and started all over again.
Throughout my life my thoughts constantly get jumbled and too often demand to understand and want to know the whys of every single thing. Sometimes I get answers but when I feel I need them the most I get silence. The silence feels deafening and hurts so much and, unlike in Dr. Who, my heart and brain stores up these moments of silence and goes back to them all the time. I wish I’d only remember the times when I never got the silence!
Then this showed up in my newsfeed on fb; “If you’ve ever felt like God has abandoned you, remember: so did Jesus. Perhaps you are more alike than you realize…”. Talk about a shout after the silence. God is showing me how He can make great things happen from terrible tragedies. He can bring healing to wounds that we never even realized we’re still open. It’s been fourteen years and this broken heart is still broken after losing my mother in-law to cancer. But through the wise words of others and specifically an incredible Pastor (Pastor Matt Molt of New Vintage Church in the Tri Cities Washington, just in case you are ever there and want a great church to go to) my heart is being reshaped and put back together.
This very shaken heart that has questioned God far too often is being made whole again by the God who loves us all so very much.
He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. (Psalms 147:3 NKJV)
Ever had a day that had every inch of you twitching from stress? Where you lay there dizzy, you literally feel like the room is rocking, and twitching from the troubles of the day. That is what’s happening right now.
My husband and I planned for a fun trip for him to go on all by himself. He left Friday and shortly after my oldest began to complain about not feeling good “at all”. His head hurt, his mouth hurt, his tummy hurt. Just not feeling well. Kept him on ibuprofen, he had snagged some goldfish at MOPS Thursday and I figured it was mainly the effects of that. A gluten headache (if you’re intolerant) is the nastiest thing. It makes a migraine look like a walk in the park. Friday flew by!
Then, 2:50am comes, I’d already been up a few times with my youngest, my middle, and my oldest child for various reasons; new bottles, couldn’t find her bottle, clean diaper, needed a flashlight to go potty. Suddenly I’m jolted from sleep to a loud cry of “MOMMYYYY!!!!!” He very rarely calls me mommy, I’m almost always “mama”. I race as fast as I can down the hallway and ask him what’s wrong. He’s just crying and blubbering and I couldn’t understand a word. Then he coughs and gags and suddenly we are racing to the toilet.
I’m pretty sure I still had puke on me until sometime around noon. He officially has a virus and it’s a phlegmy one. Between his cranky and fussiness and the neediness that comes with 2 and 1 year olds… I am laying here shaking and shivering from blood pressure craziness.
I know there are single parents out there with no family or friends that help them. I got a glimpse today. I don’t want to look any deeper. No more!! Please no more!!! I have to believe that going to a job brings some balance and relief to the craziness that is small children. Missing them like crazy and being away from them would bring balance to the cling-ons.
But even then. The price of daycare is absolutely insane. If you work 5 days a week, the cheapest I’ve found is $20/day. Doesn’t sound too bad right? No. That’s $400/month. Let’s say you work for $10/hr full time, that’s $1,600/month, (GROSS pay), rent is $800-$1,000, at the most that leaves you with $400 to pay electric bills/phone/food/baby necessities/and various other necessities. That goes FAST!
My brain just can’t handle it.
Then! If your kid gets sick, hey let’s say you have more than one. Let’s say you have 3! That’s going to add at least another $200 to the childcare bill. So, now you have $200 for bills and necessities. And if your kid gets sick, they can’t go to daycare but most daycares make you pay the flat full time fees whether they come or not so you’re still out $600 but you lose a day of work. Plus, with 3 kids they don’t all get sick at the same time, they take turns and drag it all out for months on end. Suddenly, you’re fired because you haven’t been in to work because your kid can’t go to daycare because they’re sick.
I just. No. My heart is being torn to pieces for people out there who live this life. I have no doubt that you figure it out somehow, someway. Because what else can you do? But it’s that very thing that makes my mind explode in awe. You’re freakin amazing!!! Do you know that?! (I’m hoping one of them some day finds this blog. We all know it won’t be when they’re in the midst of it cause any free time they have is used to breathe.)
You. You are freaking amazing. You made it through hours and days and months and years of this stress.
It’s times like this that I think of my birth mom. She was a single parent to 5 children at one time. The oldest was 10 when she started the single parenthood. She relied heavily on that 10 year old and boy did that 10 year old end up damaged. She still complains about it to this day. Talks to me as if it was my fault. Cause I was born and she was 10 years old and being forced to deal with me. Her poor 10 year old brain is still pissed. I don’t blame her. I don’t blame our mom either. Not for relying on her oldest. She’s got plenty of blame for her shoulders for other things but this, not even a little.
When I was 4 she moved us all to a new city where she only knew people from the church we went to. They helped but after awhile we didn’t see any of them anymore. I can imagine it was a huge strain on them and they just couldn’t handle it. She worked nights and days and was probably so relieved that 4 out of 5 of us were in school full days. We lived with some of the friends for awhile and then moved into a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, apartment. She slept in the living room, us kids got the bedrooms. My brother left home when he was 13 or 14. He moved in with friends of his, a sweet lds family that made an impact in his life.
I remember neighbors complaining that we were left home alone too much. They never offered to help. But they made sure we knew they didn’t like how we were living.
My memories of my youngest years are so vivid and clear because (according to studies) you tend to remember things better when they were mixed with traumas. Of course they also say you regress things and forget lots because of traumas. Pretty sure they don’t know what they’re talking about in the end.
It is strange to look back on my 12 and under years and see them through the eyes of an adult and a mom. I see things so differently. I have compassion for my birth mom that I never did before. She made so many mistakes. But she was so very broken.
Sexually abused in her childhood, losing a son, divorce, raising 5 kids, and add to that mental illness that she refused to acknowledge and take care of.
I have forgiven her for the many mistakes that she made in raising me. This doesn’t mean I’d welcome her back into my life, no, she hasn’t made any choices to stop making those same mistakes and so she won’t be allowed to make them with my children or continue to make them with me. I love her and I have forgiven her. I can’t imagine how living this every single day would chip away at my sanity and my mind.
The strength that is required to live this kind of life is so immense. I find it hard to believe that anyone even attempts without God.
How do they do it?!
So here I am. Less twitchy, but still shouldn’t be allowed out in public. I’m sure I’ll scare the natives lol!
Sometimes we will be driving along and; either in too much of a hurry, or just enjoying the beauty of the drive, we miss a giant pothole directly in our path. Have you ever done that? Then you hit it and you’re so jarred you have to really concentrate to get control of the wheel back. Or worse, suddenly your tire blows and your stuck on the side of the road?
Life can be like that. You’ll be so distracted by so many things that you don’t see this huge ugly pothole that’s coming straight at you. After you hit it you realize how it could have easily been avoided or you make excuses about how there was no way you would have seen it. Hopefully you’re the former type of person. The latter type sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out. I do that sometimes, so it’s surprising that I’m not bald, maybe that’s why God blessed me with the massive amount of hair that I have (seriously. It’s a TON. I’ve yet to meet a stylist or anyone who touches my hair that doesn’t comment on how much I have.) so that there’s no chance of me going bald from driving myself crazy.
If you are jarred or sitting on the side of the road after hitting one of life’s potholes I hope you find hope in the One that can help you see all future potholes. If we become so intent on Him that all we do is wait for His instruction we will avoid potholes and have quite the smooth ride.
How easy is that though?! Way easier said than done. We get distracted by the shiny and the smooth words that make our pride and ego bright and pretty. We hear words from people who make our flesh feel nice (sometimes quite literally, if ya know what I mean. Nudge* nudge* wink* wink*). Or sometimes (this is typically my case here) we throw a temper tantrum. We are sick of not getting our way and basically say “FINE! I’m doing THIS then! How do you like THAT huh?!” And go our own way only to slam into that pothole so hard you see stars.
For example. I began watching a show that my spirit was very much against. My stomach twisted and turned as I watched it but I kept watching episodes. Suddenly there was chaos around me. My kids weren’t napping. I was insanely irritable and cranky. Screaming and crying were nonstop, when one kid wasn’t crying or screaming another one was. I was so frustrated and wore out and I was going ‘what the heck is going on?!’ As I lay down to take a break from it all (my wonderful hubby always makes sure I get some sort of break every single day) and I go to click on that show and I think ‘what if it’s this? What am I allowing in my home by watching this? That’s crazy, it’s just a show! If anything it builds my faith cause I know none of this can touch me cause I’ve got Jesus. … but what if. Ok, I’ll test it out. I’ll stop watching it for a couple days and see what happens.’ So I did. I haven’t watched it since.
Turns out- it was definitely bringing something into my home and to my family. It stirred things up in the spiritual battle that is going on and made the fight even harder. I’m not saying that everything is suddenly perfect but man! It’s definitely WAY better. So much so that I noticed a massive change and will not be watching that show.
That may sound absolutely insane to most of you who happen to come across this but the proof was in that pudding for sure. Give it a shot, if something you’re doing makes you feel worrisome or just not quite right and everything is chaos around you, try stopping some of the things you’re doing that you have that little voice telling you that you shouldn’t. Try it. See what happens. Worst that can happen is you keep on thinking I’m crazy cause nothing changed. Best that can happen is you get some peace in your life.
May you all find more peace in your life and may you trust Christ a bit more today than you did yesterday.
Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Romans 15:33 NKJV)
I recently have been seeing posts about how we are no longer to comment or tell our daughters they’re pretty or beautiful, that we should only comment on their minds. Supposedly, by telling them this it will make them believe that their worth is in their physical appearance only. We definitely don’t want our children (sons OR daughters) to believe their worth is solely in their physical appearance that’s for certain.
I also read, this was quite sometime ago (I wish I could remember where cause it’s one of the best things I’ve read to date, if you happen to be reading this and know where I read this, possibly Power of a Praying Parent, please let me know in the comments), that every day we send our kids out into the world and they are covered with “post-it” notes of affirmation that we have posted on them. With every negative comment toward them a post-it note is removed and soon they can be left with nothing covering them. They will be bombarded with negativity, criticism, and picked away at by words that are tossed carelessly. Remembering the rough times so clearly from my childhood I tend to agree with this line of thinking.
As a result of both of these I have decided, I will tell my daughter she is beautiful. I will tell her she’s beautiful as often as I can. I will tell her this because she is. Outside and inside she is the prettiest girl I’ve ever met or seen. She may be only one but she has more personality and determination than many adults I’ve ever met (I’m POSITIVE that I will be LOVING this determination as she gets older HAAAA!!!!). She even, seemingly, sets goals and works to achieve them. She inspires me in this.
That may be the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard and you’re probably sitting there going ‘SERIOUSLY? She’s OOONNNNE!’ Lol! But, seriously! Like with walking. She suddenly decided she wants to walk, she takes time and does squats and works (on her own, not towards anything in particular) to take steps every single day now. Ever since that one day she discovered that walking is a possibility. I know I sound like a total nut job and an overly proud mom but, she’s my third child and after watching how my boys learned to walk, she’s different, the boys seemed to do this without any thought. It was a wind and release and off they went banging into things and knocking their heads around as they went. With my girl, it’s more purposeful. She concentrates and has a focus that my boys didn’t have. Of course as I’m writing this she comes over to me and is trying to eat the paper off of a water bottle, I took it off the bottle and she weaseled it back and tried unsuccessfully to put it back on the bottle only to eat it again. She is one after all.
Anyways! I will tell her she’s beautiful and pretty because I don’t believe it’s anything more than a mindset. It is a confidence you carry and a way that you love on people. It’s a joy that shines through you that can’t be snuffed out. That is what beauty is. Whether everyone states that or not, in the end that is what it is.
I experienced this in my short life already. Until my early to mid twenties I was skinny and a pretty girl. I modeled and was often told I was pretty and hit on often by boys and men that were generally not the kind of male that ANY mom or dad would want for their daughter. I felt ugly though. I thought I was fat (even when my hip bones stuck out at least an inch!) and went to drastic measures to lose weight, thankfully I did a few research reports on bulimia and anorexia so I knew what TO do and what NOT to do. I had horrible self esteem. After I began my relationship with Christ I stopped terrorizing myself and began to just bask in His love and the joy He filled me with. Suddenly, I was 18 and happy with everything. My life, my body, it was all wonderful!
I married young at only 19(!!!) and became even more settled and content and happy. Between the destruction that I’d caused my body and food allergies/intolerances, I began to gain weight. I gained a hundred pounds, (my chiropractor later told me I didn’t need to be as low of a weight as I had been because my bones weren’t made for that weight, now that was nice to hear! Less to lose!) but I was happier and filled with more confidence than ever and guess what?! Suddenly I was being hit on by very good looking men, I swear I’m not bragging I’m being for real here, I worked at a gym and regularly saw guys who could be models and suddenly they were flirting with me. With ME!!! Some were still the kind that no parent would want near their kid but many were great guys. I was amazed! I looked back and reminisced over photos of when I was skinny and couldn’t figure it out until one night hanging out with friends. My husband and I hung out with a group of married friends and we were always very blunt and honest with each other. While playing games one night a male friend came out and said (I don’t even remember how we got on the topic) that of course guys were attracted to me “you’re pretty, and always so happy”. Well, I sure couldn’t take the credit for my joy. It was a God given gift that filled me every moment I spent in his presence.
After that I began to take notice of how my every day choice of spending time with God and worshipping Him made a difference in my physical and emotional appearance. Talk about incentive! Plus! Think about this: have you ever seen someone and gone “Whoa! They’re HOT!” and then you talk with them and suddenly they’re not so good looking after all? Then, the more you get to know them the more ugly they become and suddenly you’re shocked you ever found them even remotely attractive? They go from GQ David Beckham to one of those hairless dogs (something crusty terrier) with serious teeth problems. Or, not been attracted to someone physically even a little and you become friends with them and suddenly they’re the best looking person you know? That! It’s that!! That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
So, my conclusion is this: kids get picked on, torn down, bullied, and badly criticized, every single day. It’s up to us, the ones who love them and see all their best and their worst, to build them up and create a covering of post-its that can leave them bare. We need to tell them they’re beautiful or handsome, as well as telling them of their sweetness and intelligence. It is not one single attribute that makes someone beautiful, it’s certainly not only physical appearance.