The hood called parent

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetThere’s a fine line as parents, that we teeter when it comes to giving our kids the things we wish we had as children. At least, my husband and I have that struggle. Growing up, my parents worked hard just to provide the basic things for my siblings and I, and while we weren’t on government assistance like my husband and his siblings, it was still a struggle for my parents to make sure a meal wasn’t missed.

I still remember the different places we lived, starting when I was five years old, and back then in my innocence, I didn’t know that we were “poor” in US standards. You don’t know you’re “poor” until you’re old enough to understand why you need a job and how money works… at least not back when we were kids. I think kids today know way too much, way too young but that’s a story for another day!

While I wished to have all the Barbie’s and the accessories that come along with them, my parents would simply say, “maybe one day, but not today.” My parents were stern and strict parents, however, I know that they really did wish to give my siblings and me certain things that we’d ask for; be it for our birthdays or holidays, and there were times that we would get one special wish list item and it’d light up our year!

I remember one year my mom told us that we could start a savings jar for a trip to Disney one day, and for years we’d put any and all spare change into that jar. However, every time it filled up, something needed fixing and there went that dream. We’d start over and over and over. In the meantime, we’d go on weekend trips to the beach and that made us so happy, it still does lol. I love the beach and I hold lots of great memories of vacations there as a kid! (I just wish Sam loved it as much as me and we’d be there more than just 2 days a year! lol)

Finally, when I was 15 years old, my parents surprised me with a trip to Disney World (at this point my brother had gone off to the Navy), so it was a special birthday trip for me. I know how much hard work and saving up my parents had to do to take me and for that I am so thankful!

Fast forward  13 years and my husband and I have taken our girls to Disney World since they were infants. We will be there in a month from now and I just can’t help but think that they won’t feel the same excitement that I felt when they’re 15 years old… or maybe they will, who knows? time will tell…When what felt like my whole life, that was one of the things I wanted the most… of course what so many kids dream of, meeting those two cute big-eared mice!

That’s our struggle, we want them to know and appreciate what hard work looks like and that they are blessed to have the life they have. The fact that they won’t know the struggle we knew; I am so thankful for that! I’m thankful that they will not grow up in a house with financial struggle, not very many people get to see that or know that. I’m thankful that God blesses us day after day, year after year and I know that we are only where we are by His grace, love and mercy over us!

My prayer is that we teach our girls to be thankful for everything. To not be spoiled, though I want to spoil them. I put into practice telling them “no” already when they ask for things. I tell them that they can’t always get what they want, but will always have what they need…even at their little ages of 3 and 1. I don’t want to give them everything just because we can spare the extra expense, it’s a struggle, but important.

One of the things that God constantly reminds me of is being a good steward. A good steward financially, spiritually, physically and a good steward of the two most precious little lives He’s entrusted us with! Oh, they are my heart and even through the ups and downs of parenting, I know that God’s purpose and plan for their lives is something out of this world! I know that they will be world changers and a light. They’re forces to be reckoned with and He’s given us the task to make sure that they’re led through the right path.

I’m constantly praying for God to give me the wisdom and knowledge to be the mother  that they need me to be and I don’t want to let Him down and I don’t want to let them down. I know that at times I will, however, through God and with God we can move mountains!

Daily, I pray for Him to be my portion, to give me patience, to give me wisdom in disciplining them, in teaching them and loving them. Parenting isn’t easy, it isn’t always fun, but in teaching them we also learn and grow along with them. Hopefully, that line becomes easier to balance as we continue in the journey of parenthood!

Lost Baggage

“Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love…”

Micah 7:19-20

Does anyone besides me have a suitcase filled with things that may look like: anxiety, depression, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, hatred, anger, jealousy, etc.?

Despite knowing that Jesus paid the ultimate price, forgave our sins and even blots them out of his mind, never to be remembered again (Is. 43:25), why do we still carry around our baggage?

Inside of my suitcase, you’ll find anxiety, not feeling “good enough” and uncared for.  Those are the main things in my life that are a constant struggle to let go of. I carry them around like a purse, and honestly, I didn’t start to feel the weight of them until recently.

I want to say that it all started one or two weeks ago while working out at the gym.  When I go into the gym, the only thing I take with me is my water bottle, keys and my phone for the music. I jump on the treadmill, elliptical or the stair master and I begin my workout. Now, I’m a wife and a mom, so I’m always busy cleaning up, cooking, and running after the girls and I rarely get time to myself, and the gym is one of the few times where I am alone and can de-stress and rid my mind of whatever.

On my recent trips to the gym, I have started to feel like there is a bag at the foot of whatever machine I’m on. It may sound weird or crazy, but I literally look behind me and check to see if maybe I did bring my purse with me, somehow, and just dropped it on the floor. Obviously, nothing is there and it bothers me, because the whole time I’m working out I feel the weight of it. I get the urge to pick up this invisible bag and throw it across the gym… like leave me alone!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but a lot of times, the gym is where I can let out frustration and any stresses of the day. The last thing I need or want is the feeling of a lingering bag full of stress that is right behind me!

Finally, last night I was like “Ok, God. What is this? What’s going on? What are you trying to tell me?” I said this all in my head because I didn’t want to look like a crazy person talking to myself in a gym packed with people… don’t judge me! Then I clearly felt Him shine a light on the fact that it was my baggage… my anxiety, my feeling of unworthiness and feeling of being uncared for.

This week has been kind of a rough one on me. There have been many things that have caused a great deal of anxiety in me.

Philippians 4:6 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

and

1 Peter 5:7 says: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” 

And, I haven’t done either of those things… I’ve been carrying the weight of my own sins, struggles and strongholds and once again, have not gone to Him. I haven’t laid down my burdens before Jesus, because I sometimes feel like I might burden Him with my silly little issues… isn’t that funny?

Yet, time and time again, He reminds me who He is and just how much He L O V E S me! He does not want me to walk around with a bag full of stress and burdens, he wants to take it from me and I have not allowed him to. Instead, they’ve been sitting at my feet, weighing me down. And boy, the devil loves that! He wants me to be weighed down by sins and make me forget that Jesus already won that battle, he already forgot them and he indeed DOES care about me, love me, cherish me… and YOU!

I… you… we need to stop carrying around that baggage and allow God to take it from us every day! He wants nothing more than to see us live in the freedom of knowing that we don’t have to walk through life being weighed down by our sins and strongholds. He’s already tossed them into the deepest parts of the ocean where they will never be found again… like lost baggage at the airport!

Just. Give. It. All. To. Him!

Have you weeded your garden lately?

This past Sunday, I decided that I was tired of looking at the ugly weeds that began to take over our garden. They had grown so tall; they were such an eyesore. So, after our busy day, I told Sam I was going to weed the garden. He kind of looked at me like I was crazy and asked if I was sure… (If you know me, then you know that I think bugs and dirt are gross and icky, and I’m such a girly girl). I don’t know what got into me. I think it was the fact that I wanted to do something active and sweat off some fat! However, from the moment I pulled out that first weed, I regretted it immediately! The texture of the roots and dirt with moisture, YUCK! Anyway, I just kept going, and the more weeds I pulled, the more I started thinking about my life and how many times “weeds” have grown in my heart that I’ve had to ask God to yank, and sometimes I’ve even tried to do it on my own. I was reminded about how as Christians, we must constantly be on our guard to make sure that weeds aren’t growing over the godly seeds and plants that we have sowed and watered over time.
The thing about weeds is that they creep up, and sometimes we don’t notice them, sometimes a flower may even bloom and look so pretty, that we mistake it for a flower that we planted and watered ourselves. It’s not! It’s a weed. I almost didn’t pull one out because it was a pretty white little flower, then I realized it was an imposter, so I yanked it! I don’t want it messing up my pretty garden in the literal or hypothetical sense. As I was weeding, I came across three different types of weeds.
The first, are weeds that are easier to uproot than others. In the spiritual sense, these may look like selfishness, lying, jealousy, cursing, gossip, etc. (I know that sins are all equal, but because we’re human, we tend to categorize them on a “not so bad” to “extremely horrible” scale. So, for that reason, I’m categorizing them). These weeds may not seem so bad, but weeds are weeds and they will destroy the beautiful flowers one way or another. I was able to completely uproot some, and others I could only pull from the surface. That brings me to the second type of weeds I came across. These weeds were so deeply embedded in the ground, that there was no way I could uproot them. I knew that for those, I needed someone stronger than me to pull them out completely. I was only able to pull what was on the surface. They were so challenging and I got so aggravated because I knew that those would come back within a few days. I feel like that’s how it is when we have “weeds” in our hearts. Some are easier to get rid of and some are not so easy. We can pull some out on our own, or so we think, but no matter what, they still grow back some time after. Some we just pull from the top, but they grow back because the root is still there. We might only give God the “small” or “not so bad” weeds to get rid of, but what good will that do in the long run?

The last kind of weed I came across were the ones that disguise themselves or try to hide in between the pretty flowers that I mentioned earlier. Here’s a picture of some trying to hide in between the agapanthus.

image image

 

I looked at these and just knew that they were going to be a challenge. These are the worst kind because they are deeply rooted and they’re trying to pretend they aren’t weeds. So, I tried to muster all of the strength I could, and began pulling them like a mad woman! I was even talking to them, telling them, “Yeah, I see you! I’m not gunna let you think you belong here, because you don’t! Come here!” I’m not lying either hahaha. I eventually gave up. My hands, fingers and arms hurt from trying so hard. That’s exactly what happens in our lives, many times we give up, because it starts to hurt. The thing is, the pain won’t last forever and we’ll be better off anyway. The next day, my fingers still burned a little, but by the end of the day, that sensation was gone. So many times in my walk, I’ve tried to pull weeds out on my own, hesitant to give them to God, because I doubted that they’d really be uprooted. I’ve grown weeds of resentment, bitterness, low self-esteem, jealousy, and they kept my godly seeds from growing into the beautiful flowers they were intended to be. I couldn’t really enjoy God and all of the ways He would or could bless me. There was always something that would immediately shoot down anything that seemed nice. Weeds tend to stick/grow together. I would pull one out on one end and there would be a trail that led to more roots a few feet away. The same goes for the weeds in our lives that we think aren’t so bad. Bitterness can lead to anger, anger to hate, hate to actually hurting the person that caused us to be bitter, which can all lead up to the weeds that disguise themselves as flowers that are supposed to be there. This happens whether we have just begun our walk with God, or if we’ve been walking with God for years. We are never exempt from weeds growing, so we must be cautious. Daily, we must renew our hearts and minds and the moment we feel a weed growing, give it to God so that it won’t stand a chance. We must constantly work out our salvation. (Phil. 2:12)

So, have you weeded your garden lately?

 

 

 

I need Jesus

I will be the first to admit that I don’t read The word everyday. Sometimes, I forget to pray and thank God for life today, for health, favor, mercy, his unending love. There’s no excuse for my lack of acknowledging Gods goodness over my husband, daughter, and over my life. No matter what circumstances we go through in life, He has never failed to come through for us. I saw a video this morning on Facebook about how consumed we have become with technology, that we forget to “look up” and notice what’s going on around us. Just last night I had actually told my husband that from now on, when we are home together, I don’t want our phones to exist. I actually didn’t let my phone exist throughout my day either. I don’t want to miss a moment with my daughter. I don’t want to get so consumed that I miss out in my quiet time with Jesus. He gave his life for me, and I can’t give him a portion of my day… I’m guilty. There’s no doubt in my mind that I love Jesus with all that I am, I don’t know how I could go a day without thanking him and loving on him the same way I show my husband and daughter love, he deserves my affections as well! There’s so much of Gods heart that I have yet to discover and it all starts with putting down my phone, turning off the TV, opening my heart to receive what God wants to show me, really listening and letting his word seep in, and putting it to practice daily. I don’t want to have regret in my heart for not fulfilling Gods purpose in my life; or for losing out in spending time with my loved ones. I want to rekindle that fire that the 17 year old me had. I now have a daughter to lead in the right direction and pour into. My prayer is that she and our future children will love Jesus, serve him, stand firm in knowing their faith, be leaders and examples to those around… And it starts with Sam and I leading by example. Our lives should reflect Christ, and sometimes my life doesn’t. As Christians we will never peak and be so “holy” or “righteous” that we don’t need more of God. I must remind myself of this constantly. I will always be in need of Jesus!

Moving Forward

So I started reading a book called So Long Insecurity, by Beth Moore. I’ve actually been having this book for a while now with intent to read, but haven’t gotten around to it until now. So far, it has been right on point in the way I feel at times. This book caught my attention, because I’ve always dealt with insecurities, as a young teenager and sometimes even now as an adult.

As a teenager, I never felt like I was pretty enough and I dealt with this insecurity for so long.  I would pray and ask God to give me the confidence to know that he made me in his image. Beautiful. It was a word that I couldn’t believe to be true about myself. However, one day I had enough of it. I didn’t want to keep buying into the lies of the devil, I wanted to move forward and live in true freedom. I began writing words of affirmation on my mirror, so that every time I’d look at myself I would see who God saw. Fast forward and today I know that I’m beautiful, smart, the daughter of the Most High who sees me and has called me his own!

As a kid, you would think that as an adult, you don’t deal with insecurities, you’re mature and nothing can bring you down. Wrong. I find that now as an adult, I still have insecurities. Beth Moore talks about different types of insecurities, one is insecurity when it comes to relationships. I realized that I currently struggle with that insecurity. Sam has actually mentioned it to me before, but because I can sometimes be prideful and stubborn I deny it. As a result of my insecurities in my relationships, I tend to put all of my hope for the perfect relationship in Sam. He is my best friend aside from being my husband. He knows everything about me, all of my fears, my flaws and all of the good things about me. I rely on Sam to meet all of my needs, which is unrealistic. Beth mentioned that at one point in her life, she had been hurt by a friend and it broke their friendship. Because of that broken friendship, she told her husband that from that point on, he’d be the only person she’d ever trust again. However, her husband told her that she couldn’t do that, because at some point, he too would let her down… because he’s human and no one is perfect. That turned the light bulb on in my head. I have subconsciously placed all of my trust in Sam to be my only friend who will never purposely hurt me and who I can trust wholeheartedly! But like I said a few sentences earlier, that’s unrealistic. There have been times when we’ve gotten in an argument and I can’t help but feel so disappointed in him, that he let me down. How could he? He’s not supposed to let me down. Little did I realize until now, that it’s an insecurity of mine because of other relationships. I too, like Beth, have been hurt by friends that I sadly no longer have a relationship with. It is hurtful when friendships end, unexpectedly, unwillingly. This hurt is what has brought on this insecurity. I know that I can always count on Sam and trust him, because he is my husband. However, I cannot let the fear of hurt and being let down cripple my other relationships with people. I realized that because of this, I have been closed off to everyone else but Sam in my life. It’s time to move forward. I cannot continue to let the fear of being hurt or let down by others to feed this insecurity. After all, that’s life. You get hurt. You forgive. You move forward. And at the end of the day we can always rely, trust and lean on God.