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

 

 





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

 





Columbia: Our home.

13 08 2014

We love the military life.  One of the downfalls of this lifestyle the moving.  PCSing, which is short for Permanent Change of Station, brings about many challenges.  So often we find ourselves alone in our new surroundings because we move all over the world.  Family is typically too far to help and it is in our best interest to make friends quickly.  Friendships usually come last because we are so busy.  I know many families come and go to Fort Jackson so I thought I would help out a bit by sharing some of the places we have utilized at one time or another.  Maybe this will help you explore the area we currently call home. Here are my top 5.

1.) The all important Hair cut.  I know you are itching to get one too. I bet you have not had one since your last duty station either.   I bet you are ready to cut it yourself!  DON’T DO IT!  The list of what we have to do is HUGE when we move.  I know you have been busy girlfriend.  I know how you feel…… So here is a big heads up!  Go see Chrissy Lupina at Salon Bella.  It is right outside the main gate on Forest Drive; 10 minutes on a bad day of traffic.  Seven years ago, another military spouse passed her name along and I have not looked back since!  I know a hairstylist is an extremely personal thing.  I know we have all kinds of crazy emotions when it comes to a stylist.  Chrissy will not only give a 20% discount for being military, she will also not do anything crazy unless you tell her to.  She is cautious and a great girl to talk to.  Her daughter works there too and if you want wild and crazy hair… like my daughter.. she will help with something crazy!  Remember the movie Steel Magnolias?  Well stepping into her parlor with all the ladies feels a bit like that.  She loves you, dotes on you, and if you need to bring your kids, she will gladly allow them in the salon!  Can I get an amen?!?

My hubby was deployed twice in between assignments at Jackson and we home school as well.  So when I  head to the salon, my whole crew comes in tow. Debbie also trims eyebrows and other things. I like her tool! Enjoy!!

Here is Link to her website: http://salonbellasalon.com

2.) Dentists.  Not our favorite place to go, but a necessity nonetheless.  We always have trouble finding a good one when we move.  So I have two recommendations for you.  One for the children, and one for you. Forest Drive Dental, who is our new dentist for our kids, can do both mom and kids if you prefer.  Dr. Dover is once again located right outside the main gate down Forest Drive, located directly across from Shandon Baptist Church, so you can check that out too.  Many people are patients of a few of the larger dentists in the area  and we have tried some of them.  Not only is Dr. Drover cheaper than many others, but she does believe in utilizing alternate therapies.  My younger son Larkin needed 10 cavities filled and it cost me about $250 less than any other dentist.  She also did not do the 3 “recommended” root canals on baby teeth!  Dr. Staci Gaffos is another great dentist located of I-77 and Two Notch Road.  I prefer him because of his patient staff.  They are willing to jump through the hoops I needed in order to get my bit splints.  I grind my teeth and they help with that process.  Tricare will pay for them, you just have to know the process and have people dedicated to make that happen.  He does!  His number is 803-788-360. Call an make an appointment today.

 

3.) Therapy.  With the state of our military and the expectations as well as burdens placed on families, this is a must.  Lake Psychological Services is just another hop, skip, and jump out of the main gate again..  Take I-77 to Two Notch, which is the gateway to the North east of Columbia.  It is a half mile off the freeway.  If you are having problems in your marriage, this is a way you can get your spouse in without their command knowing.  Take them into the session with you.  She also runs a Bioneurofeedback clinic.  It is an alternative therapy to medicine for depression, mild autism, ADHD, epilepsy and anxiety.  The Neurofeedback clinic is not covered under Tricare, but it is worth every bit of the out-of-pocket expense.  Coupled with talk therapy, which is covered under Tricare, great strides can be made in these treatments.  I am living proof of its benefits as are both of my boys. There are plenty of therapists in her office besides Dr. Lake.  My hubby, who is the active duty spouse, has seen Wendy Davis as well.  They also have a psychiatrist on staff.  Many a military spouse have received help from this office.  I have yet to hear anything negative.  Call Sam, who is the office manager, he will walk you through the authorization process.

The link to their office is as follows: http:://lakepsych.com

 

4.) Chances are if you are heading to a therapy office, you should pop in the EFMP office on Fort Jackson too.  It is located right off Strom Thurman Boulevard on post.  Mrs. Cheryl Jackson is a godsend.  In charge of the Exceptional Family Member Program, she will do every thing in her power to obtain the services you need for yourself and/or your family members.  My family and I have benefited immensely from the love of her and her supporting staff.  Go to the Fort Jackson main website page and scroll on the tab marked Garrison, then scroll on the “Exceptional Family Member” link.  Once you get there, they will have a EFMP resource link on the left corner.  In the guide contains links to all the support organizations in Columbia.  The EFMP Resource guide was the brain child of another former military spouse.  She understood what it was like to move from installation to installation and not have any idea what was offered in lieu of support services for families with special needs.

Here is the Fort Jackson website: http:://fortjacksonmwr.com

 

5.) This last little tidbit is for those who have little ones at home.  Head over to Northeast United Methodist Church in north-east Columbia.   The drive will take about 20 minutes from Fort Jackson.  One of our ministries of our home church is a military MOPS chapter that meets twice a month.  Mothers of Preschoolers is a national support group for mothers with young ones.  Grab your little ones and head on over.  There is a large group of military spouses there willing to guide you in pretty much any aspect of motherhood.  Plus you get two hours of alone time from the kiddos!  The other two weeks a month the church has a mother focused bible study.  There is child care for this as well; it is the same day and time as MOPS (just the alternating weeks).  Lastly, on the first Friday of each month (during school months), the church has a First Friday movie night for kids.  It is two hours alone with hubby, or by yourself too.  The cost $2 per child with a $5 family cap.  Head right down the road to Sandhills Mall and enjoy some window shopping, desert or even a quick dinner.

Here is the link to the churches website: http:://www.neumc.com

Get your engines started and enjoy exploring Columbia. There are a few other aspects I will be writing about additionally in some following blogs. Public schooling, private schooling and homeschooling are big concerns for military families.  Many families in the military prefer to home school and I will discuss that too. Many businesses offer discounts to military families and I can let you know what we have found. Churches will be the next focus. Columbia has pretty much any denomination for being a small southern city.

Blessings!

Michele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Mindfully spending time…

21 07 2014

image

 

Recently our family ticker has focused on the theme of mindful parenting. For myself, it started a year ago with Heavenly Fathers insistence I become more mindful of who and what I spend my time on. For those of you who are unaware, homeschooling is not all about eating bons-bons throughout the day.  It can be a logistical nightmare if you do not learn how to effectively juggle.  You learn, and I might add very quickly, to juggle housework, schooling, spouse time, and the ever important personal  time to prohibit crazy mom syndrome from appearing,  all while juggling activities for  each childs’ individual needs.  It is not an easy feat.  Through this process, I became extremely  mindful about what we did as a family and as a school.   These lessons came crashing down pretty hard on my hubby all at once when Larkin needed him the other night.

Homeschooling is still new to him as he was on his 4th deployment when we experienced our first year. He missed so many things. During this past week off work, our son Larkin, who is shown in the above picture, broke out into another rash.  So often I submit my tired body to the cause of motherhood and whenever nurturing is needed, I jump in head first. Natural instincts kick in during times of stress. This time was different. My son requested his father’s presence until the medicine kicked in for the hives. He wanted Jeff to sleep with him and snuggle with him. This was new territory for both of us.

My hubby and I were never ones for co-sleeping with our children. I changed when we had Darbylynne.  It went into over drive when Jeff deployed.   I needed her with me because I missed him immensely. She was still small and I was lonely.  Additionally, the kids and I started weekly slumber parties.  Sometimes we would read or play games. Sometimes we would invent stories and often times we would pray together.   Now we are constantly asked if they can sleep with us. We even take turns snuggling with them and sleeping with them  in our bed or theirs.

After Jeff and Larkin’s boys night,  my hubby realized  how much the boys needed him. He felt it in his heart.  Keep in mind, I have been praying for this realization for Jeff for two years. I have told him repeatedly how much they need him.  He never felt it until now. It never really sunk in how much they loved him and looked up to him until Larkin expressed a need to be with him.  Over the last few days and series of conversations, this realization has evolved into the idea that what we give our children and what they need are two very different things. Sound familiar?

Three years ago we were paying for the best local private school in the area. I was volunteering and doing all the right things for our children; things that we perceived they needed in order to be successful in this world. The one thing we were not doing though, was spending quality time with them. Rushing from activity to activity was keeping us busy, and we were not mindful of what they really needed, which was our time.  By our actions we were telling our children that the things we do were more important than time we spent with them. Homeschooling forced us to be more mindful of whom we associated with; it forced us to examine what morals we wanted installed in their character. It forced us to reexamine every aspect of our parenting. Character become one of two focal points in our homeschooling education program; mindfulness of Heavenly Father was the other.

We are asked to spend time with Heavenly Father daily and weekly in prayer. We are asked to cultivate a relationship with him. Relationships take effort and time.  Doing things for our children is not the same as spending time with them.  It is in spending time with them, we learn about their personalities and we are able to guide them through their lives. Children need guidance from their parents. They need to be shown how to be Christian men and women in a fallen world and that takes effort and mindfulness on the parents part.

So many parents do the right things and forget to spend time. Society suffers because of this. Prison population is on the rise. Gang membership is on the rise. Teen pregnancy is on the rise as well.   So many parents do not have balance within their own lives to even notice the children they have given birth too. They are too worried about paying the bills and doing their job to even realize the gems they have right in front of them. They leave it to the schools, the neighborhood and the church to raise their children. Trickle down economics does not equate with raising children.

I am not boasting that our family way is the best way to accomplish mindful parenting and I certainly not saying that our way is the correct way. But what I want to challenge you to consider  are you spending enough down time outside TV, play dates, schoolwork, doctors appointments, activities and life in general with your children?  My husband had a great father, but he has no memories of spending quality time with him. He has no memories of sharing intimate thoughts or emotions with him either. He was expected to understand what manhood is without intimate guidance from his father, as was I when it came to motherhood.

I do not want this for my children. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that I do not know them intimately, know their quirks, their fears or even what makes them laugh. Heavenly Father expects us to be transparent in our relationship with him as well as intimate too. You can’t be intimate with your children if you do not spend time with them, just like you can’t be intimate with Heavenly Father if you do not make time for Him either.

I really close friend of mine is about to lose  her father in law. In talking  with her yesterday and sharing her story with my hubby, all three of us came to some pretty deep conclusions. Our hearts ache for this situation.  This  man, who will be leaving  this world, knew  he fell short with his children. He was given the gift of more time with a  dilapidating disease.  He did nothing with it though. He never moved into a more intimate relationship with either of his sons.  So as his sons go to see him off, he leaves this world knowing he failed them and this causes baggage. Baggage that could potentially keep him from a beautiful life with Heavenly Father; his soul is in pain when it should be a beautiful time to rejoice. My soul grieves for all the loved ones involved here. I am not sure about you, but when I go see my Heavenly Father I would prefer to not leave behind any unfinished business.

My prayer for you today is you become more mindful of your time and who you are spending it with. I pray you find balance in your own life not only as a parent but also with your spouse.  I pray you are more mindful with how you spend time with your children. Lastly,  I pray they become the focus of your life after Heavenly Father.

Be at peace,

~m

 





Raising a Modern Day Knight, By Robert Lewis

29 05 2014

My husband created a contract for our two boys last year when he arrived home from his 4th deployment. The content of this book inspired him to “raise the bar” on character education in our home. One of the things I learned my first year of homeschooling is how important character education is in the development of our children. The mastery of any subject,  which is not limited to math and science, will come. A person’s character will determine their success.  It also determines what type of contributing member they will be in our society. How armed do you wish your children to be?  Each child moves at their own pace both spiritually and academically. But when character issues rear their ugly head,which of course they always do,  they need to be addressed immediately and many times over and over again throughout  the course of their lifetime.

The contract he created reads as follows:

Strength and Honor:
Strength: In mind and Body and Spirit.
~Mind– through school, reading, studying; be a life long learner.
~Body – through exercise, eating healthy, hard work, fun, rest; maintain a healthy balance
~Spirithrough prayer, church, Bible Study, fellowship; seek God always

Honor: God, Others, and Yourself.
~God – Love Him, Respect Him, stay close to Him, let others see His love through you.
~Others- Respect (give it /expect it), be honest, show kindness and mercy, love one another
~Yourself– Be confident, speak and act boldly; be responsible for your actions; hold fast to your integrity

For the next few weeks, I am going to prayerfully discuss each sub topic. Despite my limited knowledge of the Bible, I know we will learn something with each new blog together. I allowing Heavenly Father to work out the details. He does it so much better than I do.  I hope you will join me on this journey. My only question I have for you dear reader is which one should I start with first, Strength or Honor? Thanks for your input.

Blessings,

~m





Something to call your own.

7 03 2014

Balance. 

A Time for Everything

 ECC 3:3

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens

We often times forget that we as mothers need something to call our own. For the past few months, I have fought having something of my own. Even though I felt Heavenly Father calling me  to get up early and start working out and spend some time with Him I ignored it.  I struggled last year with moving my family into homeschooling. My hubby deployed and from day one it was a battle. Not only with my children, which I expected, but with all the other outside influences that come when my hubby deploys.  Here I was following Heavenly Father’s call to witness to my own children and I was miserable. Not because of that act of homeschooling, but all  the  outside stuff  that worked into our every day lives and kept me from being the best teacher I could be in our school. Never mind a calling to run and spend time with Him.

This past weekend I had the pleasure and honor of participating in the Disney 10K Princess Run. I went with a group of beautiful God-filled women. In addition to that, we spent our family vacation at Disney. This was the 2nd time we went as a family.   Amazing does not quite cover the feelings and emotions associated with this run and our trip. Almost 9,000  men and women participated in this event. Eight thousand participants were women!  Sit and ponder that amount of people!

I honestly did not want to do it. I tried getting into shape, but it was a daily struggle. After a deployment you also have an adjustment period when your spouse comes home. My hubby was amazed at how much our family structure changed with homeschooling. We were closer. We were not watching TV and we were a reading family.  Couple that with my hubby reaffirming his relationship with Heavenly Father and we were two very different people when he arrived home. We are still adjusting and at times we are not doing it well.  But we have Heavenly Father guiding us; this has been our saving grace.

Ever had a time in your life when the act of getting out of bed was a gift?  That was how the last year went; lawsuits, loss of friendships, homeschooling, deployment, the end of my volunteering, the end of my schooling, and a host of other really big issues.. I was exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually. If there was a problem, I ran into it during my husband’s absence. I was pushed to my limits. I did not know then, I was that strong of a person. But  I needed to be humbled.

Fast forward: a week before the run.

I could not get into regular running. I was only up to 4 miles at a time and spinning 3 times a week. I was freaking out. But the Running Princesses came in strong. They prayed for me. They even supported me during the run! They surrounded me with His love and theirs. So off I was to Disney with my family.

Fast forward :the morning of the run.

The fireworks went off and we started. I was in the last group. The very last group of 9000 people! For the first few minutes it took a lot to navigate the crowd. I eventually stepped off the pavement and just ran on the grass. I had to, if I ever wanted to pass anyone.  I closed  my eyes right as I  started. Silently, I asked for His wings to carry me. Up to this point, I had only trained for 6 weeks. Every time I tried to get further than 4 miles, I felt mentally defeated. Physically, I felt every year of my 43 years when I trained.  I never started running at my weight. I always waited until I was under 200 lbs.

I purchased a new iPod for the run and even created a playlist the night before. But that did not matter. I was not meant to listen to any music this time. I lost my ear buds  in the crowd.  Talk about a bummer! Initially, I was a bit upset by this. But as I took one step in front of the other, I realized I needed to be in the moment. I needed the mindfulness of what I was attempting to accomplish right then and there.  I felt every breath in my chest, and heard the rocks crunch under my feet. The people around me just disappeared.  I was alone in my head. Something that had not happened for 18 months! Immediately I felt a surge of energy . His wings lifted me up. I felt like I was the frog in a game of Frogger and my Heavenly Father was moving me! The energy was invigorating. Just run. Just keep running. Don’t look back and keep focused on the goal at hand–to finish! Finish I did. I cried like a baby. I had an asthma attack. Something that  has not happened in 5 years!

After the run, I started thinking about the whole experience.  We live in a fallen world. It is the property of Heavenly Father; perverted in some ways by the other side. So many people do not have a relationship with Heavenly Father. They do not know the good news at all. My heart weeps at this thought. Some symbolism started to appear in relation to my run.  The cement course, which was hard, tough and grueling, reminded me so much of our lives without Heavenly Father. I never did it well when I was without Him. Ever. Don’t get me wrong, we have some humdinger of moments with Him on our journey too, but cement road is toughest surface and the worst surface to run on. Runners prefer to avoid it.  Life is so much harder without Heavenly Father too.  We just can’t do it as well as He would.   We try to and usually fail miserably. I looked for a softer surface ; just like I chose to walk my journey on this earth with Heavenly Father. I needed to save my feet from blisters. I all ready had two. So I ran on the grass. The grass , which is a softer surface compared to that of cement, symbolized my journey with Heavenly Father. Sure I had to avoid the potholes. There were quite a few just like He promised we would shave some challenging times. I mean seriously how many of His disciples died for their beliefs?  But the surface gave some leeway as I ran. Just like He guides us when we allow Him too.

Steeping off the cement path, symbolized running with Heavenly Father. When we are called to walk with Him, we often face trials without support from this earthly realm.  I still had to navigate; I still had to choose which path to move forward.  But I was not alone. He was with me. There were even  times He took over. Towards the end of the run, I could only think about the focus on my pain. My body hurt and I was exhausted. He led my feet one stride at a  time.  Like in life, sometimes you just can’t avoid tougher surfaces.  Some times we have to muddle through it.  We have things we must navigate whether they are good or bad.

Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

The run in its entirety symbolized a mental and physical challenge. It was the culmination of a year and half worth of struggles for myself and my family.  I was not about to give up. After all, I had Heavenly Fathers back! But so often in the crux of great strife we forget about balance. We forget about honoring Him and also honoring ourselves. Our bodies our temples. They are the only bodies we have in this life. We should take care of them.   I love being a mother. I love being a teacher, but what I missed most of all is doing something that is just for myself.

So often we forget that we have desires and hopes too. It is easy to get caught up and even lost in motherhood. It is a consuming job. Whether you work or stay at home, you need to learn to balance the many hats stored in your closet. I was not balancing my needs very well. I was not balancing my time with Heavenly Father either.  This run exemplified the importance of my needs in the equation of success for my family and my walk with Heavenly Father. How are you balancing your needs? How you honoring His Glory in your walk?

~m





Beautiful relationships….

5 01 2014

It has been a long battle. I fought it with my mother; fought her unwillingness to reach out and touch me when it mattered the most. Then  I fought it within my own heart. The willingness to serve my daughter in a manner in which I was not served by my very own mother.  Today was the day, the day I  broke free from my anxiety. Today was the day my heart soared for the beautiful possibilities that lay  ahead  for both my daughter and I.  We have the potential to soar and be closer than I ever was with my own mother.  We have the opportunity through homeschooling to accomplish a level of closeness and intimacy that I could only pine for with my own mother for many many years. For the past year, I have agonized and prayed over when to home school my daughter. Why? Because I learned slowly that homeschooling a child, let alone three is not for the faint hearted. When you home school, you never have a moment alone and your life is not your own anymore. When you home school you change every aspect of how you run your family. This can be so overwhelming for anyone, but add another layer of not understanding how to be a loving, caring mother and good intentions will not be enough to get anyone through the challenges of homeschooling.  I never had an example of what that should look like; how to be loving, caring and unselfish.  We learn by our examples. I never experienced it. I had a deficit going into motherhood. I knew what I experienced as a child was pretty messed up.  I desired to be better. I knew I never really understood or enjoyed my moms company. I  never really spent any quality time with her either. Quality time for her was in front of the TV or playing by myself. The real meaning of motherhood was lost on me.

Grace, forgiveness and hope are the new parameters of  my mother and I’s relationship. Forgiveness for all “those transgressions” I encountered while under the care of her and my step father. Grace to see her for child of Heavenly Father  and accept her for where she is at spiritually as well as emotionally; a hurt being from a long list of painful ugly relationships. Hope that even if she does not think she is worthy of His love, she is and will know it someday. Hope that she  too will feel the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father through the relationships of her loved ones and friends.

Beautiful possibilities...

Beautiful possibilities…

This past holiday season I observed two sweet and long time friends loose their mothers. Ironically, they were both stricken with breast cancer. Their tenacity and drive to outlive their diagnosis did not go unnoticed.  They lived life large and in a manner that glorified Heavenly Father. Their love also knew no bounds.

Rene moved mountains to care for her mother. Lisa drove miles to ensure care was received. Healing occurred for both women. Time seemed to move slowly and death was at bay. But time only alludes us of deaths presence.  When Reetha and Sarah did move on, each of their daughters took an immense amount of comfort in knowing that their mothers walked with Heavenly Father once their bodies gave out. Each of my friends knew that they would see their mothers when their time was oncoming.  My friend Heather, in all her graciousness, provided  a wonderful example of how the hope of daughter could actually save a mother. Heather came into my life with a bang and a blessing months before these beautiful women passed. She shared her story with me and it moved me………

Forgiveness heals. Forgiveness gets rid of the spiritual cancer in the victims heart.

I have not talked to my mother for two and half years.  I had to walk away because of the toxicity her and I created in our relationship. It is unhealthy to say the least. Until I could forgive her and move on, it was truly hopeless. But with Him, all things are possibly. With him the mountains crumbled and I learned to forgive.

What struck my heart so boldly the other day was how much I ached for my mothers salvation. After hearing both Lisa and Rene talk about their mothers salvations I hurt for my mother. How much I felt a desire to share my fears with her of her salvation, or lack thereof. If I were a betting woman, I would bet that she still does not know our Heavenly Father at all. My step father ruined her. He trampled on her heart, the little bit that was left after a life of pain from growing up in  foster home after foster home was gone. Being the child of a madam in a whore house did nothing to help her self esteem either. Having a drunk for a father was another important relationship that shaped all successive relationships from then on in her life.

I never really looked at my mother. I never saw her for the hurt being she had become.

Then I forgave her.

I see her now. I see her in my daughter; my beautiful baby girl within whom I have been given beautiful possibilities to forge a strong relationship based on a  foundation of love.

I am not my mother.  I am a child of the one true King. I am daughter of Lord God Jehovah,  who has been given me an opportunity to love a little girl in a manner worthy of a child of Jesus. I am given the opportunity to reach out and love a child in a manner that I was never loved. How my heart soars! How my Heart celebrates in this joy!

I never thought I was capable of loving her so much. I never knew loving her would redefine my character. I never knew loving her and my sons would save me!  I never knew that loving her would finally show  my heart that there is hope for my mother and I.

Oh how my heart fills with joy in the possibilities of both of these relationships! How freeing it is to know that I am not like her! How awesome it is that I may not know how to be a loving parent, but my Heavenly Father has imbued within my heart the tools necessary to do so. I just need to walk with Him on this journey. I just need to take a chance and reach for her hand.

When I see my daughter,  I do not see a little me anymore. I see a smaller version of my mother waiting for me to love her wholly and without reservation.

Lisa and Rene, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart grieves on a level I can’t adequately describe in words for the two of you. I am so grateful you were able to experience the true love between a mother and daughter. You honored your mothers and modeled how to love your mother in a manner I have never witnessed. I shed my fear, because of your leadership. I shed my fear because of all four women.

Thank you!

Sarah and Reatha your presence is sorely missed. Thank you for loving your daughters completely and without reservation. You gave me the example I sorely needed.

I will see you when it is my time.

~m