{Rest} Help Defense + When You’re Not the Strong One

This is the year I found my limits. That I’m not actually invincible. 

I have had many seasons with surplus. Extra to give away… extra strength, extra faith, extra time, extra money. And it actually feels so good to be the strong one and to give away what God has given you.

But this year I learned a different lesson. What it’s like when you’re not the strong one. And there is actually sweetness to be found there too.

I spent all of February and all of November super sick. That mind over matter thing only works for so long and then eventually your body just taps out and says, “Enough! I’m done here. Checking out.” It was all just too much. (You can read that post here: Oh, Hey, Here’s the Bottom.)

About that same time is when “Angry Mom” started to come out. Yeah, that was a red flag that I’m not doing great and need to make some major changes. Here’s what I learned in my Momma’s Anger Management class (from my last post):

How I react as parents is directly connected to how I am doing emotionally.
I am kidding myself if I think I can run on E and then still be awesome with my kids. Maybe this should have been more obvious to me? Taking this class was kind of like pulling a thread that starts unraveling a sweater. It’s not just that I need to try harder and have better self control. I needed to move some big rocks in my life if I don’t want to be an angry mom. So really, this was just the beginning. The tipping point that triggered more changes.

Apparently rest is required… 

There is a mental shift that needed to happen and also some practical changes.

Mentally – I had to learn how to let go and let my people love me. Let go of achievement + accomplishment. Let people take care of me. Let other people take care of my kids. Let someone else carry the torch. Delegate the details of life (that I actually love to manage). Let go of control. Rest in the hands of my maker. Trust that he has me, he’s holding my people, the best I can do is give what I have and trust Him with all of the gaps. (There are gaps! and He’s still good).

Practically – I just have to sleep! There’s no way around it or other way to solve this… I HAVE TO SLEEP.

Read this stunning statistic:

Depression is often measured by scientists using something called the Hamilton Scale. It runs from 0 (where you are dancing in ecstasy) to 59 (where you are suicidal). Improving your sleep patterns gives you a movement on the Hamilton Scale of around 6 points. Chemical antidepressants give you an improvement, on average, of 1.8 points, according to research by professor Irving Kirsch of Harvard University. (Source here)

As a mom of 4 young kids, sleep seems like an almost impossible request. It feels selfish and demanding. There are lot’s of reasons I wasn’t sleeping enough:

-Baby – Emme at 6 months was still waking 1-2x per night (which isn’t actually horrible for her age at all)

-2 Year Old – Aurora was potty training + moving from a crib to a bed… That all equals random occasional house roaming in the middle of the night while she adjusted to the change.

-Sickness – We all caught that awful virus and it went through each kid 1 week at a time. That means 4 consecutive weeks of night time tending to sick kids.

-Netflix (No comment required. #honesttalk )

All of those combined means staying up too late and getting up lots of different times for lots of different kids.

After a particularly shaky and frazzled day I remember crying and saying, “I am so tired of feeling so bad for so long.” Josh said, “What do you need?” I said, “Honestly, I need to sleep. Not just a weekend. I need to sleep all night for probably 6 months to dig out of this hole.” And so amazingly he took over the night shift. Midnight to 6am every night. (To qualify, Josh was already helping on the hard nights, so it’s not like he isn’t tired too. Also, we are now hitting his slow work season, so wonderfully, if he has to get up a bunch of times, he has the flexibility to sleep in.)

So now I have been sleeping 6-7 hours solidly every night. It didn’t change everything immediately. But now, after about 2 months I feel like a whole new person. The angry sharks don’t visit as often, my nerves have calmed down, I have jokes to tell again, and I feel like I have the strength and energy to show up to be the person I want to be. (And I’m super grateful for Josh.)

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Expert Insight with Josh Jones 

There’s a sports analogy in everything, right? Well marriage is just like basketball.

I remember in high school basketball I often felt like I could defend the person I was guarding and come out on top. But I quickly figured out that even if I win my battle on defense, if my teammate is outmatched we could still lose.

Marriage is a lot like that. It’s a team sport. Even if I am holding my ground, if Jenna is not, we both still lose.

In basketball one of the most important things you can learn is “help defense”. That means if someone has a disadvantage you always help.

It’s not actually fair.

I had to let go of the ideal of what’s fair. What’s equal. Just manning my own post. My post can be covered and our family might still be sinking. 

When we were first married we each had our own roles, our post. You have to keep your area covered. But when life hits, sometimes your partner is down. You just have to forget about fairness and how much you feel like you should have to give. You give everything you have to give. You leave everything you have on the court everyday.

When your partner is down it’s awful. If you are on level ground yourself, jump in and carry part of their load. Remember this – it is actually easier to carry a heavier load than to be yoked to someone that is drowning.

Anger Management

My parents used to say things like, “There was a lot of yelling happening at our house when you were little. We’re so sorry! You’ll probably have some issues when you’re older.” That seemed laughable at the time. I got TONS of love and attention and I generally have great memories of my childhood. But then my dad would follow it up with, “You never think you have anger issues until you have little kids.” Still I was sure, that was definitely not me.

Well, here I am in my mid-30s and I am so sad to find they were more right than I thought.

My mom was visiting last month to help me run everything while Josh was out of town… the whole week went great and then on the last day I lost it when a kid refused to take the bus. My mom called me out. “That’s not ok.” “I see all of the wonderful thing too, but they can’t carry the weight of your anger.” That generally feels the worst. Embarrassing. Humiliating. Makes me want to hide and cry and give up… Makes me not trust myself.

But, I’m glad she said it. I needed to hear it. With the weight of a millstone, it made it clear for me that I need to make a change.

Here’s the thing… I love my kids, more than life itself. I care about raising them and parenting them and investing in them more than anything. It’s my main priority. I consciously purpose to be patient and calm… And a lot of times I am! Actually most of the time! But things build up… I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. And then I’M NOT FINE. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, like it’s all starting to spin out of control and my voice comes out like a ROAR…Then huge regret.

Where do you even start with making a change? After I got feedback from my mom, I realized I might not have an accurate understanding of what is normal and ok. First I needed to take stock of honestly how often it’s happening. Also I needed to do some research to understand more… When does it cross the line? And how can I possibly change?

Cue googling things you don’t even want to say out loud like, “angry mom help” and “how to stop yelling”. I found this course online called, “Momma’s Anger Management”. While I don’t even want to put myself in this category or raise my hand for needing help on this particular issue, here we are! After some grief, the best I can do is be honest about where I am at and embrace my reality. Let’s do this!

So I signed up right away. And it is THE BEST. It is answering all of my questions, helping me understand where the struggle is coming from, and most importantly showing me a way out.

Here are 3 of my top takeaways.

(1) There is a difference between “mom voice” and rage.
She breaks it down into 4 different levels — mom voice, a spurt of yelling, anger venting, and ranting/raving. What level of anger is okay? There can be a bit of a gray area. Think about, pray about it, draw a line and set a personal boundary on what is too much. Set a goal to not get to that level.

(2) Recognize my triggers.
What specifically gets me angry and pushes me over the edge? After thinking about it, it was so helpful to notice that there is a pattern. Now to chart out the danger zones. For me? Things like…
-4pm (#amiright!?!?)
-A crying baby (I just can’t even think straight)
-Volume level (kid chaos escalating)
-No sleep (things feel more aggravating than normal)
-Overwhelm (hours in front of me without help)

(3) How I react as parents is directly connected to how I am doing emotionally.
I am kidding myself if I think I can run on E and then still be awesome with my kids. Maybe this should have been more obvious to me? Taking this class was kind of like pulling a thread that starts unraveling a sweater. It’s not just that I need to try harder and have better self control. I needed to move some big rocks in my life if I don’t want to be an angry mom. So really, this was just the beginning. The tipping point the triggered more changes. (More blog posts coming.)

There are some funny things too. We included the whole family in this. I think it’s good for the kids to see that there are I things I am still working on too. We made a sticker reward chart for Mom. At the end of the day they get to give me a star if I did good keeping my cool. THEY LOVE THAT PART. haha. They decided I should get a “coffee and massage” as a reward. And they are actually more generous in their estimation of me than I would have thought.

Overall, if you are struggling with yelling, you are not alone. I am learning that if you grew up in a yelling home, it will be a natural impulse for you to yell at your kids too (even if you love them and try not to). But, good news, there are things you can learn and you can change! If you find yourself in the same place I was in check out Momma’s Anger Management.

Feel free to reach out. I would love to offer my support.

Oh, hey, here’s the bottom.

I kind of bottomed out towards the end of this year. It all just started to feel like too much. Not one specific thing, just all the little things started to team up and then they climbed up on top of me. And I just started to pull apart at the seams – stuffing coming out through the threads.

I think I might not be the only one feeling the weight? Sometimes all that stuff jumping on your back just forces all the issues we didn’t think we had out into the daylight. It’s just a lot, you know?

So what do you do when it all hits the fan? Well, that’s what I’m sorting through right now and I thought I would share a little series with you on all of this.

Today is a little about my process on working through this stuff. And then starting tomorrow I am counting down my top 5 disaster areas I am working to change along with my top take away tip on how I am working to recover these areas if you happen to be struggling with the same.

So for today – here is where I am starting…

_____

Get Honest
It’s good and ok and right to recognize when something isn’t working. “I don’t like this! This isn’t what I want for my life!”… You can’t make a change until you can get honest.  It doesn’t help you or anyone else to put on a smile when it’s just not awesome.  That discomfort, that pain… It’s a red flag and it’s a gift clueing us in to PAY ATTENTION. Do some soul work. What is out of place here? Why am I whack right now!? Write it down. What specifically feels bad? What isn’t working?

Dream For Your Future
It’s important to have the base level belief that you can change. That things can be different. That I can heal and grow and step into more. That God has goodness for my future. This is what will give you the courage to choose to make a change instead of just hiding. So out of this place here at the bottom… what would I rather have? What does God have for me? Specifically – what’s my best case scenario? If I could set this up exactly the way I want it, what would my life look like? Who would I be? How would show up, act, and what role would I play?

Bust Through Barriers
Why is that not my reality? What are all of the things in the way? List out all of those reasons. One by one.. Why am I acting like this? What’s keeping me from my best? What’s holding me back? What specific roadblocks are between here and there?

Research and Problem Solve
That one barrier. That big thing in my way. Is it solvable? Do I need more training and tools? Do I need support and accountability? Do I need to make a major change like consider a different job? Or let go of a relationship? Or clear my schedule to make some space? Sometimes we already know the answer when we take the time to think about it. But, sometimes I am just at a loss. The whole thing seems impossible. This is when I get online and start googling. Surely others have faced the same and someone has found victory. Talk to a friend or coach. “Here’s my problem… I want to bust through this. I don’t want to be stuck here. Help me think through how I can get this thing under control.”

Make a Plan and Commit
Follow through. Actual action items. What specific things need to change? How am I going to do that. Take the first step. Tell close friends and your support system. All of it. “Here’s is what I am struggling with. I don’t want to get stuck here. I am researching and reaching out. Here is what I am going to try to change. I would love your encouragement and support. Do you want to do this with me?”


So counting down to the end of the year I am going to share some of these with you. The places in my life that just FEEL BAD that I want to be different. I am doing my best to be honest, to dream, to bust through those barriers and make some major changes.

Check back for my top 5 disaster areas I am working to change along with my top take away tip on how to recover these areas if you happen to be struggling with the same.

**A couple of these have guest contributors and a bonus or two. Tomorrow is about the wake up call I got that helped get my butt into gear.

Thoughts on Letting Go + Giving Away

My sweet little Emme is already 4 months, almost 5! Unbelievably, that means the first section of the closet doesn’t fit her anymore. So here I am packing up a box of all of the cute little baby girl items…

Part of me just wants to hold on to all of it. Just keep it. For what purpose? I don’t know… “this one was a gift, oh this one makes me think of that one memory, oh and this is what she wore in our family pictures…” But moving through several different seasons and witnessing God’s faithfulness and generosity towards us has taught me a different way…

Instead of resisting, here is what I do as I pack this up and plan to give it away.

1) Thankfulness

With each little item I intentionally cherish everything that goes with it and pray my thanks. “Thank you for sweet friends that gifted this. Thank you for my thoughtful mom. Thank you for that treasured moment. Thank you for the gift of my little ones. Thank you for this season – this short window of time and all that we get to experience. Thank you for your strength and grace and all of the joy as we walked through these months.”

2) Let Go

Pause and specifically recognize that there is nothing in this life that we get to keep. I think this somehow contributes to the sacredness of each gift, each season, each moment. We get to enjoy it for a time (so make sure to enjoy it!!!) but then, at some point it will be done. I love in Psalms 119 it talks about how “everything has its limit”. So I set my heart and hands on being open. With every gift there is a reverence for the time. I receive it with open eyes and sobriety and I let it go when the time comes.

3) Pray for Opportunity

For anything I have that I am done with, I try to make it a point to give it away intentionally. Even if it was treasured in it’s time, I pray for an opportunity for it to bless someone the same way it blessed me. “Lord who can I give this to? I pray that is would be the needed blessing for the season. That you would shower your goodness on someone through this the same way you did for me. Show me where you want this to go Lord.”

4) Expectation

Recognize that no matter what I give away… even if I give all of it away… His goodness stays with me. There have actually been several times where we have given away more than was probably wise and I had thoughts like “well, there goes all of it!” and yet, somehow God’s generosity towards me always seems to outpace my ability to give it away. Whenever I have that feeling that I want to horde something, I have found it is usually related to a thought something like… “this is my last $100!”… that I might have already used up all God’s goodness towards me in the past… or just generally a thought that what I already have might be the best or the most I will ever have… but actually, I have found that I can give and give and give and give again, and trust that God’s goodness towards me is without end. I don’t have to fear for the future. I don’t have to make sure to KEEP anything. GOD IS MY KEEPER. Just as He has given to me, I can give with joy and thankfulness, and expect that he will provide and supply His goodness towards me in the future just like he did in the past.

So today, I am thankful for my sweet Emme, the love and support of friends and family. I am cherishing the moment and the memories, and letting go of this infant season with her. And praying for another new momma, that these things would bless her in her season. And thanking the Lord for His goodness and mercy that follows me into this new season as well.

Homeschooling Here We Come!

Untimely? Quite possibly. And I actually never pictured myself as the homeschooling mom with 4 kids, but never the less, here we are!

And thanks to Pinterest, Etsy, Target and Google in general I might become one of those moms that gets obsessed with it. =)

I will give you the quick run down on how we got here and then I will give you some of my favorite finds that make this all so fun.


The Decision to Homeschool

This year is the first year that we have had a kid in school 5 days. I knew it would take some adjustments, but I thought eventually we would settle into a good rhythm. 2 months in, I think we were all just feeling sad at the missed time together. They really wanted more one-on-one time with me and I wanted the same. I felt kind of stuck and was sorting through all of the different ways we could reclaim some time together…

I really didn’t think homeschooling was an option for us because I work. But after some kind encouragement from a friend (the lovely Brandi Lapito) I thought it was worth looking into. This book opened the door for me – it’s possible and other people are doing it. 

The book leads with stating that people that want to work and homeschool are generally entrepreneurs. More than that, they typically work half-time with flexible schedules (me!) and are used to being in command of their time and resources to self-direct in the most effective way. YES!! It’s not that the kids were at school so long, it was just that they were gone during the best parts of the day. I got them back when they were already spent, tired, cranky, ready to chill out. In the mornings they are happy, connected, present and ready to learn. That is the time I want with them!  I can work once they are ready to chill out and watch a movie.

Beyond this book I found other inspired examples of business woman paving the way.

Check out the brilliant Penelope Trunk telling her story. She has aspergers and has launched and sold 4 starts ups for millions. You will see in her writing she is so sharp and offensively honest. I love it.  http://education.penelopetrunk.com/2012/04/02/why-i-homeschool/

And local examples like the amazing Cindy Broadbent who homeschooled all of her kids while also running the family business with her husband. Featured in Yellowstone Valley Women >>

I realize this is a risk… And I don’t actually know how it will go. Maybe we will love it? Maybe it will be a bust? I am committed to the rest of the year and then we will reassess.


Favorite Homeschool Finds

After looking into it, I found that for kindergarten the core requirements are reading/writing and math. I think I can do that!? Of course we will do a lot more, but hey, it’s not chemistry yet.

So I am totally new to all of this. No experience what so ever to back up my choices. But, I’m excited! Only time will tell of this stuff actually turns out to be as awesome as it looks.

ABC Cards

The cutest little ABC cards you ever did see. We will hang these on the bulletin board for writing reference. **Best part. I emailed this Etsy shop owner to ask if she had any with lower case letters as well and she did!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/210472407/animal-alphabet-flash-cards-4-x-6?ref=shop_home_active_16

Weather Wheel

Judah wants to chart the weather everyday. So obviously we need this.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/475468983/felt-weather-wheel?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=weather%20wheel&ref=sr_gallery_5

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Just a little over $15, simple and brilliant! We have only done a couple lessons but my kids are quickly grasping the concepts and no pain involved. We’ll see if they can actually read at the end of the year!

https://www.amazon.com/Teach-Your-Child-Read-Lessons/dp/0671631985

National Geographic Break Open 10 Geodes and Explore Crystals Science Kit

A little bit excessive, but we are losing our minds with excitement over here. Super fun activity to kick off our first week!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0160JB7IS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family Friendly Experiments from Around the House (Lab Series)

At this age we really only need to do science once a week. Easy. Weekly kitchen experiments. Done.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592539254/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Right Start Math

I spent the most amount of time choosing a math curriculum. I was actually surprised to see all the different options with vastly different approaches. I picked this specifically with Judah in mind. It is built on using an abacus and visually understanding math concept. It is awesome. Judah would do this with me for hours every day if I were available.

https://rightstartmath.com/

 

Surprise!

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

― Bob Ross


Whew! Are you surprised!? We are! We told everyone we know that we are definitely done, made fun of our friends with 4 kids, gave away all of our baby stuff… and then surprise!!! You guys, 4 kids just looks crazy. Am I right!?

We still aren’t exactly sure what happened?! Immaculate conception? Michael Phelps swimmers? We successfully waited for 5 years after we got married before we had kids, so it’s not like we don’t know what to do. However, funny note, the due date is Aurora’s birthday – April 22nd. In both cases that pretty closely correlates with our anniversary – July 22nd. Darn you Portland anniversary trip!!

I kind of thought I would be devastated if we got this news at this point in our lives. It did hit me as shocking, but surprisingly, I wasn’t devastated, I didn’t even cry. After the shock, I just mostly felt thankful for Josh. While we weren’t planning on doing this again, if we’re honest didn’t really want to do this again, I know that we can. We know what to do. We have been doing this whole pregnancy/baby/exhaustion thing for the past 7 years now. We were just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and imagine life in a new season. We will still get to that new season. It’s really just a 2 year delay.

I love that Gwyneth Paltrow says to plan your family around how many people you want at the Thanksgiving table in 20 year, not the difficulty of infancy. Yes!

So, how am I handling it? First line of defense is denial. Round 4, do you really even notice you are pregnant!? I can probably just ignore all of those pregnancy symptoms, right? Status quo. Probably can just skip prenatal care. I am imagining just showing up at the hospital in labor and saying, “Hey guys, round 4, we all know what to do, let’s do this!” And honestly, I just kind of want to live normal life. Those first 6 months with a baby can be rough for me. I know we will get through it, but I don’t really want to live in dread or dwell on it this entire pregnancy. I just want to enjoy life as it is for the next 9 months and then we’ll handle it when we get there.

So far this strategy is working terribly. Despite my best efforts to be in denial the “I feel like I just got hit by a truck” tiredness has arrived with the nausea as well. Thankfully, I usually just feel like this the first trimester, and we are just about to the second.

You guys, we’re not even going to try to be tough about this. PLEASE SEND MEALS AND PRAYERS. Forget the warrior princess natural birth thing – epidural all the way! If we gave you baby stuff, yeah we’re gonna need that back (mostly joking). After about 2 minutes of disbelief, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s get a bigger house and an au pair.” Not even joking! Here is what has happened since we found out.

  • Week 4: Positive pregnancy test
  • Week 6: Put in an offer on a bigger house
  • Weeks 7-8: Josh finishes the entire basement of the house we are buying
  • Week 9: We move into our new place
  • Week 10: Our house goes on the market! (Today)

Just to clarify here, Josh is the completely crazy one. I was voting to wait until after the first trimester, right!? Well, I guess your houses sell better in the Fall than the Winter, and we found a place we really like. My mind is still trying to catch up with everything and Josh is charging ahead with the stamina of an ox. Now that we’re moved in I feel super grateful. He pretty much did all of the heavy lifting to make this happen.

Also, not even joking about the whole au pair thing. Have you heard of this? It is big in bigger cities and we got to see it first hand in DC and it looks pretty amazing. I think I will write another whole blog on this, but here are the highlights – It is a foreign exchange program for women 18-26. It is a full year long commitment. Someone comes from another country and lives with you as part of your family and wants a full immersion experience. In exchange for room and board + a stipend you get 45 hours of childcare/help. *This will actually be less expensive than what we are currently doing. Will I be gone from the house for 45 hrs/wk. Nope. I just don’t want to dread this season or feel complete overwhelm for the whole next year. I think having another person in it with me will make the whole this next season less stressful and more of a fun new experience for the whole family. I will keep you posted on how it goes! We are currently connecting with some awesome girls in Brazil and the Philippines.

Last note – despite the shock and major change in our plans, I was still struck with the awe of new life. Even unplanned, unexpected, (I don’t even want to say unwanted), there was still the sense that the Lord is in this. That the miraculous just happened.

I think John Piper states it perfectly “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life that you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life that he’s given you.”

There is a loss of the vision and plan we had for the next 2 years. We will grieve that and let it go. From here on out we are fully on board, embracing this new life, and trusting God with what He has given us.

PS – our house is for sale (Including the tree house, rope bridge and play place). Check it out >>

http://www.bhhsfloberg.com/homes-for-sale/3237-Aljema-Avenue-Billings-MT-59102-216563156

Shalom {Free Prints + Prayers}

Last month I had some extra Isaiah 61 prints that I got to give away. It created some unexpected really sweet connections that I didn’t anticipate. I loved it so much, that I thought I would do it again.

If you can’t tell, I LOVE prints like this. Seriously Pinterest and Etsy are full of incredible prints for under $5. You just download the PDF and print it yourself. *Be careful when you decide to start browsing, this is a black hole my friends. lol. You may not come up for hours. Here is my “Printables” Pinterest Board >>

If a verse or word is significant to a particular season I love to find a print online and hang it in my house with the idea that each time I see it, it will prompt me to meditate on that truth and pray. I think of Eph. 5 where it says the “washing of the water of the Word.” I think this means reading the Word, re-reading it, asking the Lord to re-order my thinking to align with his thoughts, meditating on it until it sinks into my soul, letting the Word change me, praying it, and calling it into existence.

So “Shalom” came into focus for me when I was working on a website for Community Leadership & Development here in Billings. Their vision is “Seeking the Shalom of our City.” As I learned more about the concept and the original meaning it really moved it. Yes, it means “peace” but much more than that. It is the complete peace that is rooted in the wholeness and full restoration that only comes through Jesus.

I love to pray this. I pray it over my own life, over my family and my home, and over our city. I have found that prayer works best when we simply ask for what He has already promised. I love to find the promise scriptures in the Bible, and simply pray “Yes, Lord. Do this in my life.”

I went online to find a print and could not find one! So I made this one for our own home. When I was ordering prints I thought I would get extra for you guys. No cost. This is just for fun.

So, if you would like a “shalom” print, I would love to it send you. More than just that, I would love to come into agreement with you and pray this over you and your family. I am not promising hours of intercession here. But, I have a long road trip coming up on Friday. So while my big kids are watching movies in the back I will put on some worship music and dedicate my windshield time to praying for each of you by name.

Only ask here… I would love it if you all would pay it forward. If you want a print, I will send you 5. Then you can keep one for yourself and have 4 to give away to friends. I would love it if you would pray the same for them.

So just fill in your name, email and address at the bottom if you would like to be included. I have enough for up to 40 people total, and your request must be in by Friday. 


I thought I would make Psalm 103 my focus. So these are the words I will pray over each of your lives:

1Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.


Send Me Prints Please

For My Little Ones { Mother’s Day }

This week I saw a mother post a picture with her youngest daughter who was about to graduate high school. I have often envisioned who I want to be and what I want to do when my kids are older and I am a bit more free… but her post made me think more about what my kids might be like when they are leaving my care and what my hopes for them might be.

I don’t actually have huge dreams for them in the way of tangibles, but more in positioning and posture. I prayed for them this morning and have the hope of seeing them journey out with eyes upward and a quiet trust and confidence. I want them to live from a place of rest in Him… from depth of knowing His love, His voice, His provision. From this place there is certain immunity to the noise of the world and the voice of the enemy. You can perceive the way and walk in it without fear or insecurity or pride or shame.

I don’t know all the steps from here to there. I think it has to do with making margin and space to just be together. For me to make the choice daily of living with a quiet trust myself. Standing in as a shield and strength and voice of truth until He comes and takes my place. Praying the Lord would love them through me and continually fill them up to overflowing.

My little ones… I release everything to you that is given to me. When I look up, I can see to the ends of the Earth. But today I am reminded of the treasure of tending my own little garden.

One Year

Celebrating 1 Year this week! Yes, it is Aurora’s birthday, but this post is about me. She will get her birthday post later this week.

The one year milestone is a big one for me. Your baby is really only a baby for a year. There is a precious intimacy that comes with breastfeeding, middle of the night fussing and soothing, the physical closeness… Intimacy slowly gives way to independence for both of us as she starts sleeping through the night, eating food, learning to walk, using words…

I feel thankful, and proud, and tired. Now it’s time to assess the damages. Make no mistake, nurturing new life comes at a high personal cost. Sometimes beyond what is readily given. So things get taken from every other area to sustain this little new life. So now I have a chubby, happy, healthy baby and get to direct my focus on tending to the areas that have been left wanting and are now crumbling.

No shame here. It is all part of the process. Through the breakdown and rebuilding the Lord grows our compassion, and strength, wisdom, maturity, and even eventually joy.

So here is my list of damages from the last year that need repair…

Memory – No joke, I have short-term memory loss. Did you know if you don’t get regular sleep your brain stops efficiently recording new memories? My brain is currently in delete mode. I am now sometimes sleeping through the night and my brain is slowly coming back.

Body – Still 25 pounds over my pre-baby weight. Turns out things change when you’re over 30 having your third. *All good. I found a great “mom bikini” that covers the newly acquired back rolls. **Also, the weight would probably come off if I didn’t have donuts before bed. Still working on that one too.

Marriage – Small kids do create a special bond in marriage. The kind of bond that comes from being in the trenches together. So we’ve got that part down! But there is a different sweetness that can be lost when both people are under a lot of stress for extended periods of time. Hoping to recover some of my sweetness towards my husband that has been sitting on the shelf for a while now.

Time with the Lord – I still pray… But let’s be honest, I am not very well acquainted with alone time. I read my Bible while the kids splash in the bath. I pray in the morning while listening to the kids play/fight downstairs. I put worship music on in the car. Listen to sermons while folding laundry. But, I miss long stretches of silence to meditate on the Word and hear from the Lord.

House – Everyone tells you not to worry about the house and just spend time with the kids… Yeah, I am great at that. But eventually someone has to clean something. My husband has been a trooper. I am going to try to remember how to wash a pot.

Here’s to 1 year! Aurora, my little one, you are worth it. We made it through this first year and I am looking forward to turning the page and entering this next new season.

Add Waiting to Your Faith

Two years ago, I ended the year heartbroken. There was so much we had prayed for, hoped for, believed for that just had not happened.

Not that God wasn’t good, or wasn’t faithful. But, He had planted specific things in our hearts that we had labored for and we had not seen the breakthrough that we had faith for.

The end of the year is always a time to assess, realign… I needed to balance the books. Somehow make sense of it all. Make a decision on how to move forward.

What do you do with disappointment? I think this is an important question. Left unattended, I think disappointment grows into other things….. anger.. bitterness………unbelief…. You just stop believing.

I didn’t want that. I needed to hear from the Lord. I needed His word. Something firm.

Our precious friends from our time in DC, Justin and Kristin Ruzinok, amazingly offered to bring us out to visit them in Florida. I was hoping it was a divine appointment. It was.

The night we got there was New Year’s Eve. After we got two cranky kids to sleep, we all found ourselves gathering around a campfire in the backyard to bring in the new year. We sang songs, worshipped, shared stories. We talked about our year. At one point in the night Kathy Kurpe (Kristin’s mom) shared part of her journey and said the words “Add waiting to your faith.” I knew it was the word of the Lord for my year.

While we were there, they had a well worn copy of “God’s Promises for Your Every Need” sitting around their house. It is a book of all of the promise scriptures in the Bible. I opened it up and leaned into my “waiting” word.

His speaking voice in scripture soothed my wounds. Eased the pain. It sustained my hope. It gave my feet footing. Something firm to face uncertainty.

These words became treasures to me. I read them, wrote them, reviewed them, prayed them. Meditated on these until they sank deep into my soul.

If you have been full of faith and find yourself ultimately disappointed ending the year, I pray these truths minister to you the way they did to me.

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Psalm 62:5
My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him alone.

Hosea 6:3
Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord, His going forth is established in the morning, He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the Earth.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Psalm 138:8
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the work of your hands.

James 5:7-8
Therefore, be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the Earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Hebrews 6:12
…do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

1 Thes. 5:24
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word do I hope.

Hebrews 10:35-37
Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. “For yet a little while and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.”

Habakkuk 2:3
For the vision is for yet an appointed time. But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it, because it will surely come. It will not tarry.

Hebrews 3:4
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

1 Peter 1:7-9
(Faith) tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

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I will add that the year to follow did include breakthrough. It was a banner year in every area. We got to see fulfillment, at least partially. But, I will save that for another post. Because even without the ending to the story, these Words hold power. As is, they are strong enough to stand up to an uncertain immediate future.

Here is the book God’s Promises for Your Every Need >> on Amazon.

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