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Parenting Pre-Schoolers

We Weren’t Meant To Do It Alone

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“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  James 1:5

“What in the world were you thinking?”

This was a staple of my prayer life when my children were young.  Yes, I questioned God many times.  I feel like He probably got tired of hearing it but I had to be real, right?  I mean, what was He thinking putting me in charge of two live humans?

Scripture tells us that we are all sinners so that includes me, duh, and I know that perfectionism is non-existent on the planet.  I get it.  So when we were given the blessing and responsibility of raising two children, how in the world was I, an imperfect person, expected to “train them in the way they should go” and somehow keep them on the straight path and help them be who God created them to be?

At times the task felt impossible.  At times I thought we would all be on Oprah (I know, I’m dating myself) one day airing our dirty laundry for all the world to see.  I mean, surely I was messing them up somehow.

Ever felt this way?

What I learned over time was that my thinking was prideful.  Pride.  Full.  Full.  Of.  Pride!!

Parenting has a way of humbling us, doesn’t it?

Your infant pees on you during a diaper change.  Your toddler comes to wake you in the night with an upset stomach only to vomit in your hair while they’re beckoning for help.  Your preschooler points to someone in the grocery store and asks you why they look like they do.  You begin to lose your temper with your elementary age child and they begin to tell you about the character trait of self-control that they are learning in school.

These are just a few of the physical challenges that come with being a parent.  Just wait until they become young adults!  The physical challenges diminish greatly but the emotional pull that comes with watching your children launch out can be just as great.

Now that I’m on the other side of having small children, here are a few things I learned:

Mothering preschoolers, at times, was lonely.  I was isolated.  I was schedule driven.  Sometimes, I was limited financially aka broke!

*Find a community.  I found mine through my local church.  I deliberately surrounded myself with women who were in my shoes and with those who had already walked out of them and were on to parenting older children.  Both have value.  I attended some play dates, library readings and gym sessions for moms and toddlers but I found that authentic relationships were built in the security of other christian women.

I felt unequipped.  After reading all the books and those wonderful magazine articles found at the pediatrician’s office, every family is unique in its own way and while I found some good tips through those avenues, there was only one solid source for teaching me how to parent MY children.

*This time in my life is when I got more serious about my faith.  I had to ask myself if I really believed in Christ or was I just riding the coat tails of my upbringing.  I had to choose if I was only going to use Him when I needed answers or was I ALL IN on placing my faith in Him.  He created the institution of family, the first mom and dad, the first set of children…He is the designer of it all and He is the deepest, widest and most rock solid source of how to parent.  He proved this to me over and over as I walked through these years.

I am blessed.  I’m acutely aware that there are some out there who long to be a mom and are just not able to be at this time.  Not all get this privilege to parent and we shouldn’t take it lightly that we were chosen to guide these little human beings for 18+ years.  To be the place where they launch off into adulthood and return to when they need to steady their footing again.

*God chose us to do this task.  Being hand picked by God..now that is a blessing!

God chose you!  Rest in that friend.  You are your child’s parent on purpose.

Do what you can to prepare.  Do what you can to just simply do your best.  But know this, this journey of parenting isn’t just about those babies.  It is about you and your relationship with your Creator too. This is a time to lean into Him, trust what He says about finding community.  Trust what He says when He tells you He will never leave nor foresake you.  Trust His instructions in the Bible about parenting.

We can get so wrapped up in our children.  We’ve all been there or been tempted to do so.  But, everything that we experience in this life is about strengthening our relationship with Christ and inviting others to do the same.  All of it.

So keep your focus on Him.  Keep Him at the center.

We are lonely at times because He longs to spend time with us.

We feel unequipped at times because He longs to equip us.

We are blessed always because He is just waiting to give us whatever we need and it’s all for our good, the good of our children and to bring glory to Him.

So, lean in.  Lean hard.  Beware of the trap of thinking you can do it all on your own.  We are designed to need Him and when we give in to that, well that is where we will find freedom.

Blessings,

Kellie

 

 

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Be Easy On Yourself

 

I was recently talking with a friend and she said something that resonated deeply with me.

 

We were talking about goals and dreams and what may be out in front of us that we want to attain.  We were talking about how to get to those places and how sometimes we have to muddle through other things, let other things go, clear a path etc. before we can reach those goals.  It was wonderful conversation soaked with truth.

I thought we were going to keep talking about big, personal goals and encourage each other to keep pursuing them.  I thought we were going to go big picture.  I was wrong.

 

She said something that rang a bell deep in my heart…

“I’m learning to give myself grace in the small, every day things.  To celebrate those accomplishments, even if they’re small”.

 

Isn’t that good??

Don’t we wait until the BIG thing is checked off of our list before we cut ourselves a break and celebrate?  Before we acknowledge that we’ve accomplished anything at all?  Aren’t women known for being their own worst critics?  For being so focused on the big, giant goals that we push aside the small steps that had to be accomplished before reaching that destination?

 

Here’s what I’m learning the older I get and the more that I make relationships with other women a priority…we are too hard on ourselves.  Way too hard.

 

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 

If you struggle simply getting out of bed some mornings because of anxiety or depression, and you actually get up…cut yourself a break.  Acknowledge that you just accomplished something.  It doesn’t matter if it is a “hard” thing to anyone else.  If it is “hard” for you, and you pushed through…give yourself some grace.

 

If you are fighting with your spouse 5 or 6 times a day and you have a day where you only fuss 4…don’t linger over the 4, celebrate the absence of the others.  It’s a small thing that can lead to bigger things.

 

Mothers of young children, I hear many of you voice your desire to have your quiet time in the morning and get in your work-out, shower and start breakfast all before that baby wakes up.  Some of you are drowning with guilt because you haven’t had your child’s 30 day pictures taken like everyone else has (bahahaha..ask me how many times I had my children’s pictures taken when they were babies) and now your child will grow up with low self-esteem because you didn’t document every inch that they grew!  Stop!!! There are more of you than you think only getting a shower every other day and barely managing to feed your husband a bowl of cereal after coming in from a long days work.

 

If you’re that mom and you got out of bed and loved on your children today, celebrate that you took care of what was most important.  If at the end of the day only 1 out of 8 things is ticked off of your to-do list, celebrate the 1 thing and start fresh tomorrow.

 

It’s important to set goals.  To reach for the stars and move forward with vision and purpose.  But, while you move forward, give yourselves some grace and acknowledge that even the small accomplishments are still accomplishments.  It takes plowing through the small things before the big things can be attained.

 

God is in the small things and it’s in those achievements that sometimes our intimacy with Him is more tangible than others.  It’s those small tasks that when achieved, draw out a quiet “yesssssss” and will draw our gaze to our Father, who is so pleased and just tickled, when we include Him in those mini celebrations.

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He sees when we struggle to get out of bed but we do it anyway.  He sees when we are unhappy with our jobs but we go and give it our best anyway.  He sees when our anxiety tells us to stay home but we push through and call that friend anyway.  He sees when we push away the cake in an attempt to care for our bodies.  He sees when that baby has kept you up all night and it’s all that you can do the next day to simply brush your teeth.

 

“…my power is made perfect in weakness…”

 

In our weak moments, let’s let Him in and share that.  We have a tendency to beat ourselves up and assume that God is disappointed when we struggle.  That He is somehow never satisfied with our small steps.  Not so.  It is in our weakness that He has room to work.  It is here that He shines through.  It’s this place that we realize our need for His power and comfort and He delivers.

 

Every.  Single.  Time.

 

Let’s lean in.  Be more like my friend and celebrate the small things.  Celebrate with Him.  He’s right there lending His power to help us push through.  Then, let’s throw a little praise party as we accept the grace that He is handing us!

 

Praying that we give ourselves even a portion of the grace that He longs to give us.  I believe we’d be blown away if we realized the grace He’s made available for you and me.  Blown.  Away.

Kellie

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When “Mother’s Day” Is Hard

Sometimes Mother’s Day is tough.

Being a mom isn’t always fun, some days it’s just hard.  Unfortunately, some of those hard days or seasons may fall on or around Mother’s Day.  I know they have for me.

I’ve had a Mother’s Day or two that I faced with dread.  I’ve been in the trenches, battling for the well-being of my children, struggling to hold my ground as the parent when a child was trying to take over and show me who they thought was really the boss.  I’ve had a Mother’s Day or two where I fought with a child over disobedience or disrespect and had to wake up on this special day questioning my parenting skills.   Wondering where I was going wrong.  Playing over and over in my head the strong words that were exchanged a mere 24 hours earlier in my home.

If you look at social media today, you’ll only see the good stuff.  It’s easy to look and compare and envy and wonder why your child would rather be somewhere else.  Why these other families seem to have it all together.   It’s easy to question if you’ve been left out of those parenting classes that your friends on social media obviously attended.

HA!

Moms, don’t fall for it!  Don’t let yourself tumble into the trench and spend your energy questioning what you are doing wrong.  Just don’t.  At least not on Mother’s Day.

Parenting is hard, beautiful, messy and sometimes even a breeze!  It can be rewarding and exhausting all at the same time.  Especially during times of adolescence for your children, or those high school years where they are trying to find their own way, and for those of us who were “gifted” with a strong willed child, well…it can be hard, beautiful messy and a breeze all within 5 minutes of any given day!!

Real talk.

Have you ever wanted to give it up?  To tell that pre-teen to stop threatening to move out and just get on with it?  Does it ever look easier to let that 14 or 15 year old just GO ON and be someone else’s child to raise because you’ve “done all you can” and you’re just over it!

We were there at my house.  I’m telling you, parenting a strong headed child is exhausting and after so many years with everything seeming to be a battle, it would have been much easier on our family to just let the child go!

But…that’s not what a mom is called to do is it?  We’re given this child to raise and unless they walk out on their own, we need to be in the business of hanging on, of persevering, of sticking it out.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12

Moms, your worth is not found in how well your child is behaving.

Your value as a mother is not to be judged on the basis of whether your kid likes you on any given day.  Your worth is found in who YOU belong too.  In being a child of God.

Think of it this way…as God’s children…If He looked on us and judged His own worth based on our actions, where would He be?  What kind of self-esteem would He have.  What kind of father do you think He’d think He was?

Do you see what I’m saying?

We are to love our children unconditionally, guide them towards what is right and good and keep on loving them no matter how they respond to our efforts.

Isn’t this what God does with us?

His worth is based on who He is.  Our worth is based on whose we are.  Nothing else.

That is good news!!

Being a mother is a blessing, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

This is where we find our joy on Mother’s Day moms!  In that He hung this title on us, on purpose, for a purpose.

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Yes, if your children are around, celebrate.  Celebrate big!  But don’t let what took place the day before wrap you in a wet blanket.

And if your children are not around, celebrate you!  Do something you enjoy.  Eat the cake.  Drink the coffee.  Take the long walk.  Talk to Jesus about what’s on your heart and soak up the rest that only He can offer.

Our job is a privilege and children are a blessing…even if it some days it doesn’t feel like it.

Enjoy your day moms, it’s all yours!

Praying for those weary moms tonight,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come Sit With Me

It was early December a few years ago.  Tim and I were riding down the road.  I was in the passenger’s seat with pen and paper as we discussed what we wanted to buy our people for Christmas that year.  The issue we were having was that our loved ones basically have everything they need and most of what they want.  We were straining our brains trying to come up with things to spend our money on that may or may not be wanted or even appreciated.

In that moment, something came over me.  It was as if God was cracking open the door, ever so slightly, and giving me a glimpse into the life of a single parent.  For just a brief moment in time, my feelings shifted from strain and frustration to desperation and worry.  I saw a flash of faces, all of the single parents in my life.  Like a dream that only lasts about 30 seconds but would take 30 minutes to describe.  It drove me to tears.

That moment was life changing for me.  I began asking myself what I could do to come alongside single parents to encourage them.  Little did I know that God was going to blow the doors off of my small minded thinking.  Not because I’m someone special, but because these parents are.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18 NIV

Unfortunately, the perfect world He originally intended is no longer in existence.

Does it matter why they are a single parent?  Only to God.  It’s not our business.

God is looking for people who are willing to leave the comfort of their own friendship circles and embrace these single parents.  I am sure of it.

Those who are reading this and are married, take a journey with me for just a moment…What if you were suddenly left alone to care for your home and children?

  • Who would help you clean house, buy groceries and shuffle kids to the ball park on a typical Saturday…after putting in a 40+ hour work week?
  • Who would share yard work with you?
  • Who would help you pay your bills and save for a vacation?
  • Who would pick up your kids from school when you’ve been in bed with a fever all day?
  • Who would let you get a little sleep when you’ve been rocking a sick baby for 2 days?
  • Who would tag team parent with you when your teenager starts to rebel?
  • Who would help you on Sunday mornings to get the kids up, fed and ready for church–on time?
  • Who would you sit with in church on Sunday morning while your children were in their own classes?
  • Who would you tell about the day you’ve had at work after you’ve finally gotten the kids to do their homework, shower and get to bed?

Who?

I’ve never been a single parent but I’ve had the privilege to come alongside many and observe and participate in life with them.  They are strong.  They are over-comers.  They inspire me.

Single parent

I’ve personally been asked, and told, by single parents…

  • Can I sit with you in church so I’m not sitting alone?
  • Can you go to court with me? I don’t want to face my ex husband alone.
  • Can you arrange a time for me to meet other single moms in my area? I don’t really know any.
  • My car is in the shop, can you pick me up Sunday for church?
  • I don’t feel comfortable in Sunday school with all of the married couples; can you help me study my Bible?
  • I’ve been sick for 3 days and my kids are living off of microwave popcorn and Capri sun!
  • I’m looking for a second job so that I can afford to buy Christmas for my kids this year.

 

 “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”

Mark 9:41 NIV

Our response…

  • Yes you can sit with me; I’ll save you a seat!
  • When is that date? I’ll do whatever I can to support you.
  • Let’s put something on the calendar. I’ll gather some help and provide some childcare and we will make it a girl’s night!
  • I’ll be there at 10:30.
  • Yes! What do you want to learn about?  I’ll pick us up a study guide and we’ll get started.
  • I’ll bring you dinner tomorrow night, while I’m there, I’ll help you fold clothes too.
  • I know people who have more money than they know what to do with. Let me see what we can do to help. Do NOT take time away from your kids to buy them STUFF!  We’ll work this out, that’s what the church is for, and I’ll be in touch.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 68:5 NIV

Can we make the effort to reach out?  Single parent families can benefit greatly from spending time with families where both parents are present.  Their kids can see what a two parent household looks like.  Single moms and dads can ask for advice and even give it to two parent homes.  They’ve had to be creative in ways that two parent homes don’t have to be.  They have a lot to offer.  We can learn from each other. They don’t want pity.  They need us.  We need them.

Let’s step from our comfort zones.

Speak up.

Reach out.

Follow through.

Especially at this time of year.

Who can you ask to sit with you this Sunday?  Start there.

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The Art of Letting Them Go…

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When I think of creating art, words like messy, beautiful, creative, frustrating, expectation, intentional and unique come to mind.

If you were creating a piece of art, what would you think of?  What would your process look like?

This is how I am beginning to view my duty of letting my adult children go well (I want to do this so well).  It’s a process that began as early as their elementary school years.  But, we are rounding the final corner of this journey here at our home.

We’ve all heard it before, even if you’re not a believer.  “Love your neighbor as yourself“.

This passage of scripture is one of the most quoted pieces of the Bible.  Ponder it.

Now, step back and filter your children through these words.

“Love (child’s name) as yourself.”

Just like creating a piece of art requires purposeful thinking, letting our children go requires intentional planning.

I love my children fiercely.  Achingly.  Desperately  Blisteringly.

I love them with firmness.  Decisiveness.  Determination.  Purposefully.

If we are loving our neighbors, our children, as ourselves, won’t we love them like this?

With desperation, determination and with purpose.  Fiercely and firmly.

It’s a choice we all have to make.

Don’t you want to be loved like that?

 

 

Just like creating a piece of art requires constant motion, letting our children go requires continual plodding.

If we love our children with fierceness and firmness can we still give them the freedom to fly or fall?

I say yes.

But this is also a choice.  A verb.

To give them the freedom that is.

And it is necessary to their development.

If they fly, they will own it like a rock star!  “Look at me!  Look what I did!”  The self-esteem and confidence that comes with that flying can’t be taken from them.  Ever.

If they fall, they will learn.  They will self-examine.  They will re-examine.  They will know next time, and they will OWN the success that comes when they choose differently down the road.

 

This is how they learn.  This is how they mature.

 

Just like creating a piece of art stirs emotions from deep down in our souls, letting our children go will wreck us with a passion words cannot even describe.

Here is just a glimpse of what I’m learning in this season…

I’m learning how to view my children as adults.

I’m learning that although they respect me, they will make their own decisions.

I’m learning that if they don’t take my advice, it doesn’t mean they’re making a wrong choice.

I’m learning that they need to come to terms with their own faith in God.

I’m learning that that is a process.

I’m learning that although it’s scary to watch, I would rather they own their own faith than to piggy back off of mine.

I’m learning that although I was once physically exhausted from running our household and raising these children, it is sometimes just as mentally exhausting now.

I’m learning that my mom must have kept her mouth shut A LOT when I was a young adult!

I’m learning when to keep my own mouth shut.

I’m learning to be ready to break their fall but still let them feel some of the effects when they trip.

I’m learning if I shelter them or assume responsibility for their negative consequences, they’ll never learn or mature.

I’m learning they were listening even when I didn’t think they were.

I’m learning to encourage and take a step back.

So.  Much.  Learning.

Love your neighbor as yourself

Matthew 22.39b NIV

We can love our children with fierceness and firmness and still give them the freedom to fly or fall.

It’s in the flying that we feel the kiss and approval of our Heavenly Father.

It’s in the falling that we feel His forgiveness, His unconditional love and His grace.

Oh, His beautiful grace…

I want my children to experience that.  I want it to be personal for them.

Most importantly, if I love my children as myself, I am going to pray for them.  Fiercely and firmly.  Daily.  Hourly.  With passion.

Don’t you want to be prayed for in this way?  To have your name called out and laid down at the Father’s feet like this?  I sure do.

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“Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.”
Psalm 127:3

Moving through this season of life can be hard.  Messy.  Sometimes stressful.  It’s also satisfying.  Joyful.  A privilege not all are afforded.

It involves purposeful planning, constant plodding, and explosive passion.

I still have a lot to learn.  At times I will fly.  At times I will fall. That simply means I’ll have even more in common with my children.

It’s all good.

And God is good.

He will guide, teach, comfort, encourage…He honors our efforts to do this well.  He loves our children more than we do, so stick close to Him.  Gather with friends who are walking through this season.  Encourage one another.  Share wisdom with one another.  Pray for one another.

Like an artist working on a masterpiece, make yourself step back frequently, stand still, and admire what God has already done in the lives of your children.

 And thank Him.

He loves that stuff 🙂

Reflect & Respond:

**Have you ever viewed your children as your neighbor?  How does it motivate you to let go of them well?

**Ask the Lord to show you how to apply this scripture, the second most important command, into your daily life.  He will be faithful to do it.

Praying for you all but especially those who are in this season with me,

Kellie

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Hope For the Weary Mama

Anyone who has been called out by the Lord to write words to point people to Him know how hard this can be.  He asks us to expose our lives for the sake of others.  To lay down and become vulnerable.  To reach into the deep places of where we have been and where we are and use our journey…our imperfect lives…for His purposes.

 

 

I now have the privilege of something called hind-sight.  It’s a beautiful thing!  As I look back at the triumphs and struggles we have had as a family, I see things we did well and things we did not do so well.  I see people who stepped in to encourage me and people who just kept smiling while slightly turning their backs as if to say “we don’t have problems over here so you stay over there“.

 

I don’t want to be in that clique.  They had problems too, they just didn’t want to admit it.

 

I read a lot of other blogs and books.  I need inspiration for my own daily life and it helps me to see how other people write.  I learn from their stories as well as their writing styles.

 

Recently, I realized that most of the material I’ve been reading has sometimes made me feel like they’ve got it all together and I just don’t.  What I was doing was reading from moms who still have school aged children.

 

Do you ever catch yourself comparing your life to someone else’s only to find out you’re not comparing apples to apples?  I know we’re not supposed to compare but let’s face it, it happens.

 

When the light bulb went off, I was both relieved and terrified.

 

 

You see, my children are college age.  The days of “hand me your cell phone” and “we don’t like that friend so NO MORE” and “apologize to your sister” are OVER!

 

 

I can’t write much about this new place in my life because my children read my posts.  But, they know, I am struggling with some of the decisions they’re making.  Not all.  In fact, most decisions are going to turn out well.  But, although they honor me with respect, they respectfully disagree with some of my opinions now.

 

Double edged sword.

 

I want for them to make their own decisions.   But, often times it takes falling on your face to learn.  This is that time for them.  They fully own their actions now.  The good and the not so good.

I find myself thinking “if they would just keep doing what I say, it will all be okay!!”

 

If you are here with me, feel free to reach out privately and let’s get a coffee!  I’m being dead serious.

 

I share all of this with you to say this…those of you who still have your children under your wings, in your nest and under your authority, your parenting privileges will change at some point.  You will always be your child’s mama but your role will change after high school.  Your opinions will be just that…opinions.  NOT the authority.  NOT the bottom line.  NOT the giver outer of consequences.

 

A friend of mine posted today that she wished we (Christians) could be more vulnerable with one another.  That we could share hard stuff without worrying about judgment.  Hard stuff that is internal.  A mental struggle.  A family struggle.  Things we keep quiet most of the time.

 

This is a platform for me to do just that.

 

I have two great kids.  But, when they were in school, we had struggles that I did not talk about very often.  There are still things that I’ve never spoken of.  Words vomited out that hurt.  A teenager landing their fist through a wall.  Threats of “I’m leaving!” and “There’s the door!”

 

This wasn’t every day.  But, it was here.  As I get older and allow things to spill from the cracks of my heart, I am learning that there are a lot of good families who are struggling.

Like, really struggling.

 

I’ve been there.  I’ve questioned whether my child needed professional help.  Whether I needed professional help.  Whether these things, these confrontations, went on in other homes.  The list could go on and on.

 

If you are a weary parent…like, you are reading this alone and you think you’re alone because what would everyone else around you say if they even caught a glimpse of what may be happening in your home weary…you are not alone.  You are not alone!  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

 

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If we were sitting at Dunkin Donuts together in our yoga pants curled up in a corner booth together, let me tell you a few things I would be saying to you out of this place of hind-sight I’m now in…

 

*Do not give up!  There may be times that it would be easier to set your kids in front of the TV or send them to live with their dad or let them quit high school at 16 or let their attitude rule your home-DO NOT!  Your children do not know the long-term consequences of their behavior when they push you like this.  But, YOU know the long term consequences.  You’re the adult.  It’s your job and mine to stay the course.  No TV until chores and homework are done, keep them close, do whatever you need to for them to finish their education and if they are seniors in high school who STILL think they can get their way by bullying you, you stay on your feet and hold your ground!  Call a friend.  Call a grandparent (we did!), call a coach, call a Youth Pastor, reach out for help.  Get creative.  Find ways to discipline that speak to your child.  God honors our efforts when we don’t give up.  He’s got your back, I promise.

 

*Keep trusting Him.  God wired the brains of our precious little people.  He knows what’s going on in their heads better than we do.  He purposely made you the mama to your little tribe.  Purposely!  That means He has equipped you to do what you need to do.  He’s given you resources.  He’s placed the right people in your life at the right time.  He knew you would struggle.  He knew your child would challenge you like this.  It always helped me to keep in mind the big picture-it’s not even ALL about me-it’s not ALL about you-it’s not ALL about your child.  Every bit of the struggle is to bring you and that child closer to your Creator.  All of it. Those challenges you are facing, they are temporary.  I promise.  Not only that, but it is in our struggle that we get more and more desperate for God and as we lean in to Him and in to those that he has placed in our path, we will grow.  We will learn.  You will one day encourage another parent that it will all be okay.  Not perfect, but okay.

 

*Pray.  We went through some times here that I call “dark”.  I call it that because I couldn’t see the light.  I had to rely on my faith.  To make the conscious decision to trust what God says and anticipate each time we turned a corner that the light might be waiting there.  I prayed “Lord, I believe, but please help me in my unbelief”  A lot.  Stay close to Him.  It’s okay to get mad and question Him, just keep talking to Him.  And be thankful. Be thankful for the privilege to parent that challenging child (or children).  Be thankful for your resources and that you can trust Him.

 

When we were being faced with challenges early on, I told a friend that I was continually hoping that my child was going to turn out alright.  She too was in the midst of her own parenting challenges.  She responded by saying “honey, I’m not hoping this turns out alright, I’m counting on it!”

 

That was a turning point for me.

 

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

Do you see the wording here?  They.  Will.  Not.

God never promised not to give us more than we could handle.  He will.  We were not made to handle it all on our own.  He wants in on the deal.  Invite Him in to your life and family and watch Him work.

Reflect:

Are you struggling in your home and in your mind with parenting issues?  Reach out to someone you can trust and let it pour out of the cracks.  Relieve the pressure.

Can I pray for you?  It’s possible I’ve walked down the road you’re on now.  Reach out, I would love the privilege to take your name to the Father.

Praying for you specifically today who are barely holding it together,

Peace, hope and courage,

Kellie

 

 

 

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Keeping Your Chin Up In the Dressing Room-The Struggle Is Real

Why do clothing manufactures pick swimsuits to skew the sizes on us?  Why can’t it be something like socks-or bras-that you have to buy 3 X’s your size to get a good fit?

 

But the bigger question is, why do I let that 5 minute time span in that 2X2 room of mirrors still affect how I feel about myself when I know my true worth has nothing to do with clothing sizes or mirrors or smiling store employees who take those rejected suits (that are my actual size #) and ask with a slight tone of pity “these didn’t work out for you hun?  Oh, I’m sorrrryyyyyyy”.  blah blah blah

 

Recently I wound up buying a swim suit 3 X’s my regular size.  3 X’s!!  That will mess with you!  It’s whatever.

 

So why?

 

And what do we need to do about it?  What can we do about it”

 

The why is simple.

 

We live in a performance based, sight-driven society.

 

A preacher who gets ready for Sunday morning services at his church can’t even stay 100% focused on teaching God’s Word and loving on people.  In preparation for his time on that platform, he has to make some decisions, and no matter what he chooses, someone will judge.

 

Tie or no tie.  Jacket or no jacket.  Ripped jeans or slacks.  Keds or loafers.  Clean shaven or scruffy.  Stand or stool.  Dimmed lights or bright.

When in fact it’s the heart…the Pastor’s heart and the congregation’s heart, are all that matters.  All.

 

We all know what a visual society we are living in.  We all know (as believers) that we should be living for an audience of 1 and He does not care what size the tag on my swimsuit states.

 

So, let’s get to the good stuff.

 

The what.

 

When we are in that booth with fluorescent lighting, standing all alone, mirrors on all sides, our senses seem to heighten.  In the booth to the right of us, we hear a mom saying “wouldn’t you like to see if they carry a longer version of this skirt?” to her eye rolling teenager.  To the left, we hear 2 friends giggling because they’ve just found the perfect dresses to wear to an upcoming party.  Let’s take a breath (3 or 4 if necessary) and remember who we are…and it has nothing to do with what size a total stranger thinks we need to be in.  The size is just a number, it’s not tied to our worth.

 

As a believer, the spirit of truth lives in you.

 

I love one of the definitions in Merriam-Webster for TRUTH.

truth

noun \ˈtrüth

(1) :  the state of being the case :  fact (2) :  the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality (3) often capitalized :  a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality

 

Truth just is.  It’s like when God said “I am that I am” Ex. 3:14

Truth cannot be argued.  Well it can.  But, that won’t change anything.

 

 

” the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

John 14:17 NIV

The Lord does not look at the things people look at…

“7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I Samuel 16:7

 

Now, we only get one body and one life to take care of it all.  Scripture tells us to do everything as if we were only doing it for the Lord and I think that applies to caring for our temples.  Eat right…exercise…yes.  I’ve always said that we never know what God may require of us some day and we need to be prepared.  If we had to jump in a raging river to save someone’s life could we do it?  If He asked us to spend a Summer in a dry dusty country to tell others about Jesus, could we do it in the body we have now?  Let’s be ready.

 

” you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

I Corinthians 6:20

 

His truth is what we should be focused on.  This is good news!  The BEST news!

 

This is where freedom lies.

 

When we’re having a bad hair day, our panty lines are showing or we’ve discovered the spinach that’s been between our teeth since lunch.  When we look in the mirror and our eyes go straight to the spare tire developing around our waist or those acne scars that we can do nothing about.  God whispers…

 You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.”

Song of Solomon 14:7 NIV

Beautiful.

No flaw.

Darling.

 

At 46, the Lord had to remind me of this TRUTH in the dressing room.  As my thoughts began to run away to focusing on my physical flaws or the glares I might get if I wore this or that to the pool or the beach, He brought His words to my mind.  Now, I had memorized them years earlier.  THIS. IS. KEY.  Scripture memorization isn’t just for our small children in their cute Bible classes.  We HAVE to plant it into our own minds because we NEVER KNOW WHEN WE WILL NEED TO SHOUT IT OUT!

 

“During our moments of fear and panic, God is whispering promises to us.”

                                                                                                               -Stacy Reaoch

 

When we remind ourselves of these truths about who we are and whose we are and what He thinks of us, arguing becomes a waste of time and energy.  We can’t argue with the fact that God is only interested in our heart.  We can’t argue with a pine tree until it turns into an oak tree.  It’s just pointless.

 

His truth wins every time.

 

If the spirit of Christ lives in us, we are His, and as some of us were taught from a very young age, God don’t make no junk.  Let’s not argue with our maker that He made something ugly or flawed or inferior.  He takes offense.

 

Let’s not let what other people (clothing manufacturers, billboard designers, commercial makers, sit-com writers, soccer moms, dressing room attendants, ______) beat us up.

 

Let’s not beat ourselves up with our own thoughts either.

 

beat-us-up.png

 

Let’s deposit these truths into our hearts and minds (scripture memory)  and stop arguing with God.  It’s a struggle I know (as usual, I’m writing from the heart, exposing my own issues).  In reality, it may even be an ongoing process before we realize that the best “looking” people out there are the ones with an inner confidence that no one can touch, and this confidence that has been placed into believers, this truth, is the ultimate source of confidence.

 

This confidence is not man-made or self-made, it’s directly from God.

 

Let’s keep our chin up and encourage and build up that which God hand crafted…that would be YOU and ME!!

 

If you are looking for this kind of truth to be planted into you and this confidence that no one else can touch…reach out to me or another Christian in your life.  Ask them how to tap into this.  Don’t brush it aside.  It’s the only place where true freedom can be found, His name is Jesus!

 

Praying for you,

Kellie