In focusing on enough this year I have seen that my value is not in how many steps I walk or how often I win the “workweek hustle” on FitBit. It is not tied to being the first car in the parking lot or the last one left at work each day. It is not in how many Starbucks stars, LulaRoe leggings, or tubes of LipSense I collect. It is not even tied to getting my preferred seat at church on Sunday mornings. My value is not in the percentage of times I win at Words with Friends, not even when that friend is my brother 😉 It is not in how clean I keep my house or car, how well behaved others believe my children and grandchildren to be, or how neat I write in cursive. It is not in the price of my house, car, or other material things. My value is in who God says I am and who He made me to be. He is my Father and I am His child. He loves me unconditionally regardless of any of these things.
The biggest thing that I am learning in this focus is that my “enoughness” is not based on how well I was parented or how well I have parented my own children. I keep being brought back to this and having to remind myself that even though there are pieces of both that were not and are not perfect, they are best left to God as I, myself aside from Him, do not have the tools to take them on. This does not mean that I am any less of a daughter or mother. It just means that I need to learn what areas of my life to turn over to God and let go. No matter how often they return to my sight and thoughts, they are not mine to pick up again unless and until God gives me that skill set and tells me to go slay those giants.
Linking with 5 Minute Friday today.
Things happen in life over which we have no control. It’s the way we respond to those things that determines where we will go next. The song Just Breathe, by Jonny Diaz says, “Breathe, just breathe. Come and rest at my feet and be, just be. Chaos calls but all you really need is to just breathe.” It reminds us who is in control and that the only response we should have to whatever is happening in in our lives is to just be with Him. There are times that we just need to take a deep breath, breathe in who God is and breathe out all of the negativity in our lives. Just breathe. My middle daughter has a tattoo on her wrist with the single word “breathe” to remind her of just this simple act that we can easily take for granted. Breathing is a part of who we are, it is something that we do without thinking, but if we stop and concentrate on it, let it soothe us, it can be as easy as taking a long deep breath to calm our selves and remove ourselves from the chaos that surrounds us. He is waiting. Just breathe.
Linking with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write for just 5 minutes without editing. Today’s prompt is breathe.
Control is something that I have spent a lot of time trying to gain. From a young age I think I felt that life was out of my control and I was determined to correct that. I was a perfectionist in a lot of areas. I wanted to do my best, but never felt that my best was good enough to please others. I would make bargains and try my best, but yet again I would come up short of the goal that I set for myself and had assured others I could reach. These bargains were attempts to find acceptance. They were ways of proving my value. They were ways of changing the way others felt about me so that maybe I would be loved. Of course those things never made me feel accepted, valuable or loved. After years of trying to find those things in people, I now know that they only come from God. He has shown me very vividly in recent months that I am His and that not only is He enough, but I am enough. It’s an amazing feeling to give up the control I have fought so hard for years to maintain, and let God be the ruler of my life. There is a peace in knowing that the God of the Universe, the King of Kings, is my Father and that He is in control of not only my life, but the lives of my family, the lives of others who might seek to pull me down or destroy me, and the lives of those who strive to build me up. He is in control. I can let go.
Linking with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write for just 5 minutes without editing. Today’s prompt is control.
Knowing that you are enough and that God is enough means thanking Him even when you’re in the middle of the journey. It means knowing that you are on the right path even when you cannot see the light at the end of the way. It is being alright with who you are and who He is creating you to be. It does not mean that it is always going to be a comfortable place; growing pains are not comfortable. They are, however, necessary to get you to where you are ultimately destined to be. You have every tool you need to succeed. God has made you for a purpose, and becoming that purpose should be your ultimate goal in life. I am capable of doing and being everything for which I was created. I am enough for the pitfalls as well as the victories I will face along the way. Sharing my story, even in the middle of that journey, is my job. It is the expectation of God that I share with others who may be walking along a similar path, in order to lift their faith and build their courage in who they are and who they will become. We are always growing. We are always climbing. We are always in the middle of something, even when we are not sure where it will lead or if it will ever have an end. God is in control, even in the middle. So, thank Him where you are, for what you have overcome, for what you have learned, and for what you have yet to see before you.
Linking with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write for just 5 minutes without editing. Today’s prompt is Middle.
For 2016 the word “trust” was my one word for the year. I studied about trust, read about it, and learned a lot about activating my ability to trust. God has been so faithful in teaching me to trust others, myself, and most importantly Him. It has been a journey of learning to listen to God, allowing Him to be in control of my steps and actions, and making my own wants take a back seat to what was best for me and my family. This included a very clear directive that it was time for our boys to go back to their mother again. It was a difficult thing for me to do on my own without leaning on Him and knowing that He was making the path straight before me. The night in April that I took them was a big stepping stone in my journey to trust. It was a turning point for me. Since then I have left many other decisions in His hands and felt at peace in situations where I would not have previously. I have set aside some, but not all, of my controlling ways, and am learning through each hold I give up that He is more capable of making decisions than I ever was. This process has taught me more about the importance of consistently reading my Bible and spending daily time in prayer as well. I now know that I must have a relationship with Him that gives me confidence in His lead in order to relinquish my own control to Him. I have started reading books by authors such as Shauna Niequist, Lysa Terkeurst, and Ann Voskamp who tell their own stories of allowing God to direct their steps and lead their lives from very low places to the most amazing everyday experiences in the shadow of the almighty. These women and others have been quite an inspiration to me in many ways and I highly recommend their books listed below. As 2016 comes to a close, I am beginning to see through trusting in Him that I am enough. I am learning that the experiences of my childhood, any failings of my parents, and any failings of myself as a parent do not define who I am. Not only is He enough, but I am enough. In 2017, I plan to focus on the word “enough” and seek His face for more confidence in who I am and in the knowledge that I am who He called me to be. Ann Voskamp wrote, “The world has enough women who live a masked insecurity. It needs more women who live a brave vulnerability.” I pray that you too will find a word for this year to focus your lives and give you more reason to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Psalm 3:5) as I find a place where He is enough for my trusting heart to believe in myself and His will for my life.
I listened to and highly recommend the following books on http://www.Audible.com:
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
All are also available in print, but believe it or not I am not a fan of reading for pleasure. I have made much better use of these texts in audible format while driving or walking.
There are some who feel like the Elf of the Shelf is not an appropriate holiday tradition for various reasons. Some feel that children should be disciplined enough to behave well everyday without the incentive that Santa and his elves are watching them. Others feel it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas. In our house, we have two elves, Peppermint Snow for my granddaughter, and Jingle for the boys. They arrive on the youngest boys birthday the week of Thanksgiving in November bearing a birthday gift with a cupcake and candle. When the kids are especially good, they may bring a special treat. They stay throughout December, including celebrating the oldest boys birthday with a gift and cupcake for him, and leave on Christmas eve when Santa arrives with gifts and takes them back to the North Pole. It’s fun for the whole family and it is a little bit of incentive for the children, but not so much that they are only good when then elves are visiting. I believe it gives them something tangible to associate with making good choices. It’s a jumping off point to remind them the rest of the year that Jesus is always with us and that we should be kind and good to each other, just as Jesus is to us. So, for us, we will continue to tradition of the elves visiting until the youngest out grows it, and even then, I’m sure they’ll still be hanging around to decorate the tree or something.