Are You Feeling Invisible?

Years ago when my children were young, I came across something that resonated with me as a mom. At that point in my life I had some extremely difficult and discouraging relationships that involved people who seemed to enjoy making me feel tiny. I felt unwanted and unneeded. I believed I would never be good enough and that my life and efforts were worth nothing.

Awful isn’t it?

The reality is that there are so many women who live there. In a place of despair and worthlessness. They truly believe that they mean nothing to anyone and that if they disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow, not one person would notice.

I have goose bumps just describing it. Those years are so far gone in my life, but I will never forget what they felt like. I lived there. Everyday I felt this way.

If you are there and you know what I am talking about, I am so sorry. My heart aches for you. I just want to take a moment to let you know that you are so wanted and so visible by a God who knows you better than anyone. He created you! He knew exactly what He was doing when you were made. No matter what anyone here on earth tells you, there is a loving God who is waiting for you to find your self-worth in Him. You are valued at a high price. You are precious. Seek Him and His comforting arms. He is the only one who can give you peace. I promise.

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If you struggle with this feeling of being invisible, I have something for you! As I said earlier, I found this during a very dark time in my life. It helped me to understand that I was not invisible! Someone saw me. He noticed me. He loved me. I pray that this encourages you as much as it encouraged me.

The Invisible Woman by Nicole Johnson

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I Made It!

I had all of my children pretty close in age. There was never more than 20 months between any of my trips to birthing center.

And I love that my children are that close in age.

But…

It was not easy when they were younger. Having several children in diapers, some crawling or walking for the first time, another learning to talk and ask a million questions, yet another potty training and ALL of them needing your attention right this instant!!!! It is easy to understand how overwhelming being a mother with young children can be. Heck even one child can be a hand full. That is why God gives them to you one at a time…unless you have multiples. To that I say God must think you are awesome! I might have gone nuts if I had more than one at a time. I give you props.

I remember going out into public, usually the grocery store or church, and older women would flock to me. I mean it. They really did. Sometimes I felt like we were a traveling circus. The funny thing was, all of them said the same thing…

                       I know it is hard to imagine now, but someday they will be older and it will get easier…and you will miss this age.

I am being honest when I say I thought they were crazy. I would look at my kids (one in the baby carrier crying, one chewing on the block of cheese still in the package and sitting on the bread in the cart, one lying on the bottom of the cart and the oldest who would be furiously rearranging the canned goods on the bottom shelves) and I would think “Are you serious! I cannot wait until they are older and things are not so crazy!”

Well, they did get older. I remember the day I took my youngest to her kindergarten screening. I realized on the way there that I had made it. I had officially survived having four children at home until it was time for them to go to school all day. I laughed. I remembered all the women over the years and what they had said and I wondered if I would miss those days.

Well, I am here to tell you I do. I miss them so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love every new adventure my children are taking me on.  Sometimes though, I look at my son and wonder where my baby boy went and how did he get so tall? When the girls ask for help doing their hair I jump at the chance. I don’t get to do it that often anymore. I look at all my children and am bewildered as to where all the time has gone.

So precious mother of young children, please know this:

You are going to make it!

I promise. Please try to enjoy the chaos and the constant giving. Someday they will not need as much hands on mothering. One day they will be able to wear your shoes. Eventually they will be helping you with dishes and laundry and cooking meals.  Then you will look at them and wonder where those years went. Enjoy them while they last.

I Needed This

Have you ever had something you had been thinking about and it was just taking over your mind with worry?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been stressing about what we will do as far as childcare and my full time work status when we have another baby in a couple of years. My mind has been so bogged down with worry that it feels like it is crowding out my joy. I was home with my four children until the youngest was over a year old. I have never taken an infant to daycare while I go to work for 40 hours a week.

I think about this at times and  tell myself…I can’t do it. I start to panic as a million questions race through my mind. I get worked up into a frustrated tangled mess. Most days I pray about it and realize that it is still far off and I need to “Let Go and Let God”, as the saying goes.

Today has been one of those days….and I have been trying all day to shake the uncertainty and settle down. But it has not worked. It has been biting at the back of my mind all day.

Until I saw this…

Now, it may not make sense to you, but this video is just what I needed to see. Her testimony. I have been praying about and researching ideas for businesses for awhile.  I have some ideas that I believe God is wanting me to pursue. Things are not written in stone, but the story of her faith and stepping out to do what God called her to do is just what I needed right now. I am not 100% sure of the exact path that God has for me, but I know He has a plan. I just need to trust Him.

 

Couscous and Cabbage Creation

For awhile now I have been more and more concerned with my family’s nutrition.  I have watched extended family members struggle with their health for years. My own waistline is not what it should be. Let’s face it…

I am not getting any younger. 😉

My energy is not always what I want it to be. With our decision to try for a baby in a few years, the last thing I want to be is unhealthy going into a pregnancy with a mid to upper thirties body. My husband and I are hoping for a successful VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), possibly even a HVBAC (Home Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). According to all of our research, one of the biggest things we can do to make sure this is possible is to make sure I am in great shape physically and have a balanced diet before and during pregnancy.

I also want to be intentional with the eating habits my children are learning from me. When they grow up they will carry these habits into their adult lives. When they have children, these habits will influence how they choose to feed their families. This is a responsibility I take very seriously.

Now to the point of this long winded story. The other day we were getting a little low on groceries and I was trying to come up with something to go with a pork roast that had been in the crock pot all day. I pulled out cabbage that I had prepped and frozen several weeks ago. I love boiled cabbage, so I put it into a pot with some water to boil.

Now, I might love boiled cabbage, but for everyone else except one of the kids, they are not big fans. So I have to make it more appealing to them. I started looking through the cupboards and pulling things out to put in with it. Couscous, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of black beans, some garlic and seasonings. Now this may not be all of what was in there but this is what I remember. (I made this last week. I know, I should have written it down and taken pictures to post. I am hoping to get better at this blogging thing.)

When I served this I told them that they should shred the meat on their plates and put it in with the cabbage creation and it would be really good. Not everyone loved it. I had one daughter who only ate what I gave her and did not go back for more, but there was not much left over.

That is a WIN in my book.

My family is continuing to adjust to eating much more vegetables and all around healthier meals. It is good for them and myself. This is one of the ways I demonstrate love towards them. I know that this is a really good thing…for all of us.

Violin Nails

I remember in high school, realizing  that my life was gaining more momentum. Days were going by faster. The school year was over quicker every year. The summers passed in the blink of an eye. Graduation came and went.  I settled into the routine of being an adult and all that came with it. Life was normal and uneventful …yet still moving fast.

Then October of 2002 came. I became a mother. My oldest daughter was born. Life did not slow down but seemed to accelerate.  Fast forward to 2015 and my oldest …

She stopped me in my tracks.

She was twelve and getting close to being a teenager. I discovered my fear of her growing up. I am not sure exactly when this happened. I remember several times, her catching me staring at her. I would be walking through the house to go do something and I would see her out of the corner of my eye. I’d look at her and stand still, unable to stop staring at her.  Her expressions. The way she looks when she is totally lost in a book and can’t wait to turn the page. How she dances to music like she doesn’t care if anyone is watching. If there is no music, she will sing and not care who hears her.

I started to grasp the concept of her growing up to be a young lady.

At first I was so fearful. I thought back to my teenage years and all the mistakes I had made. I desperately wanted to protect her from making the same mistakes. Memories of my failures and wrong turns during my teen years started to rear their ugly head. I even had some nightmares about her making awful decisions and getting hurt. I could hardly even look at her without crying.  It was awful.

Why?

Control

I realized that she was growing older and more mature. With that comes more responsibility and making her own choices…and mistakes. This terrified me. I wanted her to always be in the safety of our home so we could protect her. My heart ached at the thought of her hurting in any way. I was not trusting God to watch over her at all. I wanted to be the one to protect her.

I became so emotional about it over the course of a few weeks that one day my husband said we needed to talk.  He sat down with me and told me that he understood my fears. He worries about the kids too. He also explained that she needed me to not be so afraid. She needed me to celebrate her milestones with her instead of bawling my eyes out every time something new came up. She was beginning to worry about sharing things that were happening in her life because she didn’t want to see me cry. She did not want to hurt me…

Wait! WHAT?

NO! I wanted her to share everything with me. I didn’t want to miss anything.

My husband let me cry it out and helped me to admit that I needed to let go of my fears. We would be there for the good times and any bad that may come along. God is the one in control. Not us. He prayed for me and encouraged me to just enjoy all of the milestones.

A few weeks later she learned how to knee board for the first time. I still remember the expression on her face. Once she got up onto her knees and had steadied herself, she looked unsure for just a second. Then she realized she was up and knee boarding.  I will cherish the joy that spread over her face forever.

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And I was there to see it. What a gift. I screamed and yelled from the boat with excitement. I gave her a thumbs up and yelled “She did it!” I turned and signaled to my husband who was on the jet ski with our son, ready to help her out of the water when she let go of the rope. He smiled and returned the thumbs up.

That moment was so precious. Knee boarding is something my siblings and I did when we were kids. We had a blast. It meant so much to me that she was getting to experience something that I loved so much at her age.

I still worry. I am a mom. It is part of my job. But I am not overcome by fear to the point that it stops me from enjoying her. I am so glad that my husband stepped in and helped me overcome this fear. I am so blessed that he took the time to pray with me about this.

Fast forward a little further to 2016. She is in private violin lessons now. She was chosen to perform in the Honors Orchestra for her district. She played in a beautiful theater in front of a large crowd of people. I enjoyed every minute of her performance. She was at the front of the stage, so for the first time I could actually see her playing.

I did cry. Not because she was growing up, but because in that moment I was so moved by her and the music. I was mesmerized watching her fingers and bow move. It was lovely. She looked like a young woman. And I was present. I was fully there, enjoying her and taking it all in. Not worrying or fretting.

I was there and I loved it.

I am so thankful.

The other night she asked for help with cutting her nails. She has cut them too far back before and likes for me to do it. At thirteen years old there are not many things she needs me to do for her. So I actually look forward to moments like these.

She brought me the clippers and as I was clipping her nails she explained what the funny little indents were on some of them. She said “Mom, it is from playing my violin so much.”

I thought about the concert and watching her play. About taking her to lessons and hearing her practice at home. It warmed my heart to see those indents on her nails. They were a sign of hours of hard work and discipline every week. I am so proud of her. She is becoming such a beautiful young woman, inside and out.

Do you struggle with fear when it comes to your kids?

I get it. I really do. But I know now that they do grow up. And they do make their own choices. Some will be the right ones and some will be the wrong ones. We cannot have control over all of their decisions forever.

What we do have control over is being intentional with our parenting. Loving them deeply. Making memories. Teaching them to love Jesus. Showing them right and wrong. But most importantly, helping them learn to discern the voice of God and learning to listen to Him. So He can point them down His best path for them…and they will go where He wants them to.

If you are struggling with fear over your children, spend time in prayer. Ask God to help you realize you are not in complete control and that is ok, because He knows every hair on their head. He loves them more than we are capable of. Take a deep breath and rest in that.