June 10, 2017

Evidence

Some days it feels like we are doomed to fail—constantly at battle with the powerful personal voices in our head—one reminding us of our worthlessness . . . and one gently whispering truth.

The louder one—most of the time—seems to overpower the soft. The tenderness, we begin to perceive as weakness. So we walk around—sometimes for decades—believing we will fail. We start to live as if those bold lies in our mind are really who we are. The soft voice—that once told us our truths—feels distant and far away. The carefree life of long ago . . . faded. The child, who once didn’t care what anyone thought . . . is replaced by a lonely soul, seeking for proof.

Every day we search frantically for evidence—of our worth—but most days we fail. Because our expectations of what “love” and “respect” and “success” should be are never met. Even when we achieve a goal, we want more. Our desire for perfection in ourselves is projected onto everyone who crosses our path. Their mistakes become evidence of their worthlessness—their tenderness . . . weak. Even when someone comes and does everything right, we use it as evidence that they must be fake or too good to be true, or stupid for spending time with a person who is so fractured. 

So we keep searching for evidence, all the while never finding it. But we want it. Evidence that we are loveable just the way we are. Evidence that someone cares. Evidence of a higher power—an eternal love that we know we are promised, but can’t seem to find. We search for evidence of a world who will see us—a relationship that will cure our pain, a friend to coax us along . . . to tell us the words that will help us to keep moving forward—a soul mate that we can live life for. Someone who helps us remember who we are . . . because we have seen all the evidence, and there is no way we are going to possibly be able to find it on our own. 

We use “signs” as evidence that the planets are aligning despite our imperfections—and again with proof that no one will ever truly care about us. We are a walking contradiction. We use other people’s mean words as evidence that we shouldn’t let anyone in—proof to justify our own cruelty. We use another’s hate as evidence that there is no one who we can trust. 

The voice grows louder, and soon it is all we can hear. Every word spoken around us, and every action taken by another person becomes evidence of how stupid, fat, ugly, dumb, lazy, selfish, alone, and pathetic we really are. But we don’t allow ourselves to see it that way. Instead we lash out with proof that we have been wronged—never taking accountability for our actions, words, or fears. Always blaming another person for not being enough. 

So we try to hide all the things we have learned to hate about our perceived self. Making us live a fake life, one where we can hardly remember our truths. We hope we can accomplish some of our goals before anyone figures out the “truth” of our worthlessness, and realizes that we only achieved them by accident . . . mere coincidence. We are too broken to let anyone in, but too prideful to admit we are hurting. So we yell. We hide. We push people away. Not because we want to be alone . . . but because we truly believe we are not worthy—of success, of happiness, of love. So it becomes easier to just be . . . because at least all we have to battle is the voices. With no one close to us, we assume we won’t have as many chances of hearing or seeing evidence of the fears we already assume we are—worthless. 

We begin to hate other people for not showing us how to find what we thought they could—ourselves. We fight for more time, more affection, more love . . . but we don’t know how to give it. We want someone to just love us the way we are, but we don’t even know how to love the person we see staring back at us in the mirror. We blame them for their lack of love . . . because we wished we could find it inside. We give them the job of fixing our fears without any way of ever accomplishing it. 

We hear people talk of grace . . . and wish it could apply to us too. But that voice chimes in and says, “Oh no . . . not you. Grace is only for those perfect people you see at church, His love is for people who have earned it. Jesus has given up on you. You have made too many mistakes. You have gone too far. I need you to remember: you are not enough.”

So we hang our head down and wait for the day we can become less broken and more perfect . . . so God will remember us. And every time we feel forgotten by Him, we hold in our hands more evidence of our worthlessness.

Evidence. I want you to ask yourself this one question: What am I still waiting for?
Our search for evidence will drive us. It will send us down dark windy roads seeking proof, fearing truth. It drives us to sit in courtrooms for months to hear the truths we hope will heal our broken hearts. It drives marriages, and divorces, affairs and abuse. It drives anger and fear. It drives us crazy. 

So if you are one of those souls—I have been many times—seeking for someone or something to come and complete you . . . I need you for this moment to stop. That battle in your mind between dark and light, truth and lies . . . causing chaos and contention, and fear—is a lot simpler than we think. 

There are no grey voices. They are either dark or light. The ones that cause chaos are not divine. The ones that bring peace and love and acceptance of yourself and other people . . . those are the still small voices from God. 

Ask Him for the truth. The truth is: You are enough. You are worthy. You are smart. You are real. You can succeed at love, at life, and happiness. And you are worthy of it. You are kind, and deep down you have a warrior spirit that wants to help you remember those truths you were born to live. The battle of your thoughts is just one of the many fights you are going to face . . . but you will not do them alone. He didn’t forget you . . . and He never will.


Keep winning. Live life like it was all on purpose . . . because either way you are stuck here, might as well make the most of every moment. Let other people in—they need you . . . and quite frankly, you need them. It is ok to cry. It is ok to laugh—even if you know what it is like to lose. You deserve joy. It will come in little flickers of moments, sometimes through the pain. Choose the right, even when it feels impossible. Choose the light—He is the only way. He is the only One who can teach your heart to remember . . . YOU ARE ENOUGH. 





(My presentation at A Reason to Stand Nampa, Idaho June 3rd, 2017)
If you get to the end and wish you could see it here is the: Twins song




June 9, 2017

Standing Beautiful


I have been working on a project inspired by having four daughters who are coming into teenage years. I am calling it the Standing Beautiful project. After spending years on finding and creating tools on how to find inner beauty, I have felt the need to give them tools to do the same on the outside.

So here is a little video to explain how I am working on balancing the beauty world for me and my daughters. Why we have to align our inner and outer beauty to really live our truths. My search for helping me and other woman find tools that help us stand more beautiful...with confidence and pride in ourselves and the world around us.

I always thought to help another person heal it would be just by teaching them how to find their truths and overcome trauma . . . but what I have come to learn was that they have to feel balanced in beauty, both emotionally, spiritually . . . but also physically.

So what makes you feel beautiful? Not what does the world tell you, or what do you think you should make you feel beautiful . . . what helps you feel beautiful? I hope we can all bounce modest, beautiful, fun, and soul building ideas off each other. And you will join me and my girls during this project to spread the true kind of beauty. The kind that is already in you . . . just needs a few highlights and routines to help you believe it. And then live it.

For more on my Standing Beautiful project please visit:
Standing Beautiful



June 8, 2017

Fighting for Me

Music from last Saturday's A Reason to Stand. Bostyn and Bailey put together something special with one of my favorite songs from Sia. And the beautiful Ashley Hess came back with her original song written about our journey, "The Moment You Stand".

June 2, 2017

This is real life . . . how one woman battled Postpartum Depression


I sat there looking at the gun, it was blurry because of how hard I was crying.  I loved my children and my husband more than anything in the whole world.  I would die for them. And that's why I would be brave enough to do this—because they were better off without me—their lives would be so much better if I were gone.

(Guest Post)


Growing up the only thing I ever really wanted to be was a mother.  I could not wait for the day to have my own children. It could not come soon enough.  My husband and I were married in 2005 and I gave birth to my first child in 2007.  It was magical and everything I ever dreamed it would be. My second child was born in 2009 and our love and hearts just grew and grew!  In 2011 I suffered a horrible miscarriage at 13 weeks pregnant. It was gut wrenching and took awhile to heal from. But eventually we found our faith and marriage had only strengthened through that trial.

In 2013 I gave birth to our 3rd child.  The labor and delivery went smooth, I was able to give birth without an epidural for the first time and it was a very amazing birth! I snuggled that sweet baby boy all night and felt so happy and blessed.  Less than 24 hours after giving birth I was headed home with our newest baby.  I remember on the car ride home feeling a huge amount of dread.  I wasn't ready to leave the hospital yet. I felt like a dark cloud was starting to form over my head.
The next 5 months are honestly a complete blur.  I know that my baby only slept in 45 minute increments, wouldn't take a bottle, and was extremely colicky.  He usually cried from 9 pm to 3 am every single night. I was averaging 3-4 hours of sleep a night which I think intensified my depression.  I could feel that dark cloud over my head getting darker and heavier as the days went on.  Towards my baby's first birthday my post partum depression was so bad I was barely functioning. I hardly ever got dressed or put makeup on which is so not like me.  I didn't clean, I rarely left my house. I'm usually a fairly patient person but I had zero patience and would explode over the smallest things. I yelled at my children, I yelled at my husband. I was horrible. I questioned my faith, whether God even existed at all. It was like I was in a deep dark tunnel being sucked further and further away from any light. I couldn't think clearly, I was forgetful, my joints ached, my head always hurt, and my chest felt heavy.  Every morning I had to force myself out of bed. The darkness slowly but completely took over. I just went numb and felt no emotion at all.
I stopped praying. I no longer felt the spirit—which I've since learned is very common with severe depression. I started fantasizing about dying. Sometimes I'd be driving down the road and look at a tree and wonder what it would be like to speed up and hit it as hard as I could.  I'd stand in front of my medicine cabinet and take note of all the pills I could take. When my baby would wake up in the night I'd go in his room and ask him why he was ruining my life.  That is something I will never ever forgive myself for.  I'm so thankful that he was too young to understand and will not remember me when I wasn't myself. As the days passed I literally just got worse and worse. It got so bad I felt there was no hope. My life would never be good again. I was miserable. The one thing I always wanted and found so much joy in, being a mother, I was horrible at. I felt zero hope. I couldn't see anything but pain and darkness.

The day I almost took my own life is a day I will never forget. I woke up to the cloud of darkness and felt like it was consuming me, like I couldn't breathe. I hated myself—and everything I had become. I told my husband I was going for a drive. I found myself parked down a dirt road at the edge of the forest. I just stared blankly at the sky. Then I started sobbing like I've never sobbed before. I then looked down and saw it.... my husband had accidentally left his gun in my car in the middle compartment. I suddenly felt hope. This must be meant to be. My kids and my husband could finally be free of me and be happy. I sat there looking at the gun, it was blurry because of how hard I was crying.  I loved my children and my husband more than anything in the whole world.  I would die for them. And that's why I would be brave enough to do this, because they were better off without me. Their lives would be so much better if I were gone. It would be my one last act of love.

I sat contemplating if I should text my husband and tell him how much I loved him and our children. I decided I should probably get out of my car and walk into the forest so that my husband would still be able to use our vehicle. I went to reach for the gun to start my walk in the woods and an image of my oldest child came into my mind with a look of pure devastation on his face. It caught me off guard because up until that moment I thought I was doing this to make them happy, to have a better life. The image wouldn't leave my mind. And then that still small voice that I hadn't heard in a very long time whispered to me that this would devastate my children. I was promised that if I would turn around and go home things would get better. For the first time in almost a year I felt the tiniest glimmer of hope. Then I felt God's love for me. I thought He had abandoned me, didn't love me. But suddenly I felt like I was being wrapped in a warm hug. He was there. Exactly when I needed Him to be. He saved me.

I drove home, walked inside and nonchalantly told my husband he had left his gun in my car. He immediately got it and put it in his gun safe. (He is huge on gun safety and our guns are always locked up in a safe. We take gun safety very serious). I wasn't ready to tell him yet what had happened.  I felt ashamed. I hugged my children and held back tears.

A few days later I told my husband a little bit about what had happened. I didn't go into details, but I did tell him that I was incredibly depressed, that I saw his gun and was tempted. He made me go to the doctor the next morning. I told her how I was feeling, all my symptoms, and my doctor immediately diagnosed me with severe post partum depression. I was shocked. I knew very little about PPD. Wasn't that the thing horrible people got that made them want to hurt their babies? I never wanted to hurt my baby. My doctor explained PPD to me and how it was a chemical imbalance in my brain. I couldn't just want to be happy, snap my fingers and suddenly be happy. She prescribed me an anti-depressant and suggested I start exercising and make sure I go outside everyday to get some vitamin D. I left that appointment feeling hope. I was glad to have a diagnosis and a plan.

It took almost 3 weeks for my antidepressant to kick in but one day I woke up and that dark cloud over my head seemed just a little lighter and not so heavy. I was still in a dark tunnel but I could see just a tiny bit of light at the end of that dark tunnel. I started exercising; I made myself get dressed every single day. Very slowly I could feel the old me coming back. Some days were harder than others, I was still depressed but I no longer fantasized about dying.

I can literally remember the moment my depression completely lifted. I woke up and instantly felt lighter. My joints didn't hurt; I didn't feel that dark heavy cloud over me. The sun looked brighter, I felt hope, peace, and God's love for me.

It took me a while to start praying again. I felt guilt for having almost taken my life. My precious life that God had given me and my Savior had died for. But eventually I did start praying again. I had some incredible spiritual experiences. I know God doesn't fault me for that day I almost died. I was truly sick. I didn’t almost take my life, Post Partum Depression almost took it. I was also shown how God never left me. When you are severely depressed sometimes you just can't feel the spirit or see God's hand in things. Now I can look back and see him literally taking my hand and pulling me out of bed. He was there. He was always there. And in the moment when I needed him most . . . He didn’t leave me.

I don't know exactly why I developed PPD. I've researched it. I know some of it has to do with hormonal changes in your body, some of it is a chemical imbalance in your brain, some of it is hereditary. But maybe God chose this trial for me. Why? Because he knew I'd get through it and come out stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually. He saw the person I could be. He knew I needed that trial to be the mother, wife, and person I am today. My third child was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder right before his 3rd birthday. What I went through made me a fighter. And I have to fight for him every single day.  I'm not sure I could do that without the perspective I have now.

Going through something like that changes you. I am more patient now. I don't take life and little moments for granted. I make sure I hug my children every single day. I feel deeper. I have empathy for others like I never had before. Trials will do that to you.

Everyone has a story—a Gethsemane that they have to walk through. PPD was mine. That woman that doesn't come to church anymore.... maybe she is struggling with depression and can't find the strength to leave her house. That woman in the store in her pajamas..... maybe she can't see her worth.

Here's what I've learned through my journey with post partum depression.
-If you are depressed, it doesn't mean you are weak.
-It's not your fault.
-You can't MAKE yourself be happy if you have a form of depression.
-You are not a bad person.
-It may feel like God has left you but He's there. He's right there beside you. He sends His angels to watch over you and protect you.
-There is one person who understands your pain completely. The Savior. Reach out to him. If you don't feel like praying, that's when you need it most.
-There is purpose in all things.
-I am strong.
-I'm a fighter.

Today as I sit here at my computer, I'm honestly happy. I actually gave birth to my fourth boy 4 months ago! It's been wonderful and so far I've been blessed to not have any signs or symptoms of PPD.  I do have to be extra vigilant about my mental health. I wake up every morning and open all my curtains and let that beautiful sunshine in. I get dressed and do my makeup every single day. I count my blessings. I take an anti-depressant. I give myself a lot of grace. I talk to God a lot. Sometimes on my knees, sometimes while I'm driving in the car. I've learned He always listens. I try to move my body every day. I set healthy boundaries for myself. I say no when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

I LOVE being a mother. It is my greatest joy in life. They saved my life—over and over they save me. I love them with my whole heart and I feel like I am now the mother they need me to be. Everyday is a gift.

To my sweet, amazing husband- thank you for never leaving my side, even during my darkest moments. Thank you for loving me and encouraging me every single day. I can't wait to grow old with you and spend eternity with you. You are truly my everything and I love you.

There is one thing I'm not sure I will ever forgive myself for and that is the way I treated my husband and children during my depression.  I have come to terms with everything but that. When you are severely depressed you do and say things the "normal" you never would.

Writing this and sharing every detail is terrifying. I know it will come with a lot of judgment. But that's okay. If I can help one person then it is all worth it. PPD has a stigma attached to it. My hope is that it starts becoming a conversation. I think it needs to be talked about by your nurse before you leave the hospital with that precious baby. Maybe if I had known the signs and symptoms of PPD I would've gotten help sooner.

So to all you who have been there too . . . You aren’t alone. We are all fighting together.


If you would like to learn more about April and her journey you can visit her blog www.aprilrises.com



A note from The Moments We Stand:

This guest post really touched my heart. After losing a dear friend many years ago to suicide after a long battle with PPD, I know the fight is real. Thank you April for sharing your journey and being real. PPD is one of those war zones that no one would ever choose, but it is clear you fought it with grace and are now sharing it with a love for others who are battling it now. Thank you.






To all you fighters, please know you aren't alone. Every few months we gather together in person and share our hearts. You will have a place here. No matter your religion, or trials, we understand that life can be hard, especially when we are thrown a fight we had never planned. So if you get a chance, please come!

For more information visit
A Reason to Stand

May 28, 2017

Your story






Less than a week and we are in Nampa. What I love most about these events are the hugs I get, and the connection I feel to each one of you. A place to come where people understand, where I never feel alone.

Every single person that walks in those doors has a story. A story of heartache . . . a story of pain, and fight, and bravery. A story of triumph and failure. A story of fear, and loss, and overcoming. Because that is what life is: a battle of light and dark. A journey to find our purpose and connection to something greater than ourselves . . . finding strength beyond our own despite the traumas we face and the mountains we are asked to climb. We each have a story, as unique as our souls.

I never thought mine would be one I could tell out loud. And then one day I knew I had to. Not because it was going to be easy, or fun, or inspiring for anyone else . . . but because I knew I couldn't hide from it any more. Before I could write a new story with grace, I was going to have to love the broken girl I had been hiding from. For me, this journey has been the path I never knew I would need to heal the parts of me I thought I had lost forever.

So if you have a story . . . one you didn't plan, one that is still breaking you, one that you wished you could write again . . . come join us next Saturday, cause we have been there too. And I promise you some of the stories you will hear and tools you will learn will change you. These presenters are amazing and truly speak from their hearts. Stories of triumph, fear, pain, and overcoming . . . just like yours.

I am so thankful for each one of you. Thank you for helping me each day to find my purpose and strength. The support I have received these past six years has been empowering. I can't tell you what the kind words, encouragement and support has meant to me. I believe in each one of you, and am so humbled to be part of your lives in some small way and to be able to connect to something that is so much bigger than me. We are all united, and I feel your strengths. Thank you for helping me find mine.



For more information about presenters and the event please visit www.areasontostand.com


May 24, 2017

The right kind of love

Earlier this year I was on a long plane ride and met a new friend. We talked for hours about: life, love, children, triumphs, and failures. She shared with me a story about one of her children—the one she had always thought was her “favorite” child. She began, “The hardest part I don’t understand . . . is she was the one child I gave everything to. She never went without; I never once told her no. If she dreamed it—I would make it happen. I put her above everyone . . . including my spouse. And now there is nothing to show for it. She is the most miserable person I know. She is never content . . . and no matter how hard I try, she is never happy. All my other kids respect and love me, but the one I thought I loved the most—she is unkind to me, and everyone around her. It doesn’t make since. I gave her everything . . . all of my love, my time . . . my whole world . . . and she despises me.”

I have heard this scenario a thousand times. And yesterday—as I battled with one of my own entitled children—I realized that in some ways I have done it too: asked a child permission to parent them, made excuses, or forgot to be consistent and follow through. I get stuck somewhere between the boarders of parenting and wanting to be their friend.

But the truth is: our kids don’t need friends . . . they need parents.

What they need from us is love, but not in the way we sometimes think. We believe they want us to let them do whatever they want. We think they want stuff. We assume they want us to always have something “over the top” fun planned for them to do. So we ask our children for permission to parent; we buy them things they don’t need. We get scared they won’t want us around, so we over stimulate them with fun—never slowing down and enjoying the little moments that make up the real parts of their life. We allow them to do things we don’t feel good about, and buy them electronics and movies they aren’t emotionally ready for . . . but not because it is a good idea—because we are scared. Scared they won’t be popular with everyone else, scared they will feel left out; scared they won’t think we are cool . . . but mainly—we are scared we are not enough. We become their friends to avoid the hard parts of parenting . . . the most important part of our role. We avoid being the person in their life who needs to teach them what the real world will one day slap in their face. But we don’t want them to blame us for their pain . . . so instead we cover it up with friendly fluff and more and more stuff.

So really . . . we suck at parenting—to protect ourselves.

Each parent has the responsibility to teach and guide our children in love and patience. Sometimes the patience is for the child . . . sometimes it is for us—patience to watch them suffer consequences of their actions; patience to see them chose the wrong road and find the way back on their own. It is hard to watch them solve a problem we think we already know the answer to, but we cannot bail them out of the very things that will teach them their strength.


Entitling, making excuses, and looking past our children’s mistakes and shortcomings—though the world would tell us this is love—these are the reasons we are failing to love our children in the right way. The most balanced kind of parent loves unconditionally (love not based on perfect performance), gives boundaries (for safety and teaching what is appropriate in all aspects of personal and social life), and uses consistency to help implement these things in daily life circumstances.

I had a friend in high school whose parents never gave her any limits. She would come and go as she pleased. She always had an unlimited amount of money and a wallet full of credit cards. I will never forget one night when she was at my house late. My mom was sticking with curfew and shipping everyone home. My friend turned to me and said, “I wish I had parents who cared where I was. ”

I had always thought she was so lucky. She could do literally whatever she wanted, but at that moment I saw my mom’s love a little differently than I had before. She gave me limits and boundaries . . . because she loved me? I had never seen it so clear.  Now all these years later I realize I was the lucky one. My mom cared; she loved me in the right ways. She gave me curfews and budgets . . . and sometimes she told me no.

It matters. Our kids don’t want parents who treat them like they rule the world—they want to know they have a place in it. They want to know where they are safe. Boundaries and rules show them. Realistic expectations—appropriate for each age group—help them find stability and confidence in themselves and in the world around them.

If we were to throw our kids into a lake full of alligators, and had never taught them how to swim or protect themselves—they would fail. Life is no different. It takes teaching and guiding before they have any clue on where they should be. And that is our job. And it doesn’t end once they can walk . . . it is then that it has just begun. 

What if Heavenly Father would have panicked about what a bad parent he looked like to have His only Begotten Son in pain, and He would have said, “Ok . . . wait. Take it all away. He isn’t strong enough to do this. I cannot watch Him any more . . . because His pain is a reminder of how I cannot protect Him. I need Him to be ok . . . so I can be ok.”

He didn’t . . . because He knew that pain, that sacrifice, was going to change everything. He saw the bigger picture of what Christ was going to be able to become . . . because of that pain. He saw a Son making sacrifices—willing to suffer—for others. He saw a Son who was fulfilling the mission He was sent here to live. He saw further than the moment.

And that is what we all must do, because it is in consequences and struggles, and learning to accept personal accountability, and sacrificing for others that our children will find their purpose—their strength, and gifts, and truth. For those are the things that money cannot buy. Those are the things we cannot give to those babies that we love. They have to find them with God. 


So maybe being the cool parent has been your objective—I am guilty here too—maybe you have justified entitled or disrespectful behavior because “they have been through so much”. Yup. We have all been there. But by “protecting” our children and asking them for permission to parent—we are hurting them. If they were ready to make grown up decisions . . . then they would be . . . grown up.

Our children need parents. So let's grow up. Let's prepare them for this world by giving them a chance and teaching them how to live in it. Let's love them enough to sacrifice some of our “free time” we get when they are just running free. They need us to be engaged, and encouraging, and present. They need us to hold them accountable, and teach them right from wrong.

We have to put away our phones—and turn off the video games and movies—and see each other. If we spend more time on Facebook or at the gym, than we do with our kids . . . we need to reevaluate our priorities. If we spend more time worried about what to wear or how to get the best looking picture of our kids making cookies—we probably aren’t making them for the right reason.

Our kids need memories of their imperfect lives—not snap shots of a fake perfect virtual reality.

So to all who have made the decision—or maybe the decision was made for you—either way to those who call themselves parents. Let us step up. We don’t need their permission to parent them. We just need the right kind of love. The love that sees the big picture—the lasting kind of love—the love that gives hope, holds accountable, brings light, and sometimes says no. Parenthood.

It says, “I see you are not perfect—I know I am far from it—but I believe in us. I love you no matter what you do or where you go—because I was created to love you. When you make mistakes I will be here to help you—but I cannot take it all away. You are your own person, but what you do will effect others.  Here are the things my life has taught me—you will learn some of the same lessons, but others will be unique to you. I will expect you to respect me. I will expect you to be kind to other people. You will follow the rules: at home, at school, in society—because you are a person of virtue. You are not the exception, but you are exceptional. You are not always going to be the victim of something else . . . sometimes it is going to be your fault. You can make it right, but first you have acknowledged your role. And as your parent . . . I can help you find it. Sometimes I will make mistakes; I hope you will forgive me. It isn’t perfect, but life can be beautiful. When you follow the rules, and live within the safety of the boundaries we set . . . you will find confidence and love for yourself that can’t come in any other way. I was so blessed the day you came into my life and I am so grateful you are mine. Sometimes I will be your friend . . . but when I really want to show you I love you—I will be doing my job with the right kind of love—I will be your parent. It isn’t always easy telling you no, it isn’t always easy watching you chose a choice I wouldn’t chose myself. I struggle when you do . . . but I believe in you. I see how smart you are, and I know you are going to grow up to be an even better parent than I am, because you are a powerful child of God. He will be with you every moment of your life. And He will be able to give you perfect direction on every road you will need to take. So my job as your parent isn’t to teach you to rely on me. My job isn’t to bail you out and cover for you when you make a mistake. My job is to teach you how to become accountable . . . to Him. I am just a tool to help you learn how to find your relationship with your Savior. I believe in Him . . . and I believe in you.”

Someday we will be the one sitting on an airplane evaluating all that we have done in our life. We will look back with regret—that is enviable—but when it comes to our children hopefully we don’t look back with regret of loving them in the wrong way—protecting them from learning how to stand on their own.

If only we knew how our days were numbered—I bet we would all live them a little differently. So for today, we better just live it like it is our last. Love with all our hearts, and cherish the ones we call family.


Parenthood. You got this.


May 17, 2017

Day 25

Yesterday I had a few minutes and decided to work on video 25!! I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. This video is about a few thoughts I had this weekend as I celebrated Mother's Day in a different way.


May 12, 2017

The perfect gift for Mother's Day

Motherhood.

Did we even know what we were signing up for? Did we even comprehend the magnitude of the responsibility being a parent would be? Did we know—in our carefree years without children—that a single person could come into our life and change us forever? Did any of us really know that is was possible to love something so much—but have no idea how to do it all?

Not even a little bit—we had no idea that something so small could leave an impact so big.  Something so perfect could remind us of our imperfections—because the truth is, parenthood has never been done perfectly. Sometimes we are going to watch our babies’ hurt—and what hurts the most, is sometimes there is nothing we can do to take it away.


This week started out as any other. Sunday we all went to church and celebrated the twin’s birthday with family. Sunday night we packed lunches and got everyone clean and ready for the school days ahead.

Monday morning I woke up early. Tytus had to be at the surgery center by 7 to get his tonsils and adenoids removed and a new set of tubes in his ears. I was still a little tired from my travels the two weeks before, but we sat in his room laughing as we waited for the doctors.

He did some happy dances for my camera and put stickers all over his gas mask—he was content for the most part, and motivated to get the surgery that had promised him better health.

As the doctors pushed him off to the surgery room, I went out to the waiting room. All went as planned and soon they were calling me back to go greet him as he was waking up.

He slept for the most part on the way home. I put him to sleep on my bed and the first day was fairly easy. He had a hard time swallowing but he was handling everything just fine.

The first half of the night went pretty smooth. I woke him up whenever my alarm went off to take his pain meds. That morning he woke up early in a lot of pain—crying every few minutes for relief. The day dragged by, we took a nap together on my bed and did the best we could to stay on top of the meds.

That night he went to sleep in my office. Not long after I fell asleep I heard a heart pounding kind of screaming. I ran into the office to find Tytus hunched over and holding his throat. I swept him up and ran into the kitchen to grab his medicine.

I held it up to squeeze it into his mouth and he smacked my hand away. For hours we fought. I even tried to lay him on the couch and force it down his throat. Nothing. He wouldn't stop screaming. So I finally made a spot for me on the floor next to his bed. I was getting desperate to help him find the relief I knew the pain medication could bring. I said over his screams, “Hey Tytus . . . as your mom it hurts me so much to see you in so much pain. And I feel helpless watching you—barely able to talk or swallow—and I wish more than anything I could take this pain from you. I would trade spots with you in a heartbeat—but I cant. I am not going to pretend I know how this feels for you, because I have never had this surgery, and even if I had . . . it wouldn’t be the same. But I need you to trust me—as a person who wants to help you, and actually has the tools to give you relief—I need you to trust me right now that this medicine is the only way your aren’t going to be in so much pain. I need you to let me help you. I need you to let me—your mom—love you.”

I thought for sure my braveheart speech would help him come to his senses. I had played it all out in my mind. I would motivate him to see things the way they were, and he would see clearly that my love for him was going to help him. I did—after all—have the tools that would help ease his suffering.

But he refused. I felt helpless. I spent the rest of the night watching my son ache in agony—and there was nothing I could do about it.

He had to be the one to make the choice to take the help—and the love—I had to offer. No matter how many times I squirted that liquid into his mouth . . . he had spit it out. NO matter how may times I had begged for him to let me ease his suffering . . . he had refused to let me do my job—as his protector, as his designated nurse . . . and as his mom.





The night soon turned to morning and the stubborn little man was still in pain. Not because we had no options to ease his burdens . . . but because he had refused to see that a minute of pain—swallowing that medication—was going to be the very thing that would have taken the pain away.

I knew a girl once—I think you might too—who didn’t believe in something that was right in front of her. She suffered, for years, wishing for something that was already there all along. Grace. Hope. Healing—the easing of her burdens.

So parents—as we spend a lot of time wondering why our children cannot see things the way that we see them. Why they can’t see the help—we are so willing and able to give . . . just know this: we weren’t the first parent’s to ever sit back and wonder why sometimes they have to figure it out all on their own.

Because just like each of us, watching our babies struggle in ways we could easily have taken it all away—we all have a Father who has had to the same.

He watched as angry men crucified His Son, and He watches each of us—at one time or another—take the hardest road. Sometimes, not believing in any other option . . . we have been the children stubbornly hurting and crying out all night long for relief.

And just like I didn’t leave my son’s side that night, I know that Christ doesn’t leave ours. He doesn’t walk away and say, “You know what idiot . . . if you aren’t going to do it my way—then you can just suffer alone.” NO. He sits there—with that medicine in His hand, waiting for us to decide when we are ready to take it—to receive Him.

Some of us have taken all night to let Him help them—other’s are still trying to decide if they are ok with a plan different than their own. Some are still waiting for proof that He is really there. And that’s ok. He doesn’t make us take His help—because that was the plan we agreed to long ago. He would be there—on those dark nights full of all the pain and fear of the world—so we never had to be alone.

So maybe you are that parent, wondering why you keep failing the things you created . . . because you have to keep watching them hurt. Maybe you are the child wondering why your parent’s failed you—never could take away your pain.

Or maybe we are all just imperfect children and parent’s who are doing our best.  Maybe if we could see each other’s pain—the way that Christ does—we would be a little more generous with our love—the way that Christ is.

So today, I want you to remember that perfect parent’s don’t exist. Perfect, obedient children are not real. What’s real is LOVE. Love for all the imperfect parents and children we have been blessed to cross paths with.

Some might not be around as long as you think—so make sure those imperfections don’t keep you apart too long. This Mother’s Day we don’t celebrate or glorify a job that is easy—because it rarely is . . . but it sure is worth it.


And that’s what He thinks of you too.

Happy Mother's Day. 


 
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