Know thyself…..

11 02 2015

” The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates

No question here, for those that follow Heavenly Father, He is a distinct individual. His distinctiveness is shown throughout the whole bible in the form of what he abhors (sin) and what he finds good (love). He sets himself apart from us through his distinctiveness. As we become closer to him, though prayer and time with His Holy Spirit, we develop our own distinctiveness but with His worldview.

The defining of himself, is how he sets boundaries.  He is the example. As we walk this journey with him, we learn through Him the importance of defining our own distinctiveness.

Distinctiveness. Boundaries. Knowing thyself.

So what do I really know about me?  What have I taken the time to ponder and reflect on about me?

Have I engaged myself and examined my behavior? Do we as individuals take the time to do this any more?

Ponder. Contemplate. Think……

At this point in my life, I learned a few things.

I place a high value on communication in my relationships.

For years, my thoughts and ideas were synonymous with my parents.  In order to survive my house, they had to be. I had no idea of  “self” but through them. Research shows that children of abusive parents barely have any idea what boundaries are because those parents never knew them or taught them.  Those same children have a hard time also expressing an independent thought. Experiencing a double edge sword; they have no idea how to positively, effectively communicate in the midst of being unable to set up their own boundaries.

Through recent experiences, I learned people who have a difficult time communicating and placing the art of  it on a low list of  priorities are not people I wish to engage.  Harsh. Yes. But, relationships are built and strengthened with shared experiences. Just like our relationship with Him is through prayer and shared Holy moments. The Holy Spirit does not live in church alone. He is everywhere.  Taking the time to dwell with our friends bonds us together whether it is positive or negative. We need people to walk the trenches with us. We need others to teach us. How else do we see Heavenly Father? Communication goes a long way in creating boundaries and setting limits. Communication teaches us. Molds us. Defines us. Gives us Distinction.

Conflict avoidance is not a part of my genetic makeup.

This goes hand in hand with communication. People have come and gone in my life who avoid their responsibility in conflict resolution.  It is a part of my genetic markup to resolve conflict. Ask Heavenly Father. It is in His book!

Conflict is a part of every day life. We are all different and will inevitably have conflict that needs resolving. Avoiding it, hurts all parties involved and goes against the very nature of Heavenly Father.  It is His wish and desire that we embrace our differences, get in the trenches and work out our conflicts. We do have them  even with Him!!!

Have you ever prayed in earnest for something and heard, “No.” ?

 

Heavenly Father gave us a plan  for conflict resolution (MATT 18:15-20).  As we been a knee and pray each day, we are expected to take the time to discuss (with Love and Truth) any concerns we have with our brother or sister in Christ. Typically those that avoid conflict in one area of their lives, avoid it in all areas.

Sit back and observe those that do……

You can see conflict avoidance in the parent /child relationship, with their spouse and in their work environment. Not in my house. Not with my spouse. Not with my children. Not with my family.

This is another boundary for our family and my friendships. If we befriend someone who has a hard time telling their children no, we will not continue that friendship. “No”, sets limits. Heavenly Father sets limits. MATT 5:37 states,”Let your Yes be Yes and let your No be No; Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Set limits. Say No.  

Honest Vulnerability entangled in Loving truth.

Honesty. Vulnerability. Loving Truth. Each one has its own distinctive quality. Honesty is synonymous with morality, integrity and righteousness. Heavenly Father loves us and allows us the opportunity to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness. He allows others the same. He is honest with us as we embrace His Holy Spirit. He honestly deals with our transgressions whether we are ready to hear it or not. Is this not what friendships should do too?

Vulnerability refers to a child like faith. It says, ” I will allow you to hurt me, to show you His light.” Take a leap of faith with someone.

Loving Truth gives us the tool to say. ” I love you but this behavior is not acceptable for our family/ for our friendship/ for my work environment.”  Be loving in your truth,  no matter what it entails.  Be receptive to the words from Him whether from him or through others. Be willing to teach and  to be will to be taught. This is the foundation for boundaries.

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Define yourself though His Spirit and Word.  Take a leap of faith.  Learn about you, through Him. Allow others to help you learn. Be receptive. 

Know thyself…...

These are things I have learned about me. The execution is not always glamorous, but growth inevitably occurs.

What have you learned about you?

Blessings,

~m

 

 





Womb Woes

6 02 2015

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe….

3 beautiful children.

Shane, Larkin and Darbylynne are gifts from my Heavenly Father for me to nurture and love.

Then why am I so determined to have another baby? Why can’t I be at peace where I am? What gives…

We recently discovered we are pregnant again. Not even 24 hours into this beautiful moment and I am spotting.  Last fall we miscarried twins.

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe……

Admittedly, with each failed pregnancy a little bit of my hope dies… I feel a loss and sadness words just can’t adequately express. So why do I keep pressing on?

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe….

I stopped praying for anymore children this past year. After 14 failed pregnancies including and ectopic pregnancy, stillborn and some other freak anomalies…I just stopped. I think the reason was two-fold. One, the look on my doctors face. It was a look I had never seen before. I look of pity, sadness and bewilderment.  Two, I just don’t know the next step; uncomfortably numb would be the perfect label of my current status.

My doctor was always in my corner. Until last year. It hurt to see her face as I walked away.

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe…..

My soul aches for another.  My husband and I feel incomplete. My friend Lori, who is the epitome of wisdom in times like these, reminded me that this is my journey and I need to walk it which ever way it lays out.   She is truly a gem that Lori. Always supportive and never critical.  I just wish I understood why my journey has to look like this. I wish I understood the soul aching drive to not give up. Why on earth would  I elect to keep on going? Am I stubborn? Hard headed? Well, yes, have you not spent any time with me? But I suspect there is more here than that…..is this a test of faith?

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe…

I wish I could  just say, “I’m done” and that be it!  But I can’t. Both my husband and I have tried to elect surgery and each time we receive and resounding, “No!” .

I spotted with my daughter Darbylynne. I had a cycle for two months. I was a bit overwhelmed and shocked I even became pregnant with her after losing my son Brendan.  He was stillborn at 7 months. We did conceive again though midterm through my hubbys deployment. She transformed our marriage and our family. Transformed it into His family. His Light in the darkness.

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe…..

I suspected something was up this last week. Heartburn, tiredness beyond compare. You know,  the tiredness that shuts you down immediately.  Lights out before bed time!  Of course my chest was sore too and then there was my cat Mae Mae. She loves my belly when I am pregnant. Her claim was the final tip that sunk the iceberg. I took three tests. The last one was positive.

So instead of hiding the news, I told some of our friends.  I asked them for prayer too. We need prayer. Too many losses; for us not to ask would be a travesty.  We also decided to tell the kids again.

So often I have heard from friends to wait. We believe we need to celebrate the life inside us each and every time. We shortchange its value in our family, if we don’t tell them.

Hope… this is what it is about. Prayer begets hope and hope is a waxing right now. Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe?

The only difference between now and the other times is I am talking to the baby. Telling to it about its brothers and sister. Corny. Definitely. Time is precious though. There is worry in my heart over whether or not this one will make it. I don’t want that to be the only feelings it gets from me.

So to combat worry, I talk to the baby.  At the very least, the baby will feel the love we have for him or her.   They will know that Shane would love to have read and snuggle with him or her.  Making him or her aware of how much Larkin can’t wait to wrestle and play cars and take them on a bike ride warms my heart.   Letting them know how Darby eagerly awaits to practice her mommy skills on them too, just brings me joy. It is all I have right now. Other than prayer.

So we will celebrate the life inside and the lives we are committed to today.

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe… this is my prayer for today. 

Blessings,

~m

 





30 Day Challenge

5 02 2015

We are back here again. Sighs…

Glued to the Television. Sickness claimed our lives for a few weeks, and as usual we became accustomed to sitting in front of the Tele- wasting time. No more. No more!!!

We are over all the sickness now. We should be able to get right off the couch and carry on, but it is never that easy.  We all have some form of ADHD in our house and TV is ADDICTING!! When we are done with our daily routine of schools work and chores the first thing we want to do plop and play! No more! NO MORE!

I played with this idea a few years ago when we started homeschooling. I actually took the TV to Goodwill and gave it away. My children were traumatized and crying as the volunteer timidly backed away from the rear of the car. I felt like a horrible mother.   Things will be a bit different this time.  I don’t feel horrible. I won’t be giving this one away. We are going to leave it right in front of us. We are going to break this habit and find some more positives ones, like reading, playing games and getting outside. There are just too many other things we would be doing instead of sitting in front of a box watching other people’s lives go by; fictitious people at that.

I am the first to admit I have very little discipline, especially in regard to this particular vice. Most of this is about me, but some of  it is also about teaching my children how to discipline themselves. If my hubby and I don’t model how to do this, who will teach them? I want them to be able to recognize when they need to pull back if they are too involved in an activity.  I want them to not only recognize they need to limit themselves but I want them to have the confidence to do it as well.

Panic. Deep breath.

Anxiety is starting to creep in. I feel pretty jittery just thinking about cutting the cord to the TV.  I love my Downton Abby, Once Upon a Time, Modern Family and Supernatural. I have watched Law & Order SUV for 15 years too.  Deep Breath.  I can do this… I CAN DO THIS! I can show them that it does not need to run their lives!!!

I am not sure they will get all that from one 30 day challenge, but I am going to try. After all Rome wasn’t built-in a day and neither are life lessons.

~m

 





Confessions of a narcissist.

19 01 2015

Redemption comes in the most unlikely of places.  Mine came by way of my three children  Shane, Larkin, and Darbylynne. I met the man of my dreams, almost lost him, and then found Heavenly Father. Through that journey, I learned that being a mother is one of life’s richest blessings, not a curse or a bother.  To my horror, I learned I was exhibiting some narcissistic traits, just like my parents. My children saved me from a life of heartache.  They are my redemption.

Narcissim. One of the most painful personality disorders to be exposed to as a child, can be hard to crawl out of as an adult.  After all, your most import relationships after birth are with your parents.  But what do you do when both your parents are narcissists? Head into counseling and give it time. Pray for your heart to forgive and allow the feelings you work through the validation they need to heal.

My children inspired me to change. They taught me a different way to exist.

Before you can heal, you need to know what exactly you are dealing with. You need to understand it and how to combat it.

Want a really good idea of how a narcissist behaves, research it on these two websites:

http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com

http://www.outofthefog.net/index.html

Combat it with this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y

 

If your feeling adventurous, buy  the work book. This is not for the faint hearted. Be ready to do some serious soul-searching.

 

After reading these websites, I mourned my childhood. For three days, I  was depressed and in shock.   I cried. I wept.  I changed.

For the first time in years, my husband and I  had an honest and loving conversation about all the things I experienced growing up. For the first time, we discussed some concerns we both had about my behavior. In this heart-wrenching conversation, I realized how selfish I was with my time, my energy and my love. A rude awakening indeed, but growth is never ever easy.

I morphed into something much better though; despite the hurt feelings and difficult conversation that was needed. I was allowed the freedom to express my anger and hurt and so was he. My best friend comforted me as well. I no longer owned the hurt child from long ago. I broke free from those chains. She still exists but she is free from the bondage of them. Free to feel loved and free to authentically love others.  I could not have done it with out her either.

I had no boundaries what so ever, which of course is one of the biggest signs of adults who have been abused. Children of these parents never learn any boundaries. Everything they do is an extension of their parents.  Every failure, every success, nothing in our skin belongs to us. I saw things in other friendships that I had to fix too, instead of fixing myself. Classic-denial. Critical in every fashion, controlling in every venue too. Two character traits I owned.   I used my happiness with them as a barometer of how much I loved them…..Exactly what a supportive, loving parent should never do to their children!  I cringe when I think back at my early days of motherhood. It took the love of a man and the courage from my Heavenly Father for me to really see what was going on in our house.

Never again. It stops with me. These were the words I spoke to myself when I was growing up. These were the words the dictated my life.

Therapy took on a new direction. Now I had to rewrite the tapes inside my head. Now I had to tweak me!

 

Shane, Larkin and Darbylynne are worth every bit of my energy and time. They are worth every moment in therapy. They are worth every extra effort I need to make, because they were the gifts given to me by my Heavenly Father. I will be held accountable as to their treatment when I look St. Peter in the eye upon my death. How can I do anything less than change the things that hurt and damaged me? If I don’t, they could to hurt and damage them!  Children inherently require time and diligence, because they are  so needy! They are too young to navigate the world without our assistance. They need our gentle, loving hand for guidance. They need us to point the way to our Heavenly Father. At some point, they will require our love and reassurance as they step out into the brave new world laid out before them. How do they do this with selfish, controlling, manipulative parents? How do they do this when they have parents who have never healed or dealt with their issues?  They can’t. It is that simple. They won’t succeed in pretty much anything either. Children of narcissist parents typically don’t even realize how much they are lacking in boundaries, social skills, healthy relationships, and genuine love. Some never have a clue as to why life is so hard and so demanding. Some stay stuck in their own private hell, wondering if they can ever get off the abusive train of narcism. They are conditioned to think they are crazy and they wonder if everyone that comes into their lives will be just as cruel as their parents.  I know this. I lived it daily.

Most victims are unable to recognize the abusive tendencies of this mental disorder, let alone in their own parents.They also fail to see how this mental disorder breeds more narcissistic people, including themselves. They also can’t seem to get away from these people either. Why?  Because those who are victims of narcism are marked. Combine that with lack of knowledge of narcism and it is perfect-storm.  Narcissistic personalities, by their very nature, can spot a person who fits their victim profile.  I know this first hand. When I finally understood what narcissism was and how it affected my life, I quickly said no to those type of people.  I learned boundaries.  For a narcissistic personality, it is all about manipulating another human being, getting ahead, serving the self.  It is about control.

Words are powerful weapons for these types of people. They tweak them and change them to fit their agenda. But there is hope. One extremely powerful word stops it all! You have this word in your arsenal!

No!

Learn to use it. Breath it in and just say it.

No!

This is the best weapon.  Learn to place boundaries up, not just for you, but for your loved ones too.  I take it as a personal challenge to teach my children boundaries now.  They are learning what healthy relationships look like and they are learning how to combat unhealthy ones as well. If I don’t teach them, who will?

No longer will I take the burden of my parents and carry it as my own. No longer will I be the all-encompassing person to make them happy. They have their crosses to bear as I have mine. I have three beautiful children. I refuse to squander this opportunity with them to enable either of them to not grow up and learn from their mistakes. Life is too short. I have learned from my mistakes, I have owned them  and it is time they owned them too.

Redemption; it is found in the most unlikely of places. My children saved me from my parents. My children saved me from myself. My children showed me how save them.

Thanks be to God!

 

~m

Dedicated to Larr. Thanks for the kick in the butt!

 





Another miscarriage.

25 05 2014

It happened again. This time I had the honor of no notice; no warning signs at all. I went right into labor for almost 7 hours Monday night. It continued for the next few days until I had a DNC.

I do not want your pity, nor do I wish any sad looks in my general direction. Because I am afraid of that,  I am actually scared to show my head in church tomorrow. Why? I mean how silly to not want to go to church because I miscarried again. Reason being, with every look of pity, I am reminded of the loss that I experienced. I will see it in other peoples eyes. How do I combat that? With every “I  am so sorry”, I am reminded how much my faith is challenged each time it happens.

I am not angry. I am grateful for the time I had with my little ones. Even at 2 months the body changes. With twins it changes even more. I gained 15 pounds. I tried so hard not buy any maternity clothes. I finally broke down the week before because my bras were actually so tight they were hurting my back. But Heavenly Father has reasons for everything and it was time for them to go home. The last time it felt this bad was when I lost Brendan at 7 months. Heavenly Father may have not stepped in and stopped it but the blessings on the other side were tremendous. It took awhile but we had Darbylynne. I finally had my girl.

Another challenging part to all this is acknowledging my birthday. I am 44 today. We have been trying for 12 years to complete our family. One more. Just one more.This is where our mindset has been for a few years…. But for the first time, I am not sure I want to try any more. I will pray on this, but not yet. I am just too numb to do it right now.

It feels incomplete when we sit at the table. We are one short. Our family is just too small. Maybe it is time to consider adoption….This is the best way to describe why we kept trying.

But I am not sure we will try any more. Plans are in motion for my hubby to get fixed. Prayer is the focal point right now.. at least it should be.. but I just can’t go there yet. I can’t ask for His wisdom right now because my heart aches for the children we have lost since we started.