Monday, March 13, 2017

Failure to Victory

As a mom for of two boys I feel like a failure a lot.  Especially since last November when our lives began to change very rapidly.

In November my husband accepted a position as a full time Children's Pastor in a different part of the state. In December I quit working to become a stay at home mom. At the end of the month we added our second child to the family. In January my husband began to commute 4 hours to begin his new job, I stayed home with the new born while he took our toddler with him to stay at his parents in our new city. At the end of January we officially moved to our new city and reunited our family of FOUR and jumped into our new position with both feet.

To say things were a little chaotic and stressful is an understatement but through it all God was faithful. However things began to show up in my life that had not been there previously.  I began to act out in anger and frustration in the stress toward my toddler. I have never been great with toddlers and thought I would be fine with my own...nope. I am not a great toddler mom. I have no idea how to parent a toddler, how to discipline a toddler, how to teach a toddler and the stress activated a battle I did not know I would face. The battle against anger and frustration. It is an ugly battle.

In the past month the Lord has really being to show me how my anger and frustration are a sin and how they are affecting my son who has also begun to act out in anger and frustration. It's a heart breaking thing to see in him act like me and is a knife to my heart every time.

The Lord is so merciful and gracious though and He has been pouring His love and Spirit out on me and encouraging me in this battle.

He has been reassuring me that I am called to be these boys' mom. That I am His child and His blood runs through my veins. That He is right here with me in this battle and that together we WILL be victorious. That I am not a failure, I am human and a sinner with battles to fight.

I can remember sitting outside a few weeks ago and crying out to Him after a particularly rough day with my toddler who is very strong willed and defiant and telling God that this is the exact reason I was unsure for so long about having kids. I knew that there may be something in me that could damage and hurt them because of the way that I grew up even though I have prayed and prayed for every generation curse to be broken and for every wound to be healed.

I now realize that sometimes those things have to be faced in the heat of the moment, when you are face to face with them, on the front lines, in the direct line of fire from the enemy. So that is where I currently find myself.

Anger and frustration have come up in me from deep below, from what I believe to be a generational curse and by the Power of MY Savior Jesus it will END with me and my children WILL NOT have to fight this when they get older and have children.

I am not a failure unless I decide to quit and I WILL NOT QUIT. My boys deserve better, they deserve for me to fight this battle and win this battle with Jesus.

Our days have gotten better but I still mess up and yell or get too angry. I am not proud of this battle within me. But neither will I hide it for the bible says that "everything exposed by the light becomes visible - and everything that is illuminated becomes a light." Ephesians 5:11

On the day I cried out to the Lord in my back yard I opened my bible and was so encouraged by His Word and a little devotion that was there that read: "We can be the mother our children need because God divinely chose us for the job. Don't doubt it. He perfectly matches each mother with each child. He knows what he is doing. And aren't we glad!" Yes, yes I am glad that God chose me to be these boys mom and that He knew what I would face and how I can and will be victorious, He knew my shortcomings and battles before I have ever faced them and He knows the ones that will come.

Motherhood is not an easy job, it is the hardest thing I have ever done and it is a calling and God never leaves us or forsakes us...where He calls us He equips us and it may be that He equips us right in the heat of a battle and not before but He will always equip us and give us what we need to do what He has created us to do.

I battle anger, frustration and feelings of failure on a daily basis and God is with me every step of the way. VICTORY COMES WITH JESUS.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Heart Change…the HARD way…

I remember when I decided that I could indeed GO in order to spread the gospel, and by go I mean to another state. 

You see my husband and I had a wonderful position at a wonderful church but it was 10-12 hours away from family. We chose to leave that position to move closer to family.

Well now it is 2.5 years later and I have had a complete change of heart…

I have learned many lessons in these 2.5 years one of which is this:

Distance does not have to have anything to do with relationship. Crazy talk it seems. I thought that too when we lived 10-12 hours away. However, I have found since being back in our home state that our relationship with our families has not changed much. We still love each other the same and we still get excited to see each other when we can. The only difference is that we get to see them a few more times a year.

What has happened in my heart recently is this...either way (home state or away) we must make a sacrifice. We must either sacrifice a bit of time with our families…not all time with our families but most…or ministry.

We are CALLED TO GO. We are CALLED TO MINISTER. We do not love our families any less we just realized that we must GO and DO what GOD has CREATED US TO DO. We simply have not been able to do that here unfortunately. Trust me we tried and have kept trying and have met walls everywhere we have turned, some have been very ugly and hurtful walls.

God doesn’t care what it takes to teach us the things that we need to learn, that is the bottom line.

I prefer to learn lessons without all the pain, heartache, and difficulty but I must be absolutely hardheaded because I seem to learn most of my lessons the hard way.

So there it is. We are READY once again to GO. 

I honestly cannot wait until God sends us out again! I am ready tomorrow LORD SEND US!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Love

While watching Biggest Loser last night and hearing the story of one of the contestants, I was once again reminded that you just never know what people go through and what brings them to the place they are in. They could be the rudest, meanest, fattest, skinniest, happiest, well put together, falling apart person you have ever met and you have no idea what they have walked through and why they are those things on the outside.

My job often reminds me of this too. Patients come in and can sometimes be very rude or short tempered and when they check out or maybe by the next visit they have transformed into seemingly an entirely different person because they feel better.

We just don't always know what road people have walked or are walking. What pain they may carry around or regrets, guilt, shame, doubts, etc.

The specific story shared on Biggest Loser was of a mother whose son had gotten outside and drown in a pool while she was sleeping. What a devastating story and oh the guilt she is carrying around with her. I cannot even imagine and when I thought about that happening to us I just about lost it all together.

It reminded me of the quote we so often see and I actually posted on social media..."Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." ~original author unknown

Think about that. We have no idea what people are facing everyday. We have no idea the heartbreaks they are or have experienced. We have no idea. 

If we keep that in mind my hope is that we will love freely, even those who are unpleasant or not very easy to love.

After all..."But the greatest of these is love." 1Corinthians 13:13b

I am a firm believer that, as it says earlier in 1Corinthians chapter 13, in verse 8 "Love never fails." I believe this because I have seen in with my own eyes and in my own walk and in how God has called me to walk.

Love never fails. Love is what transformed my life. God's redeeming love and the love of fellow Christians (one in particular) who walked with me through some of my toughest days of healing and transforming (it did not happen over night and it was not a pleasant process, I was not a pleasant person).

I would not be the person that I am today had they given up and decided that I was too difficult, too unpleasant or too mean to love. Love never fails.

Christ's unfailing, unconditional love continues to be my rock to this day. He is always always there to love me especially when I am at my worst or when I am unlovable. 

What I have typically found is that those who are unpleasant are usually hurting in some way or have a need of some kind. They need love the most.

So I leave you with this...the Love Check

Read 1Corinthians 13:4-8 and all the places it says love, substitute in your name and see how well you stack up. Don't worry, noone really stacks up but it is a good way to check and see where you are in loving like Jesus.

It is a reality check for me EVERYTIME I do it!

Happy LOVE month! Let's make it a LOVE year!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Restarting

Oh how I love January.
The hypothetical RESET button of the year!
I love the opportunity it gives to take a collective breath and begin again so to speak.

I love to look back over the ending year and reflect on the ups and downs and look ahead to the clean, shinny, brand new year. 

Fresh with new possibilities and beginnings. I love the feeling of having a "clean slate" again, a place to start anew. 

This year as I look back on the year that is coming to a close I find myself thankful. I am thankful for the hard things that have taught me so much and have helped me to appreciate the good things. I am thankful for freedom and life. I am thankful again this year for the amazing husband that God shares with me and I am thankful that we walked through this past year hand in hand. I am thankful for our little boy who brings so much joy into our lives.

As I look ahead I cannot help but be excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. We will have a whole year of firsts with our little man and I know God has some new ministry things in store for us and I am so incredibly excited to see what He has up his sleeve. 

Each year I seem to find a word that encompasses that particular year...for 2015...LIFE

We had new LIFE breathed into us after a particularly life draining situation and we experience the birth of our son and the literal bringing of new LIFE. 

I feel that for 2016 the word/theme is NEW! 

I hope to use the flipping of the calendar into a new year as a Restarting point, a nice reset or place to begin. 

Here's to a fresh new year ahead chock full of HOPE, LIFE & NEW possibilities!

Lord, Thank you for never leaving us, for walking with us through the muck & mire and through the sunniest days of this past year. I cannot wait to see what YOU have in store for us in this new year. I give you this brand new year and ask that you shape it and mold it as YOU desire. I trust YOU and desire only to follow YOU! In Jesus name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Relationships: Just Try

So in recent months I have met a few new people in which my initial reaction was not good.

In some way or another I struggled with them and didn’t quite “click”.  I found myself really putting a wall up because of this.  

Well in the past week I have found that I actually somewhat enjoy one of the persons. Through that and a great sermon from church Sunday morning I want to say something to you and to my future self…

Just Try.

Often times when it comes to others we want to judge or respond so quickly when really we should just give it some time, we should just try to have relationship before we make a decision about somebody.

What I have learned is that one person in particular is difficult for me because they are like me…they do things that I have to fight against doing on a DAILY basis. That makes me struggle both with them and with myself. But when I stop to think about it and when I try with them I find a few things that are needed. 

First: I need to be aware of those things in me and be aware that I need to keep fighting them, what better way than being irritated by them in someone else. It gives me great insight into what others feel when they are around me so I can be more aware.

Second: What if everyone who met me never tried to get past my annoyances and my humanness…well I doubt I would have a single relationship.

Third: I would miss out on the good parts about others.

I am finding that there are some things that I really like and enjoy about this person and that ultimately I have been placed in their life and them in mine for reasons that I may never know anything about. Ultimately I am placed in their live to be a light and to love them. Period. But beyond that, if I just try then I may find a friendship that I would not have expected (that is yet to be seen, but is a possibility.)

So when it comes to relationships (not of the romantic kind) I say….Just Try. 

You never know what blessings will come out of it or what learnings.

I am learning that I have a lot of work yet to do in me and that is always a good thing to remember. None of us are finished yet. We are not finished working on ourselves or finished loving others no matter how hard it may be.