Viewing entries tagged
faith

#momfail

Comment

#momfail

Have you ever looked in the mirror…and honestly despised the face staring back at you…?

Or am I the only one??

I can’t remember exactly when it started… Perhaps it was in eighth grade when I experienced for the first time how far girl drama could really go. Or maybe it was in tenth grade when I experienced my first significant, noticeable weight gain. Then again, it’s possible that it wasn’t until eleventh grade when my dad used the word “chubby” while attempting to express concern for my health. It could have been graduating from high school without ever having been asked out on a single date, having my first real relationship interest walk away without any explanation in college, or realizing way too late that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

I suppose it makes the most sense that it was the building up of the insecurities that resulted from all of these situations, and the many more like them, that led to my first conscious memory of one of these moments… And it’s those same insecurities that have followed me into every amazing new adventure my life has ushered me into: including my motherhood.

The root of the problem is the trap of comparison that I find myself stuck in far more often than I want to admit. I mean, the comparisons used to be fairly easy to get past because they used to be about superficial things that didn’t really affect my identity. There’s something about my identity as a mom, though, that makes it extremely easy for me to look at other moms and immediately place myself in a class of motherhood below them. Especially after really hard days with my little.

Having an independent, strong willed, intelligent child is exciting and fun, but also frustrating and defeating. The past couple of days have been the latter. My babe has been stuck in a season of waking up multiple times a night and then fighting sleep at nap time; which is leaving us both more tired and ornery than usual. Add to that dynamic a husband that hasn’t been sleeping due to pain from an allergic reaction to a prescription…and I’m not just tired, I’m exhausted. 

For those of you that aren’t parents yet: I pray that you are stronger than me if you find yourself exhausted and frustrated dealing with a strong-willed toddler that somehow manages to find and push every single button that shoots a dart directly into your nerve center and ignites an irrationally angry response. My mom was a screamer whenever she was exhausted and frustrated dealing with my siblings and I…and in spite of everything, I have responded to my Bella in the very same way that caused rifts in my relationship with my mom until well into my adulthood.

After fighting with my babe for two and a half hours today…losing my temper twice to the point of reducing my beautiful blessing to tears…she finally fell asleep and I was left to berate myself for the way I had treated her in those moments of weakness. That is not the mother I want to be. That’s not the kind of mom that I dreamt I’d be; the kind of momma I prayed that God would make me. And it only took a matter of seconds for the face of every momma I know to run through my mind and Satan to whisper to my heart: “None of them would ever treat their babies that way. What kind of mother treats their baby that way?”

That’s when I saw my face in the mirror…  The worst mom I know.

I felt so defeated that I even admitted to a close friend that I had lost my stuff on my baby girl and was having an “I’m a horrible momma” day. I was trapped in a cycle of false comparison, allowing myself to be convinced that I was alone in my weakness, and despising the woman looking back at me from the glass. I was feeling like a major #momfail. Yet, rather than receiving judgement, God sent me redemption in the form of my friends freedom to share with me in that moment that she experiences the same exhausted, frustrated moments of weakness in her motherhood as I do in mine.

That’s when it hit me.

I am not the only one.

Other mommas may not have the same mirror moment as I do, but they do experience similar moments of weakness when they get to the end of themselves; when they’re exhausted and frustrated and need a break that’s nowhere in sight. What I realized today is this- our willingness as mommas to share our weaker moments just as much as we share our successful ones offers redemptive freedom to the mommas around us that just might be stuck in a moment that has them struggling to love their motherhood. How I pray that more mothers would feel free enough and be brave enough to share the bad with the good so that it might strengthen the moms around them.

I am thanking God today for blessing me with a friend that feels free enough in her own motherhood to speak honestly into mine. I am also thankful that I have an intelligent little girl that understands forgiveness and offers it unprompted and with a bear hug around the neck. I may have taken her shopping as a means of doing some relationship repair… She may have gotten some sparkly Minnie Mouse shoes… But at the end of the day: My deepest prayer is that we moms figure out a way abolish “mom guilt” and the normalcy of the “#momfail” before our babies have babies.

May we love each other enough to free each others motherhood from comparison traps and loneliness by honestly sharing the good with the bad in our own journey to being amazing moms.

 

Comment

Heartbeat Home

Comment

Heartbeat Home

“Sometimes, home has a heartbeat.”  - Beau Taplin

So, I didn’t date in high school… or college. 

In fact, I didn’t date until I dated my husband. I had been on one…yes, I mean one…date with a guy that really was never going to be anything more than a friend for a short season in my life. That’s not to say that there weren’t (several) guys that I was interested in during my unsettled, insecure college season! It’s just that my dad had this rule (insert eye roll here)…

The Rule:  Whoever wanted to ask me (or my sister) out, had to ask his permission first.

Yes, you read that right. And my dad made sure every guy that came around that even looked like he might want to ask me out, knew about the rule. In hindsight, it really is impressive the way that my dad managed to work it into conversation and cement every guy’s position in the permanent friend category. He was never rude or overbearing about it! In fact, he usually worked it in as humor so that the guy was never really sure he was serious, yet was pretty sure testing the rule would end badly.

So, by the time my husband entered the picture, I had finally gotten to the point of being at peace with my single status and didn’t even realize he had asked me out on a date. We had been working together (I managed his Christian rock band) for a couple of years, so I knew him fairly well and considered him a friend; so, I had never considered a relationship with him until he initiated one. I had no idea what a dating relationship was like, but I’ll tell you this, though; I had made it to 26 years old without any major heartbreak damaging my psyche. Not that I needed a major heartbreak for that! But that’s beside the point.

I was 26 years old, and after our second date (late night coffee at Denny’s) my husband still respected my dad’s rule (though long expired by that point!) enough to state his intent to date me and ask my dads permission to do so. That move caught my attention. His decision to do that earned my respect. And his desire to respect the intent behind my dads rule won my heart.

After that day, I was surprised at the sudden shift in my hearts attention toward Michael. It’s hard to really explain… It was like hearing him with my soul every time he spoke, not my ears. It was like breathing him in with my whole being every time he hugged me, not just acknowledging the smell of his cologne. And every time he held my hand, it was like literally feeling his lifeblood flowing with mine: a matching heartbeat. It was an unmistakable feeling of being home.

You know the feeling I mean. That sense of comfort, warmth and freedom that follows walking through your front door, knowing that you’re shielded from the harsh judgement of the outside world for a bit. The confidence of knowing your environment and being known by it; relaxing in the knowledge that you are safe from outside opinions for awhile. I didn’t know that these feelings could be applied to a person before Michael.

Then, after we got married, having the privilege of resting my head on his chest every night made me realize how I wanted to recenter myself, refocus my heart, for the rest of my life. I realized that, if I laid there long enough, if he held my hand long enough, then my heartbeat matched time with his: Our hearts would literally beat together. Crazy.

Full disclosure: After having my daughter, life continued to get more and more busy, and I forgot for a time what being home felt like. I forgot that being with him is home. We had gotten so used to falling into bed exhausted every night, that taking those moments to recenter and refocus got lost. And I didn’t realize until a couple weeks ago how much I missed matching heartbeats. 

Then last weekend he got hit by a semi-truck.

When he called to tell me… My heart stopped. I felt nauseous at all the mental pictures that instantly filled my mind. Part of my brain was processing that he was the one talking to me, while another part was trying to tell me that there was no way he was ok. And after explaining the accident to me, I realized that God’s supernatural protection is the only explanation for why he is alive. Talk about a wakeup call.

I have held his hand more in the past 10 days than I have in the past 10 months.

Every one of the past 10 days that I have woken up next to him, I am thankful. I am thankful that God sent him to me. I am thankful that Michael chose me. I am thankful that our story is still being written. And I am thankful that I still have my home; my matching heartbeat.

I am also unmistakably more aware of the uncertainty of life. I am heart broken for those whose stories ended in situations like this. I am saddened at the thought that so many others encountered a similar circumstance and lost their matching heartbeat; lost their home.

I may not have the most romantic love story to tell. I may not have the most glamorous life. I may not have an Instagram worthy relationship full of date nights and super cute presents. It’s like this Mhairi McFarlane quote: “It was…not love at first sight exactly, but - familiarity. Like: oh, hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you. Game over.”  

I will never take my matching heartbeat, that feeling of being home, for granted again.

Ladies- Go hug your husband. Go hug your kids. Touch base with the important people in your life and tap into your lifeline. Say “I love you” often and never take the life you have for granted; no matter what your current perspective of it is. Nothing is constant, seasons change, and so will the story of your life. So, find your home and match your heartbeats. Tomorrow is never a certainty.

Comment

Charisma

Comment

Charisma

Charisma (pl. charismata

I’ve always loved learning the origin and history of words. I’m a nerd! I know it.

What I love about learning how words started, what they meant at the beginning, is how it often challenges the present use of the word. In present english, charisma is a word that we assign to a person or character that we revere; a person that has a certain compelling attractiveness or charm that inspires devotion and admiration. Most often, it’s a word that we attribute to a seemingly divine power or talent. I have used this word within this present definition for the entirety of my life! 

It wasn’t until I was reading a book regarding the markers of a healthy Christian church that I even stopped to think that this word, charisma, may have a history of different meaning. I’ve fallen into the habit lately of using words without forethought; without pausing to really consider if I am using the words I truly intend to say. Words, after all, are just words until we place them in a context that assigns them a tone and a definition. And I must admit that I am often guilty of placing otherwise innocent words within a negative context when it comes to communicating with the people I love most; Namely my husband. Anyone else?

Whether we want to admit it or not, words have power. The words we say, and the tone with which we say them, can either build someone up or tear them down. Words have the power to encourage growth or to inhibit it. And no matter how cliche it is; the tone and manner with which we use words often speaks louder than the words themselves.

Confession: This is the seemingly never ending struggle that I find myself in with my husband.

I never saw my husband coming. I was confident in the calling I believed was on my life: I was going to be single, serving in ministry as a speaker/teacher/mentor. I had finally reached a peace in my heart about not getting married (especially considering I was 25 and had never dated!), believing that the plan for my life was something bigger than I could ever imagine. I was so independent and so used to living my life unattached, that it took me about two hours to realize that my husband had asked me out on a date!

Fast forward to today…

Had someone, anyone, been honest enough with me to tell me then that marrying someone who loves in an entirely different love language than me was going to be the biggest challenge of my life…I may have never done it, and totally missed the blessings God had planned! You see, I love with gifts and quality time. So, buy me a coffee and sit with me chatting for an hour and my tank is full!

I married a words of affirmation and physical touch lover…  My weakest points.

Needless to say, I wake up every day and make the choice to fight for my marriage: to fight for my husband. It has taken me all five years (plus a few months!) of being married to get to the place in my marriage that I don’t beat myself up every day, because I’ve allowed the darkness to convince my heart that my husband loves me SO well and I am terrible at loving him back.

I even went through a season of questioning the “rightness” of my marriage altogether.

I learned in that season that the darkness really is very adept at twisting our reality to fit the narrative that has the greatest potential to defeat us; to push us away from the path of goodness we are struggling to walk on. It was a conversation with my amazing sister-in-law that shook me out of the dark and forced me to see the reality of my life: The reality that I was a new mom, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, I was isolated as a result of losing my church family, I was battling a loneliness that I had never experienced before as a result of the decision to be a “stay-at-home-mom”, and I had stopped chasing after my dreams and my calling as the result of listening more often to the darkness than the light.

BUT SO WAS MY HUSBAND.

A new dad. Physically and emotionally exhausted. Isolated. Lonely. Listening to dark whispers devaluing his efforts to love and provide and support and parent.

As a result of that season, we were stuck in a cycle of absolute miscommunication, that led to lots of hurt feelings. Our words had power and our tone was too often confusing the intended definition of even the simplest of statements. Our marriage had become more about surviving the day with our baby than spending time really talking and dreaming and just being together; growing together toward a common purpose.

We had lost sight of our greatest charisma.

Learning the origin of this commonly used word reminded me this week of that season in my marriage, and also made me extremely thankful that my husband had the wisdom to force the much needed confrontation that has renewed our desire for, trust in and fight for each other and our marriage. My husband has the patience of a saint! Yet, even he can reach the point of frustration with my internal struggle to exert my independence, while at the same time surrendering in respect so that I can truly love him well.

I now understand that what we have been doing in this past season of renewal is reclaiming our charisma.

Charisma (charis, charismata), from Greek origin, was used in reference to spiritual things; more specifically spiritual gifts.

Charisma and charismata are used by the Apostle Paul in the scriptures explaining the Spiritual gifts that God, in his grace, gives to those who truly believe in salvation through his Son. The purpose of these gifts is to build up the church and to be an example of goodness, of righteousness. Therefore, when put into historical context:

CHARISMA is a GRACE GIFT.

Marriage is a charisma. (1 Corinthians 7:7) MY marriage is a grace gift, not only to me and my husband for the purpose of building up our house and our church, but to show others that they too can be built up and encouraged and chase after and receive goodness.

My prayer for you, no matter what kind of season you find yourself in, whether in marriage or in some other context of life, is that you will remember and reclaim your charisma! If you’re not a Christ follower and do not believe in such gifts being given by God, then I pray that you will make the decision (especially in your marriage relationship!) to chase after the love that you started with always! May we all reclaim our grace gifts in this new year, and may God be glorified all the more for it.

Comment

New Years Redemption

Comment

New Years Redemption

I have a chair.

It’s just a chair. An accent chair. A chair that didn’t cost much, isn’t worth much and is rarely required to actually perform the function for which it was built.

This chair usually sits to the side in my homes’ more formal living space. It’s a milky cream color with black scripted letters written in French. Its’ script pattern speaking to the parts of my heart that are drawn to writing and reading. The stamps pictured speaking to places I hope to someday travel to. The birds interwoven in the design reminding me that flight, exceeding boundaries, is possible for even the most average person as long as they keep dreaming.

This sweet chair is the first “splurge” piece that my husband and I ever purchased. I was pregnant; after almost two years of medical professionals questioning whether it was possible. We had experienced a season of financial blessing. So, we did what lots of adults do: We took advantage of a holiday furniture sale. (Boring, I know!) 

Little did I know that this chair, the chair that whispered to my hearts dreams every day, would end up being used to refresh and confirm the greatest lesson of my life.

A few days before Christmas, in the middle of preparing our sweet little house to host both sides of our crazy, wonderful family, this chair came face to face with my toddler. You see, I got so lost in the preparation that I somehow forgot that my beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong willed, quality time needing two-and-a-half year old daughter…is, in fact, only two-and-a-half. I forgot that, no matter how well she seems to be handling time on her own; too much time without her momma results in often irredeemable toddler behavior.

This time: My baby took a brown sharpie and three different colored highlighters, that she had to use some ingenuity to get ahold of, and made a masterpiece on the seat of my sweet chair.

I wish from the depths of my soul that I could say I handled the situation with grace and unconditional love… I did not. There was quite a bit of yelling, a lot of angry tears on my part, a lot of confused tears on her part and some relationship repair that needed to happen before I could bring myself to face my poor, sentimentally valued chair. 

After two days, three methods of cleaning and four times washing every white towel in the linen closet (16!)…my sweet chair still bears the marks of my beautiful baby’s masterpiece. Although most of the marks came out, no amount of cleaner and no amount of cleaning pressure can remove them entirely. I went to bed that second day defeated; praying that something magical would happen overnight.

When I faced the chair on that third day…two days before Christmas…no magic had happened. On the verge of frustrated tears, my entire body aware of the soreness in my muscles from two days bent over scrubbing the chair… That’s when I heard it. A whisper that seemed to come from deep within my soul.

Remember.

Remember…? Remember what?!

Redemption.

Redemption. The purpose of Christ. The means by which I have found my salvation. The thing that I am absolutely incapable of providing for myself. The reason for this holiday I have spent so much time and energy planning for my family.

Remember.

And that’s when it hit me. The chair…my chair…is me.

To redeem means “to buy back”, “to free from what distresses or harms”, “to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental”, “to free from the consequences of sin”, “to change for the better”, “to atone for an error”… No matter which definition you choose to assign, it is an action that you perform on behalf of another. None of the definitions for redeem allow for an action performed by you on behalf of yourself.

The chair was not able to protect itself against my daughters’ decision to harm it. It is also not able to redeem itself from the consequences of her actions. The chair cannot change itself for the better, it cannot free itself from the stains that it now bears and it certainly cannot atone for the egregious error it has fallen victim to.

The chair cannot redeem itself; nor can I redeem it. No matter how long or how hard I tried, no matter what tools I used, I was not able to redeem my sweet little chair. I am unable to save it.

That’s the lesson I needed to remember. My sweet little script chair now sits with a covering, a blanket, over its’ side to cover the stains. It sits reminding me of the two most undeniable truths at the foundation of everything I believe: There is nothing I can do to protect myself from the consequences of the human nature I was born into and there is nothing I will ever be able to do to redeem myself from it.

What I can do…what I have been forgetting to do in the midst of a hard year for my family…is to live redeemed. I allowed my circumstances in 2017 to shift my focus away from the fact that I have been redeemed, that I am free to live the dreams in my heart and that I can now live under a covering of grace and unconditional love. That is the assurance that my chosen faith affords me.

Thank God I have a chair!

I am excited to see what 2018 brings for me, my family and my business. I am thankful to every client that sat in my chair in 2017. It was an honor and a true privilege to serve you! I look forward to more opportunities to serve you this year; whether creating custom makeup applications for you or providing skin care and/or treatments. There are some amazing changes coming this year, and I cannot wait to share the upcoming journey with you! So, stayed tuned to find out how you can become a part of My Images’ story in 2018.

Praying you have a blessed and joyful new year!

 

 

Comment