The Window

My sweet girl likes to pretend to “bake” while I cook. If she hears me pulling out pans while she is playing, she drops whatever it is she is doing and runs in to “bake”.

Last night while baking, (looking all domesticated and Lucy-esque) she stopped me in my tracks. As she was doing her thing, she says “momma I want to be just like you!” As I looked over at her; she was definitely better dressed than my hoodie and jeans and her hair was nicer than my mom bun; yet she still wants to be like me.

I must confess that I often don’t feel adequate enough to do the job I was given. Even though, everything in me knows this is my purpose. I was made for this. I have known this since I was young.

I have to remind myself often that my purpose must be rooted in His purposes, otherwise, my inadequacies are all that matter.

My firstborn girl is such a sweetheart and prissy to the max. God must have saw fit that I needed a mirror (my son) and window. I see things in a different light through her. Through all of her melt downs and fits; she brings new light to my eyes.

I’m so thankful God knew I needed her; melt downs, fits and sweetness; all of it.

Advertisements

Thank filled.

The other day, my thoughtful four year old came in to my room early (She is definitely the morning person) and asked to hear “Grandmas song” (“See You Again” from her memorial video) and told us how she missed grandma. Levi and Adelaide chimed in also. Moments like these are occasional and spontaneous, but I always embrace them. I hope to harbor healthy grief processes in them. We talked about how thankful we were for the time we had and the cakes she baked for them.

As we approach the day that Americans set aside specifically to give thanks, I feel a little overwhelmed. I have so much to be thankful for. This year has brought so much Personal growth and ushered in so many new blessings; big and small; seen and unseen.

Growth hurts. There is a reason the term ‘Growing pains’ was coined. Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly stretch anymore, life said “hold my lemonade and watch this.”

I am eternally thankful for the new, wonderful, beautiful lessons and growth this year has brought; as well as the more subtle, seemingly mundane, ones.

This year has also seen so much loss for so many who are so dear to me. It began, as many of you know, before the year was new; when we lost Mom Kolstee. This year feels like being stuck on rough seas with only a shifty raft to barely keep us afloat. Tossled by wave after wave; sometimes being drug under. My empath heart broke a little with each loss of friends’ loved ones. It’s amazing how many times our heart can break and still be whole.

Despite all of the hardships and trials of the year; I’ve watched many become greater than any of us imagined. Life is strange that way. What feels like it should break us, can build us and shape us into more than we dreamed.

It’s also important to note that, strength doesn’t mean we don’t let our hearts greive, or cry our tears. I’ve found that it takes more strength to open my mouth and admit that I need courage; than it takes to silently fade into despair.

This year as we gather around the scrumptious delicacies that will be put before us, I have a new perspective. This year, I have a new kind of thankfulness. This year, I’ve learned to be thankful for the wins AND the losses. Each and every one of them, because they all grow us in some way. I’m also thankful for the freedom and ability to grieve our losses and mourn as needed; even when that means random mornings (almost a year later) when my kids miss grandmas cakes.

If you’re grieving during this Thanksgiving, I pray you to feel the peace of God; but also, that you allow yourself the time and space to grieve. Cry. Yell. Talk to someone. Even if they already know exactly the words you’re saying; say them. If you’re not grieving a loss, hug your blessings and remember to be kind for you never know who is grieving.

You’ve got this.

I want to encourage you today. I can’t be the only one that needs to hear this.

Are you paralyzed with fear? Do you have that crippling ache inside of you that says you’ll never make it; do you worry over doing “it” right? Maybe not all [three] of you do; someone does. Whatever it is. Maybe you’re a parent wondering if you can really give your children the upbringing you long to; a spouse wondering if you can really make him or her happy forever; a student questioning your major; a high school freshman, if you will ever be liked or understood.

Whatever it is, I want to encourage you to name it. Then make a plan. Grab the bull by the horns and wrestle that issue like your life depends on it – because it does. Or, at least the quality of it does.

In my efforts to do so, here is what I’ve found personally to help most, and what I’ve found to be the most unanimous advise.

1. Make a plan.

Winging it is kinda my thing. Sometimes it really works well for me. Most of the time, though; procrastinating and inconsistent methods reek havoc; especially when it involves other people; even more so, children. Making a plan helps you take action and not REACT. Which brings me to

2. Feed yourself.

Most of the time when I feed the children, I dish out the food and make sure they have eaten. When Patrick is home also, I make sure they have all eaten and have quite often, gone on to other tasks; forgetting to feed myself. I’ll wonder why everyone is so annoying, only to realize that I’m irritable because I’ve not eaten. Oops. I’m not talking about physical sustenance though. Spiritual and mental.

I’ve made it a point to carve out time for my devotional in the morning (most of the time). This morning I even heard my five year old tell his sister “let’s go play so Mom can have her coffee and Bible time”. I was shocked that my consistency to do it daily had affected him so much. Even he noticed it.

3. Mentors

This could also be a subset of feeding oneself, but I felt it deserves its own recognition.

Mentors can be life-giving. Whether you’re going through a hard time and need encouraging, or you’re a little too full (of yourself) and need to some fresh air (wisdom) to bring you down to earth; mentors can do both. Sometimes a little outside perspective is helpful.

I’ve also found it immensely beneficial to search out authors who have success in areas I lack. As a mom with four, five and under; it’s hard to find someone who understands my struggle that has time to chat; because they probably have a million things to do also! I have my people who do speak into my life, but I also have what I call author mentors. I listen to their books on audio because it’s usually when I’m driving that I have time. Any way I can get it.

Don’t let fear cripple you. You have so much to offer, grab hold of all that life has given you and make something great with it. Stay humble, but never forget you have immeasurable purpose. It’s just waiting for you to dust off your boots and pursue it. Gods got this; so YOU got this.

Courage – Commonplace Scripts

I found this suggestion in the book Teaching From Rest (not a sponsor, just a great resource!) The idea is any time I come across something that speaks to me, to scribble it in a commonplace. I say scribble because that’s usually all that I have time for. Here is one out thought would speak to many.

This one is from my devotional on YouVersion called Building Character in Your Child, by Family life (today’s is Courage, By Carlos Santiago).

When fear strikes your child, the solution is not to try to convince them not to be afraid, but rather to give them something bigger and stronger to trust in. One of the best ways that you can do this is simply let them see where your courage comes from.

How often have I tried to convince them to not be afraid; to just do it, to be brave; after all, there’s nothing to fear? Too many.

Carlos suggests a shift in perception. instead of being annoyed with my child’s fear; I should realize that my child trusts me to keep him/her safe. They ask for a nightlight at night at bedtime, but are perfectly fine meandering into my pitch black room to snuggle. Why? They trust mom and dad will keep them safe, but when they can’t see us they feel like most humans feel when we can’t see God; vulnerable.

Wow. What a real and perfect example of us as adults and how we treat God in all of His power. we say “but what if I don’t succeed? What if I fail? What if the business doesn’t make it? What if my family doesn’t prosper?” All the while, God’s there saying, just trust. Unlike me, though, I imagine He doesn’t get frustrated and annoyed at our fear. He probably chuckles at us and even more when I don’t understand why my children act the same way I do.

Little Things

It truly is the little things. Making my morning coffee reminds of this. The contraption on top of my mug is called a beehive. It was a thoughtful “just because” gift Patrick found on sale. 😊 He is such an example of servant-heartedness.

My favorite marriage advise will forever be

“Keep finding new ways to serve each other, especially when you don’t want to”. -Pastor Jeff

So many times my perspective has been shifted in enacting this wisdom in my marriage. Every time that I am feeling out of sorts and offended, and I actually commit to finding a way to serve him instead of nag him, not only does my perspective change, his does too.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Galatians 5:13 

I’ve found this to wisdom to be truth in general friendship too! And I’m so thankful that we can set this example for our children to serve one another and other people.

Be encouraged today and find ways to serve those in your life!

Monsters

There lies, in each of us… a monster.

For some it’s roaring and raging in a blind rage which threatens our very livelihood. For others, it merely hides, but we can hear its hiss like a stoic expression, waiting to lash out -and if left unattended, it will. Some are more aware than others of it and do a better job at wrapping chains around it and keep it in the deepest parts of our hearts, and others still, have almost become indistinguishable to it.

Today in Sunday service, we explored this topic (which I’ve also blogged about a few times before (Here, here, and here. Yeah, I run into this occasionally.)

We learned that this monster can go by many names:

Envy, Lust, Greed … It’s primary name though – the one which truly gets us caught up the most – is Pride. It all starts with pride. Make no mistake, it has many names, but this monster is the same; it lurks within each of us. If we are not mindful and on guard, it may rear up and swallow us whole, or slowly eat away at us; until we no longer resemble compassion and humility at all.

Let me share some nuggets from the message this morning (and a little of my own humble input).

The picture seems bleak and foggy sometimes, dealing with a true-to-life monster hiding in the closets and under the beds of each of our hearts, but there is hope. There is light, and there is a way to defeat this monster!

Pride distorts our reality.

You ever meet someone so caught up with self that reality seems to be . . . Aloof to them? Obviously none of us personally have ever dealt with this; but, ya know, others. Their reality is distorted. Maybe it’s not totally distorted. If you think a little distorted is no big deal, think of flying a plane whilst your vision is “just a little” distorted. It’s a big deal.

Pride makes me a fool.

I always think of American Idol when I think of how foolish pride can make us. Contestant shows up; looks the part, talks the part, and we wait in anticipation while they take the mic to show us their stuff. They are confident. They are ready. They are Proud.

After the commercial break, the music begins. Their mouth opens and – TRAIN. WRECK. “Who approved this?! Why would anyone torture themselves like this?! Why didn’t her momma tell her she sounds like that?!” Pride definitely made her a fool. That’s just one example, but, pride can make us a fool even when we are good at something.

Pride rob’s my future.

Having a distorted reality and being a fool can have a way with our future. A bad way. My teacher had a saying. “Oh the web we weave, when we practice to deceive.” Pride won’t let us admit our faults which means, we have to lie. Of course, once we lie to cover up our faults, pride says we must then lie to cover up our lie and our faults. Eventually, it’s a whole web of deceit and we’re all caught up in it. It’s sticky. Pride keeps us “stuck”.

Get Unstuck

1. Turn from your sin

Simply put, pride is sin. In addition, sin begets sin. Time after Time I’ve found the best remedy for this is accountability. Nothing helps turn from sin, like someone I respect holding me accountable for dropping a bad habit. Go ahead, confront that issue of pride and just deal with it head on. You’ll be glad you did.

2. Start Obeying God

The next logical step once you turn away from sin, is to obey God. Some would say “be a good person”, but that can be so ambiguous. Sometimes, there seems to be no good choice. Nothing seems right.

3. Be Merciful to Others

We all need mercy. Mercy is forgiveness when we could bring down the hammer and really “show who’s boss.” I can look back and pinpoint moments of mercy. If you can’t, I’m guessing you need to look back at the first point in this list, because I’m willing to bet there is something you’ve done requiring mercy. Admittedly, I can also pinpoint whence I’ve withheld mercy when it was my turn to wield. I’ll tell you, when you do, it is freeing. It will build you and other people around you. It will encourage you in your own growth and build strong, lasting relationships.

I just wanted to share my thoughts on Pastor Jeff’s words this morning!

How do you combat pride?

Words.

Sometimes, I well up with so many heartfelt words and thoughts that I need to express; then the very syntax of it all crumbles. I seem to forget just how to form a proper sentence and nothing seems to suit all the whirling prompts inside me.

Emotions have always been tough for me. Do I laugh? Do I cry? Stone face? Do I wear my heart on my sleeve like a badge of [dis]honor??

Writing is my release. Sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes it takes a year. I know I must write it. Maybe I can’t formulate the most apropos metaphors to convey the truth of what is in me.

Sometimes, it floods into my heart quicker than my tongue can release the words from my larynx and part my lips to deliver the reality of what’s inside. I choke on words and feelings. It wells up. It must be said. Written. Read. Someone must know.

I’ll often mull over something for weeks at a time. There are some topics that I have yet to find the proper verbage to express it all.

I wish emotions and words were not so difficult for me to reconcile, but alas.

The Perfect Day

10-18-18

If there ever were such a thing as a perfect day (especially as it concerns a busy family with a business and four young children), then today would be the closest I think I’d ever get. It started a little rough. Some attitudes flared slightly, and just when I wanted to lose my temper, I felt a calm quiet that rage and wouldn’t you know it, I think they did too.

I’m just a loud person. It’s just me. Pretty sure I even think loudly. So, yelling just kind of comes naturally. So I just accepted it. “Its just my style, It’s how I parent“, is how I comfort myself. Inside, I know that yelling escalates the anger in me to the next level and the levels are endless. Today, though; today, I stopped it in its tracks and the next level was peace. Thank. God.

The morning was sweet; Well, mostly. Patrick took Levi for coffee and I took the girls with me to Dunkin while the van was in the shop.

There was one meltdown over the ice cream being all gone and “mom I wanted a donut NOT ice cream!” I felt like Super Mario Bros with the bosses getting more intense at each level. At home, there were no judgy eyes, loud whispers or unwelcomed advisors. This boss was tougher. Now, here; in the public eye, my sweet girl, who ate the ice cream, has a nasty little attitude.

Whoa.

Okay. This one was bigger. Tougher. I clenched my teeth, breathed deep and to my pleasure (and slight shock) peace came out. “it’s time to go get our van now” as I picked up Norah, my bag and the donuts which I’d already purchased and she had no clue of. She sat there, at first, in as much shock as I felt, not sure how to react to my lack of rage, then scurried up and clung to my hand.

On our walk back, Olive says “Momma, do you forgive me? I was mean and that was sooooo nice for you to buy us that ice cream and I really did love it!” My heart swelled. Her voice is so sweet but those words; Ambrosia. “Yes, of course, I forgive you Olive, I’m glad you loved it. Let’s have a peace filled day!”

Let me pause here. This is NOT a typical day in our life. I’m usually running around with four littles five years and under. At least two of them have an attitude at any given moment for God knows what. Recently, I’ve been convicted that those discontented hearts are a direct result of the sower of seed into them; me (I am the primary caregiver, but really both Patrick and I.) We’ve been given these gifts to grow and cultivate. So we’ve been working to reevaluate and make right what we plant. Reading every book, blog, and message we can to get our own heart and spirit in order.

I feared that the raging attitude and Disrespect would return when the four of them reunited and began to play. To my great pleasure, it did not. They had a great time together with all of us at the park. When it was time to go there was some moans, but even that was short-lived with a sweet and simple “let’s make the right choice and leave in peace”. Argument squashed. Bam. I was slightly in shock.

At home, more attitudes flared and were squashed, but I found myself wondering if this will ever end. Do you ever feel that way? Like the current predicament is forever; irreversible; set in stone. How quickly we forget whence we’ve come! Just yesterday I would have lost my marbles from the morning.

If you’re like me and you’re trying to make a big change, I just want to encourage you, because maybe no one is. Keep on. You can do it. Victories come small and sometimes seldom; but come they will. Eventually, you’ll look back and realize that you had more than you noticed.

Tomorrow may not be as smooth, but I can hold onto the hope I found in today’s peace. That is, hope that peace is attainable.

Lies We Believe

Lies can be lethal to every aspect of our lives. Relationships, aspirations, self worth etc… We hear, and tell ourself lies about them constantly. We eventually begin to believe the lies we hear repetitively.

What are some lies we speak and begin to believe?

“I’m not good enough.” “My husband won’t lead my family well.” “People really don’t enjoy being around me.” “I need to be in control, or it won’t be good enough.” “my children won’t measure up.” “I will never get my life together.” “I’ll never achieve my dreams.” “I’ll never amount to anything.” “My marriage will never be good.”; these are all lies I’ve heard or told myself. When I hear friends or even strangers utter these words, it breaks my heart a little. Yet still, when I say some of the same, I begin to believe it.

Patrick is forever reminding me that those are not truths; for truth cannot be altered. Sometimes, it may be my moment’s reality; but it can be corrected. I may not know what I need to know to accomplish my goals, but I have available a wealth of knowledge and access to the the best wise counsel there is.

I’d go out on a limb and say that it’s all rooted in pride. Maybe it’s just me but, Stay with me, here. I’m convinced they fall into two categories of pride.

#1. Lies of Vanity

“I need to be in control or it won’t be good enough” – pretty obvious right?! With this, I am saying “No one else can or will do it better than me.” (Usually untrue.) Bam. Pride.

#2. False Humility

“I’ll never get my life together”/”I’m not good enough” – Now this one is kind of tricky because we think it’s the opposite of pride. It’s not. Humility (opposite of pride) would be admitting, “I have a lot of work to do and I probably can’t do it on my own. I need help, guidance and input.” It’s hard. Who wants to admit that?!

So, as humans, we all struggle to some extent. Growth happens when we see them for what they are, call them for what they are, and treat them as they are; Lies. Find the root of the feelings behind them and address them. Hiding from them only stirs up more destruction.

So what can be done? Do we stay here in this cyclic chain of events that brings repetitive destruction and heartache?

No!!!

How to Overcome the lies

1. Stop complaining about it. When you feel tempted to utter lies of pride, or defeat; speak the truth.

Instead of: “I’m not a good mom and wife”

Try: “I’m struggling to keep house and raise the children, but I know where to turn for help and guidance.” (Segue into 2.)

The words we speak matter. So make them worth uttering. Don’t waste your energy complaining and wallowing in pity.

2. Seek accountability and ‘wise counsel’

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Nothing like someone you admire looking at you, and telling you a hard truth, in love of course. I need straightforward truth, seasoned with love. Maybe this is just me again, but I’m a little thick headed so it’s possible. I’m not saying ask the peanut gallery or #askfb all of your biggest queries. What I am saying is to seek wisdom from folks who can and will call you out.

3. Don’t stop growing. You know what doesn’t grow? Dead things. Well, and inanimate objects. You’re not dead and I’m sure you are at least a person. So you’ll either grow or shrivel and die. Like we feed our body, we also feed our spirit. Are you feeding your spirit junk? Clogging your arteries with selfish pride and choking your lungs on your own smoke? Or are you feeding it beneficial nutrients that will promote growth and life?

What have you found helpful in destroying lies in your life and relationships?

*Funny thing is … I figured not many read this. One more lie I tend to believe: while I’ve been told many times that I have a way with words, I often believe that my musings fall short and reach no one. So if this touches you in some way, leave a comment or even just hit the like button!