Letting Go

Letting go of the life we always wanted. Letting go of the people we love. Letting go of expectations or desires. It’s one of the hardest things to go through.

My first child is going to kindergarten today.

This struggle is different than others. It’s not caused by anxiety of the unknown – as many struggles are, but rather the heartbreak of losing my child little-by-little. A part of my heart will be walking around at school.

Continue reading “Letting Go”

This Thing Called Life

I have been trying so hard to understand this thing called Life, but my focus should be on the One who created life. After all, how can I expect peace and joy (oh, how I long for peace and joy!) and spiritual growth without seeking Him first?

For so long I’ve been completely unsure what to think or what to do, mainly for myself and my son. My husband and I struggled (still do!) to handle our out-of-control son. This has been from the time he was a toddler. To us (and others I’m sure), it looks simply like disobedience. Years of this! I avoided (still do!) going places because I wasn’t sure how reactive he’d be and I wasn’t sure how to handle it if he was. Often, we would leave a place as soon as we arrived because I was either already in tears or nearly there. But as the years unfolded and new struggles immerged – ones apart from merely behavior, I began to realize there was way more to it. (Also, he has been receiving therapy for a speech delay for over two years.) When I reflected back, I realized he always struggled, even from the day he was born. Recently, I began to suspect ADHD and a few weeks ago he was finally diagnosed.

Meanwhile, I struggled with intense emotions. For years, really. I equated it to my back-to-back pregnancies (three boys in three years). The anger, the constant Continue reading “This Thing Called Life”

Is God Black and White?

We want life to be in black and white. If I do this, I get this result. When I have this problem, I can fix it with this. And if I do this it will work the same every time.

But there are complexities and uncertainties in life. There are situations when there is no easy or clear-cut answer. Most of life is gray, in fact.

Google dictionary defines gray area as “an ill-defined situation or field not readily conforming to a category or to an existing set of rules.” The gray defies the odds, confuses our concrete brains, smudges the lines of black and white, chases us from certainty into uncertainty and order into chaos.

If life is not always black and white, is God? Continue reading “Is God Black and White?”

Because Of – So That

Many years ago I sat in my lonely apartment in the lowest point in my life. It was the furthest I ever ran from God, I was heavily medicated for chronic pain, I barely had two pennies to rub together and I was living a life in sin. I had lost all hope. The only person I could see was me and the only problems that existed were mine.

How did I get here? What did I do wrong? I pleaded with God. You must just hate me. You just want to punish me.

More than once my dad discipled me over the phone. In so many words, he’d tell me to get over myself and stop the pity party. Of course, he was more gentle and loving, but it pierced my heart nonetheless. It was apparent I needed to stop dwelling inwardly and start reaching out.

He was right. I could not expect to see anything or anyone else if I was only looking at me. I needed to lift my eyes.

Psalm 121:1-3
I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

When troubles, trials and pain overwhelm our lives, we tend to hurdle into self-blame bitterness. Because of me these trials have come, because of my sins, because of my lack of faith in God, because of my selfishness, because of my weaknesses and failures.

When a loved one is ripped from us we suppose God took them because of our lack of appreciation of our dear one,  or perhaps our own disobedience or lack of faith. When we lose a job we suppose God took it because of our ungratefulness or reckless finances. When we receive a chronic or incurable report at the doctors, we suppose God gave the illness because of our carelessness toward our health. When we fail to conceive a child, we assume it’s because of our unlikelihood to be good parents. When day after day we’re stuck in a meaningless job or a difficult living situation we assume it’s because of our worthless identity. When things don’t go our way we suppose God just doesn’t love us enough.

But we need to start changing our “because of” perspective to a “so that”. So that through these difficult circumstances, hardships, and heartbreaks, we depend not on ourselves (and our vast inabilities and inconsistencies), but solely on God, who is all we need.

The tragedies and hardships aren’t necessarily because of us, but God allows them so that He can use them in our lives; so that we will trust Him in a deeper and more meaningful way, so that others may see Christ in us, so that we can minister and support another in their hardship.

A because of mindset indicates an inward view. We are looking within for cause, purpose or excuse. But a so that mindset requires an outward, heavenly view; to look to God – the Creator of the universe, the One who makes the impossible possible, whom works and wills His perfect plan. We have each been given our own specific and one-size-does-not-fit-all set of trials. The exact ones which would bring about His perfect plan for our lives, bring us closer to Him, allow us to reach others for Christ and bring Him all the glory and honor.

God has His best interests in mind, not ours. And what He deems best is what’s best for us. It may not create circumstantial happiness, but it creates holiness and eternal joy.

James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9
For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Think Before You Judge

Going anywhere with three boys aged between two and five years old is rarely simple or quick. In fact, some days if I’m not in the frame of mind to handle the challenge we simply stay home.

This morning, with no advanced warning, I ask the boys to get their shoes on. They eagerly obliged, which is normally their reaction. I had some errands to run, so not feeling up to the task was not an option.

At Walmart – as I routinely stroll with two carts through the store, pushing one and pulling the other behind – several people made comments. One remarked, “You won’t see men doing that!” Though I’m sure there have been plenty of fathers who have trudged through a store with an engine-caboose-cart-train hauling three boys. Another sought me out to comment that he just “had no words.” “I have so much respect for you.” Another woman commented, as I turned the corner with ease, “You are super-mom.” And she quickly added, “They are so well-behaved.” “Why do you think they are in the cart?” I replied with a sly smile.

It would seem easy to take these comments conceitedly, but I know the truth lurking behind our facade as we seem to perfectly and smoothly stroll through Walmart. No, they were taken as encouragement for this struggling mom. Most days I struggle. I struggle in the home; I struggle taking the boys out. This is not a plea for pity and it’s not because there aren’t any good moments or that I regret having them so closely aged (though God had more to do with that than us). But it is a continual struggle to keep a good attitude and patiently guide them, whether we’re in the boundaries of our home or out amongst the public eye.

I just pulled all three boys out of the carts right inside the exit and ask them to wait as I put the carts back. I turned around to grab the two hands which were beside me as my two-year-old took off out the door, running across the pedestrian walk. I yelled “Stop!” A horn honked. I immediately was upset. He did not have to slam his brakes; he had plenty of time to stop. I called out, “Why are you honking? You are supposed to stop for people crossing.” Continue reading “Think Before You Judge”