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

 

 

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Mindfully spending time…

21 07 2014

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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

 





Old Glory

10 11 2012

As we approached the Clemson road exit, we all notice the stars and stripes on the hill top at the Hyundai dealership. We missed our exit and I now know why. It was lit up like a Christmas tree. Majestic. Serene. Peacefully reminding us of its presence. At the same time we stopped, we were listening to the Celtic Wom
en sing “you lift me up so I can climb on mountains… you lift me up “. In that moment, we all marveled at the beauty of the size of that flag standing proudly before us. It was like we had a front row seat at a concert. The waves of the colors gracefully allowed the wind to caress them as they moved throughout the crisp night air. The movement was mesmerizing. Larkin could not believe the size of this awesome flag. He kept saying over and over…. “Mommy that is a huge flag. Have you ever seen one so big?” Shane said, ever so quietly in the back,”I wonder if they ever felt this way during the American Revolution. I wonder if they ever thought it looked this beautiful mommy.” A tear ran down my cheek. “Yes it is big Larkin. It is beautiful Shane…” Darby , the three year old, was next. She whined.. in a very sad, teary, and shaky voice,” I miss Daddy so much mommy. I miss him so much. I need him to come home”. I angled my hand back from the front seat.. and held hers for a long time… a long long time…we all sat quietly…I said,”I know baby. I know.” That moment in time, I will treasure in my heart. For one moment, we all felt the beauty, the tranquility and the awesomeness that our national flag stands for…..For one moment, I was so proud of to be a military wife. For one moment, we all felt so much gratitude for our daddy Jeff and those who fought in wars before now, while feeling the loss of him in our home.. Thank you to all the families who serve in armed forces. Thank you to my hubby for standing guard when so many would choose otherwise. I am forever grateful, as our my children