Friday, December 15, 2017

Finding my identity

Identity is a big issue for many people. Who am I? A question asked by many. Identity seems so fluid and changes depending on the people we are surrounded by, the circumstances we find ourselves in, and our emotions at that very moment. 

If you were to ask me, "Faith, where do you find your identity?" 
My "good Christian" answer would be that I find my identity in the Lord. I know what He says about me. I know that He loves me. I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that I am made in His image. I know that He loves me enough to send His son Jesus to die for me. That would be my "good Christian" answer... not the reality.

I find my identity in the way my children behave or misbehave. I find myself feeling a deep sense of shame when they sin and fall short. I also find myself feeling shame when they are very behaved and yet I am still feeling short tempered with them. 

I find my identity in my lack of ability to keep my home clean. What kind of wife, mother, person am I that I am not able to keep up  with things? My sink always has dishes in it. When waking up in the middle of the night, my room more closely resembles an obstacle course in which in need to slide past my bed then climb over the clothes stacked on the end of my bed. 

I find my identity in the way see myself in pictures or the way my stomach expands out when I sit down. Disgust is the feeling I would describe when seeing myself. 

Today I struggle with finding my identity in my grades. I have a 3.57 GPA... I mostly get all straight "A"s, but this semester I got a "D" in my calculus class. It hurts because to me it shouts "see how stupid you are?" I am anxious and overwhelmed at the very thought that I did so poorly in the one subject that I love and am strongest in. This one D somehow wipes away every good grade, every accomplishment over the last 10 years. It erases everything. I am no longer worthy of others to be proud in me. It hurts. 

I know in my head the truth about how God sees me. I know that I am a child of the most high. I know that God's love for me is not based on earthly things. I know the truth, but my heart does not feel that way. 

That is the problem with finding identity in things of the world. They are fleeting and changing. God alone is unchanging. 

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

1 John 3:1-2 "
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 
 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."

Ephesians 2:10 " For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do."

1 Corinthians 15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me"

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Anxiety attack

I let myself cry last night. I hate crying. When I cry I feel weak and embarrassed. I feel as if I am not holding it together. I feel broken. I especially hate crying in front of my children. I don't want to break their spirits or concern them. I don't want them to see mommy out of control. When I cry in front of them I feel as if I am failing to show them God's light, love, and hope.

I tell them all the time that it is ok to cry. I tell them that it is ok to feel overwhelmed. I tell them that I love them and I pray with them, but when it comes to myself I act differently. If the person in this situation was a friend of mine or just a stranger, I would love them and support them. I don't allow myself the same grace. 

Let me give you a little background on what lead to this crash and burn. Our van is in the shop until next week. My loving parents are going to cover the cost; it is a huge blessing but I feel an overwhelming amount of guilt. I feel unworthy of them to spend even $30 on me, but this amount (which just hearing the amount throws me into a panic) I feel as if I am not good enough to accept a gift this big. My loving amazing hubby is out of town for the week on a Missions trip. I am so proud of him, but I also battle feelings of guilt for being selfish and bothering him with the troubles and wanting him here with me. 

So here I am with all three girls. It is their bedtimes and I feel an anxiety attack coming on, so I tell them to go to bed. Elizabeth, with her loving heart, brings me water. Charlie comes to say good night to me and knocks the entire cup on the floor. Suddenly everything goes into slow motion in my head. The cup of water has fallen on the ground next to all of my hidden and special things from my recently deceased grandma. I see water getting onto the boxes where documents, pictures, and other items are. I try to get it up, I scream at Abbie to get towels, I scream at Charlie to get out of the way, and it seems that are not moving. I suddenly feeling an wave of grief over my grandma hit as the anxiety attack takes over. My chest is tight and I can not breathe. I get all of her stuff up and dry, thankfully there is no damage. As the adrenaline wears off, I feel out of control but hold on by a thin string. Elizabeth with her loving heart thinks I am upset because the water she brought me has spilled and she has gone to get me a new cup. When she walks into my door way with the cup, the string breaks.

"Mommy, it's ok. I am sorry Charlie spilled your water. I brought you a new one." 

I break down and begin scream pleading with her to please go pour it out. No water please please take it out. As she walks away, I realize that Charlie is crying and apologizing for spilling the water. Elizabeth is crying and apologizing for bringing me water. Abbie is trying to calm them and keep them away from me. I want to comfort them and tell them that it is ok, but I am crippled with anxiety.  I begin shaking, rubbing my ear to calm myself down, and rocking. I am doing everything I can to keep myself from crying. I am unable to talk or make eye contact with them. I am able to message a friend and my hubby. My world felt like it was crumbling and I was unable to hold it together. Elizabeth with her loving heart brings me a cup of her colored pencils as a gift. Even though it felt like everything was mumbled and I couldn't process all the noises around me, I hear her voice to Abbie. "I want to do anything I can to make her happy again. I don't want mommy to be sad." Abbie tries to physically remove Elizabeth from the room as tears begin to stream down my cheeks and all I can see is the blurry image of them falling and leaving streaks on my shirt.

I look up, still unable to stop the tears, and tell Abbie to leave Elizabeth alone. I set her gift down and lay down on my bed. I have her lay next to me. I breakdown in tears. I cuddle her. She asks me questions. Why am I sad? Do I miss daddy? Do I miss my grandma? Why am I crying? Will I be ok? 
I am still unable to speak. I just nod in response. I let myself cry, and I let myself cry in front of my girls.

Can I say how good God is? He is so good. I am so thankful for what he does and how He brings me peace in ways I couldn't imagine. 

I hear Elizabeth and Abbie talking about what they should do. They both agree that they should pray over me. Elizabeth is cuddling with me, Abbie sits behind me and puts her hand on my back and they pray. I can feel the anxiety subside, but tears still continue to stream down my face. I am finally able to speak to them.

Elizabeth asks what is wrong and I, remembering her struggling earlier in the weak to communicate her negative feelings, say "a bunch of bad feelings". I tell her that I miss daddy. That it has been a long day. That I miss my grandma. I tell her that I am just feeling sad and was feeling frustrated. I tell her that I feel sad and guilty for making them sad and cry. I tell her that I am also happy to have them. I tell her that I hate crying, especially in front of people. "I am that way too mommy". Elizabeth offers to bring me a new cup of water and I chuckle.

Feeling completely drained, I have them call Charlie into the room. I apologize to Charlie for getting upset about the water. I tell her that I know it was an accident. I tell her that I love her and always will. I love all my girls.

The three girls agree that they need to take care of mommy. They decide to give mommy a relaxing (not relaxing to me but sweet) back rub and massage my feet. All three girls karate chop my back. Elizabeth and Abbie see how dirty my feet are from walking around and they literally clean my feet. I am reminded of how Jesus cleaned the feet of the disciples.

I am in awe of God and His infinite grace and love. He sent my loving amazing children to not only love me in my mess, but to pray over me and literally was my feet. (it was with a squirt bottle, paper towels, and lotion lol).

I know that this week will not be easy. I might be anxious, I  might be overwhelmed, I might be tired, I might be frustrated, and I might be lonely. God will still be good. He will still be in control. He will still hold me. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tuning Out The World

Have you ever had times when you were so overcome with the woes of the world and life that you came before God's throne only to struggle with focus? Do your struggles keep interrupting your time with God?

Even as I write this, I find myself  distracted and drawn to other situations and problems that seem to need my attention, but they really don't. Not everything, actually most things, are not as emergent as we tend to think or feel. We get wrapped up in the now. I have to get the van fixed now! I have to clean the house now! I have to deal with this situation now! What would really happen if we stepped back and even for an hour said, "OK God, I don't know what to do. I a, so tired, so frustrated, so done with this. God show me what to do. Help me to focus on you." 

Would the world fall apart? Would all come to a crashing halt?  Or would you find yourself more in alignment with God's will and His peace?

We live in a "now " world. We can order food, transportation, leggings, and so much more from our smart devices. We can get two day shipping and we can usually get to a store within minutes. We can video conference with friends and we can get a message to a person before even taking the time to think about what we wrote. We live in a "now" world, and that can be a blessing in many ways. I have access to my Bible right now. I can tell others about God's love now. 

This can also be a huge hindrance to our walk with God. God does not have to fit into our expectations and boxes. We tend to waver in faith as any amount of time passes.  Say this not with judgement, but as one who struggles with it as well. I want to tell God what I want and need and I want to either see a difference or hear His voice immediately. He has always been my strength and my provider in the past, yet I tend to fear as soon as troubles arise. 

I discovered at 6 am that my day was already ruined. Continued vehicle troubles combined with appointments and finding transportation for my husband to and from work, put me over the edge. My head was immediately filled with anxieties and strife. What seemed like a thousand questions in need of what I though was immediate attention came streaming into my brain. I was blinded to the love and support my hubby needed after a long day at work. I was actually making things harder on him by becoming overwhelmed. I also had immediately taken my eyes off of God. I hopped on the computer and started researching pricing, parts, and transportation. I needed to find answers and felt like I would be in unrest until I did, only to make things worse for myself. 

What I really needed to do was go and seek out God. I needed to pray, but even more so I needed to humble myself in His presence. I went upstairs and began to listen to worship music and pray. I prayed for the situation. I prayed for my family. I prayed that I would be able to leave things at His throne. My prayer time was bombarded by distractions. The phone, the children, the cars passing by, the strange itch on the back of my right calf, and most of all the thoughts. Although I tried to lay the situation down and give it to God, I kept picking it right back up. I kept trying to think my way through the situation instead of just spending the time with my Father. Over and over I layer it down, but almost as quickly I continued to think about it. I was struggling to stay focused on Him who gives me strength. I wanted to just quit praying and quit worshiping. What do you do when you can't tune out the world? 

When you give something to God, as many times as you pick it back up and try to take it on yourself, place it back down. Even if it takes 100 times or more, just keep giving it to Him and repent of trying to do it yourself. Pray that God would increase your faith in Him to handle it. Then praise God, not for what he is doing to do but for who He is. He is the creator. He is the King above all kings. He is the God of the Israel and He still reigns. He sent His son to die for your sins and mine. He is worthy of all glory and honor, no matter the situation we find ourselves in. 


Father God, I thank you for Your love and grace. God, You are the creator of all. You are King above all and You reign with love and justice. You know what is on our hearts and You already have a plan for us. Father God, I pray that our my eyes would be set on You alone. God help me to not be distracted by other things. Help me to become less so that I can remember that You are more. I thank you for your love. I thank you that while you are a mighty ruler, you are also a loving personal God who cares about me and my struggles. I pray that You would be glorified through this. Help me to be a light even in the tough times. Help me to grow in faith, to know that You alone are my strength and You are my provider. Thank you Lord, Amen 

John 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less."

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

When will this be enough?

Hello Friends,

It feels like it has been forever. I have missed writing so much but haven't felt like I could. I haven't felt like I have had enough to say.

Have you ever felt like you weren't enough? Is your life enough? Are your relationships enough? Is your job enough? What is enough?

Merriam Webster defines enough as "occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations. I would define enough as the unobtainable bar that continues to only move further from me. It is the state of living a life full of regret, guilt, and sadness.

In my life there are several areas where I would consider I am falling behind in the enough category. Here are just a few:
  • I am not smart enough
  • I am not strong enough
  • I am not fit enough
  • I am not brave enough
  • I am not good enough as a wife
  • I am not good enough as a mother
  • I do not have enough financial stability
  • I do not have enough faith
Where are you falling short in the enough categories? Who set that unobtainable bar of which you feel you can never reach? Was it God, others, or yourself?

I have recently returned to seeing a counselor. I speak with her pretty regularly because I have struggled for a very long time with self hate. While one should not become big headed and proud, I do not think that self hate is the same as humility. My self hate still robs God of His deserved praise and glory. It keeps me from looking to Him and instead keeps the focus on where I am lacking. God has done so much in my life that I can not run out of things to thank Him for, but I still sit in my sadness and fail to be content in my life. Has God not created me? Has God not grown me over the years? Even if I am not enough, isn't He enough? When did my faith in Him become based on my abilities and fears?

I so want to get to the place where I define enough as being where ever God has me and who God has created me to be. I will never be content in wanting to live the life of someone else. I need to remember where ever I fall short Gods grace and love is shown. He is enough!

2 Corinthians 3: 4-6 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 

When speaking of the thorn in his flesh... 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." There for I will boast all more gladly from my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them. 

Friends, if you are not feeling like you are enough, please know that you are not alone. Know that we are only enough through Christ Jesus. God loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us.. not because we are enough, but because he loves us enough. Seek out God's word to see what he sees when he looks at you. Know how to give God even the insufficient bits and let Him transform your world through His abilities not your own. 

You are loved!