Category: Heart, Mind and Soul

Reminders to Myself, When Struggling

A friend who homeschools her  kids was sharing her struggles the other day.  I heard in her words such self-condemnation, such self-blame.

When I read it, it reminded me of the downward spiral of thoughts I’ve had at times. . .  “I’m a terrible mother… I’m a terrible wife… I’m a terrible Christian…” These thoughts take hold and have such sway over me, because they are key elements of my calling in life.  Feeling like a failure in areas that are so important to me go swirling in my head.

More often than not, when these feelings take hold in my heart, they have been amplified by hormones.  My post-partum depression felt like PMS on steroids.  Identifying that connection has helped me observe these thoughts and feelings for what they are — thoughts and feelings that are not the full sum of reality.

Do you ever feel that way?  Like the things you value most as a mother are the things you struggle in the most?

Remember, YOU are just the right mother for your children.  God has chosen YOUR children to be nurtured by you.  Regardless of what you are or aren’t doing, YOU are JUST the right mother for your children. THEY are the children God has given to you.

Your strengths and weaknesses are being used by God, in His sovereignty, as they grow in to the people God has created them to be.

I heard my friend share words of frustration — and wanting encouragement to really press in to the effort needed each day.

And I heard her say words  of condemnation — which is not what needs to be taking hold in our hearts.

In the context of struggling to do what we want to do, and the struggle not to sin, Romans 8 reminds me, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 ESV)

Jesus calls us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

And for me, with all the failures (and good things) through the years, I keep meditating upon the the comfort,

“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:21-23 ESV)

This is the encouragement I need to hear each day.

Please be gentle on yourself, as you accept God’s gentleness. . .

 

So Many Books

Years ago I remember Pastor Randy saying something along the lines of “buying a book is like buying myself time/permission to read it.”

That is true for me. . . Except sometimes buying the book is symbolic of wanting the permission/promise to read it, and the reality doesn’t always follow.

And, maybe you’ll laugh at this, but I’ve had a crisis of getting older this year. I realized the obvious, but it was a gut-wrenching realization. I don’t have enough time or years left to read what I really want to read, to read all the good books.

I don’t have the same emotional reaction to the infinite info on the internet. People already “curate” content online. I don’t have a problem with more “good” stuff online than I can get to.

But I do struggle with knowing I can’t read all the good books I want to read.

(Thoughts, after reading this book recommendation.)

Sugar as a “Shadow Comfort”

My dear friend Anne wrote,

“I’m noting times when I would, before, have eaten in order to help myself. Times of fatigue, stress, Vitaliy being gone, emotional fatiuge or frustration, boredom … and I’m finding other ways to comfort and strengthen and busy myself that don’t involve food. It’s a good thing. When I want to eat for no good reason, I remind myself that I love how my clothes fit and how my body looks, and that’s worth more to me than this temporary, often non-physical craving to eat.”

It prompted me to share a bit about the past year.

I listened to Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” via audio book  a few months ago. One of the things she talks about is “shadow comforts.” I thought that was such a good way to consider the things I turn to during stress/anxiety instead of the Lord.

This past year was a challenging one. I was feeding my body/soul the “shadow comforts” of coffee (with lots of milk and sugar!) and wine. My body and hormonal system does not like being fueled by simple sugars. My soul needed more. (And, yes, I was seeking the Lord — but me immediate impulse when stressed was the sugar/coffee)

I feel “weak” to be self-disciplined alone. Last month Hubby and I together made some eating changes and movement changes. (He’s been changing a lot since he went to the Cleveland Clinic in March.)

For me, I had to quit coffee cold turkey — it was too much of a draw. Hubby and I go out for a coffee date after church (a celebration of the Sabbath!) That was good for the first month.

This past week I was trying to see if I can moderate with my coffee consumption — just cafe au lait or a latte, no sugar. Honestly, I think I still need to abstain. (Check out  Gretchen Rubin on habits and abstaining.)  I’ve made several poor choices (with regard to stress/sugar) this week, and I think I need to just keep my mind away from that.

I’ve had more thoughts about the “shadow comforts” and the Lord. . .  During some of these ponderings we sung “Abide with Me” in church.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I wish Anne was here or I was in Ukraine have coffee (no sugar!) and chat.

Peeking Around the Corner

Way back in 2004 (twelve years ago!?), Hubby bought me my very own URL. . . I started blogging.  It was a beautiful outlet for me — a place to ponder, a place to keep a family journal, photos. . . a soapbox!

And then a move and change of life rhythm — me at work, Hubby in grad school and homeschooling the kids — and writing and blogging became more infrequent.

Another move. . . and another, and another, and another. . . some posts and pics along the way, but nothing like the routine of writing I had been in before.

I miss it.  I really do.

Ironically, it’s harder now with teens to make the time than it was for me with a lot of littles running around. Now we have teens and littles and I love it — and am still trying to find the rhythm when I can write.

I’ve also been discouraged along the way with stupid behind the scenes crud with spam and wordpress not working as it should. We thought we had that all straightened out last year, but nope.  It took the wind out of my sails.  I can write here, but I miss my own URL.

Here I am again, feeling the need to write.  Feeling the need to reflect.  This medium “works” for me in a different way than pen and black & white composition books do.

So here I am again. Feeling a bit vulnerable starting again after fits and spurts in the past several years. Sad I have those years not documented, those thoughts not captured.  Ready to press on.