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Jul 29, 2015

Faith in the Motherhood Trenches



When I am despairing about how I have treated my kids, or about a messy house, or about any number of things(the opposing team likes to just add every little reason to despair, fear, or get angry)... Faith will win EVERY TIME. The term faith sounds cliché. Like, we hear the word all the time in church...but making it an actual shield against the “attacks from the opposing team” is a very active brain endeavor, as well as a physical one. Faith is believing in things which are not seen, which are true. To start, we have to see the truth of the moment. We have to see what is really going on in our brains. (this was a big breakthrough for me, haha maybe I am the last one to figure this out... :)

My Cognitive Faith Therapy
There was a day I was just having the worst day.  Someone had suggested this exercise to me, and so I tried it. I wrote down how I really felt inside. If I put my emotions into words, what would they say? I embarked on complete honesty, no matter how ugly my thoughts seemed… (Things which are not seen, which I was believing). My lists, at first, shocked me. (TIP: keep your list private. It backfires when those closest to you see the lies clanking around in your head.)

Scene: Messy house; husband home after work, but not helping like I want. My baby is fussy and hanging on my legs, whining and not letting me cook, my toddler trying to sample all the things he shouldn’t from the counter, there is a date planned in an hour, and there is no way it seems that I can get everything done.

Negative thoughts I wrote: There is no way I can get this done! My baby is driving me crazy, I am so frustrated at my toddler, my husband is such a lazy butt! I shouldn’t have to say anything to him about helping! My house is a mess, I am a terrible mom! Why can’t I balance it all like other moms? I am so overwhelmed…

After jotting my thoughts of the moment on paper, I counteracted each negative thought with what I thought Jesus would see me from his vantage point if he looked at my life in that moment…

Truth thoughts:(Seeing things which are not seen which are true): All things are possible to God, even my little house crisis. My baby just wants some love, and probably is distressed because I am… poor thing. My toddler is just showing normal development, and is hungry. Should I really be angry over normal behavior? This is a learning moment, and I am equipped with the skills to calmly have a teaching moment with my toddler. Christ can give me the strength to accomplish all of these needs. What a blessing to have a learning moment for myself that God has tailored just for me. My husband has agency and is not perfect. He is a son of God, who is learning too and loves me. I can be patient, and ask for help from him in a way that shows love and honors his ability to choose. I am a Child of God, with all the capacity to accomplish what is needed through Christ. My house is messy, but I am learning to budget my time. God dosen’t love me less because of a messy house, so I can love myself despite my choices. I can change. God dosen’t care about how I compare with others, he loves me, and only wants me to be my best self within my responsibilities. He can enable me to accomplish my righteous desires.
                                                                                  ...

After completing this faith list, I felt so much more at peace, and empowered to finish the evening. All of these great ways to balance what I needed to do came to mind, like putting my baby in his highchair by the counter with a toy, to make him feel included. I was able to ask my husband for help, and not sound like a grouch. For me, all those truths were things which were not seen which were true at the time, which I could not see because of all the lies that I was believing in my head. I switched out the "I can't do this"lens, to the "Truth of the Gospel" lens. Jesus can help us always. Darkness flees at the presence of light.

Discover things which are not seen which are true. Satan can be so sneaky in our heads, but we can flesh him out!

After doing this exercise many times I began to be so frustrated with all the lies I was believing and acting on I wanted to change. The way I was being yanked around was disgusting to me. I was appalled by how blind I had been. I wanted to take back my life, and get rid of my belief in lies. Satan was going to get kicked out of my brain, and out of my home! And that my friends, that is how faith leads to repentance…;)  but repentance is a topic for another day. 

Jul 25, 2015

Why Marriage, Why Family?

Just a few weeks ago Same sex marriage was legalized across the nation. I know this made alot of people happy... and I am also pleased that there have been so many kindnesses afforded to these people, which have previously been negated.

However, many religious organizations continue to disagree with the decision to accept same sex marriage as an acceptable form of marriage for society. Why? Why do we continue to support marriage between a man and a woman as the only true definition of marriage? Many think we are pigheaded, or bigots for standing by our beliefs... I can see why many might feel quite sensitive to opposition after many years of unkindness from others. It is so easy to view a difference of opinion as harmful. It seems impossible to most people to see that existing peacefully with opposing opinions can exist without contention. Why do we continue to stand? Why marriage? Why family?

The need for traditional families is more basic and important to the fabric of society than most of us realize. Marriage between a man and a woman in a natural sense is the only real union that will perpetuate children in a healthy environment to pass on the best skills to take on supporting the next generation.

In our American culture, and all over the world in more developed countries, growth and wealth have exploded in the last 200 years. Information, convenience, and comfort has never been known in such quantity and availability in the history of the world.

With all the good things that this change brings, there is a human function that has suffered. I believe it is the basic human connection.

Just a week or two ago I visited the great Island of Hawaii. What a cultural hub! Just like the steaming jungle and blooming flowers, the island breathed with multicultural life. There were tourists from all over the world and and people from almost every Polynesian culture. At the Polinesian Cultural Center a way of life was preserved. Youth from every island in the Pacific come together to tell the story of their Island. There is a feeling of Ohana that all convey(which means family). This family connection feeling that is shared between these cultures has its roots entwined in the basic natural living of the people. They believe everything they need comes from mother earth, and she takes care of them. EVERYTHING is made from plants, or gathered from the ocean. Its not just in the immediate family, that I am speaking of, but there is a village family atmosphere. To illustrate, you can call any random male over the age of 30 uncle, and Auntie is a very esteemmed status in this culture. You can FEEL it too. I visited many different organizations there and when people talk to you they step closer and speak, physical touch happens much more often, and you can see the openness in their eyes. I found it refreshing, and quite different.

Jul 10, 2015

Will you follow Jesus with me?

A few days ago, Hubby and I were sitting on the couch with my almost 3 year old. Both of us had finally had a little sleep after hubby's recent surgery, and we were taking a little bleary eyed account of how to bring balance back to the house. The first thing that needed TLC was our kids. Aaron and I were snuggling, his head on my chest. He had been acting out for a few days so I decided to do a little focus on the good in my boy to see if it would bring out better behavior...
The conversation went like this:

"It makes me so happy when I see you choose to share with your brother, and when you help me around the house. I can see that you feel happy too when you follow Jesus."

He brought is head around and gave me a hug, with his eyes warm and sparkling. He then looked up at me intently and said,

"Mommy, will you follow Jesus with me?" 

I paused in amazement at his profound question... I squeaked out a yes. No sooner had he said this, he turned to my husband and repeated the question.

"Daddy, will you follow Jesus with me?"

He and I exchanged knowing looks at this solemn, and oh so important call to parenthood. He gave it to both of us. We agreed heartily.

As if that weren't enough, he followed that statement with this sermon:

"Oh, I'm so glad. Then we will follow the cross, and come home."

He finished the statement with his eyebrows up, and his usual jazz hands he waggles when he gets excited. What love passed between the three of us at that moment. Hubby and I were astounded that such pure knowledge had come from this little normal, silly boy. Little children really are alive in Christ.

I thought deeply on what he had said for a couple of days. I realized that he had melted down the essence of a happy home into these simple sentences. It wasn't until I had begun a sincere study of the Savior and began applying "what he would do" in the everyday moments with my children, that things had really begun to change in our home. Even in my awkward, and imperfect way I've been trying harder to place my feet in the footsteps he left for me. He left them for all of us. We are beginning to have less fighting, more helping, kinder words, better learning experiences, and even a greater love between me and my spouse. The cascading effect of that in our children's future is priceless.

In all my study of the family, what has been the very most effective for a home that prepares them for life? I mean leagues beyond anything I've ever read out there... And I have read a lot.
Following Jesus. 

Mommy...

Daddy...

Will you follow Jesus with me? 

Will you help give these beautiful children the greatest gift that we could give? Will you join with me in quietly, honorably taking their tiny hands and walking with them toward the Savior.

There is a home, beyond what we can see here. It is more glorious than any of us can imagine. We miss it sometimes, and that can be why we feel empty, or lost. We cannot always see it, because part of this essential life experience is to be separated from the presence of our Father so we can learn. He is the all knowing, loving, Father of our Spirits. Our God. When our brother  Jesus suffered and died for our sins, he paid the price for us to come back. As we turn to him to become clean from our sins, and begin to live like Him, we prepare ourselves to come home. Will you follow Jesus with me?  Will you follow Jesus with me and help bring God's children home? 

My little boy has asked me, and now I am asking you. Jesus is the way, the truth and the LIFE. He is the path to true happiness. Lets follow with all our might, mind and strength. Together, lets all come HOME.