Afraid Of My Children… Part One

Recently as God was dealing with me in the area of fear, He began to reveal specific fears I had.  I knew I was a fearful person in many ways.  It started when I was quite young.

As a child, I can remember hiding behind my mother when meeting strangers.

I remember crying when I had to get my first job.  I know, sounds silly.

There is nothing silly about fear though. 

Fear is very real and very powerful in the way it affects our lives.  It can cripple our living and hold us hostage to its impact.

I struggled with fears about storms, loved ones dying, disease, financial ruin, growing old, you name it…

One of the fears that I began to recognize I had and that God wanted to help me overcome was the fear of my children.

Yes, I was afraid of my children.

My guess is that I am not the only parent who struggles with this, and that’s why I am writing this blog…

It began soon after my first child was born.  All of a sudden, the reality of life “hit me in the face” when I had a newborn who began to display a temper soon after birth.  He was not happy when he had to wait for my milk to “let down” in order to guzzle his dinner as quickly as he wanted.  I quickly learned tricks to settle him down so he could nurse, but I had already begun to feel like motherhood was not so easily controlled as I had envisioned. 

That lack of control was not only something I feared, but my “need” for control was also indicative of a fear problem.

Becoming a mother personally was a bit of a rude awakening.  I had held this “Cinderella” view of motherhood, and the reality just wasn’t like the fairy tale dreams.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a mother and I loved my son, but parenting was so much harder than it looked watching everyone else raise their children.

Then came the birth of my second child.  I had two little ones, born 16 1/2 months apart, and they both were so needy.  I was exhausted, was suffering from undiagnosed and untreated hypothyroidism (for the first several months), and began to feel incapable of being a “good” mommy to these two little boys.

Fast forward a few more years and a few more kids.  The challenges kept increasing.  I would seem to figure out a new technique for each new challenge, and then a new one would present itself.

With some challenges, it didn’t seem to matter how many techniques and methods and principles and advice I heard and read.  The challenges didn’t seem to diminish or even to be improved effectively.

I became weary of bad or ineffective advice.  I became weary of my own inconsistent and/or wrong application of good advice.  Each new thing I heard seemed to be another “nail in my coffin” when it came to my role as a mom.
I felt like one big “failure.”  I also began to fear my children.

You fear what you can’t control, and you try to control what you fear.  Vicious cycle!

There are a lot of you reading this who think that you have never “feared” your children.

Fear though manifests itself in different ways.

  • For some, fear takes the role of victim.  The victim feels hopeless and helpless and unable to ever succeed.
  • For some, fear takes the role of critic.  As the book, Freedom From Fear, says, “The Critic never feels good about himself or what he has done.  He is discouraged and defeated even before… [the fear] hits.”
  • For some, fear takes the role of the perfectionist.  As the book, Freedom From Fear, says, “They never have any peace of mind because they can never achieve perfection.  Their overwhelming need to accomplish more and more makes them driven, stressed, irritable. … they can’t stand to fail, especially in public.”

Fear of your children manifests itself in two very different ways:

  • You either give up, and your children dominate you. Children in this type of home are rebellious, disobedient, lack self-control, and are privately insecure.  The victim mindset and the critic mindset can fit within this category.
  • Or, your fear causes you to have unhealthy control over your children, and you dominate them.  Your children will be very “controlled,” but the control isn’t healthy.  It’s fear-based, manipulative, and will produce either rebellion or unhealthy dependence in your children.  Your children will “appear” very obedient, but the reality is they have never been given the freedom to think their own thoughts and to determine their own convictions.  You have determined them all for them.  The perfectionist mindset fits in this category.

The root of both manifestations is the same motivation: fear.

It was recently said to me that wise parenting teaches children how to be good stewards of their freedom.

This means giving your children freedom and understanding that we must want our children to live freely the plan that God has for their lives — not that we have for their lives.  It means giving our children the tools to wisely steward this freedom so that they can truly be and live the freedom God intended them to have!

My next blog post will address what the solutions are for finally overcoming this fear and finding freedom from it.  Stay tuned.

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Olivia, I Noticed…

KnightFamilyShoot(62of180)(Picture taken by Laura Patrick Photography.)

Dear Olivia,

I noticed the first time I held you and marveled that I had a daughter!!!  That was so surprising after having three sons.  I had to change your diaper extra times, just to make sure you were “still” a girl.

I noticed what a beautiful little girl you were, even as an infant.

I noticed how in awe your “big” brothers were of you.

I noticed how you love princesses, dresses, fancy shoes, and jewelry but also love to collect bugs with your brothers.

I noticed how you love to try on my shoes and parade across the bedroom in them.

I noticed how delighted you were to wear my necklace to preschool one day.

I noticed how you are not afraid to jump on top of a pile of wrestling brothers.

I noticed how you love to pick dandelions and to hand them to me to put in a vase.

I noticed how you love when Daddy takes you on dates.

I noticed how you loved when I painted your nails for the first time.

I noticed how you lovingly say, “my boys.”

I noticed how protective and nurturing you are of your little brother.

I noticed how independent and yet sensitive you are.

I noticed how you love Jesus and talk about Him.

I noticed how spiritually-sensitive and aware you are.

I noticed how you love to help me cook and clean.

I noticed how you love to have me rock you and how perfectly you fit on my lap still.

I noticed how tall you are getting and how I want to treasure these moments as much as possible.

I noticed how accomplished you are at helping me put together puzzles and how you won “Candyland” and “Chutes and Ladders” when we played last.

I noticed how your preschool teacher said you would be a great mother because you were protective and nurturing of everyone in your class.

I noticed how your preschool teacher said that when you grow up, you want to be a princess and marry the king — not just the prince.

I noticed how you have a great sense of fashion and color-coordination.

I noticed how you are quick to apologize when you do wrong and to give hugs.

Precious daughter, I treasure these times when I can watch you enjoy the sweetness of princesses, dolls, and tumbling with your brothers.  I love the fact that you are my daughter — in all of your femininity and strength!  I love your courage and your kindness!  You are and always will be, a princess to Daddy and me!  I love you.

W-2, I Noticed…

Dear Son,

I noticed the first time I “fell in love” with you.  It was the day you were born, and the first time I held you in my arms.

I noticed what a contented baby you were and so calm.

I noticed how you loved people and began to “knowingly” smile at people at only two weeks old.

I noticed how you loved to laugh and to make others laugh at a very young age.

I noticed your long eyelashes and knew you were going to be a “heart-stopper.”

I noticed your determination to finally conquer the skill of walking, after months of challenges.

I noticed how you love our neighbor’s dog that is three-times-your-size and how he loves you.

I noticed how you have a great imagination and love to make your animals kiss each other and talk to each other.

I noticed how affectionate you are with your kisses.

I noticed how you love to greet strangers and to make them smile.

I noticed how you brought tears to a young man’s eyes due to your friendly greeting.

I noticed how you like to help clean up your toys and then dump them out again.

I noticed how you have learned to sit at the top of the stairs and wait for someone to get you.

I noticed how you have a quick temper but also an eager willingness to love people.

I noticed how loved you are by everyone in this family, and how they all love to play with you and to hold you.

I noticed how you love to look at books.

I noticed how you absolutely love music, to dance to it, and have great rhythm.

I noticed how you call me, “Momma,” and I absolutely love it!

I noticed the time you sang to me, “I love you,” and it melted my heart.

Son, I noticed that you were an unexpected but absolutely wonderful blessing from God, for which I am completely and unashamedly thankful!

I love you.

L-Son, I Noticed…

 

Dear L-Son,

I noticed all of the times you would pick dandelions and other flowers and give them to your sister or myself.

I noticed the times you shared your only gift cards to buy me a special treat.

I noticed all the times you made special bracelets and gave them away.

I noticed the times you defended the “under-dog” and comforted the hurting.

I noticed how you play with your younger siblings and share your special toys with them.

I noticed how athletic you are and how you won the first place award for top boy athlete in your class of 21 students.

I noticed how passionate you are about life and how you put your whole heart into whatever you do.

I noticed how you wanted to be baptized, along with your brothers, last Sunday.

I noticed how you love to read books and read well.

I noticed how willing you are to work hard to help others, including moving in new neighbors and shoveling the neighbors’ sidewalks.

I noticed how you looked out for your great grandmother and held the door for her and made sure she was okay getting in and out of the car.

I noticed how you love to fix your sister’s hair and love to see her wear pretty things.

I noticed how you love people and make friends easily.

I noticed how you love back-rubs and talking time.

I noticed how give great hugs and sloppy kisses.

I noticed how you get scared easily but will courageously stand up for someone in need.

I noticed how spiritually-sensitive and aware you are.

I noticed the time when you had been hurt by someone, and I encouraged you to picture putting all the hurts in a garbage bag and then handing them to Jesus.  I noticed how I asked you then what that made you, and you said “free!”

I noticed the time you were so upset because of forgetfulness on your part and as a result, your little brother had gotten hurt.  I noticed how when I asked you why you wouldn’t let me comfort you and what the lie was you were believing, you said, “That I am not to accept love… because I didn’t deserve it.”

I noticed how much better you seemed after I explained to you that was a lie and told you the truth: that you are forgiven, precious, and loved by God.

I noticed that you are an excellent student and received the highest award for top grades.

Son, I noticed that you are sensitive, caring, a fighter for good causes, enthusiastic, energetic, and affectionate.

Son, most of all, I noticed how thankful I am that you are my son — my sweet “light-bringer.”  I love you!

I’m Sorry, Kids

To the precious five little people in my life,

I’m sorry, kids, for those times when I raised my voice and taught you that dirt and spilled milk was more important then showing you what grace and patience looks like.

I’m sorry, kids, for those times when I insisted that sitting perfectly still in church was more important than helping you to see that worshiping God is not for perfect people but for the redeemed.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when I didn’t demonstrate that it is possible to disagree with Daddy and still be completely respectful at the same time.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when I was more intentional with pursuing my own goals and worth then in listening to your own dreams and building your own sense of worth.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when I “cheated” you out of opportunities to see how great our God is by spending more time in the mediocre then in fellowshiping with our God.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when my words criticized and blamed you rather than showing you that the message of the Gospel is grace.  It’s grace in the home.  It’s grace in our words.  It’s grace in our actions. 

I’m sorry, kids, for times when instead of praising you for all the effort you did, I pressured you to keep performing better.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when I didn’t see past your anger to understand the thin guise it was for covering hurts and fears.

I’m sorry, kids, for the many times when I didn’t have the right answer, didn’t have enough strength and accepted defeat instead of teaching you that God is always enough.

I’m sorry, kids, I wasn’t the perfect mom.  Yet, maybe that will help you to understand that you don’t have to be the “perfect” kid to be used by God and loved by God.

God did give me, you kids, to raise.  He knew that I would learn through, you kids, what grace really looks like.  Grace is when I recognize the greatness of my God to be more than sufficient to help me raise you guys.

Grace is when I say I am sorry and mean it.

Grace is when I understand that God doesn’t call “perfect” people to be parents.  He calls redeemed people to remember that it’s only grace that brought us and only grace that will keep us.

Kids, I am not sorry that I have taught you that we have a God who is so much greater than us!

We have a God Who loves you perfectly and delights in you!  We have a God who will be faithful to keep you.  We have a God who has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you — to give you a hope and a future.”

So, kids, there is nothing I want to leave with you more than for you to know, really believe, how much God loves you and that it’s His grace that will keep you.

Blessings or Blesser?

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There was a time that I was unable to blog, as I mentioned in the blog: https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/still-alive-living-abundantly.

At first, I was annoyed, then disappointed, then resigned, then accepting.  I realized that when God takes something away, it’s always for a reason.

I realized the reason why I was so sad.  I recognized that I was still trying to find my worth by “being somebody.”  I was still trying to prove that I mattered — mattered because of what I did.  I longed for people’s affirmation.

I was not living in my “identity” as His daughter — completely at rest in the all-encompassing, unconditional love of my Heavenly Father.  (See my testimony regarding this: https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/the-second-part-of-my-testimony-the-second-most-incredible-experience-of-my-life.)

God took away something that had become an idol in my life.  Such is anything we pursue in order to find a sense of belonging and worth that is outside of God.

As a girl and young woman, my idol was getting married to a man who would make me feel like the most incredible gift ever.  I actually did marry a man who did that as much as any human can do.

But, you can suck a person and a relationship dry if you seek to pull from it what only God can give.

As a new mother, I hoped to get that sense of worth by being a godly mother.  I couldn’t wait to practice all of my teaching and ministry skills on my own kids.  Somehow, I had this “Cinderella” idea that I could make my kids into perfect little “robots” of perfection.  Silly, right?

When you idolize your kids, you tend to create unhealthy “soul ties” (heart connections) of co-dependency and attempt to control and unconsciously prevent your children from “flying” independently.  The opposite is also true, you resent and “reject” your kids because they become “symbols of your failure.” 

I struggled with resenting my kids at times because they had a way of demonstrating their worst moments in front of people.  Some of these people made me feel even more like a failure.  I responded to my own personal feelings of failure and to the outside negativity by exerting even more pressure on my kids to be little models of perfection.  It was a set-up for failure.

Poor little people!  I was expecting them to do the impossible, and I was perpetuating the lies of performance-based worth.

I love what the book, Glimpses of Grace, by Gloria Furman says about this.  She says:

When we immortalize the material and elevate it to the highest good, we set up idols to worship and pay homage to.  This can happen when we attach our reason for being to our current role in life — even roles like being a mother or housewife.

Do you serve your image of a good mother?

…When we’re tempted to either despise our everyday lives or worship our everyday lives, we need to remember what Paul said in Romans 12:1-2…”

God does want us to serve with gladness.  He wants us to enjoy the gifts He has given us: marriage, children, homes, talents, strengths, clothing, food, friends… They are all good gifts, for which we can and should be thankful.

Our worth and God’s love though is completely independent from our performance, possessions, and abilities. 

I like what Glimpses of Grace says in relationship to service within the home:

 “Living your everyday life for God’s sake is spiritual worship. …Seeing the brilliance of the cross and embracing its message are at the core of how God wants to work in our mundane to bring glory to Himself.

…When we are engaged in seeing and savoring the beauty of Jesus, the vain things that charm us most fade away into the distance.”

How do we keep from idolizing the blessings/the gifts from superseding the Blesser in our life?

Glimpses of Grace says,

“…when we say the ‘gift of God’, we are actually saying the gift is God Himself.  God is good.  And He said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name The Lord’He is the ultimate Good.

…rejoicing in the Lord’s faithfulness to His name.”

Let’s not forget that as wonderful as our blessings are, they are merely a “star” in the vast “universe” of Who God is!

It will take an eternity to be able to receive all the overflowing abundant goodness of His love towards us and of Who He is!

Finding Unconditional Love And Acceptance

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It has been taught by some of the greatest minds in counseling that the three greatest needs that humans have are to be accepted/loved, to belong, and to feel safe.

As infants, we enter this world seeking to have these needs met.

The struggle to meet these in-bred needs manifests itself in cries for attention and in beautiful smiles when attention is given.

Business journals and articles recognize this need and how it impacts the working environment.  (See attached link from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2013/03/13/the-3-things-all-humans-crave-and-how-to-motivate-anyone-anytime-anywhere.)

Even within loving families, we can still struggle to find our own sense of purpose and destiny, to feel loved no matter what we do and who we are.

So much of life is spent searching for this feeling of complete and utter acceptance — to be completely accepted and loved just the way we are — for who we are, where we are, what we are.

When we haven’t experienced this kind of love, we will be endlessly trying to please others.

We will base our feelings of worth on how successful we are in business, finance, relationships, physical attractiveness, religious activities, moral “standing”, and educational achievements.

Our calendars will be indicative of this need to prove ourselves by a ridiculously overloaded schedule that leaves us and our families exhausted, frazzled, and certainly not “abiding” in the Lord.  (See my earlier blog: https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/being-or-doing.)

We will be known by close acquaintances for our inability to relax and rest.  We will forever be doing — always seeking for something…  We will struggle to fully understand our own calling/destiny.

The struggle comes when we look in the wrong places.

After encountering much hurt in our attempts to find this acceptance in the wrong places, it is easy to become afraid to reach out any more towards experiencing true love.  We begin to build “walls” around our hearts to keep ourselves “protected” from those and that which could hurt us more.

What we don’t know is that we have only “walled” ourselves within our selves, and the only thing we have left is our own abilities to cope.  Then enter tragedies, the challenges of life, imperfect people who are insensitive, false representations of God, religious abuse, and suffering.  We begin to crumble.  Outwardly, we may put on “happy faces.”  We may even strive harder to out-perform, out-serve, out-maneuver everyone around us.  We will even say all the right words because our “worth is based on how others perceive us, including fellow “Christians”.  We can live a very “godly” life, doing all the right things.  We can even think the right things and therefore think we believe the right things.

What we believe though is always what we live.

If we are still struggling, still anxious, still concerned more about pleasing others than about resting in God, still devastated when others reject us or think we are less-than-perfect, then we haven’t yet experienced what it means to truly be loved, accepted, and walking in our life purpose.

This does not mean we aren’t truly being loved.  It means that we aren’t personally experiencing it.  Perhaps, because we aren’t allowing ourselves to because we are afraid to entrust our hearts to anyone, including God.

Perhaps a painful situation from the past, left us feeling (in our heart of hearts) that God really wasn’t there for us, really isn’t a good God.

You can say that God is a good God, but do you really accept it?  Do you live it?

When we decide that God is not a good God, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to see how He will transform even life’s worst circumstances into something beautiful.  

Diamonds are formed from extreme heat and pressure.  It is through this process of “suffering” that a diamond is transformed into something beautiful.

Gold is also purified by heating it so that the impurities are burned away.

The process is never easy, but the outcome is always far surpassing in beauty and magnificence.

When we surrender ourselves into the hand of the One Who loves us and desires to bring us into our “destinies,” we reflect the brilliance of His own character!

God always uses the painful circumstances in our lives for something good.  When we are in the middle of the circumstance, we may not be able to see the good.  By faith though, we trust and know that good will come.

When we are finally able to accept that He is a good God, then we will be able to trust Him enough to receive His love. 

Once we begin to experience the perfection of His love, we will know what it means to be loved perfectly, to belong unconditionally, and to thrive fully in the capacity for which we were designed.

We must first trust God to release the little girl and little boy within us to run to Abba-

Love Is Simple

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I am going to keep this simple because a lot of times that’s all we have time and energy for — simple instructions and simple ideas. 

I wanted to share some quick ideas on how to show your kids that you love them.

What your kids care the most about is whether or not you love them.  So just love them!

Here are some simple ideas on how to demonstrate your love:

First, always tell them.

Second, demonstrate it by giving an appropriate hug and kiss.  For some kids, it might mean a back rub, tickle-time, or chasing them around like a dinosaur.

Discover your kids’ love languages, and use that knowledge to enhance their perceptions of your love. 

At the end of last week, I decided to do a simple but fun activity that also used my knowledge of their love languages.  I took a post-it-note and wrote a specific message on the note for each child.  I then attached the notes to the undersides of their dinner plates.

The kids loved finding their notes and then carrying out the instructions on the individual notes.  It was a simple but fun way to demonstrate to my kids that they are loved.  The activity also taught the kids practically how they could also express love to one another.  (I will post pictures of the notes so you get the idea…)

It’s important to let your kids know you love them, but expressing that doesn’t need to be complicated.  Keep it simple but love them!

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No Pinterest Or Glam Mom Here!

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I don’t take award-winning photographs of my gorgeous, athletic, brilliant kids; my ribbon-merit baking creations; award-winning artistic renditions; and Pinterest-worthy home.  In fact, if I was trying to take pictures of those accomplishments, I would probably be waiting a long time.  A very long time!

Oh, my kids are adorable, smart, active, creative!  Definitely to me!  I love them though not because of some trait or ability I feel they must possess to be accolade-worthy.  I love them because of who they are — not because of what they have or what they do.  I love them because they are themselves.  They are my children!  It’s that simple.  Yet, it’s not simple at all.  It’s really quite profound!

I gaze at my kids and every day think how amazing and miraculous they are!  How amazing and miraculous it is that I am their mom!  I am grateful.

As a mom, there is a part of me that really aches when others don’t see my kids through the same eyes as myself.  I “bleed” a little inside when my kid tells me that he is ugly, that he’s the last kid to be picked for football teams, that he never wins any of the creative days at school for dress.  I “bleed” not because those things are so important but because my son is so important to me, and he has so much worth and he doesn’t see it.  I try to tell him that his worth isn’t based on the fickle opinions of others.

In fact, I have reached out to a lot of his school buddies, invited them over.  It’s fun to hear them greet me when they see me.  My favorite line though I like to say is, “Hi, handsome!”  I am not trying to establish an over-emphasis on the outward appearance.  Yet, all kids need to know that they are something special!  I focus on everything about them: their God-given talents and abilities, their own special unique features, and the fact that they are precious to me!

Even more importantly, I like to focus on the inside person.  I call selfishness and sinful behavior as ugly but call good and loving behavior as lovely.  I tell them that you can be considered “pretty” or “handsome” on the outside but be selfish, mean, angry on the inside.  I told them that those things will make a person “ugly.”

When the boys and I have talks about girls, I encourage my boys to look for a woman who is beautiful on the inside to be their future wives.  I then encourage them to be the kind of man that that kind of woman will want to marry.

I am a simple mom.  I am not an amazing cook.  I don’t knit.  I don’t sew.  My house isn’t Pinterest-worthy, but it’s my home.  We are slowly fixing it up to where I really like the way it looks.  It’s comfortable, homey, warm, and even charming at times.  It’s basically clean and fairly organized.  It’s not magazine-worthy, but it’s my home.  It’s the place where my family and I make memories.  It’s where we love, work, create memories, and learn to forgive and be forgiven.  It’s real.  There’s no pretense in the home.  Some times, I am thankful that I know that I have God who is watching me that is pleased with an action I just took.  At other times, I wish that no one: not a child, spouse, or God had seen a certain attitude or heard unkind words I had uttered that day.

There are times, I bow my head with shame because I wasn’t the mom God created me to be.  I wasn’t the mom my kids deserve.  I wasn’t the mom I want to be.  It’s for these moments that I pray.  I pray over my children — that God would heal the areas in my kids hearts that hurt because of something unkind I said or did.  I pray that God would continue to work in me to help me to be more humble and more obedient to his voice.  I pray that God would “cover” my kids with His grace in areas that I can’t. 

I look at myself and see this average person.  I don’t have an Einstein I.Q.  I don’t excel in the arts or sports.  I don’t have model-looks.  I am not a mom that is everyone’s hero.  I am just me.

Yet, when I see myself as God sees me, I realize the rest of all of that doesn’t matter.  God loves me because I am His.  I am His daughter!  I am unique!  There is no one else on this planet and universe that will ever be identical to me — in the past, present, or future! 

You and I will leave our own stamps on this life that will never be completely repeated.  I wish we could just wrap our minds and our hearts around that incredible truth just a little more.

Because the more I understand the meaning of my life, the better I am able to appreciate the meanings of others!

A Day In The Life Of A Mommy Of A Newborn

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(FreeImages.com/MarcoOjeda)

I’ll be honest.  Yesterday was tough!  It was the first time since giving birth to my 19-day-old that I cried.

Up until two days ago, I had been feeling good.  Tired but not extreme exhaustion.  Holding a contented newborn.  Maintaining a decently clean house.  Keeping abreast of business stuff.  Generally doing well with recovery and life.

Yesterday it came crashing around me.  It’s not that anything was horribly major — like someone dying or a terminal illness or a house burning down.  It was all those “little” things that add up and when you are exhausted, make you feel like nothing is going right.

I get about 5 1/2 hours of sleep at most per night.  I know some can survive with that few hours of sleep, but I start to feel like a zombie or overly emotional after awhile if I am not getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night.  We know how it goes with a newborn, sleep just doesn’t happen much — especially when you have four other children too.

With three of them in school, I have to awaken them at 6:30 a.m. and help them madly scramble to dress, eat, pack their lunch boxes in the backpacks, find gloves and hats (always by their back packs), take vitamins, pray with them, and then send them on their way with hugs and kisses by 7:00 a.m.  In the mad scramble, the boys often are too noisy and to my horror — yes horror, manage to awaken their 2-year-old sister at 6:30 a.m. also.  That means that Mommy’s day has begun — whether ready or not.  Of course, there is a newborn to be fed every two hours in there, and the feeding takes 30-45 minutes total.  This also involves a partial outfit change as the poor little guy spits up a lot.

So, I begin my day with sleep deprivation which means everything is “amplified” — the stresses and hopefully the joys too.

Did I also mention that my two-year-old has decided that naps are a thing of the past?

On top of that, I had to spend my day talking with banks, auto mechanics, sales’ representatives, the hospital where I gave birth, the Social Security office, health insurance representatives, doctors, etc…  Why all of this?

Because… our van is in the shop — thanks to a bad repair job that should have cost us around $100 but is now going to cost us at least $2000!  As a result, I’ve been without a vehicle for a week, and it will be another half a week ’til I have a vehicle again.

My husband and I had lots of decisions, research, and phone calls to make to decide on whether or not we wanted to invest more money into a high mileage vehicle or take our losses.  We had to consider what type of vehicle we would buy in its place and how we would pay for it.  So many decisions and many phone calls and research!

No vehicle means I am house-bound and have been for weeks.  Thankfully, my sister and mom have been available to pick my Kindergartner from school, or we would be in trouble.

Then, there are all the insurance issues.  My husband changed jobs — a good thing — less than a month from Baby’s due date.  The new insurance plan offered would have meant we would have had to pay completely for the cost of the birth so we elected to go with Cobra, our only other option available at the time.  I did more research and found that once Baby was born, we could then switch to a cheaper plan.  I’ll spare you the details, but to get the best deal, it meant we had to go with Cobra for October, my  husband’s new insurance plan for November, and then I needed to apply for a third plan for December, that we hope to keep ’til the following December.  All these insurance changes meant time — time with a capital “T”!  I had to call doctor’s offices to get information.  I had to keep reentering information on our online application as it wouldn’t save prior information.  Lots of time involved!  I had to submit applications for Cobra and make more phone calls.  I haven’t even gotten to resubmitting bills yet.  That will come.

Then, there is the issue with our newborn’s birth certificate and social security card.  They have the wrong name.  So, I had to call the hospital, fill out paperwork, resubmit the form for a corrected birth certificate, try to reach the Social Security office to no avail, and now we have to wait for the new certificate before applying for a new social security card.

Of course, Christmas is fast approaching.  This is a season and holiday I love, but it means more work.  I have Christmas gifts to make and order, letters to write, and shopping to do.  This is not meant to be a burden, but add it with everything else, and I started to feel overwhelmed.

Boring you yet?  Probably an under-statement…

Yesterday when I started to cry, it wasn’t because of all of the previously mentioned challenges.  It was because my baby wasn’t acting like his usually contented self.  He would cry from hunger, I would attempt to nurse him, and he would turn up his nose at me.  There is nothing like holding her own crying and unhappy baby that will more quickly reduce a mother to tears.  I couldn’t satisfy him at the moment and help him, and that was “ripping my heart out.”

Thankfully, in the midst of my exhaustion and emotional stress, I remembered the necessity of prayer and began to pray for God to help my baby and I.  I attempted to nurse him again, and that time, he began to suck.  I still held him with tears rolling down my cheeks, but I didn’t feel like such a huge failure afterallThere is something about when you breastfeed your baby that makes you particularly vulnerable to a sense of success or failure, based on how your child takes to breastfeeding.  This, of course, isn’t true; but somehow, it feels like it. 

That evening, I also needed/wanted to finish the week’s Bible study on the life of David, directed by the Beth Moore devotionals.  I didn’t know if I would be able to meet with the other ladies the following day, but I wanted to stay on schedule.  As I began to read more of the lessons, I began to “hear” what God was trying to teach me through His Word.  It’s amazing how the Lord always brings exactly into our lives what we need to hear and when we need to hear it!  His timing is perfect!

I began to be reminded by reading David’s life story how God had time and time again shown a desire to be loved, to reveal the immeasurable greatness of His own love, and to have a close, intimate friendship with David.  I was then reminded of the many ways that God has worked in my own life and the truth of Who He is.  I was reminded to praise God for Who He is and what He is doing!  This was such a good reminder for me — something I needed to read that very day.  I was feeling so tired, so completely worn out, and overwhelmed.  God reminded me of how much He loves me and of how He has and is working on my behalf!

I may be a sleep-deprived Mommy of five.  My house may not be perfect.  My vehicle may not be running and may empty a good portion of our savings to fix it.  Christmas gifts may not be timely this year.  One thing I do know is that I am loved, protected, and desired by a God Who is Merciful, Gracious, Just, and Loving!  I can and will survive, and I can do it even victoriously!

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