Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Mother's Intuition

I'm by no means a pro at this motherhood thing.  It's been roughly six years since I became pregnant with my oldest.  But even from her conception I've had a voice communicate with me from deep inside.  As I've grown in my faith I've come to recognize this voice as the Holy Spirit.  While I'm still learning to let Spirit guide me in every day life, I definitely receive strong guidance when it comes to my kiddos.  Sure there are times when I act on uneasy feelings and it ends up not being anything but I've learned to always listen.

During my pregnancy with Emberlynn I had an uneasy feeling about delivering in the hospital and being induced.  There were mental red flags that I ignored because I was doing what I thought I was supposed to.  I mean seriously, who just goes and has a home birth without being able to justify such a controversial decision?  Well my intuition was right.  Her delivery was less than ideal and the recovery was long and slow.  Thankfully my little bundle of joy was perfectly healthy but I paid the price for not listening to that inner voice.

With Zoe we've had two instances when she was sick and something told me she needed to be seen even though others didn't think she was "that sick".  Both times my baby ended up being hospitalized for four days.

Now we face yet another test of my mother's intuition.  From the beginning I've felt that our new little blessing on the way is a boy.  All of my pregnancy symptoms have been different.  I've felt completely different.  And all that aside, I just have this feeling that I'm carrying a boy.  But here's the catch, the ultrasound tech said girl!  Mentally I just can't commit to calling this baby a girl.  We've toyed with the idea of having another ultrasound but are still on the fence.  Regardless of what we decide, I know come April we will know for sure whether we are being blessed with another daughter or our first son.  The anticipation almost feels like torture some days.  But then I remind myself how quickly pregnancy passes and soon enough I'll know.

I say all of that to tell any new mom's reading this to please trust your gut!  You know your kid better than anyone else.  You know what the right decision is.  So drown out all of those external voices.  Ignore the criticism.  Believe in yourself.  God has given you these specific children for a reason and he will guide you in raising them.  Much love and God bless.

Friday, January 1, 2016

No New Year Resolutions for Me! read that right.  I'm not making any new year resolutions.  No list of tasks to check off.  Instead, at the leading of a great friend, I took a One Word Theme devotional on the YouVersion app.  For the whole year my focus will be on this one word.  My hope is that I will step out of God's way, truly surrender control to Him, and enjoy the journey.

What is this "one word" I will be focusing on, you ask?  Calm.  Calm is my word for the year.  While I have an idea why God would choose this word for me, I'm not going to focus on any of that.  Instead I want to gain my understanding straight from the source, not based on my own understanding.  Why?  Because let's face it.  I struggle to see myself the way that the Bible says God sees me.  I'm insecure, fearful and often negative.  If I focus on why I think God gave me this word I'm sure I will miss out on what God has in store for me in the year to come.

Honestly, while I know there will be challenges (that's just life), I'm looking forward to the lessons and God moments that are in my future.  Every day is a new opportunity for God to teach me and use me for His glory.  And I will strive to thank Him for these opportunities every day.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A New Chapter

I've had this blog for some time now.  I've gone through phases of regular posting and phases of no posting.  In fact, it's been almost a full year since my last post.  Over the years this little blog of mine has gone through lots of changes as I've grown and changed.  It started out as a chaotic ramble.  Many times I've attempted and promised to be consistent and more mature about what I post.  I've even considered deleting this blog and starting over but I love my blog name too much for that.

So now as yet another year is coming to a close I make yet another attempt to salvage my beloved blog.  My life has changed quite a bit since my last post.  Whose life doesn't change over the course of a year?  Instead of a long, tedious update I simply want to say that my goal for 2016 is weekly posting.  What I post will vary.  I'm sure I'll talk about parenting, my walk with God, marriage and just life in general.

This time I make no promises, after all would they mean anything anymore anyways.  I just need to regain my outlet.  I need something for me.  I look forward to the journey ahead.  As always, God is in control.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Surrender All

It's a new year.  Instead of resolutions I threw myself into working on multiple areas of my life.  Last year I tried to work on the same areas but tried to take baby steps in hopes of being successful.  This year it's all or nothing.  Things cannot continue the way they are.

For a little while now I've been struggling with anger issues.  I go from okay to raging like a flipped switch.  I say and do things I wholeheartedly regret.  I hurt those closest to me.  I've turned into the parent I never wanted to be.

Well this year I'm putting all that to an end.

I'm taking another step in my walk with God.  Last year I set a goal to read a chapter of my Bible every day.  I am happy to report I can count on one hand the number of days I missed or forgot.  This year I am continuing to read a chapter a day but I am also adding a chapter of Proverbs and Psalm a day as well as writing at least one verse from each chapter in a journal.  I'm so excited for the growth I know is to come.

I'm also working on truly surrendering every aspect of my life to God.  I've prayed things in the last few weeks that I never thought I would.  But I'm also feeling and sensing God in ways I never have before.  This life is not my own.  My children are not my own.  God is the Lord and creator of all and it is time to truly live that out in my day to day.  I am a masterpiece created by the most high God.  I have to stop taking his promises for granted.  I have to stop relying on my strength.  It will never be enough.  I am only as strong as my relationship to God.

In years past I've made a goal to read a book a month.  I have yet to succeed but I'm giving it another go.  Due to the anger issues I mentioned above and the desperation to change myself as a parent, the book I chose to read in January is Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids.  So far I love it.  Instead of focusing on the child(ren), it focuses on what you should be doing as a parent and how to work on yourself.  It's exactly what I need.  I'm only in the first chapter and I already, with God's guidance and conviction, feel so empowered.

I got to chat with Emberlynn today and have given her permission to call me out if I start to yell or get physical with her.  I'm using the Orange Rhino Challenge as inspiration and that will be our safe word.  When I start to loose it, she is allowed to say Orange Rhino to me.  I can already tell there will be some adjusting.  We talked about how I'm no longer allowed to yell at her, smack her hand or spank her.  Those moments are times she needs to remind me Orange Rhino.  She's pushing to have time out prohibited as well.  For now it stays.  I will also be making a sticker chart.  Instead of it being a behavior chart for the kids, it will be a behavior chart for me.  If I do well at controlling my emotions for that day then I get a sticker.  The twist?  Emberlynn (and Zoe as she gets older) gets to decide if I've earned a sticker for that day.  I realize I must sound crazy.  Why would I give my child that kind of control over me?  It is an idea the book presents and for me it was instant love.  I do not believe my role as a parent is a dictatorship.  My children are not mine to control.  They were given to me as a gift.  I am responsible for being a vessel of God's love to them.  God does not beat us into submission.  He allows us to explore the full realm of our free will.  I am responsible for keeping my children safe, to ensure they feel loved and respected, and to let God guide their steps.  He created their individual purpose long before they began to grow inside me.  I do not want to get in His way.  As far as giving my children control, I don't believe I am.  Who is a better judge of if I am being a respectful parent than my children?  I'm simply giving them the say in their own lives that they need.  If they can't communicate to me when I am hurting them, emotionally or physically, how will they learn to communicate that to future friends or boyfriends?  I want them to feel secure in themselves enough to stick up for themselves when they are being mistreated, even by me.

I am so thankful that God's mercies are new every morning.  Today I am surrendering all.  Tomorrow I move forward in my journey.  I will make mistakes.  There will be days that Emberlynn doesn't feel like I've earned a sticker.  Those days will be teaching moments for our family.  We will learn from them and move on.  We will trust that God is in control.