You are Worthy

I grew up feeling loved by my Dad, and worthless by my Mom. I became a perfectionist in an attempt to pull some sort of affirmation from my Mom. I lived to make her proud of me. Sadly, it has never come to fruition and all I got from it is frustration and anxiety. I’m old enough to not be a victim or play the blame game for any bad behavior I can exhibit time to time, but it still gets to me after all these years.

My Dad has shown me such unconditional love over the years. No matter how mad I would get at him when I was a young girl, or when my mouth gets ahead of me as an adult, he still loves me. Despite the love I received, and still do, there was always this nagging voice in my mind that told me I would never be good enough or worthy enough. That’s where my perfectionism is rooted. This determination to one day be told I did something worthy of a mother’s love was my focus even when it wasn’t my focus. I felt like I was able to overcome so much of this when I was a stay-at-home Mom for almost 12 years. It was challenging at times, but I loved so much of it and felt like I was a success. I love my sons fiercely and unconditionally. I am always proud of them and their accomplishments. I’m also proud of them when they try and fail, because at least they tried!

When I finished my degree and decided to go back to work, this is when I saw that perfectionism and frustration raise its ugly head once again. When I work so hard and years go by without promotion, it brings me right back to feeling like I’m worthless. Realistically, I know I am not and I know my boss doesn’t feel that way, but it’s rooted so deep inside of me, I struggle to get rid of it. How is it even possible to feel accomplished, confident, and find success, yet still struggle with not being good enough?

This brings me to a turning point for me that still brings me to tears. I was at a Women’s Conference this spring at my church. Going to things like these are so out of my comfort zone as I struggle big time with social anxiety and awkwardness. Anyway, my church always has gifts and giveaways for these meetings and they display these gifts at the front, on the stage. I don’t normally win things, but as I look upon this big vase sitting there shining so brightly, I felt like the Lord told me I was worthy of this vase. Not necessarily this vase, but the meaning behind it was what this vase represented. I was shook. This vase was the Grand Prize. I was sitting there minding my own business when I felt God speak those words to me. As I drove home for the lunch break, I began to tell my husband about this and the emotion of it all brought me to tears. God said I was worthy. The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth said I am worthy. I could barely get these words out. This revelation was slowly pulling on that root of perfectionism and unworthiness that was instilled inside of me as a little girl. After lunch, I went back to the Women’s Conference and needless to say, I did not win the vase, but it was still such a good conference and I won that vase in my heart with those words God spoke to me.

Shortly after this conference was my Anniversary, and very unexpectedly my husband walks into my room with this Vase! I assumed he went out and found a duplicate vase like the one at the Conference, but as the tears streamed down my face, he told me how he reached out to one of our Pastors to find out where she got it. After he explained what the Lord spoke to me at the conference, she let him know who won it and the woman who actually won it was more than happy to give it to him so that I could have it. I was absolutely shocked!

This vase now sits on my dresser in my bedroom as a reminder that I am good enough. I am worthy of God’s love. I am worthy to be healed. I am worthy of promotion. I do work hard and I do believe effort is also necessary. You’re not going to give 50% of yourself at a job and expect to get promoted. Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me, or my husband to love me, or my family etc. In the same way, you don’t have to be perfect to feel worthy of being loved and appreciated. Don’t allow anybody else’s insecurities to tell you different. Sometimes God uses things like vases to speak to you. Listen to Him and understand who you are in Christ. God did not create us to feel worthless. He created us to be loved and to love because we are worthy of love!

What’s Your Identity?

dawn-190055__340I try to live my life to the best of my ability. I could sit in my room and be angry because of different situations I have had growing up. I could blame my failures on my parents. I could blame so many things on the continuous rejection and hatred I feel from my own Mother, but I don’t. I won’t allow myself to play a victim. I won’t allow my children to see me as anything but their Mother who knows her value in life.

I know so many people who have had difficult lives. I think in some ways, most of us have had difficulties in life. What kind of people do you find yourself identifying with? Our history shapes us and our culture helps shape us, but does it define us? When you open your mouth, what comes out?

summit-cross-225578__340I have so much respect and awe in people who live as overcomers. They may have been abused growing up, but they don’t live in their past. They live in the identity they know they have in Christ. When I see a man who didn’t have a father, and he chooses to live his life as a man of God who strives to be the best father he can be, I have so much respect for him. When I see somebody who is fighting such sickness or disease, yet they live their life giving Glory to God and don’t make their sickness their identity, I am in awe. These people understand their identity is not in sickness or being fatherless or being abused.

What is difficult, is listening to somebody who can only talk about their problems. There is more talk about problems than solutions today. The enemy wants us to get stuck in our own problems. We need to recognize this and we need to close our mouths. The enemy knows us so well and he knows what it takes to take our focus off God and put it right back on ourselves.

1 Peter 2:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Imagine how much we could change the world if we turned our focus away from ourselves. We are a a chosen generation; a royal priesthood. Let us live like this and help others understand that their hope is in Jesus and not in this world.

Love

When you think about love, what do you think about? Your spouse? Your children? Your job? Your parents? God? When I think about love, I think about so many things. Love is a word that I don’t think you can define beyond “God is Love”. How can one define God? We as mere human beings try to put things in little boxes with pretty little bows and when we take it out now and again, we know exactly what we are talking about. If we understood love and how God loves us, I don’t think we could even stand up. When I think about the love that I have for my husband, it sometimes overwhelms me. I think he must not even have a clue how much I love him; how much that loves grows daily. I think about my sons and wonder if they have a clue how much I love them. Love is giving something, but love is also taking something that somebody else is giving. Love is comfortable, yet love can be the most uncomfortable thing in the world to you at a moment.

Look back at your life so far. Think about good memories and even bad memories. Love was always somehow involved. I look back at my childhood at times and wonder how different I would be today if things had been better. I don’t think I would understand God’s love and grace like I do today. I don’t think I would be as strong as I am today. I overcame my childhood. Don’t get me wrong. My childhood wasn’t even near as bad as many children around the world. I have a Dad who loves me and is proud of me. I thank God for him every day. I could have turned to the world to fill that void of a Mother’s love in my life, but I chose to turn to God. I want His love to consume me and not a hatred and bitterness that the enemy can use for his purposes.

Love holds no record of wrongs. That is hard sometimes to forgive and let go. It can be hard for me to have a fight with my husband and not bring up his past mistakes. That is not fighting fair. When we ask forgiveness from God and repent from our sins, He erases them. He doesn’t even remember them! That is love. That is what we need to consume us; mind, body, and spirit.

The world today has perverted love. We use love as an excuse for our sins. We are literally perverting who God is. God help the nations that have perverted Him and have used God as an excuse for our sins. We need to pray for our nations and pray for each other that we can all come to understand who God is and what love truly is. One day every knee will bow down; One day every tongue will confess He Is God! Lord help me to show Your love to others. Open our eyes God!

1 Corinthians 13

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whetherthere are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

No Fear

When each of my sons was just a newborn baby, before we even left the hospital, I prayed a prayer over each of them. I prayed that God would help me give them back to Him. I prayed that He would help me understand that even though He gave them to me, I have to let them grow up and do what they are called to do. My boys are young enough that what they want to do when they grow up has changed pretty consistently over the years. My boys pray over different countries every night that God puts on their hearts. Some of those countries are scary and dangerous places. My motherly instinct is to say scream, “no! No you will not think of that country and you will definitely not be going over there.” I have to remember that my sons are here to bring glory to God in whatever they do. They may grow up and get an office job. They may be missionaries. They could even live in other countries in dangerous areas where they feel called to spread His word.

I love my boys so much I can’t even believe it. I never thought I could ever have this much love in my heart for my husband and my five sons. I can see how parents want to protect their children even beyond their childhood into their adulthood, but that is not what is supposed to happen. God called us to raise our children to become independent of us; to understand right and wrong; to fulfill the call of God on their lives. My boys have seen us just three and a half years ago sell everything we owned to move across the country because we felt that was what God wanted us to do. It wasn’t easy. It was hard to sell my beautiful things I had accumulated over the years. It was hard to hear the negativity from family members and the harsh words. It was hard to see the disappointment in my sons’ eyes when we told them we were selling everything and moving because we knew God wanted us to. It can be difficult, but they saw for themselves how God works. They have seen for themselves how our life is not our own. They have seen the tears and excitement as well as the anger from parents and other friends and family. One day, this may be them. They may feel called to move across the country, or even to a completely different country for that matter.

It is not unloving to let your children go. It is not unloving to let your parents go. So many parents don’t ever want to let their children go into this big scary world. We live in fear of the unknown; in the fear of failure. We have taught our children that fear is bigger than God, rather than God is so much bigger than our fears. Too many of our children are afraid to leave the nest and we are too afraid to push them over the side and let them learn to fly on their own.

I will always remember those prayers over each of my boys in the hospital. I have to remember them because one day I will want to not let them go and God will gently remind me of those prayers. I will always be their Mama and will always be there to help counsel them when they need it. They know that. They also know that God has plans for each one of them and one day in the future, they will work on fulfilling their callings.

Parents, don’t let fear hold your children back, or yourself for that matter. Children, don’t let your parents fear hold you back. Don’t let your own fear hold you back because our God is greater than any fear in this world. He loves us!

He Says This, She Hears That…

I have been with my husband for 17 years and even after 17 years, I still have trouble hearing what he is saying. He has trouble hearing what I am saying. God made us so unique that we even communicate differently. He may come home after work one day and say something about how disorganized and messy it is by my front door. What I hear is what in the world do I do at home all day with the kids? Why couldn’t I get off my butt and clean up by the front door? How lazy am I?! He said, pretty much what he said. It was a statement. My school age boys came home from school that day and threw all their stuff into such a mess that my husband, who really doesn’t notice many things, actually noticed.

So automatically, I become defensive and let him know how hard I work all day and that he has the luxury of actually completing his work outside the home without a two year old destructinator walking behind with his massive little arms of destruction. [At least in my mind!] I get upset because that sentence he spoke when he walked into the door sounded like literal fighting words. You want to fight and compare jobs!? You get paid with money and compliments while I get paid with grey hair, no daily showers, and stained clothes that don’t fit in any sort of appealing manner any more. At this point, my husband is clueless to what I am so upset about, but if I want a fight, he will not roll over and take it.

This is a terrible cycle unless both a husband and wife can understand that we are not communicating the same way. Instead of assuming that my husband has turned into a mean-spirited, thankless, no good…..you catch my drift, I can believe that he is the wonderful man that I married who was possibly not intending to hurt my feelings. He never intended to hurt me or make me feel worthless. He was actually taking note that our sons had disrespected their Mother by coming in and making a huge mess where I had kept things previously neat and tidy. He was being a loving husband and Father.

Next time your spouse says something that makes you immediately put your boxing gloves on, take a moment and remember what kind of a man or woman you married. They love you just as much as you love them and perhaps you didn’t hear what their words were trying to say.

Now excuse me while I go look for that box of hair color……

My Dad’s Love

I’m in love with my husband. I’m in love with my children. I’m in love with so many people. Who taught me how to love? My father did. My father is still alive today. He is fairly young still. He is a good man. He is honorable. He taught me to stand tall. He taught me to be strong. He taught me to forgive. He taught me to be the daughter and woman that he knew I could be. I don’t ever want to fall short. I don’t ever want to disappoint him. I may be a wife and mother now, but I always want to believe that I bring honor to my father. I want to believe that my father is proud of me. My father sees my flaws and my mistakes and loves me anyway. I love my father. I adore my father and I look up to my father. My father is not perfect. I don’t always understand why he does some of the things he does. I don’t always understand certain choices he makes, but it doesn’t make me love him any less. I love because he loves me. 

How much greater is the Father’s love? God uses our earthly fathers to teach us love. They teach us a multitude of things, but they teach us to love first. When I see a picture of a father holding his newborn baby, it really touches something inside of me. Of course a mother and her newborn baby is beautiful, but a mother has had 9 months to bond with, and love that life inside of her. A father only gets to experience that first cry before he begins the lifelong bond. That doesn’t mean the father loves any less or more, or even different than the mother. It only means that first moment of wiggles and hiccups that a mother got to experience in her womb, is now what the father is experiencing for the first time. God uses our fathers to teach us how He loves us. Many earthly fathers fail at that, but God never fails. His love never fails. He knew us even before we were a thought in our parents’ hearts; and He loved us. 

Mothers, don’t be so critical of the father of your children. Don’t roll your eyes when they put the diaper on backwards, or wrestle too hard with them, or have a hard time getting up in the middle of the night. Dads aren’t made like moms, but it doesn’t mean that boys and girls need their fathers any less. Too many kids are growing up without fathers in this generation. Yeah, some are just plain jerks and terrible guys, but some have been pushed away by the mothers of those kids. Be strong. Stand up and fight for your children.Show them what love is.

So thank you Dad. Thank you for never giving up on me and always loving me. Thank you for making hard choices, sacrificial choices in order to not leave me.  I see you Dad. I see the Heavenly Father in you. I see you in the choice I made for my husband. He is a great father too. Because of you, Dad, I have seen, tasted, experienced, touched, felt, and found LOVE. Thank you, and I love you too!