Our Own Reflection

Many moms can become lonely. Friendships can be hard to keep up when your families’ needs come first. It is a wise woman who knows this. Yet even though we may know that sometimes our wishes and desires have to be put off, that doesn’t mean we feel any less lonely at times. It doesn’t mean that our hearts don’t yearn for some good girlfriends who can understand our soul.

Just as our children need good friends in their lives to walk alongside them, encourage them, and be strong for them during those times when they aren’t feeling so strong – so also, do we as adult women need this in our lives. In fact, just when we may need this the most (when we become mothers) is when it becomes the toughest to cultivate.

So, what do we do? What do you do when you feel like there is no extra time in the day to get together with another woman for lunch? What do you do if you are having a hard time making friends who you feel truly care about you and your family? What do you do when you feel really lonely for women friendships?

I have been on both ends of this spectrum. I’ve been thankful – most of my life – to have been able to easily make and keep friends wherever I’ve lived. I always thrived with girlfriends in my life to help teach me things about myself, to encourage me, and to just be a sounding board at times. Yet, I also hit what I call a “desert” period in my life with friendships. I’ve had close friends leave my life and holes have been left that created quite a deep loneliness in my heart. It was a new feeling for me.

As lonely as this time has been, God taught me some special truths through it that I wouldn’t have learned had I been filling my heart and mind with only the words from the mouths of friends. Instead, I was forced to go straight to the mouth of God for what He thought of me, what He wanted of me, and how He would help me. I learned that it is good to have no one to depend on at times other than my Lord. For so often we can let others fill His shoes in our life when that is not their place. And oftentimes we can lose a little bit of what makes us unique if we are in the company of women who are stronger, or more verbal than we are. But with God – all He shows us is our own reflection. It may not be one we want to see at times, or it may be just exactly what we need to see to encourage us to move onward. But it is pure, it is authentic, and it is full of love for us and our future.

Nothing can ever take the place of earthly friendships. As women, we are social beings and we were created that way on purpose. God knows we need friends. But if you find yourself in-between friendships, or maybe in a position where you’ve been praying for years for sweet, Godly friends to enter into your life – then be encouraged. I believe they will come for each one of us in God’s perfect timing. Until then, know that you have the best friend of all who is right there beside you. He wants you to unload your daily heartaches and burdens on His shoulders, share your dreams and hurts, ask Him His thoughts and perspective, and He wants to be able to encourage you and show you just how beautiful and lovely you truly are. He wants to show you what HE sees in you so that you can blossom as a woman.

You can have a very special friendship with Him that will help hold you together until those women come. And you will find that even when they do, God will be the first person that you turn to with all those thoughts and feelings that you’d normally run to a girlfriend with. She’ll still be there to hear them – but they will be filtered with the wisdom, grace, love, and devotion of your Heavenly Father. The best friend a woman could ever have.

 

 

~ Dionna Sanchez

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

The Trap of Comparisons

Comparisons. They kill us. They kill us because they damage our self-worth. One day we might think we are doing pretty well at something but we can always find someone who is doing better and then that wounds our pride and our self esteem.

God tells us to do “everything to the glory of God.” What does that mean? To me, it means that I need to write my articles to the glory of God. I need to write the best I can. The best I can. It would be unfair of me to expect an article to come from me that is the equivalent of an article from someone who has been writing for 35 years and is a best selling author. But I can write an excellent article just the same.

To do everything to the glory of God means that I need to take care of my home the best that I can and give it to the Lord. It doesn’t mean that my home has to be immaculate with designer cushions and name brand furniture. It doesn’t mean that I have to live in a large house in a fine neighborhood. It simply means that I need to live in my house thankfully and take care of it to the best of my abilities giving all that I have to the glory of the Lord!

You see how we can twist things so easily? Simply by comparing our lives, our looks, our things – with those of others? It is a great tactic used by Satan to push us backwards, hold us down, and get us to feel sorry for ourselves. And it works.

I think that women naturally are curious. We naturally check each other out. We watch what other women wear, where they go to shop or eat, what they put in their homes, etc. And then if we admire them – we think that in order to be admired, we too, must adopt those standards. But we are not always necessarily correct. And we do a huge disservice to ourselves and our families to place our lives on a rotation of comparison. For instead of living our lives out the way that God intended us to, with our own personalities, set of skills, desires, gifts, and direction – we relegate our lives to mere trends. Someone new will always come in who has something different to bring to the plate. We will always be changing what we think and want when we offer ourselves up to comparisons. Because we will always fall short in our minds. And if we don’t, then we might think greater of ourselves than we ought.

If I can do everything to the glory of God – if I can be all that I can be for the glory of God – it takes me out of the equation. It puts the emphasis on God where it belongs. I can be happier, more satisfied, and more fulfilled allowing Him to work through me instead of me trying to do all of the work myself and expecting myself to live up to standards that He never set for me.

Comparisons are a trap. They simply set us up to fall because we rate who we are as people and compare that with someone else. It will never be fair.

Let’s leave the comparisons behind and start embracing who we are and who God has placed around us. Let’s enjoy the gifts that He has given those who inspire us and thank Him for those blessings instead of coveting them. And let’s allow our own hearts and world to be opened up for Him to bless us in the ways that He chooses – even if it’s not the way in which we would have preferred.
~ Dionna Sanchez/Founder: http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com

 

Making Decisions Under Stress

Women are emotional by nature. That’s not a bad thing. God created us that way. Our emotions come from the passions we feel so strongly about. It’s kind of like a well that is so full of water that it can’t help but spill out. That’s us.

Normally, I’d be a staunch supporter of encouraging women to not be ashamed of their emotions. We need to feel comfortable in crying when we feel like crying and giggling when we feel full of joy. But there is one area in life that we need to be careful of in letting our emotions pour out and over – and that is the area of making a decision.

Decisions are things that take a lot of thought, research, prayer, and advice at times. They need to be weighed in the proper lighting with perspective and discernment so that we can feel peace about the choice we make regarding that certain issue, circumstance, or challenge facing us. We need to be so careful when we are feeling our emotions full throttle. Making a decision when we are emotional can be damaging not just to ourselves but also to others for oftentimes we can react rather than responding in a thought-out, methodical manner.

We’ve all seen it (or even done it). We see that mom who storms in somewhere on behalf of her child and yells at the teacher or person in charge when she could have let the matter settle in her heart for awhile instead of reacting in the heat of her emotion. How about buying something when we are upset and later regretting that purchase? Yes, we can make rash decisions when we are emotional.

Stress does a lot of things to people. It makes them panic, angry, and it can make you feel like you need to take action immediately. But sometimes it takes getting away from a situation temporarily, or letting the dust settle a little to be able to objectively look at something enough to handle it in a mature and wise manner.

I think we will find that if we make decisions under stressful circumstances that it is much harder to feel confident about the choice we make. And I realize that it’s not always possible to think about something for a long period of time before a decision is required. I’ve found that in these situations, it’s often good to take a brief “getaway” if for nothing than my mental state. Go to a movie for 2 hours, play a game with your kids, bake some cookies – anything to calm your heart and mind and allow some clear thinking to invade those high-strung stressful emotions. And of course, always, always pray and ask God for His help and guidance.

Women’s emotions can be a beautiful thing. They showcase a tender, passionate heart for those she loves. We just need a little reminder to tame those emotions once in awhile. Believe me, when all is said and done, you will be so glad you did.

~ Dionna Sanchez is a freelance writer and Founder of the Emphasis On Moms Ministry.
You may email her at madetomom@yahoo.com

All I Have To Be

I go through cycles and phases in life where I feel really “uncool.” It might be that I feel left out of a “cool” group of friends, or I don’t understand why a really good blog post doesn’t get any comments when someone else’s page gets 20 comments a day. Why do they like her and not me – I think? So I try harder to be what I deem “likeable.”

It occurs to me today how I have lived most of my life wanting people to like me. I know most all of us do want others to like us. But I have that inner need that compels me and propels me. I can’t stand it when I feel like someone doesn’t like me. It makes me want to get them to like me and to prove to them (and maybe myself) that they were wrong about me. I am not unlikeable!

Words cannot express how my heart feels knowing that I tend to be like this. I am saddened that I have let myself be gripped by something so much. I am learning that it’s okay if people don’t like me. I may not like it, it may even sadden my heart – but I’m learning to deal and live with it. You know what? Not everyone liked Jesus when He walked the earth, and not everyone likes Him today. I know it saddens His heart, just as it saddens mine. But He can handle it.

As I learn how to have my own voice in life more and more; as I grow into my own skin and realize my purpose in life, my gifts and strengths, as well as my flaws – I’m going to have to learn how to deal with others who won’t agree with everything about me. I may love one part of my life to a passion, where someone else cannot relate to it at all. It does not mean I’m unlikeable.

There is an old song by Amy Grant called “All I Have To Be.” There is a part in the song that says,

“The more I try to be the best,
the more I get the worst
And I realize the good in me
Is only there because of who you are.

All I ever have to be
Is what you’ve made me
Any more or less
Would be a step out of your plan.”

This is my heart’s desire. I want to remember that all I have to be is who God made me to be. Nothing more and nothing less. What the world makes of who I am is their choice. As long as I’m living for my Lord I can carry the knowledge with me that not only am I likeable but I am loveable – so much so that God created me just to enjoy me.

I’m just trying to be real. This is who I am. God has no more expectations of me so I shouldn’t put any on myself. There may be days where someone doesn’t choose me to do something with him or her or I am forgotten by someone else. I may not have the most popular blog or move everyone with the words that I write – but it’s okay. I am learning it’s okay. It’s what I carry in my heart and live out in my life that truly matters.

This is all I need to be.
~ Dionna Sanchez

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

Shot Down

Have you ever tried to lovingly give someone support and advice only to feel like every time you do you’re “shot down” cold? I’ve felt that way and it’s very frustrating.  Not that I think I always know it all or that they should take my advice, but just that it would be nice to have them acknowledge the fact that I’m listening to them, that I care, and I’m trying to help in some way.
 
I don’t think people even always realize that they don’t listen to others. I think they just don’t like to give the appearance that they are helpless or maybe they don’t want to tell themselves that someone else might know how to solve what is going on and they aren’t ready for that conclusion or answer. Sometimes maybe someone else doesn’t even have an answer – they just want to show that they care. Yet, the individual who is hurting or feeling frustrated doesn’t realize that they fail to accept that comfort when it is offered.
 
It can hurt. Trying to help others who are hurting can hurt when you feel like they just want to vent but when you reach open your arms they always turn away.
 
I haven’t figured out what to do when this happens. All I know is that the love that I felt in the first place has to count for something. And when I feel like someone closes their heart off to me, I go to the Lord and ask Him to help the love in my heart only increase. I don’t want to let bitterness or hurt feelings on my part overcome the good intentions and compassion that I had for the other person in the first place!
 
I think being “shot down” by someone whom you are genuinely trying to listen, understand, and support will always hurt. But if you can bandage yourself up and keep going – those wounds can turn into reminders of what can happen to hurts that are left unhealed. They fester. And sometimes hurting people hurt people. They strike out in order to protect themselves. Maybe they feel like they said too much and so they go on the defensive because they don’t want to appear vulnerable. I don’t know. All I know is that I’ve been in the line of fire many times.
 
We all need to be heard. We all want others to understand our hurts and to care. We just need to be careful about seeking help and then withdrawing it just at the exact moment when help is being offered to us.
 
~ Dionna Sanchez is the Owner of the Emphasis On Moms Ministry at http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com

Freedom From Control

We think we control our schedules and our days. But we’re wrong. God controls them. He’s in charge of everything. Our coming and our going. He’s in control when we’re sick, when we’re out doing errands and even when something shifts in our day that we are unable to avoid. He’s in control of it all.

And today God spoke to my heart while I was whining in my head about it all. He reminded me that I’m not in control even though I pretend to be.

I guess it’s good for me to have to relinquish control. It makes me have to rely on someone other than myself. It makes me have to adapt and change my thoughts, my plans, and my intentions. And if I didn’t have to do that I might become very rigid in MY set ways instead of consulting God about it all. I might forget to let Him direct my paths instead of directing them myself.

I know that God is teaching me something and ultimately, it will be for my benefit. He’s a much better director than I could ever be so I need to trust in the pages He’s written out for me. It might take some extra adjustments getting my pride to bend and mold, but I know He’ll work on me till it’s done. And only then will I truly find the freedom I crave.

~ Dionna Sanchez is Founder of the EmphasisOnMoms.com Ministry

Wake Up

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
James 5:19,20

I fell back asleep the other morning. I couldn’t help it. It was cool out and my bed was cozy. I just didn’t want to wake up. So I shut off my alarm and laid my head down, for just a minute. The next thing I knew, Chase was shaking me and saying, “Wake up Mom. I don’t want to miss the bus.”

I have Carson to get to school after Chase and if I were to miss Chase’s bus and drive him to school, it would start a whole chain of negative reactions and my day would not go so well.

But because Chase woke me out of my sleep, all was well here at the Schneider home this morning. Breakfast was eaten … lunches packed … book bags filled. Time to spare … no stress … no pain.

I was thinking about how sometimes we doze off in our relationship with God. We don’t mean to … but life, as we know it, is comfortable for us and we don’t want to step out of that zone.

It starts out as simply missing a Sunday or two, but then it becomes so cozy relaxing at home on Sunday mornings and there is preaching on the TV, we don’t really need to go to church. And that is true. Going to church doesn’t make us right or wrong with God. It’s what’s in our heart. But God’s Word tells us to not neglect the fellowship of the brethren. We need to hang out with other Believers, for support and encouragement.

Then we start having a couple of drinks on Saturday night, cause we aren’t getting up early for church, so it will be okay. Then we start going out with our friends to the bars, it won’t hurt to go have some fun, we’re just dancing. And we start flirting with someone and the next thing we know, we’re in the midst of an affair or we’re caught up in drugs or alcohol or surfing porn sites on the Internet.

Or maybe nothing quite so dramatic … maybe we just start to withdrawal into ourselves, caught up in that web of depression that never seems to let go of us. Or maybe we keep ourselves so busy with work or our kids or _____, that we just don’t have time for God anymore.

Regardless of the situation, the result becomes the same, God is not in the picture, he’s not a part of our lives.

Then one of our good friends comes along and says, “Hey … wake up. What are you doing?”

And we stop and take a look at our lives. We realize the mistakes we made, and we get down on our knees and ask God to forgive us. Then we move forward … with Him!

Father, thank you for the amazing grace that you offer to us. If we confess our sins, you are faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thank you Lord for loving us, so very much.

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

God Bless You!

Love,
Joyce
The Choices You Make Today
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

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