book recommendations, When "Everything" Goes Wrong, I Choose Joy in the One True God

When “Everything” is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God

When “Everything” is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God

Then you will find your joy in the LORD…

Isaiah 58:14a

Just a side note, this post became a bit longer than intended, and may end up becoming a series of posts in the future.

When Joy Is Hard to Find

2019 has been an intense year. There has been joy, but there has been a lot of “hard” too.

Though, if I’m honest my family has been in a rough season since 2017 when my husband left Active Duty. It appears we’re not quite ready to reap the harvest yet.

If this past weekend is any indicator, we’ve got quite a bit more sowing left in this season.

To those who know us personally, it isn’t a surprise to know we’ve been struggling. The move from Active Duty to civilian life has not been an easy experience. There have been more bumps in the road than either my husband or I ever expected.

Life without the security of the Marine Corps is a constant act of faith.

Never have we been what you would call financially “well-off”, but we’ve always been able to provide for ourselves and our children without too much struggle.

Until we no longer could.

Becoming Humble

When we moved from Washington State to Virginia, we left nearly everyone we knew.

My children left their friends and Sunday school teachers they loved. I left my sister, my cousin, and my childhood best friend.

We also drove away broke, because of a paperwork error that took months to straighten out before the Marine Corps would release my husband’s final paycheck.

Driving across the country nearly penniless, heading to a state where we still hadn’t found a place to live, could have been terrifying.

Instead, there was joy.

Okay, there was some fear too, but whenever the fear would claw at me I’d remember that everything comes from God. That He would provide in His way and His time.

So, I gladly accepted the joy He provided.

I shared adventures with my favorite people as we explored amazing sites, both created by God and made by man; the joy of giggles and drinking too much caffeine; staying in questionable hotels that would be safer if they were condemned; and cramming three kids, a cat, a dog, and two adults as well as everything we thought we might need, into a minivan.

With excitement like that, who had time for fear?

Joy in God is Accepting Help

After arriving in Virginia things became more complicated.

We needed to find a place to call home.

What should have taken only a couple of days turned into a two-month ordeal.

During this time, God once again provided for us, by opening the hearts and home of our dear friends.

Looking back, I believe God led us to explore Classical Conversations in Washington simply so we could connect with Rachal and her family, because once she moved to Virginia He led us away from CC and in another direction with our homeschool.

When Rachal and her husband offered us a place to stay while we looked for a house, neither our family or theirs expected it would be more than a weekend affair. So when place after place fell through and we were led to purchase a home instead of renting, my heart was filled with such gratitude and love when they welcomed us with open arms.

Let’s just say, there are times I think they deserved a medal (and possibly a parade) for that alone.

Having never needed to rely on others, accepting that my husband and I couldn’t do this on our own was difficult.

Especially since he was in a completely different state going through federal training.

Joy in God Comes When He Provides Family

When "Everything" is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com

Rachal and I weren’t close when we lived in Washington. We were friendly, and she was always willing to swing by and get my kids when I was dealing with rough moments during the pregnancy with my youngest daughter; we just didn’t spend time together outside of CC or our small-group Bible study.

God Knew What We Needed

Suddenly my kids and I were part of her family. We did pretty much everything together for those two months. My eldest daughter celebrated her 10th birthday sitting at their dining room table. She finally had older brothers, and she was thrilled to be there with them.

When I discovered I was pregnant with my youngest, Rachal and her husband were the first to know. In fact, they knew before I did, since they were convinced I was pregnant before I ever considered it. Later she was there holding my hand during the early morning hours as I gave birth to my youngest son.

Through every hoop we had to jump through while purchasing our house, to being hit with a stomach bug while pregnant, God filled me with joy.

There was joy in little things: having a second set of hands to snuggle my youngest daughter; someone to love on my “spirited” and struggling son, a church that had everything we were looking for. Things that would often be taken for granted just kept leading me right back to God, and the joy that comes from knowing He is taking care of each and every one of us.

God always provides, and my joy is always because of Him.

I Chose Joy in God Anew This Week

On Sunday as I prepared the kids and myself for church, I received a phone call from my husband. He’d been in an accident on I-95 and his car was totaled.

As the kids and I drove to pick him up, I sang praises to God. My husband’s car was totaled, and I thought I knew the hardship that would cause, but he had walked away from it without physical injury.

My children didn’t have to visit their father in the hospital, and I didn’t have to explain to them why their daddy wasn’t coming home.

Worries, Stress, and Choosing to Be Positive

When "Everything" Is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com

Each day since the accident more and more obstacles have been placed before us. Some of them God immediately removed.

When He answers a prayer, the only thing I can do is praise Him and focus on the joy flooding through me.

Monday was especially rough, because my husband was trying to process what had happened, and I was as well.

The first wave of adrenaline and relief had past.

I woke up to a panic attack that only God could calm as I prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more, until finally the panic subsided and I was able to sleep again.

My husband was frustrated and bitter, and all I felt was an overwhelming sadness and heaviness of heart.

It didn’t take long before I was irritated with myself and decided to give it all to God.

I wrote out my prayers, my concerns, my frustrations, and my overwhelming belief in God. I wrote out my praises to Him.

Then I spent time in the study of Isaiah.

Isaiah 41 reminds us to stop lamenting and to return to rejoicing. That God provides for all our needs even during our struggles.

His testimony is that He will never forsake us.

We are to trust God as our shepherd and allow him to do it in the His way.

God Trumps Fear and Worry. Every Time.

While I immersed myself in God’s word, the fear and worry began to fade. Nothing had changed about our situation, but I gave that stress to God and accepted the peace and joy that replaced it.

Today things are still “bad” and there are no answers in sight. We don’t know where the next days and weeks will take us.

What I do know, is that I have joy.

Not because of any physical or material thing, but because I know joy in God.

The joy only experienced when you know God is in control, and that this isn’t our forever home.

Joy isn’t just a feeling.

It’s a knowledge that you’re never alone, and Our God is bigger than any problem we will ever face on Earth.

Until next time,

wellofaith

For more on the topic of joy check out this post.

When "Everything" is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com
How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood--Wellofatih.com

How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood [Download a Printable]

How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood

Motherhood Should Be Considered a Super Power

It had been a horrible, rotten, no good, very bad week in our home, and this particular day was working out to be the worst one. I was almost positive motherhood wasn’t supposed to be this hard.

The kids had been at each other since they woke up, I was hugely pregnant with our youngest son, and someone decided to pee on their bedroom carpet…again.

The carpet that was less than three months old.

In the house we’d just bought.

Dealing with the Chaos of Motherhood--Wellofaith.com

My husband was still out of state at FLETC, and I was trying to balance everything, including my children’s socialization (because obviously, homeschoolers have to worry about socialization–but that is a soap box for another time).

I was a Momma on the edge, and no amount of chocolate was helping.

Prayer is Always the Answer

If at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.

When the chocolate didn’t work, I did what I should always do first.

I prayed.

It’s possible I might have begged, actually.

Which is totally okay, because God loves us regardless of how much whining we do.

He’s amazing like that.

So, if at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.

Things didn’t magically change overnight.

In fact things got harder before they got better, (and some days are still down right hard)and when that happens people often decide God isn’t listening or doesn’t care.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, God is closest to us during our struggles.

Providing we allow Him to be.

God is always listening to our prayers, and He always knows what is going on in our lives. The problem comes when instead of turning to Him, we turn away from Him.

Often times people will quote the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”.

That is a falacy.

It mght sound good, but it isn’t how God works.

He will most definitely give us more than we can handle, because He doesn’t want us to handle it. He wants us to turn to Him.

We need to turn to Him.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:24

The Motherhood Struggle: Dishes

Recently our dishwasher turned in its pink slip in the middle of a cycle, and since that time I’ve found myself standing at the kitchen sink a lot more than I’m used to.

This is just one more thing in the long line of, well, things that have become my new expectation of owning a home.

These moments are the times I miss renting, but only for a few minutes.

Anyway, back to the sink, and the dishes.

This is the Chore That Never Ends…

It seemed that when we had a dishwasher to rely on, there was often a sink full of dirty dishes waiting to be loaded.

Or a load waiting to be started, because there weren’t quite enough dishes in it to warrant turning it on.

One thing I’ve learned about motherhood, is that dishes are a quite necessary and often irritating part of raising children.

Kids want to eat, and when they eat they use dishes and glasses.

Often several at a time.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time, or following me on IG, you likely know I suffer from anxiety.

A sink full of dishes adds exponentially to that.

The day the dishwasher died, I decided I wasn’t going to allow this new adventure to cripple me.

So, this time I turned to God and asked for peace about the situation.

Then I made a plan.

Sare Verses the Dishes

Several people I know, including my husband, are much more laid back than I am when it comes to chores and getting things finished.

To them, the longer they put it off the happier they are.

This doesn’t work for me.

If I put something off, like the dishes, that responsibility will follow me all day long.

My shoulders will become stiff with tension, my neck and jaw will ache, and my temperament will suffer.

To combat this, I don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink.

I don’t wait to do the dishes.

When I drink my pre-workout drink in the morning, I clean the jar and place it on the rack to dry. If I have a snack, I clean the dish and put it away.

Yes, this does mean I spend time at the sink more often, but it prevents me from missing out on time with my family if I’m washing an entire day’s worth of dishes after dinner.

If You Can Carry a Dish, You Can Help

After a meal, those who are old enough clear their personal places at the table and then wash their own dishes, placing them in the rack to dry.

This allows every one to take responsibility for the use of their own items.

It also helps this Momma to not spend hours at the sink scrubbing caked on food.

We are a family, and as a family we eat together and we work together.

No one has ever died from cleaning up after themselves, and my children will leave this house knowing how to take care of themselves and a home–regardless of their gender.

The Motherhood Struggle: Raising Productive Children

Ever since my eldest daughter was old enough to help pick up her own toys and place her blanket on the side of her crib, I have given my children age appropriate chores.

How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood--Wellofatih.com

This is a big deal, sisters.

The other day I was volunteering with a group of third and fourth grade girls and discovered more than half of them don’t have chores.

None.

Motherhood isn’t just about keeping a little person alive until they’re eighteen.

It’s about raising them and teaching them.

It’s about guiding them and giving them boundaries, balance, and skills to not just survive, but thrive when they’re no longer living within the walls of our homes.

What Are Age Appropriate Chores?

If you do a quick search on Google or Pinterest you’ll find all kinds of colorful charts listing chores by age group.

Like this.

or even this.

Chores My Kiddos Do

My eldest daughter (11) has a wide variety of chores including

  • Cleaning the bathroom she shares with her brother
  • Taking the dog outside
  • Feeding and caring for the cat
  • Helping with the dishes
  • Taking the trash and recycle to the street for pick-up
  • vacuuming
  • wiping down the counters in the kitchen
  • setting the table
  • helping with meals
  • doing her laundry
  • keeping her room neat and picked up (this includes bed made and art supplies stored away)
  • helping weed the yard and gardens

My eldest son’s (6) chores include:

  • Feeding the dog
  • putting away his laundry
  • making his bed
  • putting his toys away when he is done playing with them
  • wiping off the table
  • cleaning the toilet (with supervision and help)
  • dusting
  • helping to set and clear the table
  • bringing his dirty laundry down on laundry day

My youngest daughter (3) helps where she can. She:

  • Picks up her toys with help
  • carries the vacuum cord while I vacuum the main floor of the house
  • brings her dishes to the sink
  • puts away the step-stool after shes’ used it

Not all of theses chores are done all the time, but all of them have been done. Some of the are done weekly or daily.

Family Chore List

To keep things running smoothly (since our family thrives on routines), we have a laminated list of daily chores on the fridge.

Each chore has a name beside it, and that person is responsible for getting their chore done right after breakfast.

This includes Momma.

Once the chore is finished we cross it off and go about our day.

Since we try to do more together on the weekend I keep the chores down to a minimum on Saturday/Sunday. This allows for relaxation and play.

I wish I could take credit for coming up with this list, but for some reason I’d never thought of it until Stephanie over at A Simply Dunn Life shared how she took some of the struggle out of housework and motherhood.

Since my kiddos and I began using this daily chore list, there has been less stress, more team work, and an overall change in the attitude of our home.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t fix everything that causes stress and anxiety, but it definitely helps.

For that reason, I’m including a free download of the chart we use.

Just print it out, laminate it and you’re ready to go.

Printable download

How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood--wellofaith.com

Until next time,

wellofaith
How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood--Wellofaith.com
Full-Fat Tea

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the Bible

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for the full disclosure.

For Christmas 2015, I received a Bible study book titled, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.

At first I wasn’t sure what to expect from the pages of this relatively thin book.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading study guides for various themes or books within the Bible, and I figured this would be similar.

I was correct on only one part.

It is a book on studying the Bible.

What it ISN’T is a manufactured Bible study.

Within the first seven chapters of the book, the author shows you how to approach the study of any book in the Bible (and preferably every book in the Bible) for optimal literacy.

This includes studying with the five “Ps”:

  • purpose
  • perspective
  • patience
  • process
  • prayer

Bible literacy isn’t a phrase I was familiar with.

What is Bible Literacy?

According to the Northwest Centre for Biblical and Theological Literacy,

Biblical Literacy describes the ability and motivation of people to read the Bible with sufficient understanding so that they can explain its basic meaning, having sufficient knowledge and skill to use resources that enable them to discern the basic meaning of a biblical text. It includes the ability to apply this discerned meaning, i.e. biblical wisdom, to contemporary life.”

Since I’d focused on the word Joy for the year, I realized I need a better scriptural understanding of it.

I didn’t want to understand how a single verse on “joy” applied to me, but how that verse applied to the bigger picture of God’s love and plan for everyone.

Only then would I be able to see how it applied to me in the present and future.

Why You Should Become a Woman of the Word

In a day and age when more and more people are not only turning away from God, but are antagonistic towards anyone who dares to trust in Him, it is important for us to have a clear, educated understanding of God’s Word.

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the bible @wellofaith.com

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

It doesn’t change.

It isn’t corrupt.

People will tell you you’re wrong.

They’ll offer you opinion stated as fact.

Some will twist the scriptures to fit their personal agenda.

We must know what the Bible says and what it means–both historically and applicably.

Our own relationship with Christ might not be affected by their misunderstandings, but our children’s relationships might be.

The Bible is Not a Fairy Tale

The Bible was provided for us so that we would know what was expected of us, and what we could in turn expect from our God.

Within the sixty-six books of the Bible we learn how to raise our children, love our spouses, and how to love our neighbors while not loving or applauding their sins.

We see the great love, righteousness and compassion of God who created EVERYTHING, and loves us without fail.

People read these stories and consider them fairy tales.

Stories made up to explain away situations they otherwise had no answers for.

As Christians we know this isn’t the case.

The Old Testament gives us a detailed account of all the things we shouldn’t do–and how God loved the Israelites so much that he forgave them time and time again; finally disciplining out of love when they refused to listen.

In the New Testament we see the miracles.

The unbelievable, awe-inspiring, miracles of Jesus.

Jesus Performed Miracles: The End

There are people who will latch on to these miracles and claim they didn’t happen.

That they couldn’t happen.

The only problem with their argument: It’s wrong.

Jesus performed miracles.

This is a fact.

A fact supported by historical research; not just research done by people predisposed to seeing miracles, but also by secular historians and scholars.

If we don’t study the Bible, we won’t be able to respond to those who haven’t discovered their faith in Jesus.

As a mother I need to be able to guide my children; to help them find the answers they seek, and to know how to articulate the truth when confronted by their secular peers.

We also need to study the Bible, because it’s the voice of God speaking directly to each and every one of us.

Daily Study

When you have a relationship with someone, you spend time with them. You talk to them, ask questions about them, and seek answers to who they are.

The same thing needs to happen when you want a personal relationship with Christ.

You can’t expect a relationship–or an understanding of the scriptures–to happen if you’re not spending time together.

Women of the Word makes it possible to do more than just scan a verse and take it out of context, because it sounds like a verse to make you feel better about yourself.

The more time you spend with God (in prayer, in study, in contemplation) the closer you’ll get, and the more you’ll understand.

You don’t always need to spend hours diving deeply into the Word, but you need to meet up with God, in peace and quiet, each day.

There are dozens of ways to “fit” God into your day; between scrolling social media and running your kids to their activities.

However, we shouldn’t have to squeeze God in.

He should be our top priority.

After all, we’re His top priority.

I know it won’t be easy, but learning a new habit–especially one that will help you grow each and every day, isn’t always going to be easy, but it will always be worth it.

First thing in the morning, before you get overwhelmed by your ‘to do’ list, grab your Bible, colored pens and pencils, and a notebook.

Then take a breath, and say hello to the only one who has loved you without ceasing since before you were born.

He’s been waiting for you.

“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” -Proverbs 1:5

Until next time,

wellofaith

Check out I Plant My Roots in Jesus

Becoming a Woman of the Word--wellofaith.com
homeschool from the heart

Homeschooling From the Heart Not Just a Curriculum

Blessed to Home-Educate

homeschool from the heart

This post contains affiliate links.

If you’re reading this, you likely are either considering homeschooling or are already deep in the trenches and looking for support or options.

Or, you just enjoy reading the ramblings of others who have a similar focus as you.

Whatever your reason, I pray this post brings something positive to your day.

There are others far more qualified to explain the deeper complexities of this lifestyle we’ve been called to, but I’m led to share what I have learned, so far, during my family’s homeschooling journey.

Not everyone chooses to walk this path, and that’s okay.

My family consider ourselves blessed to spend each day together learning, growing, and experiencing life (this includes the sibling bickering) the way generations of families did before the creation of government funded public school, and compulsory attendance.

In a world concerned with political correctness, progressive Christianity, and militant feminisim, I praise God every day that my children have the chance to avoid the indoctrination of modern ‘acceptance’.

From Public-schooling to Homeschooling

My family didn’t fall into this homeschool lifestyle by accident, but we also didn’t plan to keep our children home.

Seven years ago, my daughter was enrolled in first grade at the local public school.

For months I felt led to be more involved with children, and I admit, I assumed this meant I should be more active in the children’s ministry at church.

As with every decision in life, I turned to prayer.

The answer I received was not what I was expecting, or what I thought I wanted.

So, I argued with God.

After all, He must be mistaken.

I couldn’t imagine being home with my head-strong daughter all day, every day; and what did I know about teaching?

After several days of stubborn refusal on my part (my daughter obviously comes by her temperament naturally) I acquiesced to God.

I don’t regret that decision.

Homeschooling Philosophies or Boxed Curriculum Oh, My!

There are more curriculum choices and homeschooling philosophies than I personally know what to do with.

Homeschool from the heart

They’re great.

Or they’re not so great.

It really depends on each unique family and their learning styles, and I’m not going to recreate the wheel.

There are blogs upon blogs that discuss the differences–the pros and cons, of each philosophy or curriculum.

Jumping into the Deep End of the Pool

When we first removed our eldest from public school, I had no idea where to even begin.

The only things I knew were that God wanted us to follow this path, and the K-12 online program wasn’t for us.

That left a lot to wade through and consider.

In the last five years my daughter and I have used various methods for her education.

We’ve tried Charlotte Mason, Classical Conversations, My Father’s World, as well as a not so well-known curriculum (Accelerated Academics– also known as, A Squared).

Every year I’ve prayed about how best to educate my children; to raise them with a love of learning. Not to just teach them what a typical education would offer them, but expand their horizons.

I pray for the best ways to help teach my children how to learn.

God answers our prayers. He really, truly does.

So far, I’ve discovered that my children don’t learn the same way.

Some of this is age, but some of it is their own personal learning styles.

I also learned that I’m really not a fan of boxed curriculum. The anxiety they induce in me really isn’t helpful for anyone in my family.

Since neither of my children, currently of compulsory age (we live in Virginia, and sadly that age is far younger than I’m happy with–but that is a different post completely), care if they have a pre-designed curriculum or not, I have the freedom to kick that added stress to the curb.

Homeschool from the heart

My eldest son (6) loves worksheets and workbooks, but he also loves engaging stories about things he is interested in; he can build amazing creations with Legos, Lincoln Logs, or any of the several mechanically focused building materials he has. He practically taught himself to read, and though he isn’t a fast reader yet, he gets better every day.

Now, this is nothing like how my eldest daughter (11) learns.

She prefers reading great books and discussing them. She works well independently, and finishes the majority of her work without me. If I were to hand her a workbook, we would likely both end up on timeout.

Homeschooling From the Heart

What does it mean to homeschool from the heart?

Homeschool from the heart

For our family, that means there is a lot of prayerful thought and consideration for each child. It begins with deciding what we want (or need) to learn during the upcoming year.

This year I read through Plan Your Year, by fellow homeschooling Momma, Pam Barnhill, and that helped me to clarify my vision for our school. You can pick up your copy here.

Since we school year-round, we have quite a lot of freedom in our scheduling, and don’t worry about getting everything covered in 180-days.

We continually cover Bible (and as they get older a focus on Apologetics) Math, Latin, and Language Arts (literature and grammar–depending on the age). Based on the time of year, we also include Sciences, History (my eldest daughter’s favorite subject), Art, Geography, Writing, and Health.

Recently I’ve gone back to a lot of the principles Charlotte Mason taught, and have found a new love for the simple way of teaching and connecting with my children.

Homeschool from the heart

While I’m not truly what people would consider a Charlotte Mason educator, I love anything that tells me to share amazing books instead of boring textbooks. My inner bibliophile gets all giddy at the thought.

Another thing about homeschooling from the heart, is making sure you’re truly connecting with the heart of your children.

Each child is an individual, and even though they’re all part of the same family, they won’t always be like you.

My children are very active and social. They thrive being around people.

Since I’m quite introverted I make sure I pay attention to this aspect of their hearts too.

Church Activities and Co-Op

If left to my own devices I would likely never go further than the end of my drive-way. I have everything I need–or can have it delivered.

With four children–three of which love being around other people, I’m never left to my own devices.

I suppose this is for the best.

To insure my children get quality time with other kids of various ages, we participate in Awana every year. This one night a week is generally all I can handle outside Sunday mornings.

However, this is not enough for my brood.

Which leads us to this year, and Co-Op.

The last time I participated in anything Co-Op related, it was CC.

Turns out, that wasn’t really our thing.

My kiddos are definitely excited about joining Co-Op. They’ll be learning things I wouldn’t ordinarily teach them at home.

Like Debate.

Plus, there is that ‘socialization’ people outside of homeschool circles worry about.

How We Got Here

As you’ve already read, I spent five years trying to figure out which popular idea or curriculum was the right one. I read everything I could on the different styles and philosophies. I listened to people who swore this curriculum or that curriculum would be the answer for everything.

In short, I didn’t consider who my children are or who I am. I was looking for a one-size fits all way to educate young people who are not only separated by age and gender, but by interests and learning styles.

I didn’t consider how our lives really are.

That we don’t work well within the confines of grid schedules, and endless hours of busy work.

We have interests outside what are generally included in a boxed curriculum, and prefer more flexibility than is given in CC or even in Charlotte Mason.

Philosophies and curriculum are wonderful.

They really are, but they aren’t everything.

You can buy every new curriculum, or try every Co-Op. You can switch philosophies in mid year, or you can just wing it.

The most important thing to remember is that we’re teaching young people to learn.

To experience life.

We must teach the whole child.

Homeschool from the heart

Not just parts.

This means knowing their hearts, and knowing ours.

It means teaching manners and etiquette.

Teaching our children that hard work pays off, even if it isn’t in the way we expect. We won’t always get a trophy, and we don’t always need one.

To teach a child from the heart, we must do more than just parrot the newest craze.

We must learn to listen with a discerning heart.

To pray for wisdom so that we don’t fall into the trap of becoming like the world.

For more book recommendations check out this post.

Until next time,

wellofaith
Homeschooling From the Heart Not Just a Curriculum

parenting love

That Time As A Teen When I Was A Perfect Parent

I once was a perfect parent. Before I had children of my own.
When I was a Perfect Parent

I Was a Perfect Parent

As a teenager, one who obviously knew everything about everything, I believed I would be a certain way as an adult. I was one of those people who believed I knew how to handle whatever life had in store for me. This included parenting.

*Insert slightly insane laughter here*

There is a meme floating around the internet that states: “I was a perfect parent. Then I had children.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly accurate.

Too many people (me included) believe they’ve got it all figured out–life, fitness, parenting, their make-up; only to have reality kick them solidly in the solar plexus.

My old friend, Reality likes to remind me of its presence regularly.

When I was still a perfect parent–living under my parents’ roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me.

I wouldn’t keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I’d understand them, and treat them with “respect”.

I’m sure God chuckled at my plans.

My parents did.

When I was still a perfect parent--living under my parents' roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn't keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I'd understand them, and treat them with

The Reality Of Parenting Is Drastically Different

Before the birth of my youngest daughter, my niece and I spent some time sitting on a bench overlooking the Puget Sound.

The sun was warm, the sky was clear, the seagulls were begging scraps of our lunches. It was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle we’d been dealing with for the last few months.

Taking a few moments to enjoy the beauty the Lord created, and to truly appreciate it, helped relax my anxious heart.

It also helped me understand something about myself:

I’m not a perfect parent, and I don’t really have this parenting thing down.

In fact, teen me would spend a lot of time rolling her eyes at adult me.

I always thought my parents were strict, but they were nothing compared to how I am as a parent.

Part of this stems from a moderate battle with anxiety, but not all of it.

Simply put, my priorities have changed, as have my views.

God is the Perfect Parent

God has blessed us with four beautiful children, not to be perfect parents, but to teach them and train them up in what is righteous.

Much to their dismay, that includes horrors like sweeping, making their beds, cleaning bathrooms, and picking up toys.

It also requires them to spend time with us, to not put their friends above the LORD or their family, and to forgive each other when we stumble.

Something else that comes along with this is the amount of freedom we allow our children to have.

Our eldest is only eleven, and regardless of how my husband and I were raised the world is a much different place today than it was twenty years ago.

Yes, she can do solitary things without constant supervision, and she has experienced the joy of middle school ministry events (where her mother wasn’t invovled), but there are rules that have to be followed, and consequences if those rules are ignored.

This is a relatively new freedom for her, and I still have several bad moments where I want to keep her in the house away from any chance of getting hit by a speeding car or abducted (see, anxiety).

I’m taking it a day at a time, and maybe I’ll be more relaxed when they’re visiting me in the retirement home.

The point is, there are no perfect parents on Earth, except God, and of course those who have never had children.

We as a society (especially women) spend so much time judging the merits of one person over another that we seem to forget we’re all just stumbling along doing the best we can.

Have some people lost their way?

Yes, but that isn’t for us to judge.

There are people in this world who have been called to help those who have fallen.

Instead of casting blame and pointing fingers, it’s time for us to come together and build each other up, and to raise our own children with love, compassion, and grace.

Who I Became is Not Who I Thought I'd Be

Planning for the Future:Who I Became is Not Who I Thought I’d Be

Planning for the Future: Who I Became is Not Who I Thought I’d Be

 Planning for the Future

Planning the Future: Who I Became is not Who I Thought I'd Be--wellofaith.com

When I was a Senior in high school I had my entire life planned down to the smallest detail. I never considered anything would derail me from where I knew my future would take me.

What I hadn’t considered was how much people change after eighteen.

The things I thought were important seventeen years ago are no longer even a consideration.

I’ve experienced what real life is like, and let me tell you, teen me had no idea.

There was one other thing I hadn’t counted on when I was busy making plans for my future.

Our Heavenly Father.

I hadn’t counted on His plans.

At eighteen I had very little knowledge of who He really was.

I didn’t realize He was the Great Designer of my future, or that He would use my experiences (the good and the bad) to guide me where He knew I needed to be.

The young girl who dreamed of a life full of adventure; one filled with police work and military service, as far away from the Pacific Northwest as she could get, would never have expected to be someone so completely different.

Planning the Future: Who I Became is Not Who I Thought I'd Be--wellofaith.com

Turns out God knew who I was even before I did.

His Plans are Greater than Mine

As I spend another rainy day less than thirty miles away from my childhood home, I watch as my nine year old daughter changes before my eyes.

Here’s a secret: when I was making my plans, she wasn’t on the checklist.

For that matter, neither was my husband or my other two children.

Yet, here we are.

I’m an adult, a follower of Christ, and a homeschooling mother. That’s a long way from where I thought I wanted to be.

You’re Never Too Old

No matter how old you are, or what your plans are, you should take a moment to consider where God is guiding you.

Planning the future: Who I Became is not Who I Thought I'd Be--wellofaith.com

He doesn’t always make the signs neon and flashing.

Sometimes they’re small and easily missed. There might even be signs you won’t recognize until years later when you’re looking back on the decisions you made that led you to where you are.

We’re human, and we’re given freedom of choice.

That’s why we make plans, and dream of the future.

Just don’t be too hard on yourself if one day you realize you’re somewhere completely different than you ever thought possible.

Instead of asking yourself ‘what if’, look to God and say, ‘thank you’. Your journey isn’t over yet, it’s more important to keep your eyes on the path before you than the path behind you.

Trust Him In Planning for Your Future

He loves you. He loves me.

One day the path we’re on will lead us to stand beside Him, and on that day, every step and stumble will make sense, and we’ll know we’ve achieved every worthy plan and goal.

Planning the Future: Who I Became is Not Who I Thought I'd Be--wellofaith.com

Who I’ve become, and who I will become, are not who I thought I’d be.

That’s okay.

In fact, that is perfect.

I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.

Where has the path you’re on taken you?

Blessings,

wellofaith
Planning the Future: Who I Became is Not Who I Thought I'd Be--wellofaith.com

For more about who I’ve become check out this post.

Living with Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard.

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard
SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard

 This post contains affiliate links. Please click here for our full disclosure

Living in the Pacific Northwest is Hard

Almost four years ago my little family and I returned to the Pacific Northwest. This relocation has been a struggle for several reasons, but one of the biggest struggles we’ve had to deal with is my ongoing battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder–SAD. Although the struggle didn’t start out as hard as I expected it to be, it has recently gotten worse.

I spent four years living in the desert, a place where it was sunny almost every day. On those rare occasions when it wasn’t, every part of me knew it. Those days were miserable for me, and made me grateful for each and every sunny day.

I also realized how blessed I was to no longer be living in the PNW.

The LORD had other plans for my little family though, and one day we packed up and headed back to the trees and mountains I’d grown up around. The PNW is beautiful. There is no denying that, but to be beautiful it spends quite a bit of time gray and dreary. For someone who needs the sunshine to be mellow and happy, the trade-off comes at a high price.

Summer Makes Me Come Alive

Today is beautiful. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there is just the right amount of breeze rustling the trees. Spring is here, and summer is approaching. I’ll be honest and say summer makes me come alive.

The past few months have been hard for me. Our family thrives on schedules and routines because, when it comes to me living in a state that spends close to six months a year with little sunshine, routines help me to not completely become a hermit. It also keeps the SAD from getting so out of control that I end up becoming a shadow of myself.

Sadly, this year those schedules and routines haven’t helped as much as they have in the past.

Making the Connection

I can’t really lock down when this ongoing battle became noticeable;  when the depression started interfering with my life. All I know is one day I realized I’d started putting off going places. I’d started finding reasons to not leave the house–to excuse myself and my family from social events because they felt like obligations–and that feeling stressed me out.

During the winter months I struggled with this a lot. Since the loss of my father and the suffocating feeling I had from the bleakness of the weather, I found myself leaving my home less and less. I’ve stepped away from several things I enjoyed doing, because I couldn’t convince myself the recovery time it would take me afterward was worth it.

The only things I’ve managed to maintain throughout this time are things directly involved with my children. No matter how hard it is for me, I don’t want to let them down. They enjoy their time at AWANA and Classical Conversations community day.  It wasn’t (and isn’t) their fault that I have a hard time functioning without glorious sunshine.

I’m Worried Too

My husband worries about me, and my friends worry about me. They’re afraid I’m not just going to become a hermit, but a full-fledged shut in.

If I’m honest, I’m worried about that as well.

You see, I love my church, but when this suffocating sensation turns to panic at the thought of leaving my home Sunday morning and facing people, I know there is reason to be concerned.

Today, I’m feeling great, and that knowledge can lull me into a false sense of security. It can cause me to forget the way I feel when it isn’t sunny and beautiful.

Sunlight therapy isn’t enough (though, I highly recommend adding it if you suffer from SAD!), and neither is the medication I gave in and started taking four years ago.

I need God to help me through this, the same way I need Him in every aspect of my life.

Blessings, 

Sare Signature

2017: Listen

In December of each year, I prayerfully focus on what word will be my focus during the upcoming year. Each year this single word keeps me focused, not on myself, but on God’s will for me. This year, that word is LISTEN. It’s such a small word. Just six letters, but it will be a tool during the next twelve months to help me focus on the LORD.

Each day when I wake up, I’ll pray He will use it to teach me, to guide me through the day. This one little word will be a reminder each day–not only to listen to Him, but to listen to my body and to those around me. This year is a time to truly listen to Him, to be silent so I can really hear His words. It is a time for less talking and more listening.

I’m blessed to have the  love of the LORD, and to get this time to worship Him through this One Word.

Blessings,

Sare

You’re Never Alone

In case you’re feeling terribly alone today, please realize you’re not. The LORD is with you. He has been with you since before you took your first breath. He never leaves you or forgets you. Those are human failures, and Our LORD doesn’t fail.

Be peaceful today, dear friends, and let His wonderful light shine through you.

Blessings, Sare

Joy?

Since my word for 2016 is Joy, I’ve spent more than an average amount of time contemplating what Joy is, and why I need to focus on these particular three letters.

While there are several good words out there I could learn from during the next twelve months (Love, Forgiveness, Understanding, Patience, etc.), they’re not the ones chosen.

Joy.

Such a small word, yet one with so much power behind it.

What is Joy? Is it just a word, a feeling, an action? Are we naturally born with it, or is it something that has to be learned? What does it feel like?

Will Joy teach my heart to feel lighter when it physically feels so heavy? Will it bring a smile to my face when I want to cry? Will it change who I am so drastically that I’ll look in the mirror and wonder who the glowing, happy, smiling person is?

For these first eight days of 2016, I’ve taken stock of each moment throughout the day to see where the Joy might be. Sometimes it seems to be obvious (I say seems to be, because honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever truly noticed Joy the way others have); other times I question if I should consider that first bite of chocolate chip cookie as something worthy of such a powerful word.

I have ended up with a lot of questions.

Is there a gauge for measuring Joy? Is there a wrong way? A right way? Does it come from the inside only, or from outside forces as well? Is it hereditary? Can I share it with others? Once I have it, does it stay with me forever, or do I need to keep searching for it?

As this week comes to a close, I rest my questions at God’s feet. I’m sure throughout the year He will answer several of the questions, while helping me grow and change.

My prayer is that the LORD will use Joy to help me strengthen my relationships, not just with my own family, but with those who are still searching for answers only He can give.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness , peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” 

–Romans 14:17

 

Sare