You Think You’re Anxious?

August 9th, 2017

It’s back to school time and my calendar is already filling up with sub days. This morning I was thinking about all the sweet punkin’s heading back to routines, classrooms, early bedtimes, homework and even all the teen drivers. That’s what I do, I’m a mom and I mom up every situation. Even though all my darlin’s are out living big people life, the body has a hard time forgetting to be mom-like.

If I could wave a sign outside in my yard to all the cars going by with kids heading to school – I’d wish I could tell you a few very important things about the stress your kids experience after you peel out from the drop-off line. I know, I know…they’re kids. What in the heck kind of stress are they feeling? Well, that depends on the kid.

Just about every single kid experiences school anxiety. Trust me, it’s scary walking into school after being home and having the freedom to be themselves all summer long. Especially for the teen & pre-teen group. The pressure on them is enormous! They are in this constant battle with themselves and the world. Everywhere they look, expectations are staring them in the face. The amount of kids without cellphones right now is pretty minimal. So, imagine everything they see just on their phones all day and night.

If you didn’t know it, the world is pushy. The most easily influenced people of all society right now are teenagers. They are searching! They look for acceptance, they want to fit in and they are fighting their toughest battle with their crazy adolescent puberty infested bodies! Everything is racing at them at mock speed and then we send them off to school.

They are anxious and they aren’t always telling you that either.

The pressure to look a certain way, to have a particular type of clothing….to be from an important family, that stuff is STILL GOING ON IN SCHOOL! Just like when you were there! I swear it! I wouldn’t lie to you. Only now, it is magnified to a level you cannot even imagine!

Your kid is growing up in a society where a teen girl can sell out of a lip plumping product on Home Shopping Network in record time just because of the family she was born into. They see how the world swoons over the successes of young kids like Kylie and they long to be loved like that. I read a head-line yesterday of the lip plumper reality starlette admitting how guilty she feels that she doesn’t drive her Lamborghini enough.

Your kids wants to borrow your car. Pressure. [feel the feels MOM]

Now don’t get me wrong. Kids have to do a particular amount of struggling to get to the kind of person they eventually need to be. Do not run in and rescue your kids like the helicopter mom I was. Step back, think about your next move but whatever it is MAKE SURE YOU ARE A SAFE PLACE FOR YOUR KIDS!!!

My mom days are much different these days. I sit around wishing one would call or text me (they don’t!). I don’t have to blow my cash on school clothes or fight with some outlandish little skinny twerp in the middle of TJ MAXX over an outfit. I’m free. Man, I miss them! 😉

Just remember to love on and pray for your kid. Pay attention to the signs of worry or anxiety. Spend some time talking with them and really LISTEN. Ask them how you can help when things are getting too much for them. Don’t barge in, but ask what they need from you most. The truth is, they are scared. They’re afraid people won’t like them, they have just enough awkwardness to them to feel like they are freaks. You play a huge role in escorting them on into the real world.

They need you. They may not act like it, but they do. And they want you to place boundaries on them. DO IT! (You can thank me later!)

Oh and when I flip my sign over as you drive by….it will say —>

I’M NOT JEALOUS OF YOU, MOM & DAD!
These are the hardest days of your ever-lovin’ life!
BE STRONG!

Best Summer Ever

August 7th, 2017

Today is the official last day of summer break. It’s time to put the swimsuits back in the drawer and to clear my “hanging out schedule” for more serious things like going back to school.

I’ve had a great summer! I can’t remember having a summer this good in a long time. Maybe it’s just an attitude or perspective thing. Either way, I’m diggin’ it!

It’s been a time of growth and change. I think I might be getting the hang of it. Why it’s taken me so long to accept, I don’t know. I’m just grateful to have gotten there.

During this summer, God has done some great things in my life. I never doubted Him, but…. I admit, I have put Him in a box a time or two – constricting His full power over me and all that He wants to do for me. Did you know you can hinder your faith that way?

Don’t misunderstand, God is all-powerful! I can’t stop Him or His goodness, ever. However, I can surely wreck my belief in His power with my DOUBT. I’ve gotten so low before that I’ve thought, “God cannot fix this!”. Or even felt like it was so hopeless that I should just give up and let go!

In all my struggles, I’ve never turned away from God or cursed Him but I’ve fallen so deep into a hole of fear that I’ve literally hindered everything that I know is true and right in my faith.

Ever been there, done that? It’s harsh!

Not this summer. Not the summer that my hubby was over 10 months into an unemployment. Nope. God had all sorts of other plans for me. He does for you too, if you’re willing to go for it.

Every morning, the entire summer….I got up early and went outside with my Bible and journal. Not meaning to, but…. I sat alone with God for hours at a time. I read scripture, I prayed, I sang, I let my mind wander….I got quiet and listened. I stopped letting the world push me around and God had so many sweet lessons for me.

I feel so good about my future.

I have no idea what’s going to happen. I don’t know that I even care to know. I just believe that God is there and He has a perfect plan. I don’t have to know everything.

Trusting God with every little detail isn’t for the faint of heart, I’ll tell ya. I have wasted so many stomach aches and headaches worrying about my life and the lives of the people I love most.

Spending the summer digging into God’s Word has worked like a healing balm for me. I am so thankful for the free time to let God work in my mind & heart. The only negative I’ve felt about school beginning is that my morning routine will have to change and I’m not ready to give up my QUIET TIME with God.

So, I’m going to have to revamp!

After all the messages, the hints…everything over the last year. I know that God wanted ME to really stop and spend time with Him. Because of that, I’ve had the best summer ever!

Wanna see God work in your life? Spend time with Him. Read your Bible. Pray. Listen. Trust. Then, look out!

Be Picky

August 2nd, 2017

Maybe you need to hear this today. You don’t have to have everything your way. You can bend and give when it feels a little uncomfortable without ditching all your own great qualities. You can be a great friend without ever losing the real you!

Be picky.

Don’t sell your own soul for a relationship with someone who doesn’t love like you do. Better than that, if you love THE LORD JESUS CHRIST….do not allow someone who doesn’t infiltrate your heart and all that you believe as Truth. You do not have to conform to anyone but God. (Romans 12)

Relationships can either break us or make us. Learn which is which in your life.

Learn how to walk away!

PIECES

July 31st, 2017

I think we learn at an early age how to navigate relationships in the most manipulative of ways just by the reactions of those around us. Think of the baby learning to smile and laugh, mommy makes faces or tickles and baby feels her joy and responds back with giggles and toothless smiles. Or the sneaky toddler touching the fancy shmoo-shmoo on the coffee table, he looks at mama…waits a second to see if she’s going to stop him and when she doesn’t he launches into a full-on grab of the forbidden item. Manipulation at it’s early stages. As we grow, our behavior does too. We learn to compartmentalize feelings, emotions and actions.

Our “training” doesn’t help us when it comes to feeling accepted or loved by God. We tend to feel useless or unlovable based on our earthly understanding of what is good and bad. Don’t misunderstand, sin is bad. Sinful lifestyles separate us from God. Repentance brings us back to Him and offers us a whole new chance. God doesn’t NOT LOVE US and then LOVE US based on anything that we do or don’t do (except acknowledging Him as Savior and Lord) – we are His children once we accept Him as Lord and He does not play games with His children.

Don’t you wish people were like that?

We tend to toy with people and relationships. God never does that. He just loves us, cares for us and promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us. He’s never coy or distant. He doesn’t get a thrill out of punishing us or withholding something we need from Him. We do that all the time with people. We get mad, hold grudges and we even act out cruelly to others.

I’m so glad God never acts like me.

Yesterday, the message at church was powerful. It forced me to look inward at my heart and the way I feel about loving others. Like most people, I love with conditions. Do you love me? Okay, I love you back! You mistreat me? I avoid you and treat you with disdain too! Perhaps those are protective conditions. I’m just trying to cover myself from pain or unkindness.

God isn’t into that. He doesn’t love in pieces. He doesn’t love under any conditions. He loves fully, without a care of His own treatment. Obviously, as a Christian I’ve lived like heck and still God held onto me as if I were His only child. Undeserved. Unearned. Unbelievable.

I’m convicted to change the way I love others.

My flesh is weak and wormy. Why? Because when it gets ugly in life I tend to turn bitter and resentful. When my hubby lost his job (oh ya, that.) I immediately felt all the anger and resentment a person could hold in one body towards anyone who had anything to do with destroying our livelihood. I was and still do feel so hurt that my insides twist up in knots threatening to send me to bed for days. Not good. Not at all like Christ wants for me.

If I’ve learned anything about God…..it’s that HE HAS ALL AUTHORITY AND POWER OVER ME AND MY CIRCUMSTANCES.

No one, even someone who means you harm has full authority over you. You can bank on that. God is all-consuming and He will cover (His child) and protect you from anything that isn’t from Him.

I don’t have to dwell on resentment or feel jilted by someone who doesn’t see life as I do – I can love and trust God to do whatever it is to make it right. He might do that now or even after I’m long gone. Whichever, I trust Him.

He doesn’t love in pieces and I don’t want to either.

R E J E C T I O N

July 21st, 2017

I woke up this morning feeling like garbage! I felt grumpy, head-achey just all around miserable! I didn’t notice just how crummy I was feeling until I got ticked at my cup of coffee before I’d even had a sip. Don’t ask.

I’ve had an issue rolling around inside my head & heart for the last few days. Waking up this morning was like the eruption of all the feels! I’ve prayed over it. I’ve talked about it with my hubby. I’ve pondered it in my thoughts. I’ve laid it down and then picked it up again. This morning, God said, “Let’s get this done with!”.

So, here I am. Pouring out my thoughts on rejection. Don’t misunderstand, I’m no expert on Biblical understanding of how other people love or don’t love. All I can do is share what God has told me through scripture and prayer. I’m all wrecked and flawed like everyone else. I’m trying to live as a blank slate every single day! I get up & look for God to use me, fill me and make me more like Him because, friends, I ain’t no good as is!

I NEED JESUS!

God is a slick operator (I mean, hey…HE’S GOD!!! Duh), my morning devotion was on rejection straight up in my face! The writer told a story about a time a really close friend dissed her in a big way for what felt like no reason at all. She was so hurt that she acted out in her flesh and sought out some sort of retaliation against her “friend”. She felt all the hurt feelings and thought all the negative thoughts that most of us tend to feel when we’re in such a situation. Rejection hurts. It crushes us and wounds us and our natural reaction is to fire back. To make the offender feel like they’ve made us feel.

God goes about dealing with rejection in the absolute opposite way. (Of course HE does) He says, “Do not judge and you will not be judged!” Ouch! Also, “Do not condemn and you will not be condemned!” Oh Lord, come on! Here’s the big one, “Forgive and you will be forgiven!” Yikes! I’m being measured just like everyone else and I know better than to be vengeful or mean-spirited to others. God has a better way. He’s offering me the choice to love like HIM.

READ LUKE 6:37-42

Funny how far off the path we can get when we act out or feel life’s struggles in our own fleshly way. I do not have to worry about anyone who doesn’t want to be my friend or whether they like me, accept me or ever speak to me again. My role isn’t to chase people down and force them to care about me. My role is to be a loving person to them no matter how they treat me. If they insult me or ignore me, love them anyway. I’m no better than they are and God will bless me for my obedience to Him.

I answer to God, not others.

The greatest thing I can do for me and for them is to pray for them. Genuinely seek God in blessing their lives and for opportunities to be a Christ-like friend whenever I have the chance. Rejection isn’t fatal. Sometimes it’s a painful way of learning to look to Jesus for acceptance in a world heck bent on spitting in the face of God. My little hurt feelings are nothing compared with the rejection my Lord has suffered. Seriously, He never did anything rude or ugly to anyone (I can’t claim that) yet He suffered the worst kind of rejection.

I’ll end with this, remember how jealous and cruel Joseph’s brothers were to him? They really disliked their little brother, enough so that they threw him in a hole to get rid of him forever! Joseph didn’t die there but he struggled through some rough treatment before his most important role. When he finally came face-to-face with those same mean brothers they were shakin in their sandals for the way they treated him. Joseph had every right to lash out and to destroy them for their sin against him…but, he didn’t dare. He lovingly told them, it’s okay. What you meant as harm for me…GOD HAS USED IT FOR GOOD!

Whatever someone is doing to you or has done to you — don’t let it consume you or wreck your heart. Trust God that He is going to use it for good. Maybe not right now, could be for a far off time but trust Him that He will make it right. Love & be loved. Be a friend, turn the cheek and remember rejection isn’t about you it’s about them.

While I Wait

July 20th, 2017

Have you ever had to wait on something? Of course you have. Everyone’s eaten out in a restaurant or sat in a drive-thru waiting on food or drinks. Waiting can be frustrating! It can push you to lose your cool or to act out. For some, waiting isn’t a big deal. For other’s, it’s stressful.

If you’re waiting on important test results or a job opening…waiting can be overwhelming and painful. It can set you back and rob you of your peace. My own experience with waiting has been a wild ride of emotions. No way would I have believed anyone if they’d told me last year that I’d be stuck in the longest season of waiting of my life this year. I might have smirked a laugh or even shook my head in disbelief. Yet, here I am…. 314 days into a waiting that has beaten me silly and refined me into a whole different person.

Waiting can be useful. It’s not all bad. There can be a lot accomplished in a season of waiting. However, waiting can feel so useless too. Our minds are almost programmed to be productive and that just doesn’t seem to go with waiting. Have you tried sitting still doing nothing for long periods of time? It’s maddening. That’s what waiting can feel like to someone wanting to get out there and DO SOMETHING amazing!

Something I’ve learned in my waiting is that God absolutely has a different time frame than me. His timing is not the same as mine. I’m a “let’s do this” kind of person and God is…well, HE’s GOD – He doesn’t answer to moi! HE CAN DO WHATEVER HE WANTS and I have learned to stop pushing and expecting my desires to happen WHEN I WANT and to trust HIM to do even better on His time schedule.

Talk about building up your faith muscles. Yowza!

Also, waiting fine tunes character. Let me tell you, I’ve wanted to go crazy and roll around on the ground out of sheer frustration. Waiting can make you lose your dang mind! Especially if you see others moving forward fast and easy with a blessed life. Waiting can feel like a punch in the nose! Staying close to God through scripture and prayer has shown me some very valuable insight – God is way more concerned with my character than He is with my hubby’s employment. Oh, I believe He understands the importance of jobs & paying bills…but all that’s going to go away someday. There’s no mortgage payment in heaven. My soul needs Jesus, my earthly body needs money to live.

I can wait on God. He has a perfect plan. He will do exactly what I need and do it precisely when I need it most. Trusting Him has been my only choice, believing Him has been my source of survival.

I’m a living testimony that God can and will do abundantly more than we ever deserve.

What are you waiting on right now in your life that’s weighing you down?

How can you stretch your faith muscles and push on in spite of grim possibilities?

Start by thanking God for every. single. thing. in your life. Open your Bible and read His Word every day. Soon you’ll find your heart softening and your worries slipping into a hole that after a while, you’ll kick dirt over and walk away from. Use your time of waiting to build your relationship with Christ and those around you who need you most.

Don’t let waiting make you disillusioned with God’s goodness. He is always working and He is always blessing. Don’t miss it during the wait.