Coming Up For Air

In this house

we do dishes, yes…

Dishwasher Boy

But we also do wild.  Unorthodox.

We do mistakes.

We do second chances.

And third.

And four hundred and seventy-ninth.

*thankfully*

We do silly.

We do laughter.

We do real.

We do tomfoolery.

{and plenty more mistakes}

We do “I’m sorry’s”.

{A lot of “I’m sorry’s”}

We do loud.

We do long hugs.

Lots of sweet kisses.

We do grace.

We do family.

We do us.

Perfect imperfection.

 

It has been a tough parenting day.  One of ‘those’ days.

Actually it’s been a rough week.  Ever since returning from our anniversary getaway, we’ve been dealing with incredibly unpleasant {see…I’m choosing my words wisely} behavior in my daughter; over-the-top whining and drama about every little thing, constant boundary-pushing, mega attitude and rudeness like we’ve not experienced from her before.

And today, I fell apart at the seams.

And it was the furthest thing from pretty.  It was downright scary.

I failed miserably, shouting – in the heat of the moment; where utter exhaustion and intense furry collide – with such anger in my voice that my heart ached with regret as the dagger-like reprimands left my mouth.

Sure, she was wrong in behaving the way she did.

But now, so was I.  My immature, impulsive handling of her behavior simply added fuel to the fire.

I get to choose: water or fuel. Today I grabbed the fuel.

It was one of the most ferocious crazy cycles we’ve ever been caught in, her and I.

I modeled such poor anger-management skills today that it breaks my heart to think about.  The very heart attitude we are working to mold and transform in her was so starkly, blatantly revealed within me..and found wanting.

One of the hardest parts for me to swallow is this: I never was an angry person before this season of my life.  Where is all this rage coming from?  In 7 years of marriage, I have never spoken to my husband in the harsh, unkind way I did to my daughter today.  I have become a yeller.  And I hate it.

Maybe it’s simply that I was good at stuffing…and my toddler is good at digging.

Immature outbursts drenched in selfishness & impatience: 2

Tenderly delivered, grace-filled lessons in {tough} love: 0

And despite {many} apologies, my heart is still heavy.

What a horrible, ugly side of my heart emerged today.  And my 3 1/2 year old, tender-hearted little girl, had a front seat.

Oh, how desperately in need of saving I still am.

How deeply I need accountability in the way I process my weary frustration in mothering toddlers.  How vitalsupport and friendship is to surviving this rollercoaster ride of parenthood.

How very grateful I am for God’s incredible patience with me.  His ever-present mercy, grace and direction on this journey.  His faithful protection of my daughter’s impressionable heart.

So I press on.

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.”

Lamentations 3:23-23 {The Message

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

What’s Your Worth?

Is your child perfect? I’m betting not. I’d like to think my children are perfect but there have been so many times when their behavior hasn’t measured up to what I’ve expected of them. Maybe they were too shy in a social setting and didn’t participate. Maybe someone asked them something or invited them to join in on something and they said, “no.” Maybe it was in a restaurant when they just didn’t sit still or they spilled something numerous times causing me embarrassment. Or they said something really loud causing everyone’s heads to turn in our direction.

We’ve all had those moments. For our children are in training. They certainly don’t know how to be perfect and even though we know we shouldn’t expect them to be – we do. We can get so uptight when they behave in ways that shocks or embarrasses us! Have you ever wondered why that is?

I heard someone say that we get so upset by our children’s less-than-perfect behavior at times because we feel it’s a reflection on us. We tend to build our self-worth based on our children’s behavior.

Do you realize that God loves you regardless of the fact that your children don’t always behave? He doesn’t “rate” us based on how perfect our kids look or act. He loves us unconditionally. He loved us before we were parents and He will love us after we are parents, just as we love our children unconditionally.

Of course we need to teach and instruct our children. We need to show them how to respect others and take care of themselves. We can share with them about how and why a certain response or situation may not have been the best choice on their part. But we need to free ourselves up from expecting them to be perfect. We need to pray for them, love them, and guide them – leaving the rest up to God.

Our children’s behavior up to a point – IS a reflection on us and our parenting skills. But it does not dictate our worth or value. God has said we are valuable and He does not base that on performance.

Maybe if we can remind ourselves of this, we can ease up on expecting so much out of our children (and ourselves) and let them be free to make mistakes and learn in life. God’s love will be there as they do… every step of the way.

~Dionna Sanchez is Founder of the EmphasisOnMoms.com ministry. Visit today to sign up for her monthly publication full of encouragement for moms.

Get Rid of the World View

The world seems to be shouting at women that if you make the choice to stay home with your family and raise your children that you will be “missing out” on real life.  Sometimes mothers can be made to feel like they are “less than” a real person because they don’t have a job that society feels is a successful position.  Even if you don’t agree with this kind of mentality; living in the world we do, we can still be made to feel a little less than valued.
 
We’ve heard it before but I’m here to remind you that you ARE valued. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to impact a whole generation.  And even if you have to work or you choose to work, you can still proudly tell people that you are a mother and that your kids are a priority in your life.  I know that balancing a job and taking care of a home must be so brutal. It’s a juggling act that can leave any sane person feeling stretched, to say the least. The corporate world does not value the time a mom puts in at home. They don’t understand the investment that needs to be made into the family.
 
It seems as if sometimes we see kids as a deterrent. They pull on us when we’re doing all we can to work and be there for them; they sidetrack us when we give up everything to raise them.  But I’m here to tell you that kids are NOT a deterrent. They are a blessing.

Children will be able to teach you more about yourself, your values and your worldviews than any corporate job ever could. And children can teach you to dream again when you think you’ve given up on your own. They are a built-in blessing that God has given each one of us.
 
No matter how the world views mothers or thinks that women are “missing out” on life when they choose to spend time with their families; they are wrong. It’s good to remember that.

~ Dionna Sanchez

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

Manic Mother

Since when is “busy” better? I’ve wondered that often the past few years. It seems that life seems to barrel out of control and we let it.  We let the schools tell us that we need to contribute this, volunteer here, give to this, etc. We add church functions to our schedule, sports activities to our schedule and say “yes” to way too many things. Heaven forbid we should sit at home without the telephone ringing asking for our help! Why then, we might be considered boring or unwanted! No, we feel that we need to be running here and there, and pretty much – just plain running everywhere. When we aren’t running to some activity, function, or appointment, we are running in our heads with to-do lists galore.
 
It’s good to be active and involved in life – with boundaries and limitations. My concern is when I just see mothers active and involved without boundaries and limitations. They may be the most “talked-to” women at the school or church, but where are their children? Who is taking care of them? Who is investing their hearts into them? If they are with their moms usually I see them clamoring for attention and being hushed repeatedly, or running off independently on their own without proper respect or obedience being given the parent in the least. But they are independent because in a way, they’ve had to be. Mom is always busy baking for this event, helping decorate for this function, or planning this activity.  And the family suffers for it.  All in the name of image.
 
Moms – slow down. We need to be wise in what activities and functions we allow into our lives and our homes. Society doesn’t encourage restraint and rest. But we need to recognize that so that it doesn’t have a hold over us.  Not everything is to the benefit or growth of our family. And certainly not everything creates a strong family bond. In fact, some things only tear and rip those bonds making them very fragile, indeed.
 
Our families should be our #1 ministry. Not the church bake sale, the school PTA, or Girl Scouts. As great as each one of those activities are, they are worthless and they are harmful if we can’t first take care of our families physical and emotional needs before attending to the needs of the organization or ministry calling for our attention.

A “manic mom” is never a good thing for a family. Take some time to figure out if you’ve let well-meaning friends and activities take up too much of your time and emotions. Study how much time you put into those “things” and how much time you have left to be a mom, wife, and Godly woman and example in your own home.
 
It’s never too late to make a change.

~ Dionna Sanchez

http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com

Are You Listening?

 
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27
We have a new family member, Jack, a Jack Russell Terrier. Jack is a sweetie pie, cute as a button, the total opposite of Zeke. Jack loves to hunt, he has a field day in our yard running from tree to tree chasing whatever it is that he is chasing. He plays keep away with Zeke, they chase each other around the house, each one trying to keep the ball or stuffed animal away from the other. Jack has never had an accident, he’s not chewed up anything except chew toys. He’s a good dog. But Jack does not listen to me.

I can be calling his name and he’s so focused in on what he’s doing … he totally ignores me. I have to actually go over to him and pick him up for him to stop doing what he’s doing and look at me. Jack does not hear my voice.

Zeke, on the other hand, who has been my best buddy for over five years always hears my voice. Even when I don’t want him to hear me, he does. I cannot say one word without Zeke being at my side. Sometimes I don’t have to even speak, I can just look at him and he’ll come over and lay his head on me. Zeke loves me, he listens for my voice and the second he hears it, he responds.

Sometimes I act like Jack, with God. I am so busy running around doing my thing, I don’t hear His gentle whisperings. He literally has to put a wall up in front of me for me to stop what I am doing and listen.

I want to be more like Zeke in my walk with Jesus. I want to hear His voice, whatever I’m doing – where ever I’m doing it. I want to stay attuned to His call.

I want to be part of His flock. I want to follow HIM.

IMG_0753

Father, thank you for allowing me to see this example so clearly. Teach me Lord Jesus, how to hear your voice, no matter what the circumstance.

I Love You Jesus!
In Your Name I Pray,
Amen

God’s Blessing Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

chiliMillion Copy Give-Away.
    Will You Help?

http://www.alifedecision.org

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…
   it’s about learning to dance in the rain!

When The Parent Feels Like a Child

My daughter fainted at school on Monday. We are not quite sure yet why it happened. I know that she is in God’s hands and I have faith in Him even though I fear for her. I am trying not to panic.

It’s hard as a parent when you know you are the one who is turned to for guidance and strength and support. Yet sometimes we feel so small and weak, don’t we? There are times when we don’t have all of the answers and we just wish that someone would wrap their arms around us, tell us it will be okay, and take care of things for us.

My husband leaves in a little over a week for a month long stay in Africa. I am supposed to be strong here at home. Take care of everything, provide for my girls, offer them safety and security – while daddy is far away. Yet I don’t, and won’t, feel safe and secure the whole time. I will miss the security he provides in our home. I will have questions about decisions that need to be made in his absence and I will feel like crying at times out of exhaustion and longing.

What do we do in times like these when we feel like a small child? We are supposed to be the adults. Regardless of how old we are, how much experience we have “lived” in life, or how mature we are – we all feel insecure and inept at times. We all desire to have our problems, fears, and issues placed in hands stronger, more wise, and trustworthy than our own.

I know that I have a Heavenly Father who is all of these things and more to me. He doesn’t laugh at me for feeling fearful. He doesn’t scorn me for not acting my age, or for getting emotional at times. He is simply there for me with His open arms, His gentle words, and His guiding strength. I never have to navigate through my challenges and trials alone. And I’m so glad. Because there are those weak or overwhelming moments in my life where I just don’t know what to do. It is in these moments, that I call out to God and ask Him to be real to me – to reach down to me – and to take care of me.

Do you know what? He always does. Maybe not in the way I would have imagined or hoped. But He has never failed me. Not once.

We don’t have to have it all together. We don’t have to know all of the answers. We don’t have to be super strong all of the time. We can be real and transparent with God – sharing our fears, our failures, our hurts, and our disappointments with Him. That’s what He’s there for.

When we can lay down our pride long enough to realize we need Him, I think we will find the strength, peace, contentment, and hope that we search for as a parent.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Note: This post was written a few years ago. Thankfully, my daughter was determined to be okay.

~ Dionna Sanchez is vulnerable with her life so that in some way, she can help and encourage others. You can read more about her on her blog at: http://emphasisonmoms.blogspot.com

I’m Spending My Time

making-peach-crispHow do we spend the bulk of our time?

There are lots of things we love to do. For one person it might be gardening, golfing, decorating. Still another may love to spend hours reading, puttering around their house, or sewing. There is so much to do – scrapbooking, cooking and baking, collecting things, writing, etc.

Whatever it is we love to do – do we spend hours and hours of our time investing in getting it done – to use for the Lord? Or do we spend hours and hours of our time doing something just to have it done for our own satisfaction? You see, I’ve been thinking about why we are here on earth, what we are to do with our time, and what we can take to heaven with us. And it seems to me that God wants us to spend the bulk of our time either growing and learning more about Him, or sharing His love with others so He is glorified.

I know we all have hobbies, interests, to-do lists, etc. And I think we will always spend some of our time devoted to tasks, projects, and hobbies that may have no eternal value whatsoever. But it’s the bulk of our time that we should analyze. If we love to garden – that’s great. But then what do we do with it when it’s done? Do we donate produce to the church? Do we give flowers to the sick, lonely, and needy? Or do we just enjoy it for our own pleasure?

Almost everything we do and are interested in, can somehow be used for the Lord.

I am on the computer a great deal. I am constantly trying to reavaluate the time I spend on it and asking God to help me purge what needs to be purged so that I don’t waste hours and hours of my time when I have a family that needs and wants me with them. BUT — I can honestly say that most of my time on the computer is used for the Lord. It is the Mission Field He has called me to at this point in my life. And if a lot of my time is spent there – then it’s because I am willing and wanting to continue to let God use me to bring others to Him. And I think that’s okay. I think it’s more than okay.

Everyone has a different calling on their life and a different “mission” where God can use them. For you, maybe your mission field is working in the public school system. Maybe God has called you to leave your family and friends and serve Him in Chile or Germany. Maybe God simply has chosen to use you in a way no one else can be used by working through you at your local hair salon, or through your gifts of baking for others. For me – God has called me to the Mission Field of the Internet right now.

Whatever it is that you enjoy doing….wherever you spend your time – please make sure you aren’t simply doing it for yourself. Keep your ear tilted to what God is trying to tell you and ask of you. Be willing to open yourself up for HIS plans for your life. Allow your hard work and dedication to be vulnerable and open as God uses it to bring others to Him.

You see, we can spend hours and hours of our time carving, crafting, sculpting, cleaning, molding, or embellishing something — but if we don’t turn back around and allow it to be used for the Lord – we’ve merely wasted time.

It’s okay to enjoy video games, crafts, movies, and the what-not. Let’s just make sure that those things stay as periodic enjoyments from time to time – and never end up being focuses of our whole attention and time. Those areas need to stay open to be available for God to use whenever He chooses.

We are who we are for reasons. Allow God to use your natural “bents”….. your time will never be wasted, if you do.

~ Dionna Sanchez is the Founder of the Emphasis On Moms Ministry at http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com – you can also visit her parenting blog at http://influencinglives.blogspot.com

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