Why I Stopped Trying to Be a Good Mom

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Do you ever have those days, weeks or even months of HARD parenting? I never knew how hard parenting was until I was at home all day with a toddler and a newborn. When I worked a full-time job I still struggled in many ways. But when you’re home all day with small kids alone — it’s like running a marathon with no mile markers.

Yesterday, my day started off pretty great. My toddler didn’t wake up until 8:30am. My 2 month old even slept in which allowed me to get a little more sleep. I got up and made a healthy breakfast, read some to Aurora and didn’t watch TV. The rest of the day slowly got harder. My baby boy was cluster feeding all day while being really fussy. I even had to let him cry for 10 minutes while I gave my 3-year-old a quick shower. (He hates being put down. He is always demanding to be held).

My daughter and I prepared a special tea and chocolate chip cookie party for her Great Aunt who came over. Aurora was doing great — until around 5pm. After her Great-Aunt left she became a totally different kid. I was already exhausted from breastfeeding my baby boy all day. It took me a good 45 minutes to get my daughter to calm down. She went from crying, to screaming “no” at me and even hit me in the face.

On top of all of this — I was trying to get dinner cooked and on the table for my family. Then — the dinner I made had to be thrown out because I used expired ingredients. Thankfully my husband went to the store to grab a pizza. So all my best efforts and hard work felt void by the time I crawled my tired body into bed. As I do often — I felt defeated at the core. I felt like I used to when I was running a marathon. You know, when the runner’s high wears off and you are fighting with every cell in your body to just keep going. Despite my tired and weary state — I found myself laying my struggles out to God. I was so tired. All I could do was ask for help. In that moment I decided I didn’t want to be a “good” or “perfect” mom. I wanted to be a better mom.

The next morning I woke up and decided before I even got out of bed that it was going to be a good day. I was going to check my frustrations, perfectionist ideology and unrealistic standards at the door before I started my day. I focussed on being a better mom and it worked. I got up, washed my face, put on lipstick and tackled each moment at a time. The best part is — I stopped trying to meet so many quotas and enjoyed the day.

I read to my daughter at breakfast which turned into 1.5 HOURS of reading. That’s 2 chapters in “Little House on the Prairie” and 3 other small chapter books. My 3-year-old even begged me to keep reading but my voice and jaw needed a break. When my daughter wanted to help, I gave her a rag to wipe down the table and chairs. She spent 30 minutes doing that. I even spoke to her in more of a playful voice throughout the day.

The reason for my story is that I did not seek to be a “perfect” mom, but a better mom. I cannot live up to the standards of this world. If I tried to do it all perfect in one day I would go crazy — and still fail. Perfect moms/parents do not exist. I chose to give myself grace so I could enjoy my children. Guys, I don’t want to be a “good” mom. It talks about in Isaiah 64:6 that, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” I can be a “good” mom everyday and still never do enough.

It’s through the deep faith and God’s grace that allows me to push myself to be a better mom. A mom that feels like quitting — but continues to push on. It allows me to humble myself to where I am in life. To appreciate it more even when it’s hard.

In many ways it’s like the way my daughter prays. At nap time and bed time — I start the prayer and my 3-year-old finishes it. When she prays she will go through her entire day thanking God. She will thank him for her jelly biscuit, shower, reading time and even will thank him for her time outs. What a beautiful example of how we should look at each day. Thanking God for even the rough moments because you survived it. Even those moments where your kid decides to throw the biggest tantrum of the century.

Moms, strive to be better each day. Apologize to your kids when you lose your temper. Invest in their lives more than you do Instagram and Facebook. (That comment is mostly for me). It goes back to the grace. If today was terrible and you royally screwed it up — then there is always tomorrow. Refocus and start over again. We all have bad days. Let go of the terrible day you had and be determined to start the next day better.

The Day I Met My Son + the Story of My C-Section

Dear Husbands, We Need You To Fight For Us

You’re More Than A PB&J Mom

My Journey with Prenatal Anxiety and Depression

Entering the Season of Leaving: When Foster Parents say Goodbye

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Our days are numbered as our time with one of our foster teens is nearing the end. She has been in our home for over 6 months and sadly, she will soon be leaving. This is not our first time saying goodbye to a foster kid. It’s actually our sixth time saying goodbye.  But this time may be one of the hardest.

This dear girl came to us with amazing behavior but a lot of baggage. Ironically, I saw her in a dream about 4 months before I ever knew she existed. I still remember the day she got out of the car and I saw her through the window. My heart dropped because that was the same girl I had a dream about. I didn’t know what our relationship would be like but I knew it would be special.

Over the last 6 months, Steven and I have had the chance to show her love, teach her about God and watch her grow. She is not the same girl who came to live with us months ago. She has a happy facade now. Even though she is still struggling in some areas she has learned a lot. She even gave her life to Christ and got Baptized while here. I would like to say we can take credit, but it was a group of people who really showed her what life can be like when you have God.

Fostering is hard, especially when you have to say goodbye to kids who have impacted your life. She has become like a daughter of mine and it’s hard to see her leave. But I also have a peace about it. I feel ready to let her go because as a temporary mom — I feel like she is ready. We have taught her as much as we can while she was here. She has learned how to have God as her foundation — so I am proud to see what she will do as she gets older.

I have many people come up to us and say, “Oh, I couldn’t be a foster parent. I would get too attached. It would break my heart when they had to leave.” It’s funny because when people say that it’s as if they think we some how are NOT impacted by it. That we have a characteristic that allows us to say goodbye with ease. I am here to tell you we don’t. It hurts us all the same. But you know what, I don’t regret showing them love in the small amount of time they were in our home. Our home may be the only place they ever feel that love or are taught what a real family looks like. Why keep that from them? It will forever change their lives. Like our foster daughter — this experience has and will change the outcome of her future. Because we chose to love her and teach her about God.

As parents, we get 18 years with our kids. Yes, that’s a long time but your days are still numbered with them as well. We have a small time to make an impact and prepare them to leave. Yes, God calls every parent to prepare their children to leave their home. To teach them how to handle their own battles they will face as grownups. That’s why it is crucial to take every moment for granted. So really, fostering isn’t much different than parenting your own kids. You just get less time with them.

I am ready to see our girl enter her next journey. She will always have a seat at our table. She knows she is always welcome in our home. Even when she grows up to have a family of her own. I’m so thankful for the time God gave us with her. I pray that we really did make a big impact. That she will always remember us as a good memory in her life. Truth be told, foster kids need that so much. Many have childhoods filled with trauma and they need to see there is hope.

Even though it hurts to see her leave — it also opens ups another opportunity to love another teen girl who needs to hear she is worthy. I will always pray for all the girls we’ve had in our home and the ones yet to come.

I encourage you to open your home to kiddos who could use hope. Don’t be afraid of getting hurt because you have to see them leave so soon. Just love them and teach them as much as you can while they are with you. You never know how much their life may change.

When I Doubt, God Sends a Sweet Reminder

5 Ways to Introduce God to Foster Kids Without Being Pushy

Fostering Teens Who Are Surrounded By Weeds

 

5 Ways to Introduce God to Foster Kids Without Being Pushy

fullsizeoutput_417eIt’s no surprise that my husband and I are followers of Christ. Each day we try to put God the center of our marriage, home and lives. But when you have new people coming into your home to live… it can get difficult.

During our foster training we were told that some kids will reject the idea of church and God. As foster parents we cannot force them to go to church. We were warned that we may have some kids who come into our home that have had bad experiences with religion. Here are some ways we’ve talked to our teens about God.

  1. Be open. We had the privilege of meeting all of our girls before they came to stay with us. During our meetings we talked to them about how we do go to church and that we are a Christian home. We talk a little bit about our values and let them know what that means. This was really helpful because they can know what to expect. Especially if God is a sore subject.
  2. Practice what you preach. If you are a follower of Christ then you know the Bible talks a lot about grace, mercy and forgiveness. You may even have your kiddos ask you questions about what they mean and maybe even giving examples of it. But when they get in trouble or talk back you cannot waver from what you’ve talked about. Meaning, you can’t talk about forgiveness and grace and then not show it in the midst of struggles. That will not only destroy your relationship but it will create a bad experience for these kids.
  3. Don’t push. My husband and I are strong believers that we show God’s love through our day-to-day actions. We talk about God but we don’t pressure our foster kids to read their Bible daily or force them to do things that are uncomfortable. You have to remember, these kids probably never grew up in that type of home. So you can’t expect them to adopt your habits over night. You have to slowly introduce them. A great way is taking them to church if they want to go. Let them get involved in youth group. Maybe have family discussions about stories and meanings of scriptures from the Bible. Find a way to educate and teach but don’t push. Let them make their own choice to follow Christ.
  4. Have the tough conversations. Many foster kids that come in your home have different beliefs. Even if they are accepting of this relationship with God they still struggle understanding what God says about things like sin, being gay, cussing and divorce. Many foster kids have seen more than we will ever see or know about. You may have to have a deep conversation about topics most christians fear to have. Like explaining why a loved one died. Or talking about what God considers a sin. Sin is a big topic because you don’t know what these kids have done. So telling them they sinned and they’re going to hell — may not go over too well. These kiddos have enough guilt so you will have to be careful with how you word certain things. Most importantly you need to remind them that no matter what we as humans have done, Jesus paid the ultimate price for us to be free. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing that we should be teaching and demonstrating in our homes everyday.
  5. Share your testimony. The best way for your kids to see how God can work in their lives is by sharing your own experiences. I talk to them about having an abusive father. I talk them about mistakes with guys I’ve dated. I talk about my personal struggles and what brought me to where I am today. I am very open about my life and what I have been through. I even talk about my daily struggles with faith, stress and fears. This is probably the best way to share your love for God without being pushy.

These are just a few ways you can share and discuss God with your foster kids. It may vary depending on the child and how they take up. Be open and transparent about your walk with God. Let them see christianity is not about perfection. It’s about having a deep relationship with God.

Fostering Teens Who Are Surrounded By Weeds

When I Doubt, God Sends a Sweet Reminder

Preparing a Place for Our First Foster Child

Attention Shoppers, Please Be Patient With My Screaming Kid

For many, the grocery store is a place where people go for a peaceful stroll while they shop for food. That is until my daughter walks through the doors.

My 2-year-old is pushing the buggy fast through crowds of people, nearly running over several toes along the way. Once she spots the crackers she grabs them off the shelf and throws them in the buggy. A snack I don’t mind giving her later but my daughter wants to eat them now. I tell her not until we check out, which causes a huge dramatic reaction. I look around at fellow shoppers as she screams “crackers.”

I bend down to calm my daughter but it only makes it worse. It takes about 5 minutes to explain she can have crackers once we get back to the car. Once that issue is resolved we continue to shop for the handful of items I came for. The next isle, the process starts over again. By the time she gets to the checkout I’m straining to hear the cashier reveal the total. My child is out of control because all she wants is “crackers” and of course it continues on the way to car.Before I can put her in the car seat – I spend another 5 minutes explaining what needs to happen before she gets a cracker. She finally calms down, I get her strapped in her seat and she enjoys her cracker.

This happens a lot. I see those looks from fellow shoppers who cringe when my child screams. I see the people who try to calm my child down but are rudely rejected by my 2-year-old’s, “No”. I see frustrated shoppers trying to grab items off the shelf where my child is throwing a tantrum. Please, just be patient.

It’s not because I won’t discipline my child. It’s because I am trying to teach her patience without whipping her into submission. Yes, she does receive spankings on occasion but as parents we also learned that the more she gets spankings the more she hits. My child responds to timeouts, not hitting.Shoppers please don’t get frustrated, I know my kid is acting like a wild animal. I know she needs to calm down but sadly, 2-year-olds don’t listen to reason. They react based on emotions.

I want my child to learn she can’t get what she wants when she screams for it. I want her to learn the meaning of patience. I want her to be okay waiting for something even if she wants it REALLY bad. Why? Because those teachings start now.

One day I want her to be a great person who impacts others, to be faithful to God and trust him even when she doesn’t get her way. I want her to be able to calm down without always spanking her. I also want her to have a calming spirit towards her children one day. So shoppers, I thank you for being patient. I thank you for giving me the space to discipline my child. I thank you for understanding that I am trying as a mom.

I am working daily with my child’s reactions to her world around her. For both of our peace, I pray one day I can walk in a store with my toddler and not fight a battle. I pray she will help me grab items off of the shelf and place them in the buggy but for now she needs to learn how to act.

So until then shoppers, please be patient, offer me a smile instead of a grimaced look. Try not to be quick to judge the situation and my lack of parenting skills. For now, try to shop around me when I am in the middle of the isle dealing with a toddler’s attitude. I promise one day, I will offer the same grace when you find yourself handling a toddler of your own.

***DISCLAIMER: This article represents my views on tasing my child. This article is not meant to criticize or point fingers at parents that choose other ways to discipline their children.****

Looking Beyond the Mess

Parenting Through Grace

Why I Don’t Want My Children To Say Yes, Ma’am

Encourage a Mother with the Last Minute $1 Gift Idea

 

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Moms. What would we do without them? Today is their time to shine. No matter how they became a mom or who calls them mom, it’s a time to recognize their hard work. Here is a great way to encourage a mom in your life.

I host a brunch every month and last weekend I had my sweet ladies participate in an encouraging craft idea. I saw another wife do this for her husband one year. I thought how cool would this be to give moms or ladies a little encouragement throughout their days. I call them encouraging boxes.

What you’ll need:

  • Box/jar
  • Pencil, pens, color pencils
  • Scraps of paper
  • Bible/Quote book

This super easy craft is something that is sure to bring a smile to a mother’s face. As one of my ladies mentioned last week — it’s also kind of a personal gift to give someone. Something that takes some time and thought.

I made one for a dear friend of mine who is expecting her third child. She wasn’t able to attend the Lady’s Brunch, but usually attends. So we all put in a few quotes, scriptures and encouraging notes.

I like to think of the person and what makes them smile. Whether they like funny jokes from “The Office” TV show or enjoys reading scriptures and encouraging mommy quotes. I write them out on a piece of paper. I even draw little pictures on them with colored pencils. Then I fold it up and stick it in the box.

The whole idea behind the gift is that they only pull out a piece of paper when they need some encouragement. Whether that be in the midst of disciplining a child or dealing with a rude coworker. These boxes are so easy to make. Everyone needs encouragement. But we can’t always be there to provide it or know they are struggling.

For those last minute Mother’s Day shoppers this could be something cheap and easy to do for a mom. Whether they lost a child, struggle with infertility or are raising up toddler.

 

Sweet friends filling their own boxes to help encourage another lady. 

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How to Date A Mom

Pinterest loving, Cloth Diapering, Paleo Eating Moms are Human Too

Parenting Through Grace

When “Thoughts and Prayers” Don’t Work

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You’ve seen all over social media, the internet and even heard it from friends and family. “You’re in my thoughts and prayers.” Some people take that to heart while others snark at the comment. But do thoughts and prayer really work?

If you are just saying the phrase then no it doesn’t work. You may mean well when you type or speak that phrase, but it quickly becomes another trained response to avoid a real conversation. Why do we say it if we’re not going to actually pray for that person? That is when it doesn’t make a difference at all. Thinking about someone is nice but when we say we’re going to pray – we need to drop to our knees that instant and do it. That’s when it works.

After several shootings many people became tired of the “thoughts and prayers” phrase. Even some people I work with saw it more as a passive way to overlook gun issues in the country. Like I said before – if we say it but don’t pray then nothing will change.  BUT when we pray – oh that’s when things change. Mountains move and we see the change even in ourselves.

I truly believe prayer is powerful. It has the ability to do so much for our country. God literally says it in the Bible.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Our country is crumbling at our feet because many of us (yes, even Christians) don’t feel the need to pray. They either don’t think it works or they don’t have the time. From experience I can tell you I’ve seen what prayer can do. I’ve seen lives change, including my own. I’ve seen miracles happen. I’ve seen people step away from their selfish lifestyle and give their whole heart to Christ. So why are people so surprised that God can do amazing things when we pray to Him? I honestly believe it’s because they’ve never seen prayers answered. That makes me a little sad.

No, God is not a Genie that grants our wishes. Our prayers are answered every time but the outcome might not always be what we expected. The fact that our loved one passed away from cancer instead of being healed. Or we were skipped over a promotion at work again. God is answering your prayers. But they are within His will for your life.

I ask you, the next time you say the phrase “thoughts and prayers” PLEASE pray before you say or type those words. Maybe specifically ask how can I pray for you. If you’re on the phone with them or even texting them – say a prayer with them. Type out the prayer. Whatever it is. Because in that moment the person will see that the phrase is no longer an empty promise but a reminder of how powerful prayer is. We need more of that in our country. We need people to be vulnerable and to pray over us when we’re hurting.

We are all called to pray. If you even have a relationship with God then prayer should be a major part of your life. If not, then that relationship needs to start. We must humble ourselves before the creator of this world and pray. You’re not too holy to be exempt from prayer. Nor are you too far from God to be heard. The very act of prayer will start to change the world. But most importantly change you.

I truly believe many issues of this world develop from a heart problem. Not physical but spiritual. We measure our motives, actions and conversations next to what the world accepts. But we were not made for this world. God created us for something greater. As humans we still struggle with sin but we don’t have to become it. I’m calling Christians out to take time and pray. Instead of saying the phrase – do the action.

Remember, “thoughts and prayers” WORK when WE do the work. After reading this, some may still believe they are empty words. That we can’t fight gun violence with thoughts and prayers. We can’t fight murders with thoughts and prayers. We can’t feed the hungry with thoughts and prayers. But I would say we can. When hearts heal from praying there is less gun violence. Marriages start to mend. Fathers stay and children grow up in a loving home. Parents begin to invest in their kids and teach them right and wrong. We start becoming givers instead of takers. We start seeing others and their needs instead of our own. That’s when the hungry get fed. That’s when “thoughts and prayers” prompt action not apathy.

How Jesus’ Death Represents a Message for Our Mess

Trusting God: How fathers play a major role

Comparing Yourself To a Mountain

Why I Replaced My TV With A Chair

When I Doubt, God Sends a Sweet Reminder

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Sometimes we just need to be reminded of why God is calling us down a different road. My husband and I will complete our last home study this weekend to help us become foster parents. So far this journey has been mentally taxing but overall exciting. There are even days I question if this is the right choice for our family.

Last night, I was driving home from work when I started to pray. (I talk to God a lot when I’m driving. It keeps my road rage at bay.) I talked to God about my hesitation and my fears of becoming a foster parent. Will I make a difference? Can I even help these kids? That’s when I asked Him to send me an encouraging reminder as to why He wants us to do this.

Side note. God understands my first love language is words of affirmation. He also knows I’m very visual. He knows that I need to be reminded in the midst of a journey. One way he likes to show me things is through my dreams. He has shared with me many times about my future husband (Steven) before I even knew who he was. He even used a dream to help me see Steven was safe to pursue. Dreams are a major way God communicates with me.

That prayer I prayed to God came true. Last night, I dreamed about our future foster kids. To no surprise there were 3 teen girls. Out of the three girls I saw the face of one girl. She looked to be about 13-years-old. Hispanic with beautiful black hair. She also had a love for horses. The second girl I didn’t see but she was talking to me on the phone. This girl talked a lot. She was asking me if we had dogs because she always wanted to own big dogs. I remember her voice coming alive when she found out we had TWO big dogs. The third girl I could barely see but I know that she was African American with an up-do. It was as if she as at a farther distance than the others. But God confirmed that this journey is what He wants us to do.

I share this story with you because some of you are questioning God about a choice, a decision or even a direction He is leading you in. I totally understand fearing the unknown.  Feeling unqualified for what He has called you to do. But like me God wants to send you reminders too. Maybe He communicates with you in other ways. Like sending people to speak into your life or through scripture. Whatever future you are facing I want you to ask God to give you an encouraging reminder as to why He wants you to choose that path? Keep your eyes and ears open to what He says.

Remember, it is normal to question God. No matter how strong our faith is. If you open the Bible…it won’t take long before you come across a story about a person God uses to do mighty things…who has little faith. Or even question God’s direction. God doesn’t mind if we ask questions. He doesn’t mind that we doubt our ability. That’s when He comes alongside of us to shine light on what we are capable of. Following God is not easy. He never said it would be. But His ways are better.

I would love to hear how God sends you little messages. Share your story below.

When God Uses Our “Ugly” to Impact Others

Preparing a Place for Our First Foster Child

What Foster Training Taught Me About My Own Trauma

Preparing a Place for Our First Foster Child

 “Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger.” – Lamentations‬ ‭2:19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When I was pregnant with Aurora I used to sit and talk to my tummy. Rubbing my hand across my daughter wondering what she was going to be like. There were days I ached to hold her so bad that I would find a baby doll to hold. It would give my heart a little relief. When I saw her for the first time my heart felt complete. That’s what it feels like as I prepare a place for our future foster children.

My husband and I still have a way to go before we become licensed to be foster parents. But right now we are getting a room ready. We just painted and put up bunk beds. The bedding just arrived this week. So now the beds are ready.

The other night I had a heavy heart thinking about the kids that will come into our home. Where are they now? Are they going through abuse and neglect or are they safe in a foster home? I went downstairs into the room we are preparing for them. I sat in the floor and started to pray. (One thing I’ve learned is that when someone is heavy on your heart – there is a reason.)

I prayed for their protection. I prayed for what they are going through now. I prayed that whatever brings them to this room will be turned into a testimony of their life. I prayed that when they walk in this room they feel the peace and safety we want it to demonstrate. That they don’t feel scared with us but relieved.

Like waiting for my daughter to arrive I am waiting for foster children to arrive, except it’s under different circumstances. It will be exciting and sad. These kids will be coming here because of the pain they’ve experienced. That breaks my heart.

But I am believing that it will make a difference. That they will find themselves growing stronger, feeling more loved and appreciated for who they are. That’s my hope at least. I have no idea what our future holds. Who these kids will be. But God knows. That’s why I pray to God about these kids. About these beds and this room. He knows what these kids will need. And He knows what impact they’ll have on our lives.

We’re Adopting and I’m Terrified

This Is Us: 4 Takeaways For Foster Parents from this week’s episode.

What Foster Training Taught Me About My Own Trauma

Parenting Through Grace

What A $2 Valentine’s Day Gift Taught Me About My Marriage

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.”

– Tim Keller

My husband and I knew going into Valentine’s Day that we wouldn’t have anything for each other. Life has been so hectic with foster training, work and other projects that we forgot to plan ahead. We decided to celebrate this weekend when we got to spend time together.

Yesterday, I had a cute story lined up about a dog and his new owner meeting for the first time. The former owners of the dog had wrapped his injured leg in duct tape. When the vet finally got to them his toes had to be amputated. It was the donations from this one consignment store that helped Ducky get the care he needed. So I went to the store yesterday to do the interviews. (It’s one of my favorite stores by the way). As I started to get video of the store I noticed some cool cups sitting on a shelf. One was a gold and white tea cup. I’m collecting them for my lady’s brunch coming up. I was so excited to see it cost $0.59. That’s when I started to look and see if there was a cool mug for my husband.

I knew I had a little over $2 in cash so I had to be thrifty. (We’re on the cash only system because we follow Dave Ramsey’s Financial advise). I almost gave up when I saw this one cup stuck between other mugs. It was a blue and gray striped mug. Perfect for Steven. He doesn’t have a lot of guy mugs so I wanted to get it for him. I was so proud that I could bring him home something for Valentine’s Day. Even if it was a small gift.

If you know Steven and I then you know drinking coffee together has been one of our things since we were friends. At first when I got these cups I was thinking about them just as gifts. But then I realized these cups represent our marriage and love for one another.

Some days in marriage I can’t give anymore. I am overwhelmed with work, life and taking care of Aurora. That’s when my amazing husband pours his strength into me. So when my tea cup is empty he is there to help me get back on track. The same thing goes for him. When he is tired and exhausted I am there to help him.

Now, there have been times we’ve had nothing to give each other. We weren’t keeping our cups filled. That’s when friends and family stepped in to help. Other times we have to fill ourselves up with God’s word just to get through the day. But we don’t stop giving.

These $2.25 cups represent the way a marriage and community should work. If you see your spouse needs to be filled and you keep the contents to yourself then you’re being selfish in your marriage. Marriage does not work when you are thinking about your own wants and needs. You are teammates not enemies.

 “Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Most importantly as couples we need to be first filling ourselves with God’s word. We cannot help others if we have nothing to give. If you want to see your marriage improve then invest in your relationship with God. It’s there that you will find how to release those selfish desires and give to your spouse more each day. It’s in God’s word that you will see how you need to love your spouse unconditionally. Marriage is hard. It’s even harder when God is not the center of both of your lives.

To Singles on Valentine’s Day

Parenting Through Grace

Why I Don’t Have a Perfect Marriage After 3 Years

5 Ways to Show Your Spouse You Love Them

To Singles on Valentine’s Day

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“Don’t measure love based off of a Facebook post, measure love based off the one who created you.”

You wake up to a beautiful sunny day. You sit up in bed. Put your feet in your favorite slippers and stretch. You think, “today is going to be a great day”. That is until you remember it’s Valentine’s Day. Your body slumps down a little just thinking about the hundreds of couple posts you’ll be seeing on Facebook. You think to yourself, “I wish I had someone to love me today.”

Valentine’s Day is hard for those who don’t have a significant other. If you’re single because you’re waiting for the right person then it makes it even harder. You start guessing whether you should have said yes to that date last month. But you knew in your heart that wasn’t the person God had for you.

Ladies here is something one of my mentors expressed a few years ago on this day. It is something that I found encouraging as a single 24-year-old who was patiently waiting for my future husband.

“A faithful man is worth waiting for and women should value men who are honorable and faithful and consider them above men with smooth lines and the wandering eyes. Wait for the man who only has eyes for you. Loneliness in short term is better than sorrow later.”

– Sherry Carlstrom

Side note: If you are waiting for that person….then wait. Don’t settle because you are lonely. I know so many women who go from one relationship to another without ever giving themselves a chance to be alone. That is a dangerous habit. I know from experience. Don’t make decisions like that based on your emotions. You will survive being alone. (I’ll write another post on this topic later).

Yes, today will be lonely. Yes, you will find yourself holding back tears as you think about not having a special someone. Instead of focussing on what you DON’T have, focus and what you DO have. One thing that helped me during my single years were close friendships and family. My friend Brooke and I would take each other out to breakfast. We were both single at the time so we found ways to encourage each other on this day. I remember my last Valentine’s Day as a single was my hardest. My sister helped my niece make me a card and chocolate covered strawberries. My mom gave me a single rose to brighten up my day. That is still one of my favorite Valentine’s.

Today, I encourage you to find someone to show love to. It could be a co-worker who lost their spouse. It could be your grandmother who lives in a nursing home. Or it could be a complete stranger you see sitting by themselves at a coffee shop. The most amazing thing about love is that it can be shared with anyone. It’s not just a romantic thing. Valentine’s Day can be more about “community love” instead of “couple love”. There are ways to help make this day better for you and others. I promise you won’t remember that you’re single.

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Most importantly don’t neglect the one relationship that matters the most. There’s not a better day to improve your relationship with God than Valentine’s Day. If you want to truly understand what love is then open your Bible. It’s full of scriptures about how God loves you. Like in John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5 and John 13:34-35…just to name a few.

I’m going to leave you with one last quote that I wrote a few years ago.

“Roses die, candy gets eaten and cards get thrown away. But there is one gift that will never fade. That’s the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. He loves you so much that He died for you. I pray you experience His love today whether you have someone special or not.”

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