Self care

It’s not always easy to think about ourselves. Or the opposite we can be self-absorbed, I hope I can say that. We all have this tendency. But maybe that’s because we lack proper self-care, instead we insist on sitting and playing the victim. We say, “Poor me, I can’t do this. I’m defeated.”

Self-care, I think, is checking in on yourself. How’s your body feeling, have you kept up with health check-ups, how’s your emotional state. Those answers aren’t something to be afraid of, but it’s a piece of us that needs to be embraced.

Or do you just take care of yourself in an ER type way, when you are forced to look at yourself because you’ve neglected yourself. No one else can take care of you but you. You are able. You have what you need, and if you don’t ask for help.

Self-care is realizing our own limitations and seeking those who can help us in our weakness.

So today, I’m getting my teeth cleaned. Two years ago I had nine fillings because I just thought it wasn’t a big deal. But three kids later and I had some work to do on my teeth.

Be proactive.

How are you responding to your needs? Are you waiting for someone else to step in?

P.S. I still get nervous going to check-ups but I’m learning to go anyways. Because two years later, my teeth are cleaned, no cavities, and our insurance covered it. A lot of insurances cover preventative care, check into it, you’re worth it.

Redemption

So I’m watching Downton Abbey and it’s marvelous.  Witty, funny, just the right amount of drama and love.

The oldest daughter, Mary, has a secret that her and her mother are keeping. She’s afraid it will scar her forever, and she will be a lonely spinster if word gets out.  So she pays a man to keep her secret quiet for her and she agrees to marry him.  All the while she is still madly in love with Matthew.

You are pining for them to be together, just tell him I’m thinking.  It’s okay, he will love you anyways.  You know the truth, but she’s unsure.  Her father, Lord Grantham does not know either.  And for fear of him outcasting her she stays quiet.

Then the day comes, her mother tells her father.  He sits down and absorbs the news.  Mary goes to her father and they embrace as he already knows and has forgiven her.  It’s a powerful moment.  He stands beside her, whatever may come, because he didn’t want his oldest daughter marrying someone out of fear.

Then, Matthew learns the truth.  And again, he takes some time, but walks right up to her and professes his love for her, in spite of the truth she has told him.

Whew!  Redemption.

It’s beautiful and powerful.  Undeserved, but needed.  Grace upon grace.

To be known to our depths and loved.  I pray and hope you have someone in your life that knows it all and loves you still.  Because that truth points us to the one and only true God who said, I know all you will do, and I’m sending Jesus anyways.  I love you that much.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, that all who believe in Him will not die but have eternal life.”

Still learning

We had a week of the stomach bug in our house. Which left us feeling exhausted, physically and emotionally.

But I learned something this week I’d love to share it. A lot of these writings are so I can remember and maybe remind you as well of simple truths I’ve learned along this journey.

So back to this week, my kids were not feeling great and needed a different level of care this week. We had to help them get to sleep, waking through the night to help them, and using our resources to get them better.

And through it all, I loved them more.

Their vulnerability, their inability to care for some of the simplest needs made me kiss their foreheads, hold them tighter, and whisper I love you so much. Then telling them how special they were to me.

My daughter calls out across the room “mom, I love you…” like an exhale to my care for her.

I’m honored.

Grateful.

I felt as if God was reminding me, see daughter when you need help I’ll give you more. When you need love I’ll give you more. Whatever you need I have it and I want to freely give it, my child. Chosen. Loved.

He doesn’t care what we produce for Him, He cares if we let Him go with us. He cares if we let Him love us when we have nothing left to offer Him but ourselves.

It’s enough, always enough.

Affirmation

I like for God to affirm things in my life.  Kind of like Gideon, if you really want me to pursue this show me a sign, I’ll put out the fleece and you make it wet or dry.   You know.

Clarity.

Show me a sign Lord.  Then another sign, because I’m not sure that was a clear enough.

Then maybe we don’t move at all, completely fearful we misheard God.  Unsure if He even cares.

Oh boy.  I am finite.  I am vulnerable and desperate to be known and reassured.

Is it just me?

I love that even in this frustration with myself He is not the slightest.  He sees this all working out, He sees all that I’m learning.  He sees the knew connections I’m making and He will restore and make all these things work together.

Typically I like to know what God’s affirming, but is that the point?  Are we supposed to move and then look up saying is that right God?  Or do I go left?  Do I serve you here or there?  Do I love this person, or make time for this one?  It can get very confusing.

What if He wants us to look up long enough so He can say I love you anyways.

I know You want to know.  I know you need this affirmation from me, but what if I told you I love you.  I love you, even if.  I love you, and I’m proud you are making steps.  Because once you get there you might face trouble, but if you know I love you…  Oh daughter, if you know I love you, if you abide in that love, then that will make all the difference.

As you go about your day, think about how God is showing you He loves you.  It’s everywhere.  For me it is flowers, taking pictures, my kids laughing, naps, slowing down, rain, my neighbor bringing me saltines for my sick kid, or curling up with a good book.

He is faithful.  He’ll show you too.

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Out of hiding

When my daughter was born, Frozen had just released on DVD and my mom obliged and got us a copy.

I fell in love and so did my anti-napping, two year.  So each day after lunch, I’d turn on Frozen and our oldest would fall asleep within ten minutes.  And I’d be holding a sweet sleeping baby girl, so I’d usually finish watching.  It quickly became one of my favorites and I really didn’t mind when they wanted to watch it.

I love the story.  About a girl who is scared and trying to be in control of something powerful.  Something she’s scared would be dangerous and hurt someone else.

Then love steps in, her sister sacrifices herself for her and she knows that love is the answer.  Isn’t this what Jesus did for us?

Forgive the correlation if you don’t agree  (I know Anna is not Jesus, and this is not a story like Narnia).  But stay with me.

He saw us.  He saw us about to be taken out by our sin, our hiding.  He saw all the broken places, all the fear, all the hurt and He came.  He came for you.  He came for me.  He came for us.

We all have places that feel too broken within us.  Places that we are scared of, but those are the places that need less hiding and more love.  Redemption.  So God can use it for good.

That lonely hidden self will show up in insecurities, fears, anxiety, depression.

Maybe you find it hard to let God in and let those places be loved.  Me too.

It’s scary, its new.  But is the right way.  To healing, freedom, being loved and the core of who we are.

Find a counselor, mentor, someone to walk with you.

Go listen to Steffany Gretzinger “Out of Hiding.”

Control

I like control. There’s a safety there. Where you know what you’re capable of and how you will handle it all.

Where does that leave you?

Are you tired of trying to keep it all together?

Controlling your emotions.

Maybe controlling your response, not too angry so you don’t lose control but you still feel the need to express it.

Part of me has believed if I expressed an emotion then maybe it would go away.

So I’d confess away, trying to find relief especially from those intense emotions: anger, fear, depression.

Feeling like if I didn’t confess them the emotions would control me, take over. I’d condemn myself saying “I can’t believe you felt that way.”

Recently reading a book called “You are the one you’ve been waiting for.”

And it talks about how valid each of our emotions are, they are parts of us, is humans at least. And one emotion is not who we are, but a part. I have had depression and anxiety but those were expressions of deep hurt I was trying to control and mask so it would look prettier, more presentable. I’m learning there are parts of me that I have not taken care of.

Anxiety was a way I coped. It was the best I had at the time. So now, I’m relearning. And I’m really excited because God has a new way.

He came for all those parts I try to hide, the ones I push aside or lay a verse in it hoping it would consume it for me.

Stay posted, I’m walking this one out.

On waiting

Sometimes waiting is enough to push me over the edge.  Then sometimes I love waiting, like waiting for the coffee timer to ding that the coffee is done.

But sometimes waiting is painful…

  • waiting for the doctor to call, i.e. high blood pressure
  • healing to come
  • relationships to restore
  • falling asleep
  • coffee to finish brewing (its both, anticipated and taking way too long the next morning)

How are we supposed to wait well?

How do we let our heart take courage, when it’s difficult?  When what we are waiting on we are not looking forward to?

Psalm 27: 14 says,

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

I don’t know why you are waiting, and I’m betting that answer wouldn’t help.  But maybe we can allow ourselves to wait, so that our heart can take courage.  We don’t have to know why, but we can know that there is purpose.

Maybe, our hearts aren’t ready yet.  Maybe you are waiting to see a black and yellow butterfly drinking nectar out of your zinnias out front.  So we can stop and be in awe that we aren’t the ones holding this whole thing together.  That we are loved, cherished, adored.  Strengthen your heart with that truth today.

So what are you waiting on today?  Let your heart take courage.  img_1299-1

Tough Stuff

I have struggled with not having answers.  I want answers.  I want to find comfort in having all the answers.  So I can justify something that has happened, making the pain less.  I want something tangible to hang on to.

Life circumstances just don’t make sense sometimes.

What are we supposed to do when we don’t have answers?  When we can’t see the light in the darkness.

I’m sitting here thinking about this pastor, 30 years old Andrew Stoecklein, who committed suicide.  Suffering.  Alone.  My heart aches for that family, the suffering they are enduring.

And then I realize, there are a lot of things in life we don’t have answers for.

People die of cancer, car accidents, natural disasters.  This is the age old question “If God is real, why is there suffering in this world?”

I hate suffering, does anyone like it?  Have you suffered?  Grieved a loss?  Walked through a dark time in life?  Been so anxious you couldn’t eat or sleep?

I have and because I have experienced those things, I know there is a God who is real.  More real than any pain we can experience here on this earth.  More intentional with showing us the way than ever before.  More loving and kind than I imagined.  More powerful and real even without healing.  Even in death, He is with us.  Oh He is with us.

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Satan would love for us to see it differently.  That he is the one with all the power.  He’s gross and cruel.  He has no victory, and he is acting out of defeat and he knows it.  He’d love to deceive us into believing he’s won.

But Jesus took our pain and sin carrying it to the Cross and broke its power by sacrificing Himself because of His love for us.  And then in all His power, rose from the dead, letting us know He is the One who holds all the victory.  He has won.  We can rest there when we don’t understand.  When it hurts too much.

Father, show us Your Love and help us to have eyes to see it even when we have no answers.  In Jesus name, amen.

 

Embrace it all

Being a stay-at-home mom was always my first choice.  Snuggling babies, seeing them do new things, playing with my kiddos during the day, and teaching them new things.  I was looking forward to it all.  And ultimately I didn’t trust a single soul to look after my babies but me.  (Yikes, this is exactly how I felt.)

Now, staying home was a big sacrifice.  I had just started teaching and making a salary to add to my husband’s for the first in our married life.  It was nice.  We were taking care of stuff, giving, and saving up for things we’d need in the future.  But we made this transition together.  Trusting God would provide but both a little uncertain on how He would.  I felt uncertain if we could make this work or not.  Six years later, I’ve felt some fears of staying home and not being able to add to our income as a family.

I recently read Rachel Hollis Girl Wash Your Face, and she wrote a chapter on embracing the mess.  This chapter spoke straight to the heart of how I’ve been struggling.  I haven’t been fully able to be with my kids because I’ve been fearful I should be working and providing more for our family.  Or in the frustration thinking, I could be working and not messing with this junk.  (Summer with all three kids!)

Something happened after I read that chapter, I knew that right now I’m want to embrace this mess of being a stay at home mom, and I feel like a mess most days.  But this isn’t forever, I will work, I will add income to our family again one day.  And God will direct all of those steps too.

So right now, my kiddos are watching disney, talking to me, my two year old is putting stickers on himself, and I’m writing.  We can’t wait for it all to be perfect to move.  I’m writing and doing things that help me feel purpose in these moments. Writing helps me stay present on the day.  I get the huge opportunity to grow and write and read while I’m staying home.  Which has been one of the greatest blessings.  Getting to discover new things about myself and the things I enjoy.

So, if you’re a working mom embrace it, if you stay at home embrace it.

Don’t compare your mess to someone else’s togetherness.

Today let’s embrace it all.

Fear

I’ve lived a lot of my life in fear.  The more I feared things, the more those things came true, which kept me in this cycle believing all those fears because some of them had come true.

Last night my son had a bad thought, which made him fearful he’d have nightmares.  Oh bless him, I couldn’t hug him tight enough.  I encouraged him to say his fear out loud, breaking it’s power, praying with him, and checking on him as he fell back to sleep.

It felt right.  I could tell he was calm.  My heart swelled with love for him.  I didn’t think less of him because he had a bad thought.  I didn’t tell him to quit it and get it together.  It didn’t make sense to say those things.

But how often do we say those things to ourselves?  Just stop worrying, get it together, no one else thinks this way.  And in our silence we’ve given power to those thoughts.

Negative thoughts are normal, it is what we do with them that gives them power or dissolves them.  

It also hit me after Caleb went to lay down, just because you think something doesn’t make it true.  Our brains need this reminder.  We are hardwired for protection.  Our brains know how to do this well.  And if we’ve had any sort of trauma we are hardwired for more protection.

A thought is a thought and we get to choose what to do with it.

  1. Speak it out loud.  So our brains have a chance to look at it differently.
  2. Share it with someone else. Maybe a friend or a counselor.
  3. Pray.
  4. Let others check on you.  People who love you and encourage you.  Reminding you that you are not alone, no shame.  Just joy shared in this journey.

 

Hopefully this encourages you, by reminding you, you are not alone.  How we speak to our kids is how we should speak to ourselves.  Or speak to ourselves the way we want to speak to our kids.  Parenting continues to teach me more and more about myself.  Grateful. img_0228