Encouragement, Homeschooling

Motherhood…Cropped To Perfection

 

 

 

   –  “All that glitters is not gold” –

 

In a world that revolves around technology, it comes as no surprise that social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have taken such a powerful hold upon us as people today.  We have been handed open platforms that we can share our thoughts, feelings, and opinions on. We have the ability to stay up to date on current events and keep abreast of the latest trends and fashions. We are able to make connections with other individuals that we might otherwise have never formed connections with to begin with. While social media does offer us many positive commodities, I have become more mindful and aware of many of the not-so-positive aspects that come along with the use of social media.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in all of the false realities that we scroll past on our social media newsfeeds. Pristine homes of grandeur, perfect figures with flawless complexions, and numerous selfies providing us with only small glimpses into seemingly quintessential lives, more often than not recruit us as the newest contestant on the “Comparison Game Show”. We so quickly make judgements and unfounded presumptions based upon a single photograph…one single photograph. “Her life seems so perfect. She has it all. I could never measure up to her. My life compared to hers is nothing short of a failure. She just had a baby and it looks like she just left a beauty parlor. Why can’t I be like her?” We’ve all done it, whether we like to admit to it or not, but the “Comparison Game Show” is a slippery slope. A slippery slope that if not quickly bridled, can leave us feeling lonely, depressed, jealous, anxious, and cumulatively unhappy with life. One of the hardest hit demographics on the “Comparison Game Show” is that of mothers.

Becoming a mother has been one of the greatest blessings that God has ever bestowed upon me. Truly, it’s all that I have ever wanted out of life. As a little girl I dreamed of being a wife and a mother. It’s where my heart was. It’s what I longed for and prayed for every night from the age of 7. Even at a young age (before the age of social media had even began) I was met with adversity because “I should want a career and more out of my life”. Even at a young age, I began to compare myself to other mothers. In retrospect, it seems almost cretinous that I, still being a child myself, had already begun noticing the tension and animosity that came with expressing my hopes, dreams, and desires. I began to ask myself, ” Am I wrong? Are my dreams not good enough? Will I ever be able to be enough?”

Fast forward to my life today… I am happily married to my husband of 14 years. We have been blessed with 6 beautiful children here on Earth (and 2 more in Heaven). I stay at home and homeschool our children while my husband works outside of the home to provide for our family. We are very involved in our church and enjoy our ministries of working with and teaching other children about God and His love for them. I love my life and couldn’t imagine it any other way! I’m so happy and my heart overflows with joy! God has truly given me the desires of my heart that I have prayed for since being that little girl filled with all of those hopes and dreams of marriage and motherhood, but I have all too easily been affected by the negative thoughts, views, and opinions of others about my life and the choices that I have made.

By comparing myself to others, I have at times made myself feel lonely. I’ve made myself feel depressed and sad, and in all honesty, I too have felt jealous at times while peering into the lives of others. There is an undefinable amount of pressure placed on women today. If you don’t have children, somebody somewhere has something negative to say about it. If you do have children, somebody will have something negative to say about it. If you breastfeed, if you formula feed, if you work outside the home, if you stay at home, if you choose traditional or alternative education choices for your children, entirely organic diets versus diets teeming with chicken nuggets and french fries, right down to the choice of diapers you put on your little ones’ bottoms… someone will ALWAYS hold a different opinion from your own (and some of them aren’t too shy to let you know about it). We mistakenly allow other’s thoughts and opinions to make us feel as though our own thoughts and opinions are “wrong” or that they are not held to the same level of esteem. WHY? WHY do we do that to ourselves?

There are underlying circumstances that we can’t always see from a cropped photograph that pops up on our timeline. Messy kitchens and bathrooms can be cropped out and edited, corrections can be photoshopped, and those magical little photo filters give our skin that perfect glow. We seem to forget that that “perfect” photo might have taken 50 tries to get that right angle of “perfection”. It’s time that we as women realize that our lives were never meant to be about COMPARISON. Our lives were meant to be about COMPASSION! Our love for others can impact the world! We allow the enemy to steal our joy every time that we compare ourselves to others and give life to the thoughts that we will never measure up to the imaginary standards that we have designed in our minds. Life is so much more than selfies, perfectly edited statuses, and cleverly thought out hash-tags.

Our words and actions hold so much power, and it’s up to us to decide how we want to use them. We have the ability and the opportunity to lift one another up and encourage one another as God’s Word instructs us to do (1 THESSALONIANS 5:11-13) or we can tear down, destroy, and destruct. Social media is permeated with keyboard warriors that seem to know every detail of our life and the way that we “should” be doing things. They are entitled to their thoughts and opinions, but we don’t have to become a slave to these. I know what God has called me to do. There is such freedom that comes from finding your identity in Christ as opposed to finding your identity in the thoughts and opinions of others. I am who God says that I am! I don’t have to be anything else! I know the calling that He has placed on my life, and I don’t have to offer explanations or excuses to anyone for it. Others won’t always agree with me, and that’s OKAY! They don’t have to! God has placed a different calling on their lives, and it is simply that…it’s THEIRS…not mine. When the harsh words flow and the unfriendly comments post, I can simply smile and move on.

Regardless of choices, thoughts, and opinions, we as mothers do hold some common ground. We are all just momma’s that love our children, and we are doing the very best that we can everyday. Let’s ENJOY the life that God has given US and ENCOURAGE others along their walks as well. Reality isn’t perfection. Reality is puke covered t-shirts, and baggy eyes from sleepless night. Reality is stretch marks and endless piles of laundry. Reality is filled with good, happy wonderful times, but it is also infused with pain, sorry, disappointment, and grief. I don’t want to feel like I need to crop out the mess. I don’t want to edit out the imperfections. Those messes and imperfections are reality…my reality. It’s real motherhood… real motherhood and all of the beautiful chaos that comes with it. Ask yourself today…Do you live a life that revolves around comparison, or are you leading a life that is fueled by compassion? Hang in there momma’s! You are making a difference in the world, one set of sticky fingerprints at a time… regardless of what anyone else may say.

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Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma That Is Waiting

WaitingToday I pray for the Momma that is waiting. I don’t know what her needs are Lord, but I know that You do, and that you have known them before she even asked. (Matthew 6:8) She has poured the desires of her heart before you Lord, and is struggling to understand why she has been met with silence. With each day that passes Father, doubt, fear, and uncertainty begin clouding her mind. The enemy tells her that there is no hope, she should give up, and just accept things for the way they are. Lord, during this season of her waiting, remind her that you are working in her life. You are molding her and shaping her into what she needs to be for the days to come. I pray that she will feel your love radiating around her, and that You will speak peace to her troubled heart. Remind her that though she may not understand what you are doing right now, that one day she will. (John 13:7) I pray that you will strengthen her during this season of waiting Lord. When her hope begins to waver,  I pray that she will be reminded of Your plans for her; to prosper her, and to not harm her, to give her hope, and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) So Lord, whether she be waiting for that baby that she longs to hold in her arms, the call for the job that her husband needs to provide for their family, the report of the cancer being in remission, her lost loved one’s salvation…whatever her circumstances may be today Lord, help her to declare victory through Christ Jesus and give her a renewed hope! We know that while she is waiting, You are working. I thank You for what You are doing in her life right now Lord, and know that the best is yet to come for her.

Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma Who Has Lost Hope

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Lord, today I pray for the momma who has lost HOPE. She’s so tired God. She’s fighting just to hang on, but she doesn’t know how much longer she can keep going. The enemy is filling her mind with doubts, telling her that she is only wasting her time. He tells her that things are never going to change for her and that she should just go ahead, accept it, and give up…Give up the hope for the baby that she longs to hold in her arms…The hope for the diagnosis to be reversed…The hope for her broken marriage to be restored. I don’t know her battles Father, but I know that you do. I know that you see her aching heart and that you hear her cries. God, I pray that you will renew her hope today. Fill her with a new breath of confidence in you. Send your Holy Spirit to minister to her heart and to bring her comfort today. Remind her Father God that she can trust you, and that she never has to doubt your goodness or your love for her. Give her the wisdom and courage to combat the enemy and all of his lies. Help her to find solace in your word and in your presence. Surround her with people that will love her, encourage her, pray with her, and help to lead her closer towards you Father. I thank you for what you are doing in her life today God. I know that she may not see it right now, but I have HOPE…and that hope is in YOU. I pray for this momma today Lord, whoever she is, and wherever she may be, in Jesus name. Amen.

Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma That Is Battling Addiction

Lord, today I pray for the momma who is battling addiction. I don’t know her struggles God, but I know that you do. I don’t know her pain, but I know that you see every tear that she cries. Lord, I pray that you will speak peace to her burdened heart today Father. I pray for the healing and restoration of her body, mind, and spirit. I pray that you will give her strength and a renewed determination. I pray that you will fill her heart with a new song of hope and joy. Cover her in your love Lord and please keep your hand of protection upon her. Help her to realize that nothing she has done in her life could ever separate her from your love. Help her to see just how loved, valued, and precious she is in your eyes. I pray that you will place people in her life that will help to lead her towards you and that they will offer her love and support along her journey. I pray that you will break the chains of addiction that have her bound and that you will bless her life Lord. I pray for this momma today Lord, whoever she is, and wherever she may be, in Jesus name. Amen.

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Encouragement

I Am Not A Victim… I Am A VICTOR!

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I’ve been in a real slump this week. So, when I woke up with a God given giddy-up in my step this morning, I was ECSTATIC! I was EXCITED for LIFE, fully of ENERGY, and READY for the day and it felt GOOD! The devil didn’t like that very much though. 1 leaky poop diaper, 1 1/2 gallon of spilt milk, 1 overflowing sink from a “Barbie Pool Party”, 1 broken cellphone, and a squished doggy doodle in my carpet later, I wasn’t feeling as enthusiastic about my day. :/ As I was trying to clean up, my heart became so burdened for my husband. I began praying for God to keep him safe and to surround him with a hedge of protection. A few minutes later, he called me. I was so happy to hear his voice. He always has a way of making me feel calm and collected. I started unloading on the events from my morning and ended with a sarcastic, “So…how has YOUR day been going?” to which he replied “Well, I was driving along and a truck hauling scrap metal had a large piece fly off the truck and hit my car.” My stomach started to feel queasy. ” It ripped the mirror off and scraped down the side of the car.” I was beginning to break out in a cold sweat apprehensive of what words might be coming from his mouth next. ” They didn’t stop or come back, BUT I’M FINE!” The words I was waiting to hear! My panic and fear quickly turned to anger and frustration. “GREAT, JUST WHAT WE NEEDED! NOW I’VE GOT TO TRY AND BUDGET FOR ANOTHER CAR REPAIR! WHY CAN THINGS NEVER JUST BE EASY! IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING! ONE RIGHT AFTER THE OTHER!” I felt myself sinking into the “poor pitiful me” mindset. The devil was having a field day with my thoughts by this point. Stress, finances, worries, fears…and then I heard…” YOU ARE BLESSED HEATHER. HE IS FINE! THINGS COULD HAVE BEEN A LOT DIFFERENT.” That snapped me back to reality in a second. Oh Lord, I am SO BLESSED and THANKFUL! My husband IS SAFE! My children are healthy and SAFE! YOU ARE SO GOOD!!!! Forgive me for being so selfish and allowing the devil to make me feel as though I am a victim to my circumstances. I AM NOT A VICTIM BUT I AM A VICTOR THROUGH CHRIST! Jesus has already defeated our enemy! We can not approach life from a stance of defeat. We must approach life from a position of VICTORY! LIFE…it’s hard for ALL OF US! Things ARE going to happen. Today when those “things” happen and the enemy tries to make you lose sight of what’s really important, when he tries to make you feel drained and discouraged, declare VICTORY over him THROUGH CHRIST JESUS! God has given us ONE life…it’s PRECIOUS! Cars…they can be fixed, doggy doodles can be scrubbed, spilt milk can be mopped…but we have ONE life and I am going to live mine serving my GOD and from a position of VICTORY that HE has ALREADY won FOR ME! If God puts it on your heart to pray, STOP DROP AND PRAY PEOPLE! It is for a reason! Prayer changes things!

Encouragement

GPS – God’s Positioning System

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The alarm clock blares…it’s that time again. Time to get up, get dressed, and out the door. You gather yourself and your belongings, buckle your seatbelt, program the GPS, and hit the pavement! You KNOW where you are going! You already have a specific destination plotted on your GPS. It’s telling you how to get where you need to go. All the turns and exits are mapped out for you and all the guesswork has been removed from the equation. If you follow the directions given, you WILL get to your destination. ( eventually for the most part 😜 WV backroads are a little tricky ) But, what if you got behind the wheel with no destination in mind? 🤔You would just continue driving endlessly, right? With no purpose, no direction, nothing to work towards, no stopping point…you’re just making circles around yourself, going no where! 🚦This analogy can be used to describe us…when we are without a VISION. The Bible says that ” where there is no vision, the people perish” PROVERBS 29:18 Has God given you a vision for YOUR life? Have you asked him for one? Maybe you feel like your are running in circles, unsure of where to go, what turn to take next. Life has you stuck at a crossroads and you don’t know where to go from there. 🛑 You need to consult a different GPS ( GOD’S POSITIONING SYSTEM) ASK God for a vision for your life! ASK him for direction! He WILL guide and lead you…IF you allow him to. When you are obedient to God, when you go where HE tells you to go, and do what HE tells you to do…you will NEVER be left spinning your wheels. That doesn’t mean it will always be easy. There will be changes that occur in your life…the people, the places…the plans YOU had for yourself…change isn’t always so easy, it isn’t always comfortable… BUT…GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE! HE HAS PLANS TO PROSPER YOU AND TO NOT HARM YOU! HE HAS PLANS TO GIVE YOU HOPE AND A FUTURE (JEREMIAH 29:11) Seek God and the vision that HE has for your life today! Let Him have control of the wheel and be ready for the amazing places He will take you!

Encouragement

Have You Brought Your Brokenness to God?

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Today, I’m thankful I serve a God who knows when my heart is burdened. He knows my thoughts without me saying a word. He knows my heart without an explanation. He knows my hurt when the tears are hidden from view. I’m thankful for the peace that He spoke to my troubled heart this morning! Lord, I’m so thankful! I’m thankful for His love and that everywhere I’ve turned today, His message was there to remind me! Thank you Lord for loving me when I’m a mess, when I feel the world is against me, and I am struggling to be strong. You are GOOD and I am thankful! He knows YOUR heart too. TALK TO HIM TODAY…HE CARES…AND HE’S LISTENING! GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted

and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” PSALM 34:17-19

Encouragement

Hot Mess Express

All Aboard The Hot Mess Express

You pull into the parking lot on 2 wheels, while gently ushering (who am I kidding, you’re flat out yelling right now) at your kids to get their shoes back on, to stop poking one another, and to quit wiping their snot on the clothes you spent 30 minutes digging out of Mt. Clothesoovious, that sprung to life in your bedroom 2 weeks ago that you’ve yet found the time or energy to tackle,( don’t even get me started on finding a matching pair of socks ) and you threaten their mere existence if they unbuckle ONE more time before your van stops moving completely. Church started 10 minutes ago and time is ticking. You frantically jump out after throwing your van into park, heart racing, sweat dripping (you remember the extra strength deodorant you bought sitting on the bathroom counter (that you forgot to put on) because everyone suddenly was unable to blink on their own and needed you to do it FOR them simultaneously). You find some auto fabric freshener and decide its better than nothing and douse yourself with “New Car Scent”. You begin unbuckling car seats, reviewing manners and behavior expectations while herding the small army you and your husband created towards the church doors. You’re almost there! A-L-M-O-S-T! You reach for your purse/diaper/mom bag, but you can’t find it. You jump back in the van and start digging through the 4 inches of french fries and Goldfish crackers covering the floor. You suddenly remember it’s sitting by the bathroom door, where you left it, when you’re family decided they wanted to try for the Olympic gold medal for synchronized pooping when it was time to walk out the door. You feel that frustration start rising. The tears start welling up. While stepping out of the van you snag your sweater and it rips. Last straw level…reached. Your sweet, loving, kindhearted, good intentioned husband asks you if you’re okay and with one deep “Big Bad Wolf” inhalation, you recap your entire morning, while tears start rolling down your cheeks and you answer with a snarky, “Oh I’m FINE! JUST FINE!”. He looks at you like a deer paralyzed looking into oncoming traffic, afraid that if he moves the wrong way, he WILL die. Satan starts telling you what a terrible mom and wife you are. He fills your head with mom-guilt (your kids are going to hate you and move out on their own by the age of 6 because you’re a terrible human being) He tells you…look at you, all of these other moms have it together…you don’t see them pulling in here, hysterical and smelling like an air freshener hanging from their rearview mirror. You wipe the mascara off your cheeks (remembering you should have got waterproof) and then… here it comes…PSALM 42:11

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

REVELATION! When I allow myself to get caught up in the rush, in the chaos, in the trivial things of this world and I take my eyes and focus off of the important things of God…I land myself in an overwhelmed and exhausted mess, EVERYTIME. I need to focus on my relationship with my Savior and draw my strength and joy from HIM! I have to turn my worries into worship and transform my anxieties into praises for HIM! My hope is in the LORD! NO ONE, NOT A SINGLE PERSON, “has it all together”, but GREATER IS HE LIVING IN ME, THAN HE THAT IS IN THIS WORLD. (JOHN 4:4) We ALL struggle but how we choose to handle it makes the difference. ❤ Make an effort to praise HIM through your struggles today. God loves you and I do to!