Christian, Motherhood

Morning M.E.W.S.

The recipe to waking up fully aligned with the Holy Spirit and ready to get the work done. This is my personal morning routine, I do this before doing any sort of work. I’ll grab a cup of water, let the dog out and then get to work.

The Morning M.E.W.S., in my opinion, has helped my mental state tremendously. Let me give you a bit of my mental history before we get into the routine.

To say that I’ve always dealt with anxiety would be an extremely accurate statement, there have been many times that my mom would tell me she could feel my worry while in her womb. I remember being a small child and thinking of the worst possible outcomes for any situation and most of the time not being willing to try something out of the fear that something bad would happen. When I began driving I would constantly think about getting into a wreck. Teenage years were also when a fell into a deep depression, it was to the point of considering committing suicide and attempting a few times.

The depression consumed me. I didn’t talk with my parents about what I was feeling, so I mentally shutdown. I numbed myself out. I became an emotionally zombie. I hated feeling nothing, but I didn’t want to feel saddness and pain anymore so numb it was. This was when the Lord lead me to heavier music (underOath, As I Lay Dying, TDWP, etc.) and I credit this music to saving me from myself. It allowed me a voice and escape when I didn’t know what else to do. Slowly, I began to feel emotions again. I remember laughing for the first time in a long time and how joyful it felt.

For years, I still felt and struggled with depression and anxiety, but it wasn’t as strong as it had been in years past. My mom took me to the doctor to talk with her about my mental state and I was proscribed some anti-depressant. This medicine took me back to feeling numb. I absoultely hated how it made me feel nothing, so I stopped taking it. It wasn’t until I started working in the food industry that my anxiety really took ahold of me. I remember my boss coming to me and offering a “less stressful” positon, but the root of my problems wasn’t the job. It was life.

Years later, I’m married and we’re expecting Navarone. Knowing that I struggled with depression and anxiety before child, I felt it necessary to start the conversation with my ob/gyn early. I needed to have answers on what to do if I start noticing those feelings come up. She would check in with me, as would Dakota (my husband), and she would offer medication, if I wanted to take it. With my previous experience being on that medication, I didn’t want to take anything. I’m also a pretty holistic healing kind of person. I’d rather try home remedies, food and teas, before over the counter medication.

Navarone arrived and I felt joy, but a disconnect. I felt so out of my body. When we got home, I tried getting back into my morning routine, but it was a struggle. For the first few months, I wasn’t able to really connect with G-d in the way that I had known. One Wednesday, Dakota and I are back in my hometown, and I go visit our old church. It was the second wendesday of the month, which means the men and women separate into their respective ministries. This woman comes up to me and offers to hold Navarone while I worship and pray. After awhile, she asks how everything is going. I tell her my struggle with finding time to be with G-d. She says, “sometimes there are seasons where we have to learn a different way to study. You might need to just listen to the word, or worship songs.”

Thus, we get to the Morning M.E.W.S., before I start I must say that I am not affiliated with the apps I’ll be mentioning. I’ve used them for years, previous to starting this morning routine and adore them. With that, lets get started on the best morning routine for the busy mama who needs time with the Lord (and anyone else).

M is for Meditation

Meditation is not just a Buddhist practice. Mediation is not from the devil and it’s not evil. Did you know that we are instucted to mediation on G-d’s word? Meditation is a way to focus on one thing, it’s practicing mindfulness. In this step, I use the Abide Meditation app and I’ll listen to the daily meditation for 10-15 minutes. Now, in all transparency, I pay for the yearly subscription and I have for a couple of years now, so I can’t recall if you can listen to the longer mediation with the free account, but I know you’ll have either 2-5 minutes on the daily meditation. That’s really a good start for getting into this routine.

If you don’t want to use the app mentioned, then I would recommend finding a playlist on YouTube or something else to help you get in the habit of meditation being specific to meditating on the word of G-d.

With meditation, do everything you can to remove distractions from the room and your mind. Focus on what the speaker is saying about that day’s verse and commit to hearing from the Lord. He will speak to you each day, if you take the time to listen.

After listening to the meditation, I will then go into whatever devotional I’ve been studying. Usually using one from the YouVersion Bible app, but I do have several physical books that I’ll go through. This is important for you to take the time to actively read the word. To go in and study.

Growth comes from discipline.

E is for Expression

Expression is vocalizing all the G-d calls over you. I believe heavily in the power of words. I believe in speaking life and death over someone, something or some situation, so I try my hardest to be careful about the words that I choose to speak out. With expression, I choose to speak out who I’m called to me and I take the time to remind myself of my true identity, which is found in Christ.

I will say, again out loud, who I am to Him. Here’s how mine goes, feel free to create one that suits you or use this until you get the groove of it.

I am a daughter of the Most High G-d. I am the Head and not the Tail. I am anointed with the Holy oil of Heaven. I am a warrior in the army of the Kingdom of Heaven. I am called. I am more than a conquorer, I am an overcomer.

Once I’ve said all these things, I’ll take the time I need to truly feel these. Some days it’s difficult to feel like a warrior or anoited, but I’ll ask for the Holy Spirit to help me feel the strength I need.

W is for Writing

Once I’ve studied and spoken over myself, I’ll write. I’ll write out whatever is on my heart and mind. If it’s insecurities and fear, I’ll write out all that I’m feeling and then I’ll rewrite the story. I’ll do the work to see the Truth of a situation.

Next, I’ll write in my prayer jounal. I always start my morning prayers with thanksgiving. I thank G-d for another day, breath in my lungs and so on. Then I’ll express what I’ve been writing about to Him. All my fears, my insecurities and frustrations. I’m completely honest with how I’m feeling and what I’m needing from Him. I believe that He will honor that honesty and transparency. Truthfully, I feel a weight lifted off of me when I’m honest with Him about everything, even if it’s me being upset and angry with a situation. I always end with asking for His wisdom about the situation.

S is for Serving

Now that I’ve discipled myself and done the work to put my spirit in alignment with the Holy Spirit, I’m ready to do the most important and necessary part of the morning. I ready my mind, heart, spirit and body to be of service to those around me. I ask for the words and actions to speak and do for that day, then I simply do the work. For me, that’s writing on my blog, posting on Instagram and allowing my experiences and insight to help others. This also means that I do what’s necessary to take care of Navarone and Dakota, my husband.

That’s the Morning M.E.W.S., I promise if you do this every morning for a month, you’ll start to feel joy and peace. I won’t promise you that you will never struggle mentally again, if you don’t Praise G-d. If you do still struggle, praise G-d even still. I still have days where I battle mentally, but those days are fewer and fewer the longer I do this practice. Their duration is not nearly as long and the control depression and anxiety has over me has significantly weakened.

Motherhood

The Perspective Change Every Christian Needs to Make

As Christians, the Bible is our foundation for guidance, wisdom, and instruction. It is where we find hope and encouragement in times of trouble and tribulation, as well as instruction and correction when our actions aren’t up to Christ’s standards.

At the church my family and I attend, we started a new sermon series this past Sunday, it’s titled, “The Other Brother.” It’s from the parable of the prodigal son. Anyone who has heard this story, or read it knows that as sinners before coming to Christ, we are much like the wayward son. We ask for our inheritance, throw it all away for a life of nothingness and find ourselves in the slums. This might not be exactly how it plays out for you but go with the analogy.

As you can guess, our sermon series is on the other brother. The older one. The one who stayed by the Father’s side worked along with the servants, didn’t do anything “wrong.” The one who refuses to see his brother’s return with joy, but rather with disgust. This is us, now. If you’ve been a Christian for a while you are the older brother in this story. Now, you might not be so jaded towards the younger Christians, but the point I want to focus on for a bit is the perspective the older brother has about the return of his sibling. We find the story in Luke, chapter 15 picking up at verse 25 through 32.

25 Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house,  he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what   these things meant. 27 And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.

28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father,Look, these many years I have served you, and I never  disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might ecelebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, fwho has devoured gyour property with prostitutes, you killed the fattenedcalf for him! 31 And he said to him,   Son, hyou are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting eto celebrate and be glad, for this your brother iwas dead, and isalive; he was lost, and is found.” (ESV)

Did you catch the older son’s words? Did you get where his mind is focused?

“Where’s my reward? Why are you rewarding such awful behavior? Where’s my blessing for staying by your side and working in your field? If you’re going to have a party for that terrible son of yours, why not have a party for a son as honorable as me and my friends?”

I wonder how many times we’ve had those same questions in our minds, hearts, and souls. I know for myself, I’ve recently been battling these thoughts. I’ve had to work on my perspective seeing what the Father is trying to say to the older brother, and me.

This brother is seeing his brother’s return, or really the Father’s embrace of the brother’s return, as a blessing of this sinful behavior but that’s not the Truth. This celebration is of the fact that the younger son has returned alive and been found. It’s rejoicing at the return of a soul and heir. It’s taking the shame and guilt away and replacing it with merciful honor. The Father wants His older son to see that being at His side is a blessing and that the Kingdom is his to inherit.

Part of this parable is the shame that the Father places on Himself as He joyfully meets up with His lost son. Within this culture, it was not respectable for honorable men to show their legs or to run. In order for one to run, they had to lift their dress up exposing their legs.

When the Father sees His son off in the distance, I imagine with head tucked down, trying to hide his face from the rest of the village. He’s bearing the shame of being “that son,” covered in dirt and pig slop, tattered clothes, maybe he has shoes but maybe not. The Father is so full of joy and love at the sight of his son returning, that he bears his legs and runs towards His son greeting him with love and compassion. The Father bears the shame, removes it from the son and restores honor. We know this restoration because, for us, it comes from the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He bears our shame and guilt so that we don’t have to hide our face anymore.

We must see that we have had a celebration, we were once the younger brother and there was a celebration at our return in Heaven. Now, we are the older brother. We can either choose to think that we deserve more for the work we’ve done after or see that we don’t truly deserve anything in this world. We do not deserve to be found and made alive, yet we have been. You know, just because there is a celebration that someone decides to turn their life towards Jesus, it doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for the lifestyle they lived before Him. We must not think that we know how to best handle the judgment of others. We must begin to be joyful at the return of any lost sibling. We must see that it’s a blessing to be by the Father’s side, under His protection and guidance, and know that any party, gain or reward we could gain on this side of the Kingdom is nothing compared to those that are stored up in Heaven. Those are the rewards worth keeping.

I’ll leave you with this question, do you need a perspective shift like this older brother does, or I did? Is your focus in the wrong place?

Father, help us to see others the way that you see them. Help us to see blessing and rewards in the right manner. Correct any misguided focus we may have and direct us in the way that we should go. Thank you for bearing my shame and restoring me in Your honor. Thank you for welcoming me into Your Kingdom even though I don’t deserve to have a seat at your table. Amen.

Christian, Motherhood

Journey into Motherhood

Here’s my story; August 3, 2018, I became a mama to a beautiful boy, Navarone. The journey to becoming a mom wasn’t easy though, while my pregnancy wasn’t difficult, delivery wasn’t what I planned.

I had gone to the doctor for my prenatal check-up, this was a bit of an odd appointment in that the time it was scheduled was later than I usually go. On top of having a later appointment, my ob was having to cover the other doctor’s patients which put me back even later. I ended up being the last patient seen that day.

When the doctor went to check Nav’s heartbeat, it was quite elevated, so she requested that I get hooked up to a monitor for twenty minutes. She was expecting a nurse to be able to stay with me and run the monitor, but they all had to leave or had already left for the day. This meant that I had to go down to labor and delivery for monitoring. While there, and well after twenty minutes, Navarone’s heartbeat suddenly dropped below 90 beats per minute. A swarm of nurses rush in, toss me from side to side, place an oxygen mask on my face and do everything to regulate his heartbeat.

My ob happened to be watching the monitor too and requested that I stay the night to continue monitoring.

The night of August 2, 2018, was the longest night of my life. Over the course of the evening, Navarone’s heartbeat dropped two more times. It was being discussed that I might have to delivery Navarone via c-section, but they wanted to try to induce my labor before. On August 3, I was 36 weeks and 6 days along in my pregnancy, my doctor wanted to induce me at midnight, so I would be considered 37 weeks and we would have a full-term birth. Her ideal situation would be to send me home until 39 weeks, but with the number of times, Nav’s heartbeat had dropped she didn’t want to risk it.

Then, his heartbeat dropped again. They induced me at 10 o’clock in the morning.

Heartbeat dropped again. The nurses and an on-hand PA’s rushed in and broke my water. They placed a monitor on the top of Navarone’s head. He was having a difficult time dropping into position.

That was it. They pulled the plug on waiting for a natural birth and started the preparations to wheel me back. By this point, I had already had an epidural (which I originally didn’t want, but got so I would be awake in the case that I had to have a c-section done).

Finally, it was decided that I would have to have a cesarean for the sake of Navarone. What was happening was my body was having contractions every 30 seconds and it wasn’t giving him enough time to recover and come up for air.

So, as quickly as they could, they wheeled me back. Then they brought Dakota back.

After all the preparations were made, they cut me open and pulled Navarone out.

I was relieved. I was overjoyed. I was thankful.

But I also didn’t feel like a real mama or like a real woman because I didn’t push him out.

After his birth, I tried breastfeeding. I didn’t have anything coming out which now I know is due to me giving birth four weeks before my due date, having him by c-section and it being my first child, it just took my milk a little longer to come in, but at the time it was just a confirmation that I wasn’t going to be able to provide for him. I prayed continuously for G-d to provide the milk I needed to supply Navarone’s nourishment. I seriously prayed that milk would flow. It did. Oh boy, it did.

Before my milk came, I wasn’t able to feed him enough so we had to supplement to get his glucose levels up. He was having a difficult time with his glucose. Such a difficult time that he ended up having to go up to NICU for a couple of days. This solidified my distrust of my mothering.

Nothing about my delivery went as I planned. Seriously. I had a sheet printed out and everything. I wasn’t prepared for how it all happened. When we were finally able to leave the hospital with Navarone, I ended up having a serious panic attack. I was so worried about bringing him home and not being able to protect and care for him.

My husband, Dakota, had to calm me down. I could see in his face that he was worried about me. For him, he had just seen me go through major surgery, pretty much ignore my need to rest and recover, obsess over providing milk for our son, and all that was going on with Navarone and now, right before we go home, I’m crying so hard that my body is shaking.

Even though Navarone’s birth was nothing like I had planned, I did learn a few things.

I learned that being a mother is a little bit of going with the flow. It’s a little bit of throwing the plan out the window and doing what needs to be done for your child(ren).

I learned that sometimes you have to ask for help with taking care of your baby. You have to depend on other women, mothers and some fathers to help you out.

I learned that I have shown myself grace. As a mom, it feels like I have to be all together. I feel like a failure a lot of the time.

I learned that ultimately the best way to protect, raise and care for your child is to trust G-d’s plan for them. You see, if He hadn’t been involved in Navarone’s birth there’s a possibility (a high one) that I wouldn’t have my precious boy. I wouldn’t know the sweetness of having a son and the bond that comes with motherhood. I wouldn’t see the love the Lord has for His children as clearly as I do now.

Find me and follow me on Instagram and Facebook, send me a message and let’s mama together.

Christian

The #1 Item I Wish I had While Traveling with my 10-month-old this summer

Recently, Dakota and I have traveled from Oklahoma to California via road trip and then we flew from Oklahoma to D.C., this was really the first time we had taken any sort of long trip together. Adding to the pressure that already surrounds traveling, we had our 10-month-old (now a year old) infant with us. While we had a great packing system for both trips, I wish I had known about the Muzmm backpack before heading out. It would have saved a lot of time and space.

Be advised that this post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase products through these links, you will not incur any additional expense, however, I may receive a small amount of compensation, which is greatly appreciated! I only recommend brands I use or trust.

fullsizeoutput_8d5

Muzmm Backpack in Little Garden Design

If you’ve traveled with a child of any age, then you’re well aware of how difficult it can be, it has the opportunity to be the most stressful event in your life. When we were driving to Oklahoma and back, we made a stop in Colorado to stay with some friends of ours. Our original intention of going to California was to move there; however, once we arrived in the Golden State, we were not able to find a place to live, so we headed back towards Colorado and eventually Oklahoma.

The drive out west was MUCH longer than anticipated. For our daily going abouts, we had 2-3 bags, which included the diaper bag, my purse, and a possible third bag. It was quite ridiculous for us to have so many bags.

It wasn’t until after we took our trips that Muzmm backpack reached out to me, but I wish they had contacted me before we went because their backpack would have made traveling with an infant so much easier, convenient and possibly even more enjoyable.

You see, this backpack is a 3-in-1 style bag. You can wear it as a backpack, use it as a duffel bag or carry it by using the top or side handle! Mamas, you know your little one likes to wiggle and jiggle and it makes certain bags difficult to keep a hold of, but it’s so nice to be able to not adjust how you hold the bag while you adjust how you hold the baby.

A second key feature, which I love and would have felt so much peace while in D.C., is the pocket on the side intended for your wallet, keys, really just the important stuff. When you’re wearing the back in the backpack style, it opens towards you, so you don’t need to remove the bag to get your things just zip it open.

I really enjoy being able to place all that the items that Navarone needs for the day in the same bag that I put all that I need in. There’s a compartment for your laptop (which seems pretty standard nowadays), there are different ways to open the bag, but none of them allow all your stuff to spring out like a waterfall.

Truly, it’s the greatest bag for you, mama. I know you have things to do, work to get done and babies to attend to. The last item that you should be worried about or have to bring multiples of is a bag.

Now, I told you there was an affiliate link, which basically means you get to help me while I help you. When you check out use promo code WHITESIDE and you’ll receive 10% off of your purchase, I’ll receive $10 for every bag that is bought using my code or my link: https://www.muzmm.com/discount/WHITESIDE 

 

 

Christian, Motherhood

Dealing with Grief as a Mother

A few months before I became pregnant with Navarone, my grandpa died. Now, I am no stranger to death. I’ve had several relatives die before my Papa. There was my great-uncle, my other set of grandparents, I’ve seen friends commit suicide, so I’m not a stranger to grief. Yet, this was different.

My Papa was one of my best friends. I knew that if I ever needed anyone or anything, I could count on him. Always. Without question. Even during the few months, he fought cancer before dying, he continued to fight and be there for us all. So when I got the call to rush down to my hometown, and a second call a few minutes later telling me he had died, I couldn’t feel. (I’m honestly surprised that I could see through the tears).

This was a grief I hadn’t experienced. I didn’t know how to properly deal with the emotions that I was feeling, so I didn’t feel them. I would cry now and then. I especially became accustomed to drinking alcohol until I realized the path I was going on and asked for help from the Lord. A couple weeks after that prayer, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.

It was bittersweet. I wanted to be a mom and was joyful about it, but I wished my grandpa could be here to help love on this little one. Being pregnant gave me something to focus on and look forward to, but I still hadn’t quite dealt with the loss I was feeling.

That’s the thing about motherhood. We spend so much energy and time focusing on what’s ahead that we neglect the need to take a minute or two and reflect on what’s already happened. We don’t allow ourselves to fully heal, fully feel or fully be because there’s something else or someone else that needs us.

It wasn’t until last week that I took some time while Navarone was napping to really feel the loss of my grandpa. I took time to cry. As silly as that may sound, I had to schedule a time to feel the grief, acknowledge it so I can begin the process of healing.

There’s power in acknowledging how you feel, especially in negative emotions, and the power is the begin of restoration. Restoring your soul begins in the tears. Repairing the hurt comes from crying out to the Lord.

When it comes to grief, we have to allow ourselves to feel it and thank the Lord in heaven for the time we had with our loved one. We especially have reason to be thankful if they lived their lives for the glory of G-d because that means we’ll see them again.

Mama, I know you have hurt and pain. Feel it. Take control over emotions. Allow restoration and healing to begin in you.

Christian, Motherhood

The #1 Way to Get Out of a Mental Rut

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ll know that I haven’t been in the best headspace the last couple of days.  This is due to several reasons but ultimately boils down to one primary reason.

For the past month and a half, my husband and I have been on this spiritual rollercoaster. We packed up everything we owned and headed west towards California because we felt impressed to do so (we don’t feel like this action was wrong), but we got there we didn’t find or see any way for us to be able to stay and not live in our car with our infant son and corgi. From California, we headed back to Colorado to stay with some friends for a while and then we made our way back to Oklahoma (our home state).  This last month has been full of big decision making and a lot of uncertainty.

On top of life decisions, we just recently went to Washington D.C. to honor my grandpa’s service in the Vietnam war in a memorial for veterans who have died due to their service. My Papa died nearly two years ago and I’m realizing that I haven’t truly dealt with the grief and that trip brought many feelings up. I’ve been trying to find a time to feel those emotions, but motherhood proves to be an obstacle.

With life’s ups and downs, with emotions trying to come up and be felt, but being stuffed back down, I’ve started to think negatively. I began feeling a total loss of control over everything in my life. I feel as though I’m stuck in a pit and I’m suffocating by my own hand over my mouth. I’m unaware of the air that’s around me trying desperately to breathe life into my body. I’m so focused on working towards getting out of this pit, I don’t see the stairs behind me that reach to the top.

I know why I’ve been feeling so negative lately, other than just having a lot to deal with, it’s because I haven’t been spending a good, quality time with the Lord. I haven’t been doing my Morning M.E.W.S., I’ve been so depressed that it’s difficult to get out of bed until Navarone wakes up and needs me to come to him. It’s difficult to spend the time when Nav is sleeping to do anything other than veg out. It’s been difficult to have the energy to serve.

The number one reason I’ve been in this mental rut is that I haven’t gone to the stairs behind me, which is a metaphor for not going to Jesus for guidance. I’ve been neglecting the most important part of the day and just droning on. I’ve been too busy existing. You know, that’s not a good way to live – it’s not living, actually. Life deserves to be filled with joy. Now, that isn’t to negate what Jesus says about those who follow him suffering, on the contrary. Joy is a choice. It’s saying despite what my situation is I will choose joy. I will choose to go to the Fountain of Joy, the Foutain of Life, the Fountain of Truth; I will choose to go to Jesus and trust in His name and power.

I’m working on going back to that mindset. I’m working on getting through this tough time. I’m working on trusting the Lord to handle all areas of my life. The first step is acknowledging that it’s a daily choice to grow. I choose to grow.

 

Christian

What’s Your Peace?

“I JUST NEED A MOMENT OF PEACE!”

I’m sure as a mom, you’ve thought this or said it. I just want some peace.

As moms, we try to squeeze in a few moments of solitude each day or maybe every other day. Sometimes, we’ll go weeks or months without making time to live in peace.

As an introvert, I crave alone time. As a mom, I have to make alone time. There are days when it feels like I’m going to break. I feel extremely overwhelmed and alone. It’s in these moments where I have to break away.

If someone is around to watch Navarone for a few minutes, then I’ll ask them to take him, I’ll walk away and go do something that calms me down. I like to go read a couple of chapters in whatever book I’m reading, or I’ll just sit in quiet and focus on breathing (I’ll probably end up praying for help and comfort).

Now, there’s a lot of times where it’s just Navarone and me, I’m sure you know these moments all too well. Where everything seems to be falling out of place, your baby is just shouting and you’re not sure if it’s just to exercise their vocal cords or a cry, but the noise is driving you bonkers. And on top of that, you still have so many things to do like the dishes, the laundry, cleaning the floors, the dog needs to go on a walk, the list is endless.

“Will I ever have time to do something that I actually want to do?”

It’s in these moments that you could actually break. In times like this, I have to put Navarone in his bed or somewhere he is safe and can be contained for a few minutes, walk away and recenter. These are when I desperately need the peace of Jesus to come in and calm the storm of life.

What do you do in these times? Do you try to work through it crying internally (or maybe externally)? Do you invite the Lord to come in and help? Where do you seek refuge? Where do you find your peace?

As mamas, there is a lot required of us. A lot that anyone who isn’t a mom just wouldn’t understand, if we’re honest. The stresses of life and motherhood can really weight down on you. There are times when it’s difficult to see the tasks set before you with joy and hope. When life just drones on, how do you find peace?

I would invite you to spend some time today reflecting on your relationships. Who do you run to when life is filled with dismay? Our (both yours and my) answer should be Jesus, but I know for myself sometimes my first instinct is my husband or my mom. Sometimes, it’s just myself. I think, “I can do this. I have the strength within me to handle it.” The fact is I really don’t have the strength. I really do need Jesus. He should always be my go-to. Same for you. He should be your go-to.

Motherhood is difficult. It’s not a job to be taken lightly, and if we’re not focused on Jesus the burden of motherhood can be EXTREMELY heavy, but remember that He said His yoke is light. Let Him help you and find the peace in the storm.

Christian, Motherhood

Take Care of Yourself First, and Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty for it.

Mama, I know what it’s like thinking that to be the best mom means putting everyone and everything else in front of taking care of yourself. I know that you think it’s the best thing to do for your family. I know that you tell yourself, tomorrow I’ll take a few minutes for myself, tomorrow I’ll do it. I know that you end up locking yourself in the bathroom, feeling overwhelmed, possibly crying because you can’t do it all and that must mean you’re a failure. I know that you need a break.

Mama, you need to rest. You need to start each day seeking Jesus’s sweet spirit and put yourself first, in order to be the best mama your family needs and deserves.

How you can expect to disciple other’s if you can’t even disciple yourself? It’s foolish to think that you can guide others to Christ if you don’t know the path yourself. This is why you must put yourself first and not feel guilty for it.

The top three reasons to take care of yourself and why you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.

1) You’re no good to anyone if you’re burnout.

I know as mothers our first instinct to make sure our families are taken care of. We will starve ourselves of all nourishment if it means that our children have their needs met. Especially new moms. New moms will go without basic needs in order to care for their newborn.

When I first took Navarone home, I was wiped out and recovering from major surgery, yet my brain didn’t care that I was in agony. It just needed to make sure Nav was cared for. I could only focus on taking care of him because he’s what mattered. It would make Dakota quite upset because I wasn’t “taking it easy,” but how do moms “take it easy?”

It quickly got to a point where I was beyond exhausted. My body was in need of some serious rest. Did you know that burnout is now considered a syndrome?

If you’ve never felt burnt out over something, let me quickly explain what it feels like; you don’t have energy, passion or desire to do “it” anymore. You just can’t go on.

Did you know the reason you’re supposed to put your oxygen mask on first, in the event of an airplane crash, is because you’re no good to anyone if you’ve passed out from lack of oxygen? The same is true in your spiritual life and that bleeds over into the physical.

Mama, you have to put yourself in YHWH’s presence. It’s always available to you, but you have to choose to recognize it. Jesus is always there.

If you renew yourself daily, find peace and sovereignty in the morning before dealing with husbands, children and the hustle and bustle then you’re going to be in a better mental state to handle whatever or however, the day goes.

2) You’re Called

You are called to take accountability for your relationship with Christ. At the end of it all, you will be judged on how you conducted yourself and the excuse of “life” won’t cover your lack of a relationship.

Let me be very blunt, you need to take ownership of your life and your relationship. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to make sure you read, meditate and pray. I will not be judged for your lack of care, only my lack.

You are called to meditate on G-d’s word. You are called to be in continual prayer. You are called to be a shining example to your children on how to follow Christ.

You can’t expect the church to do all the work for you. Trust me. You have to walk the walk if you’re going to talk the talk.

3) There is Rest in the Searching

I can tell you with 100% certainty that starting your day in quiet, surrender and focus on G-d will make your day better. I can tell you that there is peace in the morning.

As mothers, we lack feeling rested. We can sometimes miss the blessing of being a mom. We can forget that this is one of the highest callings any human can be given. You have to recharge each day. If you start the day in humble surrender to the Lord, giving Him all of you and your day, He will give you rest. He will give you wisdom and peace. He will grant you the strength to get through whatever you have to go through.

You have to start your day off on the right foot. This might mean waking up 30 minutes to an hour before you’re used to, or you really want to. Do it. It’s worth the sacrifice. Follow my Morning M.E.W.S. program.

Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty for Taking Care of Yourself First.

I’ve already said it, but just in case it didn’t sink in, you’re no good to anyone if you’re burnout. There’s truly no point in trying if you are suffocating. You’ll begin to act in a way that is not honoring to G-d and will hurt yourself and those around you.

If you don’t take care of yourself first, then you can’t properly take care of anyone else. Imagine feeling burnt out like being a raggedy doll. If a doll has all the stuffing bursting out and seams missing it’s a bit useless as something to have fun with, the same image can be used for a worn-out mom. What fun can you have with your children or vice versa, if you’re literally dragging your feet and just trying to get through the day? How many precious moments do you miss existing that way?

Don’t you want to experience life? Then focus your gaze on the One who gives life and everything else will come into perfect 20/20 vision. You’ll be aware of things that others might miss, you’ll be able to enjoy life and you’ll have more peace.

Christian, Motherhood

Where’s My Inheritance?

You know how you can hear and read a passage of scripture time and time again and it does not really change the meaning, then one time it’s like BAM! and you see it differently. It finally speaks to you in a powerful way. Do you know what I mean?

Well, that happened to me this morning as I was reading through my bible, but it started with reading the passage a couple of days ago and not thinking too much of it. Then it appeared today. Over. and Over. And over. Finally, it hit me.

The passage I’m referring to is where Jesus is talking to the crowd and Pharisees about the one lost sheep, the one lost coin and the prodigal son. Now, what hit me right between the eyes is the parable of the lost son. You see, I’ve unknowingly been like the prodigal son lately. I’ve been focused on the things, the inheritance offered to me as a servant of Christ and not the love of the Father. I’ve been honed into the financial problems Dakota and I are facing and requesting that G-d fix the mess we’ve made and put ourselves in. And somehow, that will show His love for me.

I’ve also been seeing people as dollar signs, as a means to an end. I’ve been seeing them as a way for the Lord to bless me. I haven’t been seeing them as the blessing they are, I haven’t been looking at them with love and compassion. I’ve internally been asking, “what can you give me?” and “how are you going to help me get out of this mess?” The truth is it’s not their mess to clean up. The truth is they are more than a means to an end. The truth is you deserve to be seen in the light and way that the Most High sees you. You are not the answer to my problems. You may be a way that is used to answer my problems, but you are not to be used by me.

Jesus is the answer to my problems. It’s through only Him that all this can work out.

For some time, I’ve been working on trying to make my work profitable. It’s been a real struggle, but I think that’s more my fault. I’ve made it into a struggle. I’ve forced myself into this box. I’ve replaced the joy and peace I once felt doing this work with stress. I’ve felt like I have to make money from this for it to be legitimate work. I’ve got to prove to everyone that’s watching that I am doing something good. I’ve been thinking that if I start to make money from this work, then my family will take it seriously. Then my family will understand, or they will be proud. Then my parents will stop asking me if I’ve made any money. Then my grandma will stop worrying. Then this or than that. I’ve put this unnecessary pressure on myself and it’s, in turn, shifted my focus. It’s moved me out of a place of joy, peace, and love into a place of selfishness, greed, and worry.

I’ve lost the joy in just giving the wisdom and advice the Holy Spirit presents to me.

I’ve allowed myself to forget and not remember all that has been provided to Dakota and me over the years. There were times when we didn’t know what we were going to eat and someone would show up with food or ask us to go to dinner. There were times when we weren’t able to pay rent or really any bills, and money would appear whether it was through someone offering to pay for us or just popping up into our bank account it was there. There have been so many acts of provision and grace given to us throughout the years and I always let the problem I’ve facing overshadow the grace.

I’ll with an apology. I’m sincerely sorry if I have made you feel less than worthy. I am sorry that I have viewed you as merely a potential client. I’m sorry I’ve expected you to meet the needs that I have and for not allowing you the opportunity to be the blessing that you are. I’m sorry for robbing you the gift of being a gift. I’m sorry that I’ve focused on myself and my needs rather than meeting yours. You deserve to be viewed with love and compassion.

Here’s to being better and to grow.

Christian, Motherhood, The Great Move

Breathe Life Into It

This past Sunday, Dakota and I went down to pray for direction. As you know G-d has asked for a bit of blind faith from us lately, with moving to California, then not finding a place and now living a vagabond lifestyle. We’ve just been searching for some clarity on what our next steps, so when it was time for prayer in the service, we went down to pray. The couple that prayed with us are like a another set of parents for us. Before praying, the man said that the day before he was reading Ezekiel and the scripture of the valley of dry bones. He pointed out that there was different layers of prophecy Ezekiel had to speak out before the bones came to life. He had to command the bones to rejoin, then he had to command the wind to breathe life into the bones.

As you may or may not know, I’ve been working at making the work I’ve been doing profitable. I’ve been grinding my butt off reading, studying, investing and trying to make this blog, coaching, influencer work into income. There are a few reasons for this goal. The first is the calling. I hear a calling to help bring peace and joy into lives, for awhile I had the broad idea of women, but I’ve come to realize that my heart is for mamas, specifically new mamas struggling mentally with motherhood. This is a struggle I have, so if I can help other mamas deal with it and learn to not let it control them that’s what I’ll do. The second reason is to provide for my little family. Dakota and I have always struggled financially in our marriage. We’ve always busted our butts trying to make ends meet and get to the goal of stability. Now, we’ve always been taken care of (G-d is so good to us) and we’ve got a good safety net for family, but I don’t want to depend on my family as much as we do.

I feel a sense of responsibility to take care of our family on our own. I desire to be able to let Dakota live out his dreams of music and cooking, while I work on my dream of writing, public speaking and coaching. I desire for us to live our the purpose and calling that has been placed on us, but life has been throwing hurdles at us.

Back to work I’ve been doing, this morning when I woke up I heard “breathe life into it.” Now, I’ve been asking for wisdom on what that means because I thought I was doing that – rejoining bones and breathing life into my work. But have I? I’ve been so focused on trying to do everything myself. I’ve been trying REALLY hard to control all of this business when I don’t know it all. I’ve tried to learn, enrolled in a few classes, struggled and I’m still left with a pile of bones.

So, I’m thinking the answer is to let go. You know, I have friends who have degrees in the areas that I am so lost in. Why have I not reached out to them for help? Why don’t I get a team behind me that helps lift me up, but I in turn can help lift up myself? I’m trying so hard to work towards the joy and abundance promised me through the work that brings me the most joy and clarity, why keep it all to myself?

Maybe that’s the missing link. I need to allow life to be brought into this business and ministry. I need to allow it to be the community I see it being. I need to work with and collaborate. We are not meant to do this alone, so why continue struggling to do it alone?

For you, if you’re struggling with something that you’ve been really working on, I advise reading Ezekiel 37. Read it and step back to take a different look at the situation, do you have just a pile of bones? Do you need to breathe life into the situation? Do you need to ask for help? It’s not weak to ask for help. It’s not a sign of stupidity to acknowledge that you don’t know something. It’s acceptable to ask someone who knows more than you to work alongside you. Life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Allow yourself the freedom and liberty of collaborating with someone.