You tell me what you see as we catch up at a play date. You tell me you see a mom who has it all together. You tell me how I’m a super mom because of all the extras I am doing. What you see goes on, and like a good friend I accept your compliments with sincerity mixed in with some disbelief.
Dear friend if only you saw all the editing I do on my highlight reel. There is so much that you do not see that I have deleted out. You don’t see that most days this year I cried more then I ever smiled. You don’t see the feeling of failure when I discipline one of my children that didn’t really deserve it. You don’t see the arguments I have with my husband because I can’t acknowledge that I was wrong. You don’t see my face every morning when I wake up and even I jump at the reflection looking back. And you don’t see that almost every second of every day I am never happy with me.
Highlight reels are awesome for inspiration and to help us do better. They help motivate us to be more. So let me tell you what I see when I look at your highlight reel. I see a friend who captured the moments of her boys being boys in the mud with a love of life in their eyes. I see a family that travels to fun places together and have matching outfits to suit the occasion. I see silly selfies in the early morning. I see you trying to be healthy despite illness, busyness, and just plain exhaustion. I see you going on dates with your husband like you were teenagers again. I see you sacrificing only because you want it all but something has to give so you act selflessly to everyone even if it means you don’t get a needed break. Most of all I see you trying your absolute hardest in this broken world to make it a better place.
So do not put yourself down during times when you feel you are failing. Because I am seeing all the highlights of your success! You may not see them but I do. You are the reason I aspire to be more; to do better for myself, my husband, my children. Because, my dear friend, there will come a day in heaven when all we see are the highlights of this life, because just like you and me, the Father will have edited and deleted out all the failings. And I promise you there will be more to keep then to delete.
This has been a hard week, but you wouldn't know it. It's not like I take pictures of the bad parts. You know it is true because you don't either. I have been bombarded with tons of quick little inspirational thoughts that have gone nowhere. It is frustrating to want to write and struggle to find the words. I can feel it in me but can't seem to form what I am feeling into words. But, like I said, you wouldn't know that.
I saw this blog post from another mom this week. It was a gentle reminder to moms that stay home how much they are valued and to not forget it. I loved it, because that day that is exactly what I needed to hear. She even had a video with it going through her day. I went to leave a comment to tell her how I needed to hear that and my eye caught the first comment. It was criticizing the mom's post because she stayed home. I decided to scroll down to look for a more positive comment. Can I tell you that of the 20-30 comments I read, ONE, just one, thanked the mom. The rest were attacking this mom for being a stay at home mom. Not once did this mom mention working mothers. Not once did she shame them or make them feel less because they worked. Her soul purpose was to let other stay at home moms know they were not alone. And, maybe, to let any husband reading or watching it see that we don't just sit on our butts all day.
The reason this got to me was because we live in a society now where a mom (like me) can be afraid to open up about her life, but do it anyway, and then get put down for trying to build others up. Shame on us mothers for doing this to each other. Isn't there enough shaming in the world already? As mothers, and I don't care what kind of mom you are: stay at home, working, public school, homeschool, vaccines, no vaccines, breast feed, bottle feed, blond, brunet, red head; I don't care what kind of mom you are, we are in this parenting thing TOGETHER! When will we stop hurting each other and instead unite with each other. Just as in marriage or our families, it is the devil trying to divide this family. The family of mothers that we ALL are. All of us want what is best for our children, non of us wants to think we are missing the mark, all of us know in one way or the other we are failing our children; we don't reminding from one another, we need support.
As long as all of us see our children as the arrows they are and know it is our job to prepare them to be released into this world, we are doing it right. I just watched this movie called "Like Arrows", highly recommend it and yes it is a tear jerker. But the main theme of the movie is raising their children to be released into the world to bring as many to know Jesus as possible. If that is all of our desires then why can't we simply commend each other for different details we use to accomplish this goal?
You are all going to have mommy friends that simply can't or choose not to be the kind of mom you are. That NEEDS to be okay! They need to know that when you are together talking about their children and struggles they are having in your head you aren't secretly judging them. Tell me, has this been you before, "Well if you were doing ____________ like I do then maybe you wouldn't be having this problem."? Do I see some hands raising? Mothers I am begging you, be the kind of mom that unites. Be the kind of mom that puts petty differences aside and focuses on the main goal of parenting. Be the kind of mom you want your daughters to be or your sons to marry. You are a part of one of the largest infantries in the existence of mankind. Motherhood is the front line for our Savior's warriors, we must learn to fight together for the common cause; and stop badgering other mothers because they don't include every different type of motherhood when they open their hearts to say what is on their minds. We are in this fight together, so start fighting it together. Stop the devil from dividing the army of motherhood father apart.
What I see when I look in the mirror is a meaty woman because I enjoyed food and didn't want to leave this rental without getting a taste of delicious cuisine in this world.
What I see when I look in the mirror is a pregnancy mask that never went away so that I could be reminded on the days I struggle to be a mom, what blessings I have been given and the sacrifice it took to receive them.
What I see when I look in the mirror are sun spots because I enjoyed living life outside. Whether it be the mountains, the beaches or the plains; I wanted to take it all in.
What I see when I look in the mirror and I can't remember what I did yesterday or even that morning, it's because I have the responsibilities to care and love for so many, so sometimes it's hard to remember the little things.
What I see when I look in the mirror is something wonderful. I see a woman that is enjoying life to the fullest, because this home is a rental and nothing more. And when the time comes to go Home I want to look in Jesus' eyes and hear, "Well done, you enjoyed your days and lived to the fullest. You enjoyed the things of the world I offered. You were a good steward and loved your children without fault. You took in the beauty of the things my Father created. You cared even when you felt you could not give one more thing to anyone else".
You know what I hope you see when you look in the mirror, my dear friend? That you are beautiful, just like me.
I have been battling with the devil since before this picture was taken. We moved into our new house and I had to go onto antidepressants. I have been on them since and my health has declined since this picture was taken. I have to admit I love this picture, I love it even though there is someone's finger in it. I love it even though Rejko isn't even looking at the camera. I love this picture because it is one of the few pictures I have of me that is not staged with a smile. In this picture my brother was dressed up as that T-rex everyone wears now and Rejko was terrified and he was headed right for us! So this is not just a smile but I was outright laughing. I love it because of the true joy I have on my face, I wasn't posing and trying to look good, the joy emanating from me made it so I felt good when I looked at it.
Fast forward to today, I am off my antidepressants thanks to holistic approaches and a few more things... As moms, especially stay at home moms, and really especially homeschool stay at home moms our homes can start to close in on us can't they? The homes where life happens for us can start to feel more like a prison. Well guess what moms, your right in that thinking. A prison is also called "a place of confinement". When we are home moms the weight of our "do to list" is always overwhelming and always never ending. Because of this feeling of imprisonment a lot of us fall into a funk. We start eating because we are stressed or bored. We stop exercising because the "to do list" just doesn't leave time for that. We stop spending time with God because heck, if there is no time for exercise then there certainly isn't time for God. The weight of our home gets heavier and heavier and before we know it we are snapping, agitated, grumpy moms who feel trapped in a prison they can not get away from.
May 2017 May 2018 May 2019
Going to get real with you mommies. This is me over the course of the years since moving into our new home. See when we moved out of our old home I was mother of a 3 year old and a 1 year old. My youngest was only 3 weeks old. We moved into our in-laws while we built our new home. I had help and I had very little space that needed me to keep clean. Then like a rush of water I was thrown into a new home with three walking children all who were making messes everywhere in an open concept house. I began drowning fast. I didn't know that the devil was making my new home an enemy. I didn't see him start attacking me which trickled down to my marriage and my family. But it did and it got BAD! Let's just say the kids and my husband were not the first or the SECOND to put a hole into our new walls.
But that is changing for me now moms. I am growing in my faith and I am growing in wisdom. And you know what you can too! It started off small, I put God first. I didn't care what I had to brush aside, I found time with my Lord every day (well almost every day, I can't lie to you guys). That was in 2017, LATE 2017 mind you. In 2018 (which was my hardest year physically due to injury after injury) I began to focus on me. It was hard not to feel guilty about doing that. But I did it... I started locking the door when I went to the bathroom! That was my baby step, that grew into having quiet time to research my health in more depth. This year I switched supplements and started to try, STRESS the word try, to be active. Yeah, that's right, I'm not saying exercise! I am simply saying to be more active with yourselves. For me I started walking with a friend three times a week around the neighborhood. In the past three weeks I have made another huge stride and I am going to share this secret with you.
The secret is get OUTSIDE! Let me tell you exactly why getting outside is the best thing EVER! When us moms stay inside and decide to have a "lazy day" we fret. We fret all day and feel guilty as we see the laundry and dirty dishes whenever we get up. We feel the same way when the kids are bored and want attention and we snap at them and put them in front of the TV. But when we allow ourselves to break out of our homes then things change. So get outside! Go to the pool, go to the beach, go to a park, whatever it is get outside. Soak up the vitamin D and sit back and watch your little ones playing in the water. It is so euphoric to be in the water relaxing and when you get up to check the time you don't have to worry about the dirty laundry or the nagging dishes in the sink. You have peace when you allow yourself to get away. The devil has a lot harder time making us feel guilty about a check list when it is out of site and out of mind.
True testimony, it has gotten so peaceful that I was able to get my Mother's Day present, an Apple Watch the Saturday of Mother's Day, go wake boarding on Friday and look down to see the sea had claimed my gift (seriously not even a week old) to the depths; and I was able to get over it and still enjoy my day outside. Side note: yes I am still devastated that my poor husband worked so hard to get it for me and I was so stupid I didn't take it off. But my point is, before I found my way that would have ruined my day, I would have gone home and fallen into a deep depression. I would have eaten food that was not only bad for my health but bad for my soul.
So if this is you today mom, I am asking you to try this:
1. Put God first, start with just 5 minutes a day
2. Focus on your health by doing something to get yourself moving, start with just 2-3 days a week
3. Get outside! Go for a walk, watch your kids play in the sprinkler, read a book even. Just get outside!
Our homes were never meant to be a prison. Our homes are to be a place of rest, a place of security, a place of comfort. It will take practice and there will be days you just have to bite the bullet and get things done. But don't let your "to do list" be your idol. If you can't walk away from it then it's your idol, so stop letting it control your time, let God control your time. I promise life will be so much more fun and you will feel so much better about you, beautiful mom.
This past Friday after I lost my new Apple Watch. The Lord give it and the Lord take it away. LOTOWCOTI (Laughing on the outside while crying on the inside). LOL!
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established
Isaiah 58:11 And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail
I pray for you mommy. I pray you know how special and beautiful with are! You look in the mirror and the devil tries to veil your eyes from the beauty that is you, to blind you to the strength you posses. Do not let him! Pull the veil off and see the beauty that God sees, that your husband sees, that your children see.
You feel the weight of this world pull you down, making you feel like you will drown at any minute. The world seems to be in flames with spiritual warfare and you are so worn from fighting it off, fighting so it doesn’t penetrate into your home. You cry out to God to protect you from every arrow that comes at you and your husband, you and your children, and your husband and children. It seems to rarely cease and you can see the results of your battles when you look in the mirror.
But take comfort mother, wife, servant! Your battle scars are beautiful to the Lord! Your determination to protect your children and honor your husband is pure and God sees the sacrifices you make to keep all of you together. You cry out to your Father, asking Him to help, telling Him you can’t go on a second longer or you will be crushed.
And God answers you! He gently grabs you and lifts you up. He encompasses His peace all around you and lifts the weights. He whispers to you, “My sweet child! Do you know who you are? You are my precious daughter! You are my unbreakable warrior because you call for me to help you. Never question your place in this world. For you have a purpose and a destiny. I gave your husband to honor and your children to love in this broken world because I made you strong enough to do it! You are so strong my love, don’t you see it? Continue to lean on me and you will succeed! I will never leave or forsake those who cry out to me for help. Be patient as I fight for you and your family, so that I may bring you victory!”
You are so loved mommies, so strong and beautiful. So if you feel that weight creeping in of the enemy, you tell that devil to get out of your home because God made you stronger then the mothers of past and with Him by your side you can not fail!
Last night was a hard night. No, hard is not the right word for it. Tormented night is the right word. Late in the evening while my family slept I received devastating news from my sister in law wanting me to know if I had been on Facebook. Immediately I got onto to see for myself what I knew I didn't want to see. The post was right at the top and as I looked at that precious little girl, that weeks prior had a huge smile on her face and joy in her heart, but now was asleep in a hospital bed with wires monitoring her and bruising already showing, my eyes over flowed with tears. As I read the post and felt the anguish in her mother's post I felt completely helpless. I had no words to give that could possibly bring comfort. "I'm praying for her" seemed like a cliche at this point.
See I have been following this local family for two years now. I have seen the little girl fight with all she had to beat the beast that rages on in her. A relentless and cruel beast that has no business being in anyone let alone a child. After mom thought she had lost her a year ago during the worst, things turned. The little girl went into full remission, it would have been a year in two weeks. But last night this horrific beast was attacking her body again.
I can not blame her mom and the hurt and anger she feels. I empathize with mom and I know there is nothing I can give to comfort her. I am angry at God along with her because I don't understand why after fighting for so long to see things turn for good this family must now relive the nightmare of this unwanted beast living within their child. I have tried to call loved one for comforting words and search the bible for verses that calm my feelings.
There is one story that sheds an ounce of acceptance, not comfort, not peace, just acceptance. The story of the threads. There are billions of pieces of thread and each once is unique. Up close the thread of this child has many segmented colors. The first part of the thread is pinks and purples but then the color abruptly changes to the color of the darkest black possible. A short way down the color is changed to yellows and blues but once again abruptly changes back to the black. Up close it makes no sense as to why there are these beautiful colors that keep getting cut off by this dark black. But as I start to step backward I can see more and more threads, many have spots of black in them. I am still confused as to why this black need be in something so beautiful. I continue to step back and before my eyes the most beautiful tapestry is before my me. I start to cry tears of awe and joy and turn to look at the Weaver. He looks deep into my soul with tears in His own eyes and tells me how He hated putting those black colors into the strands of thread but how without them the tapestry would not look like the masterpiece it is.
I do not know what color is next for this little girl who has stolen the hearts of her community no more than I know what color is next on my own thread. But of two things I am sure; one, the black color of life is a horrible and pain filled color and second, no matter how I try to understand why it is placed where and when it is, I will never be able to understand or see the full picture until I am in heaven and can stand back properly. So for now I will continue to pray for this little girl and her family because there is nothing else I can do. I will do my best to trust God on the road He is asking her to take. But there is one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know. God made this little girl's mother stronger than most. She made her with a heart that could handle more sorrow and pain then most because He knew her child would go through this and He had to give her a mother that could stay strong through it all. A mother that could be angry at Him but still lean and on Him and cry on His shoulder. A mother that would defy Satan and his attacks on her daughter by standing with her King even when it felt unbearable.
Our children are gifts from God that belonged to Him before they came to us. Our children were given mothers who God selected from the beginning of time to be there for. During times of joy and happiness to time of sorrow and pain, God knew those children needed to be with those specific mothers. So I am asking all of you, all of you mothers, to pray for this family. I am asking you to pray for their daughter and her health. I am asking you to pray that God give those who have been touched by her spirit peace should He chose to call His daughter home, even if every fiber in our being begs that she be healed to live a full life. Pray for all mothers everywhere that have a child going through a black part of thread in their life, because while they are going through the black I believe God has made the mother's thread the color of pure white to help her child through their black.
John 16:20-23 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask for nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you ~
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world ~
John 11:35 Jesus wept ~
***This blog post is dedicated to Addy's mom Stephanie, the strongest mother I know***
Growing up in the 90's I loved sunglasses! But I didn't really get into them until high school, it was there that I fell in love with the sleek sports look that everyone was wearing. I remember thinking how great they looked for a girl who lived in Florida and was always at the beach. Through college my taste remained the same, but about 5-7 years ago a new style came out. I say new but in reality it was a repeat style, the "bug eye" glasses that I remembered my grandmother wearing growing up. It was the look of the 60's-70's depending on your resources. LOL. I can still see my grandmother in these BIG, RED, ROUND, LARGE sunglasses. There was no way I was ever going to give up my sleek sunglasses, my sports glasses. Fast forward about 3 years ago and my husband and I are buying a pair of Gator glasses. BIG, BLACK, ROUND, LARGE! I remember thinking how I said I would never buy a pair and I also remember thinking how good I looked in them. I had tried on these types before just for kicks and never thought I looked good in them but now, yep, I looked good.
Well about 2-3 years ago the 80's-90's sunglasses came back in. The "New Kids on The Block" type. Not quite as large, more of a straight line at the top. Again, I thought to myself that I would never buy that style... guess who just got a red pair? Yep, me! Why?
Just like anything in society, we are told what to like, what to wear, how to wear it. Ultimately we are told how to think. Now, don't turn red and start yelling at me through your screen. It doesn't work on everyone and others it takes a while. But the bottom line is, we are subliminally being told what to do. Think about it, a few years ago we started hearing back lash on super models being too skinny after being told for years they weren't skinny enough. Before that back lash what did the majority of women think the ideal weight and look was? Yep, those models! I was one of them and because my issues go even deeper I still can't get that message out of my head. But that is a story for another time. Now the in thing is to have curves, embrace your body no matter the size (which by the way is the correct way, God says He made you as you are and loves you. He wants you to be healthy and take care of His temple, but not all women were made to fit into a size 1 pant size. ESPECIALLY after having children. But again, a story for another time.)
My point is, we are told what to think. I hated those sunglasses when they first came out, but as I watched most women wear them and thought they looked good in them, I eventually began to see myself looking good in them. Now the point of this post is far deeper then some sunglasses. So take a pause and get a cup of coffee or tea. See why sunglasses is the tip of a much more serious and dangerous iceberg for your children and you.
Mothers I should not have to tell you how evil this movie is even if your child doesn't see the movie, but only watches the trailer. I did a YouTube video (you can search for it under Christen Castor) today where my kids told my viewers what they think a superhero is. It was the complete opposite of what this movie is saying. One of a hero's strongest points in definition is they posses noble qualities. What demon ever possessed noble qualities? Not one! I watched this trailer and thought the same thing I thought about the sunglasses. I will never think of a demon as a superhero. But moms I am 36 years old! My children on the other hand are 7, 5, and 4. They are in their most impressionable years and they would be seeing the world tell them that evil can be a superhero, evil can be cool (my children have not watched the trailer mind you). If everyone starts seeing this as the norm how long will it be before children start thinking demon = superhero = cool? This is a dangerous concept. Now, you may be thinking, "Christen, it is just a movie. It isn't real. It is just some words on the screen.". Well look where we are in our world today. We are living in a world that is involved in the biggest infanticide crisis in the history of the world. We kill babies because at some point we were told to think it was okay. Again, not all of us (but I was this person at one time so I let the world tell me what to think, I made reasons to justify my actions) but a lot of the world is. Now we are fighting an up hill battle that without God with us, we would lose. We live in a world where we tell our children bulling is wrong, but then watch government officials on both sides, world leaders, people we are looking to for leadership sit there and bully. Can you see how our children have picked up on this? Actions speak far louder then words ever could. We live in a world where women being told they can't kill their unborn babies is evil but portraying a people killing demon with the title of superhero is good.
But take heart moms, you are on the fighting side that has our Lord at your back. You have been given the responsibility of bringing up your children to see evil for evil and good for good. You were given powers from the moment your child was conceived that would ensure you the arsenal of spiritual weapons you could use to protect and guide your children in the truth. We are the generals of this war with our King fighting along side us. What do you think the child used (and I do mean used) to play this demon part thinks of his role? Our strongest weapon is what mothers? Prayers! We must pray for these children playing the roles of evil, we must pray for the children who are unaware of the spiritual war going on that God presses on their hearts that there are lies being told in this world and to find Jesus, and we must continue to pray for our children. Pray they take their places as warriors of Christ. Guide them is discerning the truth from the lies, the good from the evil, the light from the dark, God from the devil.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter ~
The storm is fierce; I can just barely see you over there on that island. From the land where I am the waves are trying to gobble up your island and you. They break upon the shore on all sides and each time their wet fingers grasp at you. The clouds are thick and black and the rain pouring down is so heavy it appears to be a lace sheet dividing you and me. I can see you only when the lightning strikes but it’s only for a second before the deafening sound of thunder threatens to break the heavens in two. The wind sends the rain like sharp stone pelts at you and at me. The situation seems so bleak.
I am cold and shivering; my skin is numb from the relentless attacks of the stone like rain drops. The ringing in my ears from the thunder and the waves is so loud; this storm has a reason for its torment. But I can’t give up, I can’t give up on you, so I fight against the storm. The waves are rising harder and you are so very far away. But I need to speak to you, I need you to hear what I have to say, the message is one of urgency. Curse this storm and its relentlessness. It seeks to devour you, it wants to drown you!
You are my sibling, my brother my sister, and my heart is breaking as I watch the lies of this storm grow. I see you look out in my direction, but you don’t see me. I am screaming and my throat burns from the strain. You need to know I love you; you need to know you are loved before it is too late. I wave my hands frantically to get your attention and a look of sheer horror washes over your face, it then turns to disgust as for a instant you glance my way. The darkness of the storm is perverting what you see and the roar of it is keeping you deaf to what I have to say. I see you cover your head, hiding from the storm, wishing the waves would just come and swallow you up into an endless darkness of quiet and peace.
If I could just get you to look at me again, if I could just get you to hear me, you would know the truth. But all my screaming and jumping up and down and cursing the storm are for nothing. The waters continue to rise and my time is running out. I know if you could tell me, you would say to just go away and leave you to die. That you hated me and I repulsed you, but that is my fault. It is my fault because of all the flailing around and yelling to get your attention.
Suddenly I freeze. I turn and run up a spiral staircase of stairs, there are many and I am so tired! I push myself going as fast as I can. Once I reach the top I pull out a match and light the lantern. The fire in the cylinder roars to life with light and warmth. My shivering begins to slow as I allow the heat to warm and dry me. I know I must go back outside and I don’t have time to stall, that small amount of light and warmth are enough to recharge me to go back out in the storm.
The waves have all but consumed the island but now you are no longer hiding. I can see you straining to see, you are looking at the light! I barely make it out but I am sure of it! Hope burns in my chest so strong I fall to my knees. At that moment I pray, I pray God calms the storm so you can see the light better. There may still be time to tell you! As I pray face down the rain begins to soften against my skin. The ringing in my ears dies down as the thunder begins to quiet. The wind that was so harsh begins to calm into a steady breeze. Still I pray fervently for the storm to cease but I am so tired and I don’t want to trust my ears.
Then I hear a new sound, like a gentle thumping, over and over, getting louder and louder. Then it stops, I force my head to look up and my eyes to open. You are standing on my beach next to a row boat. You look exhausted and weary but your eyes keep bouncing from the light to me. You look back to me, doubt in your eyes, shivering still from the wet and the fear. I get up and I run to you. I embrace you hard crying as I do. I tell you I love you, that we are family. I tell you that you don’t ever have to go back to that island again, that you are home. I tell you that I want you to stay, stay with me where light and warm. You look at me, this time your eyes are gentle and full of understanding. Together we go to get more wood for the lantern, there will be more storms to come and more people that venture to the island and will need help. But if we keep the lantern lit they will always find their way to the light, even if they return to the island and decide not to stay in the light, the memory if its warmth will remain with them and maybe someday they will come home to stay.
This morning I was reading all the new updates in what is going on in the world. Well, to be honest, some of the world. I don’t think I could stand reading about the whole world. As I read my spirit sunk lower and lower. Everything I read was so harsh, even if it was meant for good. Honestly, the ONE thing I read today that I was like “Yay” was that there will once again be fireworks at Mount Rushmore. Now that is a sobering thought. A fresh morning with only one thing that could get my spirit somewhat lifted was some fireworks. Move over Charlie while I say, “Good grief”.
The problem that I am seeing is in the Christians of the world. I have talked a lot about lukewarm Christians and not speaking up and so on. All of that is very true; others cannot know what sin is unless we gently tell them. Emphasis on the word gently. But what I am seeing is unrelenting pushes towards people who do not share our views. If I came up to you and said, “You can’t take that food, you are stealing” in front of everyone at the grocery store; and I say it in a “way better than thou” tone, that will most likely not change you. It will make you feel judged, it will embarrass you, and it will humiliate you. You will probably walk away with either no answer or an excuse as to why you were going to do it. Then the next time I see you with some food I ask you if you stole it that will only make you turn bitter to me and fill you with anger. It will make it so bad to know you feel like you are being judged without any evidence that you push me completely away.
As Christians we are called to love above all else. How can we love if we hammer our knowledge down someone’s throat? If you have told them once, I can assure you they heard it. There is no wisdom in continuing to badger someone hoping that they will see the truth. In their hearts the seed was planted the first time you said it. The seed is the key, which is the start of all transformation. The problem is, as Christian we feel WE are the ones that need to do the transforming. We were never more wrong! We have no right to think we hold such power! Our power is of the Holy Spirit and if any transformation happens it is because He is working within us. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Holy Spirit is anger, stubborn, relentless? He isn’t any of those. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 English Standard Version (ESV) states:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
Our biggest weapon remains a secret one, a hidden armory deep in our soul. Our biggest weapon against those with scaled eyes and hardened hearts is prayer, because it is only through prayer and petition that we surrender our control and allow the one true King to allow scales to fall and hearts to soften.
I wrote the island for its symbolism to being a Christian. We are at war, not with the person on the island but with the storm that rages between us. Deafening ears, blinding sight and not allowing contact are how the storm lies to us, divides us and ultimately destroys us. It is only when we go to a power bigger then ourselves, the Holy Spirit that is the light within us does the person we want to reach even become interested in us. We must be a light; we must let the characteristics of the Holy Spirit permeate through us. We will still get hit with the same storms as them, we will have to fight for them even though we feel it is hopeless and we have no love left for them. Then we must pray that much harder for them and for ourselves, pray they are drawn to the source of our light. Because the source is God, the source is truth. A seed cannot grow in darkness and misery; it must have a light to reach towards. We as Christians must be that light or we cannot truly call ourselves Christians then, can we?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law ~
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven ~
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it ~
"I see them over there. A daughter and a mother. They are talking and involved with each other. I see them laughing and my heart is aching.
I know I'm far away, but even when we were close things were the same. I feel I did something wrong. In fact I have done many things wrong. But it doesn't change this hurt I feel. You are not there.
They get up to leave, continuing to talk. They are so close and the support for each other is radiating outward. Tears fill my eyes as I try yet again to accept that this will never be for me. I beg God to fill the gap, but on this physical plane it seems He cannot.
The times we can be together as so few and far between. It is never a good time to call it seems. I remember watching you and your mom commune as I wish we could. Tea and lunches were the norm. But you are not there for me in that way. I do not blame you. You have gently told me that we are different. That it can't be that way between us; that you love me and are proud of me.
So once again I swallow back the hurt and dry my tears. Forever praying you would be more a part of my life. Because I know someday the Lord will take you home and we will permanently be apart on this earth. I will call you up to find you are still not there.
I cry about every time I read this excerpt that I wrote almost two years ago. In fact I am crying right now. It is easy to know from reading it that it is about my relationship with my mom. Now do not get me wrong! My mom was an awesome mom when I was little, she was not perfect, but she was a really good mom.
I remember when we were smaller she would throw us really cool birthday parties. Every year would be a different theme and she would go all out with homemade games, decorations and GORGEOUS cakes! She would come into my room to tuck me in and sometimes she would sit in there with me telling me stories of her childhood. Oh how I miss those stories! She would car pool all of us wherever we needed to go and always be there waiting when we were done. She decorated our rooms like she decorated birthday parties. I still remember every theme I had, unicorns in a purple pink stencil around the top of my room. Then it was horse stencils in the middle of the wall with chair rail on top and bottom. The last one was an ocean theme with 3 dimensional pieces of coral. I also remember every single theme my siblings had from a golden tree to the millennium falcon. In fact my sister’s golden castle bed is now my daughter’s Elsa bed that my mom redid. I love receiving items that have my mother's fingerprint on them (yes, my dad and her built the bed)
But I remember the hurt as I began to get older of being pushed aside in videos so the new baby could be filmed. I remember the sound in my mom’s voice when she told me to move, the sound of annoyance. My mom loved her babies and her infants and her toddlers. Little children were harder and by the tween ages the relationship was distant.
I remember playing in the family room in Colorado and my nana coming over what seemed like every day to chat and talk. And if it wasn’t there that they were talking it was at my nana’s house. We would all be outside playing while they rocked in the metal chairs with cushions on the porch. Wind chimes and birds singing were comforting. I had such high hopes that my mom and I would share such times. But it never happened. Even when we lived 20 minutes away it never happened. Maybe we burnt her out, maybe she really didn’t want to be around us. I know she loves me to this day, but I feel most of the time she doesn’t like me very much.
I cannot change my mom and my relationship as hard as I might try (that is God's domain not mine). I can pray for it and if God so chooses he can change her heart to see that time is slipping by. And what really stinks is on the rare occasion it is just her and me we have a REALLY great time together. But it always hurts because it never lasts. But there is hope. Not for my mom and me as much as for my daughter and me and even my daughter-in-laws and me. I pray that my daughter wants what I want but rarely get from my mom. To go shopping together, to have lunch together, to be friends once she doesn’t need my parenting as much, to have such a strong relationship that she never fears coming to me or seeking my advice.
I do not know why there was this hiccup in our chain of motherhood. And I love my mom and will miss the hope that is still there of her changing once she is in heaven. But now my strongest hope lies in the relationship I might have with Briseis. I already am trying to nurture it and she loves it. Mommy daughter days, pedicures, shopping trips, lunches just the two of us, reading to her at night in her bed. Nurturing always nurturing the possibility that when she is grown I will be there and so will she.
But while I wait for my daughter to get to that age, and believe me there is no rush, I continue to hope for that relationship with my mom. In fact for the first time ever, she took me out for my birthday! Just her and me! That has NEVER happened before. We had an amazing time, massages and lunch, just the TWO of us! It gave me reason to hope more than I ever had before that my prayers for us weren't bouncing off the ceiling. And now we are getting ready to go on a cruise at the end of the month! Well, it wont be the two of us, lol, my dad and Lance will also be coming. But there will be no children and no grandchildren to try and share her time with. I am so excited! So we will see if at long last something has changed between us.
Mommies let me be clear as well. This is not just my mom, it is like this for almost every single one of my friends with the exception of two! I do not know what happened or how the devil wore our generation of moms down so bad. But the reality is they are not there and they are missing us, they are missing their grandchildren grow, some of them are even missing their very lives. We need to pray for our mothers, if you have a bad relationship with yours I can assure you, you are not alone. Pray for God to take action against your mother's heart. I have, and for the first time ever not only do I have a stronger hope, but I have done things together with my mom that have never happened before. It is possible, but not without prayer.
It is also so important that we pray for our own hearts not to become weary with this world so that we run out of fuel for our children when they are grown, and our grandchildren look to us to be spoiled rotten. We need to pray that our children still want us around when they are grown and on their own. Our children were meant to leave the nest, that is how God designed it. But leaving the nest never meant our job was done and now it was time for us. There will be more opportunities for us time fore sure, but once you are a mother you are always a mother. Sure we don't parent as much but we need to always be there ready to welcome our children with a loving hug if they need advice, have a funny story about their children to tell, or just need a shoulder to cry on because married life is hard. We can not abandon our nature, not ever, we are mothers for life; and our Father made us strong enough to mother until we are called home.
And so train the young women to love their husbands and children ~
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her ~
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it ~
The child wakes up and looks out the window. It is a bright and sunny day, a perfect day to be outside practicing her skills, tryouts are in the fall when school starts. She will need to do well on everything especially that elusive slam dunk that she has been working on for a while now. Determination and commitment flowing through her veins, the child quickly laces up her sneakers and runs outside. As she is dribbling the ball she looks down at her shoes, they are shinny and beautiful. She remembers when she first opened the box and there they were gleaming with hope that if she wore them she would make the cut. She warms up and after a full day of practicing she still cant make that slam dunk. Frustrated she throws the ball at the house. It hits the garage as she cringes as she hears the familiar voice of her father, "Losing your temper wont make you hit that slam dunk. It's time for a break, come inside.". The girls sulks inside and complains to her dad that it is just too high.
A few weeks pass, she stopped practicing after her dad scolded her for hitting the house with the basketball. She laces up her sneakers, still shinny and new. Once again she is outside, the yearning to make the team is overwhelming, she glares at the basketball net. Then a thought occurs to her, if she lowers the hoop then she can make the slam dunk. From there she can slowly move it back up with the time comes, its just for now she tells herself. She drops it down one notch and takes aim. She goes to dunk it... it is still too high. The next day she does the same thing, lowers it two notches and takes the shot. Miss. She lowers it two more times before she nails her first slam dunk. So excited to have made the slam dunk she runs inside to tell her father. He races outside to watch. He slows as he sees the net, his face somber, he watches his daughter. She dribbles the ball with all the pride she has and takes her shot with a perfect slam dunk. She turns to her father to see the praise in his eyes. But what she sees is not praise but sorrow. She wants to know why he isn't happy for her. He explains that when try outs come the net will be at the full height. She argues that she plans on raising it as she gets better and better. He gently kisses her forehead and tells her he loves her. To be honest she knows she wont raise it, actually making the slam dunk feels too good.
It is time for tryouts. The girl is so confident that she will make the team. Her slam dunks have gotten great even if they are at a lower height. As tryouts begin she is the first to go, she misses all her shots and can't even come close to a slam dunk. She is still confident though because at least she tried to make it. She knows one of the girls didn't even practice over the summer, she at least did better then her. Besides, none of the other girls could make the slam dunk either, she is the tallest in the group. But at the end of the tryouts all make the team with the exception of the girl who didn't even try and herself. And all who made the team had much higher jumps then hers even if they did miss the dunk.
The child cries into her father's arms. She doesn't understand why she didn't make the team, she is the tallest and at least practiced. Her father explains to her that her jumps have gotten weaker over the summer. He explains that even though she was dunking the ball, it was at a lower height then the standard. He goes on to tell her that she was actually jumping higher when the height was normal even though she would miss it. She was pushing herself harder and practicing harder. She complains that she didn't even make a single basket and he tells her that it is all because she lowered the net, she was practicing on a shorter net so when she tried to make a standard shot she couldn't. With tears in her eyes but understanding in her heart they leave.
It is the next school year. The child has the ball in her hand, she once again looks at her shoes. They are no longer shinny but instead are tattered and worn. Her knees have scars on them from falling multiple times on the hard ground. Her muscles are tighter in her legs and her abdomen. She looks at the net and runs towards it, she pushes off the ground as hard as she can, it is almost like she is flying, she stretches out her arm; if she can just reach a little further she will make it...
You get the kids buckled in the car and pull out. You need to get a couple errands done before heading home and the kids are hungry. You turn up the Christian music to keep that Holy Spirit High flowing through your veins as you wait at a red light. Suddenly the light turns green and the car in front doesn't go. You start honking the horn, he doesn't go. You start screaming which foot is the gas, he doesn't go. In fact by the time he does go he is the only one to make it through. Now you are livid! What an (not a Godly word) comes out of your mouth. The light turns green and you floor it cussing that driver the whole way to your first errand. Now if this is you there is no point in pointing out what your children are learning from that. Act like a Christian in church but the second you are on the outside emotions are the rulers of the day. In the back of your mind you remind yourself you are at least a better mom then Susie Q who smacked her son at the grocery store when he interrupted her to tell her he needed to go potty (which she didn't hear him even say because she went right back on talking).
This is NOT good mommies! We were given a standard to live by when God blessed us with out children. This standard can not be lowered because we see other mothers acting worse than us. No! This has to stop! Our children need us to live by the same standard they will one day be expected to live by, and their children after that and so on. This standard is not a fluctuating standard, it is a consistent standard. It is like a rock, unmoving. As mothers we must live by this standard alone and let all other standards fall by the waste side. So what is this standard we are to live by?
The standard every mother needs to live by is Jesus. Jesus is the 10' basketball hoop mommies and yet we keep lowering His standard. This has to stop. Nowhere in the bible does it say "you will not be able to reach Jesus' standard so just come to right here". See the problem with us lowering our standard is we start to get lazy, we stop striving to do better. If we keep making the slam dunk at 8' every time why try for 10' which seems impossible? But see, if we keep our standard at the 10' then we can keep trying every day to make that slam dunk. We will get stronger every time we strive for the 10' and then we will make it! Not every time, that is not possible for us for we are broken mothers. But it does mean we can make it some of the time. Every time we stand with Jesus and refrain from yelling at the driver in front of us we make the slam dunk. Every time we stand up for the unborn, loving our enemies, praying for our leaders, giving to those who have less then us, not judging the mistakes of people who just want healing, and the list goes on; then we make that slam dunk. It is time our children knew where we stood a Christians. It is time mothers for you to stand up and raise your standard back to that of Jesus. That is a GOD GIVEN RIGHT of yours, can you not see that? No other creature on earth can strive for Jesus' standard. You are a child of God, a princess to the King, it is your RIGHT to strive for this standard. So the next time the devil tries to lower that standard down to an easy 8' you yell as his deceitful face to get off your court and you keep that standard of 10' in Jesus name! Amen!
Mommies, there is something we need to talk about and it isn't the elephant in the room. It is the monster in the room. This monster is a nasty beast that seems righteous and justified to be in your home, but I can assure you he is the opposite.
Last night I allowed this monster back into our home. My husband and I were debating over something simple on the surface, but see this monster in the house is a burrower. And as we discussed the topic at hand this nasty creature began to claw at my mind. With long nails that hooked at the end, like a lizard, and scratched at the surface until at last it reached deep into my mind and squeezed, this monster took hold. And do not be fooled this monster has a companion with it that started to attack my husband.
As we were both trying to make our points heard I began to think about how I feel I am never right. I began to feel like my husband only wanted me to validate his decision and that is seemed that way all the time. I began going back through time and I couldn't remember the last time he told me in a "ah ha" moment that I was right. I began to get angry at him for never letting me be right (by the way this started over not agreeing if our daughter should read a book in bed before going to sleep). I began to hate him right then and there because he wouldn't consider that I was right. The monster began to sink deeper in my mind and take control over my emotions as he began salivating at the mouth, it dripping from his razor sharp teeth. The monster was getting stronger, the monster was enjoying these emotions, he was hungry for them. All the while is the loudest but nicest sounding voice. He remained persistent in telling me I was right and not to back down.
Now, I can't read my husband's mind or even begin to know 100% what is going on in his head. But my guess is that the monster's companion was all over my husband. With a tail like a scorpion it pierced my husband's mind. It began to fill his mind with the toxin of superiority. After all he was the man of the house and leader of the family. His monster filled his head with this toxin to the point he felt his head would burst. I'm sure my raised and high pitched voice that was growing louder by the moment was doing nothing to help. As things progressed the anger in him began to rise, his monster now had him distracted with his mind and with one bite hit his target... my husband's heart. Feeding off the love my husband had for me for its quick "high", my husband's eyes changed to a look of loathing and spitefulness. Yet this monster keeps telling him the same thing, "She needs to back down, she needs to chill out, she needs to listen and stop looking at me like I'm an idiot".
As the battle between my husband and I hit its climax and I said things (just as I'm sure you have too) that I regretted I remember thinking, "Why can't it just stop?" Now, don't get me wrong mommies, my husband has many qualities. He is loving father, he is a gentle husband when I am a loving bride, he is a hard worker and worrier that he never does enough for his family, he is handsome as all get out (yes, I may be biased, but he is). But, he struggles to back down from anything, including a disagreement. But I have a fault too; I know when something is a losing battle and then I want to stop the battle by walking away or shutting down and if I don't get my way WATCH OUT, because my temper is going to explode.
This may not be your case mommies, I'm sure for some of you it isn't. But this is something my husband and I do struggle with.
My husband last night wasn't the monster or monsters in the room. No, he was the man I vowed to love, respect and submit to. He was the man I said I would stand by and cherish even if we disagreed. Now, before I go on, my husband made similar vows. I am not saying he is excused from his behavior. But at the end of the day, when I stand before God (not my husband) he will ask me how did I love for Him. How did I honor my vows towards my husband. Anyway, back on topic. The enemy in the room was not my husband, it was the monsters in the room. See the elephant in the room is big but quiet, the monsters are small but very very loud. They are also very very good at their jobs.
Last night their jobs were simple. To break into our unguarded home and divide and destroy the home. I have no idea if our yelling woke the kids last night. I pray it didn't, but these monsters still succeeded in their task. My husband and I went to bed divided and destroyed. There is only one force on earth that wishes this, one monster that stands above the rest to accomplish what happened last night to the entire world. He is the one that hides in the shadows and wants to stay that way so you are blind to him and lash out to the loved one you can see. Satan was behind it all last night. Every last part of it. And the monsters? Well those were his minions, mine was superiority which used me to get to my emotions and blinded me to wisdom; my husband's was probably self-doubt which used him to get to his insecurities about being a father and blinded him to humility.
Mothers our children are watching us (again, really hoping last night they weren't). They are learning what a marriage should look like. Your daughters are learning how to treat their future husbands from you. Your sons are watching you to see if they want to be married to someone like you. I promise your husbands have the same burden to carry. As mothers all we can do is be a wife that our daughters want to become and that our husbands want to marry. It is hard to not let those monsters in our homes. It is hard to learn to stand down. It is hard to take the time to write a letter to your husband regarding the issue so that your emotions aren't attacked by the enemy. We have to learn to lead our emotions instead of letting them lead us. Because when I am standing in front of my Lord I yearn to hear him say, "Well done, you loved your husband well, you were as Jesus was to his church." but I digress, that post is for another time.
So love your husbands well mommies, your children are watching and so is your Lord. And for heaven sake be intentional to shut the spiritual doors of your homes to keep those cursed monsters out!
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. - Ephesians 6:12