Tag Archives: Mom

Time Out=New Perspective

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Let’s just be really honest here. Being a Mom is oftentimes hard. Who am I kidding? I mean really hard. Yes, there are plenty of (thank goodness!) good days as a parent but somehow when the days turn angry like the clouds in the sky, those days tend to overshadow the good ones, if we’re not careful.

I’m not one of those gals who paints a rosy, Christmas-letter type picture of my life on social media. As a matter of fact, I tend to scroll right on by the “fake family news” as I call it because it’s just that: FAKE. No one lives a life of glory and joy-filled moments day after day after day. That simply does not exist. People are people and let’s face it, people are people, so there’s that. Imperfect people cannot be perfect no matter how you slice it.

Laying myself out there as bare as I care to dare, today was an ugly, angry cloud day in my house. Yes, there I said it! It started, I don’t know, like by 8:30 this morning, to be exact. There were a few golden moments offering peace, giggles, and fun mind you, before it quickly gave way to disrespect, a sassy attitude, ungratefulness, and downright unkind words. Before I knew it, those angry clouds brewing in our home started to leak. That’s right, I lost it and the tears started falling like a rainstorm. And of all days, FRIDAY! My favorite day of the week had gone south on a bullet.

clouds-194840_640.jpgIt wasn’t long before negative thoughts began ruling my mind. True, I hadn’t had my time in the Word to transform those negative thoughts, which was my first mistake. Nor had I offered my day to the Lord asking Him to fill me with His spirit, power, grace, and love equating to my second mistake. Not being a morning person per se, means I tend to bump into the devil before my feet leave the bed, if you know what I mean. It’s no wonder why Jesus got away with the Lord first thing in the morning. I believe there is something to that. Duh!

Sadly, the sports camp my son was in all week, affording me some much-needed peaceful moments, ended yesterday (Thursday), to my shock and dismay. Yeah, that nightmare hit me like a fast-moving train in the middle of the night! So much so, I jumped out of my bed to verify it on my computer only to discover that my bad dream was indeed true. In my effort to get back to ‘La La Land’, I managed to come up with some alternate plans for our day: hunting down some fresh peaches, a Costco run, followed by a trip to the pool. Sadly, none of those things took place. Instead, I found myself driving around our neighborhood in search of my son who chose naughty behavior by sneaking out of our house without my knowing. The results: a prolonged time-out on his part back at the house so I could take a shower (yeah, I was driving around in my nightgown for heavens’ sake!) and try again, only to be met with more shenanigans contributing to the downward spiral of our day.

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Before I knew it, I put myself in my own time-out, giving my brain a chance to cool off, re-focus, and gain a better perspective. I’ve learned “Mommy time-outs” are the best medicine when you find yourself home bound with a child who successfully manages to push all your buttons at one time, multiple times throughout the day. You can better believe I’ll be setting my alarm extra early to get up, have a little coffee, spend some time with the Lord and His Word from this day forward. I’ve learned my lesson!

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Ever feel like a “less than” Momma? Do you struggle with not having “me time” to re-fuel and replenish? Or, do you have days when you feel ill-equipped to raise your child?  Have you hit a wall with your sanity because you’ve been over and over the same issues with your kids yet reap no rewards for your hard labor? Like me, have you read every parenting book imaginable in hopes of discovering the secret of success?

I’m here to say you are normal. Now, if you are prone to live in any one of these places for too long, you may need to look outside of yourself and seek someone to talk to about the possibility of depression. Still, you’re not damaged, or un-fixable. Motherhood is not a job for the faint of heart. It’s important to know you are not alone on your journey and you are not the only one who’s ever had a certain problem with your child. If fellow Mommas would be real, authentic, and transparent with each other, I have a feeling we’d have fewer pity parties as we wouldn’t live in the comparison trap.

I recently watched a clip of a job interview taking place between the boss of a company and various prospective employees, all captured on video. Interestingly, the job description was laid out with the following “must have” qualifications. “To be considered for this job, you must be able to cook, have mad cleaning skills, be a teacher,  a financial planner, shopper, counselor, negotiator, disciplinarian, nurse, manager of people, a taxi driver, event coordinator; oh, and you must be available at a moment’s notice. You’re required to work week-ends and holidays, and you don’t get sick days. Working 24/7 is a must. Oh, and before I forget, the job doesn’t pay anything.”

Seeing the faces of these poor, unsuspecting people in need of a job was hilarious! I mean they were incredulous at each and every requirement necessary for the job. Pure disbelief and ultimate shock that such mandates were being made. At the end of the video, the boss explained that the job being described was for that of a Mom. Each hopeful employee stared ahead like a deer blinded by a headlight before the boss’ words actually sunk in. Once the light bulb went off, each one laughed then smiled in fond remembrance of the Mom that raised them. It was a tearful moment as they replayed in their mind all of the things that a Mom does….all without pay, and oftentimes without a simple “thanks”.

Often, the things we beat ourselves up most about as a Mom, aren’t on a child’s radar. Children are incredibly forgiving! We as Moms, are our own worst critic. Sure, there is always room for improvement and each day offers new grace. Upon asking a child what they love most about his/her Mom, you’ll hear qualities such as, “she’s pretty”, “she plays with me”, “I like it when she jumps on the trampoline with me”, “she is funny!”, and “she lets me help her in the kitchen”. Simple, yet forever imprinted on their little hearts.

So try to see yourself through the eyes of your child(ren). Time is an invaluable commodity. Stopping what you’re doing to pay them attention and engage with them through play is huge! I’ll never forget how much fun it was as a child to see my own Dad skip down the aisle of a grocery store. I asked him to and he obliged. I’m sure inside he felt like an ig-mo skipping down the aisle of a store. I can imagine that anyone who witnessed his silly skipping knew in their heart he was doing it for his daughter. I loved it and giggled at the sight of it! Umpteen years later, this simple skip stands out in my mind as a happy, beloved memory between me and my Dad.

 

 

What steps?

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What steps?

I love time spent with my closest of friends. Whether we shop, have dinner, drink coffee, or talk on the phone together, I am blessed to have a very small gathering of close, godly, prayerful friends in my life. I am confident that I could call on any of these select few and they will be available to help. What a privilege to have a friend! The Lord is so good to place those in our lives to help encourage and pray for each other. He certainly knew what He was doing when He created us for fellowship.

While having dinner together, one of my “besties” and I were sharing our hearts and prayer requests with each other, as we typically do whenever we meet. We both were feeling a little fearful of the future and where it might take us. My friend reminded me of a scripture. It’s a fairly common scripture and one I’ve read dozens of times throughout my life but the Lord must have known it was then that I needed to be reminded of it. It brought me so much comfort and encouraged my soul at a time when I desperately needed this truth planted in my heart.

We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go.              (Proverbs 16:9, CEV)

This scripture reminded me of the truth of God’s Word, which I was desperate to hear. You see, my emotions were starting to take over, threatening to drag a dark cloud over me. Overwhelm was trying to sneak into my mind, causing my already anxious heart to fear the unknown. Once again, the enemy was on the ready to deceive me, cause me to doubt, and throw the spear of fear my way. Reminded of His Word, I was quickly jostled back into God’s economy, where peace overcame me once again.

I needed to be reminded that sure, I can and should ponder, pray, prepare, and make some plans based on how the Lord is leading me. Having a constant awareness of His presence helps me to see His perspective, rather than my distorted, short-sighted one. I need to know that it is He who directs me and orders my steps. Also insightful are the additional references that Matthew Henry’s Commentary provides on this particular scripture:

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:14-15, NIV)

Now may our God and Father Himself, and Jesus our Lord guide our steps to you [by removing the obstacles that stand in our way]. (1 Thessalonians 3:11, AMP)

So, as you forge ahead in the new year, remember to ask Him to yield your will to His, and to open and close doors of opportunity according to His perfect plans for your life. His way may look completely different from the plans you’ve desired for yourself; in fact, they may initially look absurd. Rest assured, He knows best, so we can release our desire to control into His very capable hands. As I continue in my daily reading of His Word, I feel more confident of the unknowns in my life for it is He who goes before me.

 

 

lessons from the ocean

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lessons from the ocean

To me, there’s just nothing like the ocean… nothing! I love everything about it… well, except for the seaweed, sand fleas, and scary critters who live there and attack innocent beach chair sitters, like me! I love the splashing sound the waves make as they crash upon the shore. I love hearing the sound of seagulls cawing overhead as they sweep across the bright blue sky; but more than any of that, I love how the ocean’s water relaxes me like nothing else. Honestly, I believe I could sit in my beach chair at the water’s edge with my toes in the sand all day long, drinking in the beauty of my environment. The ocean speaks peace and calm to me and there’s just no denying how wonderful I feel when I’m there. I can take in full, deep breaths of the healing saltwater air. And, did I mention the delicious seafood to be enjoyed while at the beach?! That’s another subject for another day….

Trumping all of that, as if there could possibly be more to enjoy, is the spiritual connotation of the beach. If, like me, you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, you may feel overwhelmed by your circumstances from time to time, as if one more stressor is going to push you straight over the towering waterfall. I can identify with those feelings and because of my affinity for the beach, I so love the words a friend has written. So, with her permission, I’m sharing it here in hopes that it may enlighten and encourage you as it has me.

When the Lord tells you to go take a walk by yourself. You go take a walk by yourself.
And when He tells you to stop and sit here because He has something He wants to show you, you stop and you sit right there.
Then He says, “watch”.
So you look out over the great big (endless to your eyes) ocean thinking maybe He’s going to cause 10 dolphins to all jump out of the water at the same time, maybe a huge ship will come by, a whale? (in the gulf?)… what could it be?
Then He gently keeps drawing your attention to the edge of the water.
And you notice that there seems to be an invisible border the water will not cross. No matter how much the wind kicks up the waves 10 to 20 feet out into the water, it will not push the foamy edge past this invisible line.
And you hear Him say, “here and no further”.
The words are familiar, I remember them from the book of Job.

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?”
‭‭(Job‬ ‭38:8-11)‬

And then He says to you… “I am what keeps the overwhelming from overwhelming you. Look at the sea, how vast it is, how immeasurable it is to you, yet I keep it from taking you over, from even touching you.”
We may feel the strong winds against our face, and with it we may feel the sand mixed with mists of that water but He will not let it overtake us. We may feel overwhelmed because we can see how big that ocean is in front of us, but guess what… He wants us to see how overwhelming it is. So we can see how even bigger He is.
Whatever it is that surrounds us that looks insurmountable, impossible, hopeless… He has drawn an invisible line between us and it.
There is an end to it. There is a boundary that He has set and says to it… “this far and no further shall you come.”

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Me, Alexander? You, Dennis?

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Me, Alexander? You, Dennis?

One day I might be able to laugh about it. One day.

Actually, I laughed out loud last night. Only because it was portrayed on the TV. I’m talking about Dennis the Menace. Remember that 1950 something black and white show about a curiously inquisitive, yet innocent looking little tot who manages to find trouble wherever he goes…especially next door, with his neighbor, good ‘ol Mr. Wilson! That’s the one! I loved watching this show when I myself was a young’un. I’d laugh and laugh at all Dennis’s shenanigans. It seemed like real life comedy straight out of Hollywood!

That was until I had a boy of my own.

So, watching the show last night made me laugh because, oh my word, I can relate to poor Mrs. Mitchell, Dennis’ mother. If it’s not one thing, it’s another with that boy! All I could think is, that woman needs an award for all she’s put up with. No wonder she only had one child. Fast forward to me, my son, and an only child at that. Similarity on steroids! I guess it’s true what they say, misery loves company. There’s comfort to be found in others who are in the same boat, at the same time.

I had a thought though as I was being entertained by the ‘5o’s TV show last night…..perhaps I need to adjust my attitude. My child, busy as he is with a dose of naughtiness, a spoonful of mischievousness, and energy out the wazoo, is a gift. That’s right. He’s a gift from God and therefore he was created by God. Instead of feeling frustration day after day with his actions (I started to say “behavior” but behavior can be adjusted or corrected; innate curiosity is something different), just like Mrs. Mitchell, I need to embrace my gift and adjust accordingly. There are times to punish naughtiness and there are times to roll with the curiosity of a toddler boy. There are also plenty of opportunities to just sit back and have a good belly laugh over their outlandish and creative imagination! I prefer to choose laughter over anger and negativity; after all, I don’t want to be like *Alexander who proclaims his day is terrible, horrible, and no good.

I’ve decided that we as parents tend to get the most frustrated and irritated with our children when they don’t act or respond the way we think they should. I think I’ve heard this from a psychologist somewhere at some point. In other words, expecting a certain maturity of behavior from a young child will only yield frustration because that young child isn’t capable of it just yet. I find myself in this state quite often. I expect my child to respond or react in a way that I would expect a peer of mine to respond. Impossible. Chalk this up to impatience! Somewhere along the way, I’ve heard it said the older a person is, the more patient he is….HA! At least that is not true of me.

To put shoe leather on this, as my former pastor used to say, I have been erroneously trying to manage my emotions and frustrations over parenting on my own. If I’ve read one parenting book, I’ve read ten! I’m not saying books aren’t of value, but Whom better to turn to that our Creator? The One who made me, the One who created my son. God’s Word should be my go to source. A book to supplement here and there is okay but where am I getting my main advisement??? At some point, enough reading regurgitated psychological thoughts….no two children are the same. Comparison is not where it’s at. Being in tune with my Maker, who is also my son’s Maker (duh!), has all the wisdom and equipping I need.

That said, I’m committing this year to turn to God’s Word first, rather than as a last resort. God’s Word has the power to transform and renew my mind, to change my “want to” and give me a song in my heart. His Word not only has the power to change me and my heart, but also my son and his heart. I want and need God’s wisdom above all else. In order to attain His wisdom, I have to be plugged into it. Spending time with the Lord, reading His Word, committing it to memory, asking the Holy Spirit to give me the desire to read and understand so that I can apply it to my life is paramount. I need this for my life, and I can bet you need it for yours!

Let’s do this together!

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11, HCSB)

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11, HCSB)

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my request which I asked of Him.   (1 Samuel 1:27, AMP)

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. (Romans 12:2, AMP)

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, AMP)

Honor [esteem, value as precious] your father and your mother [and be respectful to them]—this is the first commandment with a promise— (Ephesians 6:2, AMP)

Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or exasperate your children [with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by favoritism or indifference; treat them tenderly with lovingkindness], so they will not lose heart and become discouraged or unmotivated [with their spirits broken]. (Colossians 3:21, AMP)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105, KJV)

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11, NIV)

Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. (Proverbs 7:2, NIV)

*Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judy Viorst