Learning to Love My Family Better
Adela gleefully plucked half the roof off her gingerbread house. The smell of candy and graham crackers wafted through the air. Her brown eyes sparkled as she shoved it in her mouth. I wrinkled my nose. Surely the combination of cinnamon graham crackers, royal icing, and smarties would please no living palate alive, but Adela loved it.
After all, she made it.
I'm nine years into this motherhood thing. The speeding winds of rapid change sting my eyes. Adela, specifically, is developing so fast I find myself swallowing back tears. She has started doing her own hair and anxiously shuffling through her closet for "just the right thing" to wear. Meanwhile, her play area is still crammed full of Lego dinosaurs.
As a hungrily soak up who the girls are right now, I find that I have more patience with them. I feel less stressed or anxious. I don't snap at them or retreat for quiet time to regain a sound mind. I am okay with how they are, trusting God with their growth for tomorrow and parenting only the girls they are today.
I think we should do this more, but not just with our children. We should do it with our husbands who forgot to bring home a gallon of milk. We should do it with our neighbors whose dog made it into our yard again. We should do it with our aging parents who feel the need to tell us again how things were different when they were raising a family.
When we let go of the past and take our eyes off the future, we are left with precious people in our lives, right now, exactly how they are. Our hearts have enough love for them. Our bodies have enough strength to serve them. And, they are so very precious.
I'm sure God sees us all they way I have been looking at Adela these days. He sees us growing and treasures our change and progress. He has forgiven our sins of the past. He has no fear of the future. He loves us today, in this moment, with immeasurable passion and peace.
Merry Christmas, my friends. I love you all so very much.
The Best Worst Birthday
When Micaela turned two, I had one goal: She was going to eat a cupcake and love it.
Now, mind you, she had only started eating a few months before and still got most her nutrition through the G-tube inserted into her stomach. But, that didn't matter in my mommy-mind. We made the cupcakes, prepared to party, and then waited for my husband to get home. He was branding with some neighbors and there were some hiccups in the day. By the time I realized that he wasn't going to get back before the girls fell asleep, Micaela was a grumpy tired mess.
Determined that my dreams would not be thwarted, I grabbed the plate of cupcakes. Quickly I put them on plates and put them in front of the girls. We sang happy birthday as I madly took pictures. Micaela stared at the cupcake with curiosity and watched Adela bite into hers with the ferocity of a starving coyote. Micaela reached out one chubby hand and wrapped her fingers around the cupcake. Her expression quickly changed from curiosity to alarm. She jerked back her hand. It was covered with sticky frosting. She shook her hands and began to cry.
It didn't matter what that cupcake tasted like, she wasn't going to eat it. My great birthday party plan was unrealized that year and I put a very sad and upset toddler to bed.
This morning, God reminded me of that story. I am determined to celebrate Jesus' birthday with Him and have a heart full of gratitude and love. However, my plans of singing carols everyday, joining community gatherings, making Christmas treats, and doing art project that could grace a tree are not quite turning out the way I planned. The girls and I were quarantined last week due to an exposure to COVID. As we wait-out our fourteen days, my plans had to be revised. I have been frustrated and often walking around the house like a lost child.
However, in my prayer time, I remembered that birthday of Micaela. She might have had a bad experience with a cupcake, but her mother was there with her. I was present in the experience of that day and dedicated to letting her know how much I love her.
I can do that with Jesus, too. He doesn't need the Holidays to be perfect, He just wants me to be as present with Him as possible. We can love the people in our lives without lavish expressions of gratitude. Honestly, the truest form of love is simply being with others, knowing them, and inviting them into our world.
Whatever your Holidays look like this year, I pray that Jesus is intimately invited into it all.
Happy Birthday, Immanuel.
What is one of your favorite ways to celebrate Jesus' birthday?
The Food "God"
They say confession is good for the soul, right? So, here comes mine: I have spent way too much of my time replacing God with the comfort I could find in food. And, this went on for over two decades.
I never wanted to talk to many people about it. I was definitely embarrassed by the way I would turn to the candy bucket and binge my way through enough wrappers that my body would feel sick. Then, my mind would turn to thoughts of shame and frustration and I would carefully restrict my eating for days afterwards. But, all it took was a sick child, a large bill, or simply an exhausted mind and I would binge again.
Then the pandemic happened. With the stress and worry, my binges became more frequent and I was restricting less. I started to have digestion issues, abdominal pain, and other symptoms. My body was warning me that it couldn't tolerate those life choices forever. But how was I going to stop? Will power alone just wasn't enough. I couldn't understand how my self-discipline was deserting me in this issue.
This is when I discovered life-coaching. I had no idea there were people out there who could help me sort out my problems, devise plans, and find solutions to my emotional eating issues. I spent most of 2020 working on this. I discovered that when I laid down food, I could turn to solid truth and empowering knowledge to bring me comfort and strength. All of it is right there in God's word. I just needed someone to show me how to work on my mind so that the Prince of Lies would stop stealing my peace and pushing me toward destructive habits.
The outcome: I have freedom around food and in my mind around eating. I still enjoy cake, but I know what to do when I start wanting to binge my way through a pan of brownies. I have practical tools and tactics to handle stress in a way that is productive instead of victimizing.
So, this is my reason for starting the Weight Loss Life Coaching program. I have talked to so many women who are grappling to gain some ground and make progress in their health goals. I became a life coach earlier this spring. Right now I mostly coach women on parenting or other difficult life situations, but the tools also apply to weight loss.
Now instead of turning to a bag of chips when Micaela is having a rough day, I know how to take control of my thoughts about the situation and be filled with peace and love (no chips required). Instead of needing to end my day with some sweets in order to feel loved I instead acknowledge that God made my body in need of rest and renewal (no sweets involved). I don't feel deprived, ashamed, or anxious for my next "fix".
God led me to so much freedom as I rest in Him.
If God could use me to help you find this, too, I would be thrilled to serve you. We don't have to bow down to a false god of food to feed our hearts. And, when we put this down there is great depths of healing to be found. The group is absolutely free this first time around.
If you are interested in this program, just fill out the contact form or send me a private message on Facebook and I'll get you all signed up.
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"...and God was already there with me."