It starts with me.

  Growing up, I often heard my parents say that there will always be someone watching me, and there will always be someone who is looking to see how I do something or listening to what I say so they can do/say it the way I do.  I never liked  hearing that, mostly because I didn’t want to accept that responsibility.  As I got older though, I began to realize the truth of that statement.  We all have influence, good or bad, whether we want that responsibility or not.  So now, enter in the fact that I have been blessed with two beautiful girls.  And what do they do?  They observe my every move and hear my every word.  Not only that, but they also copy my actions and my words!

There is something I’ve been learning on a deeper level the past few years…attitude is everything!  All of life is made up of choices…some are made for us, some we make.  But always, always, we get to choose our attitude.  What we choose, consciously or subconsciously, can make all the difference in a day, a year, a lifetime!  How?  Because what we set our focus on, is what sets our days and therefore our life.#94 004

If you choose to focus on the negative, then that is what you will see…the dark clouds, the sun that is too bright, the slow person in front of you on the drive to work, the child getting distracted from their responsibility, or the husband leaving his clothes draped on the chair.  But if you choose to focus on the positive?  Then you get to notice the sunbeams shining from behind the dark cloud, the fluffy clouds on a sunny day, the happy person singing along with the radio, the child whose imagination has her doing dishes in the Queen’s castle and the husband who remembered not to drop his clothes on the floor.

Anyone, believer or unbeliever, can choose to change the way they look at life.  Just a twist in the way you view your life and your circumstances can change things drastically!  The difference for those who live in the power of Holy Spirit, is when you choose to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones, it is multiplied exponentially and an unexplained joy and peace will flow from you that is only because of Him.#94 012

So a few weeks ago as I was thinking about this, I began to realize just how much of what my girls are going to learn in life, starts with me.  Whether it’s baking/cooking, decorating, loving their Daddy, making good choices, showing hospitality, having a joyful attitude, serving others, living for God…it starts with me.  Why?  Because it’s me that they see in the day-to-day of life.  So if I want to teach my girls what being filled with Holy Spirit looks like, if I want to teach them anything, it starts with me.  It starts with me spending time in His presence so I know how to be the person that God sees me as.  It starts with me making good choices so they have a model to follow.

At this point in life, I am the one they see doing these things…I am their model of what a mother and housewife/manager of domestic affairs/home manager looks like.  I am their model of how a wife shows love & respect to her husband, and who models how a woman should be treated.  Even now, with the holiday season having just ended, I get to model how to enjoy the season without stressing out, or eat the yummy goodies while still exercising self-control or how to laugh when the baby just destroyed the plate of cookies meant for a neighbor.  I am their model of what Jesus looks like.  And when I am acting out my negative emotions?  It means I have a chance to show them how to stop acting that way and choose to act out of the love and joy that is in me, because of Who is in me.#94 0482

I’ve heard it said that the mother sets the tone of the house…”If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”  Right?  And I’ve found that to be so true!  I’m usually very quick to want to take the credit for happy children and a peaceful atmosphere.  But honestly?  When there are tears and whining and grumpiness?  Well, then it’s not because of me and my impatience or attitude, but it’s because the baby needs a nap or someone’s hungry or…you get the picture.

If I want to teach my girls that they are in control of their attitudes and feelings, who better than me to show them?  Who else is going to teach them that it’s okay to take a “mommy time-out” so I can set my mind right and then speak to them in love?  Who else is going to show them that in the business of homework and supper preparation, we can stop and  dance to a song and reset the mood in the house?
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This responsibility could be heavy at times, but it’s not.  Why?  Because I’m not doing this alone.  Yes, I have my husband and he is amazing and I am so blessed with how he helps me when I need it.  This job, this responsibility, would be overwhelming and so heavy without my Jesus!  He is the One whose presence I need so I have strength for this awesome responsibility of raising my girls.  He reminds me to stop and think before I speak.  He gives me peace in a crazy situation.  He gives me patience when I want to hurry them up.  He helps me laugh when I want to cry.

It is because of Him and only with His help, that I can accept the responsibility and do my best at being wife and mommy.  It is because of Him that I can choose to live life with joy and love.  And it all starts with me recognizing that He is my everything and with Him I can do anything…It starts with me.

Blessings!
–sherri

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Change.

Change happens.  All the time.  Whether it’s a positive or negative change, whether you like change or not, it happens.  I always said that “I don’t deal well with change” until just recently, when I realized what I was actually saying and a major mind-shift happened.

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It all started with this new season of our lives…having a school-age child!  I thought I was ready for Abigail to go to school, but in the days leading up to the big day, it became very obvious that I was not okay 😦    She was so excited for her first day and while I said I was excited too, I really was not looking forward to it, because “I don’t deal well with change.”  And this was a big change!

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Two nights before her big day, we went to her restaurant of choice to celebrate this milestone, and thanks to my husband & his words, my mind-shift began that night and continued to reveal itself into the next day.  I had been busy getting things ready for her first day…clothes, shoes, supplies, etc., all the while thinking subconsciously “But what about me?  What about her mama?  Sure, Abigail’s excited about school, but what am I going to do while she’s gone?  Doesn’t anyone care about my sadness and how I’m going to miss her and how I don’t deal well with change?!”  (Yes, it really was as bad of a pity party as it sounds!)

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And here is where the mind-shift began to happen…Yes, it is a change and yes, there is an element of sadness to it and yes, it is okay to shed tears.  But.  What about my child and her excitement/nervousness for this change?  How can I be genuinely excited for her when I can’t see past my own feelings of “poor me”?  Because really, this is not about me.  To think that it is, is quite honestly, kind of selfish of me.  It’s about her and the new friends she will make and the exciting things she will learn this next year.  So, in the words of my husband, “let’s celebrate her and the beautiful milestone that this is in her life!”

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We had a wonderful time of celebration that night and when school started on Monday morning, I was so excited for Abigail and the adventure that she was starting.  And you know what?  She absolutely loves school!  She’s said multiple times, “I love going to school and I love coming home.”  That right there is confirmation to us that she is where she is supposed to be.

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I recognize that I could have handled this change a little better differently.  But I also know that the next time a new season comes, I will be able to handle it better, because this is what I felt the Lord telling me…”You are learning and growing, and you are able to handle change well, because I am walking with you and I am showing you how.”  The best part about experiencing changing circumstances, is that I serve the God who never changes and never will!

This is only the beginning of the many times we will need to let go of our children.  But I know that the same Spirit that is in me, is also in them.  And with all my heart, I choose to trust Him in them and trust that together they will make the choices that will best give Him glory.

Blessings!
–sherri

Learning…

…how to better mother & love on my two precious girls.
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…to take her up on her volunteering to mop the floor (she did an amazing job!).
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…that the memories of eating cookie dough are more important than worrying about the tiny bit of raw egg she would consume (because really, what is a childhood without experiencing cookie dough?!).
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…to see and feel God in all of creation & in every moment of every day; to recognize my completion in Him & allow myself to grow into that complete person.
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So that’s what I’m learning these days.  That, and how much I can fit in one carry-on bag for a week-long trip!  Yay! to spending time away with my man!

Still learning,
–sherri

Seasons

Where I grew up we had four seasons…winter, spring, summer, and fall; here in the south we have two seasons…hot, muggy summer and paradise 🙂  I have a dear friend who has shown me how life itself gives us many seasons…growing up, going to school, living at home, being on your own, singleness, dating, marriage…some seasons are for many years, some for only a short time. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 confirms this: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

  • be born – die
  • plant – uproot
  • kill – heal
  • tear down – build up
  • weep – laugh
  • mourn – dance
  • scatter stones – gather them up
  • embrace – refrain from embracing
  • search – give up
  • keep – throw away
  • tear – mind
  • silent – speak
  • love – hate
  • war – peace

I’m learning to enjoy the different seasons as they come into my life.  Sometimes that’s the hardest part…embracing and accepting whatever season that I am currently in.  This season of bed rest has been a combination of accepting and rejecting.  Accepting, because I want to do what’s best for baby girl & if that means lying down for weeks on end, then I will do that.  But rejecting, because I know that this is not how God designed a pregnancy to go and so praying and contending for a beautiful miracle of healing.

This season of bed rest holds another season inside of it…a season of “letting go”.  Letting go of a normal way of life and embracing a new normal.  Letting go of independence and depending on other people’s help.  Letting go of doing things my way and allowing my husband to do things his way (and he is doing an amazing job!).  Letting go of being there for every activity with Abigail and allowing other Godly women to step in and fill the void.  Letting go of looking nice when people stop in and being okay with constantly having a “bed head” (who knew that it’d be so hard to have nice-looking hair when you’re lying down 24/7? :). Letting go of pouring into a life and allowing others to pour into your own.  Letting go of giving to others and allowing yourself to receive.  Letting go of perfection and allowing God to work out the imperfect.  Letting go of the joy of allowing the public to see my “pregnant belly” and being content with knowing that God knows I love carrying life and I don’t have to show it off in order for Him to receive glory.

There have been numerous things I wanted to do this summer with Abigail and also as a family, but I haven’t been able to.  I’m slowly learning to be okay with that.  I can’t be and do everything I want to right now…All the things that “they” say a good wife/mother should do?  I can’t do a single one of them.

But that really doesn’t matter, because who I am, is not based on what I do.  God does not see what I do and love me for that; He loves me simply because He made me.  I am special and precious and worthy of the life of His Son, because He formed me and gave me life.

So what I can do, is much more valuable than any physical thing I could ever do for my family.  I can spend hours praying for them, bringing them and their needs to our Daddy who loves them even more than I do.  I have plenty of time to read my Bible, so when my husband comes home from a long day at work, I have a word from God to share with him & encourage him. I can cultivate a spirit of praise, and worship…an atmosphere of peace and joy and thankfulness in this house.

Right now, that is absolutely the best way I can help out.  And I’m still learning how to do it well.  I don’t want to look back on this season and wish I had done better, that I had spent more time praising and less time pouting.  Yes, I have had my times of pouting.  But bed rest is so much easier when I’m praising God and being thankful for all the ways He has blessed us & provided for us!

There will come a time when I will be back on my feet and I will be able to fill the God-given role of managing my home and taking care of my family.  I can’t wait to be able to do that 🙂  Until that season comes, I will care for them from my couch and I will do it with joy!

–sherri