Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Wish I Would Have Told Him... And Am Now Telling Her

**I wrote the following post last year to my nephew who was 13 at the time. Instead of updating or reposting I thought I would add to it and link to the old one if you'd like to read the rest.

 Because, now, I have a 13 year old daughter. Pray for me?


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What I Wish I Would Have Told Him (first published 9/12)

Job 28:13 "Man does not comprehend it's worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living."
The Devil pulls no punches, when a battle of the mind is taking place,  he arrives early to the ring, he feels out his opponent, and zeroes in on their weakness to make it easier to deliver that final blow.

His lips salivate when he sees self-doubt and insecurities.

He knows he can deliver a punch to the heart that will make you feel unloved.

And the mind, it's next.

He will tell you lies; "No one likes you," "Oh my gosh, why did you say that? Now they think you are stupid!" "You're a LOSER," "It doesn't matter what you say or do, you'll never be good enough."

He's there to win and he will play dirty if that's what it takes to destroy you.

All he has to do is make you believe, believe just one, and he knows you're his. You will fall because he will beat you with his lies.

"Does anyone love me? Because everything i post gets no attention but everyone else's get lots of likes and comments."
This is was my 13 yr old nephew's status update on Facebook last week.

And I cried, y'all! Maybe I was just having an overly emotional day, but I sat there speechless staring at the screen with my heart in my throat, thinking how in the world could this child wonder if he's loved based on Facebook likes?


How at 13, and how at 33 can we buy into this lie? That we need others approval in order to feel worthy or seen?

You can read the rest of this post here

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I remembered writing the above post about my nephew, but realized I now needed to update it for my daughter (whom is now 13). It's not only a good reminder to them, but to me.

My worth doesn't come from anything I do or don't do, but from God alone. And that's enough. Regardless of what anyone says.



 Maybe you've heard of a little thing called Instagram?

Instagram is ALL THE RAGE with the young kids today. No longer on Facebook and definitely not on Twitter. They post pics and ask people to rate them, or give them a certain number of likes for a "shout out" and many more things that I just don't understand nor really want to.

But I now have a teenager, who bases her value on the number "likes" she gets on her pictures. I follow her because it's the rules for her to be on social media,but don't interact... usually (Unless I'm hacking her account to post how AMAZING her mom is :))



After scrolling through my feed once she said, "You just need to get off Instagram, no one likes your pictures."

(I thought she meant I took bad pictures and needed to save myself the embarrassment...and was OFFENDED.) She went on to say I needed to delete them.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because no one is liking them!"

I stared at her for a long time to see if she was kidding or I misunderstood. Neither was the case. So, I asked, "What do you mean? Do you delete your pics if they don't get a certain number of likes? 

She laughed like I was crazy for not realizing this and not doing it too. She said it's embarrassing to put a pic out there and not have anyone like it. So it will immediately get deleted if that happens. 

OH.

"Do you really delete if you don't get a bunch of likes? How many likes do you have to have in order to NOT delete?"



She laughed and said, "Oh, at least 16!"

Whaaaa? 

I said, "Well, I don't really post for the likes, I post if I have a pic I really like and something I want to say with it."

She rolled her 13yr old eyes "No, you post to get likes, you need to take these pics down NOW."

(Well, I was not going to be bullied around by a 13 years old. So I said a quick help me Jesus and proceeded to calmly ask her what in sam hill she was talking about.)

I leaned in and said, "Keeli you do know that just because you may only get one or two likes on a pic it doesn't mean you're not pretty or worthy enough, right?"

I got the typical whatever response. But I'm hoping something I said hit it's mark..her heart.

A few days later she had a friend over and she was scrolling, trolling through my account and brought it up again. I asked her friend if she did the same thing. Wondering if this was just a Keeli thing (cause sometimes my precocious daughter can come up with some crazy ideas on her own).

She just laughed and said she did the same thing, everyone does!!

Whaaa?

Lately I may post something on FB, Twitter, or Instagram and completely forget about it. You see, God's been working on my heart on this. When I first started out I needed validation that this is what God wanted me to do. And that came in the form of comments or likes.

As I've grown online and inward I know I have to do what God's called me to do regardless if anyone else gets it or not.

And if that means no comments, I move on to the next post. I know I wrote what I needed to.

If I decide to update my status on social media it's to build relationships and meet others. Likes are nice but not my end goal anymore.(To be totally totally honest, this is a work in progress)

(See? I've come a long way in 3 years...or has it been 4?)





What I didn't tell my nephew but am telling Keeli (and myself)is this :
  • You are more than "likes," "comments," and "shares."
  • You are beautiful inside and out
  • Outgoing, confident, and smart doesn't = bossy or a know it all
  • The mean girls are mean because they know There's Something Different about you!
  • Even though it feels like it now, other people's words and opinions are just that. They don't define you.
  • Find God, seek Him. Let Him tell you the truth about who you are. 
  • You are more you are more you are more. Wash and repeat
  • And,You are SO LOVED.
Tell me, do you struggle with this too?

Linking up with: Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood, #TellHisStory, Imperfect Prose, Winsome Wed, and Holley Gerth

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sometimes You Have To Look Beyond The Smile


I didn't know it could be this bad. How did I fall so far? So fast?

The gray cloud that descended upon me a year ago was getting darker and darker. It was now smut black.

I pasted on a permi-smile for my husband and kids, but once they were out the door for school and work, the tears I kept hidden fell out like a monsoon. There was no force on earth that could keep them in.

Why, I wondered? Why was I so sad, helpless, and coming apart like this? My life was good. Good family, nice home, a God-sent job, so why, when everything seemed so normal and near perfect on the outside was I falling apart on the inside?


The anxiety was getting so bad I could hardly breathe, and sleep was becoming non-existent, which only made it worse.

On the outside you would never know how I was really feeling. I could have won an Oscar for my performance. I would make it through the day at work and then fall into the couch exhausted and completely spent. Wondering how in the world I was going to muster the energy to even empty the dishwasher.

I would nap until the kids came home, get up,and then have to lay back down again. My kids knew something wasn't right, but they didn't know what. Trey knew something was wrong, he just didn't know how bad.

I finally went to the doctor.

I went in very unenthusiastically and without any emotion, explained how I was feeling and then wept. I couldn't hold it back any longer. I've never cried in front of a doctor before and I was so embarrassed.

She brought in a little Ipad for me to take a test to get a gauge for my depression and anxiety. All I could think of was great, she thinks I'm depressed and probably crazy, now what?

(It's not something you want to admit to. Almost like admitting defeat.The fear of what people think will make you keep it to yourself.)

Once I finished up she came back into the room with my results. I was 100% for extreme depression and nearly the same for anxiety. I can't say I was surprised it only confirmed what I already knew. But what made me freeze was the line that said, 'slight risk for suicide.'

Was I thinking of killing myself? Faintly. I didn't want to feel so heavy emotionally burdened anymore.

When you have the black cloud over your head. You DO NOT think clearly. Everything is obscured.

I knew I loved my children and would not want to do anything to ever hurt them in the way suicide would. I knew I didn't want them to grow up without me and have the memory of their mommy killing herself as my legacy.

But I was in pain, and all I wanted was relief. I faithfully took the anti-depressants and the anxiety pills. I forced myself to do yoga and walks, if for nothing else but to feel the sunshine on my face and feel the life of nature around me.

Slowly I came out and the depression lightened. Months later I'm still here and will always deal with some degree of depression, (it runs in my family) but hopefully not like before.

Now I know.

I know now that depression will make you consider and even follow through with something you would never have considered under normal circumstances.

My heart is heavy for those that are so burdened with the darkness that killing themselves would be freedom.

I have a deeper level of mercy and grace for those that are fighting this battle and then decide to end it the only way they know how.

I used to think suicide was the most selfish act a person could do. But not anymore.

Because when the darkness descends, nothing in your mind makes any sense-not to you and definitely not to anyone around you.

Christianese isn't the answer. Pray more, believe more, hope more, they all sound good and like reasonable answers to someone that has not felt the depth of pain, despair, and worthlessness that comes with severe depression.

I didn't seriously hurt myself because of my kids.period.

I didn't want to leave them and  hurt them and maybe that was the grace of God showing me a way out and guiding me through.

I had people praying for me and loving me through this dark time. For me it made me stronger and gave me the courage to tell people how I was feeling.

If you are hurting and feeling like you may hurt yourself, tell someone! Bring those dark feelings to light. Find people you trust to talk to. Get counseling.

Do something, please don't do nothing.

And I promise as someone that has not only been there, but also as a Christian to only love and accept you, there will be no judgement here. You are loved as you are.


***If you are struggling, I would like to pray for you. Please email me @ asimersky at gmail dot com

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What Will Be Your Dream Legacy?


"Always do your best...Whatever your best is dive in and do it. Learning to read, fighting cancer, writing a book, running a 5k or a marathon. Give it your all and do your best. Your best is your best. It isn't about whether you finish...it's not about the end, but the start!"Amber Johnson
The above quote is from Amber Johnson who enjoys watching the popular show American Ninja Warrior Challenge with her kids. While watching one night she and her kids would ask each other, "Can you do that? I can do that!" (Like I'm sure most of us do when watching this kind of show :) We always think it looks easy.)

However, this conversation lit a fire in her and she started going after it.




























She started training. Lost a ton of weight through all the rigorous physical activity and she accomplished her goal. She applied for America Ninja Warrior, was accepted and when time came to show what she could do,  she was ready.

On June 3rd American Ninja Warrior Dallas appeared on NBC, and for the first time I saw and heard, Amber Johnson's story while watching the show with my own son and husband (it's quite entertaining if you haven't seen it!). 

We were doing our own commenting on who we thought would or wouldn't make it and whether or not we could do it. (OF COURSE I knew I could do ALL of the obstacles ;))

I was not only inspired by her tenacity and drive, but it got me thinking about the types of legacies we leave our kids or even those around us. We want to leave a spiritual but what about a dreaming legacy?


Please join me over at God-sized Dreams to read more...


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

God Took Away My AC (for a week...again)



God took away my air conditioner last week. He did it last year too.

It's miserable and hot.

I'm a hot sweaty yucky mess. I don't smell very good and have been taking 2 cold showers a day just to get out and start sweating the moment I dry off. blegh!

Why God?? Why? Wasn't last year enough? I blame my husband, this had to be his fault somehow I reason. (the heat was starting to get to my head)




I really didn't know I could whine and complain so much. I impressed myself.  Any Jesus I had in me disappeared with the cool air. I was now mean and grumpy and so very HOT!

How did my grandparents do it for all those years?? Bless their hearts.

I know, I'm spoiled. I realized how much so this past week. I want what I want when I want it.  And when I'm hot I want air conditioning. NOW!

Even as I am writing this we are still with no a/c but at least it's stormy outside. The windows are up around the house and the rain is soaking the floors. But we don't care because the breeze from the storm feels so darn good. (Hopefully the air will be fixed, god willing, this afternoon.)

Remember that phrase, be careful what you ask for because you just might get it?
Well, it's true. I like staying needy because it keeps me dependent on God and less on myself. Or so I thought.Until I got really really hot and starting sweating like an elephant or a pig...whichever sweats the worst.

As I sit and write out my complaints before God, pretty sure He's just as concerned with my discomfort as I am, a picture captures my attention out of the corner of my eye.

It's Lawrence.



Lawrence is the little boy from Tanzania that we adopted through Compassion International. In the picture he is holding up a book bag. A treasured gift he was able to receive through birthday money we had sent to him. He holds it out as a prized possession. Without the little bit of money he received from us he probably wouldn't have gotten anything for his birthday. Money is scarce and his dad just died.

Ouch. That picture pricked my heart.

I bet he doesn't have air conditioning either. I wonder how hot it gets there?
I bet he also doesn't have a two-story brick home in a nice neighborhood which has 3 pools for our convenience and playgrounds and hiking trails. 

I may still be hot, but boy, did that picture do a shift in my perspective and heart.

It's been said that God isn't interested in our comfort but in the conditions of our hearts.

I can testify to this truth! God, like any good parent may care that I am hot and cranky and don't like being this sweaty and stinky and would love in all His eternal goodness for my a/c to be fixed. But, apparently there's a bigger lesson he's more concerned about.

My pride.

And learning it's ok to accept help from friends when they offer their nice cool homes for us to sleep in at night so that we don't have to suffer, night after night in the sweltering Texas heat.

Until now, I guess I didn't realize how hard it was for me to accept hospitality. I kept thinking, no we'll suffer through. I don't want to put anyone out. Do they really want us to crash at their house? Or are they just being nice? What can I do to pay them back if we take them up on their offer? 

(My husband said I was being stubborn...but what did he know?! This was his fault after all.)

WOW!

When did I grow into Miss Cynical? This was a good lesson for me in not doubting other's intentions and accepting help when it's offered. I want to pride myself on not needing anyone's help and being self-sufficient, able to do all things on my own. 

But, this isn't how it's supposed to work. I'm glad I didn't let stubborn pride keep me in the heat, it would have made a bad situation worse.

God provides-always. 

It may not be how we want or expect. But He's always there when we need Him in the middle of the storm. He will not ever forsake or leave us!

God's shifting...turning me. More and more away from this world and it's comforts and more towards Him. He knows I'm spoiled and like to be comfortable.

And taking away my a/c in the middle of a Texas summer is a sure-fire way to get my attention!

(Update: the a/c is back! I wrote this at the beginning of the summer when it went out. Thankfully it hasn't gone out anymore. We are moving this week, if you missed my exciting news, you can read all about it in this post. The movers are here today in fact. Prayers for safe travels and quick adjustment in our new home would be welcomed!)


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