Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How I Became A Brave Mom

“You are so brave, so strong”. I heard statements like this a few times as a young adult.
I was just following a dream, but to others, I was doing something that people viewed as courageous. 

My dream, which was rather simple, was and still is, to live out God’s purpose for my life and help people in any way I can. 

This dream led me to begin projects and jobs that required me to be brave. 

In college I felt called to start a bible study in my sorority and a bible study for teenage girls. 

At 25 years old, and newly married, I found myself spending my evenings alone in the basement of a hospital, working at a suicide hotline.  I spent my evenings trying desperately to give hope to youth, adults, soldiers and veterans who wanted to end their lives. Some lived, some did not.

While I wasn’t working at the hotline I was obtaining a master’s degree in mental health counseling, working with individuals with some of the most severe mental illnesses that I have ever seen. 

I had spent most of my young adult life working hard to be prepared to do brave jobs, and then doing those jobs successfully. 

I have to admit, that I felt pretty confident heading into the hospital to deliver my first baby.  I approached having a baby like I had approached everything else in life.
 I did what I had to do to be prepared, educated, and well-informed. I had read the books, taken the classes, and stocked my nursery with every top notch baby gadget on the market.

Yet on Christmas Day, after a 42 hour labor, I held my baby boy wondering what on earth was happening. I felt a love like I had never felt in my life, and at the same time I felt scared, alone, exhausted and unprepared. 

You could safely say…I did not feel brave. 

My lack of bravery into motherhood continued as I measured myself as a mom up against my unrealistic expectations of what it meant to be a great mom.

 I felt that my daily tasks were what defined me. My days focused on breastfeeding, making homemade baby food, reading books and playing music, doing the right amount of tummy time, nap time, and social time. In addition I felt that I had to be the perfect homemaker by keeping up with the cleaning, laundry and cooking and that I had to be the perfect wife by meeting my husbands every need. 

I was trying really hard to be a great mom, yet I was missing the big picture: God.
I had a close relationship with God, yet I wasn’t listening to Him.  I wasn’t inviting Him into the daily aspects of my new life as a mother. I can remember doing devotionals and reading the bible quickly during feedings, checking it off my to-do list. I didn’t know how to fit God into my new life as a mom, which still felt so foreign to me. 

I felt like I was giving all of myself to my son physically and mentally. I was pouring myself into him, yet I was not getting refilled spiritually.

My old way of interacting with God needed to change, because I had changed. I was a mother now. 

I survived 8 long months being a mom with no support from other Godly moms other than my family and a few long distance friends.  I trusted that God would provide the support and encouragement that I needed to be a good mom, yet I wasn’t doing anything about it.

How was I going to achieve this by sitting alone in the nursery? How could I find support by engaging in small talk after church or at the library story time once a week?
How was God going to provide a way, when I kept saying NO to Him?

One night I felt a strong nudge from God to contact this mom who an old co-worker told me about.

I sat there on the couch, feeling strongly that God wanted me to contact this mom, but I felt scared because I didn’t know this woman at all.  My fears and insecurities of the unknown held me down.

My brave moment that I am sharing with you today, was saying yes to God, and sending an email to this mom. That might appear like a really small task, but to me it was brave. It was brave because I was finally admitting that I could not be a great mom by myself, and that I needed God and Godly moms around me, asap. 

Within minutes I got a reply, inviting me to their next MOPS (Mothers of Preschool Children) meeting at a local church. 

My first reaction was “no way”! I didn’t know how I would leave my son with complete strangers, I didn’t know how I would go so long without breastfeeding, I didn’t know how I would get out the door in time. There were so many unknowns that I wanted to say no.

Then I remembered.  If I wanted to be a brave mom, I would have to say yes to God and no to my insecurities. I would have to trust, that God knows what is best for me. 

Being a brave mom by God’s standards meant giving my life over to God, and saying yes to whatever He calls me to do, even if I felt unprepared and even if I had no clue how I would do it. 

Saying Yes to God and attending MOPS was the best decision I made as a new mom.
MOPS has not only given me a support system of Godly women who encourage me and make me a better mom, but it has given be the bravery to change the way I live. 

I now seek to say yes to God every day. I seek to read His word, listen for his calling, and say YES to Him whether or not I have the answers to how, when, where, and why.  

MOPS has taught me how to be the best mom I can be by digging into the strengths and resources God has placed in front of me right where I am, using them to bless my family. You are blessing your family too, by being a brave mom who lives deeply and strives to be extraordinary.  

When I come to MOPS I get encouragement from other moms to take care of myself, tips on how to better care for my son, and little nudges to follow and pursue my dreams.

Being a mom can be really hard, but I am not doing it alone. God is always with me, He knows what I need, and He knows what you need too.  

We are physically not enough for our children, we need the Holy Spirit within us to give to our children the way God wants us too.

When we decide to be brave moms who follow Jesus, we are able to thrive and do far more for our children, our families, our community and the world than we could alone. 

I believe with all my heart that God brought me to MOPS and that He has a group of Christian moms for you too (whether that’s MOPS or some other moms group). 

The author of Hebrews described the need for fellowship with other believers perfectly by saying: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching" Hebrews 10:24-25

“The spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” John6:63

If you would like information about MOPS or how to find a chapter near you visit 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Good Enough Mom

Have you ever had one of those days where you wonder if you are a good mom, if you have what it takes to raise another human being into a Godly, caring, loving, faithful person? 

If you have, you’re not alone. 

Sometimes I allow my little mistakes throughout the day to rob me of my confidence in being a good enough mom. 

God does not want us to feel this way. He doesn't want us to believe the lies from the enemy.

Sometimes he does allow us to mess up so that we can become aware of some of our hidden blemishes that need to be pruned by God. 

You see, the closer we get to God, the more we become like him, and the more we need to be pruned of our old ways. Not all parenting mistakes are bad. Sometimes, it is God’s way of revealing some of our ugliness to ourselves. We can’t change for the better until we know what it is that needs to be changed. 

When we mess up we have two options.
1.)    Dwell in how horrible of a mom we are
2.)    Repent, and ask God to change this part about you and help/guide you into become more like Christ.

Number 2 is the only option that will lead to good, fruit producing parenting. 

If we don’t give God our mistakes, letting them go completely, then we run the risk of missing out on the good that God is doing in our lives each and every day.

Yesterday, I had one of those days. The morning did not go well to say it nicely. My patience was tested, and my confidence was plummeting. 

During nap time I asked God to show me what I needed to do to be my son’s mom. 

What happened next was just a simple reminder from God that He is with us all day every day, listening to our every cry for help, and answering our prayers.

When my son woke from his nap we began to play Noah’s ark (which is nothing out of the ordinary). We were discussing how it rained really hard for 40 days and nights, and then it started down pouring outside our house. My son and I ran to the window to watch. Two minutes later the rained stopped completely and a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky. I grabbed my camera and we ran outside to look at it.  

My son says “there it is mom! It’s God’s rainbow, that’s His promise”.

It was a beautiful moment, and a reminder, that the little bad moments that we have as moms do not define us. They do not change how great of mothers we are. It is not the mistakes, nor is it good moments that we have, that make us good moms.

It is the trust that we have in God, to work through us, prune us, mold us, and shape us into women who are changing the world one baby at a time. 

Father God, thank you for answering our every prayer. Thank you for making me a better mom and for showing me the way. Thank you for Your patience with me as I learn, and for pruning me even though it hurts sometimes. If I ever turn my back on you, make it flood, and bring me back to you. Bless my child and fill him with your Holy Spirit. Give him a heart to see your goodness and love in the everyday ordinary. Amen.

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing". (John 15:5)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Motherhood and ADHD: What You Need to Know

Most of us know a child or two diagnosed with ADHD, but what about a mom? What is motherhood like for someone with ADHD? What are the symptoms? How does a mom with ADHD not only survive, but thrive?

ADHD causes many negative symptoms but there are also some positive symptoms that, if used appropriately, can make you an amazing mom.

To read this article I wrote for Moms Magazine click here Motherhood and ADHD: What You Need to Know

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Happy Christian Mom

For most people, happiness is based on our circumstances. There are exceptions, such as chemical and hormonal imbalances which rob our minds of functioning as it was designed to do. But for the most part, happiness fluctuates on a day to day basis based on our day to day circumstances.  

For moms this is especially true. We have colicky days and no nap days that seem to never end. We have those days where we wonder if our husbands live on another planet. Then, we have days when life savings, jobs, lives, relationships and dreams are shattered. 

These types of days, weeks, months and years are hard. Sometimes they knock us down, make us question our choices, and make us doubt in goodness. 

Where do we find happiness when our life circumstances are a mess? What do we do when we feel like we are in quick sand and can’t get out? 

What do we do when what we are feeling on the inside does not match what we preach on the outside?

Are you ready for my answer?

We accept that we are human, and that this is normal. Then, we acknowledge that our God is not human and that the Holy Spirit lives within all of us who are born again. Even in the midst of a tornado we have the ability to feel joy because we have something far greater than ourselves within us. 

Just because we are Christian and have given our lives over to God does not mean that we are free from stress, depression, fears, anxiety, environmental disasters, and hardships. 

What it does mean though, is that we have every tool under our belt to fight whatever hardship we are facing. We have the wisdom, strength, bravery, courage, self-discipline and love at our disposal. 

Here is the catch…we still have to work at it. Sometimes God does hand us exactly what we need on a silver platter. I have experienced this many times and it is awesome. However, it doesn’t always work like that. 

We have to pray hard, study God’s word (daily), ask for help, and continue to do what is right in God’s eyes in order to overcome hardships and temptations of this world. Just like how we can’t expect to get rich sitting on the couch watching TLC, we can’t expect to hear from God when we aren’t reading his word and praying to him…constantly.

Joy and contentment is something that we can always feel because we are loved, saved, and given grace. Happiness is something that we have to work for, daily. No matter what our circumstances are, we have to choose to be happy. We have to choose to focus on the good instead of the bad. We have to choose to see the good in our children, in our husbands, and in those around us even when they are making our blood boil. God can help us with all of those choices…but we have to ask him too.

We have to be careful of the many Band-Aids that our society has taught us to use to gain quick happiness. We have to stop falling into those traps. You know the ones….

The world is no doubt a sad, terrifying place. It is easy to get sucked into the destruction that surrounds us and succumb to worry, fear, self-doubt, regret and sin. 

Moms, hear me out. We need God’s grace every day.  We CAN live with joy and happiness despite our life circumstances and we can do amazing things. 

We have to work hard though. Anything worth living for requires hard work. 

Without God I’m just another mom who is trying to do her best in a fallen world and who easily gets joy and happiness sucked from her soul. I can’t win the battle of life without God. 

With God, I am a mom who is fierce, steadfast and equipped with angel’s armies. I am fighting for goodness, joy, patience, love, self-control, contentment, peace and happiness. 

I will choose to be a Happy Christian Mom not because I have a happy, perfect life but because I choose to accept and give God’s love. I will…..

I will fight to fill my home with the fruit of the spirit. 

I fill fight to find the happiness and joy that God gives in the midst of life’s uncertain circumstances. 

I will choose to say no to fear. 

I will choose to see the good in my kids, in my husband and in those around me every day.

I will choose to love.  

I will pray over everything.

I will live in peace. 

I will rest, relax, and enjoy God’s blessings. 

I will care for my body and my mind. 

I will forgive others and myself.

I will be thankful.

I will serve my family and those God places in my life.

I will remember that my self-worth comes from God.

I will simplify my life and focus on what really matters. 

I will keep God’s word in me at all times. 

I will lean on God for EVERYTHING.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And overall these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3: 12-14).

*If you have been feeling sad for two or more weeks and are not sure why…visit your healthcare provider. You may be experiencing a chemical or hormonal imbalance that is out of your control. There is no need to be embarrassed or feel ashamed. Sometimes our minds and our bodies get sick. The best thing you can do for you and your family is get help.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My Big Questions: God's Big Answers

God, I have a confession.

I doubt I will be surprised...but shoot.

Sometimes I feel like there are giant mountains sitting in front of me. If this mountain would just be removed, my life would make sense, you would make sense, and I would be able to really live my life for you.

I have already given you everything that you need to get through this day and the next.
(1 Corinthians 10:13)

I Know, But what about those mountains?  
I know about the mountains.  And I know the plans that I have for you. Do not worry about the mountains. Trust in Me. Put your Faith in Me. Put your hope in Me. (Jeremiah 29:11)

What do I do while I am waiting for the mountains to be removed?

Who says you have to wait? Trusting in Me and having faith in Me means living out My will and your purpose even when the mountain is in front of you. (Psalm 33: 4-6)

Whoa God, that is some big time trust.

I am a big time God.

Sometimes your way seems wrong, and I doubt that I am doing the right thing.

I know, that is because you have free will to think as you want and be tempted by the evils of the world. (Proverbs 16:9)   

God, I need help with this. There are days when I feel so close to you and days when you feel so far away. I don't like this. I want to see things through your eyes everyday. I want to see you and feel you at all times. 

Although the Holy Spirit lives within you, sometimes you ignore it. Sometimes you get tempted by the evils of this world and your thoughts and mind gets twisted. 

God, I am not trying to ignore you...why does it happen?

When you pull away from me.....even for a second....your mind and body are opened and evil makes a jump for you. This is why you must keep watch. Keep your thoughts on me. Keep praying to Me. Read my Living Word daily. Surround your self with friends and family who also love and know me.(Mark 14:38)

I am sorry God, that I pull away sometimes. Where are you when I pull away. Sometimes I feel so alone.

You are never alone my sweet child. My love for you is larger and wider that you can fathom. I will never leave or forsake you. I made you, I have big plans for you, I love you, I forgive you for every single time you pulled away and sinned. 

Oh God, I know you love me. Do you remember when you answered that big time prayer of mine? That was amazing. Remember when you made the impossible happen?

I do remember that...I have more...a lot more of those moments for you. Those moments when you felt my hands on your face and you felt all was right with the world...that is available to you every second of everyday. I give you these glimpse of me to help you understand how much I love you.

I love you too God, I want to give you my life and I want your will to be done.

Your name is written in the stars. You have a place in heaven. 

Now listen to me. You must go forth and tell others the good news about Me (Mark 16:15). You have a purpose and that purpose is to glorify me.(Colossians 3:23) The details of this will look different for everyone because everyone has a different gift from me. This is not optional...this is my love Me and love one another. (John 15:12) 

You are right God, sometimes I get way to caught up in my needs and my wants. I forget that my life is not about me. It is about you and how I can serve you and do my part in your master plan.

God, can I ask you one more thing today? I know that it is not all about me, and that you give me all I need to get through each day, but what about the future? What about that mountain? Is it alright for me to ask you to remove it as long as it is your will for it to be removed?

Ah here we are...back to the mountain question.

I am glad you asked.

Of Course. I want to you pray to me about anything and everything. Everything you go through is important to me. The more you pray to me and read my word, the better you will understand what my will for you is. This is the first step in moving the mountain. (Luke 22:39-46)

Jesus knew that he had to die and be separated from me for a while so that you could be eternally saved. He knew what this would cost Him, and yet, he still prayed to me "Abba, Father, everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will" (Mark 14:36). 

I am confused, what does this mean God?

You can't pretend with me. I know your thoughts and desires. Of course it is alright to tell me what is on your heart. It is better to tell it to Me than to deny it and be tempted by evil. Ask me for what is on your heart, and like Jesus, affirm your commitment to Me and My purpose. 

God, my child is up from his nap now...I don't want to leave this conversation..but I have to go be a mom now.

You are leaving your chair, but you are not leaving me. Take what you have learned and apply it to the rest of the day with your child. This is how you stay connected to me always. Remember earlier when I spoke to you about serving others? You are doing that right now as you go pick up your child, wrap your arms around them, kiss them, give them a snack and then make them laugh. Those things sometimes feel small to you...but they are BIG to me.

Now go, nothing makes me happier than watching you love others as I have loved you....  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...