The "Committed" Mom?

I am blessed to be the mom of three wonderfully amazing children I call Brent, Lottie and Kenzie. But honestly, there are days when I am committed and days when I need to be committed! So here's where this little blog comes refuge- my opportunity to share with all who care, the joys of being a "Committed" Mom!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Joy, SONshine and Pain

My last blog I spoke about the darkness of depression. Even as I type this, I can feel it hovering around me on all sides. The darkness is just waiting for me to acknowledge it, it wants me to focus on it because when I do, I give it power. Do you understand what that feels like? Has there ever been a time when you could feel the weight of the darkness around you, waiting....waiting...waiting.
Before, if I looked at it, I would become paralyzed and not know what to do, how to feel or act. In the darkness, fear gripped me, my vision was stolen from me and I felt like I lost control. The air was always heavy and I noticed I would breath slower, not intentionally but rather instinctually, because in darkness sucker punches come from anywhere. That was before.
I see you darkness, I can recognize you and I understand what and who you are. Today, you are around me and I am able to see because of the Light. With Light there can be no darkness.
So I say it again, I see you. I see my enemy and I am choosing not to give you power. Today I am going to share how I choose to deal with my pain, today I am going to give God the power to use my words to give life to someone else. I do not give permission to the darkness to take this pain, I do not give it permission to overcome me or devour me. Today, I claim this feeling of darkness, this pain that is deep in my soul and I give it the Lord's plan and His purpose. Today I consider my trial, my pain, a gift and I rejoice in my suffering.

James 1: 2-4 (The Message)
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

James 1: 2-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

I did not always feel this way, because honestly, who in their right mind considers pain a gift? Is that something you would give to someone? Valentine's Day is today. How many of you are planning on going out and doing something that will cause pain to your loved one and then say "I love you babe, Happy Valentine's Day"? Insane right? America is sold on the idea of love and happiness and what it should look like. We say love shouldn't hurt, if someone makes you cry then toss them aside and find someone new. We want effortless relationships, we think this is natural right? Relationships aren't supposed to be hard, if they require effort they must not be worth it then right? Why do most people walk away from marriages- because they aren't happy.

Admit it, you have people on Facebook you have de-friended because they make you angry and they don't agree with your political or social thoughts and viewpoints. They say things that make you mad and make you shout obscenities at the screen (Props to the people who don't use swear words, God's still working on my heart with that one!) You shake your head and say, am I really friends with someone like this? I don't need this sort of stress in my life and within a matter of seconds-DELETE. Problem solved, back to being happy.

We as a nation, have this sense of entitlement, thanks to Disney, creative advertising and Social Media, we feel we are owed a fairy tale life with a happy ending. When it isn't easy, when there is hurt and pain, what is the easiest solution? Pack your bags and go where it's easy, go where you feel good, do what makes you happy. I say all because I am guilty of feeling this (Not towards my husband now, but definitely in past relationships). This is how I felt I was entitled to live my life. If I have a choice (And we all do) between living a life that is easy breezy or hard, I will naturally pick easy breezy every time. Is it because I am lazy and don't want to work for it? Sometimes. Sometimes it's easier to walk away from a friendship of 20 years if you don't like to argue and can't handle confrontation. We think- eh, I'll just find a new friend. We live in a very disposable society. People and things have no value to us if they don't make us happy. However, today I realized it's not just because I am lazy, it's because deep down inside I was created for that, and so were you.
In the beginning when God created the Heaven and the Earth (The Book of Genesis) and Man and Woman, He placed us in a Utopic environment. We had all our needs met, we lacked for nothing and we had relationship with our Heavenly Father. We had it all!!! Imagine walking along side of God everyday-physically being in His presence, in HIS PRESENCE!!! Face to face with the One who created you. The one who put the stars in the sky, the one who made something out of nothing with His breath! Adam and Eve had it, they didn't have to work for it, there was no stress, no heartache, there was no enmity between Adam and Eve. (Imagine always getting along with your loved one) They had easy breezy and then....they gave it all away! With one choice, one decision (SIN) we surrendered easy breezy and we've been trying to get back to it ever since. Intrinsically we all long for that because that was what we were created for. (The whole giving away our easy breezy/SIN is a blog topic I will save for another time- Focus Nina, Focus)

My point is, don't feel bad for wanting easy breezy, it's natural. But because we no longer have access to easy breezy, we feel the void in our lives. We ache for it, we know that something is missing, so we go about all sorts of ways to achieve the pursuit of happiness! Trying to find happiness with shopping, drugs, money, food,- whatever you try to fill the void with. Only it never is satisfied, the void is always there. If I feel bad, I eat, I take drugs, I shop..I(Fill in the blank). Why? Because we don't like to feel the void, we don't like the pain and darkness and we think other things will make us happy. 
One of the greatest lessons I have learned, and want to share today is: Quit chasing happy, embrace the pain, welcome the Joy and fill the void!

Statistics say that people actually THRIVE when they are in their most challenging situations, athletes get better at their sport when they are pushed and challenged, caterpillars struggle before becoming butterflies, trees grow taller and stronger because the winds blow and they endure various types of weather. Even the seed starts out in the dark ground, but as it is nourished and the light shines, eventually it grows through the darkness and into the sunlight. It is in the dark, like the seed, in our trials and struggles that we find out what we are really made of. Do we allow ourselves to grow or do we wither away?

Think about this for a moment, if bad never happens to us, if things are good all the time, then how can we appreciate and know what is good? Admit it, the same thing all the time, every day isn't ex
citing, it becomes blasé. If we had it perfect all the time, eventually we would find something to not like about it. We would take it for granted. Adam and Eve had it and took the good for granted, I guess nothing much has changed in a few thousand years. We simply can never exist with all happiness all the time, at least while we are here on Earth we can't.

So here is the million dollar question, if we know that life is going to have darkness and dark times (because it will) what attitude do we take? As I see it, we can approach it two ways:

1. Runaway and avoid, try at all cost to escape any type of pain or suffering in the pursuit of being eternally happy and live a life devoid of problems. Cut off relationships with people and avoid discomfort (well try to anyway).

The very definition of happiness is: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment, having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation) and fortunate and convenient. (Google Dictionary)

So by this definition you will constantly be seeking pleasure or contentment in order to be truly happy. However, realizing what we already know above, eventually in everything we will stop being content, our sins, our vices do not fill the void, nor do they make us content. If you are not content or lose pleasure in what once made you happy- can you achieve total happiness? 
Unless a person is completely without flaws and perfect in all ways, (BTW...I only know One personally, message me and I will tell you all about Him) will you ever have full confidence or satisfaction in them? 
And lastly, if it's fortunate and convenient, then isn't happiness really a temporal feeling that leaves based on circumstances? Happiness is a state of mind and if you are never content, always seeking to avoid issues and problems, running away from relationships, never having secure confidence in a situation for knowing everyone has flaws- is happiness possible? Stick with me.


2. Embrace the period of darkness, recognize that it is there and it stinks! Realize we have no control of how, when and where the darkness will come from, we don't know how long it will last and therefor realize we have no control over any of it. Once you realize you really don't have control, it's shouldn't be that hard to surrender the facade of control. After all, God has been the One with all the control anyway, you are just acknowledging your position and releasing yourself to His hands, inviting Him who is light- into your darkness. Go on, wave that white flag and let that freaky flag fly!!!

Upon surrendering what happens next will amaze and astound you. It makes no sense to the outside world. God will nurture you by feeding you and refreshing you with His Word and Living Water (Aka The Bible). He will restore your soul, filling you with strength you never knew you could have, flooding you with a rock solid hope and peace in knowing that He has got this for you.  Your circumstances may not change, and often times get worse. You still won't know how, when, where or why about the darkness, but it won't matter because you've got the Light and suddenly you can see and the darkness isn't so scary. You will find peace in pain and a security unlike any other, with this peace you discover true joy! (And no happiness and joy are not the same)

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of your life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation. (Rick Warren)

Joy is possible in any circumstance because it isn't based on circumstance (like happiness) it's based on your confidence and hope in the Lord. But how do you trust Him? How can you not???? In case you didn't know this yet, we serve an active and living God. He doesn't just sit on the sidelines and cheer you on from Heaven "Hey good job down there, way to go!". He isn't up on His throne, playing wingman, telling you what to do "Boogie @ 3 o'clock, missiles aimed directly at you, go left!
" He isn't far away and removed, He is everywhere near you, always! He will be there walking behind you, giving you a shove when you are too scared to move forward. Some days you will be back to back, He will be covering you from behind so that the enemy can not sneak up on you. He may be standing in front of you, asking you to put your hands on His shoulder's and let Him lead you safely through. He could be arm and arm with you helping you take that next step after falling down or maybe you are having a day where you simply can't move at all, He won't desert the wounded, no my friend He carries them for as long as He needs too. So if He is everywhere near you, always- how can you not trust Him?

If He created you for His enjoyment and His pleasure to be in relationship with Him, why would He ever want to harm you? How can that not bring you peace and joy? He miraculously fills the void and suddenly you find you are not looking into the abyss of pain, you are looking up to the eyes of the Redeemer who rescues and saves. And overtime you acknowledge that God is the one who takes away the pain and gives Joy, you take the power from the enemy away. The enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Every word of praise that focuses on the Light instead of the Darkness- diminishes the hold of the darkness over you. 
So today if you are in darkness, if you are constantly seeking happiness in all areas of your life, maybe it's time to re-evaluate. Maybe it's time to pick #2 instead of #1. Quit chasing happy, embrace the pain, welcome the Joy and fill the void!

The darkness is around us, but it doesn't have to be in us. May we give our hearts freely to you and receive the Light of your Truth in our hearts. May you help us to understand fully that happiness will never eliminate our pain, because happiness is only temporal. I pray that tonight hearts out there, would recognize the darkness  for what it really is and take away it's power by giving you full power and control. You are the Light of the World and only You can cause the darkness to flee, only You can turn mourning into dancing, only You can fill our hearts with joy in the midst of great sorrows.  So many of us are chasing the world's view of happiness and becoming more and more disillusioned and depressed. We are searching for the wrong answers to fix what is spiritually wrong.  I pray for the madness to stop and for eyes to be open, for ears to hear and for eyes to SEE Your Truth. Bring Your Light Lord and shine it brightly into the dark places in our lives, so that we may be fully exposed to you. Thank you for the gift of pain and the gift of joy. In Your precious and holy name- Amen

***BTW I want to give credit to Disney they did get something right, though not the fairy tale ending- better yet true reality! Inside/Out nailed it- Joy and Sadness need each other for growth!

Here are some encouraging scriptures about LIGHT

John 8:12Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 1:5
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it
Psalm 30:11
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy
Psalm 97:11
Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I have a Hope!

Have you ever had a struggle, that last for so long, that hurt so badly you never thought it would end? When it's so dark in the hole that you are in, you wonder if you will ever be able to see the sunlight again?  
Have you ever felt you couldn't breath to loud because if you did, something might come along and just snatch that breath right out of your body? 
Do you hold your breath at times because of fear, that the other shoe will drop? 
Do you know what it's like to have your hopes believe that tomorrow will be different and things will finally start to change- but they don't- and so you continue to wait?  
But as you wait, your hope is slipping away, parts of you feel numb and begin to die. Life, honestly seems unbearable. 
You question your purpose and why you are in this place? What does it all mean? What good will come of this suffering, this heartache, this pain?
All the strength you possess is wasted just getting yourself out of bed, so you can face the day. Then with the first step it hits you, the fear that this will be the best you feel all day because the attacks haven't started yet.
Depression and loneliness sink into your heart, you isolate yourself because you really don't want to talk about what's wrong to one more incredibly helpful, well meaning person.
In the isolation, darkness grabs you tighter. Your will to press on is almost gone and you have no one to help carry you because of that isolation.
You are very tired. Weary. You just want the chaos in your heart to stop.
You are in a sense, shattered and broken. "And all the kings horses, and all the kings men, couldn't put you back together again..." OK, but really, how would horses help put you back together? That's just ridiculous (wink)

I write this, because I know this darkness. In the bible, Job knew this darkness too.
Job 23:17 "Darkness is all around me;
thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere."
Do you recognize it? Have you or are you experiencing it right now?
Is just the mere mention of this darkness, painful even to acknowledge as you are reading this?

My friend, I have come with a message of hope to encourage you. I am witness to the One who can deliver you from this darkness. I have been on and continue to be on a heartbreaking journey of motherhood with my oldest child.  I have been in this darkness for several years now, and it is only recently that my eyes have been open and my ears can now hear the truth. I have read and heard scripture verses, worship songs, listened to other's testimonies, read books by Christian authors, attended seminars and workshops- I was full of God's Good News for years! But it was only recently that I allowed Him to penetrate my heart and transform me. I am being transformed and I am being renewed daily and because of that, I write this today for you. 

I want you to know that it's not hopeless, the struggle will end, there is light at the end of the tunnel, the shoe won't drop, the walls won't cave in, you can breathe freely. The Creator of the Universe, the one who made the stars in the heavens, who knows the amount of sand on all the beaches in the world- made you! He is so in love with you and wants to deliver you from this evil, this bondage that has you captive- all you have to do, all I had to do, was surrender. Give in to Him, wave your white flag and drop into His loving arms. You are safe in the shadow of His wing, you will find comfort for your soul, you will find rest, you will find renewed strength, you will once again, find HOPE! It's not a mythological fairytale- it's not wishful thinking- it's not karma! It's the power of the Risen King.
It's so simple, but so very hard- to surrender. What does that mean? What does it look like?
That depends on you? 
Do you know God? 
Have you accepted His Free gift of Salvation through the death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ?
Do you trust Him and His Word?
Do you trust that He will lead and guide you safely? 
If you can answer yes to those, then right now- declare it out loud. In your words or mine *LORD- I am in bondage. I need you. I can not do this alone or on my own. I confess my control in trying to keep it together and do it my way or on my own. I realize the more control I have tried to attain, the more damage that's been done. Things are not getting better and I can't fix it. Please forgive me for holding on and trying to steer life the way I think I should. Forgive me for my pride of thinking I know better than you, that I don't need you - obviously that's not really working out to well for me. I surrender Lord- I give it all to you right now. I wave my white flag and I lay my darkness at your feet. I don't want this crap anymore. I am tired of sadness and heartache. I want joy back and I want peace back in my life. I am tired of feeling hopeless, I am tired of (NAME YOUR BONDAGE). Merciful Father, I lift my hands to you to be used for your will, not mine. Use me as you want to, not as I think I should be used. I don't want to be in charge anymore, I resign my position to you Lord and I bow humbly, prostrate before you and cry out for deliverance. In Your Name I pray- Amen!  

Now that you have laid it at his feet, leave it there- then pick up your bible and read the book of Psalms! Read it all- soak it up. Read the cries of David, find comfort in the words. Draw upon it for strength. Then start writing down, specifically, all that you want Him to do-pour out your heart- ask Him. Be bold! Then BELIEVE His word and His promises. Stand firm and secure in Him! Praise Him for hearing you, for answering your prayers and working in your life. Praise Him for the good and the bad (Ask him to show you how He will use the bad- because He will!)

Psalms 28:6-8a "Praise the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him will all my heart.  He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of Thanksgiving. The Lord gives His people strength."

Now here comes the hard part. Here's the real. Your situation may or many not go away. Your problem may even become harder. You may face greater trials- BUT I can promise you that if you truly let the Lord lead your life and guide you- You will be different! Your mind will change, your heart will change and your thoughts will change. He will transform you by the renewing of your mind. You will find peace, you will find light in dark times. You will find the joy and peace because your hope, my HOPE is in the Lord. And as long as He has my back, I press on and I trust Him. Feelings are false and can lie- Faith is real and can be tested and trusted! There will be days that are bad before you even step out of bed, but if you take that moment before getting up and place it in the Lord's hand- I promise you friend you will experience a difference. 

Maybe you will have to surrender minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day. Do it- don't let the enemy win. The enemy is a roaring lying that seeks to destroy and devour you- let him roar. Picture Simba as a cub in the movie "The Lion King" trying to roar like his dad Mufasa, it was a sad and pitiful roar. Then picture Mufasa's mighty roar- That my friends is God! He is the great LION! He is our Defender, our Deliverer, our Protector! The King of Creation has this one- sit back and watch Him work.

Maybe you aren't there yet, you don't know about this God and all this mumbo jumbo- that's OK. He believes in you, even if you don't believe in Him yet. But I challenge you to give it a shot-surrender your doubt of who He is and what He has done for you (John 3:16) start seeking God out. He will meet you, You will find him when you look for Him. Feel free to e-mail and ask me any questions you might have about who He is, I will gladly share with you all that I can and if I can't, then I will point you to someone else who can. 

Over the next few weeks and months I will share with you this painful journey I am on. My hope is to encourage you to fight with me in this battle for our hearts and the lives of those we love. I write to ask you to join me and pray for me and my family as we face the enemies daily attacks and in return if you have a prayer request please share it with me. We can do this together! The battle has already been won and victory belongs to the Lord!

Father, thank you for this time of writing- thank you for the words you give to me. Help me to be focused on sharing what you want and not just what I think I should write. I surrender control of this blog to you. Be with those who read this and draw them closer to your heart so that they might discover Your true heart. Thank you for being my hope and for rescuing me! 
All Glory and Honor and Power be to You- forever and ever! Amen