Embrace Your Beautiful, Imperfect Husband

27
Feb
2014

Closeup image barefoot couple legs at the beach

I am hurrying to write this post, pack my bags, and get a schedule written down for my mother-in-law who so kindly came to stay with my little guy so my husband and I could go enjoy the trip I earned to Hawaii – don’t worry I will be sharing much more on my trip when I get back – it will be too great not too!!

This post and the timing of my trip is impeccable, as God always seems to place things, huh?  I am going to be spending 5 days with my husband and trying to focus on relaxation, conversation and connection, without writing blog posts or spending too much time on social media. Very hard!!  I am going to try to live out what we have been reading this week and I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity.

I don’t want to disappoint anyone, especially my wonderful ladies who come to my site each week to find encouragement, but this week my husband gets to win.  I likely will be away from social media and attending to comments until I return.

I found it again interesting to me, but no surprising that PRIDE comes into play. It did in week two as well, why is this such a big part of issues we may encounter?

“Pride is at the core of so much marital strife.  Pride believes our way is the right way – the only way.  Pride says you are more wrong than I am.  Pride says I’m you are more wrong than I am.”

I am horrible with regard to my pride getting in the way of my marriage relationship, and this was the wake up call I needed.  This is a constant struggle for me and I need to ask God to help me each day – seriously, adding this to my prayer for each morning.

I really was touched by how Jill explained her personal journey with her husband and how she asked God to help her know how to love her husband during his time of depression and distance.  It just became clear to me that I need to continually ask God to direct me and He will.  I can easily remember that I need to do this with regard to my children and parenting abilities, but I forget when it comes to my husband.

Replacing Pride with Humility

This is where I am weak….my pride can overtake my mind and my spirit and humility is no where to be found.

“Pride keeps conflict unresolved.  It keeps us from owning our own stuff.  Pride separates, hurts, and even destroys.”

I will be praying about adding more humility in my day, taking the time to evaluate myself more and owning my own part of the ‘stuff’ instead of thinking it is always “his” problem.

We’ve had a rough couple of weeks in our home, for a lot of different reasons.  I’ve had plenty of conflict to deal with  and am always looking to blame someone else it seems, and it usually ends up being my husband.  He’s a good guy, a GREAT guy….and I need to Thank God more for him.

I did do the motherhood gig alone for 8 years, I do know what it is like in that arena…..it is not easier, in fact it is a lot harder – and overwhelming.  I need to remember what I have and be grateful – working on my pride issue and what I bring to the scene, which I often create into a messier scene, anyone relate?

So as I get ready to jet off with my hubby for 5 days, I am remembering this:

“There are no perfect husbands – just imperfect men who make mistakes along the way and give you the opportunity to learn to love in ways you never knew you could.”

Apply

Write your husband a love letter.  Tell him what you love about him.  Affirm him.  Tell him what he does well.  Even if you are in a place in your marriage where you wouldn’t give it to him, write it out – you never know how doing this exercise can impact your heart and add humility.  I am doing it!

Begin reading Chapter Six – see you next week!

No More Perfect Moms Week FOUR

17
Feb
2014

Main-No-More-Perfect-Moms

Well, here we go!  This is a fairly big subject, no pun intended!  Oh my goodness, so many moms suffer from feeling so inferior with how our body looks and feels that we just get disgusted.  I am included.  So much of my ‘mood’ for the day can be dependent on how my jeans feel when I have them on, how my hair decides to lay and how I feel physically.

So much is impacted by this body of mine.

Compare Apples to Apples

Loved this line and it rings so true – I often find myself comparing myself to 20 somethings and those who have a personal trainer or who have a chef cook special meals for them.  I have learned to boycott magazines and do not buy them anymore, it doesn’t help me feel good about myself at all!

So let’s come into this chapter with grace for ourself and for our bodies that perform great things each and every day. 

Here is the agenda for this week:

{If you are viewing this post via email, you will need to click through to the website to view the video}

 

Week 4:  February 17 – 21, 2014

Monday – watch the video, download the discussion questions for WEEK FOUR

Tuesday – come prepared by having read Chapter Four, join the conversation

Wednesday – check in over at Facebook for a few questions

Thursday – read the blog post on applying what we’ve learned this week; get started reading Chapter 5

Was there something that spoke to you in the video?  Please share in the comments and hop over to the Facebook page.   Is body image an area you struggle with daily or just once in awhile?

It’s All About Love

13
Feb
2014

Ebracing-Imperfect-Child

I have been dreading writing this post today, ladies.  My week has been likely one of my worst and I now I get to encourage you on how to love your child, be more patient and embrace your kids…..when I have done NONE of it myself this week.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tried…..but my own effort lacks so many times.  I stumble and fall and guilt almost suffocates me.  I need to be humble and admit when I have messed up and why it is hard to parent.

I am currently in a season of parenting that I just plain dislike, well…honestly it is more that I hate it.   My ability to grasp hold of patience has been extremely fleeting for me and I am not sure why.  I am great with the logistics of parenting, but the day to day ability to love and ‘go with the flow’ a bit more is almost nill.

“Motherhood stretches us.  If we allow it, God will use our children to smooth our rough edges and strengthen our character.”

This is what I try to tell myself amid the days of endless conflict with my little guy, through the whining, crying, emotional roller coasters and failures of effectively dealing with it all.  The bottom line, I still have so much more to overcome in this parenting journey, and God brought a little boy into my life in order to mold me into who He desires me to be.

It would be much easier for everyone if I wasn’t on this journey, let me just tell you!  But I have to remind myself that the journey really is about everyone else and not so much about me.  My selfish nature wants to yell, “What about me?” in the  cyclone of my repetitive mistakes, and you know….I keep hearing back that it just isn’t about me, I am a vessel – and yes, there is work to be done in me, but what I desire is not really what I need to focus on. 

There is so much more – and I am a speck in the picture.

Comparing and Accepting

I do compare my children; and as a blended family it is likely even more of an issue for me than I realized.  I had not really given credit to until I read this chapter.  Having children who are different is what all families are about, but when you add in children from different parents and all the unique challenges that come into play, I can see where I struggle with comparing and accepting my children just the way they are.  It is hard to admit that, but it is true to a degree.

I love my kids, all of them….but I do think I struggle with how Jill describes unconditional love:

“Unconditional love, however, allows for difference, embraces failure, and celebrates individuality.  Love is the strength that allows us to adjust expectations.”

She goes onto say that this unconditional love provides the perspective to us to NOT take their behavior personally…..AGH!  That is exactly what I do – at least with my younger children.  My older teens I can easily let go, but with younger kids I most definitely take it personally.

Apply

This week I am asking for God to help me embrace my child, as imperfect as he/she is and as imperfect as I am.  I need to Resist Judgment and Embrace Grace.

Like I said my week has been a huge disappointment to me.  But today is a new day.  Yesterday, I had to change my way of ‘normal’ and decided to have my youngest help me out by having a hug break every hour – to help us connect.  It worked fairly well, until I got busy and forgot to take the time to connect.

Around dinner time things started to escalate again, but I was able to calm things down because I still have some sense about me!  I am the adult and need to step up. 

I will try to remember the phrase, “brain growing opportunity” – if not for my child, certainly for me!  And another thing, as I was looking for other posts to share and link to in this post, I ran across this post I wrote when my now 4 year old boy first came to our house, not knowing how long he would stay…..but I shared from my heart…..I needed to be reminded and create that picture in how I felt when he first arrived.  Oh, how easily we can fogged remembering…..

Which antidote listed on page 66-68 do you most need to put into practice when it comes to loving your imperfect kids?

Start reading Chapter Four and I will see you next week!  

 

Chapter Three – Unconscious Expectations

11
Feb
2014

Unconscious-expectations-main

Chapter three is all about our expectations for our kids.   Do you have unrealistic expectations of thinking your kids will be perfect, well mannered all the time and make all the right decisions?  Well, if you are still living within that little bubble world of yours, it is time for a reality check – Kids Make Mistakes!

Our kids make poor choices every single day, just like you and I do.  I know I get frustrated very easily when my kids make the same mistakes over and over and over again – but when I truly sit and think, I am sure this is how God must feel when He looks at me and my choices.  I make the same mistake over and over and over again.  You would think I would learn!

“Your kids are not perfect.  Their imperfections are not a reflection of you.  You can’t “control” them into perfection.  Allowing your children to fail – without getting your anger as a consequence – is a gift to them.”

I have gotten a lot better over the years dealing with my kids mistakes and poor choices.  I have been able to step back and let them fail – being there to help them pick the pieces up.  I am not perfect, by any means –  with my older kids I can keep my cool so much easier – they are older, I can communicate with them on an adult level and most all situations come out in the end to be really good learning experiences.  But when it comes to mistakes with younger ones, that is where I sin most and struggle the greatest.

I really expect more than what they are capable of or I do not want to have  breakdown in the midst of all the other things I manage.   I am learning some great techniques in another book I am currently reading along with this study, Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst.  My bible study group is going through this book and it is very helpful for anyone who struggles with emotional issues – whether it is outbursts or stuffing emotions.  Truly a help for me and no coincidence I am doing both studies at the same time.

Frustration gets the best of me and I am slowly learning how to deal with it and taking steps to work on those emotions that are buried deep inside.  It is because of the expectations I set on myself and my child that stress risesfor everyone, and that is not a good thing.

Sometimes our expectations are unconscious ones, I like how Jill puts that right out there and I would say it is likely an area I struggle with – unconscious expectations.  I do get frustrated quite often when I have to deal with behavior issues.

Curious, of the questions Jill shares asking you to determine a True or False answer, which question answer was the most surprising for you?

Did you answer false to five or more of the questions?  What did you learn about yourself?

“Unrealistic expectations discourage.  Realistic expectations inspire.”

The line right after this one that really spoke to me and that I need to write down was perfect, “Cut yourself some slack, give your child some grace, and watch the dynamics in your family change before your very eyes!”  AHHH, I pray it can be that easy!

Did you download the discussion questions yet for this week?  You can do that here.  If you are looking for the First Corinthians download from the discussion questions, you can find that here.

Can you identify one way you’ve had an unrealistic expectation for your child?

No More Perfect Moms Week THREE

10
Feb
2014

Main-No-More-Perfect-Moms

Ladies, the walls are coming down, the masks being taken off.  I have felt so encouraged and accepted while reading the conversation on the Facebook page.  We all struggle and we all have our weaknesses – I am THANKFUL we have a place to share authentically – thank you for having grace for others and allowing the precious space to be genuine.

One of the most authentic posts shared on Facebook last week which I know trigger emotions for me as well as many other moms too.

I have been super critical and judgmental of myself for as long as I can remember. That has led me to become critical and judgmental of others. I now see that reflected in my own children. It feels so much like failure as a parent to see the negative things rear their ugly heads. Yes, there are positive things that I have instilled in my children but I tend to focus on the negative things. I am slowly learning to extend grace to myself when I fail or perceive that I have failed. I am much quicker to forgive others for offenses than I am to forgive myself. As I read this chapter I found myself in so much of the writing. I am fearful–fearful of what others think of me–fearful of failing yet again. Insecure in who I am and what I am here for. Judgmental of myself and those around me. I feel like I am stuck. But–knowing that God accepts and loves me right where I am gives me hope. Hope that He will help me to change with His strength and not in my own strength.

Did any of that resonate with you?

We have looked at judging others, judging ourselves, having expectations that are unrealistic, the greatest thing we can add to our life GRACE, and this week we jump into the topic of our kids – I think this may be a very difficult topic for many.

 Our kids are so close to our hearts and I know we all feel that their success or lack thereof really demonstrates our effectiveness as parents.

I loved these lines in the very first few pages in this chapter:

“Kids make mistakes.  They make poor choices sometimes – whether they are two years old and decide to throw a fit in the grocery store or they are seventeen and decide to sneak out of the house.  That’s real life.  Welcome to motherhood.”

Does that make you feel better today?

Here is the agenda for this week:

{If you are viewing this post via email, you will need to click through to the website to view the video}

 

Week 3:  February 10 – 14, 2014

Monday – watch the video, download the discussion questions for WEEK THREE

Tuesday – come prepared by having read Chapter Three, join the conversation

Wednesday – check in over at Facebook for a few questions

Thursday – read the blog post on applying what we’ve learned this week; get started reading Chapter 4

Was there something that spoke to you in the video?  Please share in the comments and hop over to the Facebook page.  What about parenting creates fear for you or feelings of insecurity? 

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