Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Praise Challenge - Day 2 - Where do I throw away my confidence?

Today was a better day.  I have enjoyed my kids today and there weren't any major issues.  Finals are coming up next week and they aren't studying as I would like them to.  But  I am trying to allow them to be who they are.  I encourage studying (doing my part as a mom to bring it up) and let them decided how best to do that for them.

(BTW, I am listening to Laure Story as I type this.  She has the best praise music of anyone I have found yet.  All of her songs really seem to speak to me personally.  Also, I think she's a great mom and a model of what I would like to be more like.)

How do I throw away my confidence?  Negative self talk?  Sometimes.  But I think my biggest issue is comparing myself to other parents or my kids to other kids.
1.  They seem to have it all together and their kids are great and social and have future plans.  What's wrong with us?
2.  Those kids make friends so easily and are always out.  Why are my kids at home so much and not out with friends?
3.  How does that parent stay so calm is difficult situations while I tend to lose it?
4.  How do they always know the right thing to say but I never seem to know what to say to help my child?

There is a comparison of myself to other parents, or at least what I see of other parents. However, I need to also make myself realize that I am seeing them possibly at their best.  I am not in their home day to day.  I'm sure they struggle with things as well.  I can't compare myself to what I see on Facebook because that is where people put their best face on anyway, right?  Just as I don't show all my struggles out in public, I'm sure they don't either.  Lord, help me remember that we are all in the same boat.  Though we may struggle with different aspects of parenting, we all struggle.  No one is the perfect parent....except You.

I also second guess my decisions.  Did I make the right decision to quit working and stay home with the kids?  Was it right to only work part time once they were older?  Should I contribute more financially to help the family out so that is one less struggle?  Has my being at home a lot caused them to not learn how to be at home alone or do things for themselves?  God, help me remember that you gave me each of these children.  You chose me to be their mom for a specific reason.  And you helped me make certain decisions along the way that put me right here.  Right where you want me to be.  I trust you so help me be confident in knowing that I am enough and that I am right where I am supposed to be.  May I use the time I have at home with them to teach them how to care for themselves and show them your guidance and provision through my own example.

Thank you Jesus!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Praise Challenge - Day 1

I have often wondered how to develop a regular "quiet time".  I'm not much of a reader so I struggle to really get into the Word just for the sake of getting into it.  I've longed for something that would get me into the Word but with purpose.

Some recent events have caused me to feel as though I am at the end of my parenting rope.  I have begun questioning my ability, asking what have I done wrong?  Are there things I should have done differently?  I've come to a place where I just don't know how to help my kids.

Strangely enough, I had to get a new phone recently (that's another story) and it just so happens that this phone has twice the storage of my previous phone.  So, as I was setting it up, I started downloading apps that I had previously deleted due to space.  One of them happened to be the Kindle app, where I have discovered some free downloads that I always "intended" to read.  As I opened this app and signed in, I began looking through the reading options.  As though God designed it this way, I discovered "The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents" by Becky Harling was on my app.  Remember, I'm not much of a reader, but thought it might be the thing to do.  So I started reading it and quickly lost interest.  Satan?  Not sure.  Fast forward to today, having sat in my bedroom and cried until my mascara was running down my face, crying out to God asking what I should do to help my son. And tonight I sat down to watch football and felt prompted by God, again, to pull it out, so I did.  I could use all the help I can get right now. This is the result of reading day 1.

Each days ends with a journal question.  If it's ok with you, I'm just going to answer that question here.  I think it will help me and perhaps someone else.  So here it goes:

Joshua is 17, tall and blond, sports oriented, intelligent, responsible, loyal, loves to play with the dog's tail.  He's deeper than most 17 year old boys and longs for a deep friendship that goes beyond the surface stuff that a lot of teens nowadays have.  He is a hard worker, loves his mama, helps without being asked, enjoys my cooking, laid back, loves music, and is very truthful.  God, thank you for making Joshua exactly the way he is.  Thank you that he talks nonstop about sports.  I love that you have given him such a passion for something.  Something I never discovered for myself.  Thank you for how he thinks of others and wants to help his family and his friends.  I also thank you that he is laid back, though it drives me crazy sometimes, I know you made him that way for a reason.  Thank you for giving him a sense of responsibility and loyalty. His heart for other people is easily seen.  And thank you that he knows, loves, and serves you.  Thank you for speaking to his heart.  Though he is conflicted at times, as we all are, I thank you that he chooses You.

Zach is 14, tall and blond and very thin.  He is very intelligent, so much so that I think it turns others away and I don't even understand him sometimes.  He is a very out of the box thinker.  He's a nerd and I love it.  He likes Pok√©mon and Transformers.  He enjoys video games and has a YouTube channel.  He has a big heart and has never met a stranger.  He tries so hard but can be forgetful and a bit scattered.  He can easily focus on what interests him but has a hard time with things that don't.  He says what is on his mind, not ever meaning to hurt anyone.  He is very black and white.  He moves at his own pace and not a step faster.  He prefers being along and is a big sleeper.  Father, thank you for Zach.  Thank you for giving him a brain and making him not afraid to use it.  Thank you that he is passionate about things that others may find silly, but he sticks to his guns anyway and stays true to who you made him to be.  Thank you for his capacity to love and help others.  Thank you that he is confident enough in himself and who you made him to be that he is able to speak his mind.  And thank you for giving him and internal metronome that is unique to him and that he doesn't rush through life.  Thank you for how he questions things and doesn't accept things just because.  Thank you for making him a thinker.

Elijah is 11, shorter and also blond.  He is HFA, high functioning autistic (Asperger's) which gives him some super powers and some challenges.  He can memorize just about anything and can usually quote a movie after seeing it only once.  He has a difficult time understanding some everyday things, but knows more about ANW and WWE than most anyone else in the world.  He is a walking encyclopedia.  He thrives on routine and sameness.  He has a great smile and is very helpful and compassionate.  He will always do exactly what you ask him.  He is great at keeping me and his teachers on track.  God, thank you for Elijah.  Thank you for his sweet smile and loving heart.  Thank you for his super powers that come through autism.  Thank you that he likes to watch the same movies and videos over and over again.  Thank you that he knows he can use that to calm himself when the world around him gets a bit overwhelming.  Thank you that he helps keep the rest of us on schedule.  Thank you for giving him passions and enjoyment from ANW and WWE.  Thank you that he has found something he can connect with. Thank you for his helpful spirit and his tender heart.

In Jesus's name,

Monday, May 15, 2017

Almost 44....

I just realized that it has been almost 2 years since I wrote something.  Ugh!  I'll try to do better!!!!

One hour, 34 minutes until I turn 44.  My youngest son, Elijah (now 11), has already told me "Happy Birthday".  Obviously birthdays become less of a big deal as you get older.  However, this one has me thinking and wondering.  I'm not very introspective but some recent events have caused me to somewhat reevaluate my life.

Is this where I thought I would be at 44?  I'm not sure I could have answered where I would be years ago.  I don't really think that way.  But now that I'm here, I can't help but feel that younger me would have expected more of 44 year old me.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my life....for the most part.  I have a wonderful, loving husband and 3 fantastic boys who are very close to becoming men.  I have good friends and love my church.  So what am I missing?

There are times, a lot of them lately, where I just don't feel that I have accomplished all that I could have by this age.  Not to brag or anything, but I have a degree from Georgia Tech and haven't really used it much since I got it.  (I often wonder if my parents would be disappointed in me.)  I have worked in very entry level jobs since having kids.  Should I have been more ambitious?  On the other hand, I have no clue what I would be ambitious about.  I don't really have a "passion" as some do.  There's never been something that I have just wanted to do all my life.

Part of this comes as my youngest child enters middle school and I realize that, though I left the full time workforce 17 years ago to be there for my kids....they really don't need me to "be there" anymore.  Now I'm having thoughts of pursuing things for me and helping my family financially.  But what would I do?  What skills do I have?  And is the longing just me measuring myself against the rest of the world or am I really right where God wants me to be, here with my kids?

None of these questions can be answered tonight.  I will put them aside and happily celebrate my 44th birthday tomorrow.  But these questions will still linger May 17 when the party is over and life goes on again with me as a 44 year old woman.   So, if you think about it, pray for me.  Pray that I would fill the void with Jesus and the He would be the One to answer the questions for me.

Happy birthday to me!