Thoughts on Turning 30

Psalm 16:11 
You make the path of life known to me.
Complete joy is in your presence.
Pleasures are by your side forever.

There is a path of life and a path of destruction. Ten years ago, I was on the wrong path and quickly heading towards the grave. In the blindness of addiction and mental pain, I never imagined another way was possible. I have not always followed the path of life smoothly. There have been stumbles, doubts, and falls. The important thing is to never give up hope, and hold onto the truth because the truth truly sets you free. I am beyond grateful for this life I have, and I want to keep growing and learning and loving in each year I am given.

Jeremiah 29:11
I know the plans that I have for you, declares Yahweh.They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.

What a powerful thought it is, to realize that there is a plan for our lives. Sometimes, it sounds corny when people say “God has a plan for your life”. Often times its said during a time of loss or difficulty, as a way to diminish someones pain. But, if we truly consider the implications of our creator having a plan for us, it can help to rid of us the anxiety of modern living. Will we get that job? Will those bills be paid? Maybe, and maybe not. Regardless, he has a plan! It is a good plan, a hopeful plan. I am seeking to let go of my feeble attempts at controlling things that are beyond me, as I enter into this new decade of my life.

John 16:21

A woman has pain when her time to give birth comes. But after the child is born, she doesn’t remember the pain anymore because she’s happy that a child has been brought into the world.

I met my husband when I was 20, and we welcomed our first child together when I was 22. I have had three daughters and one son in my 20s, and I’m expecting my 5th baby this coming year; my first baby in my 30s. Becoming a mother has changed me profoundly, not a single cell in my body or aspect of myself has been untouched by their amazing presence. They are the greatest blessings in my life, along with my husband who helped give them to me. I look forward to watching them grow in my 30s. When I turn 30 tomorrow, I will have a 7, 5, 3, and 1 year old. Ten years from now when I turn 40, I will have a 17, 15, 13, 11, and 9 year old. What a difference this next decade will be!

Psalm 27:4

I have asked one thing from Yahweh.
    This I will seek:
    to remain in Yahweh’s house all the days of my life
        in order to gaze at Yahweh’s beauty
            and to search for an answer in his temple.

I want to set aside what snared me in my youth, and let go of the guilt and shame. I will choose to gaze on His beauty instead, all the days of my life.

Shalom! I’m 30!!! (Its midnight)

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I Feel Lately Like…I Fail at Life

Pile of unfolded laundry on my bed. Mountains of half finished homeschool work on the table. A plastic cup with a sad little rock in water (“crystal growing project” for my 6yr old). A backpack filled with microbiology and chemistry books that I have not opened even half as often as should. Tempers flaring. Boobs hurting from 16 month old boob barnacle. You get the picture?

Lately, I want to throw up my hands. Raise the white flag. Surrender.

Everywhere my exhausted eyes look, I see evidence of my failure. Housework? Fail. Schoolwork? Fail. Parenting? Fail.

The truth is, I have overloaded myself. I have too much on my plate. I thought that I could do it all, but then life threw us some curve-balls. I was not expecting so little time to study, but situations have come up that we could not have known. My relationship with my mother, my once biggest support person, is terribly strained. I am not getting the breaks that I am used to.

I have lot of on my mind.

And, frankly…I am sick of being in college myself. Nursing has been my goal, and now I am on my last semester before nursing school. But, my heart is not quite in it anymore. I need to be focused on my kids, at home.

So, here I am. Feeling pretty fail-y. But still trying. Still getting up after 5 hours of “sleep” with my toddler’s boob death grip.

I can not wait for May!

 

The Visceral Empathy of Motherhood; Krim Children Murders

I was checking the news tonight when I saw two little faces staring back at me from the screen. Two beautiful children, a 6yr old girl and 2yr old boy. I have never met them, but I recognized their faces immediately; Lucia “Lulu” and Leo Krim. Their nanny brutally killed them in 2012, she will finally face a trial for what she has done.( read about it here)

There are so many innocent children who are hurt and killed. The news is filled with their horror stories. Each and every one of them hurts me, and to be honest, I often avoid reading about them because it hurts so much. But some of these stories really stick with me, I can think of a few that have seared into my heart and mind forever; Lulu and her brother Leo are two of them.

Maybe it is because they remind me of my children. Maybe it is because they were killed in such a terrible way. Maybe it is because of how tremendously senseless their murders were. But, all murders of children are senseless and horrifying. I can’t say exactly what it is, but I cried immediately upon seeing those babies faces again.

In my nightmares, I imagine what their poor mother endured finding their bodies. It chills me and turns my stomach. I shake my head as if to shake away the thoughts themselves. I can’t fathom the strength it has taken for their parents to survive this ordeal; I imagine their surviving daughter was the anchor that kept them afloat.

I think all sane adults are horrified by the murder of children. There is an innate sense of outrage when the innocent among us are harmed. Yet, ever since I became a mother, that outrage and pain is felt on entirely new level. It is as if my entire nervous system has been fundamentally altered after giving birth. My heart has been transformed into a mothers heart; and nothing is felt the same way again.

It is all so vivid in its terrifying detail. You cannot help but feel an intense need to rush to your own children and hold them close. You cannot help but feel the lurch in your stomach and the anxiety tear through you at the thought of what happened to these children. It is as if it is YOUR children, yet that thought is so terrifying you desperately try to push it from your mind before it is even fully thought.

But, in my bones and in my blood, I am a mother. It goes without saying, that I would die for my own children without hesitation or forethought; but what is even crazier is that I would do the same for a child I do not even know. I would jump in front of a truck for ANY child, and I do not know if I would have done so with such willingness before becoming a mother. I see each child as someone I am maternally protective of. I see each mother as a woman who I understand, because we are mothers, we share the same heart.

The hearts of mothers all share in the incredible joy, the frightening worry, the hopes, the dreams, the tiring work. We share something deep, a commonality that is ancient and immutable. Mothers.

I feel that way towards Mrs.Krim. I do not know her, and I may never meet her; but if I did, I would hug her and cry. I would not even speak more words than my tears with her tears, because that is all I need to say. I feel her heart in mine, and mine in hers. I see my children in hers, and her in mine.

Shalom.

Coping with PTSD and the Larry Nassar Case

I frequently check the news. I like to stay up to date on national and international news. Lately, sexual assault has been a common news topic. The #metoo movement and now #timesup have brought attention to this once taboo subject and new stories of abuse seem to arrive each day. This is good, but it can be difficult for those of us who are survivors. Sometimes, a story may be a little too much like our own story. Finding people who understand can be healing, but reading about similar abuse can also be triggering and difficult.

I decided to listen to the Larry Nassar accuser, Rachael DenHollander. She gave a very passionate and detailed speech. I could only listen to the first five minutes before I was overwhelmed with a sickening feeling in my gut. I am proud of DenHollander for her bravery, but it was impossible for me to hear her entire speech. She did the right thing in bringing Nassar to justice, and I am thankful that he had to listen to her and all of his victims share their pain (and their strength). But, as a victim myself, I just couldn’t handle it.

It is important for survivors to be in touch with how they are feeling when these news stories abound. I want to be knowledgeable of current events, and I want to support the brave women who are speaking out; but I also need to keep my own mental health in mind. I feel anxious and upset. I wish that I had not attempted to watch the video. Sometimes, I can go from feeling just fine to very anxious when triggered. PTSD is unpredictable at times.

I am glad that Larry Nassar is going behind bars, where he belongs, for the rest of his life. But I know that recovery is not over for many of his victims, and it is not over for me.

6 Awesome Things About Homeschooling

So, it is January 2018, and with the start of a new year comes renewed focus on our homeschooling goals. Although grade levels are basically irrelevant to us, I am currently schooling a 1st grader, kindergartner, and preschooler. Here are some of the awesome things that homeschooling has given to us this week.

1.) Bowling with friends counts as school-

We had some Hump Day fun with other homeschooling families at the local bowling ally. It was the first time my daughters played an entire game without loosing interest. If they went to public school/private school, we would not have been together in the early afternoon. I loved watching their excitement at hitting the pins, and it was nice to take a little break together. (The moms also had time together!)

2.) This is the age for art-

One of my beliefs about early childhood education is that art is just as important as any traditional subject. Children learn so much when given materials to create and explore with color. Imagination is important in our home! I think it’s awesome that I get to watch them create their masterpieces, rather than have them handed to me at the end of the school day.

3.) Dance like nobody is watching-

Similar to my conviction that art is extremely important for learning, I love taking my younger two daughters to dance class. It gives me time to hang out with my 1st grader and baby, while the middle two learn some new moves!

4.) Learning at their own pace-

My almost-7 yr old and my 5yr old girls are on the same reading level, but it really does not matter. At home, neither is behind or ahead, they are simply where they need to be. We can go further in some subjects, and take longer in others, according to their individual needs. Nobody gets left behind in homeschool, and nobody gets bored either!

5.) Sibling love-

I think it is really awesome that my children get to spend so much time together. They have a deep love for one another. Yes, they do fight sometimes! But, they are also best friends. One of my greatest desires as a mother is to see them maintain close friendships as they get older. I believe homeschooling helps foster that!

6. Freedom!

As a homeschooling family, we have a lot of freedom when it comes to how we learn, when we “do school”, and what tools to use to get there. I love being able to shape what our weeks, months, and years look like without being tied to a schedule that I did not create. I relish the educational and time freedom that homeschooling gives our family.

The Saving Grace of Motherhood

1 Tim 2:15 But women will be saved through childbearing….

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My children remind me of my long-lost innocence. Sometimes, I imagine that I emerged from the womb knowing. I believe I was born with this weight on my shoulders, and blood on my hands. But the truth is that my eyes were clear and pure just like theirs are.

And their trust reminds me that mine was broken. Like a thief comes to steal, except it wasn’t quiet and stealthy. It was a screaming, burning, explosion. Destroyed, like the bombed-out homes of war torn countries. I was ripped open from end to end, from here to forever. Trust? Something I never heard of, yet my children extend it to me like a heavenly gift.

My arms wrap around them, keep them safe. My daughter frowns in frustration when I won’t allow her to go online. I’m protecting you. There are bad men out there, who could hurt you. She holds my warnings suspect in her mind; she can’t imagine an evil like that.

How do I protect them? How do I save them from this burden I carry? How do I teach them to love themselves, and hit back when someone touches them after “no”?

I see them clearly; beautiful like an angel’s song, pure like streams of water flowing from the tree of life. They don’t understand, how heaven opened up and love descended upon me like a dove the moment I held them in my arms. I have been trusted with something beautiful, and it made me beautiful again.

My heart, once laid to waste like a desolate city, became alive again with singing and dancing and good wine. The smell of their hair, the sparkle in their eyes, the light of their smile; it’s all a prayer to me. The fragrance of God. When they hug me, it’s the holiest of holies in my soul. They don’t even know it, but they redeemed me. They lead me to the water of forgiveness. I was born, when they were born.