Encouragement, Scripture

The Best Version Of Me

This year I turned 43. Yes, I said it. Forty-three.

When I was in my teens, 43 was next to death. You hit your 40’s, and life was over…done…no more fun. You couldn’t be cute anymore, because that would be weird. And for the longest time, I thought I would be that person who hit her 40’s and refused to reveal her age. Avoid saying it out loud, like a swear word in church.

But then it happened, and I didn’t hate it. In fact, 40 & 41 weren’t terrible at all. I was comfortable in my own skin for the first time. More confident than ever before. My vision clearer, my direction set. Happy! This was going to be fun!

Then 42 happened.

And I mean, overnight happened.

At first, I just felt a little worn around the edges, a little more tired than usual. I rationalized it away and blamed it on a busy life, three boys, and not enough coffee! Everybody would rather stay in and Netflix it every night…right?

But before long, I was going to bed early, waking up late…and still.so.tired.

So at my yearly physical (because I never go any other time, even when I probably should), I voiced some of my concerns to the doctor and quickly followed with, “you know, the normal 40 stuff,” and rolled my eyes.

But she didn’t buy it. Not one bit. And after a slew of tests and prayers that I wasn’t knocking on death’s door, we found out that it was something really very simple. My body doesn’t absorb B12 orally. That’s it. That was the reason I was feeling so lousy. A vitamin deficiency that had been left untreated for so long that it had reached a dangerously low point. Big sigh!

Relieved that it wasn’t worse, I didn’t even care that it meant I would need to take B12 shots for the rest of my life. The fact that there was a treatment at all was fantastic! Sign me up!! There was hope, and all I had to do was grab hold of it.

So I did…and began the weekly shots immediately.

Now, I don’t know if it was completely psychological or the fact that my body was starved for the B, but I began to see a noticeable difference almost instantly. I had a little more energy at the end of the day, my focus clearer, my outlook on life brighter. Things that didn’t seem possible before now seemed within reach!

It was a-maz-ing.

I started looking forward to each appointment knowing that I would only feel better on the other side.

Then it hit me. Isn’t that how it is with us and God?

Caught up in the hectic activities of life, we spend less and less time with Him & in His Word. Over time, we find that we have slowly become deficient in our walk with Him and increasingly weary with the burdens that we carry. It happens so gradually we don’t even notice. And when we finally do, we rationalize it away until we cannot ignore it any longer.

We need our daily time with Him. Like the air we breathe and the food we eat, His Word is nourishment to our soul. When we go without it for too long, we become tired and depressed. Hard things seem harder, and sad things seem sadder. We have no hope. Nothing to give us that extra push we need, that word of encouragement, or truth that sets us free.

But oh when we finally return to Him…

When we finally open up His Word and drink from the deep Well of Life, we feel new strength and new hope as we become saturated in His presence. We begin to look forward to each new day and our quiet time with Him, because we know that we are only going to feel better on the other side.

And we do.

He doesn’t promise to always fix things, but He does promise to give a peace that passes all understanding and to comfort us with His presence. But how can He do that if we are too busy to spend time with Him?

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

About a month ago, something happened that prevented me from getting my magical B12 shot for a couple of weeks. My doctor warned me that it would cause my levels to dip again, but I didn’t think it would affect me all that much. After all, it was just a few weeks, and I had built up my reserves and was feeling pretty good.

But it did. And by the time I was able to go in for my shot, I all but begged her for it.

Please hear me, Friends.

We think we can take a break from Jesus, and it won’t matter. We think we can handle it.

Life is busy, full of “important” things that just cannot wait. I know. I’m there every day. But the truth of the matter is, our time with Jesus is what cannot wait, because all of those “important” things hinge on Him. They are possible because of Him. We cannot do them without Him. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can.

You will find yourself lost and alone and begging for His comfort, guidance, and help. I know because I’ve been there.

Why let ourselves get to that point in the first place? We don’t have to do it.

Let’s determine to put Him first. Whether it be the early morning hours before the rest of the house is awake, sitting in our car at lunch, or after the house is quiet and everyone else is asleep. Make time for Him. Seek Him. Drink from His Word. Saturate ourselves with His presence so that we can do all of the other important things in life.

We can’t be the best version of ourselves if we don’t. And we deserve the very best, so let’s do it.

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”  ‭‭John‬ ‭15:4-5‬ 

kindness, Mom of Boys, Scripture

If You Question Whether Or Not You Should, You Probably Shouldn’t.

If in doubt, don’t.

I remember my parents often saying this to me when I was growing up. And although I have ignored it more times than I would like to admit, it has stuck with me throughout the years.

Now, please don’t take this deeper than its intent. I’m not talking about the battles that rage within us between God’s Will for our lives and Satan’s attacks. Sometimes we doubt when we really should be doing, but that’s a whole other blog post itself.

At the moment, I am talking about something that affects just about every person who has a social media account.

You know that impulsive rant, questionable picture, or funny post that may be offensive or taken the wrong way?

I’ve learned it’s just best to “don’t”.

Is it worth the likes we do receive even if it means we’ve alienated that person or group of people we have been working so hard to reach? Show love? Extend grace?

Do we really want to blow it all in one fell swoop?

Yes, it’s our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Yes, we have the right to say what we want anytime we want. Yes, last time I checked, it is still a free country. All of those things are absolutely true.

But here’s the question I have…is it worth it?

I can’t even tell you how many times I have posted something thinking it was funny or cute only to delete it minutes, or even seconds, later.

In a house full of boys, you can only imagine the things that go on here. Crazy things, politically incorrect things, gross things. Sometimes our humor is an acquired taste, borderline (and often wildly) inappropriate. Sometimes we take the frustrating things that are going on in our world today and make jokes to lighten the mood.

And I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve wanted to rant about Greenville drivers, Hellmart, or politics. The rude lady that ran me over in aisle 5, the latest controversy, or the horrible refs at my son’s football game. There are a million and one thoughts that traipse through my head every day, and they.need.to.be.heard, for crying out loud. 

But do they really?

I want to be transparent, so I share a lot of real life. And I think we should all do a little more of that. But there have been many times that I have frantically typed out my thoughts (with perfectly placed caps, exclamation points and emojis, mind you) only to have that gut feeling the second before I hit “post” (or often the second after) triggering the internal debate as to whether I should share.

And 9 out of the 10 times I ignore that feeling…I regret it.

We live in a time that everyone is offended by everything. I get that. Sailing through life without offending someone is about as likely as a unicorn pooping rainbows. (or my youngest wearing underwear)

But we have a responsibility as Christians, as humans, to show love. We have a responsibility to show respect. If we can at all help it, we are to live and speak in a way that helps others instead of hurting them.

Are we to speak the truth in love even if it is the opposite of what the world is saying? Yes. Absolutely. No question about it. But nobody has ever changed his mind about anything because of a Facebook rant.

Save the rants and questionable pictures or funnies for close friends and family. Those with which we have relationship. They know our hearts.

Or don’t say it at all.

We won’t get it right 100% of the time, but as Wayne Gretzky (or Michael Scott, depending on your generation) said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If we don’t try to be kind and respectful, we won’t be. Ever.

So let’s try, because it is always worth the effort.

“An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs‬ ‭18:19-21‬ 

boymom, Boys, Encouragement, faith, Inspiration, Kids, Life Lessons, Life With Boys, Mom of Boys, Mornings, realtalk, Scripture, transparency

I’d Rather Be A Real Mom Than A Super Mom

What if we as mom’s, parents, guardians, and caregivers gave ourselves a break? What would that look like? How would that feel?

When you figure it out, let me know…

Because I majorly sucked at the mom thing this week.

That’s what happens when we try to do it all. We hold ourselves to these ridiculous expectations and then feel like a failure when we don’t meet them.

Saying yes all the time won’t make me Wonder Woman, it will make me a worn out woman.”Lisa Terkeurst

Show me a perfect mom, and…well, you can’t.

It all started with a major work project.

Suddenly, roles were reversed, and I was leaving the house at the crack of dawn while the hubs was playing Mr. Mom. Sounds like a vacation, right?!

Wrong.

In comes the guilt.

  • Missing the first Awards Program in forever….
  • Receiving that dreaded “sick call” when I’m an hour away and can do nothing about it…
  • Missing an important birthday party invite until the last minute….

You name it, it happened.

And I stressed.

But guess what. We made it. We all made it to the end of the week in one piece. Nobody died. Nobody needs therapy. (As far as I know) And nobody hates me.

In fact, we all learned how to pull together and do our part. Because that’s what we do as families. We’re a team. We work together and make it all happen.

And when one person changes positions, we adjust. We cover for each other. Fill in the gaps.

It doesn’t make us bad parents. It makes us good parents.

We are teaching our children that life doesn’t always go as planned. It’s not the same every day. Just because mom usually does the morning thing, school drop off, and daily emergencies doesn’t mean dad can’t do it too! And apparently, he’s not terrible at it, because they made it to school even earlier than usual. I have no idea what they were wearing or if their hair was combed…but who even cares?!

They need to know that they may walk into a college class that will rock their world. They need to know a boss may throw things at them they weren’t expecting and ask them to do the “impossible.” They need to know that they have to stay flexible and go with the flow. Because that.is.life.

The bottom line is this. We have to stop beating ourselves up over this stuff. We are not teaching our children anything by being there at their every beck and call.

That missed awards program? The boys loved having their dad there for a change. It was special. He was able to meet friends and experience the crazy. And bless him for sending me pictures!

That sick phone call that made me feel like the worst mom ever? Let’s just say “miraculous recovery” when he realized nobody was coming to get him. Lunch sitting next to his sweet teacher certainly helped. Praise!

That missed birthday party invite? It was ok! The mom understood. She showed grace! He made it to the party. It was fun!

So instead of trying to do it all, be the perfect parent, and win at everything…let’s try being “real.” Because “real” is going to teach our kids the most about life. “Real” is going to keep them grounded. “Real” is going to make them awesome.

And because “real” is really all we can do and survive.

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

Boys, Encouragement, Inspiration, Joy, Kids, Life Lessons, Life With Boys, Mom of Boys, Mornings, Scripture

When Mornings Suck.

This may be a given in your home…or you may not be human or have other humans living with you. But mornings at our place tend to suck. It’s an area we are constantly trying to improve, usually taking two steps back and one step forward. However, I don’t like sending my guys off for their day after World Wars 1, 2, AND 3 have been fought…and often lost; so we always try to redeem the suckage at some point before their feet hit school property.

Take this morning, for instance. My 7-year-old handed me a pair of dirty pants to iron (yes, I know…I should have ironed the night before. Like I said, “work in progress.”). And we are not talking about pants that can be snatched from the dirty clothes basket and brushed off for yet another wear. Believe me, I tried.

And apparently, he had no “tan” pants that were clean…but he had plenty of clean black and blue pants. Problem solved, right? Nope. Somewhere along the way, this child acquired an aversion to “colored” pants (please, don’t get me started). No.Worries. It’s going to be warm enough for shorts today. WRONG. He couldn’t bear the thought of wearing shorts when it is clearly fall and therefore pant weather! What.was.I.thinking.

So there were tears. LOTS of tears….and there was yelling. LOTS of yelling. And at one point, I thought, “We aren’t going anywhere today. My husband is going to come home and find us both passed out from all the tears and all the yelling.”

Finally, after a phone call to daddy and numerous empty threats (we are talking early bedtimes until he graduates college), I stopped and realized I was acting like a crazed lunatic. Seriously, people. Maury Povich would want me for his show.

Why do I let this happen? Why do I take the bait – hook, line, and sinker? The angrier I become, the more stubborn and emotional the child; but I do it all.the.time.

Hey friend, Satan knows our weaknesses. He knows our triggers. He knows I’m tired and stressed, and he knew that this morning’s fashion wars would send me straight into orbit.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy…”  John 10:10a

When I finally took a moment and recognized this spiritual attack for what it was, I did what I should have done in the beginning. I prayed. First by myself and then with my son.

Why is prayer so often our last resort? Satan cannot steal our joy if we do not let him.

And after we prayed, I apologized to Hayes for acting the way I did. Satan would love nothing more than to use my poor behavior as a stumbling block to my children; but what Satan means for evil, God uses for goodwhen we let Him.

“…MY purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”  John 10:10b

I would love to say that the rest of the morning was all Care Bears and rainbows…but then that wouldn’t be real life, now would it. The point is…from that point on, I didn’t let Satan steal my joy. Not even when the darling child refused to get out of the car. Not even when he said walking in late to class by himself was “weird” but didn’t want me to go with him either. Not even though it was HIS fault we were late in the first place. Not.Even.Then. BLESS.