Thursday, December 22, 2011

Raising My Strong Willed Child {without losing my mind}

They can pushy and opinionated. Sometimes giving very little thought to what others think or want. They can be selfish and manipulative.
I have a particularly very strong willed child. She has challenged me from the time she was first placed in my arms. Refusing to be put on a schedule. Needing constant attention, always wanting to be held, didn't like to be alone {forget about self entertaining! ha}and was admittedly pretty draining at times {a lot of times}.

She can see through you like you were made of glass. There is never any pulling the wool over this child's always watching eyes.
She challenges every decision, opinion, every move we make is closely scrutinized.

There have been times when  I cried out to God, WHY?!? why is she so hard? I. can't. do. this. I'm not smart enough or strong enough. What make you think I could handle her, raise her without losing my sanity and without breaking her? Before her I was not so patient. I've learned to bend. to wait. Because with a strong willed child it's all about waiting them out! Not blinking first.

Reminding myself {and her at times} that I'm the adult and my husband and I do have the final say, does help. She wears me down fast. She is a little adult in a child's body and doesn't like that she doesn't have a say in all decisions like she wants to.

The days can become one long-drawn out battle after another if I let it.  There are days I wonder if I'm getting through at all. Am I making a difference? I know she's listening even if she is pretending not to.

 But the truth is she wouldn't be mine if HE didn't think I could make a difference in her life. He knew I could do it even before I realized I could. He knew I was capable when I didn't think I was. She brings out things in me that I'm not comfortable with. She forces me to step out of my comfort zone and into her extroverted world of fearlessness.

 My daughter loves big. She is kind and generous. She is a great friend to those around her. And has a heart for the less fortunate. She listens. On those days when I think nothing is getting through, I think about all her wonderful qualities and am reminded that, I am. I do. I am capable enough.

Strong willed children will grow up to be leaders. Leaders of what is up to them. I pray for more leaders of good.  Light leaders. My daughter will make a great leader.

I came across this strong willed child prayer from Kristin click over at Chasing blue skies to read it, you'll be glad  you did!! I sure was, I printed it off and keep it in my bible to read from time to time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eve, Was It Worth It?!

One day when I get to heaven I will have a few questions for not only God, but for Eve. The first woman of the earth, the first mother.  One question in particular will be about that blasted apple she bit into and cursed us all with!! Was the apple worth it Eve??

Now I like apples as much as the next girl, but to eat one in exchange for hard labor (work), PMS,  & child labor pains..I think not!

For me I have PMS on steroids. It's called PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Luckily for me I have a little anti-anxiety pill I take during this lovely time that helps me and my family survive. Or help me survive my family. :)
I am literally a crazy emotional mess for about a week, sometimes 2 if I'm really lucky.   I cry over everything, I'm anxious, depressed, moody, fatigued, always hungry (which doesn't help with weight loss by the way), bloated, and I can't sleep.  Did I mention FATIGUED?! ughhh. Exercise does help, but only when I do it. 

I hope that when I get to heaven Eve will say, "Yes, Alecia it was a very good and tasty apple, the best I ever had. But worth it? No, totally not worth it."

Thanks for listening, I will feel better next week :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the Season, falalaahhhh

I love Christmas. I love the smells, the decorations, the cooking, the presents, going to church on Christmas Eve.  I love it all!  But what is it about this time of year that leave me so STRESSED?!  The season is rushing by and so far I'm not enjoying it very much.  The busyness, the money spent, cranky kids, cranky me, I'm almost wishing it were all over with and things could go back to normal.

But as I sit and wonder where my Christmas spirit has gone and if I can get it back before it's too late. I sense God telling me to slow down and just be still.  It doesn't have to be perfect, I'm the only one with that expectation. Everything doesn't have to get done at one time, and so what if the house isn't spotless? And if my Christmas card pictures are going to be less than stellar, or that I haven't even done them yet, so what? I feel like the Grinch that stole Christmas. 
I like to get up early and have quiet time with my bible and journal. It helps clear out the clutter and prepare me emotionally for the day. It was in this time one morning last week that I saw clearly how my attitude was affecting not only me but those around me.

And then:
I was sorry for my pride, perfectionism, unrealistic expectations, and selfishness.  Sorry for not looking beyond my wants and seeing those in real need due to loss of a loved one, sickness, or a family that is struggling. I am humbled.  As the tears fall, I let it all go and give it my Father.  I stop striving. enough.

Jesus came to give us peace and love, what better way for me to show that to those around me, then for me to be at peace and to love them well.

Be still, slow down, and breathe.  Take in each day as it comes, enjoy and savor it. For we are not promised tomorrow. I am reminded of 3 families in my own community that have recently lost loved ones, children.  I then promise myself to stop taking my time for granted to embrace each day and live fully. These families would give anything for one more day with their child, I don't want to take anymore days with my kids for granted. I want to make happy memories and traditions with them. And when I'm relaxed and calm so are they. I thank God again for opening my eyes and reminding me of the real reason of the season, and for again being patient and loving with me. I know I can be stubborn.

I know there is a lot of hurting and sadness going on in the world right now, will join me in praying and lifting up families in our own communities that are hurting. Our prayers make a difference. And maybe God will lay someone on our hearts to reach out to and be the hands of Jesus to them this Christmas season.  I can't think of any better gift.  Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's What You Do

I grew up in the South, also known as the Bible Belt. And in the South you go to church. I grew up in Florida and moved to Alabama as a teenager.  I attended church with my family my entire life. As most other southern families do.

There's a cycle I've noticed growing up, and I'm not sure if it's exclusive to the South or if this is the case all over. This is strictly my opinion and observation.

Here's the cycle that I've witnessed:

1) You grow up in church, maybe get baptized, go till you graduate high school then you either

  a) go to college  b)get married  c) work {during this period is when you typically stop going to church}

When you move out from underneath your parents watch you start to navigate the waters on your terms doing things your way, and your parents can't make you go anymore.

Besides, what did you or any of your friends get out of it anyway? Most of them (probably including you) were drunk or high the Saturday night before and were only in church the next morning because momma threatened and drug you there.

You start to feel like the church is filled with nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.

2) You get married then have one or 2 kids of your own. Suddenly going to church seems like the right thing to do. It's what your family and probably the family of your spouse did. Aren't you supposed to when you have kids? So you go.

3) You go, but you don't really get anything out of it. It's good for the kids though. And maybe for your business, good for making contacts or for the boss to see and know you are involved in the community.  You're there physically but not there mentally or spiritually.

Your behavior and attitude doesn't change much outside of the church walls. Life is still hard, so your not quite sure if this church stuff works. Well, maybe it does for some, the "weird ones" but your not weird and your kids won't be either. So we aren't going to take this church stuff too serious or get too deep with it. Just going is enough. 

4) Finally, your kids grow up. And the cycle starts all over with them.

There's nothing wrong with going to church,but today's church is filled with people like this. They only go because it's the "thing to do."  

Did you know the #1 reason new Christians or unbelievers stop going to church or never start is because of how they see these "Christians" behave outside of church?  Their search for answers end; because of what they witness in these "Christians". 

This breaks my heart and I hope it does yours too.

Unless we stop the cycle and are truly changed, heart changed, church will always be just another good thing on our to do list for the week. Until we let the Holy Spirit come in, settle in, unsettle us, and change our hearts then morning worship is nothing more than catching up with the weekly gossip of who did this or said what, a good message by the Pastor, and uplifting singing and music.

Until we realize we can't do this life thing on our own, our way it just doesn't work and it never will without Jesus, and until we can come to church and ask what can I do? How can I help the body of Christ today? 

 We will always miss the point of church. And our kids will too.

What church should be:  It's a time of worship and fellowship with other believers. A time to encourage others in their life, taking time to seek and ask about those that are hurting, only for the reason to pray for them, not to have something to gossip about later. 

We are being watched, like it or not. And it's a big responsibility. Little and big eyes are on us.  So lets be the difference we want to see in the church. Let's drop our guards, drop the fake smiles, and the illusions of "perfect" lives, the gossip and backbiting.

Because if we can't then we are no different than the unbelievers.  Let's be honest and real and then the church will be transformed. We're only deceiving ourselves. We're dividing not uniting. Jesus came to show us how to love, let His work be not in vain.

**It's a dangerous thing growing up believing you are saved when maybe you aren't. Living in an area that is saturated with churches on every corner, growing up knowing what is morally right, and growing up in church make for a lot of head knowledge of Jesus and religion, and make you think yeah,sure I'm a Christian I believe in Jesus. But until Jesus gets into your heart and starts messing with you, your just another fan of his, not a follower.

What about you? Have you grown up in a Bible Belt area, is it hard or easy?

 ***9/20/12 Update~This is one of my very first blog posts :) and we had just moved out of the South, about this time last year. I had a lot on my heart as you can see. I left feeling frustrated and worn down by the church. This is pretty lengthy post for me, sorry, I tried to go in and cut things out, but even still, it's pretty windy.

A podcast I came across this week that talks about this very thing. It's called The Demonic Danger of a Church on Every Corner, hope you have time to check it out {it's the fifth podcast down}!

Linked up at:: Imperfect Prose, Life in Bloom, Thought Provoking Thursdays, Faith Filled Fridays


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