parenting is hard
Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
Some days I feel completely overwhelmed. Torn between the have tos and I gottas, like, bills, laundry, and clean bathrooms, the I need tos, like homeschooling, writing, coaching, and answering emails, to the I want tos like playing games with my kids, being creative and starting a book.
Sometimes at the end of the day I haven’t even impacted that list at all and feel completely lost, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Today was one of those days.
Today was one of those days.
The noise and demands of my life was like a roar of confusion in my head. At that moment, I just had to stop and take a breath. The first thing I wanted to do was call my husband and complain. He is my best friend after all, and my go to guy. But then I heard the Lord’s voice say “I am suppose to be your go to guy.” At that point, I could feel all the emotion rising up in me and tears filling my eyes.
I heard the Lord’s voice say “I am suppose to be your go to guy.”
I put aside all that I was doing. I went back to my bedroom and just cried out to the Lord and poured out all my feelings to him. I talked to him about my day and about my week. I talked to him about my feelings and my responsibilities. I asked him about his plans for me. I felt his voice say “trust me and my plans for you”. Rest in me. So I did. I rested. I felt his peace come into my heart, mind, and soul. I was reminded that I don’t have to have all the answers. I was reminded that it is okay to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. It’s what I do with those feelings that really matter. Do I let them defeat me? Or do I let them lead me to God? Today they led me to him, but somedays they don’t. Somedays I wrestle with them until I am exhausted. But even on those days the Lord is still there to help me pick myself up, dust myself off, and move on down the path.
Today my emotions led me to God, but somedays they don’t.
Days like today remind me that I am only human and to stop striving for perfection, but rather to remind myself that I am a beautiful creation of God, created to be loved by him and to rest in him. After all, he is the one who has given me these dreams, goals, aspirations, and desires. He also has given me my emotions. When I get overwhelmed I just need to remember that and remember that I don’t have to do it on my own. God is my go to guy. He will help me. He will lead me. And yes put others around me to lift me up and support me. SO after my time with the Lord, which was only about thirty minutes of my day, I had a whole new outlook. Then I did call my hubby to talk about my day. But it made a big difference that I went to God first.
If you relate, I encourage you to just stop what you are doing at the moment…
Take a deep breath.
Find a quiet place and talk to God.
It doesn’t have to be a long talk. Sometimes just five minutes can make all the difference.
Be blessed my friends.
I Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.
Psalm 61:1-2 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto you, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Ever have one of those days? You know. The kind where nothing seems to go right? Where you are just trying to make it from one hour to the next. Or maybe minute to minute. You may even say that to yourself, “Yep, it’s just one of those days”. I want to encourage you, that you are not the only one who has days like this.
When I was a young mom, with three toddlers, I had lots of days like this. Days that the house was cluttered with kid stuff everywhere, dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and messy babies. I would wait for hubby to come through the door so I could have a break. Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t. He may have had a bad day too and now we both needed a break. At the end of these days, I would go to bed feeling like a complete failure. I use to think that as I got older everything would change and that life would get easier. In some ways, life has changed and become easier. In some ways, life hasn’t changed at all and has become harder. I have come to realize that as much as some things change, some things stay the same. Even though my days look different and are filled with new challenges, like being the parent of young adults, the dirty dishes and laundry still seem to find ways to multiply. No matter how much time goes by, I am still me and I still have bad days. I still get overwhelmed. I still get frustrated. I still get a really bad attitude. However, along the way I have learned a valuable lesson. God never changes. No matter how much time goes by, God is still God. Along the way is when I realized it.
-My bad days don’t surprise God.
God already knew about my bad days. The dirty laundry, piles of bills and endless parenting doesn’t surprise him. Neither does my bad attitude. He knows exactly where I am and he is there with me. He chose to give me this life. That’s right. He knew about my weaknesses and failures and he still gave me my husband. My kids. My friends and family. He knew I would have bad days. He knew I would yell at my kids and my husband, and sometimes kick the dog. Yes. I confess. I have kicked my dog.
-I am not defined by my bad days… I am not defined by my good ones either…
But he also gave me a way out of my bad days. He gave me his shoulder to cry on. He gave me his arms wrapped around me. He gave me his truth spoken to me. His truth. His truth is that I am not defined by my bad days. I’m not defined by my good ones either. I am defined by being a child of God. I am defined by His love for me. He also gave me the promise “I will be with you”. I can pour out my heart and tell God exactly what I am thinking and feeling. My feelings don’t surprise God. I can yell, scream and cry and he will not leave me. In fact, I just need to speak his name and he helps me. He helps me from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day. He helps me, he cares for me and he changes me.
Now when I have a bad day, I think about the fact that this day will not define me or my family. It doesn’t mean that I am a big fat failure. It simple means I am human and in need of a savior. It will simply be one of those days that I need to lean even more on God. He has given me tools for these days. He has given me scriptures, affirmation statements, prayers to pray, and friends to call. But even if I don’t use those tools and let the bad day get the best of me, He also gives me forgiveness. He has given me the power to ask for forgiveness, to ask others to forgive me and the power to forgive myself. He gives second chances and brand new days. He gives me love and the assurance that it’s okay when I fall short. After all, God is the only one who is perfect and the only one with no bad days. Be blessed my friends.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – And the LORD, he it is that does go before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you, neither forsake you: fear not, neither be dismayed.
Hebrews 13: 5-6, 8 – Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
I Peter 5:7 – Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.
Hello friends. It is my goal to feature other bloggers at My Sound Mind. This week I have an article from one of my best friends, Kelley Raetzsch. You can learn more about Kelley and what she does here http://vlnutrition.com/
I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did.
Okay, so the title is definitely cliche’, but we still battle the daily look in the mirror as we wait for it to tell us about our beauty. Unfortunately, for many women, the mirror is another source of negativity, shame and lies. There are many sources out there telling us we should not be okay with our body, especially if we have bumps, lumps, bulges or other “undesirables”. Friends and family may comment on weight or size, plastic surgery faciltites tell us we could be more beautiful, magazine covers constantly tell us how we must be thin or lose more weight. Just take a look at the cover of this month’s issue of “First for Women”. Thank you Dr. Oz for letting me know that I am ugly with my now bulging belly and jiggly hips and thighs.
So, this magazine and many others tell us what is wrong with us (sagging breasts, cellulite, wrinkles, etc.) then offer the magical secret to cure us! So, if you have any of these, be sure to talk badly about yourself as you look in the mirror. How does that feel? Awful!!! Please stop using the mirror to put yourself down. If you think badly about yourself, you will feel badly, which will likely lead to an unhealthy food/exercise relationship, ultimately stripping you of the full life you deserve and crave!
On a personal note the mirror has typically had its healthy place for me. A quick glance to wash my face, put my hair up and maybe throw on some eye makeup in my adult life. In those moments I find myself getting upset and falling into the trap of discouragement and disgust. Some days I am able to shrug it off and other days I have to work at redirecting my negative thinking, just the way I would coach my clients to respond. I must remind myself that who I am is not what my body looks like. One of my clients shared this video that is a good reminder to any mom.
Let’s stop being so harsh on ourselves and using the mirror as a weapon. If you struggle with any negative self-talk when looking in the mirror, I challenge you to instead be affirming. Check out these two great examples on ways to use your mirror to bring truth to your day! Just imagine how you might feel if you spoke these words instead of defeating words!!
This first mirror is compliments of a past patient who put her creative skills to work, leaving enough mirror space to meet her needs..
While meeting with Kit McFarland of Dragonfly Yoga Studio, I was pleasantly surprised to see how she encouraged her younger clientele to embrace who they are beyond the mirror. Check out the only mirror you will find in her studio!
Originally published on the Love Your Body blog at Fredericksburg Parent
I just spent the weekend at our senior high youth group retreat. All I can say is it was fun,
awesome and hard. It was hard for me me physically, emotionally, and especially spiritually.It’s easy for me to tell you why it was hard physically and emotionally. It was hard because I’m 40 and acted like a teenager. My body is still reminding me days later of that.
But spiritually is harder to explain.
I spent the weekend with these incredible young people. They are funny, witty, talented, gifted, smart, and they never cease to amaze me. I feel privileged to be one of their youth group leaders. And even though I’m old enough to be their mom, (my three teens are in the group)they always make me feel welcome. That is one of the many traits that shows their true character. The other thing that amazes me is their hunger for God and their willingness to seek after the answers to how to feed that hunger. The camp was awesome, but what was really awesome is how God showed up.
These young men and women praise God and welcome his presence and are chasing after Him more and more each week. But I do find my self asking the question of why are these
teenagers, as well as most teenagers and young people so often overlooked?
I have three teens. No matter what they tell you, or how many books you read nothing prepares you for raising teens. It’s hard! There is so much pressure as a parent to do the right thing. But I think we, as parents, as teachers, and grown ups forget that the teens feel just as much pressure, if not more, than we do. It is, after all, their life too.
It’s hard as a parent to recognize that your child is no longer a kid. The years go so fast, it’s just hard to see it sometimes. Yet we expect so much for our teens.
So here’s the part that that affected me so profoundly this weekend. We expect so much from our teens. And most of the time we focus on their grades, on whether they have done their chores, are they getting along with their siblings and friends, are they focused too much on the opposite sex, will they get into college, and what are they going to do with the rest of their lives?
But we forget to ask the really important questions. Do they have character? Are they well
rounded? Are they happy and comfortable in their skin? Do they still love to learn like they did when they were little? And the most importance question. Do they have a relationship with Jesus Christ? Now I don’t mean are they saved, but do they have relationship? These kids need a relationship with Christ to face the world. Let’s face it, life is hard even when you have a great relationship with Jesus. Without a relationship, we have nothing, and all else is in vain.
Sometimes I think we as grow ups get in Gods way. He wants to lead our teens and meet them where they are, but we as adults, get in His way. We don’t meet them where they are. We don’t listen. I sometimes think we even look at them as less because they are still children. What we need to do is ask God for guidance during this critical time in their lives.
When my kids were still young, I was having an awful day. I went in my room and cried. I asked God to help me with my kids. He simply told me to stop trying to be everything they needed and do everything right for them. He said “you are not their savior, I am”. Point them to me. Now I’m not saying that the academics, the grades, the chores, the obedience, and all are not important. They are important. But what I’m saying is a person’s character and their relationship with Christ is more important. The most important. In fact, with a great relationship with Jesus Christ and great character the other things will take care of themselves.
So many of our teens are broken and hurting. They are confused and stressed out. We put so much pressure on them to have it all figured out by the time they graduate, that we, sometimes, miss the easy answer. More time and more of God in their life and the understanding that it’s okay to not have all the answers.
One thing we have to remember is that our kids don’t really belong to us. They belong to God. He created them with a purpose. We, as parents, must seek after God and ask how to raise our kids. We must ask who he designed them to be. We must encourage them in their God given gifts and help them be who he has called them to be and not just who we think they should be.
I know it’s hard, but we can do it. If you, yourself don’t have a relationship with Christ that’s the place to start. Then we also must understand that we are going to fail and get things wrong as parents and leaders in children’s lives. So, we must forgive ourselves and start each day new. We must open our minds and know that Gods ways are not our ways. We need to seek God and ask him to lead us and then follow that direction. We must use discernment for the seasons of our kids lives. We must give them the chance to grow, test things out, to fail, to succeed, and to be themselves, knowing that we love them no matter what. And that they will make mistakes.
The teen years are hard for both teens and parents. But it is training ground for adulthood. A time when kids become adults and learn how to stand on their own two feet. And hopefully a time when they are developing their own personal relationship with Christ.
I will leave you with this thought. I look at the teen years as a time that it is safe for my kids to try things and fail. And I don’t mean trying out sinful things, though that does happen too. But I mean new and different ways of doing things and learning along the way. Yes, they still need boundaries, but much bigger boundaries than when they were ten, they need room to grow. I love analogies. God speaks to me in pictures. God showed me a picture of parenthood being like rock climbing. I’m anchored in and my kids are tied around my waist. I would rather they fall off the edge now, while anchored to me, than to fall off once they are on their own, because it can be a long way down. While anchored to me they have a safety net so to speak. A place to come back to and talk about their mistakes. A place to be loved and hopefully a place where we point them back to the only one with all the answers. Our savior, Jesus Christ.
So if you are struggling as a parent, or even as a teen reading this. Have hope. It won’t always be this way and you will get through the tough teenage years. Look to God, because he is the only one who knows all. He will get you through. And if you mess up, as a parent or a teen, know that we all make mistakes and that failing down is part of life, but you can’t stay there. So, pick yourself up, dust your self off, thank God he’s always with us and move on down the road, knowing that there are better days ahead.
I really can be an “indoor” kind of girl, though that has not always been the case. I grew up until the age of 14 in the Appalachian Mountains and spent many a day outside doing whatever. Even though that was a long time ago, that country girl comes out sometimes, accent and all. If there is one thing I truly miss about my childhood and the mountains, it is the lifestyle of spending sunny days digging in the dirt and playing in the streams. I have so many wonderful memories of those things.
So today, with the plentiful sunshine and a warm breeze I ask my 8 year old if he wanted to take a walk. He replied in a less enthusiastic manner, but off we went out the back door. We have a large amount of woods behind our home, and years ago we carved out a trail. I always love walking on a trail so much better than on a street. Well, we head off on our trail and in the back of our trail there is a large clearing where the land has been lumbered. In this clearing were several large puddles of water. Inspiration hit me, and being a home school mom I knew there was something to be learned.
I thought of all the times I loved playing in the streams and mud. So I told my son, let’s make a river and see how big we can make this one puddle. Well, now he replied with an enthusiastic “ yes”. We headed back to get a hoe and shovel as I explained how irrigation worked years ago. Well an hour later we had us a nice little river flowing from one puddle to the next and my son was super excited. We continued to play, splash, and build dams to make the water go from one place to another. At one point we built a dam and pooled a large amount of water before breaking the dam and watching the large stream flood into our small pond (now much too large to be called a puddle). It all felt so wonderful, the digging and work, the warm sun beating down on us, and most of all , the laughter from my child as he would slip in the mud or splash in our homemade stream. I enjoyed it as much as he did, as I basked in my memories of days gone by, and knew we were making new memories right in this moment. As he continued to come up with new ideas of how to make the water go in new directions and continued to have great fun playing in the mud, I stood there and just took in the moment. I am grateful for today. I am grateful for these moments that will become memories. I am grateful for my son. I am grateful for this time to spend with him. It made me think of how ungrateful I can be some days when life is pressing in on me and I am caught up in the hustle and bustle. It reminded me to be thankful for all the moments and small things in my life as well as the big things. I have much to be thankful for, and today I was so thankful for the sunshine, my kid and for mud.
At the end of all this as we were picking up our tools, my eight year old said “Mom, this was fun, we should do it more often. I said “you’re right”. I smiled as we headed back up our trail and thought how wonderful it is to be called “Mom” and how a little mud can make everything better.