I was in Arizona last week and met Jennifer Garcia of AMFM (Association of Marriage and Family Ministry). Jennifer and her husband Eric are passionate about families. She gave me some awesome words of wisdom on how to go about “spreading the word” about my conference here in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest! Stay tuned….next April 2017 might just blow the doors off! 🙂
I have been opening up emails and catching up from a very consuming week and a half. Tears filled my eyes as I read an email from the church office saying someone called in AGAIN to sponsor a couple for the conference! Please share, registration ends Wednesday…a truly remarkable day filled with support, understanding, information! DON’T MISS THIS! God is blessing it all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBiwA8Nw8qY
Co-parenting open mic panel is going to be incredible!
I appreciate all prayers to help the conference and us speakers deliver what the attendees need!
As I was scrolling through Facebook postings early this morning, I came across this picture. Immediately, my heart swelled and tears rolled down my cheeks. This was right after I had posted a picture of myself with my two sons taken several years ago, as well as a shared picture and comment from my friend Jeanne. I used to beat myself up regularly with guilt and shame over what I considered to be and also knew to be mistakes I had made as a mom. Oh, if we could just “go back”. And even when I say that, I know God would never let that happen because I am who I am because of the many roads I have travelled and the many lessons I have learned.
I did have to come to that day when I understood that trying to live and “drive” forward while looking in the rear view mirror was taking up precious time I needed to focus on doing God’s will for my life. I had been transformed that same year in 1997 when the picture was taken. I was living with renewed devotion to Him and my family. I am a much different person than I was in that picture and a much much different person than when my sons were little boys. Just a few months prior, I had completely surrendered my life to Christ, freeing myself from the bondage of believing men were my answer to happiness and fulfillment. I turned instead and chose my Main Man Jesus. Previously, I had been trying to live as I thought was best, bouncing around and taking my sons with me as we rode some turbulent roller coasters of experience….twice married and twice divorced by the year 1997. For this, I have many regrets….I’ve just learned where to place them in my life at this point.
We are all sinners. We fail, we struggle, we pick ourselves up and we continue on. However, beating ourselves up does no one any good. I believe women in general, but especially mothers have a tendency to do this. When we repent, when we approach those that we’ve hurt and apologized and sought their forgiveness, all with sincerity and the same grace that God extends to us….well, then….it’s time to focus on our daily living and leave the past behind us. I do not want to die with regrets…and living in constant guilt and shame would be a big regret. 🙂
So, my heart and the Holy Spirit is speaking to me and to all mothers, moms, mommies, stepmoms, 2nd moms, whoever you are!!…..enjoy today, reach out, and love those that consider you a mom in any way, shape, or form. As I said on Facebook, I have loved my sons with every breath I’ve taken from the time they were conceived. I love you Travis and I love you Derek with all my heart. God bless you both, I am truly proud to be your mom.
One of the issues that was discussed and that the stepmoms had difficulty with is taking things personally. Especially in regards to our relationship with the stepchildren. Let’s unpack this a bit. Women are nurturers, lovers, God created us to be helpmates, we are sensitive, we are loyal…we can become momma bears if you get too close to our children! God created us to hold and carry seeds of humanity, His mighty hand works within us to form our precious babies. In Jeremiah 1:5 NIV) “…Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” and from Psalm 139:14 (NIV) “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are well made, I know that full well.” We women who love and worship God realize the task at hand with children. Fathers are crucial for leadership, protection, security, guidance, a firm and loving hand in discipline and boundaries. Women hold things in, we embrace emotions because that is quite simply, how we are built. Our challenge, then, is to learn how not to allow our emotions to run our lives. Oh yeah, ding ding ding….but how do we do that?
Jan Silvious, Women of Faith speaker and author, in her book “Big Girls Don’t Whine”, gives a pearl of wisdom: “Until you take responsibility for yourself, you cannot become all God hopes you will be.” I love her book and it was one of the stepping stones that helped me understand that I have the power to control all of me…every inch of me. I can control my thoughts, actions, words. I can choose to feel, I can choose to let things go. You know what my measurement for “Do I go for it or do I let it go?” I ask myself, “Am I or someone going to die or get sick as a result of this?” “No?” Then, I let it go. I used to take so many things personally, let the memory run wild in my “personal recorder”…that part of my brain that plays and replays over and over and over what happened…. what I should have done, what should I have said, what I maybe should do!! Oh help me!!! And that was a big part of my recovery out of getting myself dragged into emotional drama and turmoil…. I cried out to God, “Help me.” And, of course, He did.
I regret some things that happened between my husband, stepdaughter and I over the years. I have repented and God has forgiven me and I’ve forgiven myself. Today, much less bothers me, much less is running rampant in my “personal recorder”, and much less is taken personally, therefore, much less stress. I have an enjoyable relationship with my stepdaughter and I continue to seek peace and harmony with her. I agree, the years when stepchildren are woven tightly into the daily living of a home, it can be overwhelming. Jesus understands. Other stepmoms understand.
Practice seeking to understand, being full of gratitude, model the love of Christ. Teens especially have so much going on in their body, much less a life they did not choose (divorce or remarriage). Let things roll away…little things that want to annoy you…let them go. It’s not worth the battle. If you need to vent, call a friend who is a godly woman and holds you accountable. My friends do. They love me and accept me and listen compassionately when I am hurting….but they would not allow me to whine mercilessly about trivial unimportant things. They listen and they correct me when I need it. They are so important to me!
One day I was folding my husband’s work laundry from the dryer. Why in the world he cannot turn his shirts right side out when he takes them off is beyond me. So, I think to myself…if he doesn’t care, why should I? I began folding the t-shirts one after another. Suddenly, I was brought to an abrupt stop. In my mind a thought settled…. “What if Jesus were standing next to me?” I quickly realized my husband doesn’t do this t-shirt thing to upset me…it’s just the way he takes the shirts off. Why was I taking it personally? Well, friends…I now do laundry, cooking, studying, sales…..all those womanly things….for Jesus. Focusing on Him in my life and my efforts in His Name has helped me grow and gain wisdom. When you feel left out, disappointed, disrespected, sad….take a moment and ask God if the situation is serious (“someone’s going to die or get sick”…figuratively speaking). Ladies, I believe if you consciously choose to take a step out of the emotion, don’t allow the drama, you can view it for what it really is and let it go.
I pray today’s post helps you. God bless you.