When I'm Done

Some days are harder than others. Some days, raising kids would be easier if I just left it up to someone else. If I could just tag team out. Because the truth is, most of the time I don't have a clue what I am doing. It’s like trying to learn how to hit a moving target. Kids are always growing and changing. What may have worked with them last year, might not work today.

When my oldest was six, we went through a year of battling fear and anxiety. The truth is, she has always been fearful and anxious even as an toddler. All the parenting books said that it was just a phase, but not for her. Her phase has lasted eight years so far (cue eye roll emoji). So we have read all advice, tried all the things and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. There hasn’t been a magic cure for her. Every night at bedtime she would be afraid to go to sleep. Afraid of dreams, of robbers, of fire. And she would wake in the middle of night screaming at the top of her lungs for me. Afraid. Petrified. Trapped. After a year of this, we finally put our girls in separate bedrooms (strange logic to put her alone when she is afraid), but something about the change worked for her. She was excited about her new space. She stopped screaming and started sleeping.

Fast forward two years later. She’s now eight and the fear has crept back in. She threw an epic fit (I should really make sure our neighbors know that she's okay) that rocked the block. She doesn’t want to sleep because she's afraid of what she will dream. One would think that such an epic fit would wear her out enough to sleep through the night, but instead she woke at 4:00am afraid and crying, begging me to let her just stay up for the rest of the night. Then, later that morning I’m sure out of her sheer exhaustion, she unleashed her wrath on dear momma. I tried to explain that she needed to calm down which only turned up the heat for her. I tried to hold her tight saying, “I just want to hug you.” And then, like trying to wrangle a wild beast, I got pushed up against the corner of a wall. It hurt everywhere, but instead of my back aching, it was like that hit broke my heart into a million pieces. How could she be so mean to me? How can she love others, but look at me with such hatred? This sanguine, harmonizer has never had anyone treat her like this. So I quickly got up, went to my bedroom, locked the door and got in the shower where I experienced a panic attack. Uncontrollable sobbing while gasping for air. God, why won’t you just intervene? Why won’t you help her? I am trying to do all the right things. I am trying to show her Who to turn to you in times of need, but You remain silent. I QUIT. I AM DONE. I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE. 

My heart breaks for my daughter. So much fear and anxiety tangled up in her heart and mind. The day of the epic fit, she opened up about her friendships—how she feels left out, hurt and disappointed. She told her father about how ashamed she feels after acting out. I didn’t even know she knew that word! She carries such a weight to do things right the first time (I wonder where she got that) that the slightest mistake crushes her perception of herself. Oh baby girl, how much do I not want you to carry that throughout life. 

A sleepover with her grandparents came at the perfect time. Sometimes that best thing for everyone is time away in a different environment. So I went on a date with my husband, slept without interruption and then sat with my Savior the next morning. And look at what He said to me: I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed (Psalm 34:4-5 NASB). 

It is God’s character to answer, to deliver her from her fears. And do you see what happens? May her face be radiant and never be ashamed. Jesus heard me. He heard those tear filled cries in between gasping for air. He loves her. He is for her. And doesn’t want her to feel ashamed.

Then, I read: For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (Hebrews 2:18-3:1 NASB). 

In that shower, I was tempted to quit. I was weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). I wanted to be done, to hand in my resignation. But He is ABLE to come to the aid of those who are TEMPTED. The author isn’t talking about the temptation to sin. He’s talking about the temptation to bail out of suffering. So when we are tempted to bail out on the suffering before us, we consider Jesus who didn’t bail out on suffering. He is the one we look to and follow. He is the one we hold tight to when life (or a kid) knocks the air out of you.

I may not have the three step answers for how to help your child with fear and anxiety, but I do know that God loves her and is for her. And God loves me and is for me. And when I am ready to quit and bail out of the suffering, I can fix my eyes on the One who was tempted to bail, but chose to be for me instead.

He Gives Shade For The Weary

Do you ever have those moments where God is speaking to you the same thing in different ways? I feel like the theme of my life lately has been about fear and anxiety--whether it is my own or my child's. Episode 32 with Julie Martinez spoke to me about asking God to create a different reality. Then, Rory and I walked along the sidewalk and she noticed the shade. It was 98 degrees outside and she was thrilled to pass the different shaded spots. We talked about how God gives shade to people when life is hard. Then, something I wrote months ago was published today that is about that very concept. Clearly, God is wanting me to hear something.

Head over to Ungrind to read about how God gives shade to the weary. Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?


Turning Eight

Last week, Sinclair turned 8. She is a girl who genuinely feels everything--for better or worse--but I believe that attribute will be one that connects her well to others. I can feel the emotions of others. She is all about relationships. She will defend and/or kill to protect those she loves. She notices everything, is wildly enthusiastic, loves school and enjoys tennis. One of my favorite moments from this year was watching her with her uncle's future mother in law who was at least 70. She sat down beside her and truly engaged this women in conversation by asking her questions. That is a great quality to possess. Another great moment from this year was watching her engage with children from a women's shelter. She stepped up, saw a need and helped. She was shining. 

Seven was a tough year full of battles and insecurities. It's hard to watch your child shy aware from something fun out of fear of failure or fear of judgment. I pray that 8 will be a more freeing year--free to be who she is. And I pray that I can encourage those unique qualities within her rather than squashing them because it rubs against who I am.

This year, we celebrated her birthday at Disney World. It was truly a remarkable experience because every person that worked at Disney wished her a happy birthday (because she was wearing a special pin). At first she was embarrassed at the thought of drawing attention to herself, but she warmed up to it and beamed from ear to ear when spoken to. 

We asked her what she wanted to work on at 8: not being afraid, not screaming, not lying, learn to surf and play the guitar. This could be a big year. She has a strong will, and God designed her that way. He designed her to be strong, vocal, and opinionated. May God use those things. I continue to pray that God would grow her in wisdom and stature. I've been waiting for her to turn a corner since she was 18 months old. #heavenhelp

As parents, we have 464 weeks left she graduates high school. We are in the phase where her imagination is strong and wild and free. I hope we can engage her imagination in a way that will help her discover how her story intersects with God's. He has big plans for her.

How To Weed Jealousy Out of Your Heart

Have you ever heard the news about someone and you instantly felt less than or disappointed or even jealous? Yeah, me neither. Who am I kidding? Let me just be really honest with you. I feel that all. the. time. In fact, I can feel that way multiple times a day. Maybe it happened while scrolling through Instagram and you noticed something amazing. Maybe it was someone’s home. Or maybe someone’s selfie showing off their diet success. Or maybe it was someone who does the same thing you do and people are praising her. Is it tough to double tap that picture? Do you immediately think a negative thought either about that person or about yourself? Sometimes I can find myself holding back the double tap as if that will lessen their achievement or something.

Let me just give you a little glimpse into my own fallen nature. I recently started a podcast and there is another podcast who is more established than mine. But every time I turn on social media, I see her one step ahead. I book a guest and the next thing I know that guest is on her show. I have an idea of something extra to do, and low and behold she does it, too. But instead of cheering on the fact that this guest is going to be highlighted not only on my show, but also on this other show, I chose to grumble. To complain. To whine. To feel less than. I hold back my double tap. I call a friend to complain about it.

I can’t be the only one who struggles with this.

Finish reading how I am learning to weed jealousy out of my heart over at Ungrind.

Surviving Motherhood

I walked through the halls of the local high school just as the bell rang. All of the sudden, a wave of students flooded towards me, the only one going the wrong direction. But since it’s been awhile since I walked the halls of any high school, it was like a breath of fresh air. Those students, full of emotion, pain, hope, expectantly going about their day.

Then, I turned the corner into a room with four beautiful girls ready to have lunch with me and along with some other friends of mine. And even though I was much older than they, there was a common thread between us. It wasn’t our age or even our race, but the fact that we were all moms. I became a mom at 29 and they did as a teenager. I just wanted to squeeze each one of them. I have trouble surviving the day without having to remember my homework.

We shared stories about raising babies, and it was a thrill to watch them laugh as stories were told of being peed on or potty training or trying to get them to sleep through the night. The point me of being with them that day was to share with them three ways I’ve survived motherhood. To read what I shared with them, come join the conversation at Ungrind.