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!

Successful Mothering?

emoticon-1611977_1280One of the saddest times I have as a parent is when I ask my sons to say something nice about their brothers and it takes FOREVER! Seriously, how hard can it be to think about something good!? I have an extreme dislike for Obama and I can give him a compliment. He said he was going to fundamentally transform this nation and he kept to his promise. That is definitely a positive characteristic of his personality!

Parenting in this PC culture we have these days is so difficult. How many times have I held my tongue when I wanted to ask my kids what planet they learned something?! Most of my creativity comes from making up statements that aren’t too mean while still getting my point across. Why can I ask myself why in the world I did something so stupid, but I can’t ask anybody else that?

As I have a wide array of ages with my sons, I can see where I’ve failed in the older ones and attempt to chart a different course with my younger ones and hope I don’t turn too far in the other direction. I hear sarcasm come out of my oldest one and I have to explain that his youngest brothers don’t always understand sarcasm. I love me a sarcastic joke and he does too. I almost bought him a shirt the other day that said, “National Sarcastic Society; like we need your support!” That shirt still has me laughing, but probably not a good shirt for a High School student.

I can see the flaws in my sons as I’m sure they see all my flaws, but people still need words of affirmation, including my sons.

I love to build them up, but I also try to be realistic as I don’t want to add to this generation of snowflakes.

I am so confident in so many aspects of my life, but I still like to hear when others believe I am doing well. I am trying to teach my kids this. They can be so frustrated with their brothers, but they should always be able to remember the goodness in each other. They should always see the good before the bad. I am working so hard on this lately and I feel like I am failing at times, but I won’t give up.

When my husband wrestles with our sons he has taught them a motto, “Never give up!” I love that motto. Of course, it was the cutest when one of my younger ones thought it was, “Never GET up!” Life with children is truly a great blessing!

Moving on though, we should never give up trying to see the good in people before any flaws. I would love my sons to be able to have kindness and goodness rolling off their tongues as quick as their insults to each other. I’d like to think this would make me feel like I was a success as a Mother, but then I think if they could just aim their pee into the inside of the toilet bowl, that would make me feel successful too. Everybody’s desires are different!!

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……

Today

Today. Today is a day I want to take a moment and just be thankful. I am a blessed woman. I have five amazing and healthy sons who love me. I have an amazing husband who loves me and sticks with me no matter how terrible I can be. I want today to be the start of a lifetime of remembering to be thankful. I want all those around me to see me as a loving, caring, considerate, and happy woman. I don’t need to have any more “poor me” moments in my life. I don’t care what has happened in your lifetime, you always have something to be thankful for. We must stop looking at what we don’t have and look at all the things we do have. I want to be passionate about being happy. So today, let us stop and just be thankful. Thank you God for all that You have blessed me with. He has given me life. Life may be hard at times, but you have the choice to be happy or miserable. I choose to be happy!! 

 

Adults Only

I was one of those young people who hated hearing the child cry when I was trying to eat at a restaurant. I wondered why somebody would choose to go to a restaurant, or even a movie with a child! Now, after 12 years, I have five of them. Five sons who cry, throw tantrums, yell, sound their alarms when they want me or their Daddy to come running to their rescue. I have seen both sides and I have to say, neither is wrong. When I went out before I had children, I didn’t want to have to listen to a child crying for three fourths of my dinner. Nobody wants to hear that. I didn’t want friends bringing their toddlers over to my home to break literally everything within reach of their grimy hands.

Now I am that mother. I am the one who cannot be in my house one more minute; I HAVE to go out for supper because today has been one of those days and I want somebody to serve me for once. Often, people come up to us to tell us how well behaved our children are, but not all the time! I feel bad when my baby cries out because he dropped something and can’t get it. I see the looks. I hear the mumbled comments. Believe me, I understand. 

We are in a place now where people love to get together, without kids; Adults Only the invitation says. I would say it is 19 times out of 20 anymore we get the adults only invitation. Now I need YOU to understand that we just can’t do that. I respect that you have every right to not want screaming kids running around and breaking your stuff, but you need to understand I have FIVE, yes FIVE, children. Our family moved across the nation to follow what we believe is the will of God for our lives. We have no family and no really close friends yet. We don’t have people who offer to watch our kids anytime we want. We are a close family that does everything together. My husband and I maybe get a date once, sometimes twice a year, but now we are supposed to rush and find babysitters because every invitation we get doesn’t allow children? I don’t even trust many people with my kids. I don’t know any babysitters, let alone a babysitter that could handle 5 boys. I don’t even want to know how much a legitimate babysitter would charge to watch my five kids for a few hours. I think we would have to get another job!

I love adults only invitations. I may cringe now when I get them, but it isn’t because of the hosts. It is because we have five children; we live on a tight budget; we have no family to help; we have five children; we didn’t win the lottery; we won’t let just anybody watch our kids; we have FIVE children! I think you get my point. 

Next time you get the adults only invitation, don’t feel bad. I don’t feel bad about it. We may be the only couple that doesn’t show up. We do NOT want pity. We understand your purpose in the invite. Please understand our purposes when we politely decline the invitation. One day, when our children are older, we will love to come to your adults only parties, but right now, let us enjoy our children, who are five wonderful blessings that God gave us. Don’t make us feel bad because we have children and want to spend time with them. And parents with children, don’t make others feel bad who don’t have children and want those adults only parties. Nobody is right or wrong. Just understand we are in different places in our lives right now and love each other for it. 

Love Like Children

I am tough on myself. I wish I wasn’t. I find myself at the end of each day, planning on doing better the next day; being better. I end my day happy that I did some good, happy that my kids made it through the day still loving me, still believing I’m the best Mom in the world. Kids are so forgiving and so loving, so innocent and so resilient. I see my kids and understand how Jesus loved the children around Him and said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” 

As we turn from children into teenagers, young adults, adults, and finally elderly, we gain wisdom. As we get older though, we also gain hurts, distrust, cynicism, pessimism, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, among many other things. God did not intend for us to hold onto anything but the true definition of love in I Corinthians 13; withouth love, I have nothing, I gain nothing. My kids go to bed ever night still believing the best in me. They still love me and they easily forgive me. 

It can be very difficult to change. I want to be more like my children. I want to go to bed every night believing the best in people and not assume the worst. I need to bless those who curse me. I want to believe that there is a possibility that I may not be seeing things clearly. I need to be ready to admit to myself that I am seeing the world through hurts and sacrifices that I never wanted. I need to be honest with others, but with myself more.

God’s mercies are new every morning. I need to wake up every day and believe that I can be more like my children. They are a great example of how God sees us. Children learn a lot from us. Let us not be so arrogant to think they are not in our lives so that we can learn from them. I love my sons more than I can even understand; more than I thought I ever could. I hope one day they can understand just how much they have given me, how much God has blessed me through them.   

Words

I always hear people talk about watching your words. I hear it from my spouse, pastor, friends, and relatives. I try to watch my words all the time, but especially around my children. I know we all have moments of weakness where we get angry and say something we shouldn’t. Maybe I am the only one and this blog is totally for myself and nobody else. Although those can be shocking and possibly detrimental for small ears to hear, those aren’t exactly the words I am talking about in this post. I am talking about those sentences and phrases that came out of my mouth first; possibly days ago, weeks, months, or even years ago. 

I was shocked the first time I heard my oldest say the exact phrases I have used. Hearing them out of my little ones mouth sure makes it sound more negative than I ever thought it sounded out of my mouth. I have five sons between the ages of 12 and 1. All but my one year old have quoted me at different points of their lives. I wish I could say I was proud of myself when I heard them, but I wasn’t. Hearing your 5 year old yelling at his younger brother about how he is doing everything wrong with such adamant negativity has really made me try to change the way I speak. I try to speak in softer tones and try to be more positive when I speak. I try to correct without belittling them, or making them feel inadequate or dumb. 

I can’t say I never yell now, or speak to my kids in the most positive way possible, but understanding that there are flaws with my words an the way I say them is a great first step. Our words are powerful, our tone of voice is powerful, and choosing to correct in a positive way can be powerful. I choose today to do just that; empower my kids to take the best from me, and not the worst.