This word has been moving around in my head a lot the last few weeks. I have been going through a series of transitions, losses, and adjustments. So much of what is happening has been big stuff and not by choice. I have been left feeling confused and lost; my bearings are all out of whack.
It feels like there's no way to know which end is up anymore. . . .
But in lifting my head I see the Light and immediately I feel myself rising up, higher and higher.
The Whys pounding in my heart and on my mind become a rhythm, a chance to turn my wonderings from pities to praises.
The Whys are lost in the sea of Truths:
God is Good.
God loves me.
I can trust God.
Keep moving forward.
Choosing to let my Whys become prompts for praise.
I have been working at this mothering thing for almost 18 years.... These 18 years have been the most amazing, blessed, tiring, exciting, refining, and joyful years of my life. I yearned to be a mother from the time I was a little girl, and God answered my prayer even after facing infertility and miscarriage: three different times over the span of 8 years, I received the three most wonderful, talented, adorable, and unique children in the world.
(I am allowed to be biased, aren't I? )
God in His wisdom fashioned and formed these 3 children with such differing temperaments, skills, challenges, and needs that I was left with doubts about myself as a mom: doubts that sent me seeking out encouragement and advice from the experts. As a life-long student, I always seek out learning more, in the relentless pursuit of perfection to be that perfect wife/mom/woman/Christian. When I would fail, as a limited human being will on a daily basis, I lived in guilt that I hadn't done enough, learned enough, read enough - - - and I would get stuck in a cycle of relying on myself to always know what to do, to never lose my temper/become emotional, and to be that perfect mom: that perfect mom that never lost her temper and lost control of her emotions. I sought to be sweet and always calm and capable.
I am so thankful that the the Lord has continued to grow me in my faith these 18 years and has taught me through my role as mom that He and only He is the source of the wisdom, strength, and GRACE that I have needed as a mom. When I have felt alone, He was there to hear my frustration, dry my eyes, and bring peace to my heart. Such a burden has fallen from my shoulders as I have accepted my limitations and learned to rest and rely on my UNLIMITED GOD for His guidance, wisdom, and strength.
My children are now in 12th, 7th, and 4th grade: each in a different developmental, academic, and emotional stage. As a woman with chronic illness and fatigue, my stamina has not been able to keep pace with their growth, leaving me fighting negative emotions and self-talk about my abilities as a mom. Years ago, starting out, I always knew I could do this mom-thing, and do it perfectly (somehow). Over the last few years, I have had to come face to face with my limitations and I felt like I did not have what it takes to raise my three kids anymore. So weary, so confused, and facing the fact that I needed God's help --- but I still believed that when I would face negative feelings, it was something WRONG in me.
Just this past week, I faced a situation with a child that had me crying out for God's help, losing my ability to keep my emotions under control, saying things in anger (yes, I admit I was angry and LOUD), and not living in the Grace offered to us as moms when raising and teaching and encouraging our kids. Receiving this book to review, at this time, was not an accident. I read though this book in a few hours, hungry for this message, and through the loving and convicting teaching of Amber and Wendy, I recommitted myself to look to Christ and not myself (my wisdom) in facing my triggers (both external and internal) in a positive and proactive way. I knew I needed to do something with my triggers, but what next?
As I mentioned above, this book has come at a pivotal time in my journey as a mom. For example, I have been crying out to the Lord to please help me recognize, overcome, and break the generational curses in my family. I cried when I read the following in this book, Triggers: "No generational sin is a match for the God of all generations."
Let that sink in for a moment.
I can't break these curses and patterns of sin and forge ahead to break new ground out of bondage apart from God and His work in my heart and life. For YEARS I have been relying on the wisdom of man (MYSELF) and my own personal strength to do a work only God could do....And, when not finding "perfect" results, the cycle of perfectionism-guilt-fear-self-dependency-and-second-guessing myself would start all over again.
The same can be applied to my children and their personal walk with God. I have always thought that if I could be the perfect mom (somehow), then my children will never struggle in their faith, and always walk perfectly with the LORD! Oh, that same beast of perfectionism was there that tempted me to take on a burden that I was never meant to carry. I never wanted to "fail" my children and if they failed, all fingers pointed to my shortcomings!
This quote from the book, hit me hard, and made me sit up and listen: "Every challenging moment with my child can be a victory for me, even if it's not for them." For the first time in my life, I realized that I am not the one who will lead my child to victory over sin, but by showing them how God brings victory over sin in my own life, I can provide a model/example/guide to how I am still learning and relying on God and His Grace.
This book challenged me to lay aside perfectionism in my parenting and lay aside the guilt that only brings defeat. When triggered, I can give in to sin or I can be "triggered" to pray, look unto Jesus, and allow that conviction to grow in my walk with God and experience freedom, on so many levels.
I might be a mom with older children now, but I was encouraged and challenged so deeply while reading this book. Not only did I experience many "uh-oh" moments, but God spoke to me on a personal level with this: that even though I am not considered an "angry" mom with outbursts of temper and rage, quiet moms like me still battle these thoughts, fears, and triggers. All of us as moms battle the tendency to give in to despair and walk under the burden of trying to be the perfect mom. I can live in the truth of who I am in Christ, and that Truth is the substance of my faith as a mom. The Bible verses and prayers written so beautifully washed over my soul and brought healing to my heart and emotions, deep and ignored emotions being triggered by my battle with fear and perfectionism.
I hope to start this book again tomorrow and read one trigger-chapter a day, inviting God in prayer and study to teach me how to revolutionize my parenting and most importantly, grow in my personal walk with Him as His daughter. Growing as His daughter, will enable me to grow in Grace and wisdom as a wife and mom, equipped to meet and face each new stage of motherhood.
I leave you with this quote:
"In the morning ---come to Him.
Open up His Word --- sanctified in Him.
Over your coffee --- turn to Him.
Cuddling close during naps --- speak of Him.
Over snacks ---thanking Him.
Making dinner --- praising Him.
Correcting loud conflicts --- even then, with Him."
May the God of all Glory be with you and bring you His peace - Live in His Grace, always.
* I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest review. *
If you would like to order a copy for yourself, here are the links:
God hasn't stopped encouraging me through others and His promptings to start sharing my heart and writing again. I have held back until I felt His tender timing, and that timing is now.
I don't know very much about building a website and I honestly don't feel a huge need to build a platform or get my name out there. In choosing a web-address, all that kept coming back to me was my heart's desire: to share His Hope. I pray I can share His hope that fuels my life through this sacred space.
Although I don't know how how God is going to use my words, I pray that whomever comes to visit here leaves encouraged and strengthened in their walk with God.
In ALL things, may I bring Him glory.
---- Gina Marie
Romans 5:5 (NLT)
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us,
because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.