Mommy Guilt

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I’ve been feeling the weight of it recently. Mommy guilt. Those feelings of not ever doing enough and being all you think you ought to be for your kids. And consequently, you feel guilty taking time or doing anything for yourself.

When my boys were babies and toddlers, I had a bad case of mommy guilt. It subsided for a few years. But in the past few months, pangs of guilt has resurfaced. So, I’ve been asking God to show me why mommy guilt is making a comeback. And he has revealed some things.

As a homeschool mom, I’m with my sons from sunrise to sunset and beyond. Yet, I still feel as though I’m not spending enough time with them. Maybe it’s because I spend more time being teacher than mom. School ends and mommy guilt begins. I am torn between having some “me” time versus actual play time with the boys. It’s a constant tug of war between doing for them and doing for me. I thought I was balancing both well. Lately, I’ve questioned whether I’m focusing more time on me and not enough time with my boys.

Why do I feel guilty taking time for myself when I’ve been teaching and mothering most of my waking hours? Should I feel guilty? What is causing these feelings of guilt?

One word sums up the reason for my mommy guilt. Insecurity. When I forget who and whose I am, I become insecure and begin to compare myself to other moms. And comparison is a losing battle. Every time I compare myself, my work, my family, my stuff, or my life with another, I lose out to guilt. Guilt pressure causes me to believe I should be doing or being more of this and less of that. Yet, it is hard not to compare when everyone’s life is on display 24/7 on every social media outlet :(.

The more I scroll through Instagram and Facebook, the more I find myself comparing, competing, and coveting. Most of the time, I take part in the comparison game without even realizing it, until guilt consumes me. It is a subtle and dangerous trap.

But, I don’t have to give in to guilt when I remember who and whose I am. I am a daughter of God. I have his imprint in me because he designed me uniquely. Therefore, I don’t have to compare myself with another mom. I am wired specifically for my children and God teaches me how to be their mom. I fail daily, but God extends his grace and forgiveness. He gives me a fresh start every day to do a little better than I did yesterday. With him by my side, failures are turned into teachable moments. My boys get to see an imperfect mom who needs God and relies on him for every, little, single thing.

Yes, mommy guilt is real and it may always be present. But, I don’t have to believe its lies and act on what it tells me. I can ask God to help me be the best mom for my kids. Limiting exposure to social media or anything that may trigger guilt is crucial. And I must remember to listen for God’s instructions in the Bible, instead of following the masses. For he made me and my kids. He knows how we fit together. In His strength and by his power, I can squash the pangs of mommy guilt when it arises and stop the comparison game before it begins.

Here’s a habit I am practicing to tackle mommy guilt. I hope it helps you as well. The next time guilt sneaks in, pay careful attention to the work of nurturing your children. Refuse to compare yourself and your kids to anyone. Instead, use the comparison energy towards your children and pour your best effort, time, and love into them. Then, you won’t feel the need to compare yourself to others and think you should do or be more. You’ll have the satisfaction of a job well done to the best of your ability, with God’s help.

Keep at it mommas! Don’t let guilt rob the joy and peace from your mothering days. God is your help! With him by your side, you will have all you need to do the best for your kids and to grow into your best self for them. And he’ll help you make time to do a few things for yourself, without mommy guilt pestering you :).

Posted in Daily Life, Family, Growth & Maturity, Motherhood, Parenting, Self-care, Wellness | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Rising Above Murky Waters

In murky waters is where we discover God is real and whether we have been relying on him or self.20180504_120245

Don’t let circumstances determine your outlook and dictate how you feel about yourself.

Do use your circumstances as opportunities to look for God and ask him what’s going on. Then you will see how he is growing a more beautiful and genuine you, for the benefit of his world.

Put your hope and trust in Jesus. He will give you a true perspective of your situation and a correct view of yourself.

Things will not be as they are forever. You, God’s special treasure, are of great value to him.

Don’t trust how you feel. Acknowledge your feelings because they are real. But don’t dwell on them or you will head into deep waters of despair and your faith will drown in self-pity.

Murky waters will come. We can sink under it or choose to rise above it. But know this. God is real. He hears our cries. He does care. He is doing something right now to pull us out.

Give yourself permission to rest in his care. Accept the process God is growing you through. Stop relying on self and expecting your outcome. Start trusting confidently in the God who made you and knows how to help you through the waters of life.

God is always working for our good. We can’t understand his way of doing things. But, His outcome for us will definitely be more spectacular than we can imagine possible!

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Waiting With God

Untitled design (1)Isaiah 30:18 – The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show compassion. The Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

 

Waiting is a lonely place. It can feel as though God has abandoned you.

I pray and wait. And wait. And wait. I know God hears. I just question why he doesn’t answer (at least in the way I expect). It’s hard when you know God is able and willing to give you what you ask, yet he allows you to wait.

One thing which helps during my wait is to remember all God has done for me in the past. It reminds me how he does care for me regardless of how discouragement messes with mind.

I reflect on how God continues to take care of our family on one income and has done so for over ten years. Just last year he protected trees from falling on the house during our first tornado encounter. Over the years, jumping deer, flying ladders, and loose tires didn’t plunge us into deadly accidents because God’s angels shielded us. I can’t forget how God gave us two healthy boys after a horrendous miscarriage and a season of barrenness. Perhaps, the longest wait was for God to make a way for my husband and our whole family to be part of a generous family who genuinely cares about people. After working many years of taxing hours at the expense of his marriage and family, hubby’s job at Chick-fil-A is truly a gift from our good Heavenly Father. And, I can’t leave out how God has rescued our marriage. More than once.

I could go on, but you get the idea. God didn’t abandon me in any of my past troubles, small or big. And I trust He will never forsake me even if it feels like it at times. I trust God’s character and record, not my feelings.

Waiting is a lonely place, but it forces us to face our human limitations. Our frustrations during the wait comes from the reality that we can’t see what’s coming and we aren’t in control of anything at all. We realize how powerless we are without God’s help.

It is in the waiting that God reveals himself to us. He grows our dependence on him, helps us to better understand other people’s struggles, and puts in us the desire to help those who are hurting.

While waiting with God through the years, I’ve learned he is a Father who protects me from hopelessness, a friend who never leaves me to deal with my questions alone, and a counselor who gives me wisdom to get through the wait. Our relationship is tight now because I’ve had to wait for answers to my problems. As I wait with God, He continues to grow me up.

If you’re like me, you are continually waiting for something. I suspect we will never stop waiting in this life. So, it would be wise to learn how to wait without being anxious and losing hope. The only way I’ve been able to wait with hope and not be overwhelmed by discouragement is to rely on God.

Being intimately connected to God gives us the power to wait with hope because we experience his presence waiting with us. He gives us an inner peace we can’t explain or deny. We’re able to remain calm and we keep going to him with our requests no matter how long we have to wait.

Jesus knew we’d get impatient in the wait. So he encourages us in Luke, chapter 18, to always pray and never give up. He hears as we cry out to him day and night. He is a just God. He won’t keep putting us off. Be strong and have courage! Wait for the Lord!

Yes, wait for the Lord! He will act for you!

 

Posted in Christian Living, faith, Growth & Maturity, Prayer Life, Suffering | 2 Comments

Bring on the Rain

God gives rain in their season to yield crops and produce fruit.Leviticus 26_4We’ve had lots of rain in Georgia this winter and spring. I’ve missed sunshine, but I know we need the rain to recover from last year’s drought. Our fruit trees and berry bushes will produce plenty in its season because God has watered them. Yes!!!!

I love sunny days and mild weather. Designed by God to be orderly and structured, I like things to be calm and predictable.

Aren’t we all like this to some extent? We like safe conditions so we can live the status quo. We get a little of God in us, do our thing, and live in our safe, comfortable, do what we want kind of life.

We don’t like storms. Rainy weather aggravate and disrupt our plans. Constant clouds and rain makes us moody and depressed. So, we complain and gripe. Yet without rain, vegetation can’t grow, food would be scarce, and we wouldn’t have water to use.

Through the rainy days I’ve come to understand how God allows conflicts, challenges, and even crisis in our lives to grow us up. They are the rain which will produce the fruit of God’s character in us. These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. With each trial, I can tell God is growing these fruits in me. I have more of these fruits in me than I did ten, five, or even a year ago. But, I still need to continue producing them each day God allows me to live.

We humans despise hard times because it disturbs our way of doing life and makes us uncomfortable. It forces us to deal with our issues, the ugly and less than desirable things we try to hide from others. Except we can’t hide it from God. He wants us to face our failures, shortcomings, unhealthy habits, and stubborn ways so we can be free to enjoy life, to love him, and to pour into others.

Can I just be honest? I’m coming out of my rainy season now. The rain has been brutal. But God has been my safe place. He is producing in me better, deeper, and authentic fruits. Granted, I hated the rain water he sent. At the same time, I’m thankful for the rain which has healed deeply hidden wounds, cleanse me from the me-first way of living, and brought me to a deeper connection with my husband and my God.

When you’re in the rainy season, soak up God’s healing waters. Let it nourish your soul and heal your wounds. Don’t reject God and hate his maturing work in you. He is producing healthy and good fruits in you. Fruits which will last your whole lifetime and remain forever. Fruits that will benefit you and others for good. Fruits which will bring those who are hurting, confused, shamed, and guilty to him so he can redeem them into his new and beautiful beloved children.

May we be bold enough to tell God, Bring on the Rain, in its season. Because rain will produce in us the good fruits of his character. Fruits which will help us become whole, live well, and love purely.

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Sailing with Jesus

IMGP3040If you’ve ever been out in the middle of the ocean with nothing in sight, you’d understand the might of its currents and the hopelessness of your human frailties. And you’d also see the power of its creator, God. You’d see how the winds and waves obey its master creator. Then you’d never forget the awe of witnessing the power of this strong God.

Indeed, I’ve been there. I’ve witnessed it. It’s why my faith can stand firm through the turbulence of life. I know I’m never alone in open water when I cry out to God. Despite how I feel and what my human eyes can see, God never forsakes those who call out to him. Never.

It’s why I’ve made Jesus my master. He guides me through the waters of life. He gives me the strength to endure when crises comes crashing at me. He gives me his power to overturn the tides of affliction. His wisdom helps me with the twists and turns as I sail through the currents of life.

Hebrews 11:1 says, faith is being sure of the things we hope for, even though we can’t see what is coming. Faith keeps us confident because we trust in the might an unfailing love of God. We aren’t tossed back and forth by the waves of affliction. Winds of uncertainty won’t blow us from here to there because we fix our gaze on him. He is unchanging and faithful. He keeps us afloat in raging waters.

Yes, we are fragile vessels in the vast ocean of uncertainty and changes. Yet, we are made sturdy by Captain Jesus. With him, we can sail through the waters of life. For He knows every twist and turn. He sees the impending storms on our path. He steers us onto the right course. Jesus calms us when storms roar within and around. He brings us to safe harbors, never in the way we expect, for that would make him predictable and within our control. But, he has promised to carry us through our stormy gales, whatever they may be. Seas of suffering will not drown us. Instead, we will rise above the currents of challenges, stronger and more faithful to Him as we experience his power at work in the middle of our chaos. He is a God of order, who is able and willing to settle our conflicts, and give indescribable peace to our anxious hearts.

The God who made heaven and earth, sea and sky, and everything in it, will rebuke the winds and waves threatening us. They will bow at his command. In His mighty, protective arms, nothing can overtake those who claim Him as their leader, master, and saver.

So, sail on with Jesus as your skipper :). He walked on water for goodness sake! Is there anything too hard or impossible for him to do for you? You bet he will do it! He will work on your behalf because he loves you fiercely! And, he will do it for the sake of his reputation.

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God Writes Your Story

20180416_073906The author of life is still writing your story. Don’t give up just because the script is different than you anticipated.

I love good endings to every book. When good overcomes evil and all as it should be, my heart is delighted.

God, our creator, is the author of every life. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how hurts, brokenness, deceit, shame, and failures can be a part of our story. So we want to hide, run, and escape from the reality of our story.

If we know the author of life, we don’t have to hide in shame and guilt. We don’t have to turn to sex, drugs, food, money, drinking, shopping, or whatever our pleasure is, to escape from the pain.

We run to God, the author of life. Because he who began a good work in us will bring it to completion. His stories always has good endings. Evil will be defeated. He will redeem the broken pieces of our life. He will use the bad for good. And our story will end beautifully well.

Be encouraged. Jesus is not finished writing your story. Press on toward your calling. Don’t give up hoping and trusting in God. He is the author of your life. He writes amazing stories!!!

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Living With Real Power

cropped-img_20170619_1339444511.jpgI’ve been with Jesus for nearly 24 years. Each year with him gets deeper and better, but also harder.

When I first asked Jesus to be a part of my life, I thought I was in the clear. No more problems. No more failures. No more mess. No more hurt. I’m done with bad things coming at me because I put my faith in Him. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. And wrong!

In my spiritual immaturity, I believed that having faith in God meant life would be smooth and I would no longer face hard times. I couldn’t be more wrong. The faith life is actually harder in some aspects than living without faith. Here’s what I mean.

My life without faith was carefree. I didn’t know God’s standards for right living so I did what I thought was right and felt good. I mimicked the actions of the masses because well, why not? If everyone is doing it, it must be the thing to do. Ignorance is bliss right? Not quite. When I lived this way, I didn’t know I was sinning against God. Life worked for a while, until my heart hurt because I was living contrary to God’s intended purpose. My soul ached too, for it was made by God to know the treachery of immoral living. Though it was easier to live according to myself, the consequences of such living was chaotic and nearly destroyed me.

In contrast, my 23 plus years with Jesus has been more meaningful and tremendously better than when I had lived apart from him. But, it has not been without challenges. Actually, the closer I get to God and the deeper I go with him, the stronger my faith becomes but I have to fight harder to believe in him.

The longer I know Jesus, the more I experience his deep and extravagant love for me, even when I continue to fall short of what he says is right and best for me. I have fallen more deeply in love with him because I’ve experience his unconditional love for me. And because I love him, I want to do what he says. Even though God loves me and I obey him, I find that unwanted things can still happen because I live in an imperfect world. So, while my strong faith in God leads me to obey him, it also causes me to question God’s goodness when things go wrong in my world. The human side of me continues to wrestle with God.

Still, God lends me his strength to hang onto my faith. I surely don’t understand everything God does or doesn’t do. But my faith in Jesus gives me the power to do impossible things and to overcome unbelief. By his supernatural power, God raised Jesus from death to life. God says we have access to this resurrection power and more when we believe he brought Jesus back to life. This is the story of Easter. It is the hope of God’s resurrection story. Because Jesus lives, we have God’s power to overcome all of life’s challenges.

But what does the resurrection of Jesus has to do with faith? Everything! For without the power of God bringing Jesus back to life, those who believe in Jesus has no real power for living a life of faith. We would have no power to live any different than those who live without faith in God.

I have lived with and without faith in Jesus. The difference in my life before and after faith in Jesus is Power. The resurrection power. Because Jesus lives, I have power.

Faith in Jesus gives me the power to continually mature into God’s intended design. Jesus gives me the power to be kind, generous, forgiving, and to treat others how I want to be treated. Without the resurrection power of Jesus in me, I cannot do these acts on my own because the human part of me wants to do what is contrary. Faith in Jesus gives me the power to turn from a self-gratifying being into a person who wants to serve God by putting others before myself. This is what the resurrection power of Easter does for anyone who chooses to put their faith in Jesus.

Life is hard, even if you are a follower of Jesus Christ. But, having the resurrection power of Jesus in us makes the hard doable and the impossible possible. Jesus said in the gospel of John chapter 16, in this life we will have trouble. But, we can overcome anything by his resurrection power. And we have full access to this power when we believe God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with our mouths that He is our Lord and life saver (from the book of Romans, chapter 10).

Tell me. Who doesn’t need this resurrection power of Jesus in their life? It’s real. It’s legit. It comes only from God and is available to all who want it. You can’t truly live a satisfied, meaningful, and impactful life without it.

Haven’t you waited long enough? Choose faith in Jesus today. He’s the hope and help you’ve been searching for and still waiting on. I promise you won’t regret choosing Jesus.

Because Jesus lives, we have power. The power to live with confidence, peace, contentment, and hope. All we have to do is believe in Him.

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