what’s for dinner?

bellyBut, thank God! He gives us victory over death and sin through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

THANK GOD!

I’ve been listening to this song on repeat for about a week. I play it as loud as I can when I can…… as softly as I can hear it when I have to. And, I allow it to get all the way into my spirit. To speak to my brokenness and hurt. To underscore whispered prayers through tears. To speak for me. To remind me of God’s promises.

A few things I’m believing God to give me victory and freedom over is my mouth. Lord, when that hurt and that brokenness is touched, it’s like pressing on a fresh bruise and your automatic response is to scream|cry out in pain. My pastor talked about anger and controlling ourselves while we’re angry….. I thought about the sin that follows anger. Scripture after scripture tell us not to sin in anger. “Do not… ” is said. We can control it. It’s a choice to yell and/or sneak snide remarks or just be outright nasty. My counselor (yes, I’m in counseling) and I have been working on just being quiet. Not saying anything. So, I’ve been very quiet this week. Especially when my bruises are bumped. When I’m hurt again. When things happen again. For my sake alone. And, it’s beautiful.

Beautiful to know that I can live peacefully.
It’s strength to not be controlled by any outside source.
Self preservation & self care is realizing that my inner well being is more important than everything.
More important than a jab or defending or trying to “get you to see”.

When I’m quiet, I give myself the opportunity to gather thoughts, to pray, to depend on Jesus for my peace, words, and tone. It barely feels good for a moment to go off and dig into another person, but it feels better and better to be able to not allow sin to throw me off my game plan. Which isn’t to do more than avoid setting fire to my life. To be seen as the crazy, angry chick when you’re really just hurting and waiting for someone to recognize that hurt and work to fix it.

James 3:5-9
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.

Controlling my anger|words|emotions is what’s best for me but so good for my children and relationships. Being able to communicate peacefully and purposefully with tact is a beneficial. While I believe there are times you have to be more forceful with your voice & words, it’s only effective when rarely used.

Often I find that we know things but it’s difficult to implement until we’re ready.
I recognized that in relationships, I very much have a “team” mentality. It’s US until it’s not. I work very hard to be considerate and sensitive to other people although I’m not the best at it all the times with all people. But, I’m working. Anyway. So, when I’m doing that work with another person, I take it personally when they don’t give what I’ve given. I take it personally & it hurts me and makes me angry when it’s addressed but not worked on. What I’ve come to realize is that while you can ask, you can’t expect someone to give you something they don’t have. And, you have to stop making excuses for them. Potential & capacity have nothing to do with  desire & motivation. In trying to force the situation, we only end up frustrating ourselves. If they don’t have it, they don’t have it. They may never have it or they may get it in the future. Freedom is operating under what is right now peacefully. Not what you want to be or think it can be if this or that. Work towards the future, but operate in the present.

Recognize what is , forgive the hurts, then move on.
(Move on doesn’t always mean discontinue the relationship, it means get off the issue.)
{And, “off”is different than “over”}

Oh, this alleviates any reason to get angry. While issues may still hurt, there’s no need to get angry. There’s nothing to take personally. There’s no reason to label inconsiderate or unloving or anything else. Usually when I’m angry it’s because I’m disappointed (an expectation hasn’t been met), my feelings were hurt, or I felt as if I wasn’t considered. For the most part. Once I quietly deal with and label how I feel, I can move forward. I decide whether it’s worth bringing up or not. I decide how and when I respond – not my uncontrolled feelings. And, I change my expectations (not my standards) of that situation because now that anger isn’t narrowing my view, I can clearly see observe & respond based on facts// not feelings.

I’m not going to expect an organic meal from McDonald’s.
I know they don’t provide it, I’m not going to talk myself blue trying to convince them of the benefits of healthier choices and get upset when they don’t value of what I’m saying.
They serve what they serve. Eat it or move on, you know?
Without the mouthiness and fire starting.

Love yourself enough to choose what you want to eat.
You don’t have to eat what’s offered.
You decide what you will & won’t accept.
You decide how long you want McDonald’s.

When you recognize & accept what’s being offered vs. what you’re trying to add to an already set menu,
you’ll be able to move on in peace.
In a way that doesn’t disrupt your heart.
In a way that allows you joyfully eat of the current menu or open the next menu without still being bitter about the last one.

Ya know?

 

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counting down and preparing

I’m (generally) a planner. I (generally) like to know what’s going on at all times. I like to have things in order and I enjoy being overly prepared way in advance. It makes me feel comfortable. Calm. Happy. And, at peace. PLUS…. it gives me a chance to make changes or adjust when things come up. Because they always do.

So, days away from my 28th week, the beginning of my 3rd trimester, I’m counting down.
Thanksgiving Day I’ll be 31 weeks. 31. 31. 31. That’s insane.
New Year’s Eve I’ll be 36 weeks.
My ob tells me to be ready the first week in January (37w), but to not be surprised if these girls make their debut in December.

whoa.

Nothing new. I’ve mentioned this in my last few posts and I guess I keep saying it because this is real. And, it is happening. But, I’m having a hard time believing it. God’s faithfulness has blown my mind. The tangible truth that he gives good gifts is difficult to grasp. And, I just. can’t. get a handle on it.
Now, considering the type of person that I am….. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I feel like we have so much to do, purchase, organize, wash, and just make ready before the girls get here. Even though I watched my belly grow, my tops shrink, and my dresses fill out, December/January felt so far away and this reality felt so unreal. Yes, I saw these babies grow before my eyes from a little ball of cells with a beating heart, I watched their limbs grow and develop, their little faces mature…. I felt their kicks grow stronger and watched them vie for space in my belly but to know that I will be watching them grow on the outside in a matter of weeks is unreal. I can’t believe it. I literally cannot believe it. And, I’m not ready. {I don’t think.}

I love movies. I mean, I love movies. And, we’ve been going quite a bit lately. I want to see all the best movies out… My favorite are romantic comedies & films that depict love conquering all. I’m intentionally putting off  all of the girlie movies for the days/nights I’m stuck at home or will be at home. So, we’ve been watching the deeper more thought provoking movies (which I love, too!!!) and ended up catching The Judge last night. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. For more than a few reasons, but left me wallowing deep in my feelings and more than ever adamant about preparing for raising our children. (No, I’m not telling the movie, so you can relax!!! lol). All of this felt great because just a few days ago, I sent Thomas and email with a list of things I wanted to begin focusing on, discussing, and working toward in terms of spiritually preparing to raise our girls with a heart for Jesus.  I went to Flourish in June and was about 6 weeks pregnant. It was a beautiful conference which scheduled quiet time with Jesus. During that time I wrote down every character trait I wanted our kids to have (and, yes…. I wrote children many times and felt silly for doing so but that was what was on my heart), wrote scriptures associated with those traits and attached women in the Bible who portrayed the traits I longed for them to have.

After the movie, I was left encouraged to do all the things I’ve been running from, personally writing about, and convicted to do. I rambled on and on about how important it is for me to deal with hard things, emotions, hurts, and disappoints and to communicate because doing so builds and strengthens relationships, not doing it tears them apart. And, hardens us. I’ve hardened in many ways and although I’ve been praying that God soften my heart, I truly don’t feel as if I’ve surrendered enough for Him to do it.

I know that not dealing with our own personal shit before we have kids and after they arrive, leave them be the ones shoveling both theirs and ours. If we don’t deal with our own junk, we pass that junk onto them. I know that our issues impact our kids, shape their lives, their perceptions, and experiences. Noyhing will ever be perfect but my goodness I want to give my kids the best foundation possible.

I don’t want the things I suck at to impair my children. I don’t want the fact that mommy hates crying and being emotional so she doesn’t like really digging deep and dealing with things to hurt them. And, it will. It will hurt them, my relationship with them, how they see me interacting with their daddy, and their view of me being a person who is supposed to be the heart and lifeline of our home. All of my decisions will shape and impact their lives. For better or worse. 

Treating them with grace, freely and relentlessly showing forgiveness, and intentionally guiding them to truth that they NEED Jesus will be all of our saving grace.

Especially when the less than attractive side of mommy comes out…. when she’s impatient, harsh, hard, seeking perfection & the best from herself and everyone around her, is HARD. It’s stressful. It’s limiting. It doesn’t help to build relationships or people.

With two extra little firecrackers (which they will inevitably be) in our home, finding a new balance will be hard, but finding it will be our peace. Learning to deal with things…. learning to be gentle, assuring, and kind even when frustrated will be what shapes our girls to be kind and self assured. It is what will keep the feel of our home warm, safe, and sure. It is what will tether us together when we’re disappointed in each other… when we’ve hurt each other… when we’ve just been less than loving and gracious.

Wanna know what’s burdening me right now?

When you experience pregnancy, everyone is focused on gender, names, a nursery, cribs, and collecting massive amounts of diapers. We have checklists and baby showers to collect a bunch of (needed, albeit) STUFF. We have childbirth classes and hospital tours, lactation consults, pedi interviews. While there are plenty of THINGS our children will need throughout their short span of newborn-hood, toddlerhood, childhood and on and on. And, duh.. it’s an exciting time. But, why is the focus on all of that but not on shaping these children’s lives? Why aren’t mommy-friends sitting mommies to be and new mommies down and talking to them about their experiences as new moms who have to maintain homes, marriages, and learn how to be a good (read: God focused) mom and wife in this new stage in her life? What this life is really going to look life before/after/during and under the surface of the beautiful photoshoots, Insta posts, and funny stories?

No one knows it all, we’re all struggling. Bringing a person into this world and having the responsibility to raise them cannot be easy. Why are we avoiding the conversation? Why are we trying to appear to be these women who have everything together and in need of nothing? As a mommy to be, I can only imagine the stress of having to care for everyone. How can we be more supportive of each other in this new role is my question. How can we build honest, trusting relationships with other new mommies who we can go to for a release? For advice and wisdom? Yes, we have our girlfriend groups and they are tight knit and deep……. But, I feel that motherhood is so personal. I feel that mothers are so harshly judged that even with our closest friends it can be hard to open up about what we need and what we’re struggling with… difficult to tell a friend that the teacher isn’t all the way wrong about her child’s behavior… or to offer help in an area that we see our friend needs help with… or to share with a friend what the future of that child and her life may look like if she doesn’t ease up on the super strict discipline or reign in a child who could use a bit more structure and discipline…. It’s hard.

Because we’re fragile and offended easily. Because we don’t know if our relationships can withstand such truth, an opinion, constructive criticism. We’re doing the best we know how to. The best we can. And, can get angry when someone points out a weakness that we may even know we have. But, who does that serve? How is being hard, in denial about our struggles, our junk helping? How is it shaping our families and our children? How is turning a blind eye benefiting us?

Who is talking about postpartum depression? Who is talking about how frustrated you’re going to be with colicky babies or late night partiers when you’re exhausted and working on two hours of sleep? or sick babies? breastfeeding issues??
Who’s talking to mamas who have lost their babies?  Who is talking about REAL LIFE?? Who is willing to?

We expect everyone to show their best face at all times because dealing with life is hard, messy, and ugly. All at once. Yes, life can be beautiful, wonderful, and peaceful, too. But, truth be told it isn’t like that all of the time. I know that because we’re all sinners and we can all make the worst of the worst decisions at times. We like to serve ourselves at some points, in some way whether small or large, that hurts another person. This life, our friendships, marriages, and relationships are hard because we are, because we’re unforgiving, we have junk we want to hide, and because we just plain ol sin everyday.

I’ve pulled out my notes from Flourish and have been studying, reading, and soaking up all of the wisdom that was given that weekend. I’ve committed to dealing with all of the hurts and disappointments that I have felt, perceived, and experienced over the past six-eight months and I’m going to talk about them. Cry about them. And, truly work towards getting over it or learning how to carry it without allowing it to cause a negative impact on my life. I’m going to make more of an effort to build deeper relationships and open up much more to that close knit group of gals and really learn to lean on them and position myself to be leaned upon.

The quality of our lives depend on it. Our depth of our character, marriages, and relationships with Christ depend on it.
Our husbands’ lives depend on it.
Our children’s lives depend on it.
Our friends’ lives depend on it.
Those we love the most depend on us truly being able to deal with our junk and love them deeply, serve them with gladness, guide them with grace and wisdom, and relate to them in a way that they learn to truly trust us with all of them – both good and bad.

Post Jam: Kari Jobe – Here.
Healing and finding peace begins with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. We have to ask and trust that He will bring people into our lives and/or further deepen the relationships we have to help us along and to push us closer to him.

I’m definitely encouraged to deal… to take a deep breathe and do hard things that will expose my heart and cause me to be vulnerable. To dig in, take root, and grow in ways that will honor God, strengthen my family, support my friends, and build my children. I know I’m not alone in wanting these things, but are we willing to take the leap to take hold of them?

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mocha kid magazine!!!

So, I’m pretty sure you guys have seen this pretty little face…..

IMG_4529.PNG You may have also seen a few of these…..

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IMG_4532.PNG And, I know you’ve seen a few shots from this shoot…..

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At any rate, IF you by chance haven’t, let me introduce you to my real life friend, Christin McQueen, the founder & creative mind behind Mocha Kids Magazine, the photographer of my maternity pictures, and mother & wife of the cutest little chocolate family you ever did see.

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(See, I wasn’t lying!! No bias here!!)
She was introspective/kind/supportive/etc enough to ask me to share our full story of our journey through infertility for MK Magazine! I was, of course, excited & honored, then terrified and challenged in so many ways to do so!
So. So. So. I’m ELATED to announce that our story is featured in the 3rd edition of MK Magazine that can be found, read, and bought HERE!!!!!

Thank you so much, Christin, for caring about me enough as your friend & this issue to see that our struggle was not an isolated one. I’m glad that you saw a way for our story to be used to help many other women & families walking the same journey! xoxo

Want to see more of Christin’s work??
Look here!!
IG: christinshootspeople
Facebook: Mocha Kid Magazine
Website: christinshootspeople.com

See ya there!!!!

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