What if I Fail?

Have you ever made up your mind that you were going to do something, only to get halfway there and lose all motivation? I would guess we’ve all been there. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve been there MANY times.  So, what in the world should we do with that sense of failure?

Get up! Dust yourself off. And try again.

Here’s what I mean. At the beginning of January, I made 2 goals for myself. Both goals related to my word of the year INTENTIONAL. I wrote down the goals, asked friends to help me stay accountable to them. Then, two weeks into the month, life happened and I fell off the wagon. I allowed myself to take a day off from the goals. Then, one day turned into two. Two days turned into a week. The next thing I knew, it was the end of January and I had failed.

But guess what…my friends didn’t fail me. My God didn’t fail me. I failed. I can’t blame anyone else. Sure, I want to blame it on the 2 year molars causing my son to wake super early several mornings, throwing me off my routine. Or on the fact that the exercises HURT and I was in pain and needed a break. Or on all those names in the geneological listings of the Old Testament…those are hard to read! But the blame doesn’t fall on any of those things. The blame falls on me.

So, what am I going to do? I’m going to get up, dust myself off, and try again! Tomorrow is a new day. It is a new opportunity to be intentional with my time. And God promises me in His word that every morning, His mercies are renewed.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23 (ESV)

Every day, no matter what yesterday held, His mercies are new. No. Matter. What. He is faithful, even when I am not. He loves me, even when I am unlovely. He is merciful, even when I am undeserving of His mercy.

If you’ve failed at your January goals, don’t give up on your 2015 goals. Remember, tomorrow is a new day. You have a fresh, new slate to start over, to try again. Grab hold of that chance, and embrace it. Pray for wisdom, ask your friends to help you, and start anew. Will you fail again? Probably. I will too. And that’s OK. Every time we fail, we have a chance to try again, to learn something, to grow. The only time we truly fail is when we give up.

A Year in Review: Intentional

Photo Credit: marianna armata (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit: marianna armata (Creative Commons)

 

Way back in January, I decided that my word for 2014 would be intentional. I listed several areas in which I wanted to be more intentional with the way I spent my time. So…how did I do?

Before I get to the specific areas, I want to just come right out and say, I started the year strong, but really fizzled out pretty quickly. I still spent way too much time on unimportant things, or just not being intentional about my time.

Here are the areas I wanted to be intentional in:

  1. My relationship with my husband – This year turned out a LOT different that I planned, in a lot of ways.  But I do believe that my husband and I have a stronger relationship today than we did a year ago. We are talking more, not just sitting next to each other (though, that happens too!), we are learning to depend on each other more, and more importantly, to depend on God more. What could we have done differently to make this year better? More intentional time together away from the kids…date nights, maybe even a weekend away here and there.
  2. My relationship with my children – Wow…this one is hard for me. There are days that I feel I did REALLY well here, and there are days that I feel I failed miserably. Don’t we all feel that way sometimes though, mamas? I do think I’m still learning and growing here, though. I think I’ve become a more observant, attentive parent this year, I’ve learned things about my kids, and I’m enjoying them more. I still need to work on this area, and one way I know I can do that is by spending more focused time with each of them individually.
  3. My relationship with God – I started out so strong here, and fizzled so quickly. I’ve let the demands of my day, the busy-ness of my life, the exhaustion of mommyhood fill me…instead of seeking to allow God to fill me. Sure…I have days (even weeks) where I truly seek Him…and then I have days/weeks/months at a time when I barely crack open my bible (electronic or actual pages). I do believe that my prayer life is stronger, as I find myself praying regularly throughout the day…whether a praise, prayer of thanks, or call of “HELP ME!!!”
  4. Reading/completing books – I’ve actually done OK here. No, I’m not reading every day…but so far, I’ve finished all but one book this year (the one I’m reading now…I have 4 days, maybe I’ll actually finish it before year-end?). I’ve read a mix of fiction and non-fiction books…books that have challenged me, encouraged me, and even some that simply entertained me. I look forward to reading more in the new year.
  5. Making my house a home – I started out the year printing a cleaning schedule. I knew I’d have to slowly work my way up to completely every task every day…but I was doing a decent job of doing a few cleaning tasks each day. Then, we decided to put our house on the market, and the cleaning got intense. I really felt like all I did was clean for a couple of months. We moved in August, and I’ve made it a goal to try to keep up with laundry and dishes…but there is SO MUCH more I could do every single day. I could do a much better job of cleaning up after my kids (and getting them to clean up after themselves), as well as general pick-up/cleaning throughout the day. But…I don’t want cleaning to be the only thing I do all day. So, I’m still working on finding the balance.

Overall, I actually feel that I did better than I originally thought. However, I still see room for improvement in all 5 areas, and that’s why I’ve decided that intentional will once again be my word for 2015. I’m going to do things a little differently this time around. For starters, I have 2 sweet friends who will be praying for me, checking in, and holding me accountable, and I will be doing the same for them.  Also, I will be making my relationship with God the most important priority. I know that none of the other items on my list will work if He is not first in my life.

What was your word for 2014? How did you do?

Intentional – My Word for 2014

As I sat Tuesday night reflecting on the amazing year that 2013 was for my family and me, I also had to think about the things I wish I had done differently. Sure, I could have changed things at any point throughout the year, but as I thought about all the good and bad of last year, I knew I had to make some changes this year. When I wrote out my goals, I noticed a common theme – being intentional.
I’ve decided I’m done just floating through my days, feeling frustrated at my lack of accomplishment or just being in the room with someone, but not really being WITH them. So, my goals for this year are to be more intentional about the ways I spend my time.

I want to be INTENTIONAL about spending quality time with my husband. Not just sitting next to him on the couch while we both play on our phones or watch a movie together…but talking to him, loving him the way he deserves…being the wife God designed me to be (and yes, I’m sure that means submitting more).

I want to be INTENTIONAL about the time I spend with my children. I spend so many precious moments with them, sitting in the same room, but not really doing anything WITH them. I want to show them how much they mean to me by playing with them, reading to them, teaching them.

I want to be INTENTIONAL about growing my relationship with God. Spending time in prayer and reading the Bible. Studying His word – on my own and with others. Diving deeper in my commitment and surrender to His will.

I want to be INTENTIONAL about reading. I once set a goal to read 2 books every month – 1 fiction and 1 nonfiction. I think I made it 2 months before I gave up. This year, I just want to finish every book that I start. I haven’t set a certain number of books because I know that life with little ones sometimes gets in the way…but I love to read and I want to get back into the habit of readin often.

I want to be INTENTIONAL about making my house a home. I HATE to clean…actually, hate may not even be a strong enough word. I’ve never understood people who say that cleaning their house is a stress relieving activity. However, having a dirty, messy, cluttered house is definitely NOT stress relieving! No…I don’t want my house to be spotless, model-home clean. But I do want it to be clean enough that I am not embarrassed to invite people over. I want to keep up with the dishes in the sink, to spend a little time each day picking up the messes.

I’m going to pick 1-2 of these goals to really focus on each month this year. I’m going to make living my life – participating, not just watching – a priority this year.

What are you being intentional about this year? What is your word for the 2014?

Pondering…

So, I’m sitting here tonight thinking about so many things. After spending time with a group of dreamers over the weekend, hearing stories of people who are working hard to make their dreams a reality – whether it be jobs, hobbies, or something else. And I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve lost touch with my own dreams. You see, about 10 years ago, while working as an elementary teacher, God began to break my heart for the broken, hurting families in my world. I saw children who had parents who loved them, but didn’t know the right ways to show their love. Parents who were so emotionally and mentally hurt by the people in their lives that they took it out on their children or spouse. I saw parents who could never find the good things about their children. And I saw parents who could never see things about their children that needed to be corrected. To be honest, I really didn’t see a lot of healthy, happy families. Sure – there were a few in each class…but the vast majority of families that I saw were dealing with some major hurts.

It was at that time that God began to put a dream in my heart. A dream to help families. To help children. Parents. Spouses. How was I, a single, broke elementary teacher, supposed to help these people?? I knew I didn’t have the right resources. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have experience as a parent or in a marriage. But what I did have was Jesus…and this dream to help.

Fast forward a couple of years…I quit my teaching job, got married, and kind of forgot about my dream in the process. Then, we started our own family, and I became engrossed in all things Stay-at-Home-Mom. And, I grew further away from my dream.

Then, about 2 1/2 years ago, my husband rediscovered his own dreams. He began writing, encouraging others, and finding the things that truly fulfilled him. He started introducing me to other dreamers…and little flickers of my own dream started to resurface. And that’s where I am tonight. Really starting to look at my dream. Trying to figure out what exactly it is that I want to do with my life. Love my family? YES! Be an awesome wife and mom? Absolutely. But lose myself in the process? No way!! I know God is calling me to help others…but what, exactly, does that mean? Am I to go back to school for a Master’s degree? Start a counseling business? Or am I supposed to write? Simply be a friend to a woman in need of encouragement? Or something totally different?

These are the questions that I’m pondering tonight as I start to look at what I want to do once I’m able to leave my baby at home for more than a couple of hours before he needs fed.

Listening to that Still Small Voice

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Photo by hfreesartography (Creative Commons)

Wow, it’s been a while since I last posted. Sorry about that! A lot has happened in the last 4 months (yikes!). Here’s a quick little update for those of you who care:

  1. We’re pregnant! Yep…soon after my last post, I discovered that I was expecting. I am 21 weeks,and so far, everything seems to be going perfectly. Thankful.
  2. I traveled to Dallas, TX to Mary Kay’s annual Seminar. Seminar was 4 fun, exciting, and learning packed days. I had the opportunity to meet National Sales Directors, hang out with my Sales Director and her Director friends, as well as build relationships with fellow consultants. I am so thankful for this trip. (I’ll blog more about that another time)
  3. I have decided to work on being more of a morning person. Yep…if you know me, you know how much I loathe mornings. But, I have felt the Lord pulling on my heart to start my days with Him. That is what today’s post is about.

I started this blog as a way to share what I’m learning through my Quiet times, as well as other stories from my fun-filled crazy life as a stay-at-home mom. Soon enough, though, I found my Quiet times were getting further and further apart. I was just not consistent…never have been, really. In the past few months, I have been feeling a tug on my heart to truly spend time studying God’s word, praying, and listening to HIm. When was I going to do those things, though? First I thought I’d use my daughter’s nap time…but that soon proved to be ineffective. So then I thought “I’ll do it after she goes to bed at night,” but by that point most evenings, I just want to veg on the couch and pretty much do nothing. My brain has shut down for the day, and I want to spend time with my husband. Suddenly, I realized I was hearing a whisper that said “how about first thing in the morning?” Yes, the Lord was prompting me to wake up early.

Well, I’m just over 3 weeks into my new journey. How am I doing? I’ll be honest…it is TOUGH most mornings to get myself out of bed. I am finding, though, that the more consistent I am with going to bed at a decent time and getting up at the first alarm, instead of hitting snooze, the easier it becomes. I haven’t yet perfected my morning routine…but I’m figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

  1. Going to bed at midnight, then getting up at 6:00 does. not. work. To feel even remotely rested at 6:00, I have to be in bed by 10:30.
  2. Having the coffee pot ready to go the night before makes it so much easier in the morning. My grinder is LOUD. I don’t want to wake the rest of the house, so I need to grind my coffee and have it ready to go before my head hits the pillow.
  3. My 3 year old is so much sweeter, cuter, more adorable when I’ve been up a while before she gets out of bed. So many days that I’ve let her be my alarm clock have started on the wrong foot. My patience, while still not great, is better when I’m up and awake before her feet hit the floor.

What are some things you’ve come to realize as a result of listening to the nudges of the Holy Spirit in your life?

 

Patience for my Mommy Heart

Photo by Jake Bellucci (Creative Commons)

Have you ever prayed for patience, then regretted it as soon as the words came out of your mouth? I have. Why? Because I know that the way the Lord teaches me patience is by putting me smack in the middle of a situation that requires patience.

Just the other day, we decided to start Potty Training, Round 2 with our 2 1/2 year old. The night before our 3-day journey began, my husband prayed that God would give me patience through the process. I very audibly, and very irreverently, sighed “Great“. After the prayer was over, I looked at him and asked if he knew what he had done. I truly believed he’d set us up for MAJOR failure on day one.

I am SO thankful to say that I was wrong. I honestly don’t know if God gave me an extra dose of patience that day, or if day one was truly not as in-need of patience as I expected. I do know that throughout the process, I have been able to catch myself pre-loss-of-patience, then refocus and move on. That has been a HUGE blessing to me…and I’m sure to my daughter as well.

I do believe that my daily Scripture reading has been an important part of my increased patience through this process. Almost every morning, it seems I am waking up before my daughter. As I lie in bed, mentally preparing myself for the day to come and trying to pry my eyes open, I turn on my iPod, open the Bible app, and read 4 chapters from the Psalms. And every single day, it seems that there is one verse, sometimes two, that jumps out at me. Usually something about God being my salvation, redeemer; or about His love and peace… I am so thankful for His reminders every morning!

A few of my favorite verses from the last few days (taken from the English Standard Version):

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. Psalm 13:5

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Why I Need Community

Photo by Páris Neto (Creative Commons)

Community. What is it? Do we need it? Why?

To me, community is a group of people with whom I can truly be myself. It is that small circle of friends where we can share our deepest hurts, our greatest joys, our smallest details, and our biggest mistakes…all in the safety that comes from knowing we’ll be loved no matter what.

Do we need community? My answer to that question is a resounding YES! I believe every single person needs community in their lives. Why? Because we all need to know that no matter what happens, we are loved, valued, and encouraged. We need a place where we can be true to our broken, imperfect selves.

I wear a mask that says I have it all together. I am a Christ-follower, wife, mom, daughter, friend, sister. I am a Mary Kay Consultant, former teacher and tutor, dreamer, blogger, family chef, and potty-trainer. I want people to think all of these areas of my life are GREAT! Unfortunately, reality paints a different picture. My house is a mess, my laundry is piled high waiting to be folded. My doubts and fears stop me from pursuing my dream. I yell and cry when I’m angry, clam up when I’m sad. I am far from perfect…and I’d venture to guess you are, too.

This is why community is so important! My community of close friends knows my imperfections, and they love me anyway. They know my strengths, and support me as I use them to serve God and others. These friends also know my weaknesses, and encourage me as I step out of my comfort zones and do things I’m not necessarily good at. They are people I can turn to when I have messed up. They may even be the ones to point out my brokenness, and that’s OK because I know they will also be the people used by God to help put me back together.

Community does not require us to be perfect, it simply requires that we be present. 

What about you…why is community important in your life?